Senator Cordy pays tribute to the Honourable Mobina S.B. Jaffer

By: The Hon. Jane Cordy

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Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, each one of us has a unique story regarding what has brought us here to this chamber. Our lives before coming to this place have shaped the kind of work we do here, and, in turn, our presence here shapes the institution and the people who will come after us.

I rise today to pay tribute to our departing colleague Senator Mobina Jaffer.

Senator Jaffer was appointed to the Senate in 2001 by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Her background in law and her personal background, leaving her home country of Uganda, positioned her well as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights. During her time on this committee, Senator Jaffer has chaired many important studies, including one on the sexual exploitation of children and the need for national action.

Senator Jaffer has also been a champion for bilingualism. Not only has she participated in many initiatives to encourage the use of French and English in communities across Canada, but she was also the sponsor for Bill S-214, recognizing February 21 as Mother Language Day.

Celebrating multilingualism strengthens Canada’s diverse and multicultural society. Mobina herself speaks six different languages but, more importantly, she listens and understands in six languages.

As a Canadian born elsewhere, Senator Jaffer represents well all those who, for many different reasons, have chosen to make Canada their home.

As others have said, she was the first Muslim senator, the first African-born senator and the first senator of South Asian descent. In this way, she has blazed a trail for those new to Canada aspiring to careers in politics.

Mobina, it has been a pleasure serving with you in this chamber. Thank you for your friendship. I wish you more time relaxing and enjoying time with your family. I’m sure your husband Nuralla, your children and grandchildren, who we hear a lot about, will be happy to have you near.

I will miss our many conversations and laughs, my friend. It has been a privilege working with you.

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