Senator Cordy’s tribute to the Honourable Patricia Bovey

By: The Hon. Jane Cordy

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Maman statue, Ottawa

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, isn’t it amazing how artists capture us — how they capture the world. We need art. We need the beauty, the truth and the points of view that are reflected back to us. Art is everywhere; it surrounds us, and sometimes we somehow manage to miss it. Art defines us and shapes us — it helps to shape what we do here, and it defines and influences debate on public policy and government. The importance of art in public discourse is too often minimalized or taken for granted.

Artists sometimes need champions — those who know their value and advocate tirelessly on their behalf. Senator Bovey has been one of those champions. Throughout the entirety of her career as an art historian, museologist, gallery director, professor and arts consultant, she has spent a lifetime working on behalf of Canadian artists in her home province of Manitoba, across Canada and throughout the world.

This continued with her appointment to the Senate of Canada in 2016. As a senator, she made it a focus to promote, celebrate and protect Canadian artists. This included introducing bills such as Bill S-208 and Bill S-202, as well as bringing Canadian art within the walls of the Senate of Canada building. Most notably, she curated the first ever installation of works by Black Canadian artists to be displayed in the Senate of Canada. She’s also been a tireless promoter of Indigenous artists and protecting their livelihoods from the counterfeit trade.

Colleagues, Senator Bovey has been a strong voice for Manitobans in Ottawa, and has been an invaluable member of our group. As we — the Progressive Senate Group, or PSG — were finding our footing as a new group, Senator Bovey was the first to decide to join our small but mighty group. In many ways, her optimism was a big part of the early and continued success of the Progressive Senate Group.

I, for one, have appreciated being able to lean on her and bounce ideas off her — always assured that I would receive her honest, measured thoughts. I will miss our dinners together where we had many discussions and many laughs, and solved many problems.

As you take your retirement from this place, you can take comfort knowing that you have served your province and Canadians well. You have been a wonderful colleague. We will miss your presence in the Senate.

You are so deserving of this time with your family, particularly your grandchildren, and they are deserving of the energy and time that you have so generously shared with us over the past seven years. Knowing you, I imagine that your days will remain as full as ever, promoting and championing Canadian art, artists and the Senate.

I hope that you will also allow yourself some time to rest. Enjoy this fresh canvas for this fresh new adventure. I wish you the very best.


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