Former MP Claudette Bradshaw, a tireless advocate for the homeless, has died. She was 72.
Born and raised in Moncton, N.B., Bradshaw spent much of her career at the forefront of the non-profit sector in her community addressing homelessness, mental health and at-risk children and youth.
Bradshaw was known to have lung cancer. She died Saturday afternoon, according to her family.
Bradshaw spent 10 years in federal politics elected as the Liberal member for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe.
She served as parliamentary secretary to the minister for international cooperation, minister responsible for the Francophonie, minister of labour, minister of state and minister responsible for homelessness.
She also served as secretary of state for multiculturalism and status of women.
Bradshaw was known nationwide as a kind, warm personality who loved offering hugs.
Despite her many accomplishments on the national scale, Bradshaw maintained a strong advocacy presence in New Brunswick, including raising awareness of the dangers of fetal alcohol syndrome and improving access to affordable housing.
In 2010, she was named a recipient of the Order of Moncton and, later in her career, praised for being the “voice and defender of the impoverished and underprivileged” in her home community.
“Known nationally for the warmth of her trademark hugs, Claudette has made outstanding contributions to the social well being of our city and our residents and touches the hearts of all who she meets,” the city of Moncton said in a release.
Where it began
She began her social work career in 1968, as the program co-ordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Moncton for six years, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia.
She founded Moncton Headstart Early Family Intervention Centre and she acted as its executive director.
The non-profit child care program was the first licensed daycare in New Brunswick.
Bradshaw’s career took a turn in 1997 when she stepped on the political floor.
She received the Médaille Richelieu International and an honorary doctorate in social work from the Université de Moncton
By 2006, Bradshaw was ready to depart federal politics and did not stand for re-election.
That’s when Bradshaw was appointed as New Brunswick Premier’s Task Force on the State of Community Non-profit Agencies.
She was named co-ordinator for the Mental Health Commission of Canada one year later, which led her to launch Housing First, a $110-million research project on chronic mental illnesses and homelessness.
That led to the development of the At Home/Chez Soi program in Moncton, offering furnished apartments and support to more than 100 people who were living on the street.