Academic journal article Canadian Parliamentary Review

Trailblazer: Canada's First Female Clerk

Academic journal article Canadian Parliamentary Review

Trailblazer: Canada's First Female Clerk

Article excerpt

Newfoundland and Labrador was the last province to enter Confederation, but it boasts an important Canadian first--Bettie Duff, who served as Clerk of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1977-1991 was the first woman to hold this position in the country. In this special edition of the Canadian Parliamentary Review celebrating 100 years of Canadian women parliamentarians, it is fitting that we are also able to honour one of the trailblazing women working within parliamentary institutions that support parliamentarians' ability to fulfill democratic responsibilities.

Newfoundland and Labrador's House of Assembly has the honour and distinction of having the first female Clerk of any legislature or parliament across Canada.

Bettie Duff became the Clerk of the House of Assembly in 1977, and held that position until her retirement in 1991. During her tenure, she worked with four Premiers and five Speakers, and experienced four General Elections.

As Clerk of the House of Assembly, Duff was well-respected by all parties, and much-admired for her graciousness and warm sense of humour. Her ability to mentor those around her created an atmosphere of growth and supportiveness, and her guidance was valued highly by her colleagues.

When asked about her work, she replied that the job of the Clerk was "challenging, and different from anything that I ever did before. …

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