2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 34

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Black History Month

The Honourable Anne C. Cools
The Honourable Don Meredith

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, when I was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2001, I remember the moment I first stood in this chamber and looked around at my colleagues. I was surrounded by former lawyers, judges, activists, ex-military professionals and distinguished journalists. Many of these individuals had given their lives to their professions, and now they were in this chamber ready to try to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.

Today, 13 years later, the Senate has been going through one of the worst periods of scrutiny since its inception. Yet, through all of this, or perhaps despite it, you all still continue to serve Canadians. I want to thank all of you for your work.

During this Black History Month, I would like to recognize Senator Don Meredith and Senator Anne Cools, who have done a lot of work for equality rights in Canada.

This past month, Senator Cools achieved a milestone by reaching 30 years as a sitting senator. She was appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau as the first Afro-Canadian senator to grace the Red Chamber. Through her experience working with Afro-Canadian women and youth, and as the founder of Canada’s first women’s shelter, Senator Cools has been an effective champion for the rights of women and children. She has also been a strong advocate for due process and thoughtful debate.

Senator Meredith has been passionate about the causes of justice and equality. He was appointed to the Senate three years ago. Yet, in that short time, he has been steadfast in his pursuit of equality for all Canadians. Senator Meredith knows all too well what pressures

affect impoverished youth in the community. As a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, Senator Meredith’s experience working with underprivileged youth has brought an essential perspective to the table. He has been outspoken about creating a national strategy to reduce violence amongst youth. He has also been very effective in ensuring that the World War heroes of colour, who have long since passed away, are given adequate observance today.

Senator Meredith has used his faith not as a wedge between communities but as a point of common ground. In a world that is exceptionally divided, whether through race, religion, income or ideology, Senator Meredith has been sure to give everyone an equal voice, both in his work as a senator and as a private citizen.

During this year’s Black History Month, I want to recognize Senator Meredith and Senator Cools for their work toward the betterment of our communities.