We opened 2012 celebrating the life and passion of CPJ’s co-founder Gerald Vandezande. A member of the Order of Canada and a tireless Christian activist throughout his life, Gerald passed away in July 2011. Yet in a two-day event in February, and in our pursuit of public justice throughout 2012, we continued to look to Gerald’s example for inspiration.
Public justice on the political agenda
Poverty elimination continues to be a critical policy goal for Citizens for Public Justice. This work was carried on through our leadership of Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada, and our in-depth research and analysis of poverty in Canada. Several events served to keep poverty on the agenda, including: Read more »
I rise today to place into our national record my commendation of a very extraordinary Canadian; a man who was not only a champion of justice, a voice for the voiceless, and a man deep and compelling faith, but a mentor and cherished friend. His name was Gerald Vandezande.”Read more »
Please join Gerald’s friends and family in an evening and the following morning designed to remember the work of this tireless Christian activist, member of the Order of Canada and a founder of Citizens for Public Justice, who passed away in the summer of 2011.
Time and Place:
On Friday February17, 2012, beginning at 7 p.m. at First Christian Reformed Church of Toronto, 67 Taunton Road. (Taunton Road is centrally located, one block east of Mount Pleasant Road, just south of Eglinton Avenue East.) Read more »
An unusual person has left our company on this earth, he who was a relentless, indefatigable and blessed peace-maker. Gerald changed the direction of my life for good, as he did for many others.
So as friends and acquaintances we mourn the loss of Gerald with you family members who will now miss husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, and fellow believer. But we also offer joyful thanks to God for Gerald’s stimulating life among us these years as he championed the cause of bringing compassionate justice to others, especially those who had no advocate, like the poor, in the circles of governing power. Read more »
It has not been easy for Gerry in the last years. Sometimes in conversation he would tap the side of his head to get that thought out. But even with that, Gerald was still phoning politicians, involved with social advocacy groups, helping family.
Gerald was driven by His God, driven by social responsibility.
But social responsibility sometimes meant that he was not there with his family, even when he wanted to, especially in the early years when Gerry was criss-crossing the country building an organization. And for that we thank you Wynne, Janice and Karen.
He had the courage of his convictions, even if you disagreed with him.
It is only with Gerald’s special optimism that he saw growth in early years, even when he went to cities and towns where some meetings only started with 7 or 17 people.
There is a strong minority here that have the same values as Gerry, and I want to emphasize a strong minority. Read more »
If, as Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, the ultimate measure of a man is where he stands at times of challenge and controversy, Gerald Vandezande was truly an exceptional man. Gerry, as he liked to be known, never backed down from a challenge when it came to the causes he believed in. During his career as a public policy analyst and social justice advocate, Gerry took to his public justice pulpit to speak on a number of different issues affecting Canadian society. These issues included everything from aboriginal rights, economic development and educational equality to poverty and refugee rights.
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Born on a snowy Christmas Day in 1933, in Ymuiden, the Netherlands, Gerald Vandezande lived his life reading and sharing the Gospel with others. Gerry, as he liked to be known, believed that as Christians it was our duty to integrate the teachings of the Bible into all aspects of our life. Gerry came to Canada in 1950, at the age of 17. After completing night school classes where he studied cost accounting, he moved to Sarnia, Ontario where he worked for the Bank of Montreal. It was in Sarnia that Gerry met the woman who would become his life companion, Wynne. The two settled down, Gerry taking a job as a cost accountant for the Ethyl Corporation. Life as a cost accountant, however, was not to be Gerry’s calling. Read more »