Dr. Alika Lafontaine
Dr. Alika Lafontaine (Photo credit: Lauren Heuser)

This is the first article in our Coffee with Canadians series, which features conversations with prominent Canadians.

I met with Dr. Alika Lafontaine in a Westin conference room in Ottawa in late March, four months before his one-year term as Canadian Medical Association president was set to end. Even then, Lafontaine expressed no qualms about the job’s short term. 

You can only survive this role as a “sprint,” the soft-spoken anesthesiologist and father of four said jokingly. 

Lafontaine, who lives in Grand Prairie, Alberta, made headlines in August 2022 when he became the first Indigenous person to lead the CMA, a national physicians’ advocacy association as old as Canada. 

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Lauren Heuser founded Canadian Affairs in 2023. Her previous roles include chief strategy officer of a Paris-based news service for young people, deputy section editor at the National Post and corporate...