Hon. Terry M. Mercer (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Honourable colleagues, I knew this day would come. I’m not very happy about it. I know that all members of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry are not happy about it. A loyal, committed member of that committee in this time and place, Senator Maltais added an awful lot to our debates. He has added a lot to our travels.
The new people here should know, if you travel with Senator Maltais, there are a couple of things you need to know. There had better be a Tim Hortons close by. Not only does he drink Tim Hortons, he also used to own a couple of Tim Hortons. He’s a good guy to know. He used to own the Tim Hortons in the Halifax airport. So every week, I would dutifully stop by the Tim Hortons in the Halifax airport, I would come up here, I would see Senator Maltais and give him a report on how things were going, whether there was a good crowd, whether the service was adequate. You know what? Not a single free cup of coffee.
The other thing you need to know is that he is a walking advertisement for Nova Scotia honeycrisp apples. He loves Nova Scotia honeycrisp apples. Any time he was anywhere within reaching distance of a honeycrisp apple, he had it and, as a matter of fact, he brought it up again last week.
I have had the pleasure to work with Senator Maltais as he was chair and deputy chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. As I was reading his bio this morning, I don’t understand where we went wrong. As I go through your résumé, I see the word “liberal” here, time and time again. He was the Liberal member for the Quebec National Assembly, representative for Saguenay from 1983 to 1994 when he did not get re-elected. While he was there, he was a member of the National Assembly’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Commission from 1982 to 1985. Then later on I see he was a Liberal candidate again. Ghislain, over here. I don’t understand where the conversion happened.
Ghislain, I see my time is almost up. I want to wish you the best because you’ve become a good friend of mine. I’ve enjoyed our time together. We worked very well together on the steering committee over the past number of years. It shows that politics doesn’t get in the way of doing good work for the Senate. It doesn’t get in the way of doing good work for Canadians.
Ghislain, all the best, my friend. Let’s keep in touch.