Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 144, Issue 23

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


The Honourable Pat Carney, P.C.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, the province of British Columbia will lose a powerful and skilled advocate in the Senate when Pat Carney retires at the end of January.

Her departure marks the end of a storied 25 years in Parliament, during which time she blazed many trails for Canadian women. My first memories of her were in her role as a minister. She was an immense support and went out of her way to help the immigrant and visible minority organization through her friend Patsy George, while she was a Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre. The stories amongst my friends are abundant of how she helped many immigrant women obtain their goals.

It is her work in the Senate that I wish to highlight today. Many would say her legacy is lighthouses. I beg to differ. There is no question she has given a great deal to the preservation of maritime heritage, but I choose today to honour her work in two important areas: coastal community sustainability and Aboriginal women.

Throughout much of her time in the Senate, Pat Carney worked hard in opposition lobbying for projects that made a difference. She fully utilized her background in journalism, municipal planning and economic consulting. There is no question one of Pat Carney’s legacies in the Senate is the voice she gave to B.C. coastal communities in Ottawa.

The other legacy that should not be forgotten is her work to provide Aboriginal women access in Ottawa. She has tried, in vain at times, to get the Senate to do a report on the consequences and effects of Bill C-31, introduced in 1985, an act that intended to restore Indian status to Aboriginal women who had lost their status by marriage to non-Aboriginals. Repeatedly she has called attention to this issue, and the need for this type of study.

Honourable senators, I was deeply moved by the words of a B.C. native woman’s activist, Wendy Lockhart Lundberg, who recently wrote in the Vancouver Sun about what Pat Carney’s work meant in her life. She writes:

We would like to thank Pat Carney for her solid and consistent support. She was one of the first and few parliamentarians to acknowledge the marginalization and under-representation of native women in Canada in the very core legal and legislative issues that affect their human rights and interests.

She goes on to say:

Carney was instrumental in ensuring that both individuals and organizations participated in policy and legislative development. Among other things, she made sure that native women were provided with opportunities to speak in a variety of forums about the discriminatory provisions of the Indian Act that still affect them today.

We thank the senator for her leadership and we wish her a long and happy retirement. Our hands go up to her in honour and respect.

Today, I, along with everyone else in the chamber, wish to also raise my hands in respect. Senator Carney has spent so many years in public life, and I want her to know that people from British Columbia have appreciated her service.