Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 27

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


The Honourable Wilbert J. Keon, O.C.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Senator Keon as he prepares to take his leave from this chamber. The close of Senator Keon’s remarkable 20-year Senate career gives me pause and makes me reflect on the hard- working, knowledgeable voice we will surely miss in this place.

To speak of Senator Keon is to speak of many people: the doctor, the politician and the caring person. As a senator, Dr. Keon has continually reminded us that preparation is our best defence against the afflictions that ail us. As he said in 2007, in an interview with, “The gospel I’m preaching now is to try to get out in front of the problem, because many diseases are preventable.”

Upon receiving the 2007 F.N.G Starr Award from the Canadian Medical Association, which has been described as the Victoria Cross of Canadian medicine, Dr. Keon remarked that: “It means a great deal since I gave my life to medicine and made many sacrifices. . . .”

Honourable senators, today we are reminded of the many contributions Dr. Keon has made, both to medical science and to public policy in Canada. Today, we turn to one of our own to say that, in the wake of his sacrifices, we stand to benefit.

Today, we say thank you to your family and to you for helping to save the lives of our loved ones.

Honourable senators have all spoken so eloquently about Senator Keon, the doctor and the politician, but I want to speak of him as my neighbour on the ninth floor of the Victoria Building. As a neighbour, he has always been there for me. When I have had personal challenges, he has come to my office with caring and supporting words. When my father suffered a heart attack, Senator Keon helped me through it. He has been there through all my mother’s illnesses, as well.

Dr. Keon and his staff have always been there for me. Diane Desrochers has always helped my staff and, without hesitation, Diane was always available when there was a query.


Senator Keon, your presence among us will be sadly missed.


Senator Keon, in my mother language, there is a saying that your first relative is your neighbour. You have been my relative. When you leave today, I will lose a relative on Parliament Hill. We will all miss you and your staff tremendously. Thank you for your friendship.