Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 29

Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Senate Services

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, today I rise to thank honourable senators for all of the courtesies you have extended to me in the past nine years that I have been a senator. I thank you for your support and friendship.

I would also like to thank all the Senate staff — from the people who make our place of work very comfortable, to the parliamentary restaurant staff and to the people in this chamber and outside who have had the patience to teach me on a regular basis.

To the IT Senate staff, thank you for always having the patience to teach me and for putting up with all my requests to upgrade my office software. You have made it possible for my staff and me to keep working on different projects.

Honourable senators, when the call comes to serve your country as a senator, first you are thrilled and then the reality hits you. I have never stayed on my own. From my mother’s home, I went to my in-laws’ home, so I have had to learn a whole set of new skills to live alone in Ottawa.

I thank Géraldine Lavoie, my French teacher, and Linda Clifford and Ralph Dashney, for all of your help.

I want to thank especially the men and women at the Senate Protective Services. These people have gone beyond the call of duty for me. They have taught me how to drive in the snow and how to dress for this weather; they have shared food with me and given me ultimatums to either leave the Senate or stay the night in the office during inclement weather. They have also driven my guests in their cars back to my guests’ hotels in severe weather. Most of all, they have been my family in Ottawa and like other families, I have given them many things to worry about. I am in the habit of coming to work at different hours, as we all do. Just after I became a senator in 2001, I had a significant amount of paper I needed to transfer to the office, and so I had this brainwave to park the car on O’Connor Street and leave my boxes near the door on Wellington Street.

I had many boxes, and I ran to the car, took a box and ran back and threw it near the door with a loud bang. When I returned with the fifth box, men from the Senate Protective Service surrounded me, wondering what was going on. I do not know who was more shocked, the Senate Protective Service men or me. All they said, as calmly as they could, was that I did not have to make so much noise; I could have asked for help. Yes, I have given the people who protect us some challenges.

Today, I especially want to thank Gilles Duguay, the Director General, and his staff at the Parliamentary Precinct Services. Some time ago, I was leaving the Centre Block with my son and grandson when I had an unpleasant experience that has yet to be resolved. Mr. Duguay has listened to me, advocated for me and, more especially, shared my pain. My grandson saw his grandmother not being treated well in her place of work. To this day, Ayaan asks me why the policewoman was so rude to me.

The Senate Protective Service staff helped Ayaan forget the incident by giving him his own identification card and being gentle to him. Ayaan wears this card with pride when he comes to visit me in Ottawa.

I thank both Gilles Duguay and Senator Furey for their assistance in trying to resolve this issue. To all the people who work for the Senate Protective Service and the Parliamentary Precinct Services, I thank you for helping me make Ottawa my home away from home.