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Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today we pay tribute to Judy Darcy who retires this week after 12 years as President of the CUPE, Canada's largest union.

Over a 30 year career, she fought tirelessly for workers' rights and inspired countless workers, especially women, to become union activists.

In 1991 she was elected CUPE national president; for many years the only woman to lead a major national union in Canada.

Under her leadership, CUPE grew to 535,000 members. She fought on the front lines for all Canadians to halt the erosion and privatization of our hospitals, schools and water systems.

Our sister, Judy Darcy, led in advancing greater diversity in the union movement and in CUPE's victory in a same sex pension case five years ago that helped pave the way for the legalization of same sex marriages.

In 1988 Judy Darcy ran as an NDP candidate against the flawed free trade deal and she was a major force in the NDP renewal process leading up to the 2003 federal convention which elected Jack Layton as the new federal leader on the move.

Fearless, indefatigable and fun loving, we wish Judy Darcy well in her future endeavours.