Alexa McDonough, the former leader of the federal NDP, has died.
The household name in Nova Scotia politics died Saturday after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, an online obituary says. She was 77.
“Today is a sad day for Canada,” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said on Twitter.
“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.”
Born in Ottawa in 1944, McDonough began her career in social work before becoming leader of the Nova Scotia NDP in 1980. She joined the province’s legislative assembly in 1981 after being elected in the constituency of Halifax Chebucto.
After becoming leader of the federal NDP in 1995, McDonough was elected as the MP for Halifax in 1997. She resigned in 2008 and became interim president of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax in 2009.
She later earned the Order of Canada, Order of Nova Scotia and four university honorary degrees.