The Honourable Joyce Fairbairn, P.C.

Honourable senators, I do not have any notes to speak from, but perhaps I may leave it to Senator Mercer to help me along. The last couple of weeks have been a test of friendships, a test in terms of loyalty and a test of the Senate. It has been a very emotional roller-coaster ride for all honourable senators, who voted the way they felt they should vote yesterday.

I am thinking of another person whose birthday is today: former Senator Joyce Fairbairn, who turns 74 today. Senator Fairbairn is having her struggles, as we all know, with the very difficult dementia of Alzheimer’s. I was thinking about that this morning as I spoke in caucus about what is good about the Senate, what matters about the Senate, and why we are all thinking of Senator Fairbairn wearing her red outfits each day and sitting beside Senator Robichaud.

I can’t let this day go by without thinking about Joyce and what we stand for in the Senate; about her work in literacy across the country and her work with the Prime Minister; about her role as an honorary blood chief; and about her work for the farmers of the West. As well, she was the first woman to serve as Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Times have been so tough that perhaps we sometimes forget about the goodness that happens here and the good people that have been here and will be here. Perhaps we could stop for a moment as we go about our work and think about our families and our Senate family. We may have differences of opinion, but we have to remain respectful. The respectful part of it for me comes from the spirit and ideal of Senator Joyce Fairbairn, who is 74 today. My thoughts are with her, her family and her caregivers in Lethbridge, Alberta. All of our thoughts should be there to motivate us into a positive place of exchange on where we go from here as a Senate.

To Senator Joyce Fairbairn, thank you.