Tribute – The Honourable Tommy Banks

Honourable senators, it is a pleasure to have this opportunity to pay tribute to Senator Tommy Banks, who is, himself, a tribute to the Senate of Canada.

Where else could a person who has enjoyed a long, rich career in the world of arts and culture as a musician, conductor, advocate for the arts and a television personality be appointed to help shape this nation’s policies and laws?

Senator Banks is a living, breathing example of what is great and distinct about this place, of why this place matters. He is a self-made man; he is an independent, conscientious thinker who takes issues seriously.

He is a modern man who respects the important traditions of Parliament. Carrying out my duties as Opposition Whip, I have always appreciated Senator Banks’ commitment to the work that we do in this chamber and in committee rooms. He always answers the call to sit in and fill in. Thank you, Tommy, for making my job easier.

When Senator Banks walks into a room, including this room, you know it. He arrives ready to participate, a knowledgeable and skilled wordsmith. He uses language to great effect in debates and discussions. He makes his points the way points should be made — with compassion, conviction and a genuine willingness to collaborate. When Senator Banks cares about an issue, you can be sure he will learn everything he can about it and shape his convictions accordingly.

Just look at his remarkable record as chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, as well as the acts he has sponsored over the years. It is easy to see his passion for protecting the environment. Tommy, I learned a lot from you, too, during the Defence Committee.

Above and beyond the critical dimensions of this place, what matters to Senator Banks, to Tommy, is what he believes is right, what he believes is in the interest of Canadians.

On several occasions, his words and actions have certainly inspired me to earnestly consider the impact of policies and laws on our society. Right here in the Senate is where this kind of reflection needs to happen.

Senator Banks, in closing, I am grateful for your huge contribution to the Senate and the people we serve. I look forward to hearing about the great things you will do after your retirement. I know you will continue advocating for music programs in schools and that Canadian children will benefit in all sorts of ways from your efforts. I also know that there will be some great music projects in the future. You can bet, Tommy, that I will be keeping my ears open. Rock on!