The Hon. Senator Anne Cools
Senator Anne Clare Cools is an Ontario Senator representing Toronto-Centre-York. She was summoned to the Senate in January 1984 by His Excellency Governor General Edward Schreyer on the recommendation of the Rt. Hon. Pierre Trudeau. She is the first black person appointed to the Senate of Canada and is the first black female senator in North America. Born August 12, 1943 in Barbados, British West Indies, at age 13 she moved to Montreal with her family. Senator Cools was educated at Queen’s College Girls School, Barbados; Thomas D’Arcy McGee High School, Montreal; and Montreal’s McGill University, from which she holds a Bachelor of Arts. In the 1979 and 1980 federal general elections, Anne Cools was a candidate with Trudeau’s Liberals in Toronto’s Rosedale riding. In June 2004, after 20 years as a Liberal Senator, she joined the Conservatives for a short time. Currently, Senator Cools has no party affiliation.
Career, Social Services
Prior to the Senate, Senator Cools was a social worker in innovative social services in Toronto. In 1974, as a pioneer in domestic and family violence, she founded one of Canada’s first women’s shelters, Women in Transition Inc., serving as its Executive Director. She assisted with the establishment of several other women’s shelters in Ontario. She co-organized Canada’s first domestic violence conference, Couples in Conflict. She presents the evidence that men and women are equally capable of good and bad, and that violence and aggression are not gendered characteristics, but are human ones, and often are a pathology of intimacy.
Field Instructor, Field Advisor
In the 1970s, in the forefront of social and family violence services, Senator Cools acted as a field instructor for students in social services from Ryerson University, Seneca College, and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work. She was the Field Advisor to the York University doctoral student who wrote Canada’s first doctoral thesis on domestic violence. Senator Cools recently acted as field advisor to doctoral students from the McGill University Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology.
By four Order-in-Council appointments, Senator Cools served from 1980 to 1984 as a Member (Temp.) of the National Parole Board of Canada, the parole authority for inmates in federal correctional institutions.
Divorce Law, Child Custody and Child Support
Senator Cools has always worked for families and children. She was instrumental in the creation of the Special Senate-House of Commons Joint Committee on child custody and access after divorce. The Joint Committee’s 1998 report “For the Sake of the Children” recommended shared parenting. The Joint Committee held that after divorce, children should have continuing relationships with both parents, both mothers and fathers. Senator Cools upholds the importance of fathers’ meaningful involvement in their children’s lives.
Senator Cools defended marriage as a voluntary union between one man and one woman. She was central in the national debate opposing the redefinition of marriage.
Governance & Constitutionalism
Senator Cools is deeply committed to the constitutional system of responsible government. She is a student of history and parliament. She is a diligent reader, known for her focused approach to the study of legislation and parliament.
Senator Cools has received many awards, including:
· Women of Distinction in the African-Canadian Community, 2009, Black Business & Professional Association, Toronto, ON;
· Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree, 2004, Canada Christian College, Toronto, ON;
· Woman of Excellence Leadership Award 2004, National Centre for Strategic Non-profit Planning and Community Leadership, Washington, D.C.;
· Certificate of Recognition as Canada’s first black senator, 2001, Howard University’s Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center, Washington, D.C.;
· Toronto Bob Marley Day Award, 2001, in recognition of Canada’s multicultural heritage and her continuing struggle to promote equality, peace and harmony;
· Person of the Year 1999, REAL Women of Canada, for her support and work with families;
· Spiritual Mother of the Year, 1997, NA’AMAT, the international Jewish Women’s Organization that supports battered women’s shelters in Israel; and
· Outstanding Achievement Award in Politics, 1997, Pride Magazine, Toronto, ON.
Media Surveys and Media Polls
Several media surveys and polls reveal that Senator Cools has widespread national public support. They include:
· These 50 made a difference, Toronto Sun newspaper, February 15, 2006: Senator Cools was chosen as one of the 50 Canadians who made a difference in 2006;
· The Greatest Canadian, CBC TV, October 2004: Senator Cools was chosen one of Canada’s 100 greatest Canadians of all time. She placed 72nd out of the 100, of whom more than 30 are no longer with us;
· Top Twenty Canadian Women, CBC TV, October 2004: in the same competition, Senator Cools was recognized as one of Canada’s top twenty women of all time; and
· 10 Top Women, Toronto Sun newspaper, October 25, 2004: the Toronto Sun’s “10 Top Women” poll overwhelmingly chose Senator Cools as the top woman of Canada.
Senator Cools is married and is a member of the Anglican Church. Her personal interests include reading, classical music, piano, gardening, and dogs.
The Hon. Anne C. Cools
Senate of Canada
Room 178-F Centre Block