Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, as always, it is a pleasure to join the other leaders and, on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, offer a warm welcome to our newest Senate colleagues. It’s particularly exciting when I get to welcome Maritimers to the Senate. I’m sure Senator Gold and Ministers LeBlanc and Fraser share my enthusiasm at finally seeing these seats filled.
As others have mentioned, we will be benefiting from a variety of new backgrounds and experiences that will now contribute to the Senate. It is indeed one of the things that makes this place work best when we have a diversity of voices and can discuss important issues before us.
Another Cape Bretoner is joining us today. Senator Aucoin, francophones across not only l’Acadie but indeed all of Canada will certainly be well served by having your voice in this chamber. I hope that being on the other side of the legislative process proves just as interesting for you.
Senator Kingston, you have come to us with legislative experience, having served provincially, and I’m so pleased to see your service to New Brunswickers continuing here in this chamber. Your passionate advocacy will certainly be welcomed here, and as a former educator myself, I’m certain that your commitment to education will also prove beneficial.
Senator McNair, you have experience on both sides of the legislative as well as the political process. Considering this background, with your extensive dedication to your community, it seems like the perfect fit for you to now serve New Brunswickers here in the Senate of Canada.
Senator Ross, I have to say that it’s always so nice to see a woman in charge. It’s clear that your drive has gotten you far, and I’m delighted that I will have a front-row seat to this next chapter for you. The broad range and depth of community service that you all bring is truly impressive.
I’ve been impatient for new appointments — Senator Gold will tell you that — and I must say that it has been worth the wait. As others have already mentioned, you are indeed joining us at a particularly interesting time. We’re about to begin the final stretch of sitting weeks before the holiday break. As I’ve told others before you, this is a time when the sittings can become quite long and the workload can become quite heavy. However, it’s also a time when new friendships can be forged. It will definitely be a trial by fire, but I encourage you all to keep an open mind and remember that we are indeed a dynamic chamber, and not every day will look the same.
Today is shaping up to be a great example of that.
This time of year often marks the period that we refer to as “silly season,” and I want to assure you that it’s not necessarily the full picture of our work here. There will certainly be a learning curve, but I hope you know we’re all looking forward to helping you adapt to our procedures and practices.
Swearing-in ceremonies often remind us all of our own first days and how exciting and how overwhelming it all felt. They also remind us of how far we’ve come and what advice we can offer to you as you each embark on your own journeys here. Please do not hesitate to seek guidance from a variety of senators, as we each have a unique perspective to share.
Senator Aucoin, Senator Kingston, Senator McNair and Senator Ross, on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, it is my pleasure to officially welcome you to the Senate of Canada. We look forward to working with each of you. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.