The Late Mario Laguë

Honourable senators, there are likely several among you who had the pleasure of knowing Mario Laguë, Communications Director for the Leader of the Opposition, Michael Ignatieff. Mario, as most of you know — and everyone should know — was killed in a tragic accident one morning this summer as he was driving to work on Parliament Hill. In an instant, a genuinely kind and wonderful human being was taken from us.

I first met Mario in the days when I was Director of Communications for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and he was Director of Communications at the Privy Council Office. From our first encounter, it was clear to me that I was dealing with a straight-up professional and an all-around decent person.

Mario began his career as a political adviser to former Quebec Premier Bourassa and went on to assume prominent diplomatic roles abroad. He then made his way to Ottawa, where he became a public servant. Wherever his career took him, he maintained a steadfast devotion to the values and strengths of this country. He was a great defender of Canada. When the 1995 referendum presented him with a choice between Quebec independence and national unity, he chose Canada.

Mario was a man of exceptional integrity, which characterized his work and how he dealt with his colleagues. He believed in the messages and strategies he crafted and in the advice he offered. He inspired trust and motivated others to work in the same way.

Honourable senators, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Mario. His enthusiasm for what could be accomplished through hard work and positive collaboration was limitless. Mario was just a good guy, and I will miss him.

There will be a celebration of Mario’s life tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Room 200 in the West Block where family and friends will gather to share stories and memories. Everyone in this room is most welcome to come and join in this celebration of his life.