Skip to content

Chapter activist Gwyn Frayne passes away

Gwyn Frayne and Maude Barlow

Photo: Gwyn and Maude Barlow, May 2014.

The Council of Canadians is mourning the passing of Comox Valley chapter activist Gwyn Frayne.

Gwyn’s activism with the Council of Canadians was noted in numerous campaign blogs. Notably, she spoke out against frackingthe Raven coal mine, high tuition fees for university students, the Northern Gateway pipeline, the purchase of F-35 fighter jetsdeep integration with the United States, and on many other issues. She was also a keen supporter of the peaceful direct action coalition.

Of the Northern Gateway pipeline, Gwyn said, “Protecting our environment includes our forest lands, our rivers and our ocean. Putting a pipeline across the first two and tankers across the latter will put the future in jeopardy. The land, water and animals are all at risk if we allow a pipeline to transport oil to tankers. The Council of Canadians Comox Valley chapter supports the First Nations which are trying to safeguard their traditional territories. They are trying to save their lands and their livelihoods and they have put themselves on the line for their principles. In the process they are teaching all of us how democracy could work.”

Gwyn was a medical social worker in Montreal, Ontario and the United States before moving to Courtenay, British Columbia in 1991.

In January, the Comox Valley Record reported, “When some would be sad and depressed, Gwyn Frayne is still smiling and inspiring others. The 79-year-old well-known and much-loved Comox Valley activist has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Frayne was told this devastating news in mid-December, and was given six to 18 months to live at that time. But, even when talking about the fact that she’s dying, Frayne keeps a positive, upbeat attitude, without a hint of sadness or regret.”

Gwyn said, “I’ve always thought, and experienced, that death was part of life; it is not a separate thing and it doesn’t need to be hushed up. Cancer used to be talked of in whispers, and even a lot of people who’ve never known someone who died are afraid of death. I think it is part of life and so that’s how I’m dealing with it. At Christmas I had my two youngest grandkids visiting and they were able to hear this normalizing of death and there wasn’t any crying or anything; it was very good. I was very happy.”

Gwyn was a caring person who showed us all how to be an exemplary activist and who also gave us an enduring lesson in how to face our own mortality with courage. She will be deeply missed.

The Council of Canadians extends our sympathies and condolences to Gwyn’s family, friends and fellow chapter activists.