1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 64

Thursday, October 20, 2016
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

The Late Honourable Isobel Finnerty

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise before you today to remember my good friend and our former colleague Senator Isobel Finnerty, who passed away earlier this month on October 3, 2016. Although she retired 10 years ago from the Senate, many of us here still miss her.

Prior to serving in this chamber, Senator Finnerty was well known for her work as a tireless organizer of the Liberal Party of Canada. She was an extremely dedicated member of the party.

Isobel was a believer in changing the social landscape of Canada. She always responded, “Why not?” when told that something was not possible.

Like so many others, I had the extraordinary opportunity of working with Senator Finnerty on numerous campaigns and in the Senate during her illustrious career.

She also made a valuable contribution to the people in this chamber and in the other place and in legislatures and assemblies all over our great nation. She served on 10 different committees while she was here and served as Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance as well.

Senator Finnerty worked extremely hard during her career to improve our political system and make it more inclusive. I often heard Prime Minister Chrétien state that if you want something done for the party, you can count on Isobel Finnerty.

Yes, we could all count on Isobel Finnerty. She will be remembered fondly, especially for her contribution to Canadian women. She played a critical role as a trailblazer in this country for all Canadian women wanting to become involved in political activism. Isobel was my mentor, as she was to countless other Canadian women.

I want to share one personal story with you. In 1999, when Isobel Finnerty became a senator, I invited her to Vancouver as I wanted her to see Vancouver with my eyes. I took her to the Punjabi market, to Chinatown and to some very underprivileged parts of Vancouver. She spoke to all she met. She would start, “I am Isobel, your senator. How can I help you”? You should have seen the shock in people’s eyes to be asked this question. That was Isobel.

Isobel, rest in peace. We will all miss you.