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

By: The Hon. Jane Cordy

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Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I would like to add my voice to those paying tribute today to our friend and our colleague the Honourable Elaine McCoy. As others have already mentioned, she was a fierce advocate for Albertans and for her province of Alberta, and, of course, for Canada. She truly demonstrated what public service should look like, first as an MLA and provincial cabinet minister, and then here in the Senate where most of us got to know her.

When Senator McCoy was appointed in 2005 by the Right Honourable Paul Martin, she chose, as Senator Gold said earlier, to sit as a Progressive Conservative. This was despite the fact that they no longer had an official caucus. This was just the first example of how she charted her own path and stayed true to her own beliefs. Senator McCoy was very forthright about her own views, and it was clear that one of her main values was fairness — fairness to people and to the institution.

This was reflected in how she dealt with the partisan nature of politics. Senator McCoy was truly an independent senator. She understood that there are always competing viewpoints, but she worked hard to find ways to bridge those divides and to work across party lines for what she felt was in the best interest of Canadians.

This approach was also useful as she tackled the competing issues inherent within two of her passions: supporting Alberta and its energy sector while also advocating for the environment.

Senator McCoy could take complicated issues and simplify them. Though she was very serious about her work, she also had a wicked but subtle sense of humour. I was always impressed by her ability to stand in the chamber and deliver compelling arguments without any notes.

Her voice is one that will certainly be missed by many, not only within the Senate but across Alberta and throughout the country. On behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to her family and to her friends. Thank you.

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