The Honourable Tommy Banks, O.C.

Honourable senators, as the senator of Ottawa/Rideau Canal — and I am proud of the city I now call home — beyond Parliament Hill you find natural beauty in a city ready to offer unique cultural and artistic offerings. I am especially proud of the National Arts Centre and was glad to remind honourable senators about its fortieth anniversary. Week after week the National Arts Centre represents music, dance and theatre, and Ottawa residents fill the seats to enjoy the shows.

Recently there was a show that I hope none of you missed. It was a celebration of one of Canada’s musical heroes, Oscar Peterson. The man leading the orchestra was none other than our own Senator Tommy Banks. He directed, he played and he even made a couple of jokes. It was a great evening with jazz greats Oliver Jones and singer Ranee Lee. The audience was also treated to a new young talent, a 15-year-old named Nikki Yanofsky who could belt out an Ella Fitzgerald song like a pro.

The audience was enthralled. There were at least three standing ovations. It was a show like no other.

I have learned, Senator Banks, in the last six years to respect you for your great work ethic, your values and your integrity. Now I can add another layer of respect for a jazz musician par excellence. Congratulations, Senator Banks; senator, legislator, thinker and jazzman.

Keep on boppin’, keep on swingin’; we love you for it, and I’m not kiddin’.