Today, on the occasion of black history month, we as a community come together to celebrate the rich heritage of Canadians of African and Caribbean descent from across our great nation.

Today, I am proud to honour one of my esteemed colleagues in the Senate.

A woman who deserves recognition for her fierce advocacy in addressing diversity and inclusiveness in Canada:

Senator Wanda Elaine Thomas Bernard.

To the Senate, Senator Bernard has brought with her a wealth of knowledge accumulated from her years serving as director of the Dalhousie University School of Social Work.

As the first African Nova-Scotian hired at the university, Senator Bernard faced adversity and negative comments from her colleagues.

Senator Bernard did not become bitter, she became stronger.

Senator Bernard went on to become a founding member of the Association of Black Social Workers, an organization dedicated to ensuring underrepresented communities have equal access to services critical to their wellbeing.

The Association of Black Social Workers provides community-based programs ranging from clinical counselling to professional development to ensure that all communities, particularly those of African descent, are given the opportunity to succeed and get ahead in life.

Senator Bernard is an agent for change and through her work it is obvious that she truly does live by her motto:

“Equity for all.”

I am proud to know a woman that strives to make a palpable difference in her community, the Senate Chamber and most of all for Canadians.

Senator Bernard’s passion as an advocate for social justice is only matched by her sincerity and kindhearted personality.

The Senate Chamber is a better place with her as the Chair of Human Rights Committee.

It is my honour to know and work alongside, Senator Bernard, a bold defender of equality.

On behalf of Canadians, Thank you Senator Bernard, for all you have done.

You truly are an agent for change and a role model.