Honourable senators, I rise today with a sense of gratitude to pay tribute to teachers everywhere. As the school year draws to a close, I want to acknowledge their boundless generosity and commend their exemplary work. Preparing our youth for the future and contributing to the development of Canadian society as a whole is no easy task.
Alas, summer vacation is right around the corner.
I want to share my sincere appreciation for all these professionals by telling you about the teachers of the Franco-Manitoban School Division, or FMSD, who play an important role in helping their students forge their francophone identities. Every school in the FMSD is concerned not only about the academic success of its students, but also about the personal and social development of each and every one of them, helping them build their identity, define themselves and see themselves as francophones. It is important to understand that choosing to teach at a French-language school in Manitoba carries additional responsibilities.
I am especially proud to acknowledge the dedication of the entire teaching staff in the presence of three of their own: Danya Audette, Mariette Beauchamp and André Mireault. Also with us today are Mr. Tétrault, a parent, and 42 grade seven and grade eight students from École Saint-Joachim in La Broquerie, Manitoba, which, in my opinion, is one of the most vibrant francophone communities in Manitoba.
I feel I must share with you the fact that I did indeed begin my career as a teacher and principal at La Broquerie. I could not have asked for a better way to launch my career in education.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all the teachers who see the future in every one of their students’ eyes. Their vacation is well-deserved — very well-deserved, actually.
I would also like to mention the young francophones from École Saint-Joachim who came to learn about Parliament Hill and the rich Canadian heritage that our national capital has to offer. The Senate and the House of Commons are a concrete example of democracy in action. Five years from now, those young people will have the right to vote and the political power will be in their hands.