Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, we all lost a keen and valued colleague at the end of December. In many ways, the passing of the Honourable Elaine McCoy brought to light, as others have said this afternoon, the very real distance the Senate has come in its reforms and independence over the past four to six years. I echo those thoughts of non-partisan developments that Senator Dean articulated last night.
I do not believe that any of us ever forgets the day we were appointed to this august chamber of sober second thought — the honour, the humility, the anticipation of what lay ahead, the tremendous responsibility to our province and to all Canadians that came with our appointment. In the midst of those overwhelming thoughts and emotions that tumbled within me that late October 2016 came the many, much-appreciated calls of welcome. Senator McCoy made one of those early calls to me.
Her genuine welcome, her grace, wit, depth of knowledge of parliamentary process and her obvious love of the Senate and its work was clearly evident. So too was her steadfast love of Western Canada and her province of Alberta.
Elaine McCoy, like me, was born in Manitoba, her birthplace being Brandon. Her pre-Senate background as senior legal counsel in energy in Alberta, her seven years as a member of the Alberta Legislature for Calgary West and her time as an Alberta cabinet minister served her well when she arrived in this chamber. The breadth and depth of her work and interests, her vision, her key role in forming the ISG, and her dedication to the rules and procedures of the Senate was inspiring, certainly to me. This elegant, experienced and dedicated woman was also very articulate — with or without a speech prepared in advance. Her ability to construct cogent arguments, based on fact, on the spot, is indeed an enviable gift.
Senator McCoy was also a key mentor to many. She certainly was for me as a new senator when the ISG was young and small. I remember well one instance in particular and very much valued her endorsement of a position I took based on the principles of my past experiences. At that point, I didn’t have enough Senate experience on which to base whatever point of view I took that particular day.
As a fellow westerner, I applaud Senator McCoy’s unwavering, steadfast support for all things and issues affecting Alberta. Canada was fortunate indeed to have Elaine McCoy give so ably of herself in her legal profession, in her home legislature and here in the Senate of Canada. I am fortunate to have had her as a colleague.
I thank her. I offer my condolences to her family and friends and province. May she rest in peace. Thank you.