Honourable senators, I rise today to mark the official conclusion of the Senate Sesquicentennial Medal program. I will be sharing my time this afternoon with my friend and colleague Senator Serge Joyal, Co-Chair of the Advisory Working Group.
I am pleased to report that through this program, more than 1,216 Canadians and their families were given much-deserved recognition and a memory that will last a lifetime.
One of my recipients was at a loss for words when I offered him the medal, saying he was undeserving. I told him, “That is exactly why you are deserving.”
I presented a medal to a Deer Lake couple in their eighties who started a food bank in their basement. I presented the medal at a ceremony in their local church with hundreds of guests, including their family, church members and community. It was stated by some that it was like the whole community was the real recipient.
These are just two of the stories from my recipients. I am certain that each senator who participated in the program has their own.
Moments like these are part of what made the program such a success. The other part is how deserving the recipients truly are. I would like to commend all honourable senators for choosing exactly the type of people this program intended to recognize and celebrate.
The program’s objective since the beginning was to recognize Canadians who share the Senate’s goal of giving voice to people or issues that aren’t always front and centre. If you read through the newly published Senate Sesquicentennial Medal program book of recipients, colleagues, you will find over 1,200 Canadians who embody the characteristics of humility and compassion.
I would like to thank all participating senators and medal recipients; our communications team for their first-class work on this initiative; and the Clerk’s Office, who handled the program’s logistics.
I would also like to thank Senator Bovey, as well as former Senator Unger, and in particular, Senator Joyal, for their leadership. Thank you also to the Speaker and his team for the efforts that helped make this program a success.
Honourable senators, a little recognition goes a long way. Thank you for your participation in this important initiative.