Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I want to begin by thanking the Canadian Senators Group for giving me their statement time today.
Maya Angelou has said:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
What an amazing power we possess to make the world a better place when we wield it for good. One such person who embodied goodness and spread it so generously to others was Claudette Bradshaw. Claudette sadly passed away on March 26, 2022, following a battle with cancer.
Claudette served as an MP from 1997 to 2006, representing the riding of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe in New Brunswick. During her time on the Hill, she had been Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation, Minister responsible for La Francophonie, Minister of Labour and Minister of State for Human Resources Development.
From 1999 to 2004, she was Federal Coordinator on Homelessness. It is a well-known fact that Claudette often opened her apartment in Ottawa to her constituents. She made herself available whenever possible to meet, to chat and to encourage others, particularly young people.
While working on a task force on women entrepreneurs in 2003, I recall attending several meetings with Claudette. She regarded the work of the task force to be very important and generally wanted everyone who came in contact with the work to feel as though they mattered and could contribute in a meaningful way. Many people have developed a lifelong love affair with public service and humanitarian outreach because Claudette, or others like her, made them feel as if they could make a difference just by being themselves.
This is perhaps Claudette’s greatest legacy: the people she sent out into the world with a smile and one of her famous hugs to share and to spread love, making it multiply exponentially.
The project that was perhaps nearest and dearest to her heart was the Headstart program she founded in Moncton with her husband, Doug. This program has helped countless high-risk children and their families who struggle to meet their most basic needs, with early family intervention and support services. In the 50-plus years since the start of this initiative, I can only imagine the lives that have been and continue to be impacted because of Claudette’s vision of a brighter present that would hopefully lead to a better future.
In 2009, Claudette was appointed a member of the Order of New Brunswick, and in 2020 she received the New Brunswick Human Rights Award.
Honourable senators, Claudette Bradshaw was a bright light in this world. What is more, she did not keep that light to herself, but spent her energy lighting the candles of others so that they, too, would shine.
May we all shine so brightly. May we all care as deeply. May we all live as fully. Thank you, Claudette. My condolences to her family, friends and the many who loved her. Thank you.