Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, since I only have about a year to go here, I’ve been thinking about a lot of senators I’ve worked with over the last years, including Mike Forrestall, Sharon Carstairs, Norman Atkins and, of course, Andrée Champagne.
I had the pleasure of working with Senator Andrée Champagne in committee. It was a rewarding collaborative experience. She was always a lively and curious ray of sunshine. It was a joy to work with her.
Senator Champagne passed away on June 6. Many of you may not be aware of her fascinating career. She was a renowned actress in Quebec and French-speaking Canada. For 15 years, she played Donalda on the television series “Les Belles Histoires des pays d’en haut”. She was a popular star. She was also a singer, host and business woman who worked to advance the cause of artists and to improve their living conditions. A staunch federalist, she got involved in politics in 1984 and became the member of Parliament for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot in the Mulroney government and then a member of his cabinet. After the Conservative government was defeated in 1993, she returned to acting on the small and big screens.
In 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin invited her to sit in the Senate, where she was very involved in files concerning linguistic minorities and the Francophonie. She was also elected president of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie in 2013. She retired from the Senate on June 17, 2014, and received the Order of Canada in 2017.
I want to extend my condolences to her family. I was privileged to have the opportunity to work with her.
I am also sure that Andrée is having a little smile and chuckle at my beautiful speaking of the French language. Thank you.