1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 229

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to share with you my heartfelt experience at the grand opening of Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School.

Senator Tannas, Senator Hays and I attended on all of your behalf. Senator Tannas spoke from the heart about Senator Fairbairn, and I can sincerely say his words describing our friend and former colleague were heart-rending. Senator Tannas truly represented our chamber’s love for Senator Joyce aptly.

The Honourable David Eggen, Minister of Education of Alberta, also spoke beautifully about Senator Joyce Fairbairn’s contribution to Alberta. Each student was wearing a red t-shirt with Senator Joyce’s name on it. This sea of red would have made her — our lady in red — very happy.

I would like to quote Bill Bartlett, Principal of Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School:

There are so many examples of how our namesake worked, never for herself or for the spotlight, simply to support a just cause. We are off to a great start. As a school, we have been given a gift with Joyce’s legacy to guide us. We have a solid foundation on which we can build.

Honourable senators, I want to share with you the unconditional love the community has for Senator Fairbairn. Many people have stood by her, from Senator Munson, Len Kuchar, Glenn Miller and her loyal former assistant, Mary Ellen Shaffer.

Mr. Miller and Ms. Shaffer organized everything, down to every detail, to assure a beautiful display of Joyce’s memorabilia. Their love for Joyce knows no bounds.

I have known Joyce for many years. She used to stay at my home in Vancouver. One morning, she said that she had the weirdest dream. She said she heard terrible bagpipe music and was puzzled by this strange dream. I had to break it to her that my 10-year-old son Azool was learning how to play the bagpipes. She found it both strange and impressive that a young East Indian boy was learning to play the pipes.

Many years later when she heard my son Azool professionally play the bagpipes at a Liberal Party convention, she came up to me and said:

Now I understand. This is the true essence and strength of Canada.

Honourable senators, building the essence and strength of Alberta and Canada is what Senator Joyce Fairbairn dedicated her whole life to.

My dearest friend Senator Joyce, may your legacy continue to guide students to learn and thrive as this new community grows. It is a great privilege and honour to call you my friend. Your light shall never stop shining as bright in this chamber, but mostly for every student at Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School and for every Canadian. Your achievements are truly an inspiration to us all, especially to me. You will forever be remembered by Canadians. The naming of the school is just one of the many legacies you will leave.