OCTOBER 30, 2008

LEONA AGLUKKAG BECOMES FIRST INUK CABINET MEMBER IN CANADA

Born in Inuvik and raised in Thom Bay, Taloyoak, and Gjoa Haven (now in Nunavut), Aglukkaq served initially as Deputy Minister of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth.  She served from 2004-2008 as the elected representative of Nattlik in the Nunavut Legislature.  In  2008, Aglukkaq was elected to the House of Commons and, on October 30, became Minister of Health–the first Inuk appointed to the Cabinet of Canada.  Aglukkaq won praise for her handling of the 2009 swine flu (H1N1) outbreak.  In 2009, she took over as Canadian Health Minister.  Here, she was criticized both for scrapping Health Canada’s plan to ban trans fats and for refusing to sign the Vienna Declaration on drug policy reform.  Aglukkaq was reelected in 2011 and, in 2013, was named Minister of the Environment.  In 2014, Aglukkaq’s political fortunes turned against her and, in 2015, she lost her seat in Parliament–one of the larger defeats suffered by a member of Harper’s cabinet. 

Sources:  “Biography of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq,” http://www.leonaaglukkaq.ca/about/about-leona.html Wikipedia.
Photo:   Office of the Minister of Health, Canada.  Date:  Between 2009-2011.  Permissive Use pursuant to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

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