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STATEMENT by Senator James S. Cowan - The Honourable Serge Joyal, P.C.

Congratulations on Election to Royal Society of Canada

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Colleagues, it's my pleasure to draw the attention of the chamber to the fact that our colleague Senator Serge Joyal was elected to the Royal Society of Canada last September as a Special Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Election to the society is one of the greatest honours bestowed upon any individual dedicated to the advancement of Canadian intellectual and social life. The society is one of the oldest cultural institutions in this country. It was first conceived of in the 1870s by the then-Governor General of Canada, and in 1883, it became a reality. It's the equivalent of the Royal Society of London in England, which was established in 1660, and the prestigious Institut de France, which has existed since 1795.

Since its founding, the Royal Society of Canada has become the most important national institution that promotes Canadian academic excellence and innovation. It has three academies, as they are called: one dedicated to arts and humanities, another to social sciences and the third to science.

As the Royal Society of Canada describes, the fellows are:

. . . Canadian scholars, artists, and scientists, peer-elected as the best in their field. The fellowship of the RSC comprises distinguished men and women from all branches of learning who have made remarkable contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, as well as in Canadian public life.

Senator Joyal is joining the likes of Arthur B. McDonald, an astrophysicist who was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics. There is also an eminent history of senators and people associated with the Senate being elected to the Royal Society of Canada. P.J.O. Chauveau, the first Premier of Quebec, Speaker of the Senate and one of the greatest scholars of his time, was a member. Sir John George Bourinot, Clerk of the Senate and well known to many of us as one of the greatest experts in parliamentary procedure, was a founding member of the Royal Society of Canada.

This truly is a great honour for Senator Joyal and, indeed, for this chamber.

Colleagues, let me read to you from the Royal Society of Canada's note about Senator Joyal:


Serge Joyal is a jurist long recognized for his commitment to emerging rights and freedoms that have had a transformative impact. He speaks for them in Parliament and defends them in the courts. This innovative approach has enlarged the role of parliamentarians. He advocates a humanist vision of law enriched by the conviction that our cultural and historical legacy is integral to a deeper understanding of our identity.

Colleagues, the honour conferred upon Senator Joyal is, according to the Royal Society, an invitation to continue demonstrating leadership in the development and advancement of Canadian knowledge and culture. I for one plan to hold Senator Joyal to that, and I look forward to continuing to benefit, here in this chamber and as a friend, from his remarkable knowledge and wisdom.

I invite you to join with me in congratulating Senator Joyal on this significant honour.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!