Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pam Barrett - You never curtsy to anybody, You never bow to anybody, and You don't take orders! - From News Paper

EDMONTON - Pam Barrett, a three-term NDP MLA who briefly served as party leader and earned respect on both sides of the Alberta legislature, has lost her long battle with cancer.

Ms. Barrett died late Monday night at age 54, with friends and family around her bed at the Cross Cancer Institute.

Well-known for her progressive views and her ferocity in pursuing them, she earned the respect and affection of even her staunchest opponents.

"We didn't have the same political philosophy, but she was firm in her beliefs," said former premier Ralph Klein. "I always had a lot of time for her." Klein said Ms. Barrett raised issues in the legislature that made him "sit up and think."

The former premier said she was a "straight shooter" who enlivened question period.

Ms. Barrett came honestly by her strong social democratic opinions. Born in Brandon, Man., the sixth of seven children, her military family moved to a duplex in the Griesbach area when she was eight.

In a 1989 interview, she described her mother, Terry, who died in 1997, as a strong lady who told her: "You never curtsy to anybody, you never bow to anybody, and you don't take orders."

Ms. Barrett was political in high school, but after graduating from Archbishop O'Leary took a job as a night telephone operator.

Ms. Barrett was married to former legislative counsel Michael Clegg in the 1990s.