Hedy Fry congratulates TT on 50th anniversary
BY ANGELA PIDDUCK Thursday, July 5 2012
On June 6, 2012, Dr Hedy Fry, a Trinidad-born Canadian, and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre, made the following statement in the House of Commons Canada, concerning the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago which will be celebrated on August 31, 2012:
“Mr Speaker, I stand to pay tribute to the land of my birth, Trinidad and Tobago, on its 50th anniversary of Independence.
A small country of 1.3 million people, Trinidad and Tobago punches well above its weight in the Commonwealth and in the world.
Trinidad and Tobago is the original multicultural nation, its rich cultural diversity spawning renowned authors like Vidya Naipaul and Nobel Prize poet Samuel Selvon; bringing to the world calypso, limbo and the only new musical instrument of the 20th century, the steelpan.
Through effective long-term management of its natural resources, this little island is now one of the wealthiest countries in the Americas. It was recently removed from the OECD’s list of developing countries and named the third best place in the Commonwealth to raise a female child. I am one female grateful for the excellent opportunities Trinidad and Tobago gave me as a child of poor parents.
On behalf of the Liberal caucus, I congratulate my fellow Trinis on their 50th anniversary and echo the last verse of the national anthem:
Here every creed and race finds an equal place and may God bless our nation.”
Dr Fry was first elected to Parliament for Vancouver Centre in 1993 becoming the first rookie candidate to defeat a sitting Canadian Prime Minister, Kim Campbell, in her riding. She has been re-elected in 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011. Soon after defeating Campbell in 1993, Dr Fry shocked a large audience in Toronto, Canada, with her opening remarks.
Unknown to her, she was invited as the head speaker in a racially motivated function to promote a part of her heritage and opened her remarks stating: “I come here today as a Trinidadian, not as an Indian Trinidadian” stunning the Canadian Indo Caribbean Organization.
Hedy Fry was born in San Fernando Trinidad and Tobago, on August 6, 1941, to a very poor mixed race family. She attended St Joseph Convent, San Fernando, and graduated as class valedictorian, with A level language studies, but having always wanted to be a doctor, went to Dublin, Ireland to study medicine. When Fry was accepted into this programme, it was necessary for her to fulfill the science academic requirements, which she did in one academic year, and went on to graduate in Medicine with Honours at the Royal College of Surgeons.
In 1970, Dr Fry migrated to Canada, where she practised family medicine at St Paul ‘s Hospital in the West End of Vancouver for two decades and was a local, provincial and national leader in medical politics. Dr Fry served as president of the Vancouver Medical Association (VMA), British Columbia Medical Association (BCMA), and the British Columbia Federation of Medical Women, during which time she was hailed as a powerful and successful negotiator. She hammered out a deal with then Premier Bill Vander Zalm that ended with a ground breaking agreement that included Canada ‘s first retirement plan for doctors.
Further, Dr Fry led the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) to recognise self-governance for aboriginals as crucial determinants of Aboriginal health. She was a spokesman for the CMA on issues of health, health financing and reforms, frequently speaking to US audiences about Medicare, and was well-known to Canadian audiences as a panellist on the long-running national CBC television programme Doctor, Doctor.
Dr Hedy Fry is one proud Dougla Caribbean woman who takes every opportunity to introduce herself as a “Trinidadian born Canadian”, and places emphasis on her little island at every opportunity because she is very proud of the high educational and multicultural system.