Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I wish to join Senator Harder in congratulating former Nova Scotia Senator Wilfred Moore. On October 3, the Government of Bermuda appointed former Senator Moore to a three-year term as a commissioner for the Sargasso Sea Commission.
This is an acknowledgment by the Government of Bermuda of Senator Moore’s dedication and expertise in raising awareness of the importance of protecting sensitive marine ecosystems. The Sargasso Sea Commission was established as a result of the Hamilton Declaration, an aspirational declaration bringing interested countries together for the purpose of high seas conservation.
The Hamilton Declaration was signed in 2011, in Bermuda’s capital of Hamilton. Canada did not, however, become a signatory until late 2016. It is likely that Canada would not have signed this declaration had it not been for the persistence of Senator Moore. Previously, there was little interest on the part of the Canadian government to sign the Hamilton Declaration. However, Senator Moore persisted. He wrote a number of successive ministers of Foreign Affairs, who each referred the matter to Fisheries and Oceans. Fisheries and Oceans would then indicate that it was a matter for Foreign Affairs.
Senator Moore was not discouraged by government indifference, and he steadfastly continued to advocate Canada’s accession to the Hamilton Declaration. We all know that Senator Moore is tenacious.
Senator Moore finally found a willing partner in the current Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc. During Question Period in the Senate on November 1, 2016, when Minister LeBlanc was in this chamber to answer questions, Senator Moore took the opportunity to ask him directly about the Hamilton Declaration and whether or not Canada would sign on.
The minister replied:
With respect to your very specific question, you have been a leader in Canada on this important issue of having the Canadian government become a signatory to the Hamilton Declaration. Obviously, our government is fully supportive of global, science-based efforts to identify areas of ecological significance and recognize that collective action to conserve these most sensitive areas, like the Sargasso Sea, is obviously of great importance. I have instructed my officials to begin the process of understanding what the required procedures are for our country, Senator Moore, to sign that declaration.
One month later, on December 1, 2016, Senator Moore joined Minister Dominic LeBlanc as Canada signed, in the presence of the Bermuda government, the Hamilton Declaration.
Honourable senators, I am proud to acknowledge the contributions of our former colleague Willie Moore. His appointment to the Sargasso Sea Commission is well deserved. I extend my warmest congratulations to Senator Moore on this great honour.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.