Type­writ­ers to Twit­ter: LeBre­ton re­tires

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

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 flash­mob 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.

CP FILE PHOTO

Sen. Mar­jory LeBre­ton, Leader of the Gov­ern­ment in the Cana­dian Se­nate, ar­rives at the Se­nate on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ot­tawa in 2013.

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