Interviewed by Blair Redlin
Judy Darcy started out as an enthusiastic public speaker and leader in her kindergarten days in Sarnia, Ontario, and has never looked back. Judy was very active in the student movement and in the women’s movement, including being on the Abortion Caravan in 1970. This activism set the stage first for her rank-and-file involvement with CUPE as a library worker in Toronto, then leading her local union, eventually heading the Metro Toronto CUPE Council, and then sitting on the CUPE National Executive Board. Judy ran for secretary-treasurer of CUPE National and was elected at the CUPE National Convention in 1989. Two years later, she was elected president of CUPE, the largest union in Canada, and became the only woman union president on the executive of the Canadian Labour Congress for several years. Judy stepped down from the presidency in 2003 and after moving to B.C. became the secretary business manager (chief negotiator and spokesperson) of the Hospital Employees Union in 2005. In 2013 Judy was elected as MLA for New Westminster and in 2017 appointed the first B.C. and first Canadian Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. She retired from the legislature in 2020 and has remained active as a volunteer, mentoring women, unionists and being part of the board of the Canadian Mental Health Association for B.C.
Keywords: Danish Resistance; Sarnia; student movement; York University; David Chudnovsky; Ruth Herman; women’s movement; war in Vietnam; War Measures Act; Julie Davis; NDP; Ed Broadbent; University of Toronto; wage controls; Gil Levine; Grace Hartman; Jeff Rose; Mike Dumler; John Murphy; coordinated bargaining; community; coalitions; medicare; Sodexo; Aramark; Compass; Shirley Douglas; Margaret Atwood; privatization; Mike Harris; Nancy Riche; Bob White; Bob Rae; social contract; Glen Clark; Canadian Airlines; Eugene Kostyra; Operation Solidarity; Marcy Cohen; UNISON; living wage; Supreme Court; Melanie Mark; Brynn Bourke; CUPE; HEU; CLC; VMREU; COPE; MLA; Minister of Mental Health and Addictions; decriminalization; Jennifer Whiteside; Canadian Mental Health Association for B.C.; New Westminster; Community First New West
See also: Judy Darcy: Forever on the front line (2003).