These magnificent buildings, a source of pride and wonder for visitors and parliamentarians alike, are the silent witnesses of Canada’s history. They remind me daily of the privileges and responsibilities that we legislators have been asked to assume on behalf of all Canadians.
Nowhere is that duty more evident to me than here, in the Speaker’s Chambers. Inscribed in prominent places throughout these rooms are Latin phrases drawn from the works of the renowned Roman authors Cicero, Horace, Livy, Seneca and Tacitus. They provide guidance that has withstood the test of history and speak of wisdom, order, prudence, balance and caution.
These inscriptions have intrigued and inspired me since I first saw them when I was appointed to the Senate in 1990. I am sure they have also aroused the interest of Speakers who occupied these chambers before me. That is why I am particularly grateful to Dr. Peter O’Brien of Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College for agreeing to share these insights from his profound knowledge of Roman literature. It is my hope that those who enter these chambers, and view these ancient words, might share the sense of duty and occasion that these inscriptions inspire in me, today.
The Honourable NoËl A. Kinsella
Speaker of the Senate