Tribute to the Honourable David P. Smith, P.C., Q.C.

Senator Smith, as your whip, I have saved every joke that you have written to me over the last 12 years. I have them all on my desk, but I’m going to give you enough time to get out of here before I publish them in my book. But they are tremendous insights into life and to flights of fantasy, I guess, as well.

I’m just thinking, David, that as your whip you always took a look at me when a vote was called when we were sitting on the other side, and said: “Well, time for libation?” And on we went downstairs into your office, and you did tell great stories. The pictures on the wall of your office are a history lesson for everybody in this country.

Do you know what you did as well? You did it recently in welcoming the new senators here. I saw you talking to every one of them, and you made people feel welcome here in the Senate of Canada, no matter who you were or what party you represented.

Now, as a United Church minister’s son, you never let me get away with too much because you always talked about PKs and how they act and react with others. I want to assure you that for most of my life I was a pretty good minister’s son, but you’ve got to challenge the system from time to time. And that’s what you have done over the many, many years.

The one thing I really do want to say, and it’s been referred to regarding the Charter, has to do with the report I see you have the report in front of you, Obstacles. It is good reading about mental and physical disabilities. In this day and age, we talk about intellectual disabilities. I’ve used the report. Your seatmate has used it, as did Senator Keon and others who sat on the Social Affairs Committee when we studied autism and when the committee studied mental health just before I arrived here. It served as a template to take those Charter rights, which are incredible, to another level, so that we can give voice. You were one of the first, along with your committee at that time, to give voice to those who did not have that voice, who today cannot be forgotten in the debates in this country when it comes to autism or those who are involved in the Special Olympics.

I want to thank you for your friendship. It’s not very often I can talk to someone vis-à-vis the Senate, and you’re a giant.

So I’ve always looked up to you, Senator Smith. At the end of the day, it’s been a job well done, and we love you very much.