Libby Davies

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Libby Davies
Libby Davies.jpg
Davies at the 2006 New Democratic Party federal convention in Quebec City
Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party
In office
2007 – August 4, 2015
Serving with Thomas Mulcair until 2012, then Megan Leslie and David Christopherson from 2012 to 2015
LeaderJack Layton
Thomas Mulcair
Preceded byBill Blaikie
Succeeded byDavid Christopherson
Shadow Minister for Health
In office
May 26, 2011 – January 22, 2015
LeaderJack Layton
Nycole Turmel
Thomas Mulcair
Preceded byUjjal Dosanjh
Succeeded byMurray Rankin
Member of the House of Commons of Canada
In office
June 2, 1997 – October 19, 2015
Preceded byAnna Terrana
Succeeded byJenny Kwan
ConstituencyVancouver East
Member of the Vancouver City Council
In office
Personal details
Born (1953-02-27) February 27, 1953 (age 69)
Aldershot, United Kingdom
CitizenshipCanadian and British
Political partyNew Democratic Party
Domestic partner(s)Bruce Eriksen (common-law spouse; c. 1973–1997, his death)
Kimberly Elliott (present)
OccupationHuman resources coordinator

Libby Davies CM (born February 27, 1953) is a Canadian politician from British Columbia. She was the member of Parliament for Vancouver East from 1997 to 2015, House Leader for the New Democratic Party (NDP) from 2003 to 2011, and Deputy Leader of the party from 2007 until 2015 (alongside Thomas Mulcair under the leadership of Jack Layton and alongside Megan Leslie and David Christopherson after Mulcair became leader in 2012).[1][2] Prior to entering federal politics, Davies helped found the Downtown Eastside Residents Association[3] and served as a Vancouver city councillor from 1982 to 1993.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Davies was born in Aldershot, United Kingdom, on February 27, 1953 and immigrated to Canada in 1968 with her family. She moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1969.[4] Before being elected to Parliament, she participated in many grass-roots political organizations in the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver. 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 library, which was later converted into the Carnegie Community Centre serving low-income adults. From 1994–1997 Davies was employed by the Hospital Employees' Union.[5][6]

For 24 years, Davies lived in a common-law relationship with Vancouver city councillor Bruce Eriksen,[7] who died of cancer in 1997.[8] They had a son, Lief. In 2001, Davies became the first female Canadian Member of Parliament to reveal that she was in a same-sex relationship.[5][9]

Political career[edit]

Municipal politics[edit]

Davies' first experience in politics was serving on the Vancouver Parks Board for one term, 1980-82.[10] She was elected to Vancouver City Council as a member of the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) in 1982 and was re-elected in 1984, 1986, 1988, and 1990.[11] She ran for Mayor of Vancouver with the backing of COPE in 1993, losing to Philip Owen.[12]

Federal politics[edit]

Davies was first elected to parliament in 1997 and re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008 and 2011. Previously the NDP house leader and spokesperson for housing, homelessness and multiculturalism, she became the health critic in the shadow cabinet of Jack Layton upon the NDP's ascent to Official Opposition status. In parliament, she was a strong supporter of drug policy reform, specifically to halt the criminalization of drug users.

In 2005, during the parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage in Canada, Conservative MP Jason Kenney cited Davies' prior relationship with Eriksen as proof that marriage law does not 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.[13]

In 2009, she was interviewed for the Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride documentary on Gay Pride celebrations internationally.[14]

Davies faced accusations of anti-semitism stemming from a June 5, 2010, interview in which she suggested that Israel has been occupied territory since 1948. She was criticized for her comments the next day in an Ottawa Citizen editorial. She responded to these criticisms in a letter to the Citizen, which was also posted on Davies' constituency website.[15]

In 2011, it was announced that Davies would serve as health critic for the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet, while continuing to serve in her role as deputy leader of the NDP.[16]

Davies declined to stand as a candidate for the leadership of the New Democratic Party in 2012, citing her inability to speak French as a factor.[17]

On December 12, 2014, Davies announced that she would retire from parliament at the 2015 general election after 18 years as a member of Parliament.[18]


In December 2016, Davies was named a member of the Order of Canada.[19] In 2019, she published the memoir Outside In: A Political Memoir.[20]


  1. ^ a b "Parliamentarian File - Complete File - DAVIES, Libby". PARLINFO. Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Mulcair says NDP 'poised' to form government". CBC News. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  3. ^ "About Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East". Libby Davies - MP for Vancouver East. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
  4. ^ "Candidate: Davies, Libby". The Globe and Mail. 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b Women Suffrage and Beyond, retrieved 2012-10-08
  6. ^ Maclean's magazine, The NDP's union-made caucus, May 16, 2011, retrieved 2012-10-08
  7. ^ Libby Davies, Vancouver East (29 October 2001). "House of Commons Debates, Private Members' Business, Marriage Capacity Act". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Canada: House of Commons. col. 1145.
  8. ^ Fong, Petti (15 November 2008). "Vancouver play a walk on the wild side". Toronto Star. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  9. ^ Where are all the Lesbians in federal politics?, extract from October 19, 2010 issue of, posted on Libby Davies webpage, retrieved 2012-10-08
  10. ^ "Legacy of Park Board Libby Davies". YouTube. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  11. ^ "6-term Vancouver MP Libby Davies won't run in 2015 election". CTV News. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  12. ^ Mackie, John (30 November 2002). "The Mayors of Vancouver: A lively history". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  13. ^ Editor. Carnegie Newsletter, Dec. 15, 2007 Carnegie Newsletter
  14. ^ Propes, Richard. "The Independent Critic - "Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride" Review". Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  15. ^ Libby's response to inflamatory [sic] editorial Archived 29 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine June 11, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  16. ^ "Layton announces New Democrat shadow cabinet" (Press release). New Democratic Party. May 26, 2011. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
  17. ^ "NDP's Libby Davies out of leadership race". CBC News. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  18. ^ "Libby Davies, NDP deputy leader, won't run in 2015". CBC News. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Order of Canada's newest appointees include Paralympian, Supreme Court judge and astrophysicist". CBC News, December 30, 2016.
  20. ^ "Libby Davies recounts four decades of political activism in her book Outside In: A Political Memoir". The Globe and Mail, May 21, 2019.

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