Tribute to the Honourable Dennis Dawson

By: The Hon. Marty Klyne

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Hon. Marty Klyne: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to a good friend and dependable colleague — Senator Dennis Dawson.

I met Senator Dawson in the Senate. Across the aisle in our former chamber, his bow ties always struck a chord of curiosity with me, and I knew I wanted to meet this fellow. It wasn’t until I joined the Progressive Senate Group that I got to know him personally, beyond his notable reputation.

Senator Dawson was drawn to politics at a young age, making waves as one of the youngest MPs ever elected in Canada, at the young age of 27 years old. Voted into three consecutive terms in the riding of Louis-Hébert, Senator Dawson served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Immigration as well as the Minister of Labour. He also chaired his party’s Quebec caucus. Later, he launched and ran one of Canada’s leading government relations firms in Quebec City and Montreal.

Long before his appointment to the Red Chamber, Senator Dawson was helping to shape a better future for Canada and applying his political talents with the wisdom and skill of a true statesman. His strong progressive and independent voice influenced the creation and philosophy of the Progressive Senate Group, and his guidance as Deputy Leader is invaluable to all PSG members.

Throughout his entire career, Senator Dawson has been a strong advocate for Quebec and the French language. These core values came into play for Senator Dawson as sponsor of Bill C-11, broadcasting legislation that will play an important role to sustain Canada’s minority cultures and languages. As one of this chamber’s longest-serving members, Senator Dawson steered the bill with skill and a steady hand on the rudder, making it look almost easy, but that’s what comes with conviction and experience; this wasn’t his first barbecue or test of standing the heat in the kitchen.

Senator Dawson also made a valuable contribution serving as Chair of the Transport and Communications Committee and a member of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. In addition, he helped sustain Canadian democracy as sponsor of Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act, passed in 2018.

Senator Dawson, I will miss your friendship, your advice, your humour and your colourful bow ties that brighten our caucus and these chambers, where you will be missed by many. I trust you will enjoy spending time with your new granddaughter and your family, and I wish you all the best going forward.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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