Peter Penashue, PC (//; born April 9, 1964) is a Canadian politician from Newfoundland and Labrador. He was elected as the Conservative Party of Canada Member of Parliament for the riding of Labrador in the 2011 federal election. Penashue was the first Innu from Labrador to be elected to the House of Commons of Canada and the first Innu cabinet minister in Canadian history. He was also the first centre-right MP to be elected from the riding of Labrador since 1968, and only the second ever to win it since Newfoundland and Labrador joined Canada in 1949.
|Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada|
May 18, 2011 – March 14, 2013
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Josée Verner|
|Succeeded by||Denis Lebel|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament|
May 30, 2011 – March 14, 2013
|Preceded by||Todd Russell|
|Succeeded by||Yvonne Jones|
|Born||April 9, 1964|
Sheshatshiu, Newfoundland and Labrador
|Profession||Innu leader, businessman|
|Cabinet||Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs|
President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
Following allegations of irregularities in his campaign spending, Penashue announced on March 14, 2013 that he would resign and seek to regain his seat in a by-election. In the resulting by-election, held on May 13, 2013, he was defeated by Yvonne Jones of the Liberal Party. He unsuccessfully ran again in the riding in the 2015 federal election.
Penashue was born in the Innu community of Sheshatshiu, Newfoundland and Labrador. He attended elementary and secondary school in Sheshatshiu before continuing his education in St. John's, where he graduated from Brother Rice High School and pursued studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Penashue assumed a number of leadership roles in the Labrador Innu community, from Land Claims Director, Executive Director and Financial Administrator with the Naskapi Montagnais Innu to Grand Chief of the Innu Nation.
Penashue was elected President of the Innu Nation at the age of 26, and served as Grand Chief of the Innu Nation, for twelve years, from 1990 to 1997 and 1999 to 2004, and was the driving force behind the negotiation of the impacts-benefit agreement between the Innu Nation and the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company. He was also elected to the position of Deputy Grand Chief of the Innu Nation in Sheshatshiu in 2007 and stepped down on March 9, 2010.
Penashue was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 2011 Canadian federal election, in the riding of Labrador. Penashue's challenger, Liberal incumbent Todd Russell, had originally been declared by the media as retaining his seat early on election night but after the last five polls were counted Penashue overtook Russell and was ultimately declared the winner. Penashue's original margin of victory of 231 votes was reduced to 79 votes on recount.
2011 election campaign irregularities and aftermathEdit
Penashue's campaign took 28 ineligible campaign contributions totaling $27,850 in cash and $18,710 in in-kind contributions from Provincial Airlines for services provided. Elections Canada deemed the contributions ineligible and Penashue's campaign was forced to pay $26,850 on November 28, 2012 and $18,710 on March 4, 2013 to the Receiver General of Canada.
After the 2011 election the Peneshue campaign had $4000 but still owed $15,000 from a $25,000 zero interest loan to the Innu Development Limited Partnership, a firm managed by his brother-in-law, Paul Rich. Interest free loans are not allowed by Canadian election law. In November 2012, the Conservative Party transferred $30,000 to the campaign and a further $14,350 on March 1, 2013.
On March 14, 2013, Penashue resigned from Parliament. At the same time, he announced he would seek to return to his old seat via a by-election. In the resulting by-election, held on May 13, 2013, he was defeated by Yvonne Jones of the Liberal Party.
In July 2015, seven companies acknowledged that they made illegal donations to Penashue's 2011 election campaign. Penashue's official agent in the 2011 campaign, Reg Bowers, has been charged with three counts of accepting illegal corporate contributions under the Canada Elections Act. Penashue stated he feels badly for his former official agent.
On September 3, 2015, Penashue was nominated as Conservative candidate in his former riding in the 2015 Canadian federal election, again running against Yvonne Jones. He lost by a margin of over 50% and was pushed into third place.
|2015 Canadian federal election|
|New Democratic||Edward Rudkowski||1,779||14.38||–4.81||–|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||12,373||100.0||$204,293.51|
|Total rejected ballots||53||0.43||–0.42|
|Source: Elections Canada|
|May 13, 2013: LabradorCanadian federal by-election,|
|New Democratic||Harry Borlase||2,324||19.19||−0.64||$81,475.53|
|Total valid votes/Expense Limit||12,110||100.0||–||$ 89,852.84|
|Total rejected, declined and unmarked ballots||27||0.22||−0.26|
|Liberal gain from Conservative||Swing||+8.17|
|Called on the resignation of Peter Penashue, March 14, 2013|
|Source: "By-election May 13, 2013". Elections Canada. May 13, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.|
|2011 Canadian federal election: Labrador|
|New Democratic||Jacob Larkin||2,120||19.83||+1.98||$29,968.41|
|Green||George C.R. Barrett||139||1.30||−2.61||$0.00|
|Total valid votes/Expense Limit||10,692||100.0||–||$84,468.09|
|Total rejected, declined and unmarked ballots||52||0.48||−0.37|
|Conservative gain from Liberal||Swing||+31.52|
|Conservative candidate Peter Penashue was found to have spent above the mandated expense limit, precipitating his resignation and subsequent by-election.|
- "Penashue appointed to federal cabinet". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
- "Innu leader delivers Conservatives from N.L. shutout". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
- "Peter Penashue quits over campaign donations". CBC News. March 14, 2013. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
- Payton, Laura (March 15, 2013). "Peter Penashue campaign took in 28 ineligible contributions". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
- "Liberals take Labrador, as Jones wins big over Penashue". CBC News. May 13, 2013. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
- "Peter Penashue joins Conservative push into Labrador". Northern Pen. 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "Penashue margin of victory reduced". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
- Akin, David (May 18, 2011). "A style note: Aboriginal vs Indian, Metis, Inuit and Innu". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
- "Penashue offers few details on campaign spending". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
- O'Malley, Kady. "CBC News Politics - Peter Penashue and the Mystery of the Moribund Riding Association". CBC News Politics. CBC News Politics. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "Peter Penashue, Ex-Tory MP, Made Illegal Deals With 7 Companies". The Canadian Press. 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
- "Penashue feels terrible for former agent now facing elections charges". NTV. 2015-09-04. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
- "Peter Penashue to run in Labrador riding in federal election". CBC News. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- "'Risky experiment' to remove topsoil from Muskrat Falls reservoir, says Innu nation". CBC News. April 14, 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
- "October 19, 2015 Election Results — Labrador (Validated results)". Elections Canada. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
- Elections Canada – Official voting results, Forty-first general election, 2011
- Elections Canada – Candidate's electoral campaign return, 41st general election