Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, many of you know that Cape Breton is a
lovely place of deep valleys and spectacular vistas. Its quiet
beauty, mixed with the rich culture and fierce pride of its
inhabitants, makes it a place that instils incredible love and
loyalty in those fortunate enough to call it home. As a matter of
fact, there are those who still insist that there are two kinds of
Cape Bretoners: those who were born there and those who wish
they were born there. Some people even consider their birth on
the island as a personal accomplishment, rather than a biological
accident. Having said all of that, you will know that I speak with
a lot of pride and just a little bit of prejudice.
Today I rise to pay tribute to one of Cape Breton's most
outstanding native sons. One of the greatest tributes I can pay my
old friend and colleague is that no man or woman ever bore
greater love for Cape Breton; no man or woman ever bore more
loyalty to its people than the late Senator John M. Macdonald.
He was buried on June 24, 1997: 37 years to the day he was
called to the Senate by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. If John
Macdonald is looking down on us right now - as I am rather
sure he is - he is probably having a good laugh at the irony of
all that. I visited him personally shortly before he passed away.
Tough and razor sharp, even in his final days, he always said he
would leave the Senate when they carried him out.
I spent many a day and night in the Sydney airport travelling
to and from Ottawa with John M. He was meticulously punctual,
arriving as much as two hours before scheduled lift-off. He was
easily recognizable by his hat, his slightly stooped figure, his
ever-present cane in later years, his sizeable shoes - which will
be very hard to fill - and his very determined step.
I am sure he chuckled, too, when the Senate delegation arrived
at the Sydney Airport on the day of his funeral. Their arrival
coincided with a rather large exercise being staged by the
Canadian Armed Forces. The tarmac was dotted with several
fighter planes, helicopters and big Hercules aircraft. It was
probably the biggest display of force seen in that area since the
convoys were assembled in Sydney Harbour during World
War II. You could almost hear John M. say, "Boys, you really
didn't have to go that far."
If he could speak to us now, he would be able to tell some
wonderful stories. During those 37 years, he spent 22 of them as
the Conservative caucus whip and participated in some of the
most historic debates this country has witnessed. He would
reminisce on the bitterness of the flag debate; he would tell us
about the debate on capital punishment, in which he introduced
his own private bill on abolition; he would recall the great
patriation debate, his strong views on changes to the abortion
law, the causes he championed which concerned transportation,
veterans, fishermen, coalminers, steelworkers, and so many
Think about it: John Macdonald's death at 91 meant an
extraordinary career that spanned those of eight Prime ministers.
John M. was loyal, direct and principled; honest as the sun.
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
`An honest man's the noblest work of God.'
Thus wrote Robert Burns. John M. was an honest, noble man,
who served his party, his community, and the people of eastern
Nova Scotia until the end. He is now at rest in his beloved Cape
Breton. That is where his heart was; that is where it has always
been, and that is why all of us who knew him so well still miss
him so very much.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, this afternoon I look along the front bench
of my party to the place where John M. Macdonald sat for so
many years; sat as if on action alert, ready to pop up in
mid-debate and caution the Speaker that he was losing control of
what was going on here in this chamber. When the tactic worked,
he would sit back again, his hand on his cane, a twinkle in his
eye, and on his face a wicked smile that would take in his
regiment of friends on both sides of the chamber.
Diminutive he was, and hardly what you would call garrulous
or persistent in argument. Each of us might have described him
differently. He might have skippered the boat that carried Bonnie
Prince Charlie to Skye! At least that is the way he seemed to me:
Still; ready for the worst that the seas and winds might send;
never perplexed by political wars; ever adaptable to the
generosity of his fate.
In return for high standards of service, fate was kind through
his 91 years. He was born in 1906, the year of the San Francisco
earthquake, and like many of us he liked to pinpoint the
milestones of his life with the miracles and disasters that
coincided with his ups and downs.
When I paid tribute to him here on the occasion of his
90th birthday, I chose my words carefully when I said that:
He stands tall among us as a Canadian, as a Roman
Catholic and as a Conservative. He is slavish to none of
these faiths, but honest to all of them, even when they seem
to be in conflict with one another.
In his reply to these comments and to those kind ones made by
Senator Fairbairn as Leader of the Government - she called him
a true example of excellence and dedication - he said very
As a young man entering politics, I had one resolution,
namely: Do not believe all the things that are said about
you, good or bad! The trouble is that after a while you get to
believe it yourself.
I must say it took me a long time to get a mention on the
front page of the Cape Breton Post, but I finally made it
after 90 years.
John Michael Macdonald was born in North Sydney, the son of
a Nova Scotia cabinet minister. After Dalhousie and St. Francis
Xavier universities and time as a school teacher, union officer
and school principal, he served in the Nova Scotia legislature, the
House of Commons, and, at the wish of Prime Minister
John Diefenbaker, was dispatched to the Senate in 1960. When
he became Conservative whip here, Government Leader
Duff Roblin remarked:
He exemplifies the art of party management brought to its
best degree. He is one of those men blessed with the gift of
The file of John M.'s speeches is a running commentary on the
great events and political vexations that roused Canadian
concerns in a long public career, which John M. topped with his
final labours as the last of the lifers in the Senate. It is worth
focusing briefly on some of those Macdonald occasions - just to
get a measure of the man.
In 1971, as a member of the committee led by Senator David
Croll in search of the roots of Canadian poverty, he said:
In our day and age, we are seeing the introduction in
industry of machines and equipment which are wonderful to
behold. They are contributing to a higher standard of living
because they are doing away with routine work. Yet to those
who performed that hard labour, it is small consolation to
know that the general standard of living has risen.
Oil, natural gas and hydro power have been responsible
for Nova Scotia coal losing much of its traditional market,
and in most cases that market will never be regained, no
matter how much assistance is given by government.
In March of 1981, Pierre Trudeau's romantic pursuit of
constitutional change and a Charter of Rights and Freedoms was
still disturbing the sleep of many Canadians. On that issue,
John Macdonald said:
I do believe that what is required is a political, and not a
legal, solution to the present dispute between the two levels
of government. In a legal decision, someone will win and
someone will lose, and this does not make for a happy
future relationship. Not only that, but in a legal dispute
concerning the relationship between governments, I think
there is a danger that our judicial system might be adversely
In October 1994, he gave his last major address before illness
began to set in. There was much criticism of the Canadian
Legion's denial of admission to their branches of people whose
religion required them to wear head-dress at all times. He said:
I know many of the men from my small town who lost
their lives in World War II. There were 68 of them. When I
look around at that point in the meetings, I recognize many
present are remembering someone close to them who did
not survive. I, like others, may recall the first casualties
from our town. They were two bright young men, one a
university student, and the other an employee of the coal
company. They joined the Air Force early in the war. One
became the pilot and the other the wireless operator in the
same plane. That plane was lost over the English Channel
- they both died...
I do not know exactly when or where the custom -
- of removing hats -
- started. In any event, it became widespread. The custom
became a policy, and the policy developed into a strong
tradition. It is this tradition which has been the subject of so
much criticism. It seems to me that most of this criticism
has been ill-informed, misinformed or not informed at all.
Honourable senators, allow me to end on a personal note.
John M. was as loyal a caucus member as one could hope for.
Some would call it old-fashioned morality, but his principles
always came first. I will not soon forget my telephoning him two
years ago to ask if he could come to Ottawa for a key vote. I
knew that he was having health problems, and I told him that
obviously I would not, and could not, insist. "Nonsense," he said.
"Of course I will be there, but I have to travel with two nurses."
I said, "Oh, John, I am so sorry. I did not realize the extent of
your illness." "Not that at all," he came right back. "I am just
concerned with what people will say when they see me - a
bachelor - travelling with two women, alone!"
May he rest in the peace he so richly deserves.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, my late friend
and seatmate, Senator John M. Macdonald, brought honour to a
family which, for many generations, has played a prominent role
in many walks of life in Nova Scotia. As has been noted, his
father was a Nova Scotia cabinet minister. His mother was a
MacDonald with a capital D, and was a relative of the late
Senator William MacDonald, who was appointed here in 1884 by
Canada's first Prime Minister, and after whom Senator's Corner
in Glace Bay was named.
Throughout much of this century, uncles, brothers, sisters,
cousins, nephews and nieces have distinguished themselves in
Nova Scotia in the church, in the legal and medical professions,
in education, in business, and, of course, in politics.
To all the tributes that have been paid to Senator John M. on
his passing, I want to add one word of appreciation of the
tremendous support and encouragement he always gave to
younger people and to their participation in the political process.
That is particularly true for those who chose the Progressive
Conservative Party as the instrumentality of their contribution,
and it was even more particularly true of young people in Cape
Breton. There are young people there whom he encouraged to the
last months of his life, and others, now not so young, continue to
remember his support, his generosity, and his encouragement
with much respect and affection.
Finally - and party politics aside, which admittedly is no
small aside where Senator Macdonald is concerned - I think he
would have had something wonderfully droll to say, but
nevertheless warmly approving, of the appointment of his cousin,
Sister Peggy Butts, to this place as his successor senator from
Cape Breton. He would surely have drawn not only on the family
history but also on the vast knowledge of Cape Breton's political
history to observe that Senator Butts is not the first member of
the Butts family to have served in Parliament, but she is the first
to have done so as a Liberal, her late uncle having served in the
House of Commons and in both houses of the Nova Scotia
legislature as a Tory. Senator Macdonald would want us on this
side to extend a very warm welcome to Senator Butts, which
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Murray: Our late friend led an exemplary life in
every way. He will be remembered for his efforts and for his
services to young people, to war veterans - of whom he was
one - to the underprivileged, the coalminers and the people in
Cape Breton. He will be remembered most fondly there and in
this chamber, where he was so warmly regarded and highly
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I, too, should
like to add a few words of remembrance and appreciation for my
good friend Senator John M. Macdonald, who came from an area
of which I am enormously fond, Cape Breton Island.
As a senator in this place, John M. offered a very special brand
of public service to his beloved island, to his province and to his
country. He did so with a rich background as an educator, as a
war veteran, and as a voice of wisdom within his party, to which
he remained loyal to the end.
I attended his funeral in North Sydney. It was magnificent.
Although it was a sad occasion, it was also one of tremendous
warmth and pride for all of those who filled that beautiful
church. I should say, in reflection almost of what Senator Murray
said, that Senator John M. welcomed me with genuine support
when I came to the Senate in 1984. The feeling was mutual to the
end. I can corroborate Senator Lynch-Staunton's anecdote, not
too long ago, about John M.'s exquisite sense of propriety in
wishing to travel with two nurses and not one. He confided that
as well to me with a very definite twinkle in his eye.
Honourable senators, his friendship and his humour will
remain close to me because I am now in John M.'s former office.
I truly hope that I will also absorb, from the many years that he
spent there in service to this place and to his country, the sense of
humour, wisdom and justice he observed throughout his life.
Hon. John Buchanan: Honourable senators, I concur with
everything that has been said thus far about our dear late friend
John M. I concur with everything Senator Graham said about his
Cape Breton background. As a Cape Bretoner myself, I know
that he was the number one Cape Bretoner. He was a champion
of Cape Breton, a champion of Cape Bretoners, and a champion
of fishermen, farmers, the underprivileged, the poor, steelworkers
and miners. There was not a cause in Cape Breton in which
John M. was not very much involved over his long and
distinguished career. He was my friend for over 40 years. He
campaigned for me in every election that I ran in in Nova Scotia.
Those of you who knew him back in the 1950s and 1960s,
through the 1970s and into the 1980s, would agree with me that
he was the number one politician in Cape Breton. He was a giant
at the podium. In the 1967 provincial election, he became so
excited during a speech that he hit the podium so hard that he
literally broke it in two. It fell on the floor. I do not know how
many of you had the opportunity that I had - I do not think you
did, Senator Graham - of hearing him make political speeches.
"Pinky" Gaum, who had spoken before him, broke the first
podium and John M. broke the second, but that did not bother
him one bit. He continued with his speech without missing a
beat. He was number one in my books and in the books of many
other people throughout Cape Breton and Nova Scotia.
Over the last year and a half, I had the occasion and the
pleasure of dropping in to see him once a month, sometimes
twice a month, at his home and in a hospital that he always called
"John's Hospital." That is the hospital in Sydney Mines, which
we built and which has borne my name since I opened it. I had
called and asked Joe, his nephew, "Is John M. at home or is he in
hospital?" He said, "He is in your hospital," and I knew
immediately he was in the Sydney Mines Hospital.
I would go in to see him in the hospital in North Sydney, or
drop in to see him in his home. One Saturday, on my way back
from Sydney to Halifax, I pulled into North Sydney and went up
to his home. I knocked on the door expecting one of the girls to
come to the door, but no one came. Again I knocked on the door;
no one came. I banged on the door and no one came. I said, "Oh,
my goodness. I hope nothing has happened to John M." I walked
around the house looking in the windows at the room where he
always sat, and no one was there. I got on the phone and called
Bob Muir, a colleague who is now retired from this place. I said,
"Bob, has something happened to John M.?" He replied, "No,
you fool. Do you not know it is Saturday night? He has gone to
church." John M. was at mass. As Father MacNeil told me, every
Saturday night that he was able, he went to mass. He was a
deeply religious man. When I next dropped in to see him, he was
in the hospital, and he told me that I should have known that he
was in church because it was Saturday and he had to be in church
by five o'clock.
John M. will be known as a person who had his priorities right.
He was a family man. His brothers and sisters and his niece and
nephew meant so much to him throughout his life, as did his
other priorities: his church, his Cape Breton, his party and, of
course, whatever he was doing at any time for people. He was a
real people person, an educator, a lawyer, a veteran, and a
member of the Legion.
He was extremely proud of the Royal Canadian Legion. The
Legion at North Sydney honoured him. It was a wonderful night.
You could feel the love for John M. in the Legion hall that night
during the dinner on the occasion of his eighty-fifth birthday. I
was invited to speak on that occasion. You could feel the love,
admiration and respect for that man on any such occasion.
MLA, member of the Nova Scotia legislature, senator. There
were so many things he did in his life, but, most of all, he did it
for his fellow Cape Bretoners, fellow Nova Scotians and fellow
Canadians. He served in the Second World War in the Royal
We will miss him. The people of North Sydney and Sydney
Mines and all in that area will certainly miss him.
The last time I saw him was in North Sydney on a Sunday
afternoon. Linda was there with him in his room. He was able to
speak, but only barely. Just before I left he asked her to pour a
glass of whiskey for him and me. I am not a whiskey drinker, but
I would drink whiskey with John M. in his office here before we
would go to the parliamentary dining room. Even in the hospital
John M. had a bottle of whiskey. He asked her to pour a drink for
him and me. He was John M. and I am a John M. I can still hear
him: "Now we will propose a toast to the two John M.s", and we
did. Linda drank water. She was on duty.
John knew that my daughter is married to a fellow from
Dublin, although they live in Halifax. I told him, "As I told you
before, my son-in-law and daughter have been after me to go to
Dublin to visit his parents. I am going on Tuesday John M., but
I shall be back in ten days." He looked up at me from the bed and
said, "I will try to stay on until you get back."
Unfortunately, he did not. I called Joe and Anne from Dublin.
I spoke to Bob Muir and the others at the funeral home and
almost decided to try to get a plane home, but of course that was
I will miss John M. I will miss him here. I will remember the
conversations that I had with him through the years. I know that
he must be very pleased and honoured, as he is looking down on
us today, that Sister Peggy will continue his work, as she always
has, of championing Cape Bretoners.
As Senator Murray said, I know how pleased John M. must be
to know that you, Sister Peggy, are replacing him as a senator
from Cape Breton. There is no doubt about that.
Well done thou good and faithful servant, John M. We all
know that a place was reserved for you in heaven and we all
know that you are watching over us from that place.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators,I shall be
brief. First, I want to associate myself with the remarks of those
who have spoken in tribute to John M. Like John Michael and
John M. Buchanan, I am a John M. myself. We have a peculiar
What has been said about John M. is, of course, true. So
circumspect was he, indeed, that on the occasion of his ninetieth
birthday he would not let anyone tell his staff because he felt that
might lead to an invitation to them to come to Cape Breton. He
said, "What would the people of Cape Breton think if I showed
up with a woman on my arm?"
He had that sense of humour, that sense of correctness, that
sense of giving without looking down. He made us all feel a little
bigger and a little better. I had known him, like
Senator Buchanan and Senator Graham, since the mid-1950s
when I first became associated with Bob Stanfield.
John M. left a legacy that will not early or easily be forgotten.
I have known no man, or very few, who, in such a distinguished
but quiet way, had such a great influence on so many individuals.
John M. Macdonald influenced people to goodness. He
influenced them to care and concern for their fellow beings.
I want to add to what has been said today only this little
footnote: Many of you will recall that there was commissioned a
bust of John Michael Macdonald which sits in a place of
distinction in our precinct. Alas, John M.'s eyesight was failing
quite badly and he never really did see the bust. He felt it and he
knew what it was, of course.
As Senator Buchanan has said, his eyesight did come back to
some degree in the last week or ten days. The staff of our
chamber colleagues had a photograph of that bust taken and
enlarged to quite a good size. Marilyn and I took it to show to
him just three or four days before he passed on. He saw the bust
and he was pleased. He turned to Bob Muir and said, "I guess
they do care." Of course we care, John Michael. We care very,
Robert Muir would love to be here to regale us, as only he and
Senator Buchanan can, with stories that surround John Michael
Macdonald; a soldier, a gentleman, a teacher and, above all, a
politician. He made politics an honourable profession in the
35 years that I have been involved in it, and it will be to his
standard that I will, without any hesitation, look as I finish my
sojourn through this place.
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, I rise with a
tremendous sense of sadness to mourn the loss of the Honourable
John M. Macdonald. I deeply regret that I was unable to attend
his memorial service. I was away from home at the time and did
not receive notice of his death until the day of the service. I have
only the fondest memories of John M. I treasured him as the
institutional memory of our caucus. He had a remarkable ability
to recollect the details of elections, the events of the Diefenbaker
years and the politics and the issues that came and went during
his many years in Ottawa.
John M. was a true Cape Bretoner with the politics of that
region in his blood. He served Cape Breton well during his long
career in the Senate. He was a true Conservative, serving for two
decades as whip and caucus chair. His commitment to this party
was both remarkable and admirable. In any circumstances, in any
kind of weather, regardless of the inconvenience, John M. was
there for his party, just as he was for his region and his country.
John M. was a friend. He was a colleague I could rely on for
advice, wisdom, a wealth of experience, a diverting or
entertaining anecdote, or simply his warmth, his cheerful spirit
and his camaraderie. I shall miss him.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, if there
are no further tributes to the late Honourable Senator Macdonald,
I would ask you to rise with me to observe one minute of silence
out of respect for our departed colleague.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, when I think of the passing of our esteemed
colleague Senator Pietro Rizzuto, I think of the conversation that
ensued between a few of Andrew Jackson's friends at the time of
his death. One friend asked the other if he thought the former
President of the United States would go to heaven. "He will if he
wants to," was the response. He will if he wants to, with pure
determination, energy and a dynamic heart, plus all the other
exceptional qualities of a most exceptional man.
Most of us know the story of Pietro's tireless spirit. Born in
Sicily in 1934, he came to Canada at the age of 20. He shovelled
snow. He paved roads. Ultimately, he became the driving force
behind a highly successful construction business in his beloved
Laval. No task was too great; no contribution too much. He
supported junior hockey, the Boy Scouts and the Optimist Club.
Profoundly proud of his Italian roots, he founded the
Federation of Italian Associations in Quebec in 1972, and served
honourably as Canada's attaché to the Montreal Olympics in
Senator Rizzuto had an unconditional passion for his country.
That passion was rooted in the very heart of the young Sicilian
who arrived here with a dream: a Canada that is very special,
now and in the future; a conviction that freedom is not free but
hard won; a belief that being Canadian comes with duties, not
After one of his visits to England, Sir Wilfrid Laurier once
remarked on the harmonious beauty of a Gothic cathedral that he
had visited. He spoke of the wonderful unity of the cathedral, a
unity unerringly moulded from the diversity of granite, oak and
the marble used in its construction. He said that it was the perfect
illustration of the kind of nation that he wanted Canada to be, a
country whose strength was unity through diversity, a
harmonious whole in which the granite remains the granite, the
oak remains the oak, and the marble remains the marble.
When I heard Pietro's children speak in English, French,
Italian and Spanish at their father's funeral, I thought of Laurier's
dream. I thought, "Here is a living example of the kind of
wonderful multiculturalism that has made our flag loved and
respected around the planet. Here is the realization of the vision,
the determination and the energy of a young man from Sicily, a
young man who immersed himself completely in the economic,
social and political life of his adopted country." I thought about a
great Canadian who died too young.
To his wife, Pina, who is with us in the gallery today, his
children, Melina, Alfonso, Maria Christina and the members of
his extended family, we extend our expression of the deepest
Riposa in pace, mio caro amico.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, I did not know
Senator Rizzuto until I came to the Senate. I came to know him
here, and to appreciate his great qualities. Some of his good
friends were on this side, for instance Senators Charbonneau
The latter senator introduced him to me with glowing praise,
even though they were competitors in private life. Senator Riel
also knew him well, and shared that opinion.
During the hectic times surrounding the GST debate, I found
what was going on here in this august setting rather scandalous. I
saw how impressively calm Senator Rizzuto remained. It was
obvious that he did not approve of the way our sittings were
going either, and we exchanged our impressions outside the
chamber as we walked back to our offices, which were near each
He was a man of sound judgment, full of practical common
sense, wisdom and moderation, greatly devoted to the public
good, and appreciative of how lucky we were to live in this
Of humble Sicilian origins, Senator Rizzuto earned his laurels
here through hard and honest work in a developing market.
He had a strong sense of family, and his investments here and
elsewhere provided much work to his family members and to
many of his fellow countrymen.
His funeral, held at Laval-sur-le-Lac, was heavily attended and
was evidence to us all of the important place he held within his
family and his community. It moved us all to see the Bishop
weeping for the loss of his brother Pietro.
His immigration in the 1950s marked the start of a rise to the
upper ranks of the Canadian public service, based on that quiet
strength that is the mark of greatness.
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I wish to pay
tribute as well to a friend of some 20 years who has left us far too
Senator Pietro Rizzuto was, as others have said, a loyal
Canadian. He was a loyal Quebecer. There was never any doubt
where Senator Rizzuto stood when it came to his country. He was
a devoted federalist and active in promoting Canadian unity with
an almost fervent passion and conviction. He also was extremely
active in the Liberal Party of Canada, of which he was
Over the years, I had the opportunity to work closely with
Pietro, particularly in the activities before, during and after the
1993 election. I can attest that his passion for organization was
truly legendary, as was his enthusiasm. For him, politics was a
privilege. It was fundamental to the operation of a free and
effective democracy. He actively pursued those convictions right
to the very end.
He had every reason to take pride in his opportunities and
achievements in and contributions to both the public and the
private sectors in Canada. However, his deepest feelings were for
his family, whom he loved, of whom he spoke often and of
whom he was tremendously proud. I know they will miss him a
great deal. I assure them all that we here will miss him, too. God
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I think that
all French Canadians in Quebec know that I have lost a good
friend. Unfortunately, he died when I was on a tour of several
Middle Eastern countries. I was therefore unable to attend the
funeral myself, although my family was represented at the
ceremony and I did express my sympathy by telephone.
I must tell you that I did not know Pietro Rizzuto in the
seventies. It was Monseigneur André-Marie Cimichella who
mentioned him to me. He told me that he was a hard-working
family man and that he would be a great help if he were to agree
to serve in the Senate. This goes back many years to when
Mr. Trudeau was Prime Minister. And so it was that Pietro
Rizzuto came to be in the Senate.
There are many things about him that are not widely known.
At the most important moment of our life in Quebec, at the time
of the language issue, he served as a wonderful bridge between
the French Canadians and those who were ready to fight them to
the last Italian in Saint-Léonard, as I always said. Pietro Rizzuto
stepped in because he understood what it was to be a French
Canadian in Quebec. He understood the language issue and the
I hope that all those familiar with the language issue - which
almost drove a wedge between us and our blood brothers, as
I call my Italian friends - will write about this part of
Pietro Rizzuto's life.
I need hardly tell you that no one succeeded in casting a cloud
over our friendship, although attempts were made when I left the
House of Commons for the Senate. I am grateful to the senator
and his entire family for their continued friendship.
When we travel, we discover many things about our
colleagues that we do not see in the Senate or in the province,
and this was true when I travelled in Italy with Pietro. The last
trip we made together was when I had the pleasure of introducing
him to Mr. Castro in Cuba, at a time when there were
opportunities for economic development. Senator Rizzuto was
always on the lookout for anything that could boost the economy
of Quebec and of our country. I learned a lot from him.
To his wife and children, I extend an invitation to drop into my
office any time you are in Ottawa. We will celebrate Pietro
Rizzuto's memory as friends should.
Hon. Peter Bosa: Honourable senators, I should like to
associate myself with those senators who preceded me in paying
tribute to Senator Rizzuto.
Senator Rizzuto was very active in community work. He was
president and founder of the Federation of Italian Associations of
Quebec and founder of the Quebec Chapter of the National
Congress of Italian Canadian Foundation, an organization that
became national in scope and was established for the purpose of
providing a voice for the dozens of associations and clubs of
Italian origin in every part of Canada.
It was through the NCIC that I met Senator Rizzuto in the
mid-1970s. In 1976, when a major earthquake hit the region of
Friuli, the National Congress of Italian Canadians organized a
fund-raising campaign to help the victims of that earthquake,
raising sufficient funds to build 190 permanent housing units and
two senior citizen homes, which provided accommodation for
some 900 persons. It was during this period that I worked very
closely with Senator Rizzuto and learned to appreciate his
qualities. He was a person of commitment and dedication, and he
made a great contribution to the project of assistance to the
earthquake homeless of Friuli. He was involved in community
endeavours throughout his life. For his community work, he
received many awards, among them, the Honorary Citizen of the
City of Laval and the Grande Ufficiale Order of Merit from the
Republic of Italy.
Senator Rizzuto, from a humble beginning, rose to become a
prominent businessman, a spokesperson for the Italian
community, and a successful politician. He occupied positions of
great prestige in the Liberal Party: Co-chairman of the National
Election Readiness Committee and President of the Quebec
Electoral Commission of the Liberal Party in 1986.
However, above all, Senator Rizzuto was a family man, a
loving husband and an affectionate father. To Mrs. Rizzuto and
her family, my heartfelt condolences.
The Hon. John Buchanan: Honourable senators, I should like
to say a few words about Pietro Rizzuto.
As has been said, he was very proud of his Italian roots. I
knew him, not through my relationship with him in the Senate,
but through his relationship with the Italian communities of
Cape Breton. Way back in 1980, the provincial government had a
banquet at the UCCB in Cape Breton, and we had a ceremony
marking the first trans-Atlantic wireless message from
North America to Europe, which was sent from Table Head in
Glace Bay to Europe.
Present at that ceremony - I remember it so well - were
Governor General Ed Schreyer and his wife Lily; myself and my
wife; Leno Pologato, who was president of the Italian
Association of Cape Breton and lived in the first Italian
community of Canada, in Dominion, where Senator Graham is
from; and a captain of an Italian battleship that had come over to
be at this big event. We held a reception aboard that battleship in
Sydney Harbour. Of course, there were many others present, but
the one that I remember most was Senator Pietro Rizzuto, whom
I had never met before. He was there representing the Italian
communities of Canada and for his fellow countryman
Guglielmo Marconi. Present also was Marconi's daughter,
Mrs. Marconi-Braga, who was living in New Jersey at the time.
We had a wonderful afternoon and a tremendous banquet.
I sat next to him at the banquet. We had quite an interesting
discussion, not about politics, not about the Senate. He spoke so
glowingly about his roots, the Italian communities throughout
this country, and the fact that he was a fervent Canadian. I found
him a most interesting individual on that occasion.
One of the things I remember also was that we had arranged a
telecommunications-television hook-up with the presidential
palace in Rome, and Governor General Schreyer spoke to the
President of Italy, even though at that time it was about
two o'clock in the morning in Italy. That night we had televisions
set up on both sides of the Atlantic, and they had a great
conversation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first
trans-Atlantic wireless message from North America to
Shortly after that, I rose to speak at a federal-provincial
conference and made mention of that occasion. Brian Peckford
got very upset with me because, he said, it did not happen in
Cape Breton at all. Well, it did happen in Cape Breton. Senator
Rizzuto and I talked about that many times in the years since I
came to this place. The Governor General, Rod Maloney, the
Italian consul for the provinces, Senator Pietro Rizzuto and I
unveiled a plaque to his countryman, Guglielmo Marconi.
The next day, I arranged for a helicopter to take Senator
Rizzuto, the Governor General, Mrs. Braga, Rod Maloney and
me to Sugar Loaf in the highlands of Cape Breton, where we
unveiled another plaque, and it is still there. Senator Graham and
I were back there in June to commemorate Giovanni Caboto's
first landfall in North America at Sugar Loaf. The plaque is still
The next time I met Senator Rizzuto was at the opening of the
Marconi Museum in Glace Bay. Again, it is another bone of
contention between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, but the
plaque is there. We opened the museum, which is one of the
finest museums you will find in Canada.
When I came to this place over six years ago, I was so pleased
to renew my friendship with Pietro Rizzuto. Many times we
would go into the reading room and talk about those days in
Cape Breton when we honoured his two countrymen, Marconi
Honourable senators, Senator Pietro Rizzuto was a dear man, a
dear friend, and we will all miss him. I extend my sincere
sympathy to his family.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I sat next
to Pietro Rizzuto in this chamber for close to a decade, and at
practically every session we exchanged our views. In his quiet
and gentle manner, I came to appreciate his artfulness and his
astuteness in all things political, particularly with respect to
Quebec. I came to understand that he was a passionate Canadian
who loved his community, his province, and he was a living link
to all the rich, varied, unique and distinct societies that make up
Pietro most of all believed in loyalty. He was loyal to his
friends; he was loyal to his leader; he was loyal to our party. He
was, for me, the ultimate loyalist.
At his moving and magnificent memorial service in
Laval-sur-le-Lac this summer, five languages were spoken and
sung - Latin, English, French, Italian and Spanish - for he was
so closely and so strongly rooted in each of those cultures. As we
listened to the beautiful operatic voices and music that Pietro
loved so much, we could see and feel his presence among us. It
was, honourable senators, a most fitting conclusion and tribute to
an outstanding career of public and community service.
To his wife, Pina, and his family, we offer our condolences and
Pietro will be sorely missed for his strength, his sensibility, his
sagacity and, above all, for his service to Canada, which he loved
so very much. Pietro, pax vobiscum. Ciao, Pietro.
Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, much has been
written and said, but today I would like to tell you about a friend
who passed away on August 3, a friend for whom I had the
greatest respect, as did most of you in this house, I am sure.
I would have liked to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my first
meeting with Pietro Rizzuto, which is coming up in a few
months, but fate has decided otherwise. At the young age, much
too young, of 63, Senator Pietro Rizzuto departed suddenly from
this world, leaving a large family and a very large circle of
friends utterly bereft.
A sensitive, generous, courageous, upright and devoted man,
Senator Rizzuto leaves behind a major legacy, in particular for
Canadians from Quebec.
The story of Senator Rizzuto's life is the stuff legends are
made of, because his life is the dream of any immigrant coming
to Canada without any money. He liked to share the memories of
his first years here.
A son of a Sicilian peasant, he arrived in Montreal in the dead
of winter, in 1954. As was mentioned earlier, it was by
shovelling snow along the tracks that Pietro Rizzuto earned his
first dollars. Through his hard work, perseverance and
determination, he became successful.
Pietro's life did not only revolve around business. He liked to
be active in social and political organizations. In 1972, he
became the founding chairman of the Quebec Federation of
Italian Associations, among others; during his last years, he also
served at the Cité de la santé in Laval. He was always very active
and respected in the community; like a guide, he was constantly
Senator Rizzuto loved politics. The Liberal Party of Canada
and the current government owe much to him. Giving
unsparingly of his time and energy, Senator Rizzuto literally
rebuilt the Liberal Party of Canada after 1984.
He played a key role in the selection of the new leader in 1990
and he worked as chairman of the Liberal Party's campaign
committee in Quebec during the 1993 general election.
In 1976, Senator Rizzuto was the first Canadian of Italian
origin to be appointed to the Senate, where he fought on every
occasion for Canada, but also for Quebec. He stoutly defended
the principles underlying the charter of the French language, and
Quebec's powers over language.
Senator Rizzuto was proud of his humble origins, and proud as
well of his personal and career successes, proud of his country of
Canada, proud to be a Quebecer, and terribly proud of his family.
Senator Rizzuto learned French long before he learned
English, and conversations at his house were primarily in French,
a matter of principle for him since he had chosen to live in
French Quebec and his integration into Quebec society was
always a source of pride to him.
He was also a man of tolerance and rapprochement, the very
example of the fundamental human virtues that have always been
a source of Canada's strength, and that it needs now more
Yes, honourable senators, I shall miss him, his judicious
advice, his presence in this house. I consider it a privilege to
have benefited from his friendship for nearly 25 years. We have
lost a great Canadian and a good senator. I have lost a great
friend. I send condolences as a friend to Pina, Melina, Cristina,
his adoring grandchildren, his brothers and sisters.
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, I should like to add
to the testimonials by my Senate colleagues the words spoken by
the Honourable Marc Lalonde on the day of Senator Rizzuto's
funeral, and I quote:
On behalf of all the friends of Senator Pietro Rizzuto, on
behalf of the thousands who filed past his coffin, on behalf
of all those in Canada, in Mexico, and in Italy, his native
Sicily in particular, all those who knew him and were
prevented by distance from coming to express their
sympathies in person, I would like to express to his widow,
Pina, his children and grandchildren, our most sincere
condolences and the assurance of our faithful friendship. We
were as shocked as they at the sudden passing of someone
who, despite his title of Senator, will remain in the
memories of almost all of us quite simply and affectionately
Over the years, we got to know the attributes of this
exceptional man, his total intellectual, moral and
professional integrity. With Pietro, we always knew where
we stood, and his word always sufficed.
We discovered his generosity, with his own possessions
of course. Who could forget the lavish receptions on the
occasion of the marriage of his children or the substantial
and hospitable spread he put on to celebrate
Saint-Jean-Baptiste. Also, and more importantly, there were
his many acts of kindness to his Quebec or Mexican
employees or his Italian compatriots. We need only think of
the vital role he played in raising several million dollars in
Canada for the people of Friuli in northern Italy, who were
victims of a disastrous earthquake. He was generous with
his possessions, his time, his energy, and most importantly
with his heart. We saw this generosity in action not only
here but in Nuevo Vallarta in Mexico and in the village of
his birth in Sicily. No individual, no matter how humble,
failed to warrant his interest, his attention and his help. In
his adopted country and province, his generosity developed
in him moderation and tolerance that stood him in
particularly good stead as a leader of the Italian Canadian
community by making it possible for this community to
ease gently into Quebec society and Canadian society as a
Later on, after becoming involved in Canadian politics, in
difficult times when volunteers were few, he would take on
major responsibilities in revitalizing his party - an
unrewarding task if ever there was one.
Finally, who can forget his natural nobility and Sicilian
pride, so rightly deserved, that made Pietro so endearing?
He taught us a virtue that is fading in this century, that of
I hope that someone will keep alive the memory of this
man people know too little about by writing his story. They
will find him a remarkable example of the huge contribution
made to our country and province by the millions of men
and women who, from all of the world's countries, have
chosen to come here in the 20th century. It will serve as a
source of inspiration to all those who, in the future, want to
serve their fellow citizens asking nothing for themselves.
Arrivederci, Pietro. Non ti dimenticheremo. We will not
Hon. Léonce Mercier: Honourable senators, it is with great
emotion that I am going to speak to you today of a man who was
both a colleague and a very dear friend, Senator Pietro Rizzuto. I
should like his family to know that I am well aware of just how
much he accomplished, of his tenacity, and of the courage with
which he performed his weighty duties and responsibilities
within the Liberal Party of Canada. Only his family and those
who worked closely with him are privy to this information, and I
count myself among the latter.
In 1978 the two of us teamed up for the Liberal Party of
Canada's fund-raising campaign. Under the direction of Senator
Dalia Wood, Senator Rizzuto and I worked all out to get 67 out
of 75 members elected in Quebec in the 1979 federal election on
It was then that Senator Rizzuto brilliantly combined
responsibilities and achievements. On December 14, 1979, a
general election was called. On February 18, 1980, Senator
Rizzuto and I contributed to a resounding victory: 74 Liberals
elected out of 75.
In May 1980, we were in the full swing of Quebec's
referendum on sovereignty-association. This umbrella
committee, drawn from all provincial and federal parties, and
created and represented for the referendum period by the
provincial opposition leader, Claude Ryan, intervened. As
general manager of the Liberal Party of Canada, Quebec section,
I asked the Honourable Jean Chrétien, Minister of Justice and
co-chair of the umbrella committee, if Senator Rizzuto could join
me. The Senator accepted enthusiastically and made an
Those of us on the executive of the umbrella committee had
our work cut out for us. Helped along by Senator Rizzuto's
diplomacy, determination and belief in what he was doing, the
committee was able to surmount the greatest challenges.
Senator Rizzuto was asked to supervise the 74 Liberal
members who campaigned and worked for the No side at the
regional and county levels. He was also responsible, again with
the executive, for gathering the support of the business people, a
task at which he was very successful.
He was also in charge of organizing a demonstration with
seniors. Again, our expectations were exceeded, what with the
overwhelming participation of all these groups.
Also, he sat on the strategy committee, which held some
30 meetings, even during weekends. Senator Rizzuto always
attended like the real trooper he was. I do not think he missed
any of these meetings.
On the evening of the No victory, I could not believe the
incredible number of people who thanked him for his dedication
to the cause that was so dear to his heart: Canada. However,
humble as ever, he told everyone that they could not have won
without the remarkable contribution of the "Yvette" movement,
led by women, not to mention the continuous support of the
representatives of all parties. He would say that we reached our
goal thanks to the support and dedication of all those who
worked for the No side.
After the 1980 referendum, Senator Rizzuto took part in
fundraising campaigns for the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party
of Canada. In 1981, 1982 and 1983, he was very successful in
raising millions of dollars.
I could never understand how this businessman could get so
totally immersed in all kinds of social endeavours and still
manage to be a regular figure in the Senate and be so effective.
He was a remarkable man.
I could go on and on, but I will stop here.
In spite of our friendship, I always addressed Senator Rizzuto
as "vous," in French, or Senator. He would always tell me:
Léonce, call me Pietro. But I kept calling him Senator and using
the formal "vous." He found this to be annoying and it made him
feel quite uncomfortable.
When Senator Rizzuto passed away, I thought I should give
him a small present. I did it in the letter of sympathy I wrote to
his family, and which I will now read:
Dear Mrs. Rizzuto,
It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of my
colleague and friend Pietro. I wish to offer to you and your
family my most sincere condolences.
My prayers are with you in this time of sorrow.
I would like to conclude by reiterating my sincere condolences
to his wife Pina, his three children and his numerous relatives.
Pietro, we will miss you. Rest assured that this is just an au
revoir. Thank you Pietro. I salute you and I applaud you.
Hon. Marisa Ferretti Barth: Honourable senators, I am both
honoured and proud to speak for the first time in this house by
paying tribute to the Honourable Pietro Rizzuto, whom I have
known well for the past 30 years, from the time I began doing
social and community work for the Italian community. I also feel
a certain sadness.
I wish to offer my deepest sympathy to his wife, Pina, his
children, Melina, Alfonso and Maria Christina, and their
partners, his grandchildren, all the members of his family and his
many friends, and also my assurance that I will not forget him.
We in Quebec's Italian-speaking community knew Pietro,
when he was among the workers, and after, when he sat in the
Senate. Like them we are devastated by the sudden departure of
the person everyone called simply "the senator." It will be with
both respect and esteem that we remember this noble, generous,
devoted, proud and endearing man, who will provide an example
and inspiration for many. I would express my admiration for his
enduring work and I would say again to his family that the Italian
population of Quebec will not forget him.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would ask you
to please rise to observe one minute of silence in honour of the
memory of our colleague and friend Pietro Rizzuto.
Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.
The Honourable Guy Charbonneau,
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, having had the advantage of knowing Guy
Charbonneau for a long time before becoming a member of this
house, I freely admit that the words I wish to say in tribute to him
are coloured highly by my deep feelings for him.
Whether one was there or not, all would prefer to forget the
disgraceful scenes that marked this chamber in the fall of 1990.
When memories of it finally fade into vagueness, it will
eventually, I hope, become but an unfortunate footnote in the
history of the Canadian Parliament, except for one element that
will never be forgotten. Reaction to certain of then Speaker
Charbonneau's decisions went way beyond the bounds of
acceptable parliamentary conduct, as he was insulted, threatened,
vilified and even physically abused. Through it all he stood taller
than those heaping abuse on him, never flinching, never replying
This is not an apology for Senator Charbonneau's decisions,
but a vivid illustration of the great courage that has always
exemplified his life - courage coupled with great distinction.
This should have come as no surprise to those familiar with the
bravery he demonstrated while on active service in Europe
during World War II.
He has been a successful businessman and an invaluable
supporter of the Conservative Party in Quebec, whose fortunes
more often than not are about on the same level as those of the
Liberal Party in Alberta.
He served in this chamber for nearly 18 years, nine of them as
Speaker. In this latter role, he was called upon many times to
represent his country at home and abroad and always did so with
gentle modesty and convincing flair.
For some time Guy has been slowed down by a serious
affliction and he is facing it with his usual fearless determination,
which we all pray will contribute to its elimination.
Yesterday, Guy and his lovely wife, Yolande, celebrated their
twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I extend my congratulations
and best wishes to this couple to whom we are greatly indebted
for their loyalty and dedication to the Senate.
May they have many more happy years together.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, someone once said that politics is not a
good vocation for anyone who is thin skinned or lacking a sense
of humour. How well all of us should understand that saying.
When Senator Guy Charbonneau retired from this place he had,
no doubt, thought many times of this very pertinent observation.
As a veteran of World War II and captain with the proud
regiment Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, he well knew the full import
of Sir Winston Churchill's famous observation in which he
compared politics to war. He noted that in wartime you can be
killed only once, but in politics many times.
As the longest serving Senate Speaker in Canadian history,
Senator Charbonneau has no doubt experienced many times the
full import of Harold Wilson's wry assertion that in politics a
week can be a very long time.
Honourable senators, I remember a letter that Senator
Charbonneau wrote ten years ago. That letter, which supported
the Senate and the important work it does, was circulated all over
At the beginning of this session, and on the eve of a new
chapter of our service to the people of Canada, we might want to
reflect on Senator Charbonneau's words. He wrote:
When is the press going to start recognizing that the
Senate has been on the leading edge of just about every
issue - things like free trade with the United States, radar
defence in the North, the scourge of soil erosion, such as
that leading to the tragedy in Ethiopia and, yes, even Senate
On the leading edge: on the leading edge of the study of child
poverty; on the leading edge of studies into media concentration;
on the leading edge of studies into science and technology and
studies into the revolutionary changes in telecommunications; on
the leading edge of an ongoing intensive review of financial
services. On all these subjects, on all these fronts, the Senate,
though seldom misunderstood and often misjudged, served as the
guardian at the gate. But that role carries with it grave and
onerous responsibilities; it carries with it grave and onerous
duties; it carries with it the recognition that the times demand
that in everything we do we remain true to our sovereign and to
Speaker Charbonneau served this house in both good and bad
times. He witnessed major events that marked the history of this
house. On the occasion of his retirement, we thank him for the
many years he has given to the Senate and his country.
Hon. Normand Grimard: Honourable senators, Senator Guy
Charbonneau is a name that reminds me of my introduction to
the Senate, all the more so since we were both sworn in on
September 27, he in 1979 and I in 1990. For me, it was at a time
when, in the upper house that is revered so much by everyone
here, days merged into nights. The Honourable Senator
Charbonneau embodied continuity during those weeks and those
months when life in the Senate resembled a voyage in troubled
waters without life-jackets.
Today, Senator Charbonneau is an ordinary Canadian once
again but one to whom this country is indebted for many
services. An astute business person, he led a number of trade
missions abroad and was equally successful in hosting a great
many other missions. Without his exceptional insight, a great
many projects would never have seen the light of day. Canada is,
without question, indebted to him for a number of overseas
contracts. Without his intervention, many of those new markets
would have been conquered by other countries.
Senator Charbonneau has a very personal sense of modesty
and an even deeper sense of friendship. I rather suspect he will
hold today's remarks against me. I know he has always been very
protective of his private life.
As a parliamentarian, Senator Charbonneau has not only been
Speaker in the Senate for nine years, which is a record in itself,
but also an extraordinary ambassador for our economy, both for
job creation and investment. He has played his role well. I think
he has carried out his mandate with a determination that is equal
to the pride he takes in all he does. Honourable Senator
Charbonneau has now moved to a quieter life. As our former
colleague Solange Chaput-Rolland would say, he will enjoy the
benefits of aging. That is what we call retirement, although I
doubt that term is appropriate in his case.
Like myself, Guy Charbonneau has always been faithful to the
Progressive Conservative Party. He made that choice at a time
when it was no way to win a popularity contest in Quebec.
Senator Charbonneau is first of all a man of conviction. Once he
makes a decision, he has the merit to carry it through with
courage and consistency, sometimes retreating behind a shell
impervious to criticism, as I once wrote.
Senator MacEachen was honoured in this house on June 19,
1996. Prior to his departure after 43 years as a member of
Parliament, minister, senator and later Leader of the Opposition
in the Senate, Senator MacEachen stated, as recorded at page 747
of the Debates of the Senate:
I believed when I came into the Senate as I do now, that
the Senate has a legislative role and the authority to amend
and to defeat; but, in doing so, it must make all those careful
calculations that will ensure that it is not bringing
opprobrium upon itself in so doing.
Still unresolved, however, and perhaps impossible to
determine is the issue of the extent to which the Senate can be
combative in its own way without encroaching on the House of
Commons' prerogatives or responsibility for finance.
I wish Senator Charbonneau a retirement filled with joy and
reconciliation rather than division. Still, this should not keep me
from having personal memories, and I have quite a few, believe
me. For me, Guy Charbonneau is synonymous with a series of
vivid, indelible and unforgettable events.
For all the stormy days and the calm ones, the good times and
the bad, the praise and the criticism, I have but two words: thank
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, my great
friendship with Senator Charbonneau was never a secret. We
have known each other for many years and we have discussed
politics for a long time.
How many times, around 1979-80, did he try to convince me
to join the ranks of the Conservative Party, knowing full well that
was an impossible task? I will not forget all these memories. I
listened to my good friend Senator Grimard and to the other
honourable senators who paid tribute to Senator Charbonneau,
and I support their comments about his great knowledge of
economic, trade and international issues.
Senator Charbonneau was always surprised at how little
interest I had in such important matters. Still, I always wanted to
learn, and if I could have chosen my mentor, he would have been
my first choice.
Honourable Senator Charbonneau, I wish you a happy
retirement and excellent health.
Hon. Richard J. Doyle: Honourable senators, sometimes we
must wait for untimely but divine intervention or the celebration
of a seventy-fifth birthday to hear much said about the special
skills and good works of colleagues who share time with us in
I am especially glad today to hear from Senators Prud'homme
and Grimard and Senators John Lynch-Staunton and Al Graham,
a beginning of the cataloguing of the good works of Guy
Charbonneau, a wise senator whose accomplishments have for
too long a time been buried by those in frantic need of a
scapegoat for the wars in this house.
The sharpest barbs, we must agree, were aimed by politicians
like ourselves. For that, the price of absolution will be steep.
Almost equal penance will be demanded for the people of the
media who joined the search for evidence that was never found
to support these wild accusations.
When I came to the Senate, I found Senator Charbonneau to be
a willing guide and confidant - a calm and calming influence
upon the chamber. As his reputation grew with his competence in
the job of Speaker, his availability as a target advanced. As a
newspaper writer and editor, I believed in the good work the
fourth estate could do in muckraking, but the work is delicate
and requires a careful capacity to acknowledge eventually that a
cold trail sometimes means that no trail exists.
In his time, Senator Charbonneau has encountered graver
dangers than those that pursued him in the battles in this house.
Like Senator Lynch-Staunton, I pray that his future will be as
was his past, calm and calming.
In the meantime, I hope that he might see some humour in a
poem by Herbert Lench Pottle:
The rain descendeth from above
Upon the just and unjust fellow;
But mostly on the just
Because the unjust
Has the just's umbrella.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, as I listened to Senator Doris Anderson
speak in this chamber, I often thought of the famous Island spirit
in the gentle province where the Fathers of Confederation
negotiated the Terms of Union and conceived the great national
dream. In fact, she personifies the well-known Island conviction
that any man or woman, no matter how modest their origins,
must test their abilities to the maximum, always believing that no
man or woman is better than any other.
Senator Anderson has been driven all her life to leave the
world a better place than she has found it. She has been driven by
a commitment to our young as a teacher of home economics at
Prince of Wales College and the University of Prince Edward
Island for 32 years. She has been driven by the struggle against
celiac disease in her research. She has been driven by the spirit of
scholarship in her prolific writings.
I have often thought of her energy and commitment to the
service of others, a commitment that won her the Order of
Canada back in 1982. That drive and energy reminds me of
Nellie McClung's famous observation that women have cleaned
up things since time began, and if women get into politics, there
will be a cleaning up of pigeon-holes and forgotten corners in
which the dust of years have fallen.
Honourable senators who have served with Senator Anderson
on committee know that her industry and perseverance have
ensured no forgotten corners. No dust has accumulated when
Doris has been around. That, in spite of some of the people who
followed her at that wonderful institution known as Acadia
University, the one-time home of Senators Stewart, Atkins and
Senator Anderson has moved all of us with her love for her
home province and of her country. On Remembrance Day last,
lest we forget, she reminded us that Prince Edward Island, in
terms of population, had the highest per capita enlistment of any
place in Canada in World War II and, tragically, it had the highest
casualty rate as well.
I have been impressed by the depth of her commitment
to medicare, the soul of our nation, to human rights, and
in particular to the advancement of Canadian women in the
service of their country. Honourable senators, that advancement
enlightens this chamber, enlightens our hearts and enlightens our
minds. That advancement has brought us a long way on the path
to a new, fresh contract of hope in this country.
By her presence, Senator Anderson has reminded us that
although we have come a long way, we still have a long way to
go. She has reminded us that here in the Senate of Canada, we
must never tire in the struggle for the truth; we must never tire in
the struggle for the facts; we must never tire in our efforts to
better the lives of the people of our provinces and our regions.
Senator Anderson has a wise and understanding heart. She
deepened our thoughts. She broadened our minds. We thank her
on this, the occasion of her retirement from this chamber. We
thank her most especially for the very great pleasure of her
Hon. Orville H. Phillips: Honourable senators, I should like
to join in the tribute to my fellow senator and a fellow Islander,
Perhaps it can be said that she arrived quietly, she served
quietly and she left us quietly. I am sure that one person who will
miss her greatly is the Liberal whip. In the previous Parliament,
when our numbers were fairly equal and committee attendance
was most important, I often noticed that when the Liberals were
short a member on a committee, it was Senator Anderson who
came in and filled the spot.
As Senator Graham has mentioned, Senator Anderson had a
successful teaching career at Prince of Wales College and the
University of Prince Edward Island. In addition, she was active
in many organizations, such as the Canadian Federation of
University Women and the Canadian Dietetic Association. As
has already been mentioned, she received the Order of Canada.
She also served for a period in the 1950s as a Wren officer in the
When I was talking to her brother this summer, he told me
that she missed her friends in this chamber. I know that she will
remember her friends here but that she will be very happy to be
back on our beautiful island with an even greater number of
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I would add a few
words of tribute to Senator Doris Anderson, who was my
seatmate in this place for most of our short time here together.
As Senator Phillips has said, she was a quiet woman.
However, she had a very keen insight into the issues that came
before us, and into the human condition. I must say I delighted in
her sharp comments to me while sitting here.
She came with a background in nutrition, education and
mental health. She had her Bachelor of Science from Acadia
University and a Master of Science from Cornell University. Her
career in the teaching profession has been outlined to honourable
senators by Senator Graham.
She was widely published and respected in her chosen
profession. Her work had a particular focus on children and on
celiac disease. Her significant contribution to public health was
recognized in 1982 when she received the Order of Canada.
Senator Anderson and I were appointed to the Senate in the
same class, the Class of September 1995. We were one-half of
that class. Although she had just two years in which to do it,
Senator Anderson made her mark here in the Senate. During her
tenure she served on no less than five standing committees at
once. Let me enumerate them for you: They were the Standing
Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, the Standing Senate
Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, the Standing Senate
Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources,
the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and
Communications and the Standing Joint Committee of the Senate
and the House of Commons for the Scrutiny of Regulations. She
also chaired the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and
Forestry Subcommittee on the Boreal Forest, and served on the
Special Committee of the Senate on the Cape Breton
Senator Anderson's quiet hard work and reliable service to the
Senate and to Canada will be missed. I know that Prince Edward
Island will be glad to have her back full time without the Senate
to steal her away every week to Ottawa, but I will miss her.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, I have a
few short words of appreciation for Senator Anderson's
contribution, especially to the Standing Senate Committee on
Agriculture and Forestry. I was chairman of that committee. She
was always there. Her in-depth research of whatever issue,
whether in agriculture or forestry, was to be commended.
I take this occasion to say, "Thank you, Senator Anderson" for
your contribution to that committee and to the Senate. I will miss
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, in turning my mind to speaking of Senator
Joe Landry, I cannot help but think of his roots in the dozens of
small coastal communities that dot the great Atlantic seaboard
and of the proud traditions and lifestyles which have been passed
on from generation to generation.
In my part of the world, community is our greatest natural
resource. It is in our communities where the values that anchor
our country are renewed across the decades. The deep roots of
community have been in many ways the origins of our wonderful
country. It is in the small communities like Cap-Pelé,
New Brunswick, where Senator Joe Landry came from, that
lifestyles based on self-reliance and individual responsibility
have been shaped and passed on over time.
Joe's story was all about determination and self-reliance and
enterprise. He went from stevedore to fish plant owner. He did
this on sheer tenacity and, of course, his own business acumen.
Joe's story is also about individual responsibility to his many
employees throughout Atlantic Canada and in the communities
in which they lived, because he took great pride in putting money
into equipment for his plants, believing that that kind of
investment - not expenditures on personal luxuries, but on
investments that he thought were for the good of his employees
- was his contribution to the common good.
The proud father of seven children, Joe never forgot his roots.
Honourable senators, Joe Landry knew very well the
importance and the meaning of life. He also knew the value of
cooperation; no matter what the occasion was, he knew that the
future of the nation revolved around the community to which we
belong. He believed in family values, which are the key to our
Woodrow Wilson once said that the man who is swimming
against the stream knows the strength of it. Joe was exceedingly
frank with us in this chamber on the subject of his own speech
disability. You will recall that, a few months ago, he spoke of his
life as an endless fight. We were all moved by his words. He
spoke of children afflicted with speech problems and of the pain
they suffer at the hands of their peers. He suffered it at the hands
of his peers. He concluded his remarks with a passionate plea for
government to become more involved in the treatment of speech
It was a moving and emotional address that all of us who were
in this chamber at the time remember well. He told us that not all
Canadian children have the resolve to get through life without a
great deal more work in this area, and he said that, "Not many of
the little children of today are as pig-headed as I was."
It has been said that the true value of a man is not measured by
his easy triumphs, but by his courage in the face of challenge and
adversity and his willingness to serve his fellow citizens.
Senator Landry, may all of us in this new session show the
same courage and determination, and if I can use the words that
you used, the same pig-headedness - the same pig-headed
dedication to the interest of our communities, the same
pig-headed determination to the interests of our regions - as you
have shown in an all too brief tenure in this place.
We all wish you and Lucie a happy and healthy retirement.
Hon. Mabel M. DeWare: Honourable senators, I also rise to
pay tribute to a former colleague from New Brunswick, the
Honourable Joe Landry.
Over the span of his time here - I believe he was appointed in
February of 1996, so it is about 16 months in this house - he
and I became quite good friends during the many occasions we
travelled from home to Ottawa together. During those times, Joe
talked to me about his life and about his business, because I was
interested and it was a New Brunswick business.
He talked about when he started as a stevedore in Halifax and
how, in 1947, with a few friends, he decided to rebuild a fishing
plant in Cap-Pelé where he was born in 1922. Over the span of
50 years, he built many other fishing plants in the Atlantic area.
Then, because he was exporting around the world, he built a
plastics plant. He said this was not all done with favourable
acceptance by some of the people in the community. It seems as
though he fought an uphill battle all the way, even though it
meant recognition for Cap-Pelé and employment for a great
number of people in that area. I believe he is now the
The other thing that he did during his time was help a new
member in this house, Fernand Robichaud, see that the Prime
Minister was elected in the Beauséjour riding. I listened to all
that, and I knew about it, but I do not commend him for it.
Anyway, I have to accept it.
He won an export award from the Province of New Brunswick
in 1989, but that was not the "Senator Joe" that I know. I found
him a humble, quiet, kind, genteel man who had a very regular
attendance in this place. He was also here for votes,
unfortunately. He was also very attendant to committee work. We
did quite a bit of talking together, and often during receptions he
would seek me out because he knew me and we were
comfortable in each other's company.
He made one major speech here, his maiden speech, as
Senator Graham has mentioned. Before going home on the last
day after the speech, he told me that he had received a phone call
asking him to go to the province of Alberta to deliver this speech
and talk to the people out there about disabilities. He said it made
him very proud to think that someone would ask him to come
and tell about his life. It was a very personal speech he gave in
this house, one that touched us that day.
Joe, I wish you and your family many more years of success
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I would be
remiss if I did not say something to mark the departure of
Senator Doris M. Anderson. Although I do not know her all that
well, I gained an appreciation of her during the past two years
she sat in the Senate. I often attended committee meetings and
she was always there, something that is of great importance for
the whips. I send her my greetings, with the hope that I shall get
to visit her in Prince Edward Island.
I also wish to pay tribute to my old friend, Senator Landry.
Mr. Landry was a man who kept to himself, a calm and quiet
man. After the Senate adjourns in the evening, usually people go
back to their offices alone, which is rather sad. I saw him often
and came to know him. In a way he represents all of my past, my
grandparents and parents. This was a solid man, a man like those
who built their region, with a real attachment to the land.
I made friends with him immediately. Quickly, ours became a
strong friendship. I have been a guest in his home and have
learned much from him. Honourable senators, I wish you had all
had the opportunity to get to know him as I did. He is a simple
man, funny, capable, understanding, an example of
determination. Anyone wanting to succeed in life could take a
page from Senator Landry's book.
Despite the honours of the Senate, he always remained faithful
to himself and faithful to his party. He always reproached me in
that respect, and at each vote I suspected him of being the
spokesperson for the "éminences grises" of the Senate. He
always came to me saying "I hope you are going to vote with
us." Occasionally, I think I did so just to please him.
I will not say any more. I will have the opportunity to visit him
at home, but he will be missed here. Senator Landry is an
example of determination and proof that, in this country, nothing
is impossible. When people are that determined, there is no
region that cannot be developed. I trust that he will continue, and
I believe it is important for this message to reach him, so that he
can set an example for young people, who are too often easily
discouraged. I salute him and his family, and I look forward to
visiting him soon.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honourable senators, I should like
to pay tribute to Senator Joseph Landry, "Joe" to everyone. As he
said himself, there was no greater honour than to sit in this house
and to be one of us.
In economic terms, all of southeastern New Brunswick is in
his debt. A number of families depend on the jobs they have in
his factories, primarily in Cap-Pelé. He also has interests on
Prince Edward Island and in Cape Breton. Things were not
always easy for him, and his success is due to his perseverance
and the fact that he was a tireless worker. Joe also had the great
gift of being able to see the positive side of things, both in
business and in the people he met. My pleasure at Joe's return to
private life is not because it opened the door to my entry into this
honourable chamber, but rather because he will be able to
continue to benefit the community by creating jobs, developing
the local economy and supporting the fishing industry.
Hon. M. Lorne Bonnell: Honourable senators, Senator
Landry was my seatmate. He received most of his instructions
from me. One of the things I said to Senator Joe was, "Since you
are in the fish business, would it not be nice if all the senators -
that is, the Liberals, Conservatives and Independents - could
have a good feed of those maritime lobsters?" Joe thought it was
a good idea. With the help and the graciousness of His Honour,
we had a lovely lobster dinner in the Speaker's Chambers. Joe
brought the lobster; Senator John Buchanan brought the wine;
someone brought the black muscles; and someone else brought
the smoked salmon. All the senators, be they from British
Columbia, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Atlantic
Canada, sat down together and ate a delicious maritime meal
because of Joe Landry.
Senator MacDonald: Senator Graham did the fund raising!
Senator Bonnell: Senator Landry was a humble man. He
made two speeches here. One speech, as you heard before, was
on stammering - not stuttering. He was very proud of that
speech. There were tears in his eyes the day that he gave it. It
was given with emotion and straight from his heart. Another day
he could not resist but stand up in this place and say how proud
he was to see his friend Dr. Trenholme-Counsell be appointed as
the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick. On that occasion he
stood again and gave another speech.
Joe is not a man who could get up and make a speech. Joe is a
working man. He is a man who helped elect prime ministers and
members of Parliament. He helped to do lots of things but, most
important, he liked to work with his own people in Cap-Pelé and
the Shediac area of New Brunswick. If any senator from either
side - that is, Independents, Liberals, Conservatives, or even a
Reformer if there was such a thing here - were to visit him, Joe
would be more than pleased to have them call on him at
Cap-Pelé and to have a lobster or fish dinner with them if the
opportunity were to arise.
I shall make it a point each year, while I can still drive a car, to
drive across that beautiful bridge in Prince Edward Island to see
my old seatmate, Senator Landry, to remind him that the feed of
New Brunswick lobsters is available to a Prince Edward Islander.
Senator Buchanan: I shall go with you!
Senator Bonnell: If Senator Buchanan wants to go with me,
he will have to bring the wine again.
Senator Landry was very interested in Prince Edward Island,
especially Rustico Island, where the breakwaters have broken
down because of the change of the tides when they closed off
Rustico Island. Joe worked on that project for two years to try to
get that breakwater diverted back to Rustico Island rather than
toward the peninsula. If the truth were to be known, he is still
working at it to this day. He has not succeeded yet. He had hoped
that if they changed the government in Prince Edward Island,
they might decide to work at it a little more. He has not been
successful but he will not stop trying until he dies.
I should like to extend to his good wife and family my best
regards and sincere hope that he finds enjoyment and happiness
in his retirement. Also, I should like to tell him that I shall be
there, Joe, looking for that lobster dinner the first time I am in
Hon. John G. Bryden: Honourable senators, Senator Landry
lives just up the coast, about a 25-minute drive from my farm,
which has been my home, basically, since 1946. I have come to
know Joe in the latter years since I have been back there.
However, I wanted to say something to the honourable senators
in this chamber who welcomed Joe Landry, and with whom Joe
Landry became friends. I know that Joe thoroughly appreciated
the kindness, the courtesy and the genuine feeling that many
senators developed for him in the short period of time he was
People do not realize the inventiveness that Joe Landry
brought to his industry. He developed the CO2 freezing for
lobster tails that are now exported around the world. I will not
tell you how that is done, but it keeps the lobster tails very fresh.
As soon as you thaw them out, you would think they had just
come out of the water.
When we talk about fish plants and the fish packing industry,
we do not realize how important such things are to a region such
as Atlantic Canada. In the last annual issue of a prominent
Atlantic business magazine, they list - and they do it every year,
I believe - the 101 top contributors to the economy of Atlantic
Canada. It is much like Atlantic Canada's Fortune 500. In that
list, which starts with the Irvings and the McCains, ranked
number 41 is Cape Bald Packers, which was started and is owned
and operated by Joe Landry and his family.
Just last winter when he was getting ready to retire, Joe was in
the Caribbean examining the fishery there to see if some of the
techniques that we use in the Northumberland Strait and in
Atlantic Canada could be of benefit to the fishery and the people
of the Caribbean. He also spotted an untapped stock that he
thought he could exploit.
Joe and I travelled home together from the opening of
Parliament last week, after the Speech from the Throne. It was
interesting to hear Senator Bonnell say that Joe had an interest in
Rustico Island in Prince Edward Island. Lo and behold, who was
at the airport in Ottawa on her way to Montreal when we were
getting ready to leave but the Honourable Sheila Copps, who is
in charge of parks and heritage. From the time that Sheila Copps
made the mistake of coming over to say "Hello" until she left the
airport in Montreal, Joe Landry spent every second in talking to
her about why Parks Canada should fix Rustico Island. When he
left me, he said, "I think we have the Rustico Island thing fixed."
Honourable senators, Senator Joe Landry was so proud to be
here last week to attend the Speech from the Throne. He told me,
"I bought this tuxedo because it costs so much to rent them. It
only costs $160 to buy one." He was very proud to be with us.
When Joe got off the plane in Moncton, he was paged. One of
his fish trucks was on fire in Sussex. His son was there. When I
caught up with them, Joe and his son were having an argument as
to whether or not Joe should go and deal with the truck and let
his son go back to his family, who were having a birthday party.
As far as I know, Joe went with the half-ton to Sussex to see what
was going on with the fish truck.
That is the sort of person and the sort of life this wonderful
man has had. I have been very happy to call him a friend. If Joe
were here, he would want to tell you how much he appreciates
the friends he had the opportunity to make in his short period of
time here in this gracious chamber.
Tributes on Appointment and Retirement of Officers
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators before we welcome the new senators -
I should like to welcome back Senator Molgat, who is so
competent as Speaker it seems he was born to occupy this chair.
Senator Molgat has an unparalleled knowledge of this chamber
and its rules. He has served with grace and dignity during even
the most heated debate. Senator Molgat has served his province
and this country for many years as diplomat, soldier and
statesman. He is a man who understands more than most that this
proud and historic chamber is the conscience of Parliament, and
that its role, though constantly evolving and changing, is rooted
deeply in the determination of the Fathers of Confederation to
forge a new nation.
We shall continue to learn from him as the session unfolds.
Welcome back, Your Honour. We are very happy that you are
with us again.
Honourable senators, many years ago, Senator John Connolly
described the Canadian Senate as the custodian of our basic
freedoms. My former seatmate, the former Leader of the
Government, Senator Fairbairn, exemplifies that kind of Senate.
Senator Fairbairn led the government side in very difficult
circumstances. Speaking on behalf of our entire caucus, we are
proud to have served under her leadership. Though she has
stepped down from her former position, Senator Fairbairn has not
backed away from her duties or from her dedication to service.
As we all know, she was asked by the Minister of Human
Resources Development to be his advisor on literacy. During this
past week she has, in fact, represented Minister Pettigrew in both
Toronto and South Korea. I only hope she will give as generously
of her time when I seek her advice and her counsel as she has
given, and continues to give, in the service of our country.
There has been quite a change in the front row on the
government bench, and I welcome with great pride the new
Deputy Leader of the Government, Senator Sharon Carstairs. I
will speak later of the spirit of the valiant five of 1929 and their
tenacious commitment to principle; however, honourable
senators, their spirit lives on in the new deputy leader, a person
who has never been shy in getting the job done or, as those who
have served with her on the Standing Senate Committee on Legal
and Constitutional Affairs will attest, in fighting the good fight.
I might add that Senator Carstairs is gifted with a special
human touch, as she has shown us over the last session; never
hesitating to bring her own personal experiences front and centre
to debates in this chamber.
Honourable senators, my colleague and my friend Senator
Jacques Hébert will once again carry out the duties of the
government whip, and we will continue to know him and respect
him as every man or woman should fear the whip - or to put it
in other terms, as any man or woman should fear the author of
over two dozen books.
We can count on Senator Hébert to continue to honour this
house with his elegance and his unique touch.
I should like to welcome back our colleague Senator
Lynch-Staunton, who returns in his role as Leader of the
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Graham: His very strong intellect and forceful
debating style have always reflected a deep and vigorous
commitment to the well-being of all Canadians. He is flanked
and supported, of course, by the scholarly, reflective presence of
Senator Noël A. Kinsella, fast becoming a master of
parliamentary procedure, as well as by the Opposition Whip,
Senator Mabel DeWare, a former champion curler and provincial
With them we see an opposition team with the experience to
understand the courage and devotion with which the Senate of
Canada must undertake its responsibilities.
Finally, in welcoming everyone from our respective caucuses
back to a new Parliament, although they are not in the chamber at
the present time, I also welcome those who have chosen to serve
as independents: Senators Lawson, Pitfield and Prud'homme.
As caucus members, they look at the operation of this house
from a unique standpoint, which I hope they will have an
opportunity to share in the months and years to come.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, someone once said that the secret of a
winning basketball, baseball, football or hockey coach is a
combination of the will to win and the overwhelming belief that
the game is important. I believe that that winning combination is
as much the key to success in political life as it is on the playing
field. Senator Fernand Robichaud exemplifies that kind of
winning combination. In fact, one of my first memories of our
new colleague Senator Fernand Robichaud goes back to playing
hockey in the freezing weather on Dow's Lake during
Incidentally, I first met Sister Peggy Butts on the frozen bogs
of Bridgeport, but more about that later.
The meeting with Fernand took place in 1985. The winter after
he was elected a member of Parliament he was stalwart on the
parliamentary hockey team. Since that time, through good times
and bad, Fernand has never backed down from a challenge,
whether it was as Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs, as
a member of Parliament representing his constituents or as a
Secretary of State for Agriculture and Agri-food or Fisheries and
Aldous Huxley once wrote that experience is not what happens
to a man, it is what a man does with what happens to him that is
important. Senator Robichaud has enjoyed great success
throughout his life in teaching, community development and
business. He has understood that success comes from that ability
to grasp the other person's point of view, to see things from his or
her angle rather than just your own.
Your Acadian background and your sense of community, two
major assets, Fernand, can only benefit the Senate. We will
benefit on a daily basis from this cultural and linguistic
understanding so dear to your province of New Brunswick. You
will also bring a breath of fresh air from that province, which is a
model for the whole country to follow.
Honourable senators, as well, Senator Robichaud brings
common sense and a real understanding of partnership and the
ability to assume leadership without being asked. He brings that
ability and that understanding to the Senate, the workshop of
Parliament, a workshop that serves Canadians. I know better than
most that when the going gets tough, Senator Robichaud indeed
will get going.
Honourable senators, Catherine Callbeck needs very little
introduction. Her record stands on its own. Much of that record
has been based on honourable service to the people of her
community and to the people of her province. She has run a
successful family business and has served as an MLA, as a
federal member of Parliament, as a provincial cabinet minister
and, most recently, as premier of her beautiful island province.
Through her personal example, Senator Callbeck has elevated
the tone of public life and private life. Indeed, for Catherine,
public and personal honour were and are identical.
Senator Callbeck, you bring honour to this chamber. I speak of
honour in the sense of how Walter Lippmann once spoke of
honour. He said that it is an ideal of conduct that is held to by
extraordinary people who may find it unprofitable to do so, who
may find it inconvenient to do so, who may in many cases,
especially in political life, find it even dangerous to do so.
Whether as business woman, private citizen or premier, you have
been a person to exemplify the pursuit of the ideal of honour.
You engineered major changes during your term as premier and
undertook the kind of fundamental reforms that took rare courage
The bridge to the mainland, which you backed with such
tenacity, created hundreds of jobs for Islanders. You attacked the
deficit; never popular, sometimes dangerous, and tabled two
consecutive budget surpluses. You brought Prince Edward Island
to the point where it has the lowest debt per capita in the country.
That took guts and perseverance. Your actions reformed the
shape of public life in Prince Edward Island. The history books
will record your spirit and your drive, the kind of spirit shown by
the women who fought the Persons case all the way up to the
Privy Council in London and brought women access to this
chamber in 1929.
As we open this session and welcome Canada's first elected
woman premier among us, I want to pay a special tribute to the
"Valiant 5" of 1929. Nellie McClung was one of them. She once
exhorted her sisters to: "Never retract, never explain, never
apologize - get the thing done and let them howl." For
Catherine Callbeck, who never hesitated to do the right thing in
terms of regional development for her gentle island province,
who never hesitated to pull out all the stops to create
employment in Prince Edward Island, who never hesitated to get
the job done, even though sometimes it was dangerous and
sometimes it was unpopular, the spirit of the "Valiant 5" has a
Senator Callbeck, like the "Valiant 5," we know you will never
retract in pursuit of the ideal of honour. We know you will never
apologize in the pursuit of the ideal of honour. We know you will
get the job done and let them howl. We are enriched by your
presence in this place.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Graham: Honourable senators, when George
Bernard Shaw wrote about indifference over a century ago, he
was living at a time when extended families were the rule and
when people still cared for the elderly at home. Indifference is a
timeless thing, and when Shaw pointed out that the worst sin
toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be
indifferent to them, stating that indifference is the essence of
inhumanity, he touched a timeless chord which, in today's world,
is magnified many times over.
I think that of the many problems our seniors have in this
country the first and possibly the worst is loneliness. In her long
years of service to seniors, both in the Italian community of
Montreal and, as her experience increased, with immigrant
seniors reflecting the rich multicultural face of our country,
Senator Marisa Ferretti Barth has worked overtime to deal with
humanity's worst sin, the sin of indifference.
In a society in which the extended family household has
become a thing of the long distant past, many older Canadians
live alone, separated from loved ones by distance and the
demands of the new economy. In our society seniors must have
the chance to hold on to the feeling of security that family
represents. They need windows to warmth and compassion, to
laughter and nourishment. In our time, there is no greater need
than for people who will keep those windows open. Those people
who keep vital contacts open become essential to life itself.
The greatly loved Mother Teresa once said, "Loneliness and
the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty." She
was right, and the individuals who serve to alleviate that terrible
poverty, that feeling of being unwanted which so drastically
afflicts all too many of our seniors, are those people who in many
ways perform the greatest good of all.
Senator Marisa Ferretti Barth has spent many years fighting
that terrible poverty. She has helped in relieving the fear and
want of the many seniors who live alone. She has been there to
help seniors organize themselves to look after one another and to
enjoy a more socially active life. In many cases, she helped fill
endless days with meaning and new purpose. She has built
bridges of empowerment on many levels to help immigrant
seniors integrate into Quebec life and society.
Honourable senators, at this time in our history, it is a privilege
to have among us Marisa Ferretti Barth, a woman with such a big
heart and such vast experience. We will learn a lot from you and
your advice will be most valuable to us.
Finally, honourable senators, the story of Glace Bay, Nova
Scotia, where Sister Mary Alice (Peggy) Butts was raised, is a
story about coal and coalminers. It is a story about the men of the
deeps whose lives were dangerous and insecure; miners and their
families who, in spite of all the hardships and insecurities, drew
strength from a resource that was in some ways even stronger
than the black gold itself. That was Cape Breton's powerful
community spirit and its unwritten bonds of trust and solidarity.
In Glace Bay, the culture of the coal industry was in many
ways like that of the military. Each man had a buddy and each
would go over the top for the other unconditionally. That is why,
for so many who were raised there, Alasdair McGillivray's Song
of the Mira is so greatly loved. My colleague and friend Senator
An Hon. Senator: Do not encourage him.
Senator Graham: I am told not to encourage him to sing it at
this time, but I am sure he will later. The line I remember best
from that song is:
If you come back broken, they'll see that you mend.
If any one Cape Bretoner's life has been a living testament to
the humanity and compassion of this lovely ballad, it has been
that of Sister Peggy Butts. When I first met her on the frozen
bogs of Bridgeport, she was one of the gang and a hockey lover;
a lifelong, unconditional, unrepentant supporter of the Montreal
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Graham: I do not know if that will help her get
tickets to the Senators' games.
When I left Sister Peggy Butts on the evening before she was
sworn into this chamber, I asked, "Are you all right, Sister
She said, "Yes, of course, I am."
I said, "Have you anything to read?"
She said, "Yes," and she pulled out of her briefcase the
1997-98 National Hockey League Yearbook. She wanted to
know when the Habs were coming to town.
She is first and foremost a coalminer's kid. To Peggy, life is a
silent, simple pledge to your community and your people. Life
means going over the top unconditionally for the other. That was
the meaning of life for the coalminer's kid then, and I would
submit, honourable senators, that it is the meaning and purpose
for the coalminer's kid who is seated with us today - now
Senator Mary Alice "Peggy" Butts - who now moves the hearts
and minds of Canadians and, from the mail the Prime Minister
has received from around the world, also moves the hearts and
minds of people across the planet.
Sister Peggy is a proponent of the ideals of justice, of
community service, of empowerment for the poor and the
disadvantaged among us. In all this, she has cast out ripples of
hope across the decades, ripples of hope that are the true mark of
a leader, a scholar, an educator, a social activist who has always
understood that the leader is one who, as someone once said,
walks behind and with the people, who is the servant of the
people, and who walks with humility behind and with the people.
Sister Peggy, in your person, you bear the mind of the scholar,
the heart of the lion and the soul of the coalminer's kid. From
press reports, the Bishop of Antigonish, Colin Campbell, upon
learning of your appointment, said that we should all get ready
for the fireworks. You are welcome. We are ready.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, Senator Graham cast a very wide net of
generous remarks, which extended even to this side. I am still
somewhat overwhelmed by this unexpected tribute. Rather than
impulsively react to it in a way that would not meet his kind
remarks, I shall wait until next week, when I have an opportunity
to speak in reply to the Speech from the Throne, and make the
appropriate reaction then.
Meanwhile, I am very happy to join with the Leader of the
Government in welcoming our four new colleagues who bring to
this house a variety of talent and experience, which has been so
well described by Senator Graham, talent and experience which
can only benefit us all, whatever our political leanings.
Senator Fernand Robichaud's many years in the House of
Commons as a speaker on both sides will serve him and us well
here, as will Senator Callbeck's experience as a member of both
her province's legislative assembly and of the House of
Commons. She, by the way, joins two other former premiers
from the Atlantic provinces. We can no doubt expect that the
Atlantic voice in the Senate will be more prominent than ever,
impossible as that may seem, particularly after today.
Honourable senators, fortunately the Senate is not restricted to
politicians. Its members include a good number of individuals
who distinguish themselves by their numerous activities in the
private sector for the benefit of their fellow citizens. Senator
Barth is one such individual and we will undoubtedly be enriched
by her knowledge and broad experience with the elderly, a group
of citizens that will quite rightly be one of the major concerns of
this new Parliament.
Not much has been written and said about Senator Butts being
the first member of a religious order to be summoned to this
place. She certainly brings impeccable credentials, as far as I am
concerned, being a member of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame,
which was founded in the mid-seventeenth century in Montreal
by Marguerite Bourgeoys, who was canonized in 1982.
Her devotion, as Senator Graham has said, also extends to her
ardent support of the Montreal Canadiens, which is certainly a
great demonstration of faith to many of us these days. After
listening to Senator Graham, I have no doubt that she will be the
best argument yet for removal of the mandatory retirement age
There has been much discussion in these early days of autumn
about vows of parliamentary poverty and selfless service. The
discourse has been good for us. The argument goes like this:
Senators would be happy to vow poverty if they had enough
remuneration to afford it.
After six years of a government freeze and not so much as a
whiff of an adjustment, the honourable occupants of seats on
both sides of the crimson chamber acknowledge that it would be
easier to downscale themselves if they were seen to be upscaled
in parliamentary compensation.
Over the years, caution has led me not only to the great Book
but to the Bard of Avon for advice on all matters of ethical
Shakespeare gives some of his sharpest lines to the separation
of church and state by summoning Cardinal Wolsey to speak as
Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal
I serv'd my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
For the benefit of our newest colleagues, let me define some
key words from the Senate dictionary. "God" is immutable; he
resides in heaven and lives up to the address. "King" is a Liberal
whip; he actually believes that voting for government bills is
some kind of virtue. "Nakedness" in this place is something that
your enemies might abuse, and turn your friends very quickly
into former friends. To borrow from Mrs. Patrick Campbell, "My
dear, I don't care what they do, as long as they don't do it in the
street and frighten the horses."
Allow me to ease our colleagues' concerns about their ethical
qualifications for the upper chamber of Parliament. You have
arrived with a guardian, a woman who has sung and decapitated
more temptation than most of us will face in our lifetimes.
Senator Butts, I am sure, will be there to hold your hands, and
ours, whenever evil beckons, even the devil disguised as a
My best wishes to you all as you assume your new
responsibilities and, to borrow from a World War II favourite,
Senator Graham, "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition."
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. John Buchanan: Honourable senators, I also want to
congratulate the four new members of this chamber. Specifically,
I want to say a few words about Sister Mary Alice Peggy Butts.
We talked about John M. Macdonald earlier. Senator Butts is, has
been and will continue to be a champion of Cape Breton and
Cape Bretoners, friend of the underprivileged, friend of the poor
and friend of the unemployed.
Honourable senators probably would not have seen television
on Friday last when a young man who had been unemployed for
many years in Cape Breton was interviewed. He has a job now,
and he said, "I know that Sister Peggy is lurking in the
background and has looked after me." He would be one of many
Cape Bretoners who will look back and know of the good that
she did for them and the members of their families. Over the
years, her priorities have been her church, her family and her
people. She is a real people's person.
I was interviewed on television last Friday and asked various
questions about Sister Peggy. I said that she was probably known
by everyone in Cape Breton; that her good works were known by
everyone in Cape Breton and that she is a very wonderful person.
I was then asked, "What do you think of her being appointed by
a Liberal Prime Minister?" I replied, "It doesn't matter to me
who appointed her, as long as she was appointed because she will
be one of the most positive appointments ever made to the Senate
I was happy that night as I watched the news. I did not think
they would play the interview, but they did. I was so happy that
they did because I really believe that she will make a very
positive contribution to this Senate.
During my 13 years as the premier of Nova Scotia, I heard
much about Sister Peggy Butts and her good works, not only all
over Cape Breton but also throughout all of eastern Nova Scotia.
Although she was always kind of a low-profile person, everyone
knew about Sister Peggy Butts and her efforts on behalf of those
in that part of Nova Scotia who needed help; something she
unselfishly gave at all times.
My sister Dorothy wanted me to congratulate Senator Butts.
Dorothy met Sister Peggy Butts through a mutual friend of theirs,
Sister Harkwell, at the University College of Cape Breton where
my sister, along with Sister Harkwell, taught a course in tourism
and hospitality. Sister Peggy may not remember, but she also
taught my niece at the UCCB. That particular niece told me that
she cannot remember any student at the UCCB who did not think
Sister Butts one of the most wonderful persons into whom the
good Lord had ever put breath. They loved her. Everyone I have
talked to is happy with the appointment of Senator Butts to the
Senate of Canada.
In 1973, when I was Leader of the Opposition, we had quite a
day in the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia when a certain
member from Cape Breton Centre decided that he had had
enough with a certain other member, and they proceeded to have
an altercation in the legislature. The media of the day announced
that this was a first for Nova Scotia. I got home that night and I
had a call from a neighbour of mine, originally from Cape
Breton, who just lived up the street from me. Her name is
Ann-Marie Smith. Ann-Marie said, "My father wants you to
come up. He has something to show you." Her father, who was
also a Cape Bretoner, of course, was Dick Butts.
I went up to the house where dear old Dick Butts was sitting in
his little den up at Ann-Marie's house. He had spread before him
several newspapers which showed that the altercation of 1973
was not the first in our legislature. The first had been in about
1936. It involved a Liberal cabinet minister and one R.H. Butts,
MLA for Cape Breton North. Dick Butts said, "That's not the
first. They are both Cape Bretoners. But my father was the first
to have an altercation in the legislature."
The reason I tell honourable senators this story is that Dick
Butts was a cousin of Sister Peggy Butts; and R.H. Butts, Tory
MLA for Cape Breton North, and Sister Peggy's father were
brothers. All of the Butts at that time were Tories. Ann-Marie
told me that that was not correct. Like my family, they were on
both sides of the political fence.
Senator Butts was probably very neutral through all those
years, which is why she is so wonderful. That is because one can
be in this spot and not be the kind of partisan person that many of
us find ourselves becoming elsewhere.
I just spoke to Senator Butt's cousin, Ann-Marie, to get my
facts right. She is also my neighbour. She was president of Saint
Michael's CWL. She was on the Diocesan Centre CWL, as well
as on the provincial executive of the CWL. Her husband, Donald
Smith, was the president of my constituency for many years.
Honourable senators can see that we have a very close
relationship in Nova Scotia, and in particular in Cape Breton, as
Senator Graham said.
I extend my welcome to Senator Butts. I know that the Senate
will be a much better place because she is here.
Hon. Finlay MacDonald: Honourable senators, I shall be
brief. Senator Lynch-Staunton's remarks reminded me of
something. I have been trying to remember from whence it came.
I think it originated in Ambrose Bierce's book The Devil's
Dictionary, which many of you will know. I direct this comment
to my friend Senator Butts.
That volume states that a member of the House of Commons is
a member of the lower house in this world, with no hope of
perceptible improvement in the next. Senator Butts is now a
member of the upper house. We can only pray that she carries the
rest of us along with her.
Hon. Richard J. Doyle: Honourable senators, after more than
12 years in this place, I am still having difficulty with party
affiliation. Do not blame it on Senator Finlay MacDonald - or
even his uncle John M. Macdonald. It is not their fault that I have
spoken against my own party. Do not thank Senators Al Graham
or Joan Neiman for my undisguised enthusiasm for some of the
nonsense concocted by the Grits. Perhaps there is some
contamination in the walls of the room where cabinet meets that
brings forth spurts of legislative pap no matter who is meeting
It is easier to define my crush on Joyce Fairbairn. Before going
to the Senate, she was a first-rate journalist. Before going to the
summit, she was regarded as the most extraordinary ordinary
senator on the Hill, and who was I to argue after sharing many
duties with the lady? Brisk and quick, informed and caring - all
good words to describe her before and, of course, after her
elevation to the leadership. I never mastered the "Question
Period" art of shouting at her. Thanks to my schooling in
partisanship, I never really believed that she was responsible for
the government's failure to answer some of our most cunning
inquiries. I do not think that she led or contributed to the criminal
pursuit of Brian Mulroney or - no matter what is said - that
she personally plotted to deny the would-be builders of Pearson
airport their day in court. Truth be told, I do not believe she
needs the likes of me to defend her record as a proud and staunch
advocate of the Senate and its vitality as a parliamentary force.
One thing that I hope will spring from her vacating the
leader's perch is that she will be able to find - wherever she is
- even more time for the cause that she has served for all my
years in this chamber - the drive to end illiteracy as the great
shame of Canada.
That is not a bad aim for any member of Parliament who
ponders the relevance of the work we do here.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: It is with pleasure that I rise as
an independent to welcome the four new senators.
The amazing coincidence is that I had the honour to sit with
two of the four senators, Senators Robichaud and Callbeck. I
know Senator Marisa Ferretti Barth very well. She lived in my
riding when I was an MP.
Senator Ferretti Barth was from the district that I represented
in the House of Commons for many years. Everything that has
been said about her is totally true. She will be an unbelievable
and welcome addition to the Senate. The whip and the
government of the day will find her talents very welcome on
certain committees, particularly those pertaining to helping our
senior citizens and other such causes.
I had the honour of attending a magnificent ceremony in
Mount Allison when Senator Callbeck became a doctor
honoris causa. I went there in the company of the ambassador of
Kuwait. I was very touched by the ceremony that took place
there. Mount Allison has tradition. It is a university that is not
afraid of its connection to religion. I am very attached to religion.
The ceremony that took place touched every guest that was
present at Mount Allison. I also had the honour of sitting with
Senator Callbeck when she was a member of the House of
Commons. We will pursue our good friendship. I am delighted
about her appointment. Senator Bonnell can bear witness that I
kept telling him, "I hope it will be Madam Callbeck." Last
summer when we were in Carroll he said, "I can tell you ahead of
time that it will be Madam Callbeck, or no one will be appointed
to the Senate."
I rejoice very much in seeing you here, Senator Callbeck.
I also sat with Senator Robichaud. He will bring us his
I have not had the honour of knowing you, Senator Butts, but
we all know that we are experiencing a crisis in this country. I
call it the "de-Christianization of our institutions." I will not beat
around the bush on this issue. Today we take religion out of the
schools in Newfoundland; tomorrow we will be asked to take
religion out of the schools in Quebec. I will oppose it. I will ask:
Why? After tomorrow, it will be Ontario. I rejoice that religion is
coming back to the Senate at a time when politicians and others
who have a short view of the meaning of religion are taking
religion out of our institutions and accepting their
"de-Christianization," including the celebration of Christmas in
many provinces. I look forward to working with you, Sister. I
hope that, in the many endeavours that you undertake, you will
invite me to Nova Scotia. I would be more than honoured to
participate and to say "Yes, Sister, I am present and I am happy
to answer your call."
Hon. M. Lorne Bonnell: Honourable senators, I rise to say a
few words about my seatmate, Senator Callbeck. Senator
Callbeck became a member of the legislature after I left that
place 27 years ago; she has now become a member of the Senate
before I leave this place three months hence.
She is a very capable person. I went to the nomination meeting
when she was nominated to run for the member of Parliament for
Malpeque. I was not a mover or a seconder, but I stood up and
said, "I came to this meeting to support Catherine Callbeck" -
Senator Forrestall: It is a Liberal riding.
Senator Bonnell: - "to support Catherine Callbeck, not
because she is a woman but because she is capable, she is
intelligent, and she is sympathetic to the needs of the people."
With that, she went forward in the House of Commons, and then
on to become the first female premier ever elected in Canada.
Many have been appointed, many have been selected, but only
Senator Callbeck was ever elected as a woman premier of a
province in this country.
At that particular time in the history of Prince Edward Island,
the Leader of the Opposition was a woman; the
Lieutenant-Governor of the province was a woman; the Speaker
of the House was a woman; the Deputy Speaker of the House
was a woman. Women took charge in Prince Edward Island in
every portfolio and every situation of any consequence.
Premier Callbeck, now Senator Callbeck, was the leadership
behind it all. To her, I extend a welcome to the Senate,
representing Prince Edward Island. When I leave here, I will go
knowing that Senator Callbeck is doing a good job, as she has in
every job she has undertaken so far.
As for the other three senators, except for Senator Robichaud,
I did not know any of them prior to their arrival here in the
Senate. Senator Robichaud I knew as a member of the House of
Commons. Joe Landry used to tell me what a great fellow he
was, and how he helped by resigning his seat and letting the
Prime Minister run there and be elected when he could not find a
seat in Quebec, and that Mr. Chrétien was re-elected as Prime
Minister of Canada due to Senator Robichaud's generosity in
resigning his seat.
As for Senator Butts, after hearing about her from so many
people, I think perhaps we should have Mother Butts taking over
now that Mother Teresa has died, because she seems to have the
same type of history in what she has done with the poor, the
underprivileged and the unemployed, and all the other people of
Cape Breton. I think, rather than call her "Senator Butts" or
"Sister Butts," I will call her "Mother Butts."
I welcome all the new senators to the Senate. A big job lies
ahead of them in keeping up the image of this place, because the
press likes to put us down sometimes, and they like to find the
weaknesses, if there are any. We must work hard to show that
this place is worthwhile keeping in the Parliament of Canada,
and that we do have a function to perform. We have been doing it
better and better every year since I came here, and I know it will
be still better after I am gone.
I welcome each new senator to this great chamber, this hall of
honour, this closest thing to heaven without dying.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government),
presented Bill S-2, to amend the Canadian Transportation
Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act and to make a
consequential amendment to another Act.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this
bill be read the second time?
On motion of Senator Graham, bill placed on the Orders of the
Day for second reading on Thursday next, October 2, 1997.
Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985
of the Superintendent of Financial
Notice of Motion to Establish Special Committee to
Examine Activities of Canadian Airborne Regiment in
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): I
give notice that on Thursday, October 2, 1997, I shall move:
That a special committee of the Senate be appointed to
examine and report on the manner in which the chain of
command of the Canadian Forces, both in-theatre and at
National Defence Headquarters, responded to the
operational, disciplinary, decision-making and
administrative problems encountered during the Somalia
deployment to the extent that these matters have not been
examined by the Commission of Inquiry into the
Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia.
That the Committee in examining these issues may call
witnesses from whom it believes it may obtain evidence
relevant to these matters including but not limited to:
1. former Ministers of National Defence;
2. the then Deputy Minister of National Defence;
3. the then Acting Chief of Staff of the Minister of
4. the then special advisor to the Minister of National
Defence (M. Campbell);
5. the then special advisor to the Minister of National
Defence (J. Dixon);
6. the persons occupying the position of Judge Advocate
General during the relevant period;
7. the then Deputy Judge Advocate General (litigation);
8. the then Chief of Defence Staff and Deputy Chief of
That seven Senators, nominated by the Committee of
Selection, act as members of the Special Committee, and
that three members constitute a quorum;
That the Committee have power to send for persons,
papers and records, to examine witnesses under oath, to
report from time to time and to print such papers and
evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the
That the Committee have power to authorize television
and radio broadcasting, as it deems appropriate, of any or all
of its proceedings;
That the Committee have the power to engage the
services of such counsel and other professional, technical,
clerical and other personnel as may be necessary for the
purposes of its examination;
That the political parties represented on the Special
Committee be granted allocations for expert assistance with
the work of the Committee;
That the Committee be empowered to adjourn from place
to place within and outside Canada;
That the Committee have power to sit during sittings and
adjournments of the Senate;
That the Committee submit its report not later than one
year from the date of it being constituted, provided that, if
the Senate is not sitting, the report will be deemed submitted
on the day such report is deposited with the Clerk of the
That the Special Committee include in its report, its
findings and recommendations regarding the structure,
functioning and operational effectiveness of National
Defence Headquarters, the relationship between the military
and civilian components of NDHQ, and the relationship
among the Deputy Minister of Defence, the Chief of
Defence Staff and the Minister of National Defence.