Conservative MP Leon Benoit is the 8th of 17 children born on the prairie near Lloydminster, Alberta. Leon’s parents were poor, farming was not as lucrative a career as it is now, the children often wore clothes that were patched and re-patched several times before being assigned to the dust bin, but at the same time, their children never suffered from want and they grew up with all the food and nourishment they needed.
Leon always wanted to be a farmer growing up and after graduating from the University of Alberta that’s the career he pursued, buying his own acreage not far from the family homestead. Leon put his degree to good use, working as a farm economist and management consultant to supplement the family income.
In 1988, Preston Manning came to the area and Leon was taken by the Reform message. Leon first won in 1993, and is one of only four Reformers left in House from that pivotal election, and has been the MP for Vegreville–Wainwright ever since. The father of five including two sets of twins, spoke to Catherine Clark about his life Beyond Politics.
Born into political life in Ottawa, Catherine Clark is no stranger to being in the public eye. As founding host of CPAC’s popular weekly television show Beyond Politics, Catherine interviews Members of Parliament, Premiers and people of influence to reveal the personal, human side of public life. Catherine is also a sought-after public speaker and emcee, and writes the “Giving Back” column for Ottawa at Home Magazine, profiling people who are improving the lives of their fellow citizens.