The Late Joan Fraser

By: The Hon. Terry Mercer

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Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, it is with great sadness that I learned in March of the passing of my dear friend Joan Fraser of Halifax.

Joan grew up in New Brunswick and later moved to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, to attend Acadia University. Upon graduation, she worked for Imperial Oil and Trans-Canada Airlines in Halifax and was eventually appointed as a judge in the Court of Canadian Citizenship.

Following this, Joan was executive director of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia until her retirement in 2002.

Joan will be most remembered for her community work. She had a sharp political mind and always showed commitment to the cause — through hard work and perseverance — with a touch of fun and always with a smile that would light up a room.

Joan served on many volunteer boards and advisory committees. From the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women to the board of directors of the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Joan loved being an advocate for people.

Honourable senators, Joan was the Liberals’ Liberal. For the countless who knew her, many in the Liberal Party went to the “Joan Fraser School of Politics.” In fact, I am one of her “graduates” and learned a lot from her. I am very proud to be a feminist and credit Joan for her guidance and being a leader on women’s issues.

Making a phone call and/or going door to door to campaign are at the heart of any winning strategy, and Joan made sure you went to see and talk to the people. Joan believed in people — that people can make a difference and that people’s opinions need to be respected.

Honourable senators, Joan was never afraid to speak truth to power and she was right to do so. Her tenacious determination and her warm and genuine soul will be missed by so many. My condolences to Susan, Janice and Peter, her family and friends and all who knew her. We will miss you, Joan.

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