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The Honourable
 Flora Isabel MacDonald 
P.C., C.C., O.Ont.. O.N.S.

In office
1972 – 1988
Preceded by Edgar Benson
Succeeded by Peter Milliken

Born June 3, 1926 (1926-06-03) (age 83)
North Sydney, Nova Scotia
Political party Progressive Conservative
Profession politician

Flora Isabel MacDonald, PC, CC, O.Ont, ONS (born June 3, 1926) is a Canadian politician.

Born in in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, she worked in administration for the Progressive Conservative Party for several years, prior to becoming involved in elective politics.

She was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1972 general election as the Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for the riding of Kingston and the Islands. She remained in parliament until her defeat in the 1988 election.

At the 1976 PC leadership convention, she became the first woman to mount a serious campaign for the leadership of one of Canada's two major governing parties. She was preceded by Rosemary Brown who ran in 1975 for the leadership of the New Democratic Party, and by Mary Walker-Sawka, who won two votes at the PC leadership convention in 1967.

MacDonald fared worse than expected, leading pundits to coin the phrase the Flora Syndrome[1] for the phenomenon of a female politician's promised support failing to materialise. It was thought that this was a result of sexism: delegates liked the candidate but in the end could not bring themselves to vote for her because she was a woman. MacDonald dropped off after the second ballot, and encouraged her supporters to vote for Joe Clark, the eventual winner.

Clark and MacDonald, both Red Tories, became allies throughout their careers. When Clark became Prime Minister of Canada in 1979, he made MacDonald the first female Secretary of State for External Affairs in Canadian history, and one of the first female foreign ministers anywhere in the world. MacDonald, in turn, supported Clark at the 1983 leadership convention, where he lost to Brian Mulroney.

MacDonald returned to government after the PC victory in the 1984 federal election, serving first as Minister of Employment and Immigration, and then as Minister of Communications under Prime Minister Mulroney.

Since losing her seat in 1988, MacDonald has devoted her time to international humanitarian work. She served as president of the World Federalist Movement - Canada.[2] In 2003, she briefly re-entered the political scene to oppose the merger of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the Canadian Alliance, but was unable to prevent the folding of the Tory party into the new Conservative Party of Canada. According to journalist Thomas Walkom she voted for the New Democratic Party in the 2004 federal election. [3]



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