Hon. Elaine J. McCoy, QC

07-Mar-1946 - 29-Dec-2020

Obituary Overview

Honourable Senator Elaine McCoy, QC


Died in hospital peacefully on December 29, 2020 after living a full life inspired by intellectual curiosity and public service. She was a sitting Canadian Senator representing Alberta at the time of her passing in Ottawa from an advanced illness. She was 74 years old.

Elaine McCoy was born in Brandon, Manitoba, although she frequently moved across Canada and overseas following the postings of her father Jack (predeceased), a gifted mechanic in the RCAF. She is survived by her proud mother Jean (née Hope) and older brother Bill of Edmonton, with their treasured memories of shared theatre performances, gourmet meals and elaborate table settings, as well camping in army surplus tents in the cold, pouring rain.

After completing a BA and LLB at the University of Alberta, Elaine pursued a career in law as senior legal counsel for TransAlta Utilities Corporation, where she met Miles Patterson (predeceased). In 1988, Miles and Elaine were married in Calgary. For the next two decades, they passionately pursued the sport of fly fishing on the Bow, the Crowsnest, in the Canadian Arctic and all along the east coast of the Americas.

Elaine was the MLA for Calgary-West from 1986 to 1993. Under the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, she served as Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Minister responsible for Women's Issues, Minister of Labour, and Minister responsible for human rights and for Alberta’s civil service.

Elaine was appointed to the Senate of Canada on the advice of the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin on March 24, 2005 and first sat as a Progressive Conservative, and then as an independent senator. She was a founding member and first leader of the Independent Senators Group and later joined the Canadian Senators Group at its inception in 2019.

She was, to the very end, a tireless advocate for Albertans. In her final months, Elaine continued to explore ideas and espouse basic principles of fairness. She was a great teacher to her many friends and colleagues. In her last days, she maintained a sense of humour, charming her friends with her extraordinary bite and intensity.

As expressions of sympathy, contributions may kindly be made to the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters or the Montfort Foundation.


Private arrangements entrusted to Arbor Memorial – Capital Funeral Home, Ottawa, and Leyden’s Funeral Home, Calgary.

Posted by Philip Patterson | 18-Jan-2021

I enjoyed Elaine’s company and conversations, she had a warm compassionate heart and a great sense of humour. I recall talking to her about some of my experiences which she could identify with and give me unexpected, but welcome, support and advice.

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Posted by Neil John | 12-Jan-2021

It has been a great honor to take care of you madam on the last couple of weeks before youre passing. thank you for all the small talks that we have shared. Such a kind hearted woman. May you rest in peace madame.

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