The Late Constable John Pasqua

Honourable senators, our colleague Constable John Pasqua died in late August. I stand today to pay homage to him on your behalf.

John worked at the Senate for 27 years. Throughout that time, he made a positive difference in ways many of us might not even realize and in at least as many ways that we do.

Whoever prepared John’s obituary knew him well. It is straightforward and, with only a few descriptive terms, captures his nature and strength of character. Pride and honour, it states, are the things he brought to his professional life and role. His regard for Parliament and those for whom he carried out his responsibilities was evident in his manner and in the consistency of that manner. Making my way to this chamber, I often saw John outside these doors. When we could, we would take a few moments to chat about life, about family.

John’s values and beliefs came across not only through his words but through his actions, too. His involvement in the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign is an excellent example of this. For him, the annual campaign was clearly about far more than a series of fundraising events. What else but compassion and a sense of duty to people struggling in our community can explain his initiative in creating and running the Harvest of Coins year after year?

In June, as cancer was aggressively taking hold of his body, Senate staff expressed their gratitude to him by ensuring he received a special honour at the Staff Recognition Awards. This gesture, no doubt, strengthened the hope John is said to have held on to, even during the hardest days.

I will never forget the pride I felt that morning of John’s funeral when our constables paid tribute to their colleague with an honour guard, accompanying his casket to and from the service at St. Anthony of Padua Church. It was such a moving tribute to a humble man.

John’s daughters spoke at the service, delivering their own personal and heartwarming tributes to their dad. Their words showed him to be a loving father who worked hard every day, but as important as his job was to him, his ultimate priority was his family.

John was only 54 when he died. It is too young to leave your children, your wife, your siblings and your parents. It is too early for a family to lose a father, a husband, a brother and a son.

As mentioned by the Speaker today, we are fortunate to have in attendance John’s wife Rosamaria Pasqua, their two daughters Melissa and Cristina, and Cristina’s fiancé Hans Paredes.

So today, on behalf of all of us in the chamber — because the constables, stenographers, pages and others, we are all, Your Honour, one family, working in this together — our deepest sympathies, and my deepest sympathies, go out to each of you and your extended family for your loss, and we feel John’s absence here too.

If I can add one more personal note, I will never, ever forget his courtesy and, above all, his smile.