Svend Robinson graduated from Burnaby North Secondary School in 1969. He studied science and law at UBC and received the highest honor, the Sherwood Lett Memorial Scholarship, in 1972. He went on to study at the London School of Economics, and was called to the BC Bar as a lawyer.
Svend was elected in 1979 as an NDP Member of Parliament, serving for over 25 years. He had a legendary reputation of service to his constituents, as well as being one of the most outstanding and effective backbench MPs. Svend was particularly active on justice, human rights, environment and international issues, and was the first openly gay MP in Canada. Svend was often far ahead on important issues:
He worked in 1982 to amend the Charter of Rights to include the right to a healthy environment.
In 2004 Svend successfully added “sexual orientation” to federal hate crimes legislation. This fight for dignity and equality for the LGBTQ+ community continues with his opposition to the discriminatory blood donation ban, and “conversion” therapy.