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Working Groups

June 25, 2020

Honourable senators, I rise today as we prepare to leave the chamber for a while. The Senate sitting year was unique in many ways, beginning with the fall election, sitting briefly in December, followed by continuous global and national crises and tragedies that began early in January.

Today, I wish to focus on our work as senators over these last few months. Of course, every senator would like to be in the chamber, working every day in committee and with their staff to ensure sober second thought. That has not been possible, but I am proud of the way we have utilized our time in the chamber, and most importantly, with each other. I remember fondly working with four senators as we worked to get Canadians home from abroad in March. This worked because we worked together.

One theme I was thrilled to see was the emergence of our working groups on an array of topics. My thanks go out to: Senators Pate and Lankin for their work on guaranteed liveable income; Senator Pate on the oversight of prisons; Senators Boehm and Jaffer on the international dimensions of COVID-19; Senator Deacon, my Nova Scotia brother, and Senators Moncion and Wetston for your small business working group; Senators Bovey and Cormier in the support of the arts and culture sector; Senator Coyle for an illuminating session on climate action and accountability in Canada; and Senator Massicotte for a series of informative meetings on the Canadian oil and gas sector. Rounding it off were Senators Miville-Dechêne and Cormier, who facilitated a session on internet and broadband network access, as well as personal data protection.

It would appear, colleagues, that we like to keep busy.

The speakers were outstanding, informative and thought-provoking. I thank you all for your leadership, and your connections in bringing about great learning and discussions on topics related to COVID-19, and the work we anticipate in the Senate in our continued COVID-19 world and in our country, post-pandemic.

None of this would have been possible without the work of their capable staff, either. I thank every one of them for their dedication to facilitating their senator’s vision as they balanced their professional duties with personal obligations in trying and difficult times.

For my staff, thank you for your support, and the pictures and videos shared on National Health and Fitness Day. Virtually, it took on a new and exciting life, connecting more Canadians, including parliamentarians. We are thrilled that almost 500 communities have declared the first Saturday in June as National Health and Fitness Day. For some reason — I haven’t figured it out yet — every time I clicked on my Twitter account, a fantastic video clip of Senator Dean pops up while he chats during his five-kilometre run. Thank you.

Book June 5, 2021, for our next National Health and Fitness Day.

Colleagues, I will continue to review what you’ve taught me in preparation for what will no doubt be a busy fall. I look forward to carrying on the camaraderie between the various caucuses and groups in the Senate, and applying what I’ve learned from all of you for the betterment of our country. Thank you.

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