Mccoy remembered as `energetic advocate' of Alberta's interests
Getty era cabinet minister known for work on women's, environmental issues
Sen. Elaine Mccoy is being remembered as an “energetic advocate of Alberta's interests” after dying Tuesday morning at the age of 74.
Mccoy had a decades-long career in politics as an Alberta Progressive Conservative Party MLA for Calgary West after succeeding former premier Peter Lougheed in 1986.
She served in that role until 1993 and was later appointed to the Senate in 2005, where she was an influential voice for reform of the upper chamber.
“Elaine was a persuasive and unapologetic advocate of Alberta workers, and the province's role as a responsible energy producer,” Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement.
“In recent years, Sen. 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.”
Mccoy graduated from the University of Alberta in 1969 before pursuing a career in law as senior counsel to the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and counsel for Transalta Utilities Corp.
After being elected MLA, she was named minister of consumer and corporate affairs, and minister of women's issues and human rights in former premier Don Getty's cabinet.
Longtime friend Carol Ryder, who worked with Mccoy on her first provincial campaign, said the senator was most proud of her work to support women and the environment.
“She was always a champion of rights. She was probably one of the fairest people I knew as far as her convictions went,” said Ryder.
“Her whole life has been service. She really is an unsung hero,” she added.
As MLA, Mccoy established an Alberta Human Rights Commission inquiry to investigate and eliminate supremacist activity in the province, according to her Senate biography.
She also spearheaded the Lake Louise Declaration, which was an Alberta-first plan to fight intimate partner violence. It was later adopted nationwide, the biography stated.
“When she wanted to do something, she went out and did it," said Ryder.
Mccoy presided over the Macleod Institute for Environmental Analysis and authored the Bow Corridor Regional Mobility Strategy, a framework created to manage modes of transportation in the Bow Valley without affecting ecological integrity.
In the Senate, she was an “influential voice for the role of the individual Senator, for effective Senate modernization and for an inclusive federation,” reads the biography. Mccoy was a founding member of the Independent Senators Group and joined the Canadian Senators Group from its inception in 2019.
“She really felt the Senate should be non-partisan, should be for the good of Canadians, not party," said Ryder.
Senate Speaker George Furey said in a statement released on Tuesday that Mccoy will be “greatly missed” by her colleagues.
“She will always be remembered as a proud Albertan, an ardent defender of fairness and a tireless champion for the people she represented,” said Furey.
Independent Alberta Sen. Paula Simons said Mccoy was an “icon of Alberta politics” who “brought glamour and charisma to the Getty government, when neither was in abundant supply.”
Simons went on to speak about Mccoy's passioned career as Senator and her strong vision for the country, and Alberta specifically.
“Despite failing health, Elaine Mccoy never flagged in her love for her province or her passion to change the Senate for the better. And she never backed down from an argument. She spoke out, and never mind whose feathers she ruffled,” Simons said on social media.
“All Albertans, of all political stripes, should know what a great champion of our complex province she was.
“With her death, we have lost a powerful voice.”