Audrey Marlene McLaughlin, OC PC (born November 8, 1936) was leader of Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP) from 1989 to 1995. She was the first female leader of a political party with representation in the Canadian House of Commons, as well as the first female federal political party leader to represent an electoral district in a Canadian territory.
McLaughlin was born as Audrey Marlene Brown in Dutton, Ontario, the daughter of Margaret Clark and William Brown, of Scottish and English descent. She worked as a social worker in Toronto, Ontario and in Ghana. In 1955, she graduated from the with a Diploma in Home Science from the MacDonald Institute (later a founding college of the University of Guelph ). In 1979, McLaughlin moved to Yukon and set up a consultancy business. In 1987, she ran in a by-election and won, the first federal NDP candidate to win in Yukon. In 1988, she was appointed caucus chair, and in 1989, she won the NDP 1989 leadership convention, replacing the retiring Ed Broadbent.
McLaughlin had taken over the NDP during one of its peaks. However, the party began a steady decline in the polls for several reasons. One was the NDP's provincial affiliates in British Columbia and Ontario, whose unpopularity in government reflected badly on the federal party...
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