Senator Bernard’s tribute to the Honourable Patricia Bovey

By: The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard

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Castle Mountain, Alberta

Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, I must say that it is difficult to speak after these last two speeches, in particular; I know that we are near the end. It is actually with a heavy heart that I rise today to pay tribute to the Honourable Senator Bovey.

Senator Bovey and I were appointed to the Senate at the same time. All along, I have appreciated her unwavering support, her dedication to issues of equity and inclusion, her allyship and, most importantly, her friendship.

As grandmothers and seatmates, we have developed an even stronger bond, sharing stories and, yes, laughter. Her sense of humour is infectious. Her dedication to the arts and her leadership have brought more of an appreciation for diversity in art to this place. I have also learned much about the politics of the art world — and there she is laughing.

In honour of her retirement, I am going to recite a poem written by our mutual friend, the former parliamentary poet laureate George Elliott Clarke — Africadian artist extraordinaire. I pray I do justice to it:

A Portrait of Hon. Patricia Bovey, Senator

Senator Bovey is poised to retire

From this Red Chamber, site of les beaux-arts

Des débats. So, let Yousuf Karsh inspire

This sketch — the chiaroscuro of a star!

Her eye is keen — a Claire Weissman Wilks lens:

Perspective upon perspective aligns —

Accurate with what perception contends,

Spot on with what examination finds.

Like Emily Carr, she is totemic —

As blunt as black, as plain as white; and though

Never purple in sculpted polemic,

Always takes she first place: “The Best in Show.”

She scrutinizes every “masterpiece”

Of legislation; “takes the big picture”:

To tease technique from technicalities,

To tell cracks from fine lines and craquelure.

When the Honourable Senator leaves

This Chamber, practically her second home,

I will be just one of her peers who grieves,

Or faints, succumbing to Stendhal Syndrome —

Astonished by art without an equal,

Enthralled by an artist without sequel.

Senator Bovey, we wish you the very best as you move on to your next chapter.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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