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Meet Senator

Fernand Robichaud

The Hon. Fernand Robichaud, P.C. Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Fernand Robichaud represents the province of New Brunswick and the Senatorial Division of Saint-Louis-de-Kent. He has served in the Senate of Canada since September 23, 1997.

Statements & Hansard

Café Daughter

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Statement made on 22 June 2011 by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:

Honourable senators, on May 4, I was invited to Whitehorse to attend Café Daughter, a play by playwright Kenneth T. Williams, who is from the Gordon First Nation, in Saskatchewan. The play was loosely based on my life experiences.

Honourable senators, it was a great honour to serve as the inspiration for Café Daughter. The main character, on the eve of her graduation, remembers her childhood growing up as the daughter of a Chinese café operator and a Cree mother. Like me, the main character is told by her mother never to tell anyone she is partly Cree Indian; in other words, to keep her Cree heritage a secret. Despite the odds, the main character becomes a doctor.

The play deals with racism, sexism, alcohol abuse, bullying and residential schools, but balances these serious issues with many humorous scenarios. Ken does a magnificent job of taking on difficult issues and putting them out in the public in a way that the public can feel and learn about these sorts of things.

Café Daughter has traveled throughout the Yukon. It was also shown in high schools and a study guide was written to help educate young people about respecting other cultures, residential schools and so on.

While Café Daughter is a fictional memory play based on my experiences, its themes are much broader. It explores what Canadian identity is and how this is affected by social mores, which are at times expressed in discriminatory legislation such as the Indian Act. It also incorporates the Saskatchewan law that prevented Chinese men from hiring White women.

While discriminatory legislation placed severe limitations and hardships on the lives of my parents, they worked hard and never gave up. I owe my strong sense of determination to them. From my perspective, the play Café Daughter is a tribute to my parents, who wanted the best for their daughter but never could have imagined that she would become a scientist, let alone a senator.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Dyck: Café Daughter won the Bob Couchman Theatre Awards for outstanding play of 2010-11. Actress Paula Jean Prudat won Outstanding Female Performance and the play's director, Yvette Nolan, won Outstanding Director.

P. J. Prudat did a truly amazing job of playing 11 different characters — flawlessly. Even her portrayal of my Chinese father was spot on.

I look forward to seeing Café Daughter being produced in other parts of the country.

Honourable senators, please join me in extending congratulations to Kenneth T. Williams, the playwright; actress Paula Jean Prudat; director Yvette Nolan; the co-directors of the Gwaandak Theatre, Patti Flather and Leonard Linklater; and the rest of the crew for their outstanding work in producing Café Daughter.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Recent Statements from Liberal Senators

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Bill

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Lillian Eva Dyck | Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words about this motion. I am definitely in support of it. The idea of a First Nations education act is critically important to the welfare of First Nations across Canada, and especially to our young people.

Income Inequality

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette | What does the government intend to do to learn from the financial crisis, reduce wealth inequality, and follow the lead of other jurisdictions that have started to rein in compensation that has nothing to do with the productivity of the people who earn the average salary of a Canadian in half a day?

Broadcast of Senate Proceedings

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Grant Mitchelll | What is the leader's personal opinion about televising the Senate?

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Art Eggleton | That was supported unanimously in the Senate, so I take it, senator, that you would be willing to now advance this idea to the government.

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator James Cowan | My question is: Will this government put National Pharmacare on the agenda?
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