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Brenda Mary Robertson

Photograph of Brenda Mary Robertson


The first woman elected to the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly.
The first woman to become a New Brunswick Cabinet Minister.

Born on May 23, 1929 near Sussex, N.B.


Political Affiliation: Progressive Conservative

Legislative Career: In the provincial election of October 23, 1967, Brenda Robertson was the elected representative for the Albert riding and was re-elected in the Riverview riding. She remained a Member until her appointment to the Senate on December 21, 1984.

Her Cabinet appointments include: Youth Minister from November 12, 1970 to 1974; Minister of Social Welfare from March 2, 1971 to July 17, 1972; Minister of Social Services from July 18, 1972 to 1974; Minister of Health in 1976 and from November 21, 1978 to October 29, 1982; and Minister for Social Program Reform from October 30, 1982 to December 27, 1984.

She was appointed to the Senate on December 21, 1984 and to the Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on House Privileges and Regulations.

In 2004, she retired from the Senate on her 75th birthday.

Prior to her 1967 election to the N.B. Legislative Assembly, Brenda Robertson was already actively involved in her community as President of the N.B. Women's Progressive Conservative Association. Her university education led her first to devote herself to home economics, where she displayed her leadership and know-how as president of the New Brunswick Association of Home Economists.

Her initial success was being the first woman elected in N.B., but she would become known for her work and devotion concerning social issues. Among the areas benefiting from Mrs. Robertson's work were unemployment, social programs, the health sector, and underprivileged children.

Robertson's appointment to the Senate, where she continues to fight for social issues, was the direct result of her tireless efforts to improve the lot of her province's population. She has been a member of the Standing Committee on External Affairs, has chaired that of Fisheries, and was Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committees on Social Affairs, and Science and Technology.

In 1992, Robertson and Solange Chapput-Rolland co-authored Chère Sénateur [Dear Senator], a book that explains how these two female Senators viewed the Senate and the activities taking place there


Robertson, Brenda and Chaput-Rolland [sic], Solange. Chère Sénateur. Montreal: Libre Expression, 1992, 136 p.

Taylor, James A. "Brenda Robertson: A Woman Worth Watching", United Church Observer, no. 36, September 1972, P. 26-28, 44.

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