Illness forces senator to retire

Alberta Liberal Senator Joyce Fairbairn



OTTAWA - A Liberal senator sidelined by dementia will retire in January - three years before rules would have forced her out.

Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said Joyce Fairbairn, 72, served Canada with dignity, pride and devotion for more than 40 years.

"She broke ground throughout her distinguished career as one of the first women journalists in the Parliamentary Press Gallery, senior adviser to prime minister Trudeau, and then as the first woman leader of the government in the Senate."

Fairbairn was an outspoken advocate for literacy and the Paralympics.

She became the source of much debate earlier this year when reports surfaced that she was permitted to vote in the Senate on matters affecting Canadians months after being declared legally incompetent because of her illness.

Fairbairn was appointed to the Senate in 1984.

Senators are forced to retire when they reach age 75.

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