William (Bill) Douglas McLean was born in Edmonton April 14, 1931. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of Alberta in 1954, and a Master's Degree in Science from the University of Washington in 1960. He taught at Victoria Composite High School, and was active in municipal, provincial, and federal politics.
He ran unsuccessfully as an NDP candidate federally in 1962 and 1965, then provincially in 1967 and 1971. He first ran for municipal office as an Aldermanic candidate in 1968, then as a candidate in a by-election in 1970. He was finally elected to office as a City Alderman for Ward 3 in October 1971.
Prior to his election, McLean had served as the president of the Idylwylde Community League, and as their sports director for seven years, where he worked with Ivor Dent, who served as membership chairman. McLean was also Chairman of the Edmonton Exhibition Board's Urban Youth Committee.
McLean was defeated in the 1974 election, coming in sixth. While serving at City Hall, McLean continued working at Victoria Composite High School. After leaving politics, he returned to teach full time.