Profile: Murray Billett is a human rights activist, conflict resolution specialist, educator, and advocate for the 2SLGBTQ+ communities. A trade union activist, he worked for many years as a Labour Relations Officer and educator with the United Nurses of Alberta. Originally from Saskatchewan, he was president of the Retail Wholesale Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 545 in Saskatoon and subsequently worked with the RWDSU, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), and the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. He managed the first Winnipeg city council campaign of Glen Murray, Winnipeg’s first gay city councillor and later Winnipeg’s first gay mayor. He then managed successful campaigns for Michael Phair for Edmonton City council and Barrie Chivers (NDP) for Alberta MLA.
Billett was key in organizing support and serving as a media spokesperson for Delwin Vriend’s constitutional challenge to the omission of sexual orientation among characteristics protected against discrimination in Alberta’s human rights legislation (See Delwin Vriend profile).
Billett has served as chair and vice chair of the Edmonton Police Commission, chair of the Alberta Association of Police Governance, and a member of the Alberta Review Board. His other public contributions include membership on the national boards of Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) and Canadians for Equal Marriage, as well as the Edmonton board of the predecessor organization of today’s HIV Network of Edmonton. He also served as a director of the Gay and Lesbian Awareness Society of Edmonton (GALA) and was a co-founder of the Edmonton Gay & Lesbian Community/Edmonton Police Service Liaison Committee which he co-chaired.
Keywords: Alberta Human Rights Commission; Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Delwin Vriend; Gay and Lesbian Awareness Society of Edmonton (GALA); Individual’s Rights Protection Act; Michael Phair; Notwithstanding clause; Sexual orientation; Supreme Court of Canada; The King’s College
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