The Trent University community is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the Honourable Flora MacDonald, longtime Canadian politician, companion of the Order of Canada and Trent honorary degree recipient.
Trent University presented Ms. MacDonald with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, the University’s highest honour, in 2006, for her distinguished contributions in public life and unfailing commitment to international humanitarian work, promoting democratic development and the rights of women.
A Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands for 16 years from 1972-1988, Ms. MacDonald became the first woman in Canadian history to serve as secretary of state for External Affairs. She has also worked internationally in regions such as Tibet, Kosovo and Afghanistan under the auspices of various humanitarian organizations. An advocate for democratic and sustainable community-led development, Ms. MacDonald’s focus around the world was on the rights of women.
Following many years of exceptional leadership in federal politics, Ms. MacDonald worked tirelessly to improve the lives of others in Canada and around the world. As an active member of many humanitarian organizations, she has become a leading figure in the movement to alleviate human suffering worldwide.
Below is an excerpt from her obituary in The Globe and Mail:
If Flora MacDonald had been born 20 years later, she might well have been Canada’s first female prime minister. As it was, the Cape Breton-born politician, who died early Sunday morning in her 90th year, broke down the invisible door that barred women from high office in Canada. The political path she blazed led her to become the first woman in the western world to serve as foreign minister and the first to challenge for the leadership of Canada’s Progressive Conservative Party.
The University extends heartfelt sympathies to Ms. MacDonald’s family and friends, and to all who knew her. In tribute of Ms. MacDonald, the University has lowered the flag atop the Bata Library to the half-mast position.