Svend Robinson accepts resident scholar position with SFU

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      Former NDP MP Svend Robinson has accepted a resident-scholar position with Simon Fraser University, staring with this year's fall semester.

      The position of J.S. Woodsworth resident scholar is in the humanities department and runs for one year. Woodsworth was one of the founders in the 1930s of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the precursor of the New Democratic Party.

      SFU announced the position in a July 7 release that noted Robinson will teach a humanities seminar during the spring semester and "participate in community outreach activities throughout the academic year with the Institute for the Humanities".

      In the release, Robinson remarked on the suitability of the position's name: “Woodsworth is one of my political heroes, who fought for peace, economic and social justice, and a better world, and laid the foundation for the NDP, the party I represented in Parliament for over a quarter of a century."

      Svend Robinson was arrested in 1985 during an antilogging protest in Haida Gwaii.

      Robinson was no stranger to controversy during his 25-year political career (from 1979 to 2004) representing Burnaby, B.C., on the federal stage, often participating in civil-disobedience actions.

      In 1985, he was arrested and fined $750 after taking part in antilogging protests on Lyell Island in Haida Gwaii. He also served nine days of a two-week jail term in 1994, incurred after being convicted of criminal contempt for defying a court order during another antilogging action the previous year in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island.

      In 1988, Robinson became the first openly gay Canadian MP after coming out publicly, and in 1994 he was present at the physician-assisted suicide of right-to-die activist Sue Rodriguez, an activity that was illegal under Canadian law at the time.

      A federal political comeback attempt in 2019 fell short after a close race with and defeat by Liberal incumbent MP Terry Beech in the Burnaby North-Seymour riding.

      “I look forward to engaging with the dynamic SFU community, students, faculty, and staff," Robinson said in the release, "sharing my experience as an MP and learning from them in return.”