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Joint Statement - Senate Commemorative Medal (with Senator David Wells)

Senate Commemorative Medal

Hon. David M. Wells: Honourable senators, I rise today to mark the official conclusion of the Senate Sesquicentennial Medal program. I will be sharing my time this afternoon with my friend and colleague Senator Serge Joyal, Co-Chair of the Advisory Working Group.

I am pleased to report that through this program, more than 1,216 Canadians and their families were given much-deserved recognition and a memory that will last a lifetime.

One of my recipients was at a loss for words when I offered him the medal, saying he was undeserving. I told him, “That is exactly why you are deserving.”

I presented a medal to a Deer Lake couple in their eighties who started a food bank in their basement. I presented the medal at a ceremony in their local church with hundreds of guests, including their family, church members and community. It was stated by some that it was like the whole community was the real recipient.

These are just two of the stories from my recipients. I am certain that each senator who participated in the program has their own.

Moments like these are part of what made the program such a success. The other part is how deserving the recipients truly are. I would like to commend all honourable senators for choosing exactly the type of people this program intended to recognize and celebrate.

The program’s objective since the beginning was to recognize Canadians who share the Senate’s goal of giving voice to people or issues that aren’t always front and centre. If you read through the newly published Senate Sesquicentennial Medal program book of recipients, colleagues, you will find over 1,200 Canadians who embody the characteristics of humility and compassion.

I would like to thank all participating senators and medal recipients; our communications team for their first-class work on this initiative; and the Clerk’s Office, who handled the program’s logistics.

I would also like to thank Senator Bovey, as well as former Senator Unger, and in particular, Senator Joyal, for their leadership. Thank you also to the Speaker and his team for the efforts that helped make this program a success.

Honourable senators, a little recognition goes a long way. Thank you for your participation in this important initiative.

[Translation]

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I am sharing my speaking time with Senator Wells to illustrate that the Senate 150th Anniversary Medal program was an initiative intended to transcend partisanship and personal ambitions.

The Senate medal was awarded to more than 1,200 Canadians from every province and territory, which is a true testament to the success of the program. The medal program was the best received among Canadians and the most widely appreciated across Canada.

It is easy to see why. The purpose of the program was to recognize men and women who dedicate themselves to improving daily life in their community without ever expecting anything in return. They do this out of conviction, generosity and patriotism to make Canada a better, more harmonious, fairer and more equal society.

I invite you to flip through the pages of this impressive book featuring the names of the 1,200 medal recipients, so you can appreciate all the types of volunteer work that earned them this recognition. None of them did this work to be honoured or recognized. They simply did it out of selflessness and the goodness of their hearts.

[English]

Thank you, Senator Wells, my dear friend; Senator Bovey; and former Senator Unger.

[Translation]

(1420)

I too thank the members of the Internal Economy Committee and Senator Housakos, who was chair at the time, for their contribution to this initiative. The year marking the 150th anniversary of Canada was a great one.

Congratulations to these 1,200 Canadians. Canada is a better country because of you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!