Megan Leslie works to make things better for the people of Halifax, as a community activist and now as our Member of Parliament (MP). First elected in the fall of 2008, she has gained a reputation as a smart and charismatic Member of Parliament, respected for her integrity and ability to get things done.
In May of 2011, Megan was named to the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet as the Environment Critic. In this role, she has been pushing for strong action on clean energy, and a plan to include climate change in a national energy strategy.
With the election of Tom Mulcair as leader of the New Democrats in March 2012, Megan was also named Deputy Leader of the NDP – one of the youngest MPs ever to be selected for the post.
Megan was named the NDP’s Health Critic in May of 2010. Over the course of her year as the Health Critic, she launched a campaign to create a National Pharmacare Plan to make prescription medications more affordable, a program that would save Canadians and the Canadian health system billions of dollars through bulk buying and a single national price negotiator. She also introduced a bill to create a National Suicide Prevention Strategy, which has received support from municipalities, First Nations, LGBTTI communities, youth groups and Canadians across the country. Megan’s firm grasp of the issues and determination to ensure accountability has been noted by the national press and health activists.
Before, she was the critic for housing and homelessness, deputy critic for justice and deputy critic for First Nations, Métis and Inuit affairs (urban issues). She co-sponsored a bill to create a National Housing Strategy.
From Megan’s Community Office she has launched a series of innovative projects and outreach services to ensure the people of Halifax receive the services they need. Megan’s idea of inviting her constituents to see the work of local artists was featured in the Globe and Mail. She has hosted “how to apply for federal job” workshops, and local discussions on the economy and health care issues. She has promoted local food through her Community Garden Fairs and her constituents have received tens of thousands of dollars from the Disability Tax Credit program as a result of her outreach strategies.
Megan’s work as an MP is informed by her background of effective advocacy and community organizing as a Community Legal Worker at Dalhousie Legal Aid. The “Tenants Rights Project” that she developed was named as an anti-eviction strategy best-practice. As a founder of the Affordable Energy Coalition she worked to improve the accessibility of energy services. She was involved in the development of some of the province’s first comprehensive energy efficiency programs and spoke about energy poverty at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Montreal. She coordinated a series of innovative mobile legal info clinics around Halifax for organizations including the Metro Immigrant Settlement Association, Metro Turning Point, Direction 180, Stepping Stone, Bayers Westwood Parent Resource Centre, Adsum House and the Single Parent Centre.
Her passionate and creative approach to community advocacy garnered a series of awards and accolades including:
- Dalhousie Governor's Award for exceptional leadership in the University and community
- Holly House Heroes award (Elizabeth Fry) for work in housing and homelessness
- Muriel Duckworth award for raising consciousness of women's issues and feminism in the legal community
Megan is originally from the northern Ontario mining community of Kirkland Lake and moved to Halifax to complete her law degree at Dalhousie University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from York University in Social and Political Thought and History and a Certificate in Refugee and Migration Studies. She spent a year at Tampere University in Finland and is the second Canadian MP of Finnish descent.
She lives with her partner Brendan Haley who is known for his history of advocacy on climate change issues and who is currently undertaking PhD studies in sustainable energy innovation and science and technology policy.