Remember ing Margaret Aileen Carroll (1944-2020)

The WUSC network mourns the loss of Margaret Aileen Carroll, and extends our deepest sympathies to friends and family.

The Honourable Margaret Aileen Carroll was a compassionate individual, dedicated to caring for her family, serving her community, and making a positive difference on an international scale. Aileen was the first woman to graduate from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) with a major in political science in 1965. 

She began her lifelong engagement with global development in her early 20s, when she attended the 1964 WUSC International Seminar in Algeria, and afterwards worked for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA, now Global Affairs Canada). In 1968, Aileen married her husband Kevin Carroll, and they began raising a family together. Throughout this time, Aileen contributed greatly to her community in Barrie, Ontario and was an active member of several organizations. She also ran a small business with her two closest friends and obtained a Bachelor of Education from York University in 1989.

Over the next two decades, Aileen pursued her passion for politics and improving the social and economic wellbeing of others. She held a position as a member of Barrie City Council, and later won three successive elections in the Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford riding, where she served as a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party of Canada. She held the post of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2001 and 2003, and the post of Minister of International Cooperation, responsible for CIDA, between 2003 and 2006. It was in this era that WUSC, and our partner CECI, began our international volunteer cooperation program Uniterra. The establishment of this program, which lasted 16 years, owes much to her vision and support.

When presenting Canada’s International Policy Statement (2005), Aileen stated that “poverty offends our (Canadian) most basic values of decency and fairness. There is simply no good reason why in the twenty-first century, half a million women a year should be dying in childbirth, or why thousands of children should be killed every day by easily preventable and treatable diseases. Such poverty is a moral affront to all of us, and this reason alone compels our response.”

After working with CIDA, Aileen went on to serve in other political positions and then retired from public life in 2011. She remained an active member of the global development community, contributed generously to charitable and cultural organizations, and was greatly loved by her friends and family, which grew to include six grandchildren. Aileen passed away on April 19, 2020.