Hon. Jane Cordy: I also wish to say a few words on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group before we depart to head to our homes for the summer. I often say that our group is small but mighty, and I assure you I will try to keep my remarks simply short but sweet.
Much has been said, and I could almost say “ditto” because I think we all work really well as leaders and we all appreciate differing opinions and so on, but I will continue with my remarks.
As other leaders have noted, our work here could not happen without the enormous support that we receive from behind the scenes. We have so many people to thank, between the countless number of Senate Administration staff, our brilliant and wonderful pages, some of whom will be leaving us, the interpreters, our shared parliamentary staff and the staff in our respective offices. We are lucky to be part of what is sometimes referred to as the “Senate family.”
It feels like I was just delivering similar remarks not that long ago — maybe it’s an age thing; I’m not sure — but we certainly have been extremely busy since this January. I should like to take a moment to note that after many years in this chamber, there is always more to learn. I am so fortunate to have been — and continue to be — surrounded by such impressive and generous colleagues. Truly, that is what enriches our work here in the Senate: to have diverse voices and opinions and then to find the best way to move forward.
We have, in the past few months, said goodbye to some of those extraordinary colleagues, and those moments are often pretty hard. But we have also been fortunate to welcome in new colleagues, and I hope that this trend continues in the fall.
We have welcomed our new Speaker, and I must echo the other leaders and say, Your Honour, that we are, indeed, well served by having you represent us, not only in the chamber but outside of our chamber.
Thank you also to our very capable, very able Speaker pro tempore, Senator Ringuette, for the wonderful job that you do.
I want to especially thank the amazing team of senators and staff in our Progressive Senate Group. We are a true team, and I am blessed and privileged to work with you each and every day. I love you all.
Colleagues, I do want to express my hope that we all have the opportunity this summer to reconnect with our communities and our families, to find the time to have those important conversations with those whose voices we represent. I enjoy the discussions and conversations that take place in this chamber and in committees. As Senator Tannas spoke about earlier, just being together and talking, whether it’s in the Reading Room or walking to and from the chamber, we learn a lot about one another in those short conversations, and we also learn a lot about the great things that are happening in the Senate.
On that note, I would like to thank my esteemed and hard-working fellow leaders. Senator Gold — Marc — by the way, happy birthday next Friday! To Senator Saint-Germain — Raymonde — Senator Tannas, Senator Plett, thank you for providing countless examples of both enjoyable and sometimes maybe not-so-enjoyable conversations. We certainly don’t all share the same views on the best course of action, but that’s a pretty positive thing, I believe.
I know we all want what is best for our respective groups, and, indeed, most importantly, we all want what is best for Canadians, as we all do in the Senate. It is a pleasure to work with all of you as leaders.
We often hear the term “the Ottawa bubble,” and although I know we do our best not to get trapped in the bubble, the best way to combat that is to ensure that we pay attention to what’s being said outside of it. The exchanges that we have with people who are under-represented here are the most important voices to hear. They help enlighten us to views we might be missing, and they remind us of why our work is so very important and why our work is best when we are advocating for groups who are typically underserved.
Our respective regions are full of constituents and stakeholders who count on us to bring their voices to Parliament, to the Senate of Canada.
While I am proud to serve as leader of the Progressives, I am first and foremost proud to be a senator representing my province of Nova Scotia. By the way, we still have three Senate vacancies from Nova Scotia — I hope you’re listening, Prime Minister. I hope that they will be filled soon.
Staying connected with our home communities is a vital part of our job so that we can ensure that each region in Canada is well considered through our deliberations here.
Finally, I especially hope that everyone has the opportunity over the next couple of months to rest, to relax and to recharge. Spending time with friends and family is so important.
On behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, I offer each of you our best wishes for the summer, and I look forward to resuming our work here in the fall.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.