1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 226

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mrs. Zenobia Jaffer. She is the guest of the Honourable Senator Jaffer.

On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Late Aneez Sherali Bandali Jaffer

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, when the Senate rose in June, I was looking forward to what the summer would bring, an opportunity to spend time with my constituents in British Columbia, time with the navy, my nephew’s wedding, a family reunion and quality time with my grandchildren.

I quickly learned that the Creator had a different plan for me.

Early in the summer, I was diagnosed with cancer. While this news shook me and my family to the core, I remain confident that together we will persevere.

Shortly after my diagnosis, my younger brother Aneez travelled to Vancouver to celebrate his son’s marriage. Being the only boy in a house full of strong and opinionated women wasn’t easy, but Aneez was kind and patient and very generous with all, especially the needy.

My brother said to me, “You’re not going anywhere. You can’t leave me behind.” And then what does he do? He goes and leaves me.

Soon after our conversation, my brother Aneez unexpectedly passed away in his sleep, leaving behind his loving and supportive wife, Naz, his always loving and supportive children, Alicia, Azhar and Kanu, and our entire family, who miss him more each day.

While this summer tested my strength both physically and emotionally, it also forced me to relearn four very important lessons.

Lesson 1: You, honourable senators, staff of the Senate, administration and security, whom I have the privilege of working with, are more than just my colleagues—you are my family. Thank you for your kindness, support and prayers, Speaker Furey’s constant phone calls, the support of my leaders, Senators Day, Mercer and Downe, and Senator Harder’s and Senator’s Woo’s support. Thank you.

Senator Smith, when I saw your tweet, which said, “Sending prayers and best wishes from your Senate family,” I felt blessed. I truly feel part of this great Senate family.

Lesson 2: I am blessed to have a remarkable team whose loyalty knows no bounds. Thank you to Chris and Donna Shingera, Gavin Jeffray, Seema Rampersad, Melina Bouchard, Safiya Dossa and Alex Mendes for being in my corner.

Lesson 3: True friends are always there when you need them. When people learned about my diagnosis, friends I had not spoken to since I became a refugee reached out to me, offering their love, support and prayers and even offering to come and spend time with me to look after me.

Lesson 4: Never take your family for granted. Cherish every minute, every laugh and every tear. Thank you to my husband’s amazing family, Shenin Mohamed, my sisters Zenobia, Nimet, Bergees and Umeshaffi, and my brothers-in-law Karim, Adil and Farouk, and my nieces and nephews for rallying around me.

My sister Zenobia is here today to support me. She is spending the month with me so that I can be in the Senate.

Honourable senators, I owe my greatest debt of gratitude to my husband, Nuralla, my children, Shaleena, Azool and Farzana, and my grandchildren, Ayaan and Almeera. Thank you for working so hard to make my life comfortable. You all give me a purpose.

Senators, I look forward to working with you all for a very long time. I am not going anywhere.