Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, I am delighted to join the other leaders in congratulating the Honourable Raymonde Gagné, who will serve as the forty-sixth Speaker of the Senate.
As others have mentioned, Senator Gagné is only the third woman to fulfill this role, the second Manitoban and the first woman from Manitoba. This will also mark the first time that both the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker pro tempore are women.
Senator Gagné, when I came to the Senate, Manitoban Gil Molgat was the Speaker, and since I’m due to retire in 2025, it will be another Manitoban when I retire, so I guess I have Manitoba bookends.
Senator Gagné, I know that your background as a teacher will have prepared you well for the task that lies ahead when presiding over our proceedings. With the news of your appointment, the Prime Minister noted your “reputation for productive, objective, and balanced insights,” and from listening to the other leaders, I think it’s fair to say that he is not alone in those views. The Prime Minister has made an excellent choice in appointing you as our new Speaker.
The Senate has been experiencing a period of adjustment, as we navigate various changes and try to find a new path forward. We may not all share the same vision of how to improve, but I do know that we all want to serve our communities as best we can. Senator Gagné, you admirably serve the people of Manitoba, and particularly Franco-Manitobans. In your maiden speech here, you said that Franco-Manitobans have a legacy of defending:
. . . the idea of a Canada that unites and brings its citizens together, while fully respecting their differences and their rights.
I can’t think of a much better sentiment to describe you, our new Speaker. Whether within this chamber or through your various new diplomatic duties, I am confident that you will represent our institution with distinction.
On behalf of the Progressive Senate Group: Félicitations, Madame la Présidente.