Hon. Peter Harder: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to the Right Honourable Don Mazankowski.
We are a great country because good people have consistently come forward to serve in public office. Maz was just such a good person. He never forgot from where he came or the people he served: Vegreville, small-town Canada, diverse immigrant community, self-reliant yet generous to those in need, optimistic, rural, with an appreciation of cosmopolitan Canada.
Maz embodied that rare and uncommon gift of common sense: Get the facts, learn the brief and find the sensible path forward. Maz earned the respect of his officials and the devotion of his extraordinarily talented staff. He was loyal to them and they returned loyalty to him. We were all in awe of Maz, minister of everything.
In his post-political career, Maz was a sought-after corporate director. I was honoured to both be recruited by Maz and serve with him on a corporate board, where again his common sense advice added to the deliberation.
He was, as has been mentioned, a philanthropist, leading the establishment of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute in Edmonton.
After receiving a lifetime achievement award in 2010 from the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, he gave a speech in Calgary, in which he called the House of Commons “a reflection of the legitimate political declaration of our nation.”
He went on to say:
I recall my first walk up the steps of the Peace Tower. I was filled with pride, humility and awe. I paused, looked around and said to myself, “Wow, how did I ever get here?” I soon realized it was rooted in a combination of faith, family and friends, blended with a touch of courage, a bit of luck and hard work.
Quintessential Maz. Rest in peace.