Anne McGrath

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Anne McGrath
Anne McGrath.jpg
McGrath at the NDP's 2011 federal election campaign launch
National Director of the New Democratic Party
Assumed office
LeaderJagmeet Singh
Preceded byMelissa Bruno
In office
LeaderTom Mulcair
Preceded byNathan Rothman
Succeeded byKarl Bélanger
Principal Secretary to the Premier of Alberta
In office
June 2016 – April 2019
PremierRachel Notley
President of the New Democratic Party
In office
September 10, 2006 – August 16, 2009
LeaderJack Layton
Preceded byAdam Giambrone
Succeeded byPeggy Nash
Personal details
Bornc. 1958
Aldershot, England
Political partyNew Democratic Party (since at least 1993)
Other political
Communist Party of Canada (1984)

Anne McGrath (born c. 1958) is National Director of the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada. Prior to this, she most recently served as principal secretary to former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and as Notley's deputy chief of staff.[1] McGrath was president of the New Democratic Party from 2006 to 2009.


McGrath was born in Aldershot, England to Irish parents. Her family moved to Montreal when she was a child and later to Ottawa. Her father was a school principal and her mother was a teacher.[2]

She studied English literature at the University of Ottawa and in 1979–80 she was President of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa.[3][2]

After graduating, she moved to Edmonton to work as a field organizer for the Alberta Federation of Students while studying for an education degree at the University of Alberta and became politically active.[2]

She graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta and began her career as a teacher. She then held a variety of positions with not-for-profit organizations including working as Canadian Programme Officer for Oxfam-Canada and Community Development Team Leader and senior education officer for the Canadian Mental Health Association. She has a master's degree in communications studies.[4] She has also served as a board member and social issues chair of the Elizabeth Fry Society, Vice-President of National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action: Beijing and Beyond.[citation needed]

McGrath is a frequent commentator on national media broadcasts and has been identified as one of the 100 most influential people in government and politics in Ottawa. She has been an activist in the labour, student and women's movements [5] and had been employed by CUPE National as Director of Equality and as executive assistant to CUPE's national president Judy Darcy, and by Oxfam Canada.


In the 1984 federal election, while a student, she ran as candidate for the Communist Party of Canada in Edmonton—Strathcona,[6] placing seventh. Of her involvement with the Communist Party she says "I was young, probably naïve, interested in talking about politics. And very influenced by friends and teachers.".[2] At a debate at the Calgary Varsity Centre in April 2019, McGrath apologised for her past involvement with the Communist Party saying she was no longer a Communist stating, "Four decades ago when I was a young student, I was a member [of the Communist Party] and I deeply regret that. It was a mistake and I'm very sorry."[7]

In 1993, McGrath was the Alberta New Democratic Party's candidate in Calgary-Bow.[8] In 1995 she was its candidate in a provincial by-election in Calgary-McCall and came in third place.[9] In 1995, she unsuccessfully challenged Ross Harvey for the leadership of the Alberta New Democratic Party.

McGrath was president of the New Democratic Party from 2006 to 2009; she was elected on September 10, 2006, at the party's convention in Quebec City and her term ended on August 16, 2009 when Peggy Nash was elected president at the party's convention in Halifax. Before that, she had been director of operations for the NDP federal caucus.

As Chief of Staff to Jack Layton (2008–2011), she is credited with professionalizing caucus operations and with helping organize the party's historic breakthrough to Official Opposition status. She stayed on as chief of staff to interim party leader Nycole Turmel and the federal NDP Caucus, during Turmel's interim leadership.

McGrath also served as the National Director of the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada (2014-2015).

McGrath served as principal secretary to former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and as Notley's deputy chief of staff.[1]

McGrath was the NDP candidate in Calgary-Varsity in the 2019 Alberta general election.

She was portrayed by Wendy Crewson in the 2013 CBC Television film Jack.

Electoral record[edit]

2019 Alberta general election - Calgary-Varsity[edit]

2019 Alberta general election: Calgary-Varsity
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
United Conservative Jason Copping 10,853 46.16 +2.21
New Democratic Anne McGrath 10,215 43.44 -0.50
Alberta Party Beth Barberree 1,687 7.17 New
Liberal Ryan Campbell 383 1.63 -8.23
Green Cheryle Chagnon-Greyeyes 274 1.17 -1.08
  Independence Chris McAndrew
Total valid votes 23,513 99.08 -0.25
Rejected, spoiled and declined 264 0.92 +0.25
Eligible electors 33,882
Turnout 23,731 70.04 +11.49
United Conservative gain from New Democratic Swing +1.35
"2019 Provincial General Election Results". Elections Alberta. Retrieved 2019-04-30.

1995 Alberta NDP leadership challenge[edit]

(Held on November 11, 1995)[10]

1995 Calgary provincial by-election[edit]

Alberta provincial by-election, April 20, 1995: Calgary-McCall
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Shiraz Shariff 2,496 43.64 −1.44
Liberal Jeet Shergill 1,980 34.61 2.63
New Democratic Anne McGrath 713 12.46 2.61
Social Credit Doug Cooper 470 8.22
Confederation of Regions Peter Hope 61 1.07 −0.34
Total 5,720
Rejected, spoiled and declined 17
Eligible electors / Turnout 20,514 27.97
Progressive Conservative hold Swing −2.04
Source: "Calgary-McCall by-election official results". Elections Alberta. April 20, 1995. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
1993 Alberta general election: Calgary-Bow
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Bonnie Laing 7,011 46.28% 11.39%
Liberal Rob Van Walleghem 5,369 35.44% 1.22%
New Democratic Anne McGrath 1,908 12.59% -18.29%
Social Credit Patrick John Hudson 376 2.48%
Greens David Crowe 287 1.89%
Confederation of Regions Roberta McDonald 120 0.79%
Natural Law Alan Livingston 78 0.51%
Total 15,149
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 60
Eligible electors / Turnout 23,546 64.59% 12.48%
Progressive Conservative hold Swing 5.09%
Source: "Calgary-Bow Official Results 1993 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
1984 Canadian federal election: Edmonton—Strathcona
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative David Kilgour 33,712 61.43 +2.05
New Democratic Doris S. Burghardt 11,095 20.22 +8.21
Liberal Sandra Douglas-Tubb 8,500 15.49 −11.66
Confederation of Regions Lorne Cass 749 1.36
Green Russell John Mulvey 466 0.85
Social Credit Norman Utz 218 0.40
Communist Anne McGrath 137 0.25 −0.01
Total valid votes 54,877 100.00

1993 general election Calgary-Bow[edit]

In 1993, McGrath was the Alberta New Democratic Party's candidate in Calgary-Bow.


  1. ^ a b "Anne McGrath".
  2. ^ a b c d Kennedy, Mark (13 February 2015). "Anne McGrath: 'She's the calm in the storm … a person who makes it work' (with video)". Ottawa Citizen.
  3. ^ "The Ottawa Journal from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on January 15, 1980 · Page 5".
  4. ^ "Anne McGrath".
  5. ^ "Anne McGrath elected NDP President" (Press release). New Democratic Party. September 10, 2006. Archived from the original on September 30, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  6. ^ "Election '84 - Edmonton Strathcona (Candidate profiles)". Edmonton Journal. August 31, 1984. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  7. ^ "Anne McGrath Apologizes for Communist Past! PLUS Voter Interviews | Keean Bexte". YouTube. 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  8. ^ "Elections - Canadian Elections Database".
  9. ^ "Summary of Results for Past By-elections". September 27, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
  10. ^ Edmonton Journal, November 13, 1995