Tribute to the Late Honourable Landon Pearson, O.C.: Senator Cardozo

By: The Hon. Andrew Cardozo

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Hon. Andrew Cardozo: Honourable senators, it is indeed my honour to pay tribute to one of the Senate’s legendary members, the Honourable Landon Pearson.

I am glad that we are being treated to some sounds from her great-granddaughter, who, like her great-grandmother, will be heard when she wants to be heard.

I have had the very good fortune to count Landon Pearson as a friend and as a mentor.

For many years, I had spoken of her as an outstanding senator who used her role in this place to advance the cause of her life, the rights of the child, and in so doing brought great honour to this institution.

Allow me to share my personal memories.

Some 10 years ago when a group of us were beginning the Pearson Centre, we went to meet with her to seek the family’s support in naming the think tank after her father-in-law, Lester B. Pearson, one of our most consequential prime ministers. From day one she had been a great supporter, adviser and participant in our work. I want to share one aspect of our friendship.

Colleagues, you will have all watched the TV series, “The Crown,” where the Queen would have regular meetings with British prime ministers. Well, I considered Landon Pearson to be our sort-of governor general at the Pearson Centre, as she was indeed the senior keeper of the Lester B. Pearson flame. We would meet regularly, although our get-togethers were never as crusty as those between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher.

Over the years, our get-togethers would begin with a discussion about the Pearson Centre and our priorities of the time, and gradually the conversation would shift to what was in the news domestically and globally. Sometimes she might pull out a clipping from a recent newspaper article, opine on it or ask me my opinion, and other times she might show me an important artifact from the Pearson era which she was about to dutifully donate to Library and Archives Canada or the Canadian Museum of History.

I always marvelled at those conversations because she would be discussing issues both in their very contemporary reality and in their historical sense, drawing from the front-row seat to Canadian history she had had throughout her adult life.

Colleagues, I want to draw to your attention two wonderful webinars that are on the Pearson Centre’s YouTube channel, called “Pearson TV.” One was recorded in April of last year, marking the one-hundred-and-twenty-fifth birthday of Lester B. Pearson, where Landon Pearson is in conversation with Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae.

The other webinar was recorded at the time of her ninetieth birthday, three years ago. It is a conversation with two of her granddaughters, Lucy and Rachel, each accomplished in their own careers. What you will see is a window into wonderful, warm conversations about family, children’s rights, domestic and global affairs and Canada, and you will marvel at one of the great Canadian families of our time who are deeply dedicated to public service.

Colleagues, I’m sure her many friends will share my view that we have all benefited enormously from the friendship of a great public servant and an outstanding senator.

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