Dan O’Connor is Nova Scotia’s most senior and best known NDP politico.
His political activity stretches back to when he graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1974 and was Dal’s first full-time student president. He went on to serve as the Executive Secretary of the National Union of Students.
His NDP involvement began as a researcher for Manitoba NDP MP David Orlikow in the late 70s.
For the next few years, Dan played several roles for the NDP in Manitoba at both the federal and provincial levels.
Drawn by an offer from Alexa McDonough, Dan welcomed an opportunity to return to Nova Scotia in the mid-80s where he served as Chief of Staff and Communications Director for a decade.
When Alexa became federal NDP leader, Dan served 2 years as the Principal Secretary of Canada’s NDP and a special advisor to the federal caucus. Returning to Nova Scotia in 1998, Dan went on to guide the party as Chief of Staff under leaders Robert Chisholm, Helen MacDonald and eventually Darrell Dexter.
I met with Dan to talk about his career at his home overlooking the public gardens in downtown Halifax.