Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, I rise today on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, or PSG, to pay tribute to Senator Patterson. My tribute will be in the form of an imaginary award presentation. I wish to present Senator Patterson with an Unsung Hero Award from the Black community of Nunavut.
For context, in 2021, I was invited to travel to Nunavut by the President of the Nunavut Black History Society to be presented with a lifetime achievement award and to attend their Black History Month event. But, as we know, COVID-19 and life circumstances intervened, and I was not able to attend. However, media speculation about my planned trip to Nunavut had already taken place.
After seeing an article one evening, Senator Patterson called me to ask about my upcoming trip to Nunavut and inquired about where I had learned to breakdance. That newspaper got their facts mixed up and reported that I was going to Nunavut, funded by the federal government, to perform breakdancing as well as other talents at their Black History Month event. Colleagues, we both enjoyed a hearty laugh. As Stephanie Bernard — no relation to me — President of the Nunavut Black History Society shared:
Senator Patterson has been fully engaged with the Black community in Nunavut for over 10 years. We salute Senator Patterson for his heart for the community. He will be sorely missed as a senator of Nunavut. Our gratitude and love for him and his leadership will, however, constantly remain in our hearts.
Tanika Simmons says, “He is a true ally, and not just during Black History Month.”
Senator Patterson has been a great source of support for the Black community in Nunavut through his passion for representing and supporting all people in Nunavut. So today, it is my distinct pleasure to present you with this Unsung Hero Award from the Black community of Nunavut. On their behalf, I thank you for your years of dedicated service, support and commitment to the community.
Should you become bored during retirement, remember that breakdancing is now an Olympic sport. Asante. Thank you.