Wednesday, March 23, 2016
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it is with deep regret that we learned this morning of the sudden death of Mr. Jim Hillyer, the Member Of Parliament from Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner. Mr. Hillyer was first elected to the House of Commons in 2011, representing the riding of Lethbridge.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I wish to extend our deepest condolences to his wife Livi and their four children, London, Taylor, Nation and Asia.
I would now like to invite the Honourable Leader of the Opposition to take the floor.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, it is with great sadness that I rise today after learning this morning of the sudden death of a dear colleague and friend, Jim Hillyer, a Conservative MP from Alberta.
Jim was a 41-year-old dedicated husband and dad with a bustling family life, was passionate about his work in politics. He had a connection with his constituents and such a respectful sense of collegiality on the Hill that we all appreciated.
Life is so unpredictable.
It can bring unforeseen happiness, or catch us off guard with the greatest tragedy.
Life is so short.
All too often, we don't know when we will have to bid farewell to someone we know. We are all taking the journey to the same destination, but we do not know the day or time of arrival. This must not prevent us from living, but it should make us realize that we are to savour every moment in order to enjoy the company of the people in our lives.
There is a saying that goes something like this: "Don't send me flowers when I'm dead. If you like me, send them while I'm alive."
Politics can get heated. We debate a lot, and sometimes we get so hotheaded that we let the sun go down on our anger. Life is too short for this.
I would like to quote an American soldier who said, "What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal." We will remember Jim as a man who gave a lot — to his family, his friends, his community and his country.
What we do for ourselves dies with us; what we do for others remains.
I was told that Jim was a man of faith. He overcame a serious illness and made a remarkable recovery. No one knows how much time he or she has left, and as Molière said, "We die only once, and for such a long time."
Dear colleagues, I suggest that you call your close friends and family members today to tell them how much you care about them.
Let us keep Jim's family and friends in our thoughts and prayers as they grieve, and let us offer them the help and support of Jim's friends on the Hill.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, on behalf of the Senate Liberal caucus, I want to add my words of sympathy to those of Senator Furey and Senator Carignan.
To lose a fellow parliamentarian at any time is difficult, but to lose one so young is truly tragic. I didn't know Mr. Hillyer personally, but I understand from colleagues who did that he was a man who believed passionately in a number of causes and that he served those causes very well and that they, as well as all the rest of us, will miss his advocacy and his representation.
To his colleagues, to his friends and his family, I extend our deepest sympathy on their loss.
The Hon. the Speaker: I invite honourable senators to rise to observe one minute of silence in honour of the late member of Parliament Jim Hillyer.
Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, out of respect for Jim and in solidarity with all members of the parliamentary family, I move that the Senate do now adjourn.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, March 24, 2016, at 1:30 p.m.)