Former Federal NDP Leader Alexa McDonow dies at age 77

Halifax — Former federal NDP leader Alexa McDonow, a political pioneer who paved the way for women in politics, died in Halifax on Saturday at the age of 77.

Her family confirmed McDonough’s death after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

McDonough became the first woman to lead a major Canadian political party when he was elected leader of the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party in 1980. She became leader of the Federal NDP in 1995, and she was the party’s top post until 2002.

However, in an interview on Saturday, Justin McDonough said his mother was a respected consensus builder across partisan political boundaries.

“One of the things I really learned from her is that you can have courageous conversations and disagree with someone, but that you don’t respect and thank them. It doesn’t mean that. Opinion, “he said. “Her political life resonated in that regard.”

Nova Scotia’s Prime Minister Tim Houston paid tribute in a statement calling McDonough a historical figure in state and federal politics.

“Mr. McDonough’s long career was characterized by her respect for the people she represented,” Houston said. “She was a real civil servant, and she would be terribly missed by people all over Canada.”

McDonough, known lovingly to many people across the country simply as “Alexa,” was a former social worker who clenched his political teeth at the Nova Scotia Liberal Party before switching to the state’s NDP in 1974.

When elected in the Halifax region in 1981, after gaining party leadership, she became the first New Democrat to sit in the Legislature from mainland Nova Scotia. She was the only voice of the party in Congress in the next three years.

“These are the result of a true historical position,” said Gary Barril, the current leader of Nova Scotia NDP. “She is a big figure in the landscape in the history of the state.”

Nova Scotia’s New Democrats have suffered significant losses and are “mourning parties,” Barril said.

McDonough resigned as a state leader in 1994 and later jumped into federal politics, challenging the top jobs of the National Party in 1995. She gained federal NDP leadership angry with recognized front runners Svend Robinson and Lorne Nystrom.

She was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1997 federal elections, increasing the number of seats in the party from nine to 21. The total includes a breakthrough on the Atlantic coast of Canada where the New Democratic Party won six of Nova Scotia’s 11 seats.

“It was a moment that broke the pattern of Nova Scotia’s politics that had been in place for over a century,” Burrill said.

McDonough has established itself as a federal advocate of strong social programs and gender equality. She retired from politics in 2008.

Born August 11, 1944 in Ottawa to Alexa Anshaw, when she married Peter McDonald in Halifax in 1966, she adopted a nationally known name.

McDonough is an officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Nova Scotia, and a former president of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

She survives by her sons Justin and Travis with her seven grandchildren.

Along Keith Duset

Canadian press