| August 5,
Prior to her political career, she trained as a human rights and social justice lawyer. She eventually co-founded the charity Canadian Lawyers Abroad.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, she is the eldest of four children of Dr. John McKenna, an Irish dentist and his Quebec-born wife Pat McKenna, who still live in the southwest part of Hamilton. On August 14, 1999, McKenna married entrepreneur and writer Scott Gilmore, with whom she has lived since 2002 in The Glebe, Ottawa. They have two daughters and one son. The actor Patrick Gilmore is Catherine’s brother-in-law.
McKenna has practised law at leading firms in Indonesia, focusing on international trade, competition, investment and constitutional issues. In 2002, she joined Stikeman Elliott LLP, working in the areas of competition, trade, and constitutional law. During this time she was senior counsel on the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer’s review of Canada’s military justice system.
McKenna is trained as a human rights and social justice lawyer. In 2005, McKenna co-founded Canadian Lawyers Abroad – Avocats canadiens à l’étranger (CLA-ACE), now called Level, a University of Ottawa-based charity that helps Canadian law students and law firms do pro bono legal work in developing countries.
In the 2015 federal election, McKenna defeated longtime New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament (MP) Paul Dewar in the riding of Ottawa Centre. McKenna said that she knocked on 100,000 doors during her 522 days as a candidate. McKenna was elected with 43% of the votes compared to Dewar’s 38%. McKenna had campaigned on issues such as reforming the National Capital Commission, funding for a new main branch of the Ottawa Public Library, and opposing the proposed Memorial to the Victims of Communism.
McKenna was one of 50 women elected to the Liberal caucus in the 2015 election.
McKenna was appointed Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Justin Trudeau’s first cabinet on November 4, 2015. One of her first appearances as Minister of Environment and Climate Change was at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
In December 2016, McKenna led a clean-technology sector business delegation with Canadian and Chinese companies in China. Additionally, she served as the international executive vice-chair of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development and co-chaired the council’s annual general meeting with China’s Minister of Environmental Protection, Minister Chen Jining.
Some of McKenna’s critics have derisively nicknamed her “Climate Barbie”, a label McKenna considers a sexist insult. Conservative MP Gerry Ritz caused controversy in September 2017 when he tweeted a link to a news story stating no industrialized nations were on pace to meet Paris Agreement carbon emission targets with the comment “Has anyone told our climate Barbie! [sic]” (referring to McKenna). Ritz deleted the original post within 20 minutes, afterward posted another message stating: “I apologize for the use of Barbie, it is not reflective of the role the Minister plays”. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer condemned Ritz’s comment later in the day and stated he would reach out to McKenna personally to “assure the minister that this type of behavior has no place in the Conservative caucus”.
In November 2018, in response to the Government of Ontario’s decision to cancel all climate action projects supported through the federal Low Carbon Economy Fund, McKenna announced that the Government of Canada would work directly with businesses to re-invest the $200-million remaining in the province’s Low Carbon Economy Fund.
In November 2019, McKenna was appointed as the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities after serving as Canada’s second-longest environment minister.
Currently, Catherine McKenna is 50 years, 5 months and 17 days old. Catherine McKenna will celebrate 51st birthday on a Friday 5th of August 2022.
Find out about Catherine McKenna birthday activities in timeline view here.