In Memory of Landon Pearson: Canada’s Children’s Senator

By Dr. Daniella Bendo, a former colleague of Landon Pearson

The CCRC is deeply saddened to hear about the passing of the Honourable Landon Pearson, O.C who was a tireless advocate for the rights of young people in Canada and internationally. Landon was one of the founding members of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children back in 1989 and dedicated her life to advocating with and for children and youth. The following direct quotes from her family’s thoughtful obituary outline many of Landon’s extraordinary contributions:

“She was a wife, mother, grandmother, advocate, author, speaker, Senator, and champion for the voices of children and youth. Over the course of her long life, she worked tirelessly to build “a Canada fit for children”, inspiring and encouraging innovations in policy, law and practice that give children a chance to flourish. She insisted on letting children and youth speak for themselves, believing that they have the right to be heard and a voice in shaping their own lives.”

“Her interest in children and families was a thread that connected many different parts of her life. As the wife of diplomat and Ambassador Geoffrey Pearson, she represented Canada proudly in France, Mexico, India, and the Soviet Union. The birth of her own five children sparked her intellectual curiosity in the study of childhood. In 1979, she served as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Commission for the UN International Year of the Child, where she first articulated a program for bold action on behalf of Canada’s children. As she travelled the world, she missed no opportunity to observe and reflect on the experiences of children, authoring a book on child development in the Soviet context of the 1970s and 1980s, Children of Glasnost. From 1984 to 1990, she served as president and Chair of the Canadian Council on Children and Youth. In 1994, she was appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien to the Senate of Canada, serving eleven highly productive years during which she became known as the “Children’s Senator”. She was the Personal Representative of the Prime Minister to the UN Special Session on Children in 2002. After she left the Senate in 2005, she continued her activism and intellectual leadership by founding the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights at Carleton University. In 2008, she was appointed to the Order of Canada for her extraordinary contributions which changed the way in which children’s rights are understood and affirmed across Canada.”

“She was as dedicated to children and youth in her private life as she was in her public life. She loved and encouraged her five children, and she delighted in her twelve grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Constantly curious, an avid reader of fiction and poetry, a follower of global events, connected to a network of longstanding and loyal friends, always ready to mentor the young, she sparked lively conversations and engaged with new ideas and friendships to the very end of her life. Passionate about family history, she was the caring and attentive matriarch of her extended Pearson and Mackenzie families.”

“Family and friends may visit at the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 315 McLeod Street (at O’Connor) on Saturday, February 4 from 2 to 5 pm. A private family funeral will follow. A Celebration of her Life will be held in Ottawa in the spring. In lieu of flowers, and in honour of her legacy, friends may wish to make a donation to the endowment of the Landon Pearson Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights at Carleton University in Ottawa.”

Donations can be made at the following link:

Landon Pearson will be missed dearly by the CCRC and CCRC board members.

Photo retrieved from obituary:

Canada’s Children’s Senator – The Honourable Landon Pearson, O.C

November 16, 1930 – January 28, 2023

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