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Tribute to Senator Keating


Honourable senators, on February 4, 2020, I welcomed Judith Keating to the Senate. It is with great sadness that I now bid her farewell. In my welcome, I touched on Senator Keating’s impressive career, how she was designated as a provincial chair of the All Nations and Parties Working Group on Truth and Reconciliation, how she served as Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General for New Brunswick. She was, in fact, the first woman to serve as New Brunswick’s Deputy Minister of Justice.

Senator Keating was the founder of New Brunswick’s Women in Law. In 2015, she received the Muriel Corkery-Ryan Q.C. Award of the Canadian Bar Association’s New Brunswick branch, granted to recognize the outstanding contributions of an individual to the profession as well as their significant role in the mentorship of women.

With such a distinguished track record, she could have easily coasted on her previous accomplishments after being appointed as a senator. This was not the Judith Keating we knew.

She landed in the Red Chamber and hit the ground running. As a result, her impact on the Senate far exceeds what one would expect from the short 14 months she served in the Senate, and during the disruption of COVID-19 at that.

Within weeks of joining the Senate, she co-led an ISG working group on the legislative review process of our group, resulting in the development of a new approach to the work of what we call “legislative leads” in the ISG.

She then volunteered with Senator Cotter to be the legislative lead on Bill C-7; medical assistance in dying. She modelled for her colleagues an approach to the rigorous and comprehensive review of legislation, working collaboratively with other ISG senators.

In her capacity as senator, Judith Keating was one of 38 parliamentarians who lent their support to New Brunswick’s Clinic 554, a clinic that provided access to women’s reproductive rights and services for the 2SLGBTQ+ community. She was both learned in her arguments in support of the clinic and passionate in her defence of it.

I extend my condolences on behalf of the ISG to Senator Keating’s family and friends, the people of Fredericton and New Brunswick. Her loss is felt by all of us in this chamber and it is fitting that we are paying tribute to her today.

Goodbye my friend.