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The Honourable Percy Mockler

April 11, 2024

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition) [ - ]

Honourable senators, I stand today to pay tribute to a dear friend, a loyal team player and a great Conservative: The Honourable Senator Percy Mockler. Regrettably, our colleague is about to retire from the Senate of Canada as he celebrates his seventy‑fifth birthday. I want to wish him a happy birthday, but I also want to honour him.

Percy has dedicated his life to serving others. Many years ago he made the decision that he would focus on improving the lives of the people of New Brunswick, as well as all Canadians.

His dedication to serving others has been remarkable over the years. His career has been impressive. What stands out the most for me is that, regardless of his 42 years in public life, Percy has remained the same humble guy. My remarks today will focus on that. Let’s be honest: There is no way that I can possibly do justice to his career in a few brief minutes.

One of the things I value the most in Percy is his natural capacity to rally people together. We even see them coming in from New Brunswick today. He is someone who reaches out to others and will always be there to help, which is without a doubt appreciated by all who know him. Truth be told, whenever you meet New Brunswickers, whether it is on a beach somewhere in the south, at a political event or at a small town tribute to a dedicated teacher, you will always hear the great stories of situations where Percy Mockler came to help.

Colleagues, that reputation is telling of the life he has lived — a life that started with very humble beginnings, as he and his sister were raised by a single mother, struggling to make ends meet, beginnings where the support and help of the community made a direct impact on his life. But those beginnings left an important imprint on the person and, therefore, on the career of our dear friend Percy, setting the tone on some of his core values of looking out for and helping others.

Percy started giving back to his own community of Saint-Léonard at an early age, but it didn’t stop there. His community expanded to the province of New Brunswick and eventually to our entire country.

Colleagues, I was tempted to tease Percy about perhaps never quite understanding that his position in the Senate didn’t need re‑election, as he never stopped campaigning. But I recognize, for the little guy from Saint-Léonard, it has never been about campaigning or retail politics; it has always been about truly caring for others and hearing out what people are going through. This, my friends, has been Senator Mockler’s career-long principle — a principle that has allowed him to be grounded with the reality of so many Canadians.

Percy, on behalf of our entire Conservative team and, furthermore, on behalf of all Canadians, thank you. Thank you for caring so deeply for the people of this country, your community. Thank you for your service toward others. Happy retirement, my friend. I know you and Suzanne will do well in your retirement.

Thank you, Percy.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to the Honourable Percy Mockler, who will be leaving us on April 14.

Senator Mockler has spent his entire professional life in the public service. After graduating from the Université de Moncton, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in 1982.

Colleagues should be aware that the fabled six degrees of separation also applies to politics. Senator Mockler’s only electoral defeat was in the 1987 provincial election, when our colleague, Pierrette Ringuette, walked away with the seat. However, he won it back in 1993 in a decisive victory and again in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2006.

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc asked that I relay his personal thanks to Senator Mockler, along with the following anecdote:

Senator Mockler comes from an era of Progressive Conservatives who were well-admired on all sides of the political spectrum. They knew how to play the game. They were also kind and generous to all their colleagues. While Senator Mockler was a provincial Minister, my father, Romeo LeBlanc, was awarded the Order of New Brunswick. He was too ill to attend any ceremony, so Senator Mockler drove to his home in Grande Digue to personally present the award. His was a very kind gesture for someone who had been on the opposing side, but it speaks to the type of person that the senator is — a statesman who served his country and who admired those who did the same, regardless of political stripe.

Senator Mockler proudly represented his native province of New Brunswick for 15 years. He was rarely seen without a smile. During that time, he advocated and demonstrated his love for his province. He was also deeply dedicated to his Senate committees and colleagues.

On a personal level, Senator Mockler was always very kind to me, never missing an opportunity to offer supportive and encouraging words. To me, he stands as a model of what it is to be a senator. He is passionate in his convictions, unapologetic in his beliefs and a very proud member of the Conservative caucus. But this is combined with a deep respect for his Senate colleagues. In that, he shows and models a profound appreciation and respect for this chamber, in which he has served so honourably.

Senator Mockler — Percy — on behalf of the Government Representative Office and the Government of Canada, I wish you every success in this new chapter of your life. I know you’re looking forward to spending time with your wife, Suzanne, and your family.

I’m certain you will continue to be involved with your community and with all of the causes that matter to you so dearly, as you have done, really, for 50 years. You were a wonderful colleague and a friend to me. I, indeed, all of us, will miss you greatly.

Thank you.

Hon. Raymonde Saint-Germain [ - ]

Dear Senator Mockler, the young boy from Saint-Léonard, New Brunswick, has come a long way, literally. You must be very close to setting a Guinness record for the number of times that you have travelled back and forth between Saint-Léonard and Fredericton, where you served as an MLA and a minister and were given the most demanding portfolios.

Then, we must add to that the number of trips that you have made between Saint-Léonard and Ottawa. During your 15 years of service in the Senate, week after week, you never failed to travel back to Madawaska, and I want to say hello to the citizens of that region who are here with us today for the occasion.

Special greetings to Premier Higgs.

Today, we say farewell to a great colleague and a gentleman who dedicated his life to the public good. When appointed to the Senate, Senator Mockler’s parliamentary credentials were solid assets that would make him a high-performance senator. Economy and finance, official languages, justice and health — he had served in the New Brunswick government in all of those portfolios and also brought a wealth of expertise in federal‑provincial relations.

That explains why his contributions to the Senate are nothing short of impressive.

He chaired and was an executive member of many committees, including, until now, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. From my standpoint, he is the exemplary chairperson who would always make room for all senators attending to ask their questions, who would be courteous with all witnesses and would make sure that each one of them, whatever their status or opinions, was respected and free to express their views.

You’ve always demonstrated your commitment to New Brunswick by strengthening its place and influence within a united Canada. Senator Mockler, you have always been a proud representative of the Senate of Canada in its essential mission of protecting the rights of minorities and the regions, as well as a staunch supporter of official language minority communities and the francophonie. This willingness to act for the common good led you to transcend party lines and to support what you thought to be fair, equitable and in everyone’s best interest.

At this difficult time, when cynicism toward elected officials and institutions prevails around the world, you serve as a role model and an antidote to such cynicism. In the 18 years you served as an MLA and a minister in New Brunswick and in your 15 years in the Senate, you have always fulfilled your responsibilities with dignity, maintained the confidence of your constituents and never embarrassed them by behaving inappropriately or unethically.

In short, Senator Mockler always stayed true to his roots and values. He never forgot where he came from and why he came to the Senate.

On behalf of all members of the Independent Senators Group, I salute your public service and your outstanding work in this institution. Antonine Maillet’s larger-than-life character, La Sagouine, would agree that you have earned your laurels. Congratulations and all the best to you and your loved ones, Senator Mockler.

Hon. Larry W. Smith [ - ]

Honourable senators, today, as we reflect upon and recognize the remarkable contributions of the Honourable Percy Mockler, not only during his time in the Senate but throughout his entire career, I also rise to offer brief remarks on behalf of the Canadian Senators Group.

Senator Mockler’s list of accomplishments is extensive. Colleagues before me have done an exemplary job of highlighting them, so I will focus my remarks on the man himself.

Over a decade ago, Senator Mockler, or “Percy Brown,” as I affectionately refer to him at times, welcomed me to this place as a newly appointed senator. He played an instrumental role in helping me to navigate the inner workings of Parliament Hill, for which I am grateful.

Throughout our years of service, particularly on the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, I personally witnessed Senator Mockler’s deep commitment to improving the lives not only of New Brunswickers, but of all Canadians. Constantly and without fail, he reminded us, colleagues, of our common objectives of transparency, accountability, reliability and predictability when it comes to holding the government to account and ensuring that we fight for all Canadians, from coast to coast to coast.

Senator Mockler is also a key team player in every sense. His leadership style prioritizes inclusiveness and consensus building, ensuring that every voice around the table is heard and accounted for. He listens and then listens some more before making decisions. It is this type of leadership that is needed today more than ever, and it will be sorely missed.

Finally, the humility and compassion in Senator Mockler’s approach to people reflect the spirit of his upbringing in New Brunswick. He is keen to acknowledge all support staff, both those at the forefront and those behind the scenes, who make this institution function. His kindness has left a lasting impression on not only senators but the staff throughout the Senate.

Everyone in this place will miss Senator Mockler’s leadership, diplomacy and enthusiasm for making Canada a better place for everyone. However, I hope that we can still aspire to implement what he has left us, by working on behalf of all Canadians.

Thank you for your service to New Brunswick. Thank you for your service to Canada. On behalf of all my colleagues in the Canadian Senators Group, I wish you well in a well-deserved retirement.

Hon. Clément Gignac [ - ]

Today, on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group and myself, I’d like to join others in paying tribute to an exceptional colleague who is about to retire, the Honourable Percy Mockler.

My first encounter with Senator Mockler was in the fall of 2021, shortly after I was sworn in to the Senate. We quickly discovered a mutual affinity. Indeed, we had both been active in provincial politics as MLAs and ministers. In addition to that, we had, and still have, a great friend in common, the Honourable Jean Charest. The former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and former premier of Quebec spoke very highly of Senator Mockler, alluding to his tremendous kindness and generosity, and how right he was.

Over time, a beautiful friendship — a close bond, really — developed between us. Right from that first meeting, I was charmed by his warm welcome, his unpretentiousness and his dedication to his New Brunswick community and his family. Premier Higgs’ presence here today is a testament to how much his constituents appreciate his commitment to his community. I know that many of them are also watching us live on SenVu.

When I became a member of the National Finance Committee, Senator Mockler explained to me his role and philosophy as committee chair: a non-partisan, collegial approach. As Chair of the National Finance Committee since 2017, Senator Mockler has led over 300 meetings, called over 1,000 different witnesses, seen many ministers come and go, and tabled 55 reports in this chamber. After 25 years of service, he is one of the longest serving senators, with the exception of Senator Day.

Senator Mockler, I was particularly impressed by your sense of duty when I saw how you kept the work of the National Finance Committee, including the current Liberal government’s agenda, moving along well, despite your personal convictions and political affiliation. As one of my colleagues mentioned, you’re a wonderful example of respect and political neutrality, two values that should always guide Senate committee chairs. Ever courteous, you always gave your committee colleagues the privilege of asking the witnesses their first questions before you asked your own. As Senator Smith also mentioned, all of my committee colleagues will remember the four key words you used to wrap up your meetings: transparency, accountability, reliability and predictability.

Your departure will be a great loss for the National Finance Committee, and I, personally, will really miss you because you have been a mentor to me on many occasions.

In closing, Senator Mockler, you will leave an indelible mark through your dedication, community involvement and sense of duty.

My dear friend Percy, thank you for your friendship and mentoring. Take care of yourself, your wife Suzanne, your four children and seven grandchildren. Happy retirement.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [ - ]

Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to a cherished friend, esteemed colleague and truly remarkable individual, the Honourable Senator Percy Mockler, as he prepares to take his official retirement from the Senate of Canada on April 14, 2024.

Prior to the Senate, Percy Mockler was a widely respected political leader as a member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, having first been elected in 1982 as the youngest MLA in New Brunswick. He served as Minister responsible for La Francophonie and Minister responsible for Service New Brunswick, to name two of the many leadership roles he has held.

Most of us know him for his public life and service as a Senate colleague, but we also know him to be very passionate about many other organizations and issues, working behind the scenes to help causes near and dear to his heart. He has received numerous awards and accolades, most deserving of his selfless service and great big heart.

In January of 2009, Percy and I — along with several other colleagues — began this chapter of our lives as senators after being appointed by former prime minister Stephen Harper. Fast-forward to 2024. As he prepares to retire from our upper chamber, it is no exaggeration to state that Senator Percy Mockler has had a profound influence in our national and Senate Conservative caucuses, at Senate committees and in this very chamber.

On a personal note, I don’t know a life on Parliament Hill without Percy Mockler. Over the years, you have inspired me in so many ways. Your words of encouragement gave me great comfort and assurance, and I always knew how much you cared about the people in your life, including me, your deputy leader. Your confidence in me has always meant so much. Percy Mockler’s love of country, politics and people has guided him over the course of his illustrious decades-long career. He often spoke of his humble roots, which certainly shaped his admirably humble character, his deep empathy and compassion for humanity, his work ethic and his steadfast loyalty to the team.

He has created lasting relationships with so many people throughout his career. Percy Mockler has a special way of making each person feel like they matter, as he takes the time to get to know them and show them how much he truly cares, be it with his colleagues, or to staff on or beyond Parliament Hill, as evidenced by the presence of Ian Brown, one of the staff at Sheraton — where we live, Percy, when we are in Ottawa — who wanted to pay respects on behalf of the Sheraton staff to Percy Mockler in person. Senator Mockler, you are one of the greatest champions of your beloved New Brunswick and a model Canadian.

Best wishes as you embark on this next chapter of your life with Suzanne and your loving family surrounding you, and please know that you are leaving behind a lasting legacy that will long be remembered.

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette [ - ]

Honourable senators, I feel a little sad as I rise today to pay tribute to our colleague, Senator Percy Mockler, who is retiring on April 14 after 15 years in the Senate.

I was delighted when Prime Minister Harper appointed Percy to the Senate. The Senate was the forum he deserved to show his parliamentary professionalism on the federal stage.

I’m sure that members of this chamber would agree that his chairing of the National Finance Committee and the many speeches he gave in this place clearly illustrated that professionalism.

Percy is a career parliamentarian devoted to the Progressive Conservative Party. He spared no effort as an organizer to ensure the party’s success provincially and federally.

In addition to his 15 years in the Senate, Percy also achieved distinction through his long career as an MLA and minister of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick from 1982 to 1987 and from 1993 to 2009.

I confess, honourable senators, that I was responsible for Percy’s brief absence from provincial politics. However, the thing that we disagreed over at the time later brought us together for the greater good of our region’s residents.

I’d even go so far as to proudly say that we’ve become good friends over these past 15 years in the Senate. I’m proud of our friendship and very proud of Senator Mockler’s success.

Honourable senators, 36 years as a parliamentarian is a feat in itself — no matter what, it’s a feat.

Percy owes his accomplishments to his tenacious advocacy, to his personal value system and to the unconditional support that his wife Suzanne and his children have provided all these years.

I have mixed feelings about his retirement. I’m sad that he’s leaving this chamber, but I’m glad that he’ll finally get to spend quality time with his family, his grandchildren, and enjoy activities like fishing whenever he feels like it and relaxing at the camp.

I would like to end on a happy note.

You’ve probably heard Percy say “lâche pas la patate,” which means “don’t give up,” but literally translates to “don’t drop the potato.” Certainly, anyone in the gallery from New Brunswick has heard him say that.

It’s his favourite saying. I actually wonder whether he says this because of the many potato farmers in our region or whether it’s a reference to the song by Zachary Richard, a Louisiana Acadian.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Zachary Richard was the one who borrowed from Percy to write his song, and that the real lyrics go like this.

I would only do this for you.

Don’t you ever give up, Percy, don’t you ever give up

One thing’s certain, you’re a great parliamentarian

Don’t you ever give up

Don’t you ever give up, Percy, don’t you ever give up

One thing’s certain, you’ve got other things to do

Don’t you ever give up

Happy retirement, Percy.

Hon. Krista Ross [ - ]

Honourable senators, that is quite an act to follow.

Like many of you, I rise today to pay tribute to our colleague Percy Mockler. He is someone who has never forgotten where he came from. Like many of you have highlighted, Percy has an outstanding career, one to be proud of. He has also been a mentor and guide to many of us from the East Coast.

Percy, from one New Brunswick senator to another, I want to bring the voice of your community and of those you have impacted to this chamber.

From Bud Bird, former mayor of Fredericton, former New Brunswick MLA and former MP:

He is, and ever has been, the true “happy warrior” in Canadian politics . . . maintaining good lines of respect and communication throughout the political process and recognizing that all are working to serve the same citizens. His quick wit and enthusiasm is contagious and lifts the spirits of those around him.

From Frank McKenna, New Brunswick’s twenty-seventh premier, former MLA and former ambassador to the U.S.:

I remember well the election in 1982 with Senator Percy Mockler. I recall vividly a longtime legislative reporter, Joan Ganong, writing an article talking about the bright political future in store for Percy Mockler and Frank McKenna. Well Percy, that prophecy has come true for you — I’m still a work in progress. Congratulations.

From David Alward, New Brunswick’s thirty-second premier and former consul general in Boston:

Percy was a mentor to me and other new MLAs, giving his time to show us the ropes . . . I expect Percy was a bit of a shock to the Chamber when he first arrived, continuing to serve constituents not unlike his role as an MLA.

And from Blaine Higgs, New Brunswick’s thirty-fourth and current premier:

Senator Mockler has served New Brunswick for many years — starting from humble beginnings and maintaining that same energy as he fulfilled his service throughout his political career — even as a senator, with no pressure to be elected, he maintained his fervent commitment and dedication to the people he served.

Personally, at the chamber of commerce, when Senator Mockler called, the office was set aflutter, rushing to provide him with input and information on whatever piece of legislation was moving through the Senate.

I’ve always appreciated his willingness to reach out and to listen to the views of the people back home.

The business community has always recognized his concern for their success.

Thank you, Percy, for continuing your legacy of mentorship and freely giving your advice and guidance to me during my adjustment in this place. I would congratulate you on your retirement, Percy, but I’m not really sure you’ll be able to sit still long enough to fully retire. Instead, I wish you all the best in your next chapter. Congratulations.

Hon. Jane Cordy [ - ]

Honourable senators, I also rise to pay tribute to our colleague Percy Mockler as he takes his retirement from this place.

As others have mentioned, Percy, you came to the Senate in 2009 with a strong — and I mean really strong — background in politics. We often have to be reminded that politics starts local, and you know and understand more than anyone the importance of what it means to be local. You served in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, so you are also well aware of the direct impact of local politics.

Throughout your time as an MLA you held many portfolios, which exposed you to many aspects of day-to-day life for your constituents — certainly an asset to a big-picture thinker like you. Before that, of course, you were elected as president of your student council at Saint-Léonard. By the way, that was a great picture on Twitter.

I enjoyed working with you on the Agriculture Committee years ago, and I have enjoyed the opportunities we have had to travel together. There were also the many years we spent as neighbours on the fifth floor of the Victoria Building. It was always a pleasure to run into you in the hallways or waiting for the elevator. Your office has always been a warm one, a feeling that has been cultivated by you and your wonderful staff, who have been with you for so long. My best wishes to your staff also, especially Diane — and I don’t like to pick favourites — but she’s been with you since you first came to the Senate, and who — like you — warmly welcomed everyone who came to your office. Best wishes also to René and Yvon.

Percy often arrived at my office with Conservative MPs from New Brunswick to introduce me to them and tell me how great they were, and we always had a wonderful conversation. They were pretty great.

Percy, you are an example of how all politicians should act — be passionate about your political beliefs, but make friends with your political opponents. It is how you learn to compromise and get things done for Canadians.

Percy, we will miss you in this chamber. You have been so generous in sharing your thoughts and opinions, and I have always appreciated your ability to do so in such a gentle, measured and always passionate way. Marrying honesty with tact and politics but with a sense of humour is a skill not everyone possesses.

I wish you a wonderful retirement. I hope that you are able to relax and enjoy your time with your family. You have done so much for Canadians, particularly for the people of New Brunswick, during your tenure in Ottawa. You will now be able to enjoy all that your home province has to offer.

If you are ever in Nova Scotia visiting family, drop by for a visit. Our door is always open.

Thank you.

Hon. David M. Wells [ - ]

Honourable senators, the appointment of Senator Mockler by Prime Minister Stephen Harper is remarkable when you consider that, in 2004, Mr. Mockler promoted Bernard Lord — not Mr. Harper — for the leader of the newly minted Conservative Party of Canada and organized for Belinda Stronach for the leadership contest.

The fact that we are lining up today to pay tribute to him more than 15 years after that appointment is testament not only to the ability of Mr. Harper to set aside any of this history, but to recognize in Percy someone of high character and merit who possessed an unwavering loyalty to the Conservative Party.

When he was appointed by Prime Minister Harper, Senator Mockler said:

I’ve always embraced the leadership of the prime minister. He has the leadership that I have always subscribed to, having a better Canada, having a Canada that will continue to lead in the world.

Out of the mouth of anyone else who had supported rivals of the prime minister in leadership contests, those words might have sounded disingenuous and expedient. No one could accuse Senator Mockler of that.

The Conservative Party, the Senate and Canada have been fortunate to have had him here for more than 15 years fighting for a better Canada, a Canada that will lead again in the world.

We have heard today — and we will hear again before we are finished paying tribute — about Percy’s long, remarkable and accomplished history in New Brunswick politics as a savvy organizer, a hard-working Member of the Legislative Assembly and a respected cabinet minister. When he was appointed to the Senate, his colleagues in provincial politics could not say enough good things about him, but it’s what your rivals say that’s more interesting and tells you more about the man — and maybe they didn’t want you there anymore.

I will quote the Liberal premier of New Brunswick at the time, Shawn Graham, who said:

I want to state publicly that it has been an honour serving with Percy Mockler.

I have to say that, over the years, while we may have had differences of opinion — and he has been a bit of a political conniver every once in a while — his heart is in the right place.

I doubt there’s anyone here who has worked with Percy either as a colleague or a rival over the years that has ever doubted where his heart is.

“Irreplaceable” was a word often used by his provincial colleagues when he left there to come here, and now it’s our turn to echo that sentiment.

Percy, it’s been a privilege and an honour serving with you in the Conservative caucus over these many years. Your even keel, your generous spirit, your complete lack of artifice, your principled and devout loyalty to making your province and our country a better place along with your wisdom and your experience in the political trenches will be truly missed. You exhibit the true leadership qualities that we all respect — that of the highest integrity, wise counsel and a builder of coalitions and consensus.

I wish you and Suzanne all the best in the next phase, and I’m certain that will not be retirement as you have so much more to give.

Hon. Tony Loffreda [ - ]

Honourable senators, it’s an honour for me to pay tribute to the Honourable Percy Mockler.

Senator Mockler’s political achievements are well known. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in 1982. Yes, I triple-checked the date. It was indeed 1982. Wow! As an MLA, Mockler quickly made a name for himself in New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative Party. When Premier Lord was elected in 1999, Percy Mockler soon became a minister.

Between 1999 and 2006, Percy Mockler served as Minister of Family and Community Services, Minister of Transportation, and Minister of Intergovernmental and International Relations. In 2008, Minister Mockler became Senator Mockler.

Appointed by Prime Minister Harper, Senator Mockler has been serving New Brunswickers, and all Canadians, with distinction in Canada’s Upper Chamber.

I’ve had the honour to serve on the National Finance Committee with Senator Mockler since 2019. A major part of our work is to review the government’s proposed spending in order to examine whether it is reasonable, takes into account value for money and will be effective in achieving its objectives. This is work we enjoy, and we both take it very seriously.

The success of our committee rests upon the leadership of our most capable chair. Senator Mockler has been chairing our committee with integrity, fairness and skill since 2017. Our meetings are always well managed, extremely organized and relevant. If, one day, I have the honour of chairing a committee, Percy Mockler will be the model I look to for inspiration.

As our chair always reminds us, our committee is guided by four major principles or, as he puts it, one common denominator: transparency, accountability, reliability and predictability.

I would argue that Percy Mockler’s life and career have also been guided by those same four principles. He is an outstanding parliamentarian, a seasoned politician and, as I understand it, a superstar in his native New Brunswick.

A man of the people, Percy Mockler always had his finger on the pulse. His round-table discussions and visits to Tim Horton’s to chat with people became legendary and made him an exemplary senator.

Honourable colleagues, Senator Percy Mockler’s life is one of unselfish public service. It is a life of great accomplishment, of political triumph and of human kindness. His deep appreciation for and contributions to Canada — from coast to coast to coast — are a testament to his legacy.

Dear Percy, after more than 40 years of public life, I wish you a well-deserved retirement. You have many reasons to be proud of the legacy you leave behind. Thank you.

Thank you for all that you have done.

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais [ - ]

Honourable senators, it is my turn to take a few minutes to bid a fond farewell to my friend, the Honourable Percy Mockler. You may have noticed that I didn’t use the word “retirement” and that was intentional because, from what I understand, our friend isn’t ready for that stage of life yet.

Given his reputation as an active individual, seasoned politician and great political organizer for the New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Party, neither you nor I would be surprised to one day learn that he has found another way to continue to serve. In any case, that is what I hope for the man who gave me such a warm welcome when I arrived in the Senate in 2012.

Even though we are no longer part of the same caucus, I can say that I appreciated every opportunity that I had to work with the Honourable Senator Mockler, whether on the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance or the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages. Thank you, Percy, for your friendship and advice and for keeping such an open mind about my opinions.

To all the younger and more recently appointed senators less familiar with him, I’d say that the person leaving us has a very uncommon past. Other senators have talked to you about him already, but when Wikipedia includes the moniker “politician” beside your name to describe your occupation, it definitely means that politics has been at the core of your existence, at least for the past 42 years.

Personally, I’m impressed that our friend Percy had the tremendous good fortune to work with some of the greatest prime ministers and premiers, like Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper in Ottawa and Bernard Lord in New Brunswick.

Under the banner of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick, the Honourable Percy Mockler was elected in 1982, 1993, 1995, 2003 and 2006.

That makes for quite a few campaigns under his belt, and those are just the ones he won. He was an organizer in many others, both provincially and federally, but one doesn’t always win in politics. I’m a great example of that.

However, in my friend’s case, I can’t help but tease him by reminding him that, after his first term as an MLA, he was defeated in 1987 by none other than Senator Pierrette Ringuette, who became the first francophone woman to sit in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. Let’s be honest. Fortunately for Percy Mockler, Senator Ringuette soon decided to enter federal politics under the Liberal banner, and our friend was able to win back his riding. He went on to hold just about every major ministerial portfolio in New Brunswick, including solicitor general.

To sum up, there’s been no shortage of special moments, wonderful encounters and high-profile recognition for Senator Mockler’s political and social endeavours throughout his political career. In closing, I’d like to remind him that there’s life after the Senate. Percy, I won’t wish you a happy retirement, because that’s not what you want to hear. I’ll just say, “See you soon, my friend.”

Hon. Michèle Audette [ - ]

Tshinashkumitin, honourable senators.

[Editor’s Note: Senator Audette spoke in Innu-aimun.]

Like everyone else, I rise today to pay tribute to my colleague, Senator Percy Mockler — honourable in this chamber, but also in the heart of this Innu woman and Quebecker. The first time I met you here in the Senate, I could tell right away what a diplomatic and curious person you were.

To me you are a man of diplomacy, loyal to his group, but respectful toward everyone in this wonderful chamber. You’re also interested in learning about Indigenous cultures and Indigenous peoples. Every time we would speak on these issues, I could see the spark in your eyes, and that meant a lot to me.

Whenever I needed advice, because we all need mentors, whenever I turned to you, you always listened carefully and were very sensitive and forthright. Thank you. That always helped me to better understand the dynamics of the Senate.

I had the opportunity to stand in for my colleague and friend, Senator Gignac, on the National Finance Committee, which you chair. There again I noticed how your leadership brings people together. You were very attentive to us and very professional. I commend you for that.

I really wish that there were more people like you, that there were many more Percy Mocklers. We need people who really like politics, and I know that we all love what we do, but it is also just as important not to hide behind political lines. You were a good example of that. We need people like you in Canada. People like you help us, and I’m almost not new here any more, to have confidence in the system and to trust people like you.

I hope that trust will be reciprocal. In Innu law, we refer to that as reciprocity. Everyone has talked about what you have done, your major accomplishments, with love and great pride. I won’t sing because that isn’t my forte. Congratulations for all of that. To me, those things, the big accomplishments in your life, were important, but they leave a legacy that we now have a responsibility to maintain. You always remained a simple, compassionate and humble individual. For me, humility and integrity are very important values in politics, and you are a shining example of them. Thank you, dear colleague and friend. Tshinashkumitin. I will send you off with some tea from my home in Labrador and a small wooden pen, which will last a long time. I will also give you a candle, of course, so that we are always enlightened by your wisdom. Tshinashkumitnau.

Hon. Claude Carignan [ - ]

Colleagues, it’s my turn to say a few words for our friend Percy Mockler, who has had an impressive career, one so long that it makes you wonder whether Percy may have falsified his birth certificate and will really be 95 on April 14, not 75. Percy was appointed to the Senate on January 2, 2009, seven months before I myself entered this chamber. Percy and I became fast friends. With his legendary kindness, Percy welcomed me to the Senate with goodwill and enthusiasm. I realized that it was impossible not to fall under the spell of this pleasant, dynamic, jovial and extremely respectful man. The long list of senators who wish to pay tribute to him is a testament to the fondness many have for this remarkable individual.

Above all, Percy is a unique and outstanding ambassador. His career trajectory is an impressive record of service to his community. Any time he was outside New Brunswick, our friend Percy was always an ambassador for the province he loves so much. Did you know that Senator Mockler received special recognition for his outstanding contribution during the January 1998 ice storm by the cities of Saint-Hyacinthe and Belœil in Quebec? He also received a Canadian Red Cross citation for his involvement during the tsunami crisis in Asia. In December 2005, on the National Day of Romania, he was made a member of the Order of Great Friends of Romania. I personally witnessed Percy’s talent for championing his province. In 2011, when the Senate had to sit until after Quebec’s national holiday to pass special legislation, I invited Senators Comeau and Mockler to attend the Saint-Jean-Baptiste festivities in Saint-Eustache. All the festival-goers had Quebec flags draped over their shoulders, and there was Percy, passing out little New Brunswick pins to everyone, singing his province’s praises. That day, I realized not only that he had an enormous heart, but that his proud Acadian origin was deeply rooted within it.

Percy Mockler is the ambassador of life lived with zest, of happiness and of New Brunswick maple syrup. Percy has always insisted that New Brunswick’s maple syrup is better than Quebec’s maple syrup. The fact is, Percy, as I’ve often told you, the only year that maple syrup sold in New Brunswick was really the best was back in 2012, when 2,700 tonnes of syrup were stolen from Quebec and distributed in New Brunswick. Thanks for everything, Percy. I couldn’t let you leave without giving you this little gift to remind you of Quebec’s treasures: a can of the best maple syrup in the world, from Saint-Eustache. Thank you, my friend.

Honourable senators, sometimes circumstances and situations arise in our lives, or we cross paths with people who, for however long or fleeting our contact, leave us forever changed. When the impact is positive and inspiring, it is tremendous and powerful. This is how I would describe the way I and so many others have experienced our dear colleague and friend Percy Mockler.

Thank you for proudly remembering and reminding us of your roots and earliest memories of a life lived with economic, social and cultural challenges but also incredible opportunity to grow and apply the corresponding wisdom, grace and humility in the service of others and with the objective of not leaving anybody behind, especially those with the misfortune of fewer opportunities.

We gratefully thank you for always reminding us of the love and sacrifice of your mom, whose memory you honour through the vignettes you share, but also the corresponding love, sense of dignity and respect you demonstrate, whether for your wife, Suzanne, or for all other women with whom you interact.

I first met the Honourable Percy Mockler in my previous life, when I would appear before parliamentary committees as a witness. All of us who had such experiences often remarked upon his calm and dignified bearing and kind, compassionate treatment of all who appeared before him, regardless of their position, privilege, power or — even more significantly — lack thereof.

When I entered the upper chamber in 2016, Percy’s generosity and kindness were immediate and welcomed. Many times, he took time out of his precious days and weekends to call or write to thank me for particular interventions, whether they were in the chamber, at committee, public presentations or media interviews. He is always extremely generous with his messages and encouragement.

As you have already heard from many others, as Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, he has championed financial accountability and integrity while also providing unflagging support for efforts to create a more just, fair and reliable economic system for all.

Percy, your deep compassion and humility are evident and ever-present. You truly are a man of and for the people, for your community, your constituency and for all of us — our country.

Senator Mockler, dear Percy, we all wish you the best as you venture into the next phase of your amazing life’s journey. We wish you much well-deserved time to do all that makes you happy with Suzanne, your children and your immense circle of family, friends and supporters. I hope you count us all among them. Meegwetch. Thank you.

Hon. Colin Deacon [ - ]

Honourable senators, the Honourable Percy Mockler is a bright and unwavering beacon of kindness, respect, loyalty and humanity.

To say that Percy will be deeply missed by us all doesn’t even come close. Recently, Her Honour asked Senator Mockler, Senator Cordy and me to join her on a special visit to the British and Irish Parliaments. Percy’s inquisitive and unceasingly respectful manner was evident in every meeting, and his insightful questioning of the implications of generative AI in our lives impressed global experts to no end. As an aside, last night, Her Honour hosted an event on AI, and like an Olympic-level athlete, Percy was pushing through the tape, questioning Yoshua Bengio, one of the world leaders on how to use AI responsibly. This man never stops.

This trip with Her Honour provided me a long-overdue chance to learn about Percy’s childhood and early career. As an early teen, Percy’s first goal was for his mother to have running water and an indoor toilet, because Marie Mockler’s one-room house didn’t have plumbing.

So, while most kids his age were playing, Percy worked at the local mill on the weekends, and the money he saved went to Cody’s Hardware Store in his hometown of Saint-Léonard. Percy made a down payment and negotiated a deal to pay the remaining amount over time. As a result, this young teen delivered a convenience to his mother and sister that the rest of us simply take for granted.

Mr. Cody was so impressed by Percy that he eventually offered to renegotiate the deal so that Percy could pay off the remaining amount working at Cody’s Hardware Store on weekends. This enabled Percy to continue to advance his studies in nearby Edmundston and Moncton.

Senator Mockler has spent his life searching for ways to improve the lives of others and deliver dignity to the least fortunate among us. He did this through countless community- and business-building efforts across New Brunswick, but also by championing simple changes in language and program design. For example, some may think that moving away from the concept of welfare and toward that of income support seems inconsequential — but not our colleague. Senator Mockler reflexively respects the dignity of the least powerful among us, as he does with all of the premiers, prime ministers and presidents whom he has met.

Percy, I can only imagine how relieved Suzanne and your family are that your 8-hour, 9-hour, 12-hour drives each way, back and forth, between your hometown and Ottawa each week, are coming to an end. And I can only imagine how thrilled you are to no longer miss cherished activities with your grandchildren. But one thing is for certain: Your presence will continue to echo in this chamber as we continue to ask ourselves, “What would Percy do? What would Percy say?” Thank you, my friend.

Hon. Andrew Cardozo [ - ]

Honourable senators, it is, indeed, an honour to rise to say a few words about our friend Senator Percy Mockler. Indeed, I have considered him to be the grand gentleman of the Senate.

As a new senator, I received a lot of wise counsel from you on a range of issues, and I see that you have been a mentor to many others. We all thank you for that. You invited me, many times, to come to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, even when I was not a member, and you always ensured that I got to ask a question. More than that, sir, you taught me — you taught us — that one does not have to shout and yell to be effective: You can simply be wise, thoughtful, humble, respectful, kind and encouraging to have your voice heard and, most importantly, to be an effective senator. For this lesson, I thank you enormously.

Hon. Leo Housakos [ - ]

Honourable senators, in January 2009, when I was summoned to this august place, I was obviously excited, as all of you have been, but not more excited than I was when I saw on the list that the legendary Percy Mockler was being summoned at the same time. I say “legendary” because, as a young political Conservative organizer in Montreal and Quebec, Percy Mockler was larger than life. Indeed, he was a legend.

I remember receiving a phone call from one of my friends, whom you know very well, and he said, “Leo, it is amazing that you are going to be a senator, but it’s more amazing that you will be sitting in that chamber with Percy Mockler.” And I said, “I’m pissing on myself; I can’t believe it.”

So I arrived here, and, of course, the legendary Percy Mockler walked in, and in a very short period of time he became Senator Mockler. He also became “Percy,” and I’m proud and honoured to say that he became a friend, mentor and political confidant. It meant a lot to me, and I learned a lot from you, Percy. Everyone knows this, and I am stating the obvious, but the truth of the matter is that in Quebec and Montreal, when we young Tories got together after class in university, or after some door-to-door during election campaigns in 1984 and 1988, and we wanted to know where the political winds were blowing, everyone would say, “Has anyone called Percy Mockler?” That stands today.

The other thing that without a doubt has to be highlighted is that I learned a lot from Percy Mockler — the person. We all know about the legend. But he taught me what it means to be a decent senator and a decent advocate for the people you represent. The truth is he has been an unparalleled voice.

He has been a strong voice for French Canadians, a strong voice for Saint-Léonard, New Brunswick, a strong voice for this country’s founding language and a strong voice for Conservative principles, which he has faithfully championed for many years.

You were always a role model in all of these things, and I hope to keep working to become a voice for them too.

You also said to me, senator, on many occasions, that you don’t know who a man is until you know what they stand for. Of course, I just highlighted some of the things you stood for, and tributes have been pouring out from everyone with respect to what you stood for, but you taught me something else, and you did not do so through just words and gests. You did so through action, and you are a model for it. You also taught me that the essence of a man is determined when he does not forget where he comes from. Throughout your time in politics, as a minister at the highest level of government, in this institution, you were the strongest voice for where you came from — for the underprivileged people, the weak voices, the people in Canada who sometimes did not feel that they had a voice in the other place. That is a credit to who you are, and that is a model for all of us of what this institution is all about. I thank you for teaching me that. I will try to carry on that tradition.

I will say this: In my eyes, you came into this place as a legend — Senator Mockler, Percy, a good friend — and I will tell you that the legend of Percy Mockler will live on forever.

Hon. Peter M. Boehm [ - ]

Colleagues, today I have the honour of paying tribute to our colleague, the Honourable Percy Mockler, who is taking a well-deserved retirement after 15 years as a senator.

Senator Mockler’s remarkable journey in his home province of New Brunswick is one of the most striking testaments to his dedication to his community. He was first elected to the legislative assembly in 1982. As minister responsible for several portfolios, he left an indelible mark on New Brunswick’s political landscape.

Outside of his government duties, Senator Mockler has also been a pillar of his community, getting involved in a multitude of local organizations and initiatives, demonstrating his deep attachment to his homeland and fellow citizens.

His dedication to public service continued to shine through his work in the Senate. As an active member of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, he worked to promote and protect the country’s linguistic diversity. His role as parliamentary secretary to the Canadian Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie demonstrates his commitment to the French-speaking world and international cooperation.

For my part, I’ll always remember my four years alongside Senator Mockler, who chaired our National Finance Committee meetings, where I learned a great deal about the art of running a Senate committee meeting.

At every meeting, like a well-rehearsed refrain, he reminded us of the committee’s four sacred principles, which some of our colleagues have already mentioned this afternoon.

I remember his persuasiveness in recruiting me to serve on the committee. I told him that sitting on that committee was like watching paint dry. “Since you know that,” he said, “that makes you the perfect candidate.” Take that, Senator Marshall.

Senator Mockler proudly embodies New Brunswick, but above all, he bears a deep love for Acadia. His passion for his province and its culture manifests in everything he does. Everyone in this chamber will miss his vibrant Acadian energy.

His incredible sense of humour and inspiring leadership never failed him, despite his many responsibilities. His style, a blend of seriousness and levity, drew together and inspired everyone who had the privilege of working with him.

Today, as we salute Senator Mockler for his long and illustrious political career, we also want to thank him for his kindness, generosity and dedication. His example will keep inspiring future generations to serve their country with honour and integrity.

Thank you, Percy, for your invaluable contribution to this institution and to our country. May your retirement be filled with happiness, health and serenity.

Hon. David Richards [ - ]

Honourable senators, he was the first to welcome me into the Senate of Canada when he met me in the lounge of the Fredericton International Airport. He was, of course, a legend in New Brunswick and an accomplished senator. But the first thing that I noticed about the man — as I hadn’t met him before — was his quality of graciousness and simplicity, and noticeable easy affection for others around him. It’s a characteristic trait that was sincere and which deepened over time. He has held so many portfolios in New Brunswick that it would be difficult to name them all here.

On the day I first met him, he was already a mainstay in the theatre of New Brunswick and Canadian politics. He was Solicitor General, Minister of Human Resources Development and Housing, Minister of Family and Community Services, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Intergovernmental and International Relations. He was an advocate for Acadian rights, a champion of the French language and — I will say — a champion of the underdog and the forgotten his entire life.

Of course, his work in the Senate includes the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance and the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, and he was a member of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie. So many avenues of excellence and so many obligations to the betterment of Canada and his fellow Canadians, and rarely would we hear this from him. His life of service has been underplayed because of his own humility and his hard-won integrity. He worked long hours and used part of his first student loan to put a bathroom in his mother’s home. He came from the background of the working poor that never has to be explained to any New Brunswicker.

In the most important ways, he has never strayed from this loyalty, knowing the intrinsic value of all people. In a certain definitive way, Percy Mockler has — all his life — been a patron and a mentor, and it seemed like, from the first day I was fortunate enough to speak with him, in some conclusive way, and for all that he has tried to do, all people will be in his care. Thank you, sir.

Thank you, my friend.

Hon. Pat Duncan [ - ]

Honourable senators, it’s raining today in Ottawa because our dear friend, the Honourable Percy Mockler, is leaving the Senate. However, the sun is shining in New Brunswick.

One of the first conversations I had after my appointment to the Senate was with my closest friend from high school. She said to me, “Congratulations, Pat. You always helped me in high school social studies. So, what do you do exactly?”

Well, I’m still learning what a senator does. It may not be instinctive for those of a certain age with some experience in politics to seek advice from others; however, that is what I did. I asked questions and observed. Quickly, I learned that there was no better mentor in this august place than Senator Percy Mockler.

Honourable senators, Percy has always had a certain dignity, a sense of protocol and a quiet presence with which he has conducted himself.

One of my very best experiences here was serving on the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance as a rookie senator under Senator Mockler’s leadership. He would always be inclusive and encouraging, and freely offer his guidance. I will forever remember one particular meeting where I asked a question during a discussion about funding for employment programs, linking it with workers’ compensation boards and asking about including safety training as part of the employment education curriculum.

Later, in the Senate antechamber, Percy shared with me:

That was a good question, and you got an answer from the witness, sénatrice. You should put that on your social media.

I treasured that advice as much as I have treasured it when I have been off track and received his gentle guidance through a slightly raised eyebrow across the room from the chair.

His advice to me shows his essence and that he never lost the perspective of the common people. As Rudyard Kipling said in his poem If—:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch . . . .

Percy has never lost his common touch or his ability to walk with and provide sound, wise advice and sober second thought to kings and country.

How could we begin to thank our dear colleague? Expressions of gratitude start with family and friends who have loaned you to us in your service to New Brunswick and to all of Canada.

May I offer my heartfelt thanks to all of them and, most especially, to you, Percy. Senator Mockler, I will forever treasure your sage advice to continue always to seek the wisdom of the people and always to represent my region. Most of all, today, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to your family, your friends and to you, Percy. Your generosity and the gift of your presence and service to our country — like you — will never be forgotten.

Thank you very much. Mahsi’cho.

Hon. Rose-May Poirier [ - ]

Honourable senators, I have had the pleasure of serving with Percy Mockler for almost 25 years now, and it is has been an honour of a lifetime to have him as a friend.

When you have someone like Percy Mockler in your corner, you’re never alone. Senator Mockler has always made sure that I was never alone for any events in my political and personal life. Thank you, Percy.

Senators, my tribute is going to be a little different because I’m going to read the words of three people who touched Percy’s life, and whose lives were also touched by Percy, starting with Premier Bernard Lord, who said, and I quote:

When I first met Percy Mockler, I was immediately impressed by his excellent interpersonal skills, intelligence, and passion for our province. What mattered to him was improving the lives of the people in the community he worked for.

Very few people in Canada have had such a long and varied career in the public service as Percy Mockler has. He is extremely well-respected and a man of the highest integrity. He has served his country, province and community for over 40 years.

I am delighted to join you in thanking Senator Mockler for his contribution and wish him a happy retirement from parliamentary life. Sincerely, Bernard Lord.

And now on behalf of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, he shares the following:

From humble roots, Senator Mockler’s journey through life reminds us all that in Canada, with passion, relentless hard work, and dedication, we are only limited by our imagination.

I can still remember that day in December 2008 when I called Percy to ask him to sit as a Senator from New Brunswick. He responded: “I would be honoured to accept, and let me tell you, from my little house in Saint-Léonard, that I will continuously work to make my country a better place to live, to work, to raise a family and to help the most vulnerable.” In the years since he stood true to his word.

Percy, on this day of your retirement from the Senate of Canada, I want to congratulate you on a job well done. You can take great pride in having touched the lives of so many of your fellow Canadians, and contributed to building a stronger country for those who will follow you.

Laureen and I thank you for your friendship and service and wish you and your wife Suzanne all the very best for the years to come.


Stephen Harper

Finally, for the last one, Senator Mockler’s office received the following letter from the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, which is dated February 20. Nine days before his passing, he took the time to salute his very good friend Percy Mockler.

Dear Percy,

During the course of two leadership campaigns, and two general election campaigns, you proved to be a tireless, exceptional organizer, and wise counsellor, crucial to my success in New Brunswick. But, above all else, you are a true, steadfast, and loyal friend, and Mila and I love you and your family enormously.

Your service to the Senate has been a credit to you, your country and your beloved New Brunswick. So, Percy, I’d like to pay tribute to you by saying, thank you. Thank you for all you’ve done for me and for Canada. I’ll always be grateful for your friendship and proud of your support. Years go by, but some things are unforgettable, and our friendship is one of them.

My sincere congratulations, my dear Percy, on your well-deserved retirement, and I wish you all the best in this new chapter. Sincerely, Brian Mulroney.

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