Hon. Marty Klyne: I’m glad we got to this before I retire.
Thank you, Senator Harder, and thank you for seconding this, Senator Munson.
Honourable senators, it is an honour to speak in tribute to our friend, my Progressive colleague and the “king of kindness,” the Honourable Jim Munson.
Jim has been a welcoming, friendly and compassionate presence in the chamber — always quick with a joke, quick to laugh and quick to care. While he will be missed, the Progressives feel confident we can intermittently lure him out of retirement from his Ottawa home to provide sage advice every now and then. Pints are optional.
Senator Munson leaves behind an impressive legacy. A common theme is that Jim has been a rock for the disability community and, indeed, for defending and advancing all human rights and the principles of inclusion.
In the previous Parliament, Senator Munson sponsored Bill C-81 to create a barrier-free country for Canadians with disabilities. Notably, the House of Commons accepted all Senate amendments — a testament to Senator Munson’s collaborative leadership.
In 2012, after a four-year effort, Senator Munson passed a Senate public bill to establish World Autism Awareness Day in Canada. This bill has brought greater awareness to issues facing the autism community, supporting efforts toward improved public policy and greater inclusion.
Senator Munson was also involved in the groundbreaking 2007 policy report of the Social Affairs Committee, Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis, which recommended establishing a national autism strategy. Today, as we know, Canada is developing such a strategy, and we recognize Senator Munson’s determined and successful advocacy over the years toward this goal.
Just last month, Senator Munson passed the Kindness Week Act — I think this is the only Senate public bill to become law in this Parliament thus far, or at least it was when I wrote this — passing the House of Commons in two days. We will have to ask Senator Munson his secret, though the theme of that bill may offer a hint.
Finally, I would add that it has been a real joy to be a part of the Progressive Senate Group with Senator Munson. I have benefited greatly from Jim’s experience, collegiality and sense of fun. I am confident that I speak for all members of the Progressive Senate Group when I say we will all try to live up to that spirit going forward.
Create a great summer, everyone. Thank you, hiy kitatamîhin.