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Allisonian Firsts: Brenda (Tubb) Robertson

A virtual exhibition celebrating the bold Allisonians who became the "firsts" in their field.

Brenda (Tubb) Robertson

First female MLA in New Brunswick, 1967

First female cabinet minister in New Brunswick, 1970

Portrait of Brenda Robertson.

Brenda (Tubb) Robertson, M.L.A., [ca. 1968]

Mount Allison University Archives. Picture collection, 2007.07/2003. May only be reproduced with permission of the Mount Allison University Archives.

Brenda Mary Tubb was born on 23 May 1929 in Sussex, New Brunswick. She was the daughter of John James “Jack” Tubb (1893-1986) and Clara Elizabeth (Rothwell) Tubb ([ca. 1901]-1986) of Mount Hebron, New Brunswick. After completing her public school education at Sussex High School, she entered Mount Allison University in the fall of 1946. While in attendance, she was a member of Mock Parliament and the Home Economics Club, served as vice-president of the Women’s Athletic Committee, was manager of the women’s intramural softball team, and played on the Women’s Varsity Basketball team for four years (captain of the team 1948-1949). She received her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics in 1950.

Thereafter, she worked with the Department of Agriculture. She married Wilmont Walden Robertson in 1955. The couple had three children: Doug, Leslie and Tracey. After their marriage the couple moved to Peterborough, Ontario, where they established a marketing company. Later, they returned to New Brunswick and settled in Riverview.

She was elected president of the New Brunswick Women’s Progressive Conservative Association and in 1967 ran and won in the riding of Albert, making her the first woman elected to the Provincial government in New Brunswick. She was appointed as the first female cabinet minister serving in the following portfolios: Minister of Youth (1970-1974); Minister of Welfare (1971-1972); Minister of Social Services (1972-1974); Minister of Health (1976, 1978-1982) and Minister of Social Program Reform (1982-1984). She was appointed to the Canadian Senate on 21 December 1984 and served there until her retirement from office in 2004. That year, she was made a member of the Order of New Brunswick. In 2008, she was made a member of the Order of Canada. She has received honorary degrees from Mount St. Vincent University (1973) and l'Université de Moncton (1983).

She died on 23 September 2020 at her home in Monarch Hall in Riverview, New Brunswick.