Dr. Claudette Tardif has long been recognized as one of Canada’s foremost advocates and defenders of minority linguistic and cultural rights and for her considerable contribution to both secondary and post-secondary education.
She was educated at the University of Alberta, where she obtained a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education and a Major in French (First class Honours) in 1968; a Master of Education in Secondary Education (Curriculum Studies) in 1978; and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration in 1984. She remains Professor Emeritus of the University of Alberta. In 2006, she was conferred an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Ottawa.
Dr. Tardif began her professional career in 1968 as a High School Teacher with the Edmonton Catholic Schools. In 1977 she joined the University of Alberta as a professor at the Faculté Saint-Jean, where she eventually served as Dean. Dr. Tardif has held numerous administrative positions at the University of Alberta. Of note, she was Director of the Education Division, Faculté Saint-Jean from 1981 to 1988; Associate Dean from 1991 to 1995; and Dean from 1995 to 2003 as well as a member of the University’s Senate, Academic Priorities Committee, General Faculties Council Executive and Deans’ Council. When she was called to serve in the Canadian Senate, she was acting Vice-President (External Relations) at the University of Alberta.
In the course of her academic career, her research interest focused on immersion education and the role of francophone schooling in the development of cultural identity in a minority rights environment. Dr. Tardif has numerous publications in the field of immersion education, minority linguistic rights and teacher education. She is also interested in the overall preservation and state of French second language education in Canada. She is an engaged member of Alberta’s francophone community and has spoken at length in defence of minority linguistic and cultural rights.
Very active in the community, Dr. Tardif has served on many professional and community-based provincial and national organizations. In addition to participating in numerous conferences, she has served on various boards and played a leading role on important committees relating to education, culture, social issues and sport, both nationally and internationally. She was a member of the Board of Directors for the 8th IAAF 2001 World Athletics Championships and President of its Francophone Advisory Council and of the 2005 World Master’s Games, held in Edmonton. She was also a member of the organizing committee and co-chair of the international conference “Canada: Global Model for a Multicultural State” (2002), Co-chair of the Building World Peace International Conference: “The Role of Religions and Human Rights” (2006), Honorary President and keynote speaker for the provincial conferences “Building the Future: A Working Conference of Education Leaders”, organized by Canadian Parents for French (1998, 2002). Dr. Tardif was a member of the Board of Directors for the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, the Canadian Unity Council, the Fondation nationale du théâtre francophone; and vice-president of the Canadian National Centre for Leadership in Evaluation. She was appointed by the Federal Minister of Justice to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Appointments for the Province of Alberta for the period 2002-2004. In 2005, Dr. Tardif was appointed by the Government of Alberta as one of the province’s centennial ambassadors.
In recognition of her leadership and community involvement, the following major honors were conferred: l’Ordre des francophones d’Amérique, awarded by the Government of Quebec and the Conseil supérieur de la langue française (2011); l’Ordre de la Pléiade, awarded by the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (2005); the Alberta Centennial Medal (2005); the Province of Alberta’s Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2003), the Order of Le Conseil de la vie française en Amérique (2003), the Order of Merit and induction to the Compagnie des cent-associées francophones by the Association canadienne des éducateurs de langue française (2001), the Award of Excellence (Visibility) from the Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta régionale d’Edmonton (2001 and 2006), the Edmonton ITV Women of Vision Award (2000), and recipient of the Prix Maurice Lavallée award in recognition of exceptional contribution to Francophone education in Alberta (1990 and 1997).
Dr. Tardif has been a member of the Senate of Canada since March 24, 2005. She was appointed Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate in January 2007. Currently, she serves as ex-officio member on all of the Senate Standing Committees, and as a permanent member on the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages as well as on the Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. She has served in the past on the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources; and on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament.
Senator Tardif chairs since November 2009 the Inter-Parliamentary Association of Canada-France and is a member of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association and the Canada-China Legislative Association. She is also the President of the Board of Governors of the Franco-Albertan Foundation as well as Honourary President of the Tolerance Caravan of Alberta, and sits on the Board of Little Warriors.
With her husband Denis, they are the parents of three children and grand-parents of five grand-sons.