Hon. Dennis Dawson:
As tenth in line to pay tribute to our colleague, I worried there would not be much left to say. However, as I look up into the public gallery, I see people Senator Joyal knew in the past, people he knows now and people who are part of his future. I see parliamentarians who served with Serge 45 years ago, as I did, and who are in the gallery today because of his loyalty to them. That loyalty has always been repaid in kind, because everyone admired his work.
Serge will go down as one of the great parliamentarians of the last 50 years, along with Allan J. MacEachen and Herb Gray. They are legends in this Parliament and I think Serge belongs in that line.
I also see people in the room who worked with him recently, as Senator Dagenais mentioned earlier, on initiatives like the amendments to Bill C-14. Those were the amendments that Serge introduced here and that were rejected in the other place.
Had they been accepted, there would have been no challenge and no need to re-examine the bill. Serge saw this coming, but sadly we did not listen to him. Serge, there are people here who are part of your present and who provided inspiration on this subject. I also see people who are part of your future, because there are people in the gallery who are making a documentary about your past for posterity. I am sure we will continue to hear about Serge for many years to come.
Like Senator Saint-Germain, I was at the ceremony too. I just want to read out a brief excerpt from the terrific speech that Senator Joyal gave at the ceremony:
What has always mattered to me as a parliamentarian, throughout all these years in the House of Commons and the Senate, was to strengthen the status of the French language in Canada by seeking recognition for the principle of equality, rights and privileges, making it a cornerstone of this language’s identity.
Serge, you left a mark on our past, you are leaving a mark on our present, and I am sure that you will continue making a mark on our future. I am proud and grateful that you consider me a friend.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!