Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I’m pleased to join the other leaders in welcoming Senator Shugart as the newest member of the Red Chamber.
As others have already mentioned, Senator Shugart, you have dedicated your career to public service, demonstrating your commitment to Canadians, as well as to the institutions of government.
Most recently, your work as Clerk of the Privy Council tested your abilities to face new challenges. Specifically, you led the public service’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, while also addressing heightened calls to tackle systemic racism in our institutions. In your 28th Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada, you wrote, “Our country needs deep reflection on who we are and who we want to be.” On this — the eve of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — it feels particularly meaningful.
Though some of us joined the Senate as complete novices, you do have the advantage of already intimately understanding the mechanisms of government. Indeed, you have even appeared as a witness in committee, both in the other place and here in the Senate. I’m sure that those senators who once had the opportunity to question you will now join me in welcoming you to the other side of the table.
As a former teacher, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that you earned another title this month, in addition to that of senator, and that is professor or teacher. I am certain that students at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy will be well served by your wisdom and your expertise.
Senator Shugart, through your lifelong devotion to public service, you are already well aware of some of the challenges you will face in this chamber. Though we are all here to make this country a better place for everyone, we may not always agree on how best to achieve that. Similarly, as we continue to modernize this institution, the same concept holds true. I believe that our work will always be enhanced by this need to balance those often-competing voices. It is clear that your commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as your decades of knowledge and experience, will certainly serve you well in your new role as a senator.
It is always exciting to see what one’s next chapter in life will be, and I am pleased that yours will allow you to continue your service to Canadians. I look forward to working with you and, on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, I would like to officially welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.