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All In Hand

Thanks, Alexa

Miss Vicky Mon Jun 2, 2008

Miss Vicky is a little emotional today. She has learned that one of her mentors is leaving politics. Not that she begrudges Alexa McDonough her retirement... especially not after thirty years of dedicated public service. If anyone deserves a chance to kick back and look after herself for a change, it's Alexa.

It's easy enough to write about Alexa's contributions in the political realm - first woman to lead a major Canadian political party, first woman in the Nova Scotia legislature, made a major breakthrough for the NDP in Atlantic Canada when she was leader of the federal party, yadda yadda yadda. What you don't get from her bio or her Wikipedia entry is a sense of Alexa as a person - which is fundamental to who she is as a leader and a politician. Alexa is warm, funny and caring, with a genuine interest in people and community. She has a passion for making positive change, and a remarkable lack of cynicism for someone who has been involved in politics that long. Alexa believes in possibilities, inspires hope and strives for consensus when she tackles thorny problems (Miss Vicky had the pleasure of working with her on one of the thorniest issues in Canadian politics - the role of Quebec in the Canadian Federation). She always handles difficult situations with grace and humour - a quality that will certainly be missed in the House of Commons.

Alexa doesn't just lead by example - she actively supports women who want to enter politics, is a mentor and friend to many of us who have taken on different roles in what is still a male-dominated system - candidates, staff, policy-makers and holders of various party offices have all found her an excellent sounding-board and source of advice and support. Hopefully she will continue this work in her retirement, perhaps through Equal Voice (hint, hint, Alexa!).

Miss Vicky feels pretty darned lucky that she has been able to work closely with a woman who has had such a significant impact on politics in Canada... and even luckier that she can call her a friend. Have a good retirement, Alexa. We'll miss you.
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