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Tributes - The Honourable Claudette Tardif

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I have two specific reasons for feeling such sadness on the occasion of Senator Claudette Tardif’s departure.

The first is that she has earned our unconditional admiration for the authenticity and tenacity of her determination to put her heart and soul into perpetually defending the rights of Alberta’s francophone community and linguistic minorities across the country. Her determination, her commitment and her passion for maintaining the visibility of measures that must constantly be supported to ensure their existence and their future serve as a lesson for us all.

Many of us come to this chamber with a particular cause in mind, either because it was rooted in a previous profession or function, or because it relates to a deeply personal conviction. We might choose to champion women in the prison system, for example, or victims of crime, indigenous people who are trying to assert their dignity and rediscover their identity, people who are struggling with literacy issues, people who are poor or homeless, people with disabilities, or victims of racial discrimination and exclusion.

Many of us use the platform that we are given as senators to promote the values of equality and dignity that make Canadian society a model of civilisation. This is a credit to the Senate of Canada.

Throughout her years in this chamber, Senator Tardif showed us that every day is an opportunity to do something, to say something, to exemplify this commitment to humanity, to tolerance, for that is what really makes a difference. It is also what makes us proud to be Canadian. Her profound commitment is outdone only by her tremendous charm, to say nothing of her kindness, her gentleness and her irresistible smile.

The second reason is that, yes, there is joy in fighting for one’s ideals. I have witnessed this, having had the privilege to share this desk — this Siamese desk, I should say — with her. Sitting shoulder to shoulder with her, I had daily opportunities to share her cause, to admire her unceasingly and to remind her that there are still many senators in this House who, like Jean-Robert Gauthier, Gerald Comeau, Maria Chaput, and Senators Maltais, McIntyre, Jaffer, Mockler, Cormier, Gagné, and Poirier, will continue to speak loudly on behalf of minority communities, communities that can always count on our fellowship and the pride of our enthusiastic convictions.

To my dear colleague and friend, I say thank you for all you have done to keep the flame alive. Your example will ensure that it passes on to future generations.