Mon allocution en l’honneur de la sénatrice LeBreton qui prendra sa retraite le 4 juillet prochain (la version lue fait foi)
My speech in honor of Senator LeBreton, who will retire on July 4th (check against delivery)
Le 19 juin 2015
Senator LeBreton, dear colleagues,
I rise today to pay tribute to our colleague, Senator Marjory LeBreton, who will leave the Senate for a well-deserved retirement on July 4th, on the day of her birthday.
Senator LeBreton has said that she does not want any tributes and her wishes will be respected; however, it seems to me that we cannot keep silent on the passage of our colleague in the Senate, but also on Parliament Hill, where she worked for some fifty years. So, in spite of your wishes to leave us discreetly, dear Marjory, I would like to say a few words.
Our paths crossed for the first time in September 2008, in Saint-Eustache. I was a candidate in the federal election and our riding was the first stop in Québec for the Prime Minister’s regional tour. You were by his side and, in the campaign plane, I understood that you played an important role for the Prime Minister and for our government.
Then, we met again in the Senate of Canada the following year. That is where I really got to know you. I saw you thriving in this environment which was totally familiar to you. I was impressed by your ability to grasp issues in a variety of areas at the same time. You always had confidence in me and you entrusted me with increasing responsibilities, and it was a privilege to serve next to you as Deputy Leader; in fact, next to a legend of Parliament Hill. A person who, like you, fulfills several responsibilities on Parliament Hill for over fifty years is definitely a legend.
Actually, if I’m not mistaken, during these years, you served or worked alongside eight leaders of our political party, from John Diefenbaker to Robert Stanfield, from Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney—who appointed you to the Senate in 1993—to our Right Honourable Stephen Harper, who appointed you Leader of the Government in the Senate in 2006. You saw ten Prime Ministers come and go, six of whom were Conservatives, let me say in passing for those of you numbers fans!
Marjory, these last two sentences are telling: they reveal that you have been a witness to all the transformations our country went through during half of the past century.
As you enter retirement, it would be fantastic if you could be moved to write your memoirs, your many souvenirs of your passage in federal politics. We could all benefit from your unbiased, objective and non-partisan opinion on the past fifty years of Canadian political life!
Marjory, you are authentic, intense, committed and loyal. Your accomplishments in politics are impressive and I feel quite privileged to have been able to work by your side.
In my personal name, on behalf of our Caucus colleagues and on behalf of all the members of our august institution, I would like to thank you for your outstanding contribution to Canadian democracy, and I hope that you will enjoy to the fullest the years to come, far from the limelight, with those you love you.
Thank you, Marjory, and happy retirement.