Newspaper article The Canadian Press

From Typewriters to Twitter: Marjory LeBreton on 50 Years in Politics

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

From Typewriters to Twitter: Marjory LeBreton on 50 Years in Politics

Article excerpt

From typewriters to Twitter: LeBreton retires


OTTAWA - When Marjory LeBreton first entered the world of professional politics, she was a rarity.

Not because she was a woman -- it was mostly women behind the manual typewriters at the Progressive Conservative party headquarters in 1962.

It's because she was a working mother.

"I was the only working mom on my street," said LeBreton, who retires from the Senate this week upon her 75th birthday.

"Women at that time -- when they were working, people thought your husband was a laggard. I worked because I wanted to work. I couldn't imagine not working outside the home."

As LeBreton contemplates her next steps after more than five decades of work on and around Parliament Hill, she's says she's just leaving the Senate, not "checking out of life."

There's one thing she knows she won't do -- sign up for Twitter.

Technology has changed politics more than anything else and not necessarily for the better, LeBreton said in a wide-ranging interview with The Canadian Press.

The instantaneous nature of communication has seen politicians lose focus on their voters and on long-term planning, caught up instead by the flash-mob mentality a single social media post can create.

It's a far cry from her days riding the campaign rails with John Diefenbaker and then Robert Stanfield, where people would come out to see the candidate in part because it was something to do.

"It's taken away some of the personality of politics and the personal contact and the personal associations people come to have."

Though LeBreton started out in the party's secretarial pool, she climbed up the ladder of political power steadily -- mindful always, she said, that such a climb could be treacherous for a woman.

Not much of a drinker, she'd turn down the invitations to head to the bar after work, instead leaving to pick up daughter Linda and son Michael from a neighbour who watched them every day after school until she could make it home. …

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