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Vol. 2 Ep. 36 Libby Davies

Libby Davies has been a social activist for 45 plus years and began as a community organizer in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 1972. She was elected to Vancouver City Council for 5 consecutive terms, 1982-1993. As the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East for six consecutive terms, 1997-2015, she became NDP House Leader, (2003-2011) and Deputy Leader (2007-2015). Libby has been an outspoken advocate for human rights, housing, peace, and social justice throughout her political life.

She was named to the Order of Canada in 2016, and invested to the Order in May 2018, and received the City of Vancouver Civic Merit Award in November 2018. Libby was appointed to the board of governors of Vancouver Community College and serves as Vice Chair. She is also a board member and Vice Chair of the Portland Hotel Community Services Society (PHS).

Libby was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East in 1997. She was re-elected in November 2000, June 2004, January 2006, October 2008, and most recently in May 2011. Libby was also the Official Opposition Spokesperson for Health and the Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Health from May 2011 until January 2015. She was Deputy Leader of the federal NDP from 2007-2015. Libby also served as the NDP House Leader from 2003 to March 2011. After serving 6 terms, and 18 years, as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, Libby did not run in the 2015 general federal election.

As a Parliamentarian, Libby was Co-Chair of the HIV/AIDS Tuberculosis Caucus, an all-party parliamentary caucus which involved parliamentarians in national and international efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and improve the lives of those living with these diseases. She was a key player in global parliamentary efforts around health and HIV/AIDS, serving as the Chair of Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU), Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS and Maternal and Child Health.

Her history as a strong community activist for Vancouver began over 45 years ago. She and her late partner, Bruce Eriksen, were key figures in the formation of the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association (DERA) in 1973. In 10 years of community organizing, Libby developed her strong grassroots approach to working with people and diverse communities. In 1982, Libby was elected to Vancouver City Council and served 5 consecutive terms. She became involved in every community issue; from protecting community services to developing affordable housing, fighting for parks and working for the elimination of poverty. In her capacity as a Vancouver City Councillor, Libby also served on the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD); now know as Metro Vancouver, and the Vancouver Public Library Board. From 1994 to 1997, Libby worked with the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) serving in the role of Ombudsperson for Human Rights, Complaints Investigator, and Coordinator of Human Resources.

As the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, Libby provided a strong voice for Vancouver East. She consistently raised issues of concern to her constituents in Parliament, including: community safety; the need for a national childcare program; and affordable and accessible post-secondary education. Libby was a tireless advocate in Parliament for a national housing program, and successfully forced federal governments to address this basic human right. Libby’s community office helped hundreds of residents with federal government matters such as immigration, student loans, employment insurance, taxation, pensions, and Aboriginal affairs.

Libby has been an outspoken advocate for drug policy reforms to stop the criminalization of drug users and the harm caused by Canada’s prohibitionist policies.

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