Canada

Wife of former NDP leader Broadbent dies

Nineteen months after former NDP leader Ed Broadbent quit federal politics to care for his wife, Lucille, she has died after a decade-long battle with breast cancer.

Nineteen monthsafter former NDP leaderEd Broadbent quit federal politics to care for his wife, Lucille, she has died after a decade-long battle with breast cancer.

She passed away ather Ottawa home early Saturday at the age of 71.

Broadbent, whowas the MP for Ottawa Centre at the time, bowed out of the political arenain May 2005.

In his announcement, Broadbent said that his wife "now spends much of each day in pain." He said he couldn't continue with all the work expected of an MP and meet his "deeply felt obligations to the person who is the love of my life."

The news of her death stunned the New Democrat community, NDP Leader Jack Layton said Saturday.

"Everyone across the country is beginning to learn of this sad news. They are sharing stories of Lucille's life and her partnership with our brother Ed," Layton said in a phone interview.

Layton said he remembered her taking him aside after he won the leadership of the party and imparting some words of wisdom — which he decided to keep between them.

Layton also said he had spoken with Ed Broadbent just a few days ago. "He is cherishing the life he had with her," said Layton.

The couple married in 1971 and he became a step-father to her son, Paul. They adopted a baby girl, Christine, soon after.

Broadbent had been widowed at 29 after her first husband, Louis Munroe, died in 1965 from a brain tumour at 36.

After his death, she moved to the Ottawa suburb of Kanata and began teaching. Broadbent, who had previously befriended the couple, was there to help her deal with the grief. He was also facing the breakdown of his own marriage.

Shecampaigned for Broadbent during his victorious first run as MP in the 1968 federal election. He asked her out for dinner after the win and eventually for her hand in marriage.

While she managed to finish a university degree by taking evening courses, Broadbent dedicated herself to raising their children. She was also involved in the political arena, lobbying in the early 1980s for the release of Soviet Jewish dissidents who wanted to leave for Israel.

now