Nancy Hartling, centre, stands with Senator Peter Harder and Senator Elaine McCoy before being sworn in during a ceremony in the Senate in Ottawa on November 15, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Nancy Hartling, centre, stands with Senator Peter Harder and Senator Elaine McCoy before being sworn in during a ceremony in the Senate in Ottawa on November 15, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Former Alberta cabinet minister turned Independent senator Elaine McCoy dies

OTTAWA — Sen. Elaine McCoy, who sat as an Independent from the day she was appointed to the upper chamber, has died.

McCoy died Tuesday in Ottawa. She was 74.

Born in Brandon, Man., McCoy began her career in politics in Alberta in the 1980s when she ran in the provincial riding of Calgary West to replace the retiring Peter Lougheed.

She was named a cabinet minister responsible for consumer affairs and women’s issues before being responsible for labour, human rights and the civil service.

In 2005, then-prime minister Paul Martin appointed her to the Senate.

She styled herself a Progressive Conservative even though that party in 2003 merged with the Canadian Alliance to form the modern Conservative Party of Canada.

She wore the title as symbol of what she called her fiscal conservatism and more progressive social values.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement that McCoy was a persuasive and unapologetic advocate for the province’s workers and energy sector.

That was on display in June 2019 when she rose in the Senate to speak against a government bill to enact an oil tanker moratorium along B.C.’s northern coast.

“No amount of public opinion should dictate to me what my job is. My job is to be the elder statesman,” she said at the time.

“To hide behind the Senate’s reputation or a particular group’s reputation in the Senate is a dereliction of duty.”

In 2016, she helped form the Independent Senators Group as the Trudeau Liberals looked to appoint senators that weren’t officially tied to any party caucus. The ISG is now the largest caucus within the Senate.

The prime minister said in a statement Tuesday that McCoy championed human rights and environmental causes, and was also a strong advocate for effective Senate modernization.

“A great Albertan, Senator McCoy was an accomplished lawyer who dedicated her life to protecting people, including through her work supporting several charitable organizations,” Justin Trudeau said.

“She was a dedicated public servant and will be missed.”

Senate Speaker George Furey in a statement called McCoy a respected member of the parliamentary community.

“She will always be remembered as a proud Albertan, an ardent defender of fairness, and a tireless champion for the people she represented,” his statement said.

Just Posted

An incredible closing ceremony capped off the 2019 Canada Winter Games. (File photo by SUSAN JUDGE/2019 Canada Winter Games)
2019 Canada Winter Games Legacy Fund Society hands out $655,000

35 not-for-profit groups across Alberta to get money

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and chief executive officer of Alberta Health Services, says COVID ICU patients have increased by more than 100 per cent in the past month. (Photo by The Government of Alberta)
Record number of people in ICU: says AHS president

The head of Alberta Health Services says hospital staff are treating more… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon Wheat Kings, the team announced Monday. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer Rebels acquire goaltender Connor Ungar, forward Liam Keeler in separate trades

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon… Continue reading

Alexander Michael Talbot, 29, was found guilty of operating a vehicle while prohibited, flight from police and vehicle theft in Red Deer provincial court recently. (Advocate file photo)
Man charged following police chases in central Alberta last summer is sentenced

Alexander Michael Talbot sentenced to 22 months in prison

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

Marlene Bird is shown in this undated handout provided by radio station CKBI. A Saskatchewan man who brutally attacked a woman and set her on fire has been denied parole. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CKBI **MANDATORY CREDIT**
Man who attacked, set fire to Indigenous woman in Saskatchewan denied parole

Man who attacked, set fire to Indigenous woman in Saskatchewan denied parole

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police don’t expect gang conflict to subside, say it might escalate

Vancouver police don’t expect gang conflict to subside, say it might escalate

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix talk about phase two in B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. residents who had AstraZeneca vaccine can choose second-dose vaccine

B.C. residents who had AstraZeneca vaccine can choose second-dose vaccine

This image released by Forest Lake Camp shows campers boating and kayaking on the lake of the camp in Warrensburg, N.Y. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Forest Lake Camp via AP
Canada’s summer camps hope to reopen as provinces plan to lift restrictions

Canada’s summer camps hope to reopen as provinces plan to lift restrictions

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals tap another military officer to replace Fortin on vaccine campaign

Liberals tap another military officer to replace Fortin on vaccine campaign

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results. (AP Photo/Matt York, Pool)
Republican Arizona election official says Trump “unhinged”

Republican Arizona election official says Trump “unhinged”

In this June 29, 2020 file photo, the Supreme Court is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

FILE - In this May 14, 2021, file photo, signs instruct visitors on the proper way to wear masks at the Universal City Walk in Universal City, Calif. California is keeping its rules for wearing facemasks in place until the state more broadly lifts its pandemic restrictions on June 15. State officials said Monday, May 17 that the delay will give people time to prepare, and for the state to make sure that virus cases stay low. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
California will stay masked for another month

California will stay masked for another month

Most Read