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Christine Stewart

Member of Parliament
for Northumberland
In office
November 21, 1988 – November 27, 2000
Preceded by George Hees
Succeeded by Paul Macklin
Personal details
Born (1941-01-03)January 3, 1941
Hamilton, Ontario
Died April 25, 2015(2015-04-25) (aged 74)
Cobourg, Ontario
Political party Liberal Party of Canada
Profession Administrator, nurse, trustee

Christine Susan Stewart, PC (January 3, 1941 – April 25, 2015) was a Canadian politician. She served three terms as a Liberal Party Member of Parliament for the riding of Northumberland in Ontario. During her career she held the cabinet positions of Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa, and Minister of the Environment.

Early life and education

Stewart earned a degree in nursing (BScN) from the University of Toronto.


Stewart practised nursing for a short time before becoming involved in international development work first as a volunteer with her husband in Honduras in 1971-72. She co-founded a non-government organization, Horizons of Friendship, of which she was co-executive director until 1988. She raised her family of three children, served as a school board trustee and on several community church, social and arts bodies in Cobourg, Ontario.

She was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada as an Opposition member by a margin of 27 votes in 1988, following Conservative George Hees. During that term she was assigned the job of development assistance critic.

Stewart was elected twice more in 1993 and 1997 with substantive majorities and served in the cabinet of prime minister Jean Chrétien first as Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa) from 1993 to 1997, and then as Minister of the Environment from 1997 to 1999. She announced her resignation from politics for personal reasons before the election of 2000.

As Secretary of State, Latin America and Africa, she made official visits to most countries on those continents. For many of these countries, including some who had been receiving Canadian development assistance for years, it was the first visit by a Canadian minister.

As Minister of the Environment, Stewart headed the Canadian delegation to the Kyoto climate change negotiations and signed the Kyoto Accord on behalf of Canada. She pushed for action on the Kyoto Accord, improvements in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Species at Risk Act, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. However, she also fueled the fires of climate change deniers when, in 1998 she told editors and reporters of the Calgary Herald, "No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world."

After leaving Canadian politics, Stewart acted as special envoy to Cameroon for the Commonwealth Secretary General until 2006 and continued her interest in addressing social issues in her community and work on good governance internationally.

She died on April 25, 2015.

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