Honourable senators, last month we saw the retirement of our former colleague Senator Nicole Eaton, who represented the province of Ontario in the Senate of Canada. For 11 years Senator Eaton was truly dedicated to her work as a member of the Senate, and she will be missed by colleagues on all sides of this chamber.
Public service and community involvement were ingrained in Nicole Eaton’s life well before she was appointed as a senator. She is a proud direct descendant of Louis Hébert, Samuel de Champlain’s apothecary. Her father, Jacques Courtois, chaired the Security Intelligence Review Committee and was President of the Montréal Canadiens. And, of course, she is a member of one of the most philanthropic families in our country, the Eatons.
Beyond her family ties, Nicole Eaton stands in her own right as a gracious, thoughtful and generous individual. She is a force to be reckoned with in whatever endeavour she undertakes. During my time as President of the Conservative Party of Canada, before either of us were appointed to the Senate, I had the privilege of working closely with Nicky to plan one of our party’s conventions in Winnipeg. It was, in my opinion, our most successful convention ever, which was due in no small part to Nicky’s expertise and formidable work ethic.
We’ve all witnessed these traits in her work as a senator. In addition to her duties as Speaker pro tempore, Senator Eaton contributed to many of our committees, perhaps most notably the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, and, more recently, the Special Senate Committee on the Arctic. The senator applied her vast experience with charities to focus attention on the serious matter of interference by foreign foundations in Canada’s domestic policy, and particularly in our energy sector.
Senator Eaton’s work in this place will not soon be forgotten, and neither will her influence on our country’s political landscape. Her involvement with the Conservative Party of Canada has been vital to its success, most particularly as a former director of the Conservative Fund and as chair of party policy conventions.
About three years ago our colleague lost the love of her life, her husband Thor. Their devotion to each other was evident to all who knew them. They were a wonderful team and through their family’s charitable foundation they have made a lasting impact on hospitals and cultural organizations across Canada.
In her first speech as a senator, Senator Eaton quoted her father, who would always tell her:
. . . seek the work and the challenge, not the reward and the thanks.
Senator Eaton did just that and I am certain there is still much work and many more challenges that lie ahead for our former colleague. On behalf of our entire Conservative caucus and indeed all honourable senators, I wish Senator Eaton and her family all the best as she begins this new chapter of her life.