John Gordon Leefe was born in Saint John, N.B., on 21 March 1942, the son of James G. Leefe and Helen G. (Sancton). He was educated at University of King's College (BA, 1966), University of New Brunswick (B.Ed., 1968) and Dalhousie University (MA, 1970). He married Nancy Morrison in 1964 and they had two children. He taught in Saint John schools, 1965-1968, and in Halifax schools, 1968-1970. He was head of the social studies department, Liverpool Regional High School, 1970-1979; and assistant to the curriculum supervisor, Queens District School Board, 1981-1983. He was elected to the legislature as Conservative MLA for Queens in 1978, and was re-elected in 1981, 1984, 1988, 1993, and 1997. He was deputy speaker of the legislature, 1981-1983; and minister of fisheries, 1983-1989; the environment, 1988-1992; and natural resources, 1992-1993. He was appointed house leader in 1991, and was chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in 1993. He was president of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, 1990-1991, and a member of the National Round Table on Environment and the Economy, 1991-1992. In 1993 he became opposition critic for the environment, and was also appointed by Health Minister Ron Stewart to the Blueprint Committee on Health Care Reform. In the provincial election in July 1999 he chose not to run and retired from the legislature. Leefe was also the author of several articles and books, including The Atlantic Privateers (1978), A History of Early Nova Scotia (1983), which he co-authored, and Kejimkujik National Park (1981).