Honourable Hedy Fry was first elected to Parliament for Vancouver Centre in 1993 becoming the first rookie to defeat a sitting Prime Minister. She has been re-elected in 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015. Dr. Fry is the longest serving female Member of Parliament in Canada’s history.
Hedy Fry was born in Trinidad and Tobago where she graduated as class Valedictorian, winning a full scholarship for a Masters degree in English Literature at Oxford, England. She had done her undergraduate in French, English and Spanish literature, though her passion turned to medicine and she relinquished the scholarship to study medicine in Dublin, Ireland. Accepted into the program, she had one year to fulfill the academic requirements, which meant an intensive immersion in science from high school level to the equivalent of a Bachelor of Science in a single academic year. She completed her degree in Medicine with Honours at the Royal College of Surgeons.
She immigrated to Canada in 1970. She practiced family medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital in the West End of Vancouver for two decades and was a local, provincial and national leader in medical politics. She served as president of the Vancouver Medical Association (VMA), BC Medical Association (BCMA), and the Federation of Medical Women, during which time she was hailed as a powerful and successful negotiator. She hammered out a deal with then-premier Bill Vander Zalm that ended with a groundbreaking agreement that included Canada’s first retirement plan for doctors. Further, Dr. Fry led the CMA to recognize self-governance of aboriginals as crucial determinants of Aboriginal health. She was a spokesman for the CMA on issues of health, health financing and reforms, frequently speaking to US audiences about Medicare. Prior to being elected to Parliament, Dr. Fry was well-known to Canadian audiences as a panellist on the long-running national CBC television program Doctor, Doctor.
Dr. Fry began in 1993 as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health. She spent 6 years from 1996-2002 in Cabinet serving as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Minister for the Status of Women. She was on a number of Cabinet Committees regarding health, social policy, volunteerism, homelessness and same-sex benefits. She was also the Minister responsible for the Vancouver agreement. In 2006, Dr. Fry ran for the Leadership of the Liberal Party as the first immigrant woman to do so with her “True Grit” campaign. Dr. Fry served as Opposition Critic for Sports and the 2010 Olympics, Canadian Heritage and Health. During this current parliamentary session, she served as the Chair of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
As a Minister, Dr. Fry represented the Canadian government as Head of delegation at many high-profile, multilateral Conventions of the United Nations, Francophonie, Commonwealth, Organization of American States and Council of Europe, most notably Canada’s 4th Report to the UN Commission on Human Rights, UN’s Beijing Plus 2000 and the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) in Durban. There, Canada played the key role in expunging the Teheran document of all anti-Semitic language and hate speech against Israel. In preparation for the WCAR, Dr. Fry initiated the first UN Youth Against Racism Secretariat, culminating in a youth NGO convention at Durban. She has been appointed the Special Representative on Gender Issues of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly (PA). She was also appointed to the Ad Hoc Committee on Migration of the OSCE PA.
She lives in Vancouver and has 3 adult sons. She continues working hard at key priorities of representing her constituents and fighting for issues such as justice and human rights, health care, poverty, housing and homelessness, education and a multiplicity of others.