End of June remarks

By: The Hon. Jane Cordy

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Parliament Hill from across the Ottawa River, Ottawa

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am joining you from Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq people.

On behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, or PSG, I wish to echo the sentiments expressed by the other leaders today. Honourable senators, throughout the course of this session, we have worked together to improve the lives of Canadians. I look forward to resuming that work when we return. And please, God, as others have said, let it be in person.

We have also continued to face ongoing logistical challenges with our new way of work, but I would like to offer gratitude to all of those who have been working on these challenges and finding solutions for us. The employees who have continued to go above and beyond to adapt to our new circumstances deserve our thanks and, hopefully, as others have said, some time to rest and relax this summer.

To the Speaker’s office, Information Services, the translators and interpreters, the maintenance staff, the pages and clerks, as well as the rest of the employees in the Chamber Operations and Procedure Office, Communications, Broadcasting, Protective Services and Corporate Security, the employees of the Library of Parliament, and to all the other employees of Senate Administration and the staff whom we rely on in our own offices, we appreciate all the work that you do for us. We thank you so much for that support.

Thank you to Senator Furey and your staff during these challenging times and to Senator Ringuette, our Speaker pro tempore.

I also want to salute the leaders of all the groups, Senator Gold, Senator Woo, Senator Plett and Senator Tannas. We have not always agreed on the best path forward, but we’ve worked on finding ways to do what is best for Canadians. It is a pleasure to work with each of you. I want to wish a happy birthday to Senator Gold, whose birthday is tomorrow. If he were in Newfoundland, he could be celebrating at this moment, because it’s after midnight.

To Senator Plett, golf sounds like a great idea, and I can’t wait to golf with both you and Betty. For everybody else, we have a rule that there’s not to be any politics when we golf and particularly when we have dinner later, but both Senator Plett and my husband, Bob, never follow that rule. Betty and I both have to remind them of it many times.

I do hope that everyone can take some time this summer to reflect on recent events. Particularly, I’m thinking of the horrific act of anti-Muslim terrorism in London, Ontario, earlier this month and the discovery of the remains of First Nations children on the grounds of former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Honourable senators, we are all proud of our country, but honourable senators, we must do better. We must confront the past and chart a new course forward. There are many opportunities for us to do better, and I look forward to working toward tangible progress on issues like racism and reconciliation when we return.

I’m pleased to note that when we do return, we will be joined by new colleagues. I look forward to welcoming future senators Bernadette Clement, James Quinn, and Hassan Yussuff to the upper chamber. The addition of new ideas and new perspectives is always valuable to the work we do here.

As we wind down today’s sitting, we must also say goodbye to our friends and colleagues, Senator Jim Munson and Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen, who will be leaving us over the course of the summer. We will miss them. The chamber won’t quite be the same without them. Jim and Carolyn, you have both made a positive difference.

Jim, we in the Progressive Senate Group will miss you, but we will toast you again at our group’s social next Tuesday evening — a Zoom social, of course. That’s the only kind we have these days, it seems.

Honourable senators and staff, I wish you a safe and a restful summer.

To all the members of our group, the Progressive Senate Group, you are incredible senators and caring people. I love working with each of you. My sincere hope is that we can all meet in person this fall. To our PSG staff, we are truly blessed to have such a great team. Thanks to each of you.

Thanks to our leadership team of Senator Dalphond, Senator Bovey and Senator Francis — and Senator Dawson for a while. It’s been a pleasure working with each of you. I know we’ve had many long meetings. That’s the thing with Zoom; we have to call special meetings. There’s no just getting together for two minutes behind the chamber. It’s always calling for a special meeting. Thank you for always being so patient and helpful, and for sharing your ideas and suggestions.

Honourable senators, I hope that we are all able to spend more time with family and friends this summer, and who knows, maybe this fall. I look forward to seeing all of you in person. Thank you very much.

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