Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I, too, would like to share some well wishes and extend thanks to you on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group.
As we approach the end of the year, it’s often a time for reflection. We’ve said goodbye to several colleagues this year, including one just this morning. But we’ve also said hello to others, including earlier this week. Welcoming new senators to this chamber tends to remind us of our own experiences enjoying this place. Every time I see new senators coming in, I reflect back to when I came to the Senate for the first time, and it wasn’t just yesterday, but the memories are still very fresh.
I think we all arrive here with big plans, and we learn — some more quickly than others — that things don’t always turn out as we expect. In some of my conversations with our newest senators, I’ve encouraged them to keep an open mind and to visit all committees because many of us have found that we’ve been surprised with what captures our interest, and it has changed the direction of our work.
This year, as the leader, I told everyone to pick out the committees they wanted, and I would just take the ones that were left over. One that was left over was the Fisheries and Oceans Committee. I thought, “I’m from Atlantic Canada, but I don’t know much about fishing except that I love to eat fish.” But I have to tell you, I am loving the committee. The people on the committee are incredible people to work with. The chair, Senator Manning, is very welcoming, and I’ve learned so much. So you can learn things when you go on a committee where you’re not that knowledgeable about what it may entail.
We must remember that things don’t always happen on the timeline that we desire. While that can be frustrating, certainly it often reflects that we’re always working on multiple issues concurrently, and we can never predict when something new will take over our time and our interest.
At this time of reflection, may we all look back on the things that we’ve accomplished with pride. So too shall we consider the ways in which we can do better next year. It’s often noted that while we do not always agree, we are all here working toward the same goal. I’m grateful for our productive exchange of views in the service of all Canadians.
To those we work with, I offer my sincere appreciation for your efforts. To the Speaker and your staff, thank you for your guidance and leadership. To the staff in our Senate offices, thank you for always making us look so good.
On a personal note, Senator Furey, I also want to thank you so much for your work as Speaker. You’re always fair and you ensure that things run well. You also engage leadership in the Senate when making decisions, and that is very much appreciated.
Thank you also to our Speaker pro tempore for always being able to assist so ably.
To the table officers, the pages, reporters, interpreters, translators and other staff in Chamber Operations and Procedure Office, to the Information Services Directorate, the Senate Communications Directorate, the Law Clerk’s office, to committee staff, the Corporate Security Directorate and Property and Services — there are so many people who support the work that we do — on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, we thank you. You always do your job so well despite all the challenges that we’ve had in the past few years.
When I was reading through the list earlier today, I thought there are a lot of people who help to make the Senate run smoothly.
To the leaders of all the groups — Senator Gold, Senator Plett, Senator Saint-Germain and Senator Tannas — thank you for all that you do in helping things run smoothly in the Senate. We don’t always agree, and that’s a good thing. Sometimes we disagree rather vigorously, but when we leave the room, we all understand that our comments are reflective of what our group believes, and we move on. That’s a great compliment to each and every one of you in leadership. I thank you so much for that. It is indeed a pleasure working with you.
To the members of the Progressive Senate Group, you know that I love you all, and I’m blessed to be working with you. I think so many times, whether we’re in the chamber or whether I’m at home, that we are truly blessed to be working in such a great group. We’re a great team.
I thank you, Senator Dalphond, my able assistant and deputy leader of our group; Senator Bovey, who is our liaison and who will be retiring in 2023 — I can’t believe it; and Senator Francis, who is our chair of the caucus. Together, as leadership, we sit down and talk a lot of things through. Thank you so much for all of that.
I will close by extending my warmest wishes with the hope that we may all have the opportunity to rest and recharge so that we can return refreshed in 2023. As we gather with friends and families to mark the holiday season, I wish everyone health and happiness and enough of a break so that we’re excited to return in 2023.
Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and a very Happy New Year to each and every one of you. Thank you.