Former Vancouver East NDP MP and domestic-abuse foe Margaret Mitchell dies

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      One of Vancouver's most progressive voices of the 1980s and early 1990s passed away on International Women's Day (March 8).

      Margaret Mitchell was the NDP MP for Vancouver East from 1979 to 1993.

      The former social worker and antipoverty campaigner was 91.

      Mitchell gained national attention in 1982 when she stood up in Parliament and said that one in 10 Canadian men regularly beat their wives.

      This prompted gales of laughter and heckling in the House of Commons.

      "This is no laughing matter," Mitchell responded.

      This helped put spousal abuse on the political radar screen in Canada.

      Similarly, Mitchell was the first to speak in Parliament about redress for those who were forced to pay the Chinese head tax to come to Canada.

      For that, the Head Tax Families Society of Canada granted her a lifetime membership.

      Margaret Mitchell spoke about the Chinese head tax on many occasions, including in 2007.

      Last year, Mitchell endorsed NDP MLA Mable Elmore when Elmore was seeking the federal NDP nomination in Vancouver East.

      At the time, Elmore called Mitchell a "strong woman" and a "fearless advocate".