Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize National Social Work Month. I am often introduced as a former social worker and a former social work educator. Well, let me tell you that I never stopped being a social worker. Now I just do it here in the Senate. Every single day, I bring my social work lens to debates and deliberations.
Social work is often divided into two silos. The first is front-line social work, and the second is developing social policy and social work research. During my time in the Senate, I have been collaborating with the Canadian Association of Social Workers with a shared agenda to empower social workers to have a presence and to use their voices in the creation of social policy and legislation.
My parliamentary research assistant Anne-Marie Hay is also a social worker who embodies the sentiment of social work in the Senate. Anne-Marie was my first student in the Senate and started in my office while completing a master’s degree in social work at Carleton University. When I was appointed to the Senate, I decided to provide social work students with an opportunity to do their practicum placements in my Senate office. Anne-Marie shares my passion for social justice and racial justice, and that is evident in all the work we do together. I see many social work students shy away from policy — and, in fact, some run away from policy — but Anne-Marie’s passion for social justice in social work is a perfect example of why it is important to have social workers in policy positions.
Anne-Marie, thank you for the essential social work that you bring to our team in all aspects of our work.
Honourable senators, please join me in thanking all social workers for the important, essential work they do every day. Asante. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.