Celebrating May

Post by Mike Klassen in


may brown
Two sides of May Brown, both good. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Sun.

I caught this post on Jeff Lee's blog about Vancouver's eminent political figure May Brown. It's a lovely tribute to one of our city's best. Regardless of who you vote for, the former City Councillor represents everything that is good about politics. She's fair, hard-working, smart and we're lucky to have her.

Even at 89-years young May (who's a big CityCaucus.com fan) will still stump for candidates she likes. "The only thing I won't do today is burma shaving," she once said to me. "I've done enough of that." After all the work May has done in civic, provincial and federal politics, she definitely earns a pass on holding a sign on a street waving at commuters.

Indeed, during last November's civic campaign she went door-to-door with a park board candidate. At eighty-nine she runs circles around yuppies one-third her age, and I'm not exactly sure why. What is it about May Brown's DNA that allows her to be so committed to the world around her?

I devote a great deal of my time in support of my community, but it pales beside May's work. Whether it was an influence to her or not, she has responded to Kennedy's call to ask what you can do for your country. But is this kind of commitment to the world around us gone out of fashion?

My concern is the unselfishness of many in Brown's generation will pass with them. I've struggled too many times in recent years trying to find volunteers for a range of events. On rare occasions you find extraordinary people willing to step up, but I underline that it is "rare."

When people like May can't give you more of their time, they're apologetic. You don't get that a whole lot these days.


Great post and kudos to Jeff for his work on this. May is a great political figure and someone we could all learn a lesson or two from. I only wish I had half her energy!

May was today (June 7) awarded a new honour by the Federation of Canadian municipalities at its annual meeting in Whistler. She received the first Anne MacLean award, to recognize women municipal politicians who have shown exemplary service to their community
and constituents, and to mentoring women who want to run for elected municipal office.

The award came out of the Committee to Increase Women's Participation in Municipal Government. As vice-chair of that committee over the past year, and May's nominee, I had the honour of presenting the award to May at a sold-out breakfast. People were thrilled that May was there and to have the first recipient be so wonderfully qualified for the award.

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