Judith Keating was a lawyer and constitutional expert who spent several decades as a senior civil servant in New Brunswick, including as a legal adviser to the premier.
She was also the first woman to be the deputy minister of justice and attorney general in that province.
In a statement, Senate Speaker George Furey called her a “tireless advocate.”
“Of her many contributions, Senator Keating will be remembered as a tireless advocate for the equal status of the English and French languages in New Brunswick, the equal and just treatment of women in the legal profession, and the promotion of Indigenous issues in her role as provincial chair of the Working Group on Truth and Reconciliation in New Brunswick,” he wrote.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed his condolences.
He said in a statement that she “will be remembered as a distinguished legal and constitutional expert and as a champion for women’s empowerment in the legal profession.”
He also said she “was an active member of her local community, and made many important contributions over her decades of public service in the Government of New Brunswick. Most notably, she worked tirelessly to advance language equality and promote reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the province.”
Tributes flowed quickly on social media after news spread of Keating’s death.
Alberta Sen. Paula Simons says she is “gutted by the news.”
“Judith was so smart, so funny, so insightful, so hard-working,” Simons said on Twitter shortly after the news of Keating’s death was made public.
“Everything you would want in a senator, in a colleague, in a friend. I’m so sorry her time in the Senate was as brief as it was. We needed more Judith Keating.”
Keating’s biography on the Senate website says she lived in Fredericton and had two children.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 16, 2021.