Lucille Broadbent, wife of one-time NDP leader Ed Broadbent, has died of cancer.
Lucille said her husband’s idealism was what attracted her to him.
Before meeting him, she’d worked as a teacher and a nurse, becoming widowed at age 29 with a young son. Broadbent’s first marriage was failing about the same time.
She campaigned for him during his successful first run for Parliament in 1968 in the riding of Oshawa, heartland of Ontario’s unionized auto sector. They started dating married in 1971.
In 1975, Broadbent would become the NDP’s leader, taking the party to 43 seats in the 1988 federal election — still its best showing ever.
“Obviously we share a certain political philosophy. We share certain beliefs about life. We have a concern for our fellow man that we share,” he said.
“I’m concerned about women’s rights and I’d like to see our young people be able to get adequate jobs,” she once said. Lucille also campaigned in the early 1980s for Soviet Jewish dissidents who wanted to emigrate to Israel.
Lucille joked that she really enjoyed election campaigns because she got to see more of Ed.
And unlike Ed, Lucille was fluently bilingual.