Leona is a federal politician, corporate manager, entrepreneur and former military officer.
The daughter of Ian Alleslev and Leona Jane Alleslev, Leona is the eldest of three siblings. Her father, Ian Alleslev, immigrated to Canada from Denmark after WWII and settled in Montreal, QC with his parents and sister. He obtained a Degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill and a Masters in Electrical Engineering at Royal Military College and was a Communications Electronic Engineer serving in Canada’s Air Force for over 30 years, achieving the rank of Major General. Her mother, Jane Alleslev (Lessard), spent her childhood in Lennoxville, QC and Mont St. Hilaire, QC. She graduated from McGill with a Bachelor of Science and obtained her Masters in Statistical Genetics at Queen’s University.
Leona Inger Alleslev was born on a British Royal Air Force (RAF) Base in Monchengladbach, RAF Wegberg West Germany in 1968. Her father, Ian Alleslev was a Canadian Airforce Officer (RCAF) assigned to NATO Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) Headquarters. Alleslev was registered a British Citizen Born Abroad, under the British North America Act, she was registered a Canadian citizen at birth. Alleslev returned to Canada in Kingston, ON that year.
As a member of a military family, Leona lived in almost every province and attended a number of different schools in her childhood.
Leona attended Glen Ogilvie Public School in Ottawa, Air Vice Marshall Morfee Public School (Grade 2-3) in CFB Greenwood, NS, Grade 4 in Kingston, ON, Emily Carr Middle School (grade 6-8), in Ottawa, ON. She attended St Johns-Ravenscourt (grade 9-12) in Winnipeg, MB and graduated in 1986.
Throughout her childhood, Leona immersed herself in different activities including, receiving her lifeguard and swimming instructor certification, piano certification and joined the Air Cadets from 1981 to 1986.
A proud Air Cadet
Alleslev joined the Air Cadets at 832 Twillick Squadron in Ottawa in 1981, and continued with 191 West Winnipeg Rotary Sqn achieving the rank of Warrant Officer 1 st Class. She attended the Junior Leadership Course (JLC) at Penhold Air Cadet Camp in 1983, the Senior Leadership Course in Cold Lake, AB in 1984, and was a staff cadet instructing the Junior Leader Course course in Gimli Air Cadet Camp in 1985 and Penhold Air Cadet Camp in 1986.
Leona received the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award 1988.
University and Royal Military College - Military Service
Leona attended Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, majoring in Geography (human) and minoring in Statistics for a year, before entering the military and attending Royal Military College. Leona was in 1 Squadron known as the Stone Frigate Military Academy graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Hon.) in History and Politics in 1991. She is numbered as one of the first few women who studied and graduated from RMC.
She completed her Logistics Officer training with a supply specialty and was posted to CFB Comox (now 19 Wing) from 1991 until 1994.
Throughout the 1990s the Government of Canada was focused on substantially reducing costs by downsizing the public service by 25% and outsourcing functions to the private sector. Alleslev was posted to National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) in 1994, where she held organizational roles in aerospace equipment and program management to reduce costs and improve the maintenance of core military aircraft fleets. This included designing and implementing the first fully costed Aircraft lifecycle cost model for these fleets. She also acted as an internal management consultant as part of the Base Delegation of Authority and Accountability Trial (BDelegAAT) supporting the review of finance, logistics, and maintenance functions at Bases and Wings across Canada and the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS).
Alleslev took her release from the military under the Force Reduction Program in 1996 FRP.
Leona was a senior management consultant for DMR, and Krofchak Consulting engaging in projects that focused on alternative service delivery approaches to achieve substantive cost and personal reductions for aircraft and maintain support services. Her services were retained by both governed and industry. Within these roles, Leona worked with other governments, militaries and civilian aviation organizations in the US, UK and Australia to bring best practices to Canada.
Leona joined IBM in 2005 and obtained her SAP Finance and Controlling (FI CO) certification and the University of Toronto Physical Asset Management Certification to then support public and private sector organizations in Canada, the US and Europe in driving growth and increased global competitiveness through optimization and ERP systems implementation.
At IBM, Leona managed operational redesigns and the implementation of key aspects of large enterprise wide engineering, maintenance, supply chain and finance computer systems for companies and governments around the world. Leona was appointed as the Canadian representative to the IBM Global Aerospace and Defence Team.
As a member of the of Aerospace Industry Assoc of Canada (AIAC), Leona toured Bombardier Aerospace’s Toronto manufacturing plant and was offered the position of Industrialization Engineering Manager. She led a team that designed and implemented an advanced manufacturing moving aircraft final assembly line for the new Global 7000/8000 business aircraft including multi-axis automated position systems, an integrated metrology system, robotic joint automation drilling, and aircraft transportation linear actuation systems within a $30M budget.
For this work Alleslev and her team were awarded a Global Bombardier Annual Accomplishment Award; the first to be given to the Toronto Site. Leona, together with her Supplier Project Manager Ron Mack, wrote an article “A Holistic Approach to Aircraft Assembly” that was published in SAE International Aerospace Engineering Magazine.
Leona and her husband established, owned and operated a 7000 sq/ft facility seasonal canoeing and adventure tourism business in the Temagami Wilderness Area in Northern Ontario. Temagami Outfitting Co Inc welcomed travellers to one of the best fresh water canoeing regions in the world providing guided trips, canoe and equipment outfitting, an outdoor clothing and equipment retail store, a licensed cappuccino bar and waterfront patio and bed & breakfast. They sold the business in 2005.
Member of Parliament
Leona Alleslev was elected in October 2015 as the first Member of Parliament for the newly created Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill electoral district. She was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Services & Procurement, working to improve Shared Services Canada, Canada Post, the Phoenix Pay System and Military Procurement.
She chaired Canada’s NATO Parliamentary Assembly delegation and was rapporteur for the NATO PA Science & Technology Committee authoring reports on NATO defence innovation, anti submarine warfare, and biological threats and bio terrorism in a post Covid world.
After being elected in 2015, Leona was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement. Leona later served on the National Defence Committee, Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee, the Citizenship and Immigration Committee, and was Chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association. In 2018, Leona was appointed Shadow Cabinet Minister for Global Security.
On September 17, 2018, after careful and deliberate consideration Leona crossed the floor leaving the Government benches to join Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. The Government was not focused on tackling the priorities in a time of unprecedented global instability. Through numerous policy shifts and questionable government actions, which taken together, convinced Leona that our country was at risk. However, to publicly criticize the government as a Liberal would undermine the government and be dishonourable, therefore she felt she needed to change political parties to publicly address the fundamental priorities of our time and hold the government to account to advocate for substantive change.
Watch Leona's crossing the floor speech "My duty my decision" here
In November 2019, after being re-elected as a Conservative, Leona was appointed as Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and shortly after named Shadow Cabinet Minister for Foreign Affairs. She served on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Special Committee on Canada-China relations. She was also a member of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association. In the summer of 2020, Leona stepped down as Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition.
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