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Robertson, Brenda May (1929—)

Robertson, Brenda May (1929—)

First woman elected to the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly. Born on May 23, 1929, near Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada; Mount Allison University, B.Sc. (Home Econ.), 1950; married Wilmont Waldon Robertson; children: three.

Born on May 23, 1929, in Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, Brenda May Robertson was active in political circles prior to her election to the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly. She served as president of the New Brunswick Women's Progressive Conservative Association as well as president of the New Brunswick Association of Home Economists. Her activism resulted in her election as a Progressive Conservative to the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly on October 23, 1967, making her the first woman member of the assembly. She worked tirelessly to reduce unemployment and improve social programs, health care and conditions for underprivileged children as youth minister (1970–74), minister of social welfare (1971–72), minister of social services (1972–74), minister of health (1976, 1978–82), and minister for social program reform (1982–84).

Robertson's efforts on behalf of her New Brunswick constituents were recognized when she was appointed to the Canadian Senate on December 21, 1984. As a senator, she continued to devote herself to social reform. Her committee memberships included the Standing Committee on External Affairs, chair of the Fisheries Committee, and deputy chair of the Standing Committees on Social Affairs, and Science and Technology.

Robertson and Solange Chaput-Rolland cowrote Chère Sénateur (Dear Senator), a 1992 behind-the-scenes look at the operation of the Senate which includes the authors' personal perspectives as women senators. As of the late 1990s, Robertson continued to serve in the Senate.

Howard Gofstein , freelance writer, Oak Park, Michigan

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