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Native comedian Candy Palmater dies aged 53

Ask anyone who knows actress, comedian and broadcaster Candy Palmater – when she walks into a room, her fun and unique personality fills it.

That’s how Palmater’s loved ones and colleagues are remembering her after her partner, Denise Tompkins, announced she had passed away Saturday at the age of 53.

Hairstylist Connor Lange, who became Palmater’s close friend, said: “Her smile could light up a room and no matter what day I might have to go, as soon as I’m seen. My Candy, things will get better in an instant.” she sat in his chair at the salon he was working at.

“Candy is amazing. The way she looks at life, every day… she lives it to the fullest while still being able to slow down and enjoy all the little things she loves so much.” Lange told CTV News.

Born in New Brunswick and raised by a Mi’kmaw father and a white mother, Palmater attended Dalhousie Law School in Halifax and became the first Indigenous law student valedictorian.

She then left her career as a lawyer and went to work for the Nova Scotia Department of Education, focusing on Mi’kmaw cultural and doctrinal needs in the province, before eventually becoming a comedian.

Current APTN CEO Monika Ille served as the manager responsible for programming in Eastern Canada at the network in 2009, when she received a VHS tape of Palmater performing a stand-up. At the time, Palmater was promoting his own comedy variety show.

Ille said: “I have to say that I fell in love with Candy when I saw her. She is very nice and shares her story. She is funny, bright.

Palmater’s pitch became “The Candy Show,” which aired for five seasons on APTN.

“She has this drive. She has this passion. She has a bigger than life personality and she wants to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard, especially indigenous peoples,” Ille said. speak.

As her stardom grew, she hosted “The Candy Palmater Show” on CBC Radio One and became a regular host on CTV’s The Social.

“When I think of Candy, she’s… bigger than life, eternal sunshine, boundless kindness and always happy to lead,” Melissa Grelo, co-host of The Social, told CTV. News.

“Candy is a born storyteller and will share flawlessly and effortlessly about the hardest things she’s ever been through in life, yet always being able to see the other side of things.” — the lessons learned and how it has made her a stronger person.”

A true feminist pioneer, Palmater changed the perception of what it means to be gay, fall in love, and accept yourself. Last year, she also collaborated with Vancouver-based filmmaker Shana Myra on “Well Rounded,” a documentary about agoraphobia.

Myara told CTV News: “Her audacity and voice really give people courage. And that’s part of her stated comedy philosophy. She really wanted to use humor. his humor,” Myara told CTV News.

According to social media reports, Palmater, who had been ill for months, was diagnosed with EGPA, a rare disease that causes inflammation of the blood vessels.

Lange was with her during her final days in the hospital. Even then, she said, she had that bright spirit that Canadians increasingly love.

“Every day, when I walked into that ward, she just greeted me with a big smile,” Lange said.

“She’s beautiful and strong and fearless every day and I think that’s something we can really learn from her.”

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