SENATORS’ STATEMENTS — The Late Honourable Landon Pearson

Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to a remarkable Canadian, former senator Landon Pearson.

The Children’s Senator, former Senator Pearson, dedicated her life to advocating for children and youth both here in Canada and around the world. For nearly seven decades, she has led the way on children’s rights and has transformed how children are viewed, not just here in Canada but around the globe. Her work as a champion for children began long before her time in the Senate. As you have heard, she served as vice-chair of the Canadian Commission for the UN International Year of the Child and chaired the Canadian Council on Children and Youth. 

She was a founding member and chairperson of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children from 1989 to 1994, when she was appointed here to the Senate.

As a senator, she was increasingly focused on giving children the space to advocate for themselves and went on to advise both the Chrétien and Martin government’s on children’s rights in Canada and abroad.

As we have heard, her retirement was not the end of her work but a new chapter. Shortly after retiring and founding the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights, she continued her work. She has been an adviser and mentor for me and many other people in this space.

Colleagues, much of what I have just said is well known to you and much more can be said, but I can personally attest to her kindness, wisdom and work ethic. Even past the age of 90 years, she was unrelenting in her devotion to Canada’s children. I remember when we were recently on a program together and she was a panellist speaking. She ripped off her oxygen to present, and we had to say, “No, put it back on, please.”

Over her entire career, former Senator Pearson was a trusted voice across Canada. She was often the glue that pulled together actors from across the country on children’s rights, a space that can be notoriously fragmented. She brought credibility and reputation. She carried weight because everybody knew she was the real deal.

A great senator and a great Canadian, she leaves a great legacy. May it be said of all of us who sit in this chamber that we strove to give our time and our voice to those who needed it most, that like our dear colleague Landon we gave true devotion to all Canadians.

To her children Hilary, Michael and Patricia and to her other family, friends and to her community, our deepest condolences. Know that you do not mourn her loss alone. Thank you.

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