Sept. 21, 2007
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The 2007 Human Rights Award will be presented to Speaker of the Senate Noël A. Kinsella in Fredericton on Sept. 24.
"The Human Rights Award was established by the Human Rights Commission to recognize outstanding effort, achievement, or leadership in the promotion of human rights and equality," said Gordon Porter, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission. "In 2007 we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Human Rights Commission. So, it is especially fitting that we present the Human Rights Award to Senator Noël Kinsella.
"Senator Kinsella was the key person whose research led to the adoption of the Human Rights Act in 1967, and with it the creation of the Human Rights Commission. He was chair of the commission during its first 22 years, and a noted advocate and academic in the field of human rights throughout his career. He holds an essential place in the history of human rights in New Brunswick."
A native of Saint John, Kinsella earned doctoral degrees in psychology and theology. In 1965 he began a 41-year-long career as a professor at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, where he taught philosophy, psychology and human rights. He currently teaches a course on human rights at the Dominican University College in Ottawa. He is a licensed member of the College of Psychologists of New Brunswick.
Kinsella was chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission from 1967 to 1988. He has been chair of the Atlantic Human Rights Centre at St. Thomas University, and president of both the Canadian Human Rights Foundation and the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies. He is a founding member of the International Human Rights Education Consortium and the Canadian Ethnocultural Council.
One of Kinsella's most significant national contributions came during the early 1980s when he was invited to join the New Brunswick delegation at the federal-provincial conferences that sought to patriate the Constitution and enshrine a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This participation remains one of his proudest achievements.
Kinsella was named to the Senate of Canada in 1990, and was appointed Speaker in 2006. He is a Knight of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta; and a Commander of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. He holds honorary doctorates in philosophy and in laws.
The Human Rights Award will be presented to Kinsella at a one-day forum in Fredericton to mark the 40th anniversary of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.
The Human Rights Award is presented each year around New Brunswick Human Rights Day, Sept. 15, which is the anniversary of the date on which the Human Rights Act came into effect in 1967. Last year's award recipient was the Hampton John Peters Humphrey Foundation.
Information about the Human Rights Award may be found at the New Brunswick Human Rights Award nomination process website.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Francis Young, human rights officer, New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, 1-506-453-2301 or 1-888-471-2233; Speaker Noël A. Kinsella, recipient, 1-613-992-4416.