Tribute to Alexa McDonough O.C. on behalf of The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Alexa McDonough was a persistent advocate for peaceful solutions to international conflicts. She was one of the inaugural co-presidents of the Parliamentary Network for Non-proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament (PNND), which then included over 500 parliamentarians in 70 states. She presented to the United Nations the Global Appeal of Mayors and Parliamentarians for a Nuclear Weapon Free World, which was endorsed by 150 mayors and 250 legislators from 29 countries. In retirement, she continued to meet Canadian PNND members.

Alexa was leader of the NDP and in 2003 created a Peace Team of party members. On Parliament Hill, she participated in launching the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a group that later received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its advocacy of a nuclear weapons prohibition treaty. As an active member of Canadian Pugwash Group, Alexa moderated two public fora at their conferences and, as interim president of Mount Saint Vincent University, chaired an international conference there.

Here are some words about Alexa:

The Honourable Doug Roche O.C.: “She had a rare combination of qualities in a political leader: she was principled, committed, compassionate and a very nice person all rolled into one. Her leadership in the nuclear disarmament movement was a shining star that guided others. Pugwash had no greater friend. Now she and her close friend Macha McKay are both gone. We are certainly poorer for that, but the light Alexa has left and the love in my heart for her will never fade.”

Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator of PNND: “Alexa was a warm, caring, humble, dedicated, super-smart woman who touched people’s hearts, minds and souls everywhere. Canada and the world are better places for the blessing of her life.”

Libby Davies (MP 1997—2015): “Alexa was a staunch and passionate advocate for peace and disarmament. She led many initiatives to strengthen the voice and work of parliamentarians both in Canada and globally, for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Her dedication to this issue was so important in encouraging public awareness to demand that Canada undertake its responsibilities in the international community.”

Dr. Nancy Covington, Voice of Women for Peace: “Living in her Halifax riding I witnessed first hand the deep admiration she was given by diverse groups of people. Whether this respect came from the military people who formed a large part of her voting base or from folks of the local peace community, she became their friend, a mentor to many and indeed was almost revered.”

Dr David Harries, Past Chairperson, Canadian Pugwash Group: “The one face-to-face conversation we had—at Thinkers Lodge, I think, she surprised me by knowing of my military background, and saying (with no provocation from me) that it was “very important” for the military to be fully engaged in peace work. She is the only person who ever said that to me.”

Bev Delong, Past Chairperson of Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: “At our CNANW meetings, we welcomed Alexa’s intelligent understanding of the world of politics.”

Peggy Mason, President of the Rideau Institute: “There is much to think about as we remember her outsized contribution to Canadian public life and women’s place therein. But in the end, it is her warmth, her kindness, her energy and her unfailing wit and humour that I remember the most.”

Peace Magazine April-June 2022

Peace Magazine April-June 2022, page 7. Some rights reserved.

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