Congratulations to the Honourable Michèle Audette on Honorary Doctorate

By: The Hon. Amina Gerba

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Red tulips, Ottawa

Hon. Amina Gerba: Honourable senators, in this National Indigenous History Month, I would like to introduce you to someone who needs no introduction, an exceptional person, whom I consider today as a sister in the great Senate family. Yes, I would even say a twin sister, because we were appointed on the same day, July 29, 2021, as independent senators from Quebec to the Senate of Canada. I chose to present her to you today because yesterday was another great day for this great and inspiring lady, who received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa. I’m talking about my very dear Michèle Audette.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Gerba: Born to a Quebec father and an Innu mother, Senator Audette has played a key role in the transformation of relations between Indigenous peoples and Quebec and Canadian society since the 1990s. At only 27 years old, she was elected president of Quebec Native Women Inc. In 2004, she was appointed Associate Deputy Minister of Quebec’s Secretariat for the Status of Women. She served as president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada from 2012 to 2015. In 2015, she helped create an innovative graduate program in Indigenous public administration for the National School of Public Administration.

The Honourable Michèle Audette was appointed as one of five commissioners to lead the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Since 2019, she has held the position of assistant to the Vice Rector of Academic and Student Affairs and senior adviser for reconciliation and Indigenous education at Université Laval.

Senator Audette has an inspiring career that has allowed her to receive countless recognitions, including the Women of Distinction Award in the Inspiration category from the Montreal Women’s Y Foundation. In addition, to highlight her admirable dedication to the cause of Indigenous women, the Université de Montréal also awarded her an honorary doctorate. Our country should consider itself lucky to have a leader like her in the upper house of Parliament.

Dear friend and “twin sister,” the Honourable Clément Gignac and I were marked by your speech delivered in front of hundreds of young graduates, all equally enthralled.

Congratulations on this umpteenth recognition. Continue to share love as you do around you. It is very contagious, and it is the main ingredient needed for reconciliation. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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