Dawn Black is a three-term Member of Parliament first elected in 1988. She attained national recognition for her advocacy on behalf of women, families and the underprivileged. Following the murder of 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1989, she garnered all-party support for her Private Members’ Bill to recognize December 6th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and played a key role in the introduction of Canada’s anti-stalking legislation. She facilitated a major parliamentary study on breast cancer that led to a significant increase in the level of research funding for this disease. In 2008, as her party’s Defence Critic, she also secured job protection for Canadian Forces Reservists employed in federally regulated workplaces.
As Defence spokesperson in Parliament for the NDP she had the privilege of meeting Canadian Forces Members both at home and on the ground in Afghanistan. She was a powerful advocate on behalf of Canadian troops; working to protect the jobs of reservists serving overseas and putting PTSD and the health concerns of returning soldiers on the national agenda.
Also on the international stage, she worked as a trainer in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Bahrain, Myanmar and Vietnam, helping to increase capacity for female politicians to build democracy and give voice to citizens in these countries.
In 2007 The Toronto Star voted Black as one of the Top 10 MPs in Canada, and the Globe and Mail featured her as one of only four Question Period standouts.
Hoping to help form government in BC, Dawn moved from federal politics to provincial and was elected as MLA for New Westminster in 2009. She served as Official Opposition Critic for Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. She was chosen as Interim Leader of the BC NDP in 2011, and then served the Legislature as Deputy Speaker until her retirement in 2013.
Ms. Black continues to be active in her community and is a member of the Greater Vancouver GoGos – a grandmother’s group that works with African grandmothers raising grandchildren orphaned by AIDS.
A lifelong activist and Social Democrat, Dawn lives with her husband, Peter, in New Westminster. They have three sons and seven grandchildren.Back to speakers