Peter Penashue, PC, MP (born April 9, 1964) is a Canadian politician from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada currently serving as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. He was elected as the Conservative Party of Canada Member of Parliament for the riding of Labrador in the 2011 federal election. Penashue is the first Innu from Labrador to ever be elected to the Canadian House of Commons as well as the first Innu cabinet minister in Canadian history, he was also the first Conservative to be elected from the riding of Labrador since 1968.
Penashue was born in the Innu community of Sheshatshiu, Newfoundland and Labrador. He attended elementary and secondary school in Sheshatshiu before continuing his education in St. John's, where he graduated from Brother Rice High School and pursued studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
He is married and currently lives in Sheshatshiu with his wife Mary Ann. They have four children, Jean-Paul, Peter Robert, Thea and Pupun Halina, and four grandchildren, Seth Connor, Grayson, Meshkuss and Starla.
Penashue assumed a number of leadership roles in the Labrador Innu community, from Land Claims Director, Executive Director and Financial Administrator with the Naskapi Montagnais Innu to Grand Chief of the Innu Nation.
Penashue was elected President of the Innu Nation at the age of 26, and served as Grand Chief of the Innu Nation, for twelve years, from 1990 to 1997 and 1999 to 2004, and was the driving force behind the negotiation of the impacts-benefit agreement between the Innu Nation and the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company.
He was also elected to the position of Deputy Grand Chief of the Innu Nation in Sheshatshiu in 2007 and stepped down on March 9, 2010.
Penashue was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the Canadian federal election, 2011, in the riding of Labrador. Penashue has been accused of spending too much on his 2011 election campaign. Penashue is one of two Innu currently in Parliament. Jonathan Genest-Jourdain, the New Democratic MP from the neighbouring riding of Manicouagan in Quebec, is the other. On May 18, 2011, Penashue was sworn in as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. He is the first Innu to ever be sworn into the Canadian Cabinet.
April 25, 2012