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Rosemary Brown makes bid for NDP leadership in 1975

The Story

When Rosemary Brown was elected to the B.C. legislature in 1972, she was the first black woman to sit in any Canadian legislature. But in 1975 she's set her sights higher, aiming for the leadership of the federal NDP by running against four men inclusing MPs Ed Broadbent and Lorne Nystrom. In Brown's speech, captured by the CBC at the leadership convention in Winnipeg, she calls for a publicly owned Canadian petroleum industry and says the party must fight for farmers and small communities. She also says the people of Quebec, the Inuit and native bands must be able to decide what is best for them.     

Medium: Television
Broadcast Date: July 6, 1975
Program: CBC Television News Special
Reporters: Lloyd Robertson, Don McNeill
Guests: Rosemary Brown
Duration: 13:46

Did You know?

• Rosemary Brown immigrated to Canada from Jamaica in 1951 to attend McGill University. She moved to B.C. in 1955 and earned her master's degree in social work, married a psychiatrist and had three children. She was an activist and founding member of the Vancouver Status of Women Council in the 1960s.  

• Brown finished second in the race for NDP leader with 658 votes to Ed Broadbent's 984 on the fourth ballot. She continued as a B.C. MLA until 1986, then became a professor of women's studies at Simon Fraser University. She also served as a chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She was named to the Order of Canada in 1996.

• Brown died in 2003 at age 72. 


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