Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I rise today on behalf of our colleague Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard.
I rise to pay tribute to the former executive director of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Stephanie MacInnis-Langley. Stephanie is known most for her fierce advocacy for women in the gender-based violence and non-profit sector. Her unwavering commitment to social justice, women’s rights and women in politics has contributed to systemic change in Nova Scotia.
I first met Stephanie back in the 1990s while I was facilitating a workshop on unpacking White privilege. At that time, she was ahead of the curve when it came to applying an intersectional lens. Stephanie’s advocacy work is complex and multi-faceted.
In addition to promoting justice for women experiencing violence, she has been creating change within politics. She could see the unique challenges faced by women running for public office and how the community could benefit from seeing more women in office. Her vision for change led to the development of the Campaign School for Women. That work also led to an emphasis on diversity within the campaign school. This campaign school has supported many women to run for politics on every level, and some of those women have been successfully elected.
The success of the Campaign School for Women inspired the office of African Nova Scotian Affairs to use their blueprint to run a Campaign School for African Nova Scotians. I attribute the success of the program to the work centred around a key tenet to name the barriers and to break the barriers.
Stephanie has done so much to protect and promote women. What many people do not recognize about advocating for women’s rights is that the positive impact resonates throughout the entire community. What is good for women is good for everyone.
Stephanie, I have always admired your willingness to swim upstream and lead the change you want to see in Nova Scotia. Enjoy your well-earned retirement, although I suspect this retirement is just the close of one chapter, and the opening to the next.
Colleagues, please join me in celebrating and thanking Stephanie MacInnis-Langley. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.