Grace MacInnis


In honour of Grace MacInnis and her history of social and political service as a Member of Parliament for the New Democratic Party, a Grace MacInnis Visiting Scholar Program was initiated through the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University in 1993. The Visiting Scholars are invited to Simon Fraser University to give public talks, as well as meet with faculty and students.

Ms. MacInnis was the first woman from British Columbia to be elected to Parliament, and was the only woman in Parliament from 1968 to 1972. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974, was among seven women to be granted the first Governor-General’s Persons Awards in 1979 for their work in advancing the status of Canadian women, and was honoured in 1982 by the Canadian Labour Congress with a sculpture and an award for Outstanding Service to Humanity.

More than awards and medals, Grace MacInnis’ true legacy was her unfailing support of human rights issues, particularly women’s rights, both in Canadian Parliament and in her many roles as advocate and activist. As Rosemary Brown once said, “She was a very courageous person and I think that is what women got from her more than anything…that if you felt strongly about something you should speak up and you should speak loud.”


Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C, M.P., an Independent Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville, for her advocacy of British Columbia's First Nations and advancement of First Nations rights and governance.

Marie Wilson
, C.M., O.N.W.T., M.S.C., a Commissioner of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2009–2015), for her work in advancing the reconciliation of the Indigenous peoples of Canada through healing, education, and the seeking of justice.

Ratna Omidvar
, C.M., O.Ont., Senator for Ontario, and founding Executive Director of Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ryerson University, for her advocacy for migration, diversity, and inclusion.

Gail Davidson
, founder and executive director of Lawyer Rights Watch Canada, for her advocacy for human rights, work against war, torture, and other crimes against humanity, and solidarity with the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

Libby Davies, MP of Vancouver East (1997–2015), for her lifelong dedication and service to public life.

Professor Jean Barmen
, PhD, for her extensive research and writing on BC, indigenious, and Canadian history.

Linda McQuaig
, in honour of her critical writing and challenging inquiry. McQuaig has written for The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Maclean’s magazine, and the National Post.

Dr. Elaine Bernard
, the Executive Director of the Labour and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, was selected in recognition of her efforts to have labour rights be considered as human rights.

Myrna Kostash
, author of the classic All of Baba's Children, Long Way from Home: the Story of the Sixties Generation in Canada, and of the award-winner No Kidding: Inside the World of Teenage Girls and Bloodlines: A Journey into Eastern Europe Kostash's other publications include The Doomed Bridegroom: A Memoir and the national best-seller The Next Canada: Looking for a Future Nation.

Lynn McDonald
, a distinguished academic, former Member of Parliament and past president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women served as the visiting scholar.

Joy Kogowa
 was honoured for her literary achievements, her impassioned denunciation of injustice, and her work to provide redress to Japanese Canadians in 1988.

Shirley Williams
, former British Labour MP, and president and co-founder of the Social Democratic Party in Britain (1981).