Megan Leslie

Megan Leslie
Megan Leslie
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Halifax
Assumed office
Preceded by Alexa McDonough
Personal details
Born September 29, 1973 (1973-09-29) (age 38)
Toronto, Ontario
Political party New Democratic Party
Profession community legal worker

Megan Leslie (born September 29, 1973) is a Canadian politician, who has been the federal Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Halifax since the 2008 Canadian federal election. She is a member of the New Democratic Party and serves as the NDP critic for the environment.[1] Until May 2010, she was the critic for housing and homelessness, deputy critic for justice and deputy critic for First Nations, Métis and Inuit affairs (urban issues).



Leslie, was raised in Kirkland Lake, Ontario.[2] She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Social & Political Thought and History and a Certificate in Refugee and Migration Studies, both from York University. She has a law degree from Dalhousie University.[3]

After her law degree, she worked for the Dalhousie Legal Aid Service as a community legal worker and law professor. She has an extensive background in social justice advocacy on poverty issues. She is a founding member of the Affordable Energy Coalition and was part of a successful settlement agreement with Nova Scotia Power Inc. regarding energy efficiency programs. She has advocated at Residential Tenancies, Small Claims, Income Assistance Appeal Board, CPP Disability Tribunal, and Utility and Review Board hearings and has coordinated mobile legal info clinics around Halifax, including Direction 180, Stepping Stone, Metro Immigrant Settlement Association, Metro Turning Point, Bayers Westwood Parent Resource Centre, Single parent Centre and Adsum House. She developed the "Tenant Rights Project", which was named as an anti-eviction strategy best practice.[3]

In 2005, Leslie attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Montreal to present on the issue of energy poverty. She has also made presentations to the Canadian Public Health Association national conference, the Atlantic Regional Association of Immigrant Settlement Associations and the national conference of the Public Legal Education Association of Canada.[3]

Awards and accolades

Leslie was chosen as one of the "five best Canadian members of Parliament" by the The Mark News.[4]

In May 2009, Leslie was chosen as "Best Rookie" by Maclean's in their third annual Parliamentarians of the Year awards.[2]

In February 2010, an essay by Leslie was featured in an Americas Quarterly issue titled "Voices from the New Generation", which featured 29 young business, political, and civic leaders from across the Americas.[5] In her essay Leslie expressed her belief in her generation's recognition of the complexity of social change, and her style of politics that recognizes the need for robust community participation as well as representation in parliament.

In December 2010, she was voted as the favourite "Up and Comer" on Parliament Hill[6] and was picked as one of the year's top MPs by columnist Davik Akin.[7]

Readers of The Coast weekly newspaper in Halifax voted her as "Best Halifax Member of Parliament" in 2009 [8] and 2010.[9] In 2008 she was Voted "Best Activist".[10]

Before entering politics she received: Muriel Duckworth award for raising consciousness of women's issues and feminism in the legal community; Holly House Heroes award (Elizabeth Fry) for work in housing and homelessness; Weldon Community Commitment Award; Dalhousie Governor's Award for exceptional leadership in the University and community; MacIntosh Bursary for outstanding public service; CBA Law Day Award for encouraging and promoting access to justice.[3]

Health critic

Leslie launched an initiative as the NDP's Health critic to propose a national pharmacare plan to pay for expensive prescription drugs.[11]

She also introduced a private members bill to create a national strategy for suicide prevention, which has garnered the support of some municipal councils.[12]

She was also noted for being "well-briefed on the controversy surrounding Assisted Human Reproduction Canada last spring, when several board members resigned amid allegations of lack of transparency over spending."[13]

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy

Leslie did an undergraduate thesis on Supreme Court of Canada case law relating to gay and lesbian issues.[14]

She also presented an educational workshop for the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission on gender identity, and was involved in the campaign to get sex reassignment surgery covered by Nova Scotia's provincial health care plan. She has stated that her goal in politics is to "use the law to make Canada a better place for people who are marginalized."[14]

Leslie was the main seconder of Bill C-389, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression), known as the trans rights bill. At third reading, noting the absence of any openly trans members of Parliament, Leslie used her time to read letters from people who had contacted her office, stating, "Nothing that I can say about our trans rights bill in this House could be a replacement for hearing from the lived experiences of transgendered Canadians. I am going to use my time today to bring the voices of people, some from Halifax and others from around Canada, who contacted me about this bill".[15]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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