Longtime Alberta senator Elaine McCoy has died.
McCoy was named to the Senate by former Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2005 after first practising as a lawyer in Calgary and then serving as the MLA for Calgary-West from 1986 to 1993.
That riding was the former seat of outgoing Alberta premier Peter Lougheed, who asked McCoy to run when he retired.
Once elected, McCoy was immediately named to the Progressive Conservative cabinet as minister of consumer and corporate affairs and the minister responsible for women’s issues.
McCoy sat as an Independent in the Senate from the day she was appointed, according to her Senate bio, although it says “she also carried the designation ‘Progressive Conservative’ for some years.”
A message from the Speaker of the Senate says she will be greatly missed.
“She will always be remembered as a proud Albertan, an ardent defender of fairness, and a tireless champion for the people she represented,” it reads.
Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement that he was saddened to learn of McCoy’s death.
“Elaine was a persuasive and unapologetic advocate of Alberta workers, and the province’s role as a responsible energy producer,” he said.
“In recent years, senator McCoy faced significant health challenges, none of which stopped her from working hard to represent Albertans in the Parliament of Canada. For that, and for a lifetime of public service, I am deeply grateful.’
The cause of death is not known at this time.