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Margaret Mitchell honoured with Freedom of the City Award

November 8 2016

Margaret Mitchell

Today, at a special ceremony, Mayor Gregor Robertson and members of City Council presented former Member of Parliament and social activist Margaret Mitchell with the Freedom of the City award, following a unanimous vote by City Council.
 
“Margaret Mitchell has been a selfless advocate and supporter of marginalized communities. Her work has included ensuring foundational civil rights for all Canadians, and legally enshrining  women’s equality by advocating for and amending the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I’m honoured to call Margaret a friend and recognize her with the highest award the City of Vancouver has to give, the Freedom of the City Award.”

Margaret Mitchell's achievements

As MP for Vancouver East from 1979 to 1993, Margaret Mitchell was one of the first politicians to raise the issue of violence against women in the House of Commons. 

She is best remembered for one incident in which male Members of Parliament laughed when she demanded that the government take action to stop domestic violence. 

Margaret also played a critical role in ensuring that women were recognized in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Section 28 which extended equality to women. Her public stance against domestic violence and her vocal support for women’s equality has inspired generations of women and men alike.

Margaret voted against a pension increase for MPs and diverted her share of the increase to a special account to help the poorest in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With her support, the Margaret Mitchell Fund for Women continues to grow and assist organizations in East Vancouver to support programs and initiatives that promote economic and social justice for women. The fund provided training for one of the carvers of the Survivor Totem Pole, which was raised in the Downtown Eastside on Saturday.

After retiring from public service, Margaret continued to serve British Columbia in many volunteer capacities, including being the first Chair of the BC Advisory Council on Human Rights. In 2000, Mitchell was recognized as a Member of the Order of British Columbia.

Freedom of the City

We grant the Freedom of the City award only in exceptional cases to individuals of the highest merit. The recipient is usually someone who has gained national and international acclaim in the arts, business, or philanthropy, and who has brought recognition to Vancouver through his or her achievements.

We began honouring individuals with the Freedom of the City Award in 1936. 
 
Past recipients of the Freedom of the City award