MacDonald, Flora Isabel

Flora Isabel MacDonald, politician (born 3 June 1926 in North Sydney, NS; died 26 July 2015 in Ottawa, ON). Between 1956 and 1965 she worked at the Progressive CONSERVATIVE PARTY headquarters, where she was executive secretary for 5 years. She was then national secretary of the PC Assn 1966-69 while working at Queen's U. In 1972 she was elected MP for Kingston and the Islands and immediately became Conservative critic on Indian affairs and northern development in Robert STANFIELD's "shadow cabinet." She made an unsuccessful bid for the Conservative leadership in 1976, her promised support failing to materialize at the leadership convention polling stations.

As an MP MacDonald was outspoken on constitutional issues, on national defence, external affairs and reform of the penitentiary system. In the brief CLARK government (1979-80), she was secretary of state for external affairs, the first woman to hold such an important federal Cabinet post. After the Sept 1984 election, she served as minister of employment and immigration. She became minister of communications in the MULRONEY Cabinet in 1986.

MacDonald was defeated in the 1988 general election. She remains active with many humanitarian bodies including the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict and Doctors Without Borders. She was a TV host for Agenda 21 (formerly North/South), chairman of the International Development Research Centre in 1992 and authored an environmental book, Rain Forest, in 1994. MacDonald received the Order of Canada as an Officer in 1992 and was promoted to Companion in 1998.