Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 73

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


The Honourable Jack Austin, P.C.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, today I stand to pay tribute to a man who is known as “Mr. British Columbia” — Senator Jack Austin. As a young lawyer, I used to hear many stories of Senator Austin from Chief Justice Nathan Nemetz and my law partner, Thomas Dohm. They spoke very warmly of Senator Austin as a lawyer, then when working with Mr. Trudeau and, finally, as a senator. I learned much about this illustrious senator from British Columbia.

Before I became a senator, I observed the varied career of Senator Austin, from working with Mr. Trudeau to doing extensive work in China at a time when there was not much interest in China or in the Pacific Gateway. In many ways, Senator Austin helped the Chinese to understand us and we to understand them. I know he will continue with his work in China, and he will keep educating all of us on our relationship with China and how we can work to make it even better and more beneficial.

On a personal level, when I was Canada’s envoy to the Sudan, Senator Austin was a great supporter. He gave me the benefit of his years of experience and showed me ways that I could get the resources to continue my work. Among the things about Senator Austin that I admire the most are his ability to keep well-informed on a wide variety of issues and to make sure that he knows what is going on in all parts of the party.

He truly is an institution in this chamber, and in my city, and I am sure you will all agree. More than that, he is a British Columbia institution. We will all miss his presence here, but I am consoled by the fact that he will always be close by when we need him. Jack, we need your private phone number because there may be many things about which we will need to consult with you. You have an institutional memory that we will need to tap from time to time.

Thank you, Natalie, and Senator Austin for the 30 years of public service.