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‘Plane Talk’ with Catherine McKenna: On her best election day memory and Canada’s green future

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna joins Tom Clark for a fly-over of her riding, and reveals her reaction when the prime minister asked her to join cabinet.

Catherine McKenna is among 338 MPs currently sitting in the House of Commons but she’s the only one who goes to work almost every day in her own riding.

Canada’s environment minister is the MP for Ottawa Centre, which includes Parliament Hill. She recently took to the skies with The West Block’s Tom Clark, and got a chance to see her riding from the air.

“All the doors I knocked on, I can pick them out,” she joked.

“What’s the saying? When you get 100 metres outside of Parliament Hill, it’s totally different. When you knock on doors around here, the issues that you think are really important, and when you’re in Parliament, are a little bit different. But it’s a great riding.”

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Door knocking was critical for McKenna during last year’s federal election. Ottawa Centre was a hotly-contested riding, and few believed the lawyer-turned Liberal candidate could unseat popular NDP MP Paul Dewar.

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READ MORE: Catherine McKenna on tackling Canada’s new climate goals

“You know when the best moment really was? It wasn’t when I won,” McKenna said. “It actually was around 8 o’clock at night when I was pulling votes — it was an election day and I was with Yasir Naqvi, so our MPP, and we hit the last door and we tried to do a high-five. We kind of missed, and I was just laughing. And I thought, ‘Look, I put it all on the table. My team has put it all on the table. If we don’t win, so what?'”

McKenna acknowledged that balancing her career and family life has become even more challenging, but said she’s honoured to have been chosen to lead Canada’s efforts to combat climate change.

“When the prime minister asked me (to be in cabinet), I almost fell off my chair,” she recalled.

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“There could not be a better portfolio. The thing is, it has a legal aspect; we were in big negotiations, as you know, for the Paris agreement. It’s really also the most important issue that we face globally, and my kids get it and they’re excited about it.”

Watch the full interview with McKenna above.

WATCHIn this extended version of Plane Talk, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna tells Tom Clark why she would have liked to have had dinner with Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

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Plane Talk with Catherine McKenna
Plane Talk with Catherine McKenna