The Gleaner, North America Jan 05, 2022 - Feb 04, 2023

Neil Armstrong/Gleaner Writer FOUR JAMAICANS have been appointed or elected to or awarded important positions in the Senate of Canada, a group advising the federal government on inclusion for Black Canadians, the board of directors of Hockey Canada, and an honorary degree in the last quarter of 2022. In November, Sharon Burey, a paediatrician was appointed to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Dr Burey, it was noted, has dedicated her career to equality and justice for those living in poverty, visible minorities, and other marginalised communities. Dr Burey emigrated from Jamaica in 1976 and has practised as a behavioural paediatrician in Ontario for over 30 years. She has been an adjunct professor of paediatrics atWestern University since 2009. As a health advocacy and policy leader, she founded AttentionDeficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Windsor and serves as a member of the Paediatricians of Ontario Executive Council and the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Health Policy Committee. She was also a paediatrics delegate to the OMA Council and member of the OMA Women Committee. Dr Burey was the first woman of colour to hold the position of president of the Paediatricians Alliance of Ontario, which also serves as the Ontario Chapter of the American Academy of Paediatrics. Her work as a health advocate has been recognised with numerous honours and awards, including the Ontario Chapter Excellence Award and the Special Achievement Award from the American Academy of Paediatrics, and the Excellence in Health Care Award from the North American Black Historical Museum and Cultural Centre. Dr Burey attended Western University, where she received a bachelor of science degree in biology. She completed her medical degree and specialty training in paediatrics at Dalhousie University, and she recently graduated with a mini-MBA in Physician Business Leadership from York University. She joins another Jamaican in the Senate – Dr Rosemary Moodie - who was appointed on December 12, 2018. DR GERVAN FEARON Also in November, George Brown College president Dr Gervan Fearon was appointed to chair a group that will advise the Government of Canada on reducing barriers and promoting inclusion for black Canadians. Through the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI), the Government of Canada provides funding for black-led and black-serving organisations, initiatives and community spaces. Karina Gould, the minister of families, children and social development, announced Dr Fearon as the chair of the SBCCI External Reference Group, which will advise the minister on the following: promoting the inclusion of black community organisations, targeting barriers to the full participation of black Canadians in Canada, sharing knowledge and expertise on anti-black racism issues in Canada, and new and current issues affecting black Canadians and communities. “I look forward to working with the members of the external reference group as we come together to bring positive outcomes to black communities, to address systemic inequities they face, and to continue to build capacity for organisations serving black communities across Canada,” said Minister Gould. A George Brown College article notes that the group will also inform the government on how it can move forward on Canada’s commitments related to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent. “I am excited to work with this incredible group to help bring about positive change for black Canadians,” said Dr Fearon, who was born in England to Jamaican parents and spent part of his childhood in Jamaica. “Each member brings a unique and important perspective to the table, and I look forward to working together to develop recommendations and advice that will benefit a wide range of black communities across the country.” This appointment builds on Dr Fearon’s deep commitment to developing community, removing barriers, and addressing anti-black racism. HUGH L. FRASER Hugh L. Fraser, a retired judge with nearly three decades of experience as a justice in the Ontario Court of Justice, was elected the new Chair of Hockey Canada, the national governing body for hockey in the country. In October, directors of the previous board stepped down amid a sex assault scandal. A new slate of boardmembers was elected in December. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Justice Fraser worked as a lawyer in private practice and served on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for seven years. As a former Olympian, Justice Fraser took particular interest in sports law, holding a place on the Court of Arbitration for Sport since 1995 and served on the first ad hoc Court at the Olympic Games in 1996. Justice Fraser currently serves as an independent arbitrator with the United States Olympics and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), the USOPC Athletes’ Advisory Council, the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and is a commissioner with Athletics Canada as well as one of 15 adjudicators on the NCAA Independent Resolution Panel for Complex Cases. Outside of the legal space, Justice Fraser is a former Olympian and a recognised international expert in sports law. He has held several administrative positions in sport, including president of the Sports Federation of Canada, president of the Commonwealth Games Foundation of Canada, and on the board of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. On December 29, 2021, Justice Fraser was appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada for his contribution to Canadian sport. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, grew up in Kingston, Ontario, and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario. AFUA COOPER Meanwhile, the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, was conferred on multidisciplinary scholar, artist, and author Afua Cooper by Simon Fraser University in British Columbia (BC). Honorary degrees, which are the highest honour conferred by the university, are awarded to distinguished individuals in recognition of their scholarly, scientific, or artistic achievement, or in recognition of exceptional contribution to the public good. Dr Cooper is a leader in AfricanCanadian Studies who is renowned for her examination of slavery, black education, women studies, and the African Diaspora. She brings international attention to issues of racism, inclusion, and black culture and advancing social justice and cultural awareness. In her address to the Fall 2022 graduands, Dr Cooper said her forebears survived the Middle Passage, slavery, discrimination, racism, and colonialism and she lives to tell that story, paying homage to her ancestors. “As someone who works in the field of black history and culture, especially with respect to the Canadian experience, I understand all too well the need for this breadth, compassion, and courage. Black people in Canada have demonstrated great resilience in their journey to contribute, to build and become recognised as part of this country,” she said. Cooper encouraged the graduands to take inspiration from these stories because despite the severe discrimination, blacks fought back by displaying strength and courage. “It is indeed a great honour for you to receive a university degree. Most people on the planet do not have that opportunity. I want you to ask yourself how you may use your education to benefit society. What do you want to give to the world?What do you expect to receive from the world? Be strong as you go out there and are met with unexpected challenges because you will be met with some challenges. But be positive, practise gratitude, meditate, go within yourself, find a community, and if you already have a community, develop and grow it. Develop a spiritual practice,” she said. THE MONTHLY GLEANER | JANUARY 5 - FEBRUARY 4, 2023 | | NEWS 6 Jamaicans appointed to senior leadership roles in Canada Hugh L. Fraser Afua Cooper Dr. Gervan Fearon