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Expressions of Good Wishes for the Season

Honourable senators, as we approach the final minutes of our 2020 sittings, I am challenged to deliver a closing message in a year that feels like it never even got started. It occurred to me this morning that I will be offering greetings at the end of 2020 to some honourable colleagues to whom I never got to offer greetings at the start of 2020. So at the end of a most unusual year, I offer, on behalf of the Independent Senators Group, an unorthodox finale which I dedicate to…
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National Finance and Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committees Authorized to Meet Entirely by Video Conference during the Adjournment of the Senate

Honourable senators, since we have a statement that intends to provide some clarification, I feel it’s necessary to provide a fuller story of this matter. I, too, want to get this question dealt with as soon as possible. I do not know if the motion, as written, does allow for the committee to be able to sit in a hybrid form if it so chooses, so we should not take that as a given. However, I will leave that to those who understand procedure and who can interpret the motion with…
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Tribute to the Late Honourable Robert W. Peterson

Honourable senators, it is my honour on behalf of the Independent Senators Group to pay tribute to the Honourable Robert Peterson. Affectionately known as “Senator Bob,” he was a highly regarded member of the Upper House who will be remembered for his hard work, honesty and many contributions to his community. After earning his Engineering degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1961, he became a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and spent 25 years as a…
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Tribute to the Late Honourable David Osborn Braley, O.C.

Honourable colleagues, while I did not have the pleasure of working with former Senator David Braley, I rise today on behalf of the Independent Senators Group to pay tribute to a man whose impact across Canada, and particularly in my home province of British Columbia, will not be soon forgotten. In 1997, David Braley became the owner of British Columbia’s CFL team, the BC Lions. His long history of success in business quickly translated to success on the field as the Lions capt…
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End of Session Speech

Honourable senators, it is customary at the end of a session to review what we have accomplished in the past months since Parliament was convened, but the last several months were at least as memorable for what we were not able to do as they were for what we were able to accomplish. Among the things we weren’t able to do is the departure of some of our fellow senators who retired during the time of the shutdown and who will be retiring in the summer months. We will therefore no…
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Speech to the Canada Emergency Student Benefit Bill

Honourable senators, this bill is ostensibly about the present plight of students, but it is really about the future of our country. It is a cliché to talk about young people as the future, but as far as clichés go, this one is hard to refute. The fact is that the cohort affected by this bill will be among the people who will rise to leadership positions across Canada in the next few decades. That is why it is so important that the current generation of future leaders emerge fr…
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Speech to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill, No. 2

Honourable senators, when I spoke to the first COVID economic response bill, Bill C-13, less than two weeks ago, I lamented the fact that 25 Canadians had died from the novel coronavirus. That number has risen to nearly 700 and it continues to rise. In the meantime, the number of businesses which have suspended operations or closed down altogether has risen many fold, with over 1 million Canadians thrown out of work. A staggering 5.6 million claims have already been received un…
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Speech to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill

Honourable senators, the first thing that needs to be said is that there have been more than 25 deaths in Canada due to COVID-19 and families are mourning the loss of their loved ones. Many more are in hospital at various stages of the illness. I know I speak for all of us in sending our sympathies to those who are grieving. I want to recognize the work of front-line healthcare workers for their tireless efforts in responding to the crisis. They are carrying out their duties un…
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Tribute to the Late Robert H. Lee, O.C., O.B.C.

Honourable colleagues, I rise today to pay tribute to Vancouver businessman and philanthropist Dr. Robert H. Lee, who passed away on February 19. I have only one minute for this tribute, but even one hour would not do justice to the accomplishments of this giant of a man. Bob Lee’s father, an immigrant from China, was an entrepreneur and Chinatown pioneer who handed down to his children the importance of big thinking, integrity, hard work and community service. Today, the Vanco…
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Congratulations to New Senators

Honourable senators, it is my pleasure, on behalf of the Independent Senators Group, to extend a very warm welcome to our new colleagues, Senator William Brent Cotter representing Saskatchewan and Senator Judith Keating from New Brunswick. With these appointments, the Senate is inching ever closer to gender parity. We now have 48 female senators and 52 male senators. Senators Keating and Cotter have been leaders in advancing reconciliation in Canada. In New Brunswick, Senator K…
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