Vancouver mayor and city council grant highest civic honours to Judy Graves and Jim Pattison

Billionaire businessman Jim Pattison and housing advocate Judy Graves will never have to pay for a parking meter again in Vancouver.

Photos

That's because tonight, they were each granted Freedom of the City, which is the highest honour granted by the City of Vancouver.

In addition to receiving a free decal offering lifetime parking privileges on city streets, they have their names inscribed in the Book of Freedoms.

According to the city website, they can be each be called Freeman of the City of Vancouver, though Graves might prefer the term "Freewoman".

Pattison chairs the Jim Pattison Group, which employs more than 35,000 people in a range of industries, including groceries, motor-vehicle sales, a coal-export terminal, forestry, media, signs, periodical distribution, and entertainment.

He's been a big donor to B.C. hospitals in recent years, notably with a $20 miillion gift to Vancouver General Hospital, $5 million to Surrey Memorial Hospital, $5 million to Lions Gate Hospital, and $5 million to the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. Pattison was also president and CEO of Expo 86.

Graves has retired from the City of Vancouver, where she spent more than three decades helping find housing and shelter for the homeless. It often involved venturing into some of the most dangerous areas of the city.

Judy Graves has been called the Florence Nightingale of Vancouver for her work with the homeless.
Yolande Cole

Since Vision Vancouver won control of the city in the 2008 election, it has granted this honour to three other residents, all of whom are now deceased: former councillor Jim Green, businessman and philanthropist Milton Wong, and former mayor and financier Art Phillips.

Other honourees in the past have included architect Arthur Erickson, businessman and philanthropist Joe Segal, former prime minister Kim Campbell, writer George Woodcock, former lieutenant governor David Lam, former city councillor May Brown, wheelchair athlete Rick Hanson, artists Jack Shadbolt and Bill Reid, businessman and philanthropist Morris Wosk, former chief justice Nathan Nemetz, and lawyer and former judge Tom Berger.

The complete list is available here.

Comments (16) Add New Comment
John-Albert Eadie
Doesn't that put a shiver up your spine? Wow.
Our very own Oligarch. Why of course
Jim Pattison should get no parking
tickets. Shame on you.
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lol
Billionaire gets free parking for life. hahaha... what a joke.
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Jack
"He's been a big donor to B.C. hospitals in recent years, notably with a $20 million gift to Vancouver General Hospital, $5 million to Surrey Memorial Hospital, $5 million to Lions Gate Hospital, and $5 million to the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria."

Yes, thanks for the money Jim. But let's keep things in perspective shall we? A billionaire giving away $35 million is equivalent to me reaching in my pocket and pulling out my loose change.

It gets tiring hearing about how "generous" billionaires are when their acts - while having a positive effect - are essentially self-serving. Would you spend some of the spare change in your pocket to have a hospital wing or building named after you? Of course, anyone would.


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Alan Layton
Jack: So would you rather the taxpayer pays those millions of donated dollars? Do you have any idea how much money is contributed towards hospitals and universities by donors? If you're waiting for the revolution where rich people are convinced or forced to share all of their money, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Why not encourage them to part with their money by donating, regardless of their motives?
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Jack
Alan - I'm simply saying that we needn't concern ourselves with gushing gratitude towards billionaires who feed their ego by paying to put their names on public buildings. Yes the money is needed, and yes they should be encouraged to donate. But just like no one would consider me generous if I gave $0.25 to some charity I'm not going to fall over myself to thank Pattison for doing the equivalent. It's all relative.


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Alan Layton
Jack: If all it takes is a bit of gushing to get someone to donate millions of dollars then let's gush away.

His donations are not solely what he's being honoured for anyways. Did you miss this part of the story where it stated that he employs more than 35,000 people? Like it or not, there are going to be highly successful people in the world.

BTW his closest business partner is former NDP leader and ex-Premier Glen Clark. So even left-wingers are susceptible to being successful.
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Geordie Birch
Alan Layton,

Glen Clark works for Jim Pattison. He is most certainly not Jim Pattison's closest business partner.
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Alan Layton
Geordie Birch: You're right Jim is the CEO and Glen is the President - my mistake. But they are close and it doesn't matter because the point was that the ex-leader of the NDP, and the last NDP Premier, is a very successful and RICH Capitalist.
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Jack
"the point was that the ex-leader of the NDP, and the last NDP Premier, is a very successful and RICH Capitalist"

wondering what that has to do with anything...
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Chad Hurley
No doubt Pattison is a very successful self made billionaire and he gets my full applause for a job well done. I think his only blemish if any, is not buying the False Creek lands back in 1986.
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Alan Layton
Jack, that was an aside because of all the hatred directed towards successful people in this column, and this rag in general. I just thought it was interesting that someone who was at the very top of a left-wing party could be successful, rich and embrace capitalism.

BTW isn't it odd that nobody is commenting on Judy Davis? No doubt she refused the award and free parking pass.

Just to clarify, Pattison has donated over $300 million, in total, to health care services - according to the Vancouver Sun. That's $300 million less that we have to pay.
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Alan Layton
Did nobody else notice that Charlie Smith very carefully chose a photo of Pattison sitting beside Pierre Karl Peladeau, the notorious billionaire uber-separatist who helped kill the Parti Quebecois in the Quebeic elections? C'mon you guys, Charlie's doing his best work here and you're all missing it. Sigh.
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Kiskatinawkid
Alan Layton: I'd rather Pattison pay some taxes in the first place, then we wouldn't have to accept his handouts. All of them part of the "write off" scheme. Just saying!
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Alan Layton
Kiskatinawkid - yes it would be awesome of we could collect as much tax as possible from the rich, but that's not going to happen. No elected government is going to risk losing such a large employer to another province, or country, with lower taxes. So why not encourage charity until you completely change society?

Once again, does anybody know whether Judy Davis rejected the award and free parking? Given that she's a champion of the poor you'd think that she would be insulted by such an honour.
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Nicholas Ellan
I'd rather Pattison and other 1%'ers were taxed sufficiently to pay the full cost of healthcare, rather than us cutting taxes and slashing budgets. But here we are in BC, where billionaires get free parking and the working poor get minimum beer pricing and bridge tolls.
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Page Turner
Her name is Judy Graves. Judy Davis is an actress. :(
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