Canadian New Democratic Party Elects Female Leader
On October 14th, Canada's left-wing party elected Alexa McDonough, 51, as its new leader. For the past fourteen years, McDonough has led the Nova Scotia New Democrats and now faces a large challenge in resuscitating the national party. After winning a race in which she was considered the definitive underdog, McDonough commented, "We have a federal government that is basically dismantling its commitment to some of the things that matter most to people's lives.... The fight of our lives is to turn thi s country around." For thirty-four years, the party has existed as a combination of agrarian socialists and labor unions. It began many of the social safety net programs in Canada, including its universal health-care system, but has come into rough time s recently as voters increasingly seek budge cuts. In 1993 they plummeted to only nine parliamentary seats. McDonough commented that the party would need "tough slogging and patient persuasion" to offer voters an acceptable alternative to conservative m easures.
Media Resources: The Washington Post - October 23, 1995, A26