The Honourable Claudette Tardif—Congratulations on French Legion of HonourPublished on 23 February 2016 Hansard and Statements by Senator Serge Joyal
Hon. Serge Joyal:
Honourable senators, on Wednesday, February 17, at the Embassy of France, the Ambassador of France to Canada, His Excellency Nicolas Chapuis, presented the insignia of Officer of the Legion of Honour, the highest honour in France, to our esteemed colleague from Alberta, the Honourable Senator Claudette Tardif.
This honour bestowed by the French Republic is a resounding acknowledgment of Senator Tardif’s passionate contribution to promoting the French language and the French fact through her unwavering commitment to the Francophonie and her ongoing involvement in developing relations between France and Canada.
Senator Tardif’s life and work have revolved around two well-defined objectives: education first, and then the French language. In fact, we could even broaden that horizon to linguistic duality and the rights of minorities, as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Senator Tardif is a descendant of Quebec pioneers who settled in Alberta more than 100 years ago. From her ancestors she inherited the determination to overcome any challenge, no matter how big, to the recognition of her mother tongue, and her unshakeable belief in preserving her francophone identity, sharing it with her fellow Canadians and promoting it abroad.
Her experience as a teacher at Catholic schools in Edmonton and as a professor at the University of Alberta at the Faculté Saint-Jean, where she later served as a researcher and dean, illustrates her exceptional commitment to perpetuating the use of the French language and claiming its rightful place in the Canadian identity.
Following her Senate appointment in 2005, she was named Deputy Leader of the Opposition and chaired the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, and she used those platforms to defend language rights.
In 2009, Senator Tardif became the chair of the Canada-France Inter-Parliamentary Association, bringing fresh energy to the ties that bind our two countries, whose history and values are closely connected, and to the defence and promotion of the French language and the humanist culture they are founded upon.
Too often, the media focus on incidents that can tarnish the reputation of a particular senator. They always fail to recognize the exceptional qualities that many senators exhibit in the service of Canadians, minorities and the communities they hail from.
Senator Tardif is a perfect example of tireless dedication, a person driven by the strength of conviction, qualities that France has now officially recognized. She has done the Senate proud, and we should all congratulate and thank her.