Canadian politicians across the political spectrum are paying tribute to Alexa McDonough, who died on Saturday at the age of 77.
McDonough died in Halifax after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, his family said.
The longtime politician’s career included serving as leader of the New Democratic Party of Nova Scotia and as leader of the Confederate Party.
McDonough became the first woman to lead a major political party in Canada when she became leader of the Nova Scotia NDP in 1980, a position she held until 1994, when she stepped down. She was elected leader of the federal NDP in 1995 and held that position until 2003, but continued to serve as MP for two more terms until 2008.
federal ndp leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted on Saturday McDonough will be greatly missed.
“She devoted her life to the cause of social justice, pushed women forward in politics and never shied away from the challenge,” she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called McDonough’s death “an extraordinary loss to our country” in a tweet That “his influence, the history he created, and the barriers he broke for women, cannot be overstated.”
Former Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, who grew up in Sydney, NS, Expressed condolences by tweeting,
“I didn’t grow up in NS with the belief that women belong in politics but for Alexa McDonough. She was a role model for many people, including me,” Ritt said.
‘Truly a public servant’
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said the hallmark of McDonough’s political career was respect for the people he represented.
“She was a public servant in the true sense of the word, and the people of Canada will miss her,” Houston said in a statement on Saturday.
“Alexa McDonough was a trailblazer whose name would be mentioned in the same breath as Agnes McPhail and Gladys Porter,” Houston said. McPhail was the first woman elected to the House of Commons in Canada, and Porter was the first female member of the Nova Scotia Legislature.
In a statement, Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill said people still talk to him about McDonough when he campaigns in the Halifax Chebakto, which was his former ride.
“In her glory at the door, Alexa loved people, and people loved her back,” he said.
able to find the middle ground
Former CBC journalist Peter Mansbridge, who interviewed McDonough countless times over the years, said she was adept at finding middle ground with her colleagues and opponents.
Mansbridge noted that McDonough had roots in the Liberal Party. She helped form the social policy platform of the Nova Scotia Liberals in the 1970 provincial election, but after becoming disillusioned in 1974, she left the party and joined the NDP.
“The party’s Left always looked at him with some suspicion,” Mansbridge said. “However, she managed to iron out those differences for most of her tenure.
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