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STATEMENT by Senator Linda Frum - Hon. Serge Joyal, P.C., O.C.

Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about the importance of cherishing our past and to pay tribute to a senator who has been a leader in doing so here on Parliament Hill, our honourable colleague, Senator Serge Joyal.

Recently, because we are both members of the Senate's Art Advisory Committee under the excellent leadership of Senator Fortin-Duplessis, I learned about Senator Joyal's largely unsung and quite extraordinary efforts to keep our Canadian history alive.

Only yesterday, a two-decades-long quest by Senator Joyal culminated in the hanging of three royal portraits, which now complete a full collection of portraits of all the nine French kings and nine British kings and queens who have reigned over Canada.

Colleagues, when Senator Joyal was appointed to the Senate in 1997, Parliament's portrait collection of English monarchs had gaps in it, and there were no portraits of French kings whatsoever. Senator Joyal set out to rectify this. As he told me, "It's not right not to reflect our history. The past explains who we are today."

Senator Joyal donated the portrait of George IV from his own collection and purchased portraits of William IV and Edward VIII as gifts to this place.

[Translation]

However, going back to what Senator Joyal said, we are the oldest constitutional monarchy in the Americas. We should display all of the sovereigns who have reigned over Canada since its beginnings, back to the time of Jacques Cartier. Senator Joyal set out to complete the series of portraits of kings of France. He donated three from his personal collection and, over time, bought the remaining six for Canada.

[English]

However, Senator Joyal has done more than contribute these valuable paintings.

[Translation]

When the senator arrived in the Senate, the Salon de la Francophonie was a former smoking room with a plain plaque on the door. Thanks to Senator Joyal, the room was redecorated and now includes a bronze bust of Samuel de Champlain, founder of Acadia and Quebec City.

[English]

Further, recognizing that Canada had a history before Europeans arrived, Senator Joyal has donated Aboriginal art to the Aboriginal Affairs Committee room.

Honourable senators, there were nine French kings of Canada, including François I who commissioned Jacques Cartier to claim Canada for France, and Louis XIV, the Sun King, who gave Quebec its civil law code.

Coincidentally, there have also been nine British monarchs. Thanks to Senator Joyal, we now have portraits of all 18 of these monarchs hanging on the walls of our Parliament.

Honourable senators, I believe we, and the Canadian people, owe Senator Serge Joyal our warmest thanks and our deepest gratitude for his outstanding — and largely unsung — generosity, and for reminding us all that in a world that rushes forward, it's very important to look back and appreciate our wonderful collective past.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!