Senator Statement Senator Jane Cordy January 29th, 2014
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, on behalf of Senator Jaffer, I rise to honour the public service of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the Honourable Linda Reid. In 1991, when Speaker Reid first ran for the Richmond East riding, no one expected her to win. Adding to that, there were not many women in British Columbia politics at the time. The odds were stacked against her. However, she won handily, and she emerged as an example to the many women in British Columbia who hope to enter politics. Since then, she has been re-elected five times consecutively, making her the longest serving MLA in British Columbia and the first MLA to serve 23 consecutive years. I am sure that she is the envy of many politicians.
In the 23 years that she has served, Speaker Reid has seen six British Columbia premiers come and go. She has served in government and in opposition. Yet in that time, she has never forgotten why she ran for public office in the first place. She has remained consistent in championing the causes that mean so much to her. She is passionate about the well-being of children and has been a leader in encouraging women's participation in politics.
Having once been a school teacher, Speaker Reid knows that women's ambitions to enter politics should be nurtured from a young age. For almost 30 years she has been a very strong supporter of British Columbia's Youth Parliament. She was awarded the first Outstanding Leadership Award by the British Columbia Youth Parliament for her work. She serves as honorary co-chair of the annual Women's Campaign School, which aims to get more women involved in the democratic process. More recently, she was elected Vice-Chair of the Canadian Region of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.
Speaker Reid also made history when she became the first woman in British Columbia to give birth to two children while in office. She set a standard for parenting within the legislature - a significant contribution in her ongoing work to bring more gender balance into British Columbia politics.
Speaker Reid has had an extraordinary career in politics. I know that she will continue to do great work. Her role as Speaker of the British Columbia Legislature is a testament to her great judgment and extensive experience.
Thank you, on behalf of the Senate of Canada, for serving British Columbians for the last 23 years; and welcome, Linda Reid, to the Senate of Canada.