Margaret Anne MITCHELL

Obituary
11 entries
  • "We were so lucky to have Margaret Mitchell as our MP for..."
  • "We had such fun, Marg.....we went back a long way. Lots of..."
    - Pamela MacLeod $family
  • "On behalf of volunteers and staff at the Canadian Red Cross..."
    - Kimberley Nemrava Vice President, Canadian Red Cross, BC & Yukon
  • "Thank you Margaret Mitchell,you were a dedicated & trusted..."
    - Lenora Hayman
  • "You will deeply missed Margaret. An inspiration to so many..."
    - Amanda Brainard
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MITCHELL, Margaret Anne
July 17, 1925 - March 8, 2017
Margaret Mitchell, former Member of Parliament for Vancouver East and a champion of women's rights and social justice throughout her life, passed away peacefully at home on March 8, 2017. It does not surprise any of us that Margret chose to leave us on this day where women around the world are celebrating International Women's Day.
Margaret was predeceased by her husband, Claude Mitchell, her two brothers Bill and Ted Learoyd and sister, Betty Speers.
Margaret grew up in Cayuga, Ontario. She graduated with a BA from McMaster University and MSW from University of Toronto. Margaret served Canada overseas through the Canadian Red Cross in Korea, Japan, Australia and Austria. Her work with the Settlement House in Toronto and the Neighbourhood Association in Vancouver established her as a pioneer in community development, a social work practice which persists in putting power in the hands of communities to make decisions affecting their lives. Prior to entering politics, she served as a Manager with the Vancouver Resources Board which integrated social services and decentralized service delivery and decision making.
Margaret served in the House of Commons as an MP for Vancouver East from 1979 to 1993. She voted against a pay raise during this time and donated the additional pay to the Vancity Community Foundation which established the Margaret Mitchell Fund for Women.
Margaret was, at her core, an advocate for women. In 1982, she stood up in Parliament to demand government action to stop domestic violence. When male members of Parliament responded by laughing as she addressed the issue, she furiously replied: "This is no laughing matter, Madam Speaker." Thousands of Canadians agreed, calling for immediate action to end violence against women and inspiring activism and services for women across the country. Many years later, she published an autobiography titled "No Laughing Matter."
Margaret was the NDP critic in the House of Commons for Immigration, Housing, Status of Women, Health and Welfare, Multiculturalism and Citizenship. She was the first MP to have raised the issue of Chinese head tax in the House of Commons. Margaret pressed the government to decriminalize abortion, worked with First Nations Women for the reinstatement of status under the Indian Act and supported a national child care programme.
Margaret was the recipient of many honours and recognitions, including the Order of British Columbia and Freedom to the City, from the City of Vancouver.
Margaret leaves behind several nieces and nephews and their families, many close friends and colleagues.
With a wonderful depth of humour, integrity and passion, Margaret contributed profoundly to Canada and to the world by promoting equal rights, justice. This is her legacy, a legacy that will continue to empower and inspire all of us who admired, loved and respected her.
A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
Special thanks to Care At Home Services for their professional care at home which made it possible for Margaret to stay at her own home right until the end.
For anyone wishing to donate, she would ask you to continue her work on behalf of low income and racialized women in East Vancouver by contributing to the Margaret Mitchell Fund for Women held at the Vancity Community Foundation. (vancitycommunityfoundation.ca) 815 West Hastings, Vancouver, BC V6C1B4. 604-877-6584

Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from Mar. 12 to Mar. 18, 2017
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