The Late Honourable Elaine McCoy, Q.C.—Tribute—Sen. Munson

By: The Hon. Jim Munson

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Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, so many senators have spoken about a person we cared so much about: Elaine McCoy, a Western woman; Elaine McCoy, a free spirit; Elaine McCoy, a fierce debater; Elaine McCoy, a voice of reason.

On the in memoriam page on our Senate website, I love the words from Senator Black, who is also from Alberta:

This was a woman who just cared. She cared about her friends. She deeply cared about public service . . . .

She never forgot where she came from and that’s why I think she was so effective.

Those are very important words from Doug Black: “She never forgot where she came from . . . .” I think we all bring to this chamber a sense of where we come from. We all have a pride of place, and that’s a good thing. It is those values we share with others that make this a great country. Elaine McCoy loved to hear other views, but she was never afraid of giving her own.

One of the remarkable things about this place is that you do get to learn from others. As a former reporter, I was always supposed to be objective, but I am a person from the East and when I covered the West, I did not always appreciate the Western voice. You know who helped set me straight? Elaine McCoy. It may have taken a lifetime, but I got to understand the Western view, and it was Elaine McCoy who helped me along the way. Her dissertations on Alberta energy and environment should be read by all Canadians. I walked away with a better understanding of the Western view and, more so, the Western reality.

The original slogan of the Reform Party was, “The West Wants In.” Elaine McCoy was not a Reformer but a Progressive Conservative who instinctively understood what the West wanted — respect and to be a player on the national stage. She helped shape that argument during her years in the Peter Lougheed government and, later, here in the Senate.

She did it her way, the McCoy way, with a steely determination. But when the sittings were over, she could be found in her soft-lit Centre Block office with a welcoming smile, a glass of wine or something a little stronger and a desire to keep the conversation going. After all, it was only midnight.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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