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Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Nazanin Afshin-Jam pose for a photo before a fundraiser for military families in Toronto on Nov. 10, 2010. (Darren Calabrese for The Globe and Mail/Darren Calabrese for The Globe and Mail)
Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Nazanin Afshin-Jam pose for a photo before a fundraiser for military families in Toronto on Nov. 10, 2010. (Darren Calabrese for The Globe and Mail/Darren Calabrese for The Globe and Mail)

Peter MacKay weds rights activist, former beauty queen Add to ...

Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his activist girlfriend have tied the knot.

Friends told The Globe and Mail on Wednesday that Mr. MacKay, known for a series of highly publicized romances, and Nazanin Afshin-Jam, were married in Mexico.

On his website, Mr. MacKay said he was overjoyed to announce he and Ms. Afshin-Jam had married at a private ceremony surrounded by family and loved ones.

“Since coming into my life many of you have met Nazanin on her many visits to Nova Scotia. She is the most important person in my life and over the coming months, Nazanin and I look forward to spending more time at home in Central Nova and sharing our happiness with all of you,” the minister wrote. “Nazanin and I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2012.”

Mr. MacKay’s friends say both his father, former Tory cabinet minister Elmer MacKay, and his mother, Macha MacKay, a psychologist and peace activist, attended the ceremony.

Conservative MP Laurie Hawn took to the social networking site Twitter to congratulate the couple and wish them many happy years together.

Ms. Afshin-Jam, who was born in Iran but fled with her family during the Iranian revolution of the 1970s, met Mr. MacKay about seven years ago when she spoke in Ottawa about human rights abuses.

The holder of a degrees in international relations and political science, she is the co-founder and president of Stop Child Executions, a human rights group that tries to focus world attention on young people who are on death row in Iran.

She is also on the board of directors of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, a cabinet appointment.

Ms. Afshin-Jam has worked briefly with the Red Cross as a Global Youth Educator, teaching seminars to prompt awareness for child poverty and communities affected by war.

In 2003 she was crowned Miss World Canada – a performance she followed by being named the first runner up in the Miss World contest.

And she is a singer, songwriter and actor, having landed bit parts in movies and songs on the Billboard charts

Mr. MacKay has been engaged but never married.

He had a long-time relationship with Lisa Merrithew, the daughter of former Mulroney cabinet Minister Gerald Merrithew. They broke up in 2004.

And his previous fiancée was Jana Juginovic, the director of programming at CTV News. They announced their intention to wed in November 2009 and then called the marriage off in June of the following year.

In between Ms. Merrithew and Ms Juginovic, Mr. MacKay was involved in a high-profile romance with auto-parts heiress Belinda Stronach who was at the time a Conservative MP. The romance ended in spectacular fashion when Ms. Stronach crossed the floor of the House of Commons to take a Liberal cabinet seat and saving the Liberal minority government of Paul Martin in the process.

The Hill Times, a Parliament Hill newspaper, has repeatedly declared the cabinet minister to be “Canada’s sexiest male MP.”

Mr. MacKay was not the only cabinet minister to get married during the holidays. Heritage Minister James Moore and girlfriend Courtney Payne tied the knot on Dec. 29.

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