The Late Winston Maxwell “Max” Keeping, CM, O.Ont.

Honourable senators, here we are in a room with a view. There’s no bad seat in the Senate, I guess. It’s a pleasure to be back today.

Since we last gathered in this room an anchorperson and journalist in Ottawa, Max Keeping, my good friend and a friend to thousands in Ottawa and the beautiful surrounding area, passed away.

During the 50 years he lived here, Max was a familiar presence in our daily lives. Although it was through hard work that he achieved his public profile, it actually seemed as though Max gravitated to what he was meant to be: a local news anchor, philanthropist and community leader. From the time Max joined CFRA in 1965, his journalistic abilities and his gift for talking to his audience directly and with a warm resonance set him on a course to success. From CTV National News to CJOH, which eventually became CTV Ottawa, he belonged on television and he made it his home.

The line between a conduit of information and being a personality can be tricky, but Max walked his own line. He was unafraid to stand up for what he cared about, always ending his newscasts with, “Thank you for taking time to make a difference in the life of a child.” Max loved children, and the energy he directed to charitable causes and their interests was limitless. CHEO, the United Way, the Children’s Wish Foundation, the Salvation Army and food banks were among the countless organizations that Max supported. I must say Max was a great supporter of our National Child Day ceremony each November in the Senate of Canada.

In 1995, Max set up the Max Keeping Foundation to help children who couldn’t get help from other organizations. The foundation was like a hand extended to vulnerable children, preventing them from slipping through the cracks of this area’s support network.

In 2003, when Max announced he had prostate cancer, he spoke to us as he always spoke to us. He looked directly at us and told us how things were, bringing about another positive development: increased awareness of prostate cancer and the importance of early detection.

Sadly, as we know, Max developed other forms of cancer, and it was cancer that ended his life.

In February of this year, he dissolved his foundation and donated the remaining funds to the CHEO Foundation to create the Max Keeping Fund for Kids. In this way, Max continues to help those he loved so much. Max brought out the kindness and generosity within everyone he came across, including me.

My sympathies go to Max, his family and his many, many friends. He was one of a kind.