Tribute to the Late Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin—Speaker of the Senate

Honourable senators, I know this is a sombre occasion, but I think humour is helpful as a coping mechanism to deal with our collective sadness.

He would always laugh when I told him — and I would get him every time when I said this — Pierre Claude, I’ve always looked up to you. He would stop for a moment and, of course, almost rub the top of my head.

P.C. are the initials for Pierre Claude, but they are more than that. P.C. also stands for Progressive Conservative, and that is what Pierre Claude stood for all his life. He was progressive in everything he did. We have already heard the wonderful examples of that in testimonials today.

My example of listening to his words of wisdom was when we both sat on the National Security and Defence Committee, and that was 10 years ago, with Conservatives such as Michael Meighen, Mike Forrestall, and the very progressive Norman Atkins. On our side there were Colin Kenny, Tommy Banks, Joe Day and me. But, honourable senators, it never felt like we were taking sides, and it was Pierre Claude, with his very independent streak, who made us realize that whatever decision we would make, it was on the side of good public policy.

Speaking of good public policy, Pierre Claude as a senator and then as our Speaker was reminding us with his many motions about rights, in particular minority rights. Whether it was language or the rights of those with intellectual or physical disabilities, P.C. Nolin inspired us to fight for those rights here in the Senate. That is what we are here for. And it’s his spirit which will stay with me: a gentleman of courage, a gentleman who never feared death, a gentleman who loved life, a gentleman who loved his family.

His Senate family will also miss him. Pierre Claude was universally respected and well loved on both sides of this chamber.

He had so many plans and so many ideas. To his family: I want to assure you his spirit remains strong in all of us. We will, in our work, work harder to keep that spirit alive.