Note to readers: The Honourable Jim Munson retired from the Senate of Canada in July 2021. Learn more about his work in Parliament.
Who inspired you to get involved in public life?
Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. I followed the careers of many politicians as a journalist and none had a sense of humour or humanity like his. He was at the table for the most important decisions of the past fifty years and made his mark on Canadian history.
What do you think are the biggest public policy issues facing Canada today?
Health and infrastructure – these two pillars make Canada great, but their foundations are beginning to crumble. We need to invest more so future generations can enjoy the same benefits we do today.
Why should more Canadians care about what happens in the Senate?
We are here to protect minority rights and review or amend legislation. The Senate is the only institution where this is the focus and these roles are at the centre of our democracy.
What legislative or committee work are you most proud of participating in to date?
The Social Affairs committee report Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis. The report is the template to address autism and articulated the need for a National Autism Spectrum Disorder Strategy.
Following the report, I introduced a bill, An Act respecting World Autism Awareness Day. It officially designates April 2 as “World Autism Awareness Day” throughout Canada. After advocating for the bill over a number of years, it finally became law in 2012.
What is a hidden gem in your region that more Canadians need to know about?
The National Gallery of Canada. – it may not be hidden, but it’s somewhere everyone should visit. For a spot that you won’t find on any tourist maps, head to my favourite tavern, The Carleton, for a taste of the real Ottawa.
Can you name a guilty pleasure song / album that always makes you smile and why?
That’s my secret.
What is the last book you read or movie you saw which you recommended to someone else and why?
The movie Spotlight is incredible. It tells the story of The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team as they investigate allegations of child abuse by Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area.
Margaret MacMillan’s History’s People offers great insight into leaders that have made a difference and shaped our world.
What sports team (amateur/professional) do you support?
The Montreal Canadiens. I may be a senator now, but I lived in Montreal as a teenager and they have the best fans. When I play hockey, I wear number twelve like my favourite Canadiens player, Yvan Cournoyer.
Why are you proud to be Canadian?
Because it’s 2016. I will be 70 years old in July and I believe we live in the best country in the world. Every day, I am proud to say I work on Parliament Hill.