Travers Debates 2013

Honourable senators, I rise briefly to remember my late friend, Jim Travers, a great journalist, a great guy, a great fellow on election campaigns, a good foreign correspondent, a very senior parliamentary correspondent and a superb columnist who took on all governments.

This week was quite a week. On Tuesday night we had the second annual Travers Debates, and it was a packed house in the Panorama Room of the National Arts Centre. We’ve raised so much money with the Travers Debates that we are very pleased.

In those debates the other night, we had former Speaker Milliken taking on Andrew Coyne on the issue of democracy: Is democracy dead or not in this country? It was a lively debate. We have to praise Mr. Coyne. He won the debate, but the former Speaker of the House did a good job himself.

It wasn’t about winning or losing. We had an earlier debate of whether journalists should be politicians or whether politicians should be journalists — I mean, disallow the fact. That particular debate with Dominic LeBlanc, Hélène Buzzetti, Althia Raj and Megan Leslie was very lively. That was just part of the ambience of the evening. The important part of it all is that we raised another $60,000 for a working journalist to cover international events, and we were working with Carleton University.

The Travers family was there. There were a lot of memories. We had former minister John Manley there and others. It was a good night. I know there’s serious business before us this week, but we have to pause and reflect every once in a while about good people who have done good things, and this morning I’d like to honour my friend Jim Travers.