Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 16

Thursday, March 5, 2009
The Honourable Rose-Marie Losier-Cool Speaker pro tempore


The Late Honourable Raymond Joseph Perrault, P.C.

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, in November we mourned the loss of our colleague, the Honourable Ray Perrault. Retired from his Senate work since 2001, but definitely not forgotten, his ideals, community service and dedication will be remembered, celebrated and missed.

In 2001, when Ray retired from this place, it was said of him, “The compassion and sympathy he feels for those in need of this help is a sincere one, the outcome of the difficulties and opportunities that have marked his own life.”

His career was marked by great highs. He served as a provincial Liberal leader in British Columbia during an extremely difficult time for Liberals in the West. He was a member of Parliament who was known for his 1968 legendary defeat of political great and Canadian icon, Tommy Douglas. He was a senator with a distinct voice, which was once likened to a foghorn by journalist Allan Fotheringham.

Honourable senators, I believe it was one of the strongest and most determined voices British Columbia had for many years in our federation, but it was also a lonely voice. It was not easy being the lone voice representing British Columbia at the cabinet table.

In 1970, when I arrived from Uganda, Ray welcomed me and helped me. He went further; he encouraged me to integrate into Canadian society. There were many Thursdays that I would be at his house when he would arrive tired from his work in Ottawa, and in spite of his condition, he would always be ready to help the National Liberal Women’s Commission have our issues addressed by the government. When I entered federal politics, he worked on both my campaigns.

Senator Perrault was a compassionate man who strived to give Ottawa politicians and bureaucrats a better understanding of the people and lives lived on the coast of British Columbia. Senator Comeau noted this quality eloquently upon Senator Perrault’s retirement from

this place when he said how witness after witness before the Senate Fisheries Committee spoke warmly of Senator Perrault, and welcomed him to the communities like an old friend. He was cherished and respected for his voice and for his efforts on behalf of British Columbia.

Ray’s wife Barbara was his greatest supporter. She and their three children sacrificed a lot and had to share him too often with Canadians. At this time, I salute their support for Senator Perrault.

Honourable senators, it has been said that success in life is being truly missed and remembered long after you are gone. British Columbia will miss Senator Ray Perrault. May he rest in peace and may his family find comfort in his memory.