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The Late Noel Browne

Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Noel Browne — psychologist, leader, mentor, colleague, supporter of the disadvantaged and a compassionate human being. Noel passed away on February 16 at the age of 73.

Noel spent the majority of his adult life working with, and advocating on behalf of, persons with special needs, the intellectually disabled and the underprivileged.

I first met Noel in 1988 when I joined the Department of Social Services in Newfoundland. At that time, he was leading the program within our province to deinstitutionalize persons with disabilities by supporting them to ensure they could live in the community, with their families, in individualized living arrangements or within group homes. Newfoundland was considered a leader in this area, and at that time many jurisdictions visited the department to see what Noel was doing.

Noel was able to bring together departmental staff, non-profit organizations, the community and families to ensure that individuals with special needs could live within, and contribute to, society. He was a force to be reckoned with. That being said, he had a gentle character and a great sense of humour. He touched many lives — not only those with disabilities and their families, but those Noel worked with and those who knew him. He left his mark wherever he went. We are richer for having known him.

Honourable senators, please join me in acknowledging Noel’s contribution to society and in extending condolences to his family.

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