First woman to lead a major political party in Canada, Alexa McDonough, has died

McDonough had a career as a social worker before jumping into politics

Former federal NDP leader Alexa McDonough has died at the age of 77.

She was the first woman in Canada to lead a major political party.

Her family said McDonough died in Halifax on Saturday after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

On Twitter, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said, “Today is a sad day for Canada.”

“Alexa McDonough was the first woman to lead a major political party in Canada. She dedicated her life to social justice, championed women in politics, and never backed down from a challenge. We’ll miss her dearly. Rest in power Alexa.”

McDonough was a social worker before jumping into politics and became leader of the Nova Scotia NDP in 1980 and then leader of the federal NDP in 1995. She was elected as the MP for Halifax in 1997. McDonough resigned as party leader in 2008. In 2009, she became interim president of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

During her time in the House of Commons, McDonough championed the need for strong social programs, a more caring and compassionate government, and gender equity.

She was awarded the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia.

Banner image: YouTube

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