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Libby Davies

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Template:Infobox CanadianMP Libby Davies (born February 27, 1953) is a Canadian Member of Parliament for the New Democratic Party, representing the riding of Vancouver East in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2007, she was named Deputy Leader of the federal NDP, jointly with Thomas Mulcair.

Davies was born in Aldershot, England and emigrated to British Columbia in 1968. Before being elected to Parliament, she participated in many grass-roots political organizations in Vancouver, specifically in the Downtown Eastside area. She dropped out of university to help Bruce Eriksen found the Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA), an influential low-income housing advocacy group. She was instrumental in a campaign to save the Carnegie building which was later converted into a community centre serving low-income adults.

Davies was elected to Vancouver City Council as a member of the Coalition of Progressive Electors in 1982 and re-elected in 1984, 1986, 1988, and 1990. She ran for Mayor of Vancouver in 1993, losing to Philip Owen. She was first elected to parliament in 1997 and re-elected in 2000, 2004, and 2006. For the federal NDP she is currently both the House Leader and the spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness and Multiculturalism. In parliament she has been a strong supporter of drug policy reform, specifically to halt the criminalization of drug users.

For 24 years Davies lived in a common law relationship with Vancouver city councilor Bruce Eriksen, who died of cancer in 1997. They had one son, Lief. During a parliamentary debate on October 29 2001, she revealed that she was in a relationship with a female partner, Kimberly Elliott, thereby becoming the first (and to date, only) female MP who is out as a member of the LGBT community [1], although she has never specifically stated how she identifies her sexual orientation. (Her former caucus mate Svend Robinson had come out as gay in 1988, becoming the first MP to do so.)

In 2005, during the parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage in Canada, Conservative MP Jason Kenney cited Davies' prior relationship with Eriksen (and Robinson's short-lived marriage to a woman) as proof that marriage law doesn't discriminate against LGBT individuals, since a gay person can marry a member of the opposite sex. Davies, who was never formally married to Eriksen, joined other commentators in criticizing Kenney for playing politics with other parliamentarians' personal lives.

In December 2007, Davies received the Justice Gerald Le Dain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law. She was recognized for her "outstanding drug policy reform work" at the 2007 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.[1]

References Edit

  1. Editor. Carnegie Newsletter, Dec. 15, 2007 Carnegie Newsletter

External linksEdit

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