Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 18

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

The Honourable Marilyn Trenholme Counsell

Inquiry—Debate Concluded

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Tardif calling the attention of the Senate for the purposes of paying tribute to the Honourable Marilyn Trenholme Counsell in recognition of her outstanding career as a member of the Senate of Canada and for her many contributions and service to Canadians.

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I apologize for taking so long to honour our colleague, Marilyn Trenholme Counsell. She had a long distinguished career in public service culminating with her Senate appointment in 2003. Prior to becoming a senator, she was a nutritionist, a journalist, a physician, a provincial minister and then a Lieutenant-Governor. Throughout her life, no matter what professional hat she was wearing, she was always a champion for children.

In my opinion, it is on the issue of children that she leaves a most profound legacy in the Senate. Her commitment to the growth and nurturing of children has been a long life’s journey and passion. She believes that development and education of young children is one of most important means by which individuals and society as a whole can rise to achieve their full potential. She has told us often that the children of Canada are our future. All that we can do for them during our lifetime will be reflected in their lives. All that we fail to do will also be reflected in the span of Canada’s years.

As a senator, she has been a children’s advocate. This role has given her an opportunity to address issues such as learning in Canadian schools, the importance of early childhood education, learning disabilities, and Aboriginal Head Start programs, to name a few. Today, I want to highlight her dedication to adult and children’s literacy in this country. I am not sure if many honourable senators know that she has not retired fully from public service yet because she has taken on new challenges as the President of the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick. This new challenge is no surprise because her work on literacy has been long respected and immortalized with the Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award. When Senator Marilyn Trenholme Counsell left this chamber, honourable senators lost one of Parliament Hill’s largest voices and advocates for children. Her work here is far from finished, and I ask honourable senators not to forget that she has asked all honourable senators in this place to be champions for children.

It seems only fitting that I leave honourable senators with a quote from the beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss, to inspire future work in this chamber and to honour our dear friend and colleague. I quote from Dr. Seuss:

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!

Honourable senators, let us take up Honourable Marilyn Trenholme Counsell’s legacy and make her proud.