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Tribute to the Honourable Joseph A. Day

Honourable senators, on behalf of the Independent Senators Group, I rise today to add my voice in bidding farewell to our colleague Senator Joseph Day. Senator Day has contributed much to this place, and with a little help from some of his friends I will highlight just a few of the ways that he left his mark on Canada’s upper chamber.

Senator Day’s list of accomplishments is long. He graduated from RMC in 1968 and was named best all-around graduate and outstanding college athlete. He has completed nine marathons, and many of you will have had glimpses of him flashing by in his gym kit on the streets of Ottawa on his daily jog to the Senate.

He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering, a Juris Doctorate, a masters in law and he has been a member of the bars of New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Senator Wetston reminds me that, before he joined the Senate, Senator Day had a distinguished career as a lawyer specializing in intellectual property in Toronto.

Throughout his 19 years in Canada’s upper chamber, Senator Day has been a constant advocate for veterans, Indigenous people, New Brunswickers and Canadians on the international stage. His numerous contributions to furthering Canada’s international relations include his role as vice-president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and a member of both the Canada-Japan Interparliamentary Association and the Canada-China Legislative Association.

Senator Day has not only been a role model with respect to his work in the Senate, but he has also demonstrated professionalism, generosity and mentorship to senators of all groups and experience levels. If you will indulge me, I would like to pass along anecdotes from my colleagues in the ISG and beyond. There were so many of us who wanted to stand today and pay tribute.

Quite a few of the anecdotes had to do with encounters in the airport and particularly introducing some of our colleagues to A&W burgers. There were references to badminton connections, and expressed pleasure from all of my colleagues who have had the opportunity of travelling with you; they were such pleasant experiences, whether it was on short trips or trips to remote places such as the Arctic.

Senator Cormier wanted to highlight the fact that Senator Day, who comes from an English-speaking region of New Brunswick, went out of his way to master French and express himself so well in that language.

Even Senator Day’s former colleagues have reached out to me to offer their tributes. Former Senator Jack Austin specifically asked me to pass along that Senator Day exemplifies dedication to the public interest of the highest standard, and that he represented the finest level of Canadian values.

I will end with a quote that former Senator Austin asked me to pass to Senator Day:

My personal best wishes to Senator Day, and my advice: Don’t retire; rewire.