· Leader of Canada's New Democrats from 1995 to 2003
· Currently NDP Foreign Affairs and International Development Critic
· Leader of the Nova Scotia New Democrats from 1981 to 1994; Canada's first woman elected to lead a major party in a provincial legislature
· Member of Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly from 1981 to 1995
· Born in Ottawa in 1944
· Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Psychology from Dalhousie University in 1965 and completed her Masters in Social Work in 1967
· Worked as a social worker, social policy researcher, developed and taught a graduate program in social policy, social administration and community development, and was even a reporter before becoming Leader of he Nova Scotia NDP in 1980
· In 1997, returned her party to official party status in the House of Commons, electing 21 MPs from across Canada
· Activist since the age of 14, initiated through her church youth group, an outreach and day camp program to children and families of African Canadian families struggling against racial barriers and exclusion in Nova Scotia
· Throughout her adult life, has supported and participated in dozens of advocacy and social action groups, human rights organizations, and professional associations
· Has received numerous awards, including the 2002 Canadian Islamic Congress Award for Peace, the 2003 Canadian Arab Federation Board of Directors Award for contributions to the Arab-Canadian community, and the 2003 Results Canada Political Leadership Award "in recognition of her outstanding leadership in the fight against global poverty and disease"
· Has two sons with two grandchildren.