The Honourable Renée Dupuis—Tribute by Senator Klyne

By: The Hon. Marty Klyne

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Women Are Persons Monument, Ottawa

Hon. Marty Klyne: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Senator Renée Dupuis. In the Senate, on our political stage, she has followed an important principle of theatre: to leave us wanting more.

One of Senator Dupuis’s many great moments came a few weeks ago. On debate, she reminded our chamber that at one time, there were no women in the Senate. She said:

Well, there are women here now, and they are not going anywhere. They are going to stay right here and keep fighting, including for their granddaughters, like my own.

Honourable colleagues, in our chamber, Senator Dupuis’s words are a fitting addition to the legacy of the Famous Five monument commemorated outside our front door. Let us take her words to heart.

Today, let us also pay tribute to her incredible legislative work. Many of you know how thoughtful, precise and diligent Senator Dupuis is in her duties, especially at committee. We need to pay extra close attention when she raises her hand to speak or ask a question, or we are bound to miss an important detail or original point.

Senator Dupuis is also humble. It may be underappreciated that Senator Dupuis was a champion for reconciliation long before Canadians heard the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. Prior to arriving in this chamber, for decades, Senator Dupuis was a legal adviser and consultant for First Nations organizations in negotiating tripartite comprehensive claims and constitutional matters. From 2003 to 2009, she was the chief commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission, where she heard and endeavoured to resolve numerous cases. More recently, she was an Honorary Witness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission national event in Montreal in April 2013, retaining and sharing that important knowledge.

In addition, Senator Dupuis authored several books, including Justice for Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples, which won the 2001 Governor General’s Literary Award for French-language non-fiction. In 2005, she received the Order of Canada.

Senator Dupuis has served as the Deputy Chair of the Audit and Oversight Committee, and her keen eye and succinct commentary will be greatly missed once she retires. As chair, I am honoured to have served together on a body that is an important achievement of Senate reform.

Senator Dupuis, you are a firecracker, and I quite like your approach and your dry-wit humour. I always look around the room to see who is smiling. That’s an indication of the other smart ones. Look who all wants to be smart here.

Senator Dupuis, you have been a very good adviser and friend. You have always been approachable and accessible. For these things, I am grateful — very grateful — to you. Thank you. Honourable colleagues, please wish Senator Dupuis all the best in her retirement.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

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