Khristinn Kellie Leitch PC OOnt FRCSC (born July 30, 1970) is a former Canadian politician and surgeon who served as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Simcoe—Grey from 2011 to 2019 as a member of the Conservative Party. She was first elected in the 2011 federal election, succeeding Member of Parliament Helena Guergis who was dismissed from the Conservative Party caucus. Following her election, Leitch was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. On July 15, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Leitch Minister of Labour and Minister for the Status of Women. She served in Cabinet until the defeat of the Conservative government in the 2015 federal election. Leitch ran in the 2017 contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party. On January 23, 2018, Leitch announced that she would not be seeking re-election for the 43rd Canadian federal election and would return to being a full-time surgeon.
Leitch in 2014
|Minister of Labour|
July 15, 2013 – November 4, 2015
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Lisa Raitt|
|Succeeded by||MaryAnn Mihychuk|
|Minister responsible for the Status of Women|
July 15, 2013 – November 4, 2015
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Rona Ambrose|
|Succeeded by||Patty Hajdu|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament|
May 2, 2011 – October 21, 2019
|Preceded by||Helena Guergis|
|Succeeded by||Terry Dowdall|
Khristinn Kellie Leitch
July 30, 1970
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Progressive Conservative (Ontario)|
|Residence||Creemore, Ontario, Canada|
|Alma mater||Queen's University|
University of Toronto (M.D.)
Dalhousie University (M.B.A.)
|Profession||Orthopaedic paediatric surgeon; professor|
|Institution(s)||University of Southern California|
University of Western Ontario
National Research Council,
Training and medical careerEdit
Leitch was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the daughter of Eleanor Lynne (Conway) and Kelburne "Kit" McNabb Leitch, who owned and operated a construction company. She was raised a Catholic, and still practises the religion. She graduated from Queen's University in 1991 with an undergraduate degree. She earned her MD from the University of Toronto in 1994, MBA from Dalhousie University in 1998, and completed the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program in 2001 at the University of Toronto. She became a fellow of clinical paediatric orthopaedics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles/University of Southern California in 2002.
Leitch formerly taught at the University of Western Ontario, where she served as the assistant dean of external affairs at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, and is a former chair of paediatric surgery at the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario.
Leitch was the founding chair of the Ivey Centre for Health Innovation and Leadership and led the health sector stream of the MBA programme at the Richard Ivey School of Business located at the University of Western Ontario.
In 2009, Leitch founded the Kids Health Foundation (now known as The Sandbox Project), an organization that sought to work with academia, the not-for-profit sector, government and industry to make Canada the healthiest place on earth for children to grow up.
Leitch has maintained her medical credentials while serving in politics, and has hospital privileges at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.
Leitch is an active member of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. She was a strategist in Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott's leadership bid in 2009. She also served as president of the Ontario PC Campus Association, and has been actively involved in the Conservative Party since she was 14.
Leitch served as chair of the expert panel for the Children's Fitness Tax Credit in 2006, which made recommendations to Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, regarding the best ways to implement this tax credit designed to encourage health and fitness among Canadian children. In 2008, Leitch authored the report entitled Reaching for the Top: A Report by the Advisor on Healthy Children & Youth. The report is a "call to action" for government and industry on key issues affecting Canadian children and youth.
On September 17, 2010, The Globe and Mail reported that Leitch would run for the Conservative nomination in Simcoe-Grey. The seat was, at the time, held by Helena Guergis, who was expelled from the Conservative Party. The Globe described Leitch as a "star candidate" and noted that her launch event in Creemore the following day would include former Ontario premier Bill Davis and federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
Leitch won the nomination over Collingwood mayor Chris Carrier and Paul Throop with 67% of all ballots cast in a large turnout. Leitch won the general election with more votes than any candidate for public office had ever received in Simcoe-Grey, with 31,784 ballots cast for her and a plurality of 20,590 votes, or 49.36% of the vote. Following her election, Leitch was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.
Minister of Labour and Minister for the Status of WomenEdit
As part of the February 2014 budget, Leitch announced a $25 million plan to address violence against aboriginal women and girls.
On July 15, 2013, Prime Minister Harper named Leitch Minister of Labour and Minister for the Status of Women. During the 2015 Canadian federal election, Leitch said that she was pro-life when asked at a local debate, citing her experience as a paediatric surgeon as her reason.
On October 2, 2015, during the general election, Leitch and then-Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander announced a Royal Canadian Mounted Police "tip line" where Canadians could report "barbaric cultural practices", which, along with the niqab issue, was widely viewed as an attempt to keep cultural and immigration issues at the forefront of the election campaign. Leitch later expressed regret in her involvement of the "barbaric cultural practices tip line". However, in an interview, on the statement the tip line "is a good idea but wasn’t communicated as effectively as it could be to the public" she characterised it as being "absolutely correct".
Conservative leadership electionEdit
Although Leitch was re-elected in the 2015 election, the Conservatives were relegated to Official Opposition status. During the election, Leitch campaigned with over 70 Conservative candidates, which prepared the groundwork for her participation in the 2017 Conservative leadership election to replace Stephen Harper. Leitch's policy stances faced similar controversy in October 2015 during the federal election, where she and fellow Conservative MP and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander pledged support and funding to establish a tip-line for Canadians to call in regards to what they called "barbaric cultural practices". Leitch has since made an effort to apologize for her role in the proposed legislation, saying that she regrets her decisions.
She recruited Nick Kouvalis and Richard Ciano to head her leadership campaign, and Andy Pringle of the Toronto Police Services Board was her chief fundraiser. Leitch was the first official candidate to enter the race.
As part of her leadership campaign, Leitch proposed a Canadian value screening for all new residents. Michael Chong, Conservative MP for Wellington-Halton Hills and an opponent of Leitch in the leadership race, spoke out against Leitch's proposal, saying that it "does not represent our Conservative Party or our Canada". Despite the censure, Leitch stood by her proposal. In a September interview with the Canadian Press, Leitch made the following statement in response to the backlash she had been receiving: "I don’t think it's intolerant to believe in a set of values that we expect everyone to share here and include those people who are coming to visit or immigrate to Canada." The focus of her campaign around the policies surprised some of her long-time mentors, such as former Conservative senator Hugh Segal, who couldn't support her leadership bid.
Leitch proposed screening visitors, refugees and immigrants for "Canadian values". This process would include face to face interviews by trained immigration officers with 100% of immigrants, rather than the 10% or so that happens now, with questions pertaining to their views on whether Canadian law should be the only set of laws that applies to all Canadians, hate speech, violence, and equality between genders, sexual orientation, religious & political views.Stephen Maher, based on information he received from former staffers of Letich, argued that her campaign manager Nick Kouvalis, thought that it would give Leitch, a way to win.
Leitch finished sixth in the race.
After the leadership raceEdit
She was not included into Andrew Scheer's shadow cabinet. In December 2017, it was reported that Essa Township Mayor Terry Dowdall and physician Gillian Yeates were challenging Leitch for the Conservative nomination in Simcoe—Grey for the next election. On January 23, 2018, Leitch announced that she would not seek re-election. Leitch threw her support towards Marc Biss and Tim Bulmer, to be the party candidate for her riding arguing that they were "real conservatives" while believing Yeates and Dowdall were not. On March 24, it was announced that Dowdall won the party nomination for her riding after it was rumoured that he defeated Yeates on the third ballot.
On January 23, 2018, Leitch announced that she would not be seeking re-election for the 43rd Canadian federal election and would return to being a full-time surgeon.
|2015 Canadian federal election: Simcoe—Grey|
|New Democratic||David Matthews||6,332||9.6||-7.8||$5,106.83|
|Christian Heritage||Len Noordegraaf||528||0.8||–||$3,879.16|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||65,747||100.0||$242,062.43|
|Total rejected ballots||225||–||–|
|Source: Elections Canada|
|2011 Canadian federal election: Simcoe-Grey|
|New Democratic||Katy Austin||11,185||17.38||+6.18||7,993.48|
|Christian Heritage||Peter Vander Zaag||757||1.18||–||4,385.89|
|Canadian Action||Gord Cochrane||244||0.38||–||2,512.75|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||64,373||100.00||–||$99,651.72|
|Total rejected ballots||269||0.42||+0.08|
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- Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Simcoe—Grey, 30 September 2015
- Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates