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 Recents activities

April 11, 2017

Ottawa, April 11, 2017 – Senators Doug Black, Patricia Bovey, Serge Joyal, and Paul McIntyre, endorsed by a strong majority across party lines of their Senate colleagues urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to establish a National Portrait Gallery at the Former U.S. Embassy at 100 Wellington.

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister, Senators highlight that many countries, including England, the United States and Australia have permanent National Portrait Galleries that are very popular with young people; with over 40% of attendees being under the age of 35 in London.

The Senators believe that Canada150 marks the perfect opportunity to create a National Portrait Gallery as a lasting legacy to Canadians.


“We were very pleased to see overwhelming support for this initiative from our fellow Senators, artists and audiences. There is a strong desire to put our extensive collection of portraits along with work from contemporary artists on display for Canadians to appreciate and enjoy.” – Senator Doug Black

“A Portrait Gallery not only tells a story, but it helps us understand who we are.” – Senator Patricia Bovey

“We have a prime location situated directly in front of Parliament, where thousands upon thousands of people already visit every month. Visitors could simply cross Wellington Street to see the many faces of aboriginals and immigrants who built Canada. There is no better history than the people's history; a Portrait Gallery is a people’s institution”. – Senator Serge Joyal

“What better gift for Canada to give Canadians “from coast-to-coast-to-coast” than to establish a National Portrait Gallery in an historic building for all to see, on its 150th Birthday!” – Senator Paul McIntyre


April 6, 2017

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, on Sunday, April 9, 2017, Canada, France and the United Kingdom will commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge, north of the city of Arras, 100 years after the four divisions of Canadian troops won a victory there over the German armed forces, who had occupied the ridge since October 1914. Read the text

April 4, 2017

Senator Joyal: Thank you, honourable senators. I'll look at my watch. I will try to keep my remarks short. Bill S-231 is entitled an Act to amend the Canada Evidence Act and the Criminal Code (protection of journalistic sources.)

Honourable senators will remember that that private member's bill on the Senate floor was introduced by our colleague Senator Carignan, following, as you know, a lot of reports in the media in relation to investigations that took place against journalists in the improper, I should say, legalistic context. Read the speech

March 30, 2017

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I don't want to nitpick this afternoon. I often address you in English, but I want to tell you that I also read the French version of bills. I would like to draw the attention of the sponsor of the amendment, Senator McCoy, to the French version. At page 4 of the Order Paper, under paragraph 4, 5.1 in the French version: Read the speech

March 28, 2017

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I will continue the address that I started a while ago. Considering that I sought the adjournment, and according to the Rules of the Senate, we can't seek the adjournment twice, today I am bound to complete my presentation.Read the speech

February 23, 2017

Ottawa, February 23, 2017 – The federal government’s decision not to strike a commemorative medal for Canada’s 150th birthday is a missed opportunity to celebrate the country’s history and to advance reconciliation with its Indigenous peoples.

 Last month, Senator Serge Joyal introduced a motion in the Senate to produce a medal commemorating the 150th anniversary of Confederation that would recognize the inestimable contribution made by Indigenous peoples to the emergence of a better Canada.

 Canada has a long history of producing commemorative medals to mark special anniversaries or landmark date in the evolution of our country — the examples are numerous:

  •  In 1690, a medal was struck by French King Louis XIV to celebrate victory over the British in the Phips Battle, reading “KEBECA LIBERATA” or “Free Quebec”.
  •  A 1763 medal by King George III commemorated the coming of Canada under the British Crown.
  • An 1867 medal commemorated Confederation with personifications of the founding provinces.
  • In 1927 Canada commemorated 60 years of growth with the entry of Western provinces and the beginning of the motto “a mari usque ad mare” or “from sea to sea”.
  • In 1967, Canada celebrated its centennial with a maple leaf engraving as Canada had just adopted its flag.
  • In 1992, Canada marked its 125 anniversary with a medal promoting the achievement of the Order of Canada.

 “Then we are today at the 150th and what will we do? We heard from the government that it doesn't want to strike a medal. What are the reasons given by the government to break with that long tradition of commemorating the achievements of our nation?” said Senator Joyal.

 In addition to proposing a continuation of this tradition, Senator Joyal suggested that the theme of the medal could be inspired from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose Recommendation 68 reads:

“We call upon the federal government […] to mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017 by establishing a dedicated national funding program for commemoration projects on the theme of reconciliation.” 

 Senator Joyal said his proposal serves that objective quite well.

 “It's a commemoration project to mark the reconciliation with the Aboriginal people on the occasion of our 150th anniversary.”

 Marking the country’s 150th with a message of reconciliation would set in stone — or in steel — the very real change which is now taking place, considering the impact Confederation had on Canada’s Indigenous communities and the effect the Indian Act continues to have on them.

 “There is going be a lot of hoopla in 2017,” said Senator Joyal.

 “But once 2017 is over, what will be left of it? What progress will we have made in the minds of Canadians?”

 Senator Joyal is circulating a letter among senators addressed to Canada’s Minister of Heritage, Mélanie Joly, in order to express publicly the Senate’s support for such a medal. 


“Whatever the stripe of the government, be it a Liberal or a Tory government, be it an absolute monarchy like under Louis XIV or a tempered monarchy like under King George III, this is part of our history. Why do we turn our backs on our history?”

- Senator Serge Joyal


February 9, 2017

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I will not continue in the same vein as Senator McIntyre. It would be too easy for me.

Instead, I would like to draw your attention to another renowned historical figure. Honourable senators, I would like to remind you that Monday, February 6, marked the Sapphire Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada. Read the statement

February 7, 2017

He said: Honourable senators, I know it's late, and I will try to summarize my arguments in relation to this proposal.

This proposal, essentially, is to ask the government to realize a project that has been in the mill for the last 20 years, which is a National Portrait Gallery in the former building of the American Embassy, directly in front of Parliament Hill. Read the speech

January 31, 2017

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I'm very privileged today to almost open the debate in this chamber for the new year, starting with this motion. Let me read the motion to you so that everyone understands the symbolic debate we could have. Read the speech