Elizabeth (Liz) Rowley is a politician, writer, and political activist. Leader of the Communist Party (Ontario), and a leading member of the Communist Party of Canada, Rowley has been very active in the fight for public education and health care, local democracy, and for labour and civil rights.
Born in British Columbia, Elizabeth attended university in Edmonton, Alberta and was active campaigning on issues such as women’s reproductive rights and an end to the Vietnam War. After travelling across the country, she moved to southern Ontario, and worked as a typesetter apprentice and secretary in Windsor and later Hamilton.
In Hamilton Elizabeth was involved in campaigns against racism. She also became active the local labour movement and municipal politics.
Elizabeth moved to Toronto in the late 1980s after being elected leader of the CPC (Ontario), one of the first women leaders of an Ontario political party. She was active in the team that put together the Figueroa case, to defend the legal status of the Communist Party as a registered political party, which was an important democratic victory for Canada (read more about the legal case here).
In the 1990s Elizabeth was elected school trustee in the former Toronto borough of East York. She became an outspoken progressive voice and was active in campaigns against the Mike Harris Tories including the Ontario Days of Action.
After her term as school trustee, Elizabeth returned to the leadership of the CPC (Ontario). She has campaigned strongly to opposed the free trade agreements that she believes threaten public services, is a promoter of public education and medicare, and has promoted civil rights and labour causes. She has worked hard to build the party, and has helped re-establish party organization across the province.
Elizabeth is regular columnist for the People’s Voice, a cross-Canada socialist newspaper. She has spoken internationally at conferences in Europe, Latin America, and India. She has also written articles and essays on public resistance in Canada that have been published around the world.
Elizabeth has most recently been outspoken on issues such as proportional representation, the G20 arrests in Toronto, the Rob Ford administration, migrant and immigrant rights in Toronto, pensions, and labour issues.
Elizabeth and her family live in Toronto.