Mamadosewin (meeting place, walking together)

The Honourable Tommy Banks

The Honourable Tommy Banks

The Honourable Tommy Banks

Published on 14 December 2011 Hansard and Statements by Senator Tommy Banks (retired)

Hon. Tommy Banks:

Honourable senators, a couple of weeks ago I had a dream that I was making a speech in the Senate. I woke up, and I was. In order not to turn that into a nightmare, I will be mercifully brief in my remarks, which will consist, in the main, of thanks for all the kind words that colleagues on both sides have said about me. I am very grateful for all of them, for the humour in them and for the compliments you have paid me.

I should give notice, however, that I reserve the opportunity to get off a couple of parting shots in the next couple of days, which I will do.

There are those among us who have reservations, which I have sometimes shared, about the time spent on making remarks on the occasion of the retirement of senators. I must tell you that as one approaches actual retirement those reservations subside.

Senator Murray, among others, was so modest as to not allow us the pleasure of telling him in this place of the high regard we had for him, to the extent that a few weeks ago, when Senator LeBreton and Senator Cowan were in the middle of remarks on another subject and began to note the fact that Senator Murray was about to depart, with his great knowledge of procedural matters, Senator Murray moved the previous question, which had the effect of forestalling any further comments on the value he had been to this place.

You will have noted that I have no such knowledge of procedural matters.

Honourable senators, the first time I ever came into this place, which was decades before I had a seat in it, the first time I came through the outer doors, walked up those stairs, through these doors and into this place, I was in awe, and I have been in awe every time that I have come through those doors and up those stairs and into this place for the past 11 years. I have been in awe every day of the great privilege of learning from all of you and from the work we all do in our committees.

It is the greatest honour of my life to be here among you. There is only one place in the world I would rather be sitting than here with you, and that is with Ida, to whom I owe everything, and I am looking forward to doing that now.

As well, there are others to whom I owe thanks: to Your Honour and to your predecessors, Senator Hays and Senator Molgat, for your assistance and many courtesies; to the leaders on both sides and their predecessors; to the table officers, who have gotten me out of the glue so many times; to the legislative drafters, who have been of such great assistance, in particular Mark Audcent, to whom we send our very best, and to Michel Patrice; to the Senate Protective Services — senators, do not ever let them take that away from you because it is important to have our own; to the pages, who have also gotten me out of the glue many times; to Thérèse Gauthier and Tom Smith, sitting in the gallery today, whose support, guidance and direction have been invaluable almost since I came here; to Vince MacNeil, whose earlier advice was always right; to all honourable senators; and to the Fathers of Confederation for their remarkable foresight in creating this institution.

Most importantly, my thanks are to Ida, whose delightful company is the only company in the world that I find preferable to yours, honourable senators. Please always remember why this place exists, what this place is, why it is here, what it can do, and what it can be.

I thank you very much again for your compliments, honourable senators, and your many courtesies over the years. I will miss you, and I will see you tomorrow and Thursday.

Hon. Senators: Here, here!