Svend Robinson


(1952 – )

Svend Robinson, who served in the Canadian House of Commons from 1979 to 2004, became the nation’s first openly gay M.P. in 1988. In 1995 he was a candidate for the leadership of the New Democratic Party, coming second to the winner, Alexa McDonough. He was a parliamentary leader in human rights campaigns, including the ‘right to die’. His Canadian political career came to an ignominious end in 2004 when he stole a ring. He later attributed the act to mental illness. David Rayside has presented a compelling portrait of Robinson, which notes that the fact that he was “youthful, good-looking, well educated, white, and male” (1998:188) did much to make him acceptable to a broad range of Canadians. Despite those politically advantageous qualities, Robinson proved an invaluable champion of gay and lesbian and human rights more generally.



Rayside, David and Clyde Wilcox, eds. 2011. Faith, Politics and Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Rayside, David. 1998. On the Fringe.Cornell: Cornell University Press.

Rayside, David. 2008. Queer Inclusions. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

“Svend Robinson,”

Veronica Strong-Boag

Veronica Strong-Boag

Veronica Strong-Boag, Ph.D, FRSC, is a Canadian historian specializing in the modern history of women and children in Canada. She is Professor Emerita of Women's History at the University of British Columbia. In 1988 she won the John A. Macdonald Prize (awarded to the best book in Canadian history) for her study of the lives of women in Canada between the wars, entitled The New Day Recalled. In 1993–94 she served as president of the Canadian Historical Association. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2001. In July 2012 the Royal Society of Canada announced that Strong-Boag would be awarded the J. B. Tyrrell Historical Medal "for outstanding work in the history of Canada."