Tribute to the Retiring Senator Lucie Pépin

Speeches

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I too would like to say a few words in honour of our colleague Senator Lucie Pépin.

As others have stated, Senator Pépin has spent a lifetime advocating for women's health and equality issues on both the provincial and federal levels. Beginning early in her career, Senator Pépin fought for women's reproduction and fertility rights. She has since been integral in ensuring legislation protecting women's rights to contraception and to having access to family planning clinics.

Senator Pépin was able to bring her passion for social issues to federal politics as the Member of Parliament for Outremont from 1984 to 1988. During her time in the House of Commons, she acted as opposition critic for the Status of Women. I remember being in awe of Senator Lucie Pépin when she came to Nova Scotia to speak to the Nova Scotia Women's Liberal Commission. Little did I know that I would be privileged enough to work with her over the years in the Senate of Canada. Senator Pépin was able to continue her efforts on Parliament Hill when she was appointed to the Senate in 1997.

I had the pleasure of serving with Senator Pépin on the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. During that time the committee undertook two major studies focused on Canada's health care system and Canada's mental health, mental illness and addiction policies. Both studies have highlighted many areas where Canada has to take steps to improve the care of Canada's most vulnerable.

Lucie, I must also applaud your efforts of support for the families of our military personnel. As many of our Canadian Armed Forces personnel are increasingly stationed around the world, their families are left behind. It is not an easy task for these partners of military personnel, who are often raising young children and moving around frequently. It is important for us to provide all the support we can for our military families. Your message of supporting our troops by supporting the military families is an important one.

Senator Pépin, on behalf of all Canadian women and the families of our troops, I want to express gratitude to you for all your efforts and many accomplishments over what has been an amazing career. So many owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

Lucie, my best wishes to you and to your family on your retirement.