In the words of longtime friend Dana Cyrenne, NDP Thompson MLA Danielle Adams was someone with a genuine down-to-earth personality, who fought hard for accessible, affordable child care and a better North.
Adams, 38, died in a two-vehicle crash Thursday morning on Highway 6 while en route to Winnipeg.
Cyrenne met her at Thompson Children’s World Daycare after accepting a job there in 2015, where Adams served as a board member for around a decade before entering politics.
“She was the dream parent. She was there for volunteer hours. She was there for fundraising,” Cyrenne told Global News on Friday. “She knew when you were having a bad day before you knew you were having a bad day. She just, she was a bright side kind of girl.”
Adams strived with dedication and energy, lending time to a number of organizations, said Cyrenne, who served as the daycare’s director when Adams was board vice-chair then chair of the daycare.
The mother of two attracted an “amazing support system” and an extended family of friends with whom she played board and card games, Cyrenne said.
She especially loved testing her friends with Sushi Go!, Cyrenne said with a laugh.
“If you have ever spent any time in the North, it’s a completely different dynamic up there, so you cling on to the good where you can find it, and she was one of the best, absolutely one of the best people,” Cyrenne said.
“She had the biggest heart. She advocated for so many people in the community, and when she decided to run for MLA, we were behind her 110 per cent.”
As the mother of a young family of four, Adams defeated incumbent Kelly Bindle in 2019, becoming Thompson’s first-ever female MLA.
She also served as the party’s critic for child care, housing, disability and poverty matters.
Cyrenne and Thompson Mayor Colleen Smook say Adams made a point of being an advocate for all of the North and being available to her constituents, working around the clock and somehow balancing family life seamlessly.
“When she first got into politics, a lot of people really questioned, ‘What she the right person for it with a young family and that?’ And it didn’t take too long, you know, before she actually changed people’s mind, and they realized that she was definitely cut out for politics, and that she definitely was always about doing the right thing,” said Smook, who’s known Adams for over 20 years.
“When you’d see on your calendar, that … you had a five o’clock meeting and you’d been here all day, you’d sort of go, ‘Oh.’ But then once it was Danielle and you’d had the meeting, you know, you’d walk out of here at 6:30 or 7 and you’d be rejuvenated just by her energy,” she said.
“Everybody knew Danielle,” Smook said, adding that Adams often attended rallies in support of striking workers along with stopping by community concerts in the park.
Adams’ colleagues along with provincial and federal opposition politicians are commemorating her life through posts on social media.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew says her death is heartbreaking and she will be remembered as a young, caring mother who wore her heart on her sleeve.
“She was a fierce advocate for her constituents in Thompson and always made northern Manitobans a priority,” Kinew said in a release.
Winnipeg Centre NDP MP Leah Gazan also addressed the House of Commons Friday morning with a speech in her honour.
RCMP say Adams died Thursday morning after her southbound SUV collided with a northbound semi-truck on Highway 6, 50 km south of Ponton, north of Lake Winnipeg.
Mounties say the 54-year-old male driver in the other vehicle wasn’t physically injured and that alcohol and speed aren’t believed to have affected the crash.
They say road conditions were poor at the time, but they’re continuing to investigate.
Adams is survived by her two young boys and her husband, Bill.
— with files from The Canadian Press