Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 33

Thursday, May 7, 2009
The Honourable Rose-Marie Losier-Cool Speaker pro tempore


The Honourable Yoine Goldstein

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to my friend, seatmate and colleague Senator Yoine Goldstein. In the four years since his appointment to the Senate, his work and accomplishments in this place have become legendary. I have come to know Yoine as one of the most passionate human rights advocates this institution has ever seen. His efforts in this place have utilized every skill in his legal, scholarly and humanitarian arsenal.

He was introduced to this chamber on September 20, 2005, as an active and highly regarded member of the provincial and national legal communities, an esteemed law professor from McGill, and one of Canada’s foremost policy experts on Canadian bankruptcy and insolvency. It was not surprising he would immediately press for reform of Canada’s bankruptcy and insolvency system, and in doing so became one of the most vocal advocates for post-secondary education of Canada’s youth. He has dedicated a great deal of his time in this place to educating others and to introducing legislation that would ensure that students have the necessary protection and knowledge so that their investment in post-secondary education will not become a crushing financial burden. Canadians and senators will miss his strong and compassionate voice on Parliament Hill on this issue.

I respectfully suggest that Senator Goldstein’s legacy is also about Canadian literacy. He has spent his time in this place pushing for better numeracy or mathematical skills for Canadians. He has imparted an understanding that Canadians chronically do not have the skills to improve their financial well-being. This missing level of literacy costs Canada and is a leading cause of financial hardship. It is an underlying principle of concern that has influenced so much of his work in this place.

Senator Goldstein is a human rights advocate. This stands out most profoundly when looking retrospectively over the last four years. I quote Senator Goldstein: “Human rights are indivisible; they are available to all people.” This belief is rooted and infused throughout all of the work he has done as a senator.

Senator Goldstein has consistently introduced legislation that will bring affordable medicine to Third World countries and he has worked hard to empower the most vulnerable. He has also pushed for Canada’s implementation of its refugee appeal division.

Yoine, you have been a zealous and worthy contributor to the calibre of debate in this place and the exceptional work conducted by Senate committees. I will particularly miss your contributions at our shared committees of Official Languages and Human Rights. Your exceptional work ethic has been something that has resounded for all of us. Your departure from the Senate will leave a huge gap in service to Canada and, more specifically, to Quebec.

I also want to thank Elaine for sharing you with us, as she has waited many long hours for you to come home. You have said: “My sole interest is to have excellent legislation for the excellent people of Canada.”

My dear friend, you have certainly made this contribution and so much more. I wish you and Elaine, Doron and Dahna, much happiness as you take a break. Meanwhile, we will all continue to benefit from the work you have done here on behalf of all Canadians.

Thank you.