Senator Sharon Burey and Senator Rebecca Patterson—Congratulations on Appointments

By: The Hon. Jane Cordy

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Women Are Persons Monument, Ottawa

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, I’m pleased to once again join other leaders in what feels like a now regular and indeed very positive occurrence. Today, we have another two senators taking their places in this chamber, and I would like to extend the same warm greetings to them as I have to those who came before.

With your arrival, Senator Burey, we are gaining a champion for equality and justice, particularly for those in marginalized communities. I dare say that will make for a seamless transition to working in the Senate, although you’ll be surrounded by fewer children in this place.

As has been noted, you were the first woman of colour to become president of the Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario. In this place, it’s been over 40 years since we have had a senator representing your city of Windsor, and you are the first woman — and the first person of colour — to fill that role. We all know that being able to see oneself reflected in particular positions can have a tremendous impact, and I know that so many people — and especially children — will benefit from seeing you take your place in this chamber.

Being from Nova Scotia, I was very pleased that you were a graduate of Dalhousie University and that you worked at the IWK Health Centre.

Senator Patterson, with your arrival, we are gaining a champion for women — a Defence Champion for Women, to be more precise. As we’ve heard, you were the first person with a military nursing background to lead at the rank of Flag (General) Officer. Your work has taken on many different directions, but always in the service of others. One of your most recent efforts — helping seniors in long-term care facilities during the pandemic — is particularly commendable.

In a committee in the other place, you said that “Establishing a culture of belonging, dignity and justice will help unite us.” You were, of course, speaking about the Canadian Armed Forces and the work you’ve done there, but I think it’s a fitting statement for many places, including our own chamber. We work best when we are working under the right conditions, and I’m pleased to have more new faces to help us with that task here.

By the way, my brother-in-law, Dennis Hearn, who worked with you in the military, said that I would love working with you because we both have similar personalities. So if you see me staring at you or listening intently, I’ll be checking out your personality.

Senators, through your respective careers to date, you have both faced tremendous challenges, and you have both tackled them admirably. With this new chapter in your lives, I am certain that you will equally rise to the occasion.

On behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, it is my pleasure to officially welcome you both to the Senate of Canada. We look forward to working with you both, Senator Burey and Senator Patterson.

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