Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, I rise on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, and I’m thinking of what Senator Plett just said about David and his very important comment about McMaster University. I began to scribble early this afternoon, and one of the notepads I picked up is from McMaster University. It’s one I like, a nice binder, and it’s a very good school, of course, and he gave so much to that school. We can talk about football, but David was a good man.
As I put my notes down, I kept thinking of a giant of a man, which obviously means that we never saw eye-to-eye on many things except the love of football. We always seemed to be walking down the stairs together into the old Senate Chamber. After seeing it yesterday, I really miss that place.
We had conversations about football, we talked about his love of football and about his family and the love of his children. He talked about his children and how he loved his children so much. He talked modestly that he was a reasonably wealthy man, so at one point during our conversations I asked if he could adopt me. I said I’m a humble reporter who spent too many Friday nights at the National Press Club and didn’t save a cent.
Senator Braley wasn’t here long enough. He was a man of common sense, he had strong conservative values, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what we view as a man. His real love was family, and I want to emphasize that.
Senator Klyne from Saskatchewan sent me a note, and I want to read it. It was from the Regina Leader Post written by Rob Vanstone, a columnist, talking about the true champion he was. It says:
The Saskatchewan Roughriders registered the victory. David Braley got the save.
Such was the storyline on Nov. 26, 1989, when the Roughriders outlasted the Braley-owned Hamilton Tiger-Cats 43-40 in the greatest of all Grey Cup games.
It goes on to talk about his life. He was only 79 when he passed away but, as he says in this column, “without him, there might not be a league,” the teams he owned and what he did. Yes, he was a philanthropist, but he was a good man who really loved three-down football, which I loved, and it was near and dear to his heart. He goes on to say:
One can only imagine how many tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars he sacrificed to allow the Tiger-Cats, Lions and Argonauts to remain in business.
I’ll leave the last quote to Roughriders president-CEO Jim Hopson, like Braley a member of the builders’ wing of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. He said this two days ago:
He was passionate about football and the CFL — a lifelong fan. He was a very principled person — a straight shooter who held himself and those around him accountable. He could be intimidating, but there was a warm, generous and gracious side to David.
Rest in peace.