Maxine Cochran was first elected in 1984.

Maxine Cochran was first elected in 1984. (Courtesy the Nova Scotia House of Assembly)

A pioneer in Nova Scotia politics has died. Maxine Cochran was the first woman to serve in the provincial cabinet.

Cochran was first elected as a member of the Nova Scotia legislature in 1984 as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party. She represented Lunenburg Centre. 

She became minister of transportation in 1985. She passed away Tuesday, just shy of her 88th birthday.

Jamie Baillie, leader of the PCs today, called Cochran a trailblazer.

“On behalf of the Nova Scotia PC caucus, I want to extend my deepest condolences to Mrs. Cochran’s family and friends,” Baillie said. “Mrs. Cochran was a shining example of hard work and determination.

“Maxine was a truly remarkable woman who led the way for many female politicians in Nova Scotia.” 

Premier Stephen McNeil offered condolences to her family. 

"Mrs. Cochran's impact on breaking down political barriers for women in this province is immeasurable," said McNeil. "She paved the way for the many women who are serving in elected roles and in government's cabinet today. 

"She made a mark on Nova Scotia history that will never be forgotten. I offer my sincerest condolences to her family, friends and former colleagues."

Cochran was an active community member. She was:

  • a founding member of the Vanier Institute of the Family
  • a board member of the Maritime School of Social Work
  • a board member of the Association of Canadian Radio and Television Artists
  • the vice-president of the Halifax-Dartmouth Welfare Council
  • president of the Home Economics Association