Dawn Black

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Dawn Black
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
In office
January 19, 2011 – April 17, 2011
Preceded byCarole James
Succeeded byAdrian Dix
MLA for New Westminster
In office
Preceded byChuck Puchmayr
Succeeded byJudy Darcy
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for New Westminster—Coquitlam
In office
April 3, 2006 – April 13, 2009
Preceded byPaul Forseth
Succeeded byFin Donnelly
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for New Westminster—Burnaby
In office
Preceded byposition established
Succeeded byPaul Forseth
Personal details
Dawn Whitty

(1943-04-01) April 1, 1943 (age 76)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Political partyNew Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Peter James Black
ResidenceNew Westminster, British Columbia
ProfessionExecutive assistant

Dawn Black (born April 1, 1943) is a politician in British Columbia, Canada.

Born Dawn Whitty, Black became involved in politics from a young age, she became an assistant to New Democratic Party Member of Parliament Pauline Jewett.

Member of Parliament[edit]

She was elected as the MP for New Westminster—Burnaby in the 1988 federal election, succeeding the retiring Jewett. As an MP, one of her most notable achievements was proposing a private members bill that made December 6, the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, a permanent day of remembrance and action against violence against women. She also led the opposition to the Tories' anti-abortion measure and proposed an anti-stalking measure, which was later adopted by Parliament.


In the 1993 election, she lost her seat to Reform Party candidate Paul Forseth. She lost to him again in the 1997 election, but defeated Forseth in the 2006 election. Black was the NDP's defence critic.

Afghan issues[edit]

On April 5, 2006, during the first question period of the 39th Parliament Black asked Gordon O'Connor, then Minister of National Defence, to renegotiate the prisoner transfer agreement with the Afghan government. O'Connor refused saying "Mr. Speaker, we have no intention of redrafting the agreement. The Red Cross and the Red Crescent are charged with ensuring that prisoners are not abused. There is nothing in the agreement that prevents Canada from determining the fate of prisoners so there is no need to make any change in the agreement."[1]

Black was prominent on the issue, which eventually saw the resignation of Gordon O'Connor and the negotiation of a new transfer agreement.

Move to provincial politics[edit]

In March 2009 she announced she would step down as MP in order to run for the BC NDP in the upcoming BC provincial election, aiming to succeed ailing NDP MLA Chuck Puchmayr in New Westminster.[2] She stated she would remain in federal office long enough to draft a private member's bill restricting the use of civilian armoured vehicles, a significant issue in a city dealing with gang violence.[3] Following her departure from federal politics, she was handily elected to the BC Legislature.[4]

Interim Leader of the BC NDP[edit]

Black was unanimously nominated by the provincial caucus to be the interim leader of the BC NDP on January 19, 2011. The Provincial Council ratified the decision one day later. NDP President Moe Sihota said "With Dawn’s record of service as an elected official and her deep roots within the party, she’s the right choice to lead the party and the caucus before the new leader takes on".[5]

Black said after the nomination: "I've done a lot of tough things in my life - I've travelled to Afghanistan...The challenge is to prove to British Columbians that we're working together. Everybody made a commitment today to expose the broken promises of the Liberal government."[6]


  1. ^ "House of Commons Debates, Wednesday, April 5, 2006". Hansard. April 5, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  2. ^ "NDP MP to seek provincial seat in B.C.". cbc.ca, March 7, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  3. ^ Justine Hunter, "Black to leave federal NDP to seek provincial seat in B.C.". The Globe and Mail, March 7, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
  4. ^ Carlito Pablo, Former MP Dawn Black elected NDP MLA for New Westminster. Georgia Straight, May 12, 2009.
  5. ^ Stephen Thompson, "MLA Dawn Black ratified as interim B.C. NDP leader". Georgia Straight, January 20, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  6. ^ "Black takes interim reins of B.C. NDP". The Province. January 20, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011.[dead link]

External links[edit]