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On December 12, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Governor General Julie Payette appointed four independent senators to fill vacancies in the Senate. Among these Canadian Senate appointees is Jamaican-born Dr Rosemary Moodie.

Last Wednesday, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica Laurie J Peters hosted a reception at her residence to congratulate Moodie on her Senate installation which takes place in Ottawa on February 17. Peters noted that Moodie’s appointment to the Canadian Senate “reaffirms the importance of a diversity of voices in Canada’s parliament as a reflection of our society”. Peters also noted that the “elevation of a Canadian of Jamaican origin to the Parliament of Canada advances that ideal of diversity so important to Canada. It also reaffirms the positive dynamics that immigrants bring to our country”.

Moodie is a physician and neonatologist/newborn intensive care specialist at Canada’s top children’s hospital The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). She’s also an associate professor of paediatrics at the University of Toronto Medical School. A keen philanthropist and advocate, Moodie has worked tirelessly, too, to ensure that vulnerable women and girls are protected and have safe and dependable housing.

During her 34 years in Canada, she has been bestowed with a number of prestigious accolades. In 2015 the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada awarded Moodie the Prix d’excellence – Specialist of the Year award. In the same year, she was awarded RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award. In 2014 the city of Toronto awarded Moodie the prestigious Constance E Hamilton Award on the Status of Women, for “securing equitable treatment for women”. And in 2017 the Government of Jamaica conferred her with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class).

In her remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith noted: “Dr Moodie’s ascent to the Senate of Canada really does offer a platform where she can make an even greater impact on the Canadian society”.

At her core Moodie is a nurturing force, and improving the lives of women and girls is at the fore. During her three-year tenure as president and board chair of YWCA Toronto, the Elm Centre — Toronto’s largest affordable housing project for low-income women — was completed. The Elm Centre is a three-tower high-rise apartment complex that contains “250 one-, two- and three-bedroom affordable units for single women and women with children”. One hundred of the units are reserved for women with mental health and addiction issues who are assisted by medical staff. There are also 50 units for women of Aboriginal (Indigenous Canadian) ancestry.

Here in Jamaica, Moodie sits on the PSOJ’s Gender and Minority Commission, advocates for equity and safety for the island’s vulnerable women and girls and serves on the board of the Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation. Together her humility, brilliant mind and philanthropic spirit make her a shining daughter of Jamaica.

Last Wednesday’s event was, as Johnson Smith noted, an opportunity to “celebrate Jamaica and Canada’s partnership, to celebrate sisterhood and to celebrate the Senate”. Style Observer (SO) brings highlights.

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