Alexa Shaw McDonough


(1944 – )

Alexa McDonough is best known as the second woman leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada. When she became NDP member of the provincial legislature and party leader in Nova Scotia (1981-94), she discovered that the government of the day was still so ill-prepared for female members that it offered no separate washroom facilities. In 1995 she became federal party leader and was elected to the House of Commons in 1997, serving as leader until 2003 and M.P. Until 2008. She entered politics from a progressive family and helped publicize the plight of the residents of Africville, a long-established Black Canadian community in Halifax that was razed for redevelopment in the 1960s without appropriate compensation for residents. Like her predecessor as federal leader, Audrey McLaughlin, she worked as a social worker, the same occupation indeed as that of James Shaver Woodsworth, the founder of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, the predecessor of the NDP. She had mixed electoral success as leader but became well-known as a leading Canadian opponent of Islamophobia after 9/11 and led campaigns to repatriate Mahar Arar, an Arab Canadian wrongly detained as a terrorist by the U.S. Since retirement, she continues to work in feminist and community causes. In 2012 she supported Peggy Nash, a candidate for the NDP federal leadership.



“Alexa McDonough,” 2012. Parliament of Canada.


Veronica Strong-Boag

Veronica Strong-Boag

Veronica Strong-Boag, Ph.D, FRSC, is a Canadian historian specializing in the modern history of women and children in Canada. She is Professor Emerita of Women's History at the University of British Columbia. In 1988 she won the John A. Macdonald Prize (awarded to the best book in Canadian history) for her study of the lives of women in Canada between the wars, entitled The New Day Recalled. In 1993–94 she served as president of the Canadian Historical Association. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2001. In July 2012 the Royal Society of Canada announced that Strong-Boag would be awarded the J. B. Tyrrell Historical Medal "for outstanding work in the history of Canada."