Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 63

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

The Senate

Congratulations to Outgoing and New Liberal Leadership

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize the work of three senators who have worked extremely hard on our behalf in the last year. In 2006, there has been a real transition on our side after 13 years in government. That transition on its own would have been difficult, but adding to this work have been debates on Senate reform, along with the increased scrutiny that has been brought to this chamber. The leadership on our side has faced not only challenges of managing a large caucus in opposition, but has also seen us through the turmoil that has naturally accompanied a period of change for our party.

Honourable senators, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of Senator Hays as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. We have all had the opportunity to work with Senator Hays. My own relationship with him started in 1994, when he was President of the Liberal Party of Canada and I was serving as vice-president. We worked very hard, including travelling abroad to present the party. We also pushed hard at home to promote a number of important issues, including policies to promote the equality of women. I was honoured to have the chance to travel with him as part of the Speaker’s delegation to India. To travel to my country of origin with such a great friend, and see him treated with such respect as we met with important officials and visited historic sites, was a source of great pride for me.

As the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Hays also took the time to work with us on issues we have raised and was responsive to our concerns. Senator Hays has worked in an extremely difficult and demanding job and I know that all honourable senators will want to thank him for his efforts on our behalf.

Senator Fraser has also worked in an extremely demanding job as Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I have had the pleasure of working closely with Senator Fraser since being appointed in 2001, on the Special Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act and again on the Public Safety Act as she chaired the Transport and Communications Committee. While we have not always agreed on every issue, I have always had the greatest respect for her ability to put forward her point of view clearly while still remaining open to other arguments. She is someone who always decides the best course of action based on the merits and facts available. Senator Fraser has faced a demanding task as the deputy leader with the same poise and panache I have come to respect in her. I want to thank her for those efforts and I look forward to continuing to work with her.

Senator Cook and I first met when I ran for President of the Women’s Liberal Commission. She not only campaigned for me but has taught me many things that have helped me work better in my role as senator. Senator Cook has worked with all of us under very difficult health circumstances. She has soldiered on without so much as a complaint despite the enormous challenges she faced as the whip of a large Senate caucus. Her style has shown us that you can indeed catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Honourable senators, I know you will all want to join me in thanking Senators Hays, Fraser and Cook for their hard work on our behalf.

Honourable senators, I would also like to welcome to this side and congratulate Senator Hervieux-Payette, Senator Cowan and Senator Tardif, who have risen to take on these challenges which, I know, they will take on with great vigour.