Nomination Date: 01/04/2019
Leona’s dedication to public service is demonstrated in her 30 years of public life in both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. She held a number of senior positions within the Government of Nunavut prior to entering territorial politics in 2004. While serving as an MLA representing Nattilik, she served as Finance Minister, House Leader, Minister of Health and Social Services and Minister for the Status of Women.
In 2008, she decided to put her name forward to run for the Conservative Party of Canada in Nunavut. Leona was elected twice in 2008 and 2011. She holds the distinction of being the first Inuk in Canadian history to be appointed to Cabinet under Prime Minister Harper.
In her first term, she served as Minister of Health, which included the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Health Research and she was Regional Minister for the North. In her second term, she held the portfolio of Minister of the Environment, which included Parks Canada and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Chair of the Arctic Council, and continued in her role as Regional Minister for the North.
She has been a Nunavut Resource Corporation Board Member and a Board Member for TMAC’s Hope Bay project since 2016. She remains committed to supporting the development of Nunavummiut and the North. She volunteered her time representing Nunavut on the National Council until stepping down to seek the nomination as the 2019 federal candidate for Nunavut. Leona was born and raised in the Arctic. She is married to Robbie MacNeil of Cape Breton and has a son, Cooper.