Betty Dubé with her daughters, campaigned for Maple Ridge mayor and was elected in 1974. (Maple Ridge Museum)

Betty Dubé with her daughters, campaigned for Maple Ridge mayor and was elected in 1974. (Maple Ridge Museum)

LOOKING BACK: Women involved in Maple Ridge politics for decades

A look at local women in public office as the U.S. inaugurates its first female vice president

by Dr. Shea Henry/Special to The News

This week, the United States is scheduled to inaugurate its first female Vice-President. Kamala Harris is crashing through a huge glass ceiling as the most senior woman to serve in the United States government and the first African-American and Asian-American Vice President. Looking closer to home, who have been the women to break the political glass ceiling here in Maple Ridge?

Betty Dubé was the first female mayor for the district of Maple Ridge, elected to the office in 1974.

Betty Dubé was born in 1926 in Montreal and moved to British Columbia in 1951 after being widowed with one child. She would eventually remarry and together her and her husband would build a home in Whonnock. Sadly she was again widowed in 1968. While building her political career in local politics, Dubé was a devoted foster parent to over 200 children in her lifetime. She was honored in 1991 by the B.C. Lieutenant Governor for her outstanding work in the foster care system.

Dubé had served as a city councillor since 1969 and entered the mayoral position at a time when Maple Ridge was celebrating 100 years since it’s incorporation in 1874. To celebrate Maple Ridge 100, Dubé was inaugurated in full Victorian garb to highlight our district’s history.

Dubé was mayor from 1974-1975, a time when Maple Ridge was shifting quickly from the rural farming community it was during Solomon Mussallems tenure, to the urban community we know today. These growing pains had to be eased with new municipal sewer treatment, ever present tax adjustments, road building, and something we take for granted today but was quite significant then, the installation of street lights in the district.

To campaign for the needed municipal changes, immediately after her inauguration as mayor she traveled to Victoria to follow up with the initiates of the previous council, including the controversial routing of a new highway to the south of the Haney townsite (the Haney bypass). While she was not mayor for the ground-breaking of the Haney Bypass, she did have an active role in making it a reality.

Betty Dubé remained active in district politics after her defeat in 1975, serving as a school trustee and remaining in public service of the city and province.

Dubé has since been followed by Belle Morse (1991-1993), Kathy Morse (2002-2005), and Nicole Read (2014-2018) as female mayors of Maple Ridge.

While Betty Dubé was the first female mayor of Maple Ridge, her predecessors as first female mayor in Canada was in 1936, and in British Columbia with Peachland’s first female mayor in 1944.

On the national level, Maple Ridge has been part of many electoral districts over the years as our population grew and district lines were drawn and redrawn. Our first female representative in parliament was Joy Langan, elected as an MP in 1988.

Shea Henry is the Maple Ridge Museum executive director

– Got a news tip? Email us at We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Bashaw Historymaple ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge and Langley Township have made the Smart21 list.
Virtual conference co-hosts Maple Ridge and Langley Township make list of Smart21

21 communities shortlisted for Intelligent Community of the Year after online event

Snowfall warnings Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 for parts of the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon. (Jennifer Feinberg/The Chilliwack Progress)
Winter storm warnings Thursday for Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon

Snow is expected to become heavier as day progresses with snowfall amounts of up to 30 centimetres

Annemieke Vrijmoed sent in this photo that for her captures the magic of the Fraser River.
SHARE: The magic of the Fraser River

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Members of Katzie First Nation got into the spirit of Pink Shirt Day with honking, car decoration, and drumming. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)
Katzie First Nation recognizes Pink Shirt Day with ‘honking’ parade

Community rallies together to promote anti-bullying message

COVID-19 (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposures at schools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Alexander Robinson and Edit McDermott are latest elementary schools exposed

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Court makes public ‘abbreviated’ reasons for judgment in Surrey Six slaying appeals

Six men were murdered in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing escalates to stabbing in Nanaimo

Victim, struck with coffee cup and then stabbed, suffers minor injuries; suspect arrested

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police stopped car riddled with bullets in Whalley Monday night. (Photo: CFSEU)
Police seize two pounds of pot, $25K from Surrey car riddled with bullet holes

This was in the neighbourhood of 104th Avenue and Whalley Boulevard on Monday night

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Most Read