Meeting & Event Ideas

Svend Robinson

Robinson was the New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament (MP) for ridings in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, British Columbia, the third-largest city in British Columbia. As the longest-serving British Columbia MP of his time, in office from 1979 to 2004, Svend Robinson is notable for having been the first Canadian MP to come out as gay, in spring 1988. He has since been followed by other gay and lesbian politicians in Parliament: Bloc Quebecois MP Real Menard, fellow New Democrats Libby Davies and Bill Siksay, and Liberal Party of Canada MPs Scott Brison and Mario Silva, as well as Senators Laurier LaPierre and Nancy Ruth. Robinson has received many awards and honours for his work in Canada and internationally for LGBT rights, and in 2009 was the Co-Chair of the Copenhagen OUTGames International LGBT Human Rights Conference. He successfully sponsored legislation in Parliament in 2004 to include "sexual orientation" in hate crimes legislation. He was also active on HIV/AIDS issues from the start of the epidemic in the early 1980's.Robinson ran to succeed Audrey McLaughlin as leader of the NDP at the 1995 NDP leadership convention, but withdrew in favor of Alexa McDonough after the first ballot even though he had received the most votes at the Convention, and had won regional primaries in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.