Emery Barnes

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Emery Barnes

31st Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
In office
March 22, 1994 May 27, 1996
Premier Mike Harcourt
Glen Clark
Lieutenant Governor David Lam
Garde Gardom
Preceded by Joan Sawicki
Succeeded by Dale Lovick
Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
In office
March 17, 1992 March 22, 1994
Preceded by Austin Pelton
Succeeded by Dale Lovick
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Vancouver-Burrard
In office
October 17, 1991 May 28, 1996
Preceded byRiding Established
Succeeded by Tim Stevenson
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Vancouver Centre
In office
August 30, 1972 October 17, 1991
Servingwith Gary Lauk (1972-1986)
Mike Harcourt (1986-1991)
Preceded by Herb Capozzi
Evan Maurice Wolfe
Succeeded byRiding Abolished
Personal details
Born(1929-12-15)December 15, 1929
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
DiedJuly 1, 1998(1998-07-01) (aged 68)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Political party British Columbia New Democratic Party
OccupationSocial Worker

Emery Oakland Barnes, OBC (December 15, 1929 – July 1, 1998) was a Canadian professional football player and politician.

Born in Louisiana and raised in Oregon, Barnes was a gifted athlete, and was an alternate high jumper for the 1952 US Olympic Track and Field team. He played football at the University of Oregon (from where he received his B.Sc) and was selected by the National Football League's Green Bay Packers in the 1954 NFL Draft (10th round, 207th overall.) He played two games for the Packers in 1956, but had much more success in the Canadian Football League with the B.C. Lions. He played 3 years, from 1962 to 1964, for a total of 30 games and was a Grey Cup champion in 1964 (though an injury prevented him from playing in the Grey Cup game). He also received a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of British Columbia.

Barnes worked as a social worker before entering politics. First elected to the British Columbia legislature in 1972, and re-elected four consecutive times, he served the people of British Columbia until 1996. Barnes and fellow NDP MLA Rosemary Brown were the first black politicians elected to a legislative office in British Columbia in the 20th century. He was particularly concerned with issues relating to social justice, human rights, and poverty.

Elected Speaker of the Legislature in 1994, Barnes was also the first black person to hold this position in any Canadian province.

The city of Vancouver has named a park after him in his memory, Emery Barnes Park at 1100 Seymour Street.

Barnes was appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 1995.

Barnes is buried in Robinson Memorial Park Cemetery, in Coquitlam, British Columbia. The headstone shows his full name as "Emery Oakland Barnes."

Constance Barnes, his daughter, was an elected member of the Vancouver Park Board and stood for the 2015 federal election with the NDP in the riding of Vancouver Centre.

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