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The 2015 Grace MacInnis Visiting Scholar Lecture explored the connections and challenges of grassroots political activism and how that translated into a Parliamentary environment that is slow, bureaucratic, and resistant to change.LIBBY DAVIES: 40 YEARS OF PROUD PUBLIC SERVICEPrior to running federally, Libby Davies first ran for Vancouver City Council in 1976 at the age of 23. She ran again in 1978. She was elected to the Vancouver Parks Board in 1980 and, in 1982, Davies was elected to Vancouver City Council. She was reelected in 1984, 1986, 1988, and 1990. In 1993, she ran for Mayor of Vancouver. In 1997, Davies ran and was elected for the first of her six terms as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East. 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 is Deputy Leader of the federal NDP. Libby also served as the NDP House Leader from 2003 to March 2011.Her history as a strong community activist for Vancouver began over 35 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. 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. Since being elected as a Member of Parliament, Libby has provided a strong voice for Vancouver East.She has consistently raised issues of concern to her constituents in Parliament, including: community safety; adequate childcare; and post-secondary education. Libby has also been a tireless advocate in Parliament for a national housing program, and has successfully forced federal governments to address this basic human right. Libby's community office has helped hundreds of residents with federal government matters such as immigration, student loans, employment insurance, taxation, pensions, and Aboriginal affairs.
Date created: 2015-09-14