Joyce Fairbairn

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The Honourable
Joyce Fairbairn
Senator for Lethbridge, Alberta
In office
June 29, 1984 – January 18, 2013
Appointed by Jeanne Sauvé
Personal details
Born (1939-11-06) November 6, 1939 (age 74)
Lethbridge, Alberta
Political party Liberal

Joyce Fairbairn, PC (born November 6, 1939) was a Canadian senator and was the first woman to serve as Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Fairbairn worked as a journalist in the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa before being hired as a legislative assistant to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1970. In 1981, she became Communications Coordinator in the Prime Minister's Office. On June 29, 1984, just prior to leaving office, Trudeau recommended her for appointment as a Liberal senator for Alberta, her home province.

She has also had various positions in the Liberal Party, including Vice-Chair of the National and Western Liberal Caucus from 1984 to 1990, and Co-chair of the Liberal Party of Canada Election Readiness Committee in 1991.

When the Liberals returned to power after the 1993 election, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appointed Fairbairn to the Canadian Cabinet as Government Leader in the Senate and Minister with special responsibility for Literacy. She served in Cabinet until 1997. She has been Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, and the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act. She sat on the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry until June 2012.[1]

In August 2012, it was reported that Fairbairn has taken indefinite sick leave from the Senate due to the onset of Alzheimer's disease.[1] It was subsequently revealed that Fairbairn had been declared legally incompetent in February but had continued voting in the Senate until June.[2] The Fairbairn case has led to calls for the Senate to establish rules to address similar situations should they arise in the future.[3] It was announced on November 30, 2012, that she had tendered her resignation to the Governor General with effect from January 18, 2013.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McGregor, Glen (August 22, 2012). "Liberal Senator Joyce Fairbairn to take sick leave after Alzheimer's diagnosis". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Liberal senator Fairbairn allowed to vote months after dementia diagnosis". The Star Phoenix. August 27, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ Smith, Joanna (August 28, 2012). "Joyce Fairbairn’s voting shakes public’s confidence, says Tory senator". Toronto Star. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ Galloway, Gloria (November 30, 2012). "Liberal Senator Joyce Fairbairn set to retire following dementia diagnosis". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 

External links[edit]

26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Lowell Murray Leader of the Government in the Senate
1993–1997
Alasdair Graham