Tribute to the Honourable Lillian Eva Dyck – Sen. Bovey

By: The Hon. Patricia Bovey

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Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, one of the perks of being appointed to the Senate of Canada was to work alongside the Honourable Dr. Lillian Dyck and most recently as her colleague in the Progressive Senate Group. What an honest visionary and stalwart defender of principle and humanity she is.

As a prairie senator, it was clear to me that the substance of her academic and Senate careers was significant, but the manner in which she delivered her strong principles and the voices of the prairies, Canada’s First Nations peoples and Canadians of multiple diversities was truly inspirational.

I will never forget the first committee meeting I attended as a new senator. It was the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, chaired by former Senator Dyck, when Bill S-3, An Act to Amend the Indian Act, was a topic of discussion. Senator, your warm welcome was much appreciated and the role you played as chair was memorable. I thank you.

I have rarely stayed in Ottawa over weekends, but I’m so pleased I stayed for one weekend in particular. Lillian, you know the weekend I mean. It was several years ago when the National Arts Centre was celebrating Indigenous arts and culture and presented that wonderful performance of the play Café Daughter, depicting your life. It was a real highlight. Learning of the mountains you had to scale given your duel heritage as an Indigenous Canadian and one of Chinese roots, not to mention the sudden change in your youthful life with the passing of your mother and the subsequent discrimination you suffered at school, was truly moving.

Your academic determination was not lost on any of us. Few will ever attain your stature as a full professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Psychiatry with a specialty as a neuropsychiatrist. Your study of Alzheimer’s disease is so important, and I thank you on a personal level.

Your leadership as a role model for youth is admirable. I know that was extended particularly to Indigenous youth, but please know your message is just as impactful to non-Indigenous youth. Your approach is doing so much for the steps of “reconciliACTION,” ensuring reconciliation. I thank you.

Lillian, I’m not going to repeat the heartfelt words from other colleagues about your many accomplishments, but I do wish you all the best and every success in your next steps serving Canadians, which I know you will do. In doing so, I thank you for all the contributions you have made as a senator in this chamber of sober second thought. Thank you.

Please click here to read more tributes to the Honourable Lillian Eva Dyck

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