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

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

      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.



      John-Albert Eadie

      Jun 23, 2014 at 9:49pm

      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.


      Jun 24, 2014 at 9:40am

      Billionaire gets free parking for life. hahaha... what a joke.


      Jun 24, 2014 at 10:08am

      "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.

      Alan Layton

      Jun 24, 2014 at 10:39am

      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?


      Jun 24, 2014 at 11:06am

      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.

      Alan Layton

      Jun 24, 2014 at 11:31am

      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.

      Geordie Birch

      Jun 24, 2014 at 2:43pm

      Alan Layton,

      Glen Clark works for Jim Pattison. He is most certainly not Jim Pattison's closest business partner.

      Alan Layton

      Jun 24, 2014 at 3:17pm

      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.


      Jun 24, 2014 at 4:06pm

      "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...

      Chad Hurley

      Jun 24, 2014 at 4:36pm

      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.