Tribute to the Honourable Terry Mercer

By: The Hon. Patricia Bovey

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East and West block of Parliament, Ottawa

Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, and most of all, my Progressive Senate Group colleague, the Honourable Terry Mercer, and his family, what a day. After all these years of your serving Canadians as you have, with integrity, honesty and commitment, we in this chamber are going to be bereft of your wisdom, humour, advice, friendship and collegiality. Transitions are hard, so as you transition into the next chapter of your life, think of us transitioning without you in our committees and chamber deliberations.

Terry, in wishing you all the very best going forward, I want to thank you. I have learned so much from you in my few years in the Senate, from your leadership, to your knowledge of how the place works, to knowing all the precedents drawn from your keen archival memory, to having a vision for change and finding better ways to work on behalf of Canadians. You have served on many committees and taken the goals of each to heart, contributing with passion and with your unique sense of practicality.

I remember that bus ride to Kanata a number of years ago, when the Transport and Communications Committee was doing the fascinating study on autonomous vehicles. It was a field I knew nothing about when we began but, as you know, I soon became hooked. But that’s not what we talked about on the bus that day. We talked about charities and the need for a special committee on charities to examine how they work, their particular needs, some of the tax complications and inequities, their governance issues and more. We both had spent much of our careers in the charitable sector, you in the East and me in the West. Despite the geographical distance, it was funny how our perceptions and insights were so well aligned.

The Senate approved that committee, and I applaud the work you and its members did. The charities report the committee produced is truly substantive. It has already made a positive difference and more will come, I know. My disappointment was that I could not be a member as that committee met at exactly the same time as the Special Senate Committee on the Arctic, of which I was a member. However, to see the work progress simultaneously on these two critical needs was wonderful. I congratulate you and thank you for your tenacity in getting that study done.

On a personal note, your Canada Day celebrations sound amazing. Your stories of that annual Mercer celebration almost make me want to be a Nova Scotian. As you herald Canada’s history and present in the years going forward, please know I will be with you in spirit, despite my not being a Nova Scotian.

Senator, all the very best. Stay healthy and safe and enjoy that treat of being with your family again for more than the past several decades have allowed you to be. Thank you so much, my friend.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

 

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