The Honourable Wilfred P. Moore—TributesPublished on 13 December 2016 Hansard and Statements by Senator Dennis Dawson, James Cowan (retired), Jane Cordy, Joseph Day, Mobina Jaffer, Serge Joyal (retired), Terry Mercer
Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to our colleague Senator Wilfred Percy Moore on the occasion of his retirement from the Senate, having not that long ago celebrated his twentieth anniversary as the honourable senator from Stanhope St. / South Shore, Nova Scotia.
We are frequently treated to statements from Senator Moore about the outstanding work of his fellow Nova Scotians, and I am pleased that we will have an opportunity today to recognize his own outstanding contributions.
It is our role as senators to examine legislation and provide sober second thought, but Senator Moore is a notable example of the impact that a senator can have in the creation of legislation, as well. In fact, as we saw yesterday with his introduction of a new bill, he’s not prepared to let a little matter like retirement get in the way of advancing issues of importance — in this case, promoting the arts.
One of Senator Moore’s earlier initiatives was his bill to amend the Financial Administration Act with respect to borrowing authority. That bill was introduced five times in this chamber. I encourage our newest colleagues to read some of the excellent speeches he gave on the subject matter and the problems with respect to omnibus bills that were related to that particular bill.
Senator Moore doggedly pursued this issue of accountability and was rewarded for his efforts when Finance Minister Bill Morneau decided to incorporate his bill in the budget bill that we passed in June this year.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, as Senator Harder has, the “Free Willy” bill that is now before our Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. Senator Moore is a dedicated champion of the issue of whale and dolphin exploitation and has done tremendous work on this file.
Additionally, Senator Moore told this chamber just last week about Canada signing the Hamilton Declaration and the important role that he had the opportunity to play in ensuring the protection of the Sargasso Sea.
These are but a few examples of some of the tremendous achievements that Senator Moore has accomplished as a member of this place. I trust that more will be detailed as others pay tribute to the legacy he has created.
Senator Moore, you have shown us how great of an impact a senator can have through hard work and dedication. I look forward to seeing what retirement will bring for you, and I’m sure I’m not alone in believing that we haven’t seen the end of you, sir.
Thank you very much.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. James S. Cowan:
Colleagues, I am delighted to have an opportunity to say a few words today about my friend, colleague and fellow Nova Scotian, Senator Wilfred Moore.
Senator Moore and I have known one another since we were in high school together in Halifax, and that wasn’t yesterday.
Through all those years Senator Moore has provided strong leadership in a wide variety of fields: in public service at the municipal, provincial and federal levels and, through his work with the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group, internationally as well; in the arts, where he and his wife Jane have been benefactors of and advocates for many artistic and cultural events; in academia, where he has been a strong supporter of both his alma mater, Saint Mary’s University, and NSCAD University, both of which have recognized his contributions by awarding him honourary degrees.
But for me, Senator Moore’s dedication to his community is best exemplified by his almost single-handed saving of the Bluenose II. At a time when this iconic symbol of Nova Scotian craftsmanship and history was destined for the scrap heap, he stepped up to establish the Bluenose II Preservation Trust Society, mobilize public support, take over the vessel, restore, manage and operate it for 10 years until the provincial government of the day — unwisely, in my view — assumed ownership and control.
In the Senate, we have witnessed that same dogged determination and single-minded focus in his work here — currently, as we’ve heard, with his whale protection bill, and recently, with his work on the bill which resulted in the return of parliamentary oversight of borrowing by government.
Senator Moore, as we know, never, ever gives up.
May I close by paying tribute to him as a colleague. Throughout my term as leader of our caucus I could not have asked for a more loyal or hard-working colleague. He always provided wise counsel and sound advice, whether I wanted it or not, and even when it might not have been exactly what I wanted to hear. But I appreciated it nonetheless.
Willie, I wish you a long, healthy and active retirement after you and I leave here next month. Godspeed, my friend.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Jane Cordy:
Honourable senators, I am also pleased to speak today about Senator Wilfred Moore and the exceptional contribution he has made not only to the Senate of Canada but especially to the people of Nova Scotia. However, I cannot say that I am pleased that you are retiring, Willie, because I will miss our political discussions when we solved many of the country’s problems, and I will miss our shared cab rides to the airport. But most of all, Willie, I will miss your friendship of over 25 years.
We first worked together during Mr. Chrétien’s leadership campaign in 1990. You were the campaign chair for Nova Scotia, and Bob and I were on the Nova Scotia team. The convention was in Calgary at the Saddledome, and while I know it is more democratic to have one member, one vote for electing party leaders, I have to say that those old fashioned leadership conventions were exciting because just about anything could happen, and often did. Of course, maybe it had something to do with the fact that we were much younger then and could survive on only a few hours of sleep every night.
We also worked hard on the federal election teams in 1993 and 1997, and, as I recall, you and Robert Pace spent election day in Shawinigan with Mr. Chrétien in 1993, which I am sure was a memorable time.
Before our independence day, when we were part of the caucus with the Liberal MPs, you served as vice-chair of the Nova Scotia and Atlantic caucuses. Do you remember the morning that the Nova Scotia caucus was having our official picture taken with Mr. Ignatieff? Just as the photo was being taken, you pulled out a Saint Mary’s University poster, so our caucus photo became an unofficial infomercial for Saint Mary’s, which was great for you and Senator Mercer but not so great for Senator Cowan and me, who graduated from Dalhousie and Mount Saint Vincent.
Of course, Willie has been active in promoting his alma mater: He established an endowment at Saint Mary’s, creating the Senator Wilfred P. Moore Bursary, which provides a $1,000 bursary to a first-year student in the Sobey School of Business.
In recognition of his work with the university, his community and the province of Nova Scotia, Senator Moore was awarded an honourary Doctorate of Laws degree in 2007 by Saint Mary’s.
Senator Moore also received an honourary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2014. Senator Moore established the Community Studio Residency program in Lunenburg. The program offers recent graduates of NSCAD the opportunity to develop their talents. Willie, your contributions to the arts in Nova Scotia are invaluable.
Senator Moore was the volunteer chairman of the Bluenose II Preservation Trust Society. In 1994, the Bluenose was deemed to be not seaworthy and unable to sail. Senator Moore and Gerry Godsoe started fundraising to refurbish the Bluenose. Not only did they raise the funds, but the Bluenose II was ready to serve as Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador when Nova Scotia hosted the G7 in 1995. If later governments had listened to the wise counsel of Senator Moore instead of playing politics, a lot of anguish and money could have been saved in the recent rebuilding project.
Senator Moore served as an alderman in Halifax and was a founding director and chairman of the Halifax Metro Centre. He is well known as a supporter not only of the arts but of many community activities, including the establishment of a scholarship in the name of his friend, Graham Downey. He was also very active in the efforts to rebuild St. John’s Anglican Church in Lunenburg, which was destroyed by fire in 2001.
Willie was named to the inaugural class of the Maritime Sport Hall of Fame in 2014 as a member of the 1961-62 Halifax Kingfishers Junior A hockey team. He was also a member of the Saint Mary’s University hockey team.
Senator Moore, you have an eclectic range of interests: sports, the arts, marine animals in captivity, the environment and, of course, politics.
Willie, I applaud you for your contributions to our province of Nova Scotia and our great country of Canada.
I know that you are retiring from this place, but I know that you have more than enough community projects to keep you busy. Bob and I wish you and your wife Jane and your children Nicholas and Alexandra all the best.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Terry M. Mercer:
Honourable senators, the Honourable Senator Dr. Wilfred P. Moore, Q.C., has been a friend of mine for over 40 years. It’s an honour to rise to say a few words about him. Don’t worry, Willie, I’m not going to tell some of those embarrassing stories I might have.
Wilfred P. Moore has had quite a life and an amazing career. He is a proud Haligonian. Saint Mary’s University conferred a Bachelor of Commerce degree on Willie in 1964 and Dalhousie a law degree in 1968. I like the first degree better, of course, because it’s from Saint Mary’s University, our alma mater, and a place where Willie has done such good work, including serving on the board of governors.
He also was awarded a Doctorate of Law degree by Saint. Mary’s and an Honourary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, all in recognition of his work as a tireless supporter for universities and their students.
Willie cut his political teeth as an alderman with the City of Halifax. He also ran provincially for the Liberal Party in Nova Scotia. He had quite a team, women like Betty Murphy, Betty Fry and my aunt Evelyn Mercer. What a team they were. They ran Fairview like they owned it.
While I was Executive Director of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia, Willie was Treasurer. Then he became the Vice-President of Policy and eventually the President. During that time, we initiated some very important spending and fundraising reforms that directly influenced the course of the Liberal Party politically in Nova Scotia.
It was a great time to be a Liberal, and I would suggest it still is. A small group of us had a lot of fun during that time and had many adventures. There are many stories that I will not utter here, of course. Suffice to say that Willie was always there to offer his help, his advice and certainly his opinion. We all listened every time he did.
I do believe his most important work outside of politics was that of Chairman of the Bluenose II Preservation Trust. I am most sure that there would not be as many problems with the current incarnation of the vessel if Willie were still in charge.
In his spare time, which he doesn’t have much of, Willie has also been involved in a successful art business. Indeed, I have two prints hanging on my walls at home that came from Willie’s efforts there. He’s also done some great work with the brand new Lunenburg School of the Arts as chairman of the board. There is not enough time to talk about the many achievements in the Senate since being appointed by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien in 1996. It was interesting: Willie told me that, on his twentieth anniversary in the Senate, he picked up the phone and called Mr. Chrétien and said, “Boss, I just called to say thank you.” Mr. Chrétien said, “What are you thanking me for?” He said, “I am thanking you for appointing me 20 years ago today to the Senate.” That’s the kind of guy Willie is.
Senator Moore’s work on Canada-U.S. relations is certainly a highlight. Anybody who has been involved in the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group knows that Willie has always been one of the leaders, and his work has been extraordinary.
Honourable senators, I know this is the end of Willie’s career in the Senate, but it’s not the end of our friendship or the many friendships he has made over the years in this place.
Congratulations on a successful career, my friend. We all look forward to seeing what you do next.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Serge Joyal:
Senator Moore, I would like to speak to your sense of humanity and what the Senate owes you.
I had the opportunity to be in this chamber for many years and share several experiences with you, and there are two fights that you led that I would like to acknowledge today.
The first one happened in 1999, on the extradition bill. You will remember that bill, introduced by the Minister of Justice of the day, a minister of the Liberal Party. The bill contained no provision to save the life of persons who would be extradited to countries where the death penalty would be imposed.
We had to fight the Minister of Justice to amend that bill, and the debate lasted for more than three months in the Senate Chamber, against all the odds of the government trying to lobby the senators, directly or indirectly, to force their vote in support of the bill. You remember that pressure, senator?
I want to remember that fight in those days because we’re talking about independence of senators. I think you did show the kind of independence of mind that was at the forefront of your commitment to your personal values and to your principles. I want to acknowledge that.
I also want to mention the fight that you led in 2003 on the Youth Criminal Justice Bill. Do you remember that one, Senator Moore? You introduced an amendment to protect Aboriginal youth who found themselves in court and to get from the courts the same kind of consideration that adult Aboriginal people would get on the sentencing provision of section 7.18 of the bill. The hope was that the Gladue protection would make sure that the courts would pay due consideration to the status of an Aboriginal youth.
We won by one vote, and I remember very well how it happened. It was Senator Hervieux-Payette, who happened to run from Montreal to be here just on time before the vote was called. We won that vote. We changed the Youth Criminal Justice Bill to make sure that Aboriginal youth would be paid due consideration in our system of justice, considering the past and the plight that the Aboriginal people had to suffer in Canada.
I want to acknowledge you, Senator Moore, and say to all colleagues in the chamber that our independence of mind is the first quality that any one of us is called upon to show when we are confronted with important issues pertaining to the plight of those who are exploited or have not been given a chance in history, or those who are faced with the plight of the death penalty.
We are also indebted to you, Senator Moore, to have supported the history of our chamber and your commitment to ensure that the institution of the Senate and the constitutional monarchy in which we live have been appreciated by our colleagues.
Look at the calendar on the table. It’s due to you. I remember very well in 2012 when we decided to honour the Diamond Jubilee of the Her Majesty the Queen. Former Senator Fortin-Duplessis and you volunteered to pass the hat on both sides of the chamber, and each one of us donated money to be sure that we would be able to honour our Queen, the Queen of Canada, in that jubilee year.
Thank you, Senator Moore. You are a lasting example for our future.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:
Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to our colleague and dear friend Senator Moore, Q.C.
The work Senator Moore has done through the various avenues he has access to, whether through one of his roles with the Liberal Party, where I first met him, or as a lawyer or the tireless worker that he has been in the chamber, clearly show that he has committed his professional life to improving the lives of all Canadians. He has worked tirelessly for us. It is because of the spirit of service that Senator Moore embodies that I respect and admire his work, both as a colleague and on a personal level.
Over the years, we have watched Senator Moore lead by example, showing how to help change a country. You have to participate. Only by showing up can you have an impact on your communities, and show up for his community he did. That is why he’s so fondly known in Halifax and now in this chamber.
By focusing on his own community so consistently, Senator Moore embodies the truth we all try to live by: Service starts in our own backyards.
Every institution Senator Moore has been a part of has benefited from his opinions, thoughts and contributions. And every institution has felt that Senator Moore is an active member of the community, involved, bringing a sense of trust to the opinions he expressed — they were personal. Senator Moore, you really care about Canadians, and I want to thank you for that.
Senator Moore’s contributions have been as vast and diverse as our country itself, and through all of his work we see that consistent theme of supporting, uplifting and improving a community. It started in Halifax, but he has managed to extend that sentiment across the entire country to the community of Canada.
Senator Moore, we thank you for your leadership by example. We thank you for your passion, and we thank you for your years of tireless service. This chamber will miss you, but we take comfort knowing that your presence will still be felt through the impact of your work over the last years, both here and across our great nation.
Senator Moore, Jane Cordy and I will miss the dinner dates we had with you. We will truly miss this.
Senator Moore, I will miss you. Now, my friend, it is time to have some fun.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Dennis Dawson:
I think I’m the last to speak. Willie, I always told you after having been your seatmate for many years that I would have the last word because you were leaving before me. This is it. No, I will be very short.
Sometimes we have activities outside of the public, and in Willie’s case he was co-chair of the legislative committee of the Liberal caucus, the national caucus, in the good old days, like we say. And Willie would be the one who would assure us that we would not have the type of issues that we have had over the last few weeks, including the last week on a bill like Bill C-29, when the national caucus and the house chamber and the Senate Chamber would be able to cooperate to avoid the type of confrontation that we have had over the last few months. That’s the unseen side of my friend Willie Moore, who was a party insider and a very active party insider.
Well, we would often disagree, but we did work in the best interests of our party.
I know one thing Willie does love is Charlevoix, Baie-St.-Paul and Le Massif. So I hope now that he is retiring I can have the opportunity, since I will also be feeling better over the next few weeks, to invite you to come to Le Massif and I can maybe finish off by being able to teach you how to snowboard so that you can profit from the hills of Le Massif and the 90 inches of powdered snow we have this year. You can see the whales off Tadoussac. That will be very appropriate for you.
I want to thank you, mon ami, for having been my seatmate and trying to control me sometimes when I was a little bit mischievous. Merci, mon ami.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!