Category: Business and political leaders
Pam Barrett (November 26, 1953 – January 21, 2008) was a politician who was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta as a member of the Alberta New Democratic Party.
Barrett started working for the Alberta New Democratic Party in the Legislature office for Grant Notley as a researcher, and she worked for the Alberta Federation of Labor before she got her party's nomination to run in the 1986 provincial election.
Barrett attempted election in the 1986 Alberta general election and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for the riding of Edmonton Highlands. She defeated 3 term incumbent Minister of Technology, Research, and Telecommunications David Thomas King, in what was regarded as a substantial upset.
She served in the New Democrats official opposition caucus as Deputy House Leader from 1986 to 1993. She temporarily retired from provincial politics in 1993, citing poor health resulting from job stress [exacerbated by the death of her mother].
Barrett came back to politics after she contested and won the party leadership in 1996 following the resignation of Ross Harvey. In the 1997 Alberta general election she ran for the re-created district of Edmonton Highlands and won. She served the third time from 1997 to 2000.
Barrett led the New Democrats in winning two seats in the Alberta Legislature in the 1997 election (from zero in 1993).
Leading Canadian Politician Resigns After NDE In Dentist's Office - CBC - 2-3-2000
The Alberta New Democrats are the official Opposition in the province. During her term as party leader, Barrett gained a reputation as a tough, fiery leader. Her nickname was "Mighty Mouse."
Premier Ralph Klein, ….. praised Barrett as a worthy opponent. "I can honestly say that Pam has kept me on my toes and helped improve government policy in many areas," Klein said.
Since Barrett became leader in September 1996, party membership has doubled to about 4,000. …..Originally from Brandon, Man., Barrett worked as a researcher for former New Democrat Leaders Grant Notley and Ray Martin from 1982 to 1986. She was elected in Edmonton Highlands in 1986 and was re-elected in 1989.
After deciding not to run in 1993, Barrett returned to politics in 1996 when she was elected party leader and returned as MLA for Highlands in 1997.
Barrett resigned her position as party leader in 2000 after having a near-death experience in a dentist's chair. After her sudden retirement from politics she went on a "spiritual search".
She died on January 21, 2008, aged 54, at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, from oesophageal cancer, after battling the disease for at least two years.
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