Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, the end is in sight. We had long days and very long nights, but we’re here this morning.
Your Honour, are you allowed to yell “yahoo” in the chamber? I am not sure. That is how we are all feeling, I think.
I’m pleased to join with the other leaders to add my own well wishes on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, or PSG.
Honourable senators, we have accomplished a lot in 2023 in our work to help Canadians. It has been noted before, but I think it is important to underline it again: We may not always agree on what’s best when it comes to policy and legislation, but I would suggest that it is our differences that are crucial to us doing our best work. This chamber is a place where we represent our regions. As we have certainly seen recently, they are as distinct and different as each of us. We also bring a voice to those groups who are too often under-represented but whose interests must be taken into account for us to have done our jobs.
These are not easy tasks, honourable senators, as we very well know. However, I remain proud to sit in this chamber and grateful for the wise counsel of my PSG colleagues and our staff.
I love to work with you each and every day. You are incredible, hard-working senators, but you also love having fun — as we saw last night. I love you all.
Thanks to our leadership team: Senator Dalphond, my wise counsel who sits beside me; Senator Thomas Bernard; and, of course, our caucus chair, Senator Francis. You are a joy to work with.
We are so well served by the staff, both with us here in this chamber and the larger Senate family that we can’t always see behind the scenes. The other day, I went for breakfast in the hotel, and as I got off the elevator, this woman said to me, “Well, hello, Senator Cordy. How are you?” I said, “Have we met before?” She said, “I am one of the translators. I know you well. As soon as I heard you speaking, I knew who you were.” There are a lot of people we can’t see, but they know us. So to all of you whom we can’t see, I wish you a special Christmas season. I hope each and every one of you is able to take some time over the holidays to rest and recharge. Thank you for all that you do to help this place run as well as it does. And to the staff: You are our unsung heroes.
Honourable senators, it is my sincere hope that you too are able to take some time this holiday season to slow down, reflect on the year and consider how we can do even better in 2024. I’m looking forward to spending some much-needed time with my family and friends, and I wish the same for you.
We have certainly had some, well, let’s say interesting days here, especially of late, but I hope that by taking a step back, reconnecting with those we care about and reflecting on our accomplishments, we can agree that each of us is ultimately here for the same reason — we all passionately care about a variety of issues, often with contradictory views, just like the Canadians we represent from coast to coast to coast.
Within our small but mighty Progressive Senate Group, we have many shared values, but that doesn’t mean we never disagree. Listening to opposing viewpoints, keeping an open mind to unfamiliar ideas and committing to doing our best for Canadians is how we move forward. It can feel frustrating when things we worked so hard on are not easy to achieve. That shouldn’t stop us from continuing to do what we are all here to do — raise the issues that are important to our communities and engage in meaningful and respectful debate.
To all the leaders — Senators Gold, Plett, Saint-Germain and Tannas — thank you for your friendship and for the work you do. We argue behind the scenes. We may get impatient with one another, but we are able to move on. Differences make the Senate better.
Your Honour, I am sure at times it felt like a long year for you, but you have done an exceptional job.
Honourable senators, on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, including our PSG staff, I wish you all a restful break. I look forward to working with you in the new year. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.