Who inspired you to get involved in public life?
Actually, no one in particular, but I’ve always had tremendous respect for our politicians and the extraordinary work that they do. I often had the chance to cross paths with former senator Joyce Fairbairn, and her generosity and support for sports always touched me. I also think that it is possible to contribute to making Canada better, each one in their own way, and public life is an area in which that can be done.
What do you think are the biggest public policy issues facing Canada today?
The lack of physical activity of our young people. Yes, that is political. Because when our young people grow up being sedentary they are at risk for health problems, obesity, and lower quality of life in both the long and short term. The impact that can have will be felt throughout the entire country, at every level. It is critical to act, and to act now. My dream is that Canada will become a model country in this regard, that it will be shown as an example, and that all over the world it will be said that in Canada, young people are active, and they become healthy adults that contribute to a healthy country!
Why should more Canadians care about what happens in the Senate?
The work of the Senate is not well known and that is very unfortunate. If Canadians were aware of senators’ seriousness, professionalism and exceptional expertise, they would be very impressed, just as I was when I arrived in the Upper Chamber.
What legislative or committee work are you most proud of participating in to date?
I’ve just barely started, and I am slowly but surely learning about the Senate, all the ways of making a difference and having an impact, so I’m quite sure that I have yet to make my mark. On account of my experience as an athlete and with people with a disability, I would obviously want to be involved in work about health, people with reduced mobility, sports, etc., but I know that I will just as enthusiastic about subjects I am not even aware of yet.
What is a hidden gem in your region that more Canadians need to know about?
I am very proud to be the senator from the beautiful region of Grandville in Quebec. I especially adore Bic Park, and I go there regularly. There is good food to be found there, an exceptional little lodge and a unique place to go sea kayaking, which I love doing. I have unforgettable memories of kayaking at sunrise, and it feels like being at the other end of the world because the river seems so vast, and yet, it’s right here at home!
Do you have a guilty pleasure song?
I love music. Leonard Cohen is one of my favourite artists, but not really for making me smile!
What is the last book you read or movie you saw which you recommended to someone else and why?
Probably The Good Dinosaur!!! My son Elliot's favorite these days! I have to admit I am a bit behind when it comes to movies and books with a 2 ½-year-old boy! But the one movie I always recommend as one of my best of all time is Babel. A masterpiece. I can watch this movie again and again and still it will move me. For a lighter one, I still like to watch Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill!
What sports team (amateur/professional) do you support?
I support Team Canada as a whole. I called it my team for over 20 years when I was an athlete. I know the effort, commitment and passion it takes to get on a podium for Canada, and I will always be a strong supporter of our Olympians and Paralympians. They make us proud, inspire our kids, and take our maple leaf across the globe.
Why are you proud to be Canadian?
I am proud to be Canadian for so many reasons. Our country is beautiful, we succeed in achieving change without violence and we keep an open mind and open heart. We are rich with diversity and my son Elliot is growing up in a country where everybody can be who they want to be, love who they want to love, and where no dreams are too big. That is pretty unique and something to be proud of.