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TRIBUTES: THE HONOURABLE LUCIE PEPIN

 

Honourable Senators, I am speaking today to pay tribute to Senator Lucie Pépin.

Being new to this chamber when I first came, I was impressed by the lady who sat just across from me who always seemed so calm and so self-assured, a manner I am still trying to emulate. Finding out she had a nursing background gave me somewhat of a kinship with her.

I would like to say that, having done some research on her impressive life for this tribute, I am filled with admiration for all of her accomplishments.

My honourable colleague has distinguished herself in both the private and public sectors, I think most impressively in the 1960s when she worked and helped to establish one of the first outpatient birth control clinics in Canada at a time when freedom of choice for women was not yet a reality.

Senator Pépin was at the forefront of the women's rights movement in Quebec. What a warrior!

What a warrior. It cannot have been easy to move public opinions and match words with action. Many of us can do one, rarely both. What tenacity.

Over the years, Senator Pépin has worked tirelessly for women's rights at both national and provincial levels, and was deeply involved in ensuring the entrenchment of women's rights in our Constitution.

Her work has been recognized on the international stage. My honourable colleague was a member of a World Health Organization task force. She travelled to Vietnam in 1996 to help prepare women for a life in politics.

Elected as the Member of Parliament for Outremont in 1984 and appointed to the Senate in 1997, she has spent a lifetime serving the Canadian public.

Honourable senators, I have not once asked for her support for various projects and not received her warm support. I am delighted today to pay tribute to this gracious woman who has won her place in Canadian history and in the hearts of those she represented.

Senator Pépin, I wish you all the best as you leave this chamber.