The Honourable Nancy J. Hartling

By: The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard

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Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, it is my pleasure to rise today — on this Algonquin Anishinaabe territory — for my annual National Social Work Month statement. I pay tribute to all social workers, but I have a special tribute I want to pay today to my fellow social worker, Senator Nancy Hartling.

I first met Senator Hartling in November 2016 at a television interview regarding our appointments to the Senate. We soon realized how much we have in common. We were both born in Nova Scotia, and we were both social workers for over 30 years. We both had a sister named Valerie who had transitioned far too soon. We also share the most rewarding job in life: being a grandmother. And we are both social workers moonlighting as senators.

During our time in this place, Senator Hartling and I have collaborated on a number of issues, most notably our collective work on the Human Rights Committee. We have also worked together to make social work more visible by being co-sponsors of the Social Work on the Hill events that we have held since 2020 on site and virtually.

This year’s theme for National Social Work Month is “Seven Points of Unity: Many Possibilities” in commemoration of the “Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, Values and Guiding Principles.”

Senator Hartling’s unwavering commitment to social work and social justice is reflected in these seven shared values. I see them in action. Senator Hartling founded and ran the organization Support to Single Parents Inc., supporting the unique needs of single parents in New Brunswick for over 34 years. Senator Hartling was a founding member of St. James Court Inc., which offered housing for single parents.

I admire Senator Hartling’s valuable contributions in supporting and advocating for these families — not some of the time, and not just during National Social Work Month, but all of the time.

Senator Hartling, thank you for reminding us every day of the many possibilities for the future of social work in Canada, and how we can help move the dial through our work here in the Senate. Asante. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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