Expression of ThanksPublished on 24 February 2016 Hansard and Statements by Senator Maria Chaput (retired)
Hon. Maria Chaput:
Honourable senators, thank you for your kind words. You have been most generous. I will never forget what a privilege it has been to be part of this noble institution. It has been a very unique and educational experience that I wish every Canadian could share.
When I agreed to serve my country and arrived in the Senate of Canada as a senator for Manitoba for the first time in December of 2002, I promised myself that I would always appreciate the beauty of my workplace, the architecture, the paintings, the sculptures and the history of this beautiful Canadian Parliament; that I would never forget where I came from and why I had been appointed to the Senate; and that I would continue to stand up for the interests of francophones in minority communities, since that has always been part of my DNA. It is part of who I am, my heart and soul.
I must tell you that I am so grateful today. Thank you, dear colleagues, honourable senators, for being so willing to work with me, and for your understanding, generosity and respect.
I will always have fond memories of you and of the friendships we’ve made here. The Senate is so important to all of us, and you will be in my thoughts. I know that the reform will be successful, because you are all working together.
My sincere thanks to all senators. Thank you for the pleasure of your company in the Senate and at committees.
I want to thank the staff of the Senate — each and every one of you who works for the Senate and for committees, and also the support staff. You have always been there for us senators, and your help is invaluable. I could always count on you. Thank you for your kindness, your smiles and your professionalism.
I want to say a special thank you, with much affection, to my own staff, Suzanne Belliveau and Vrouyr Makalian, who are here today. We made a terrific team and nothing could stop us. We were always on the same wavelength. Imagine an Armenian, an Acadian and a Franco-Manitoban. What a beautiful example of Canadian diversity. Suzanne and Vrouyr, thank you for your friendship and support. It’s mostly thanks to the two of you that I stand here today feeling that I can say “mission accomplished.”
I want to thank my husband Louis and my daughters and granddaughters. My family stood by my side on this great adventure, and now it is my turn to actively participate in their lives and support them.
I can sincerely say that, in my 13 years in the Senate, I never once lost sight of the Senate’s true mission and of my serious responsibility as senator to serve the interests of and speak on behalf of Canadians, particularly on behalf of minority groups.
Like some of you, I know that I made many parliamentarians and Canadians aware of the reality facing linguistic minority communities. I was able to connect these communities with the Senate and show them how important this institution is.
I know that senators can and do make a difference in the lives of all Canadians.
I also learned to understand the backrooms of the machinery of government. Yes, I said “understand” even though I still have a hard time accepting what we call partisan motivation. I am partisan to a point, but for me the party line is secondary to the needs and well-being of the communities. That is how I feel and those are my deepest convictions.
I sincerely did my best to represent Canadians’ interests in the upper chamber, and I thank you for your help.
Thanks to all of you and your help, I am leaving with my head held high, but with a twinge of regret. I loved my 13 years in the Senate where I met some extraordinary people I won’t soon forget. My life and that of my family have been, and will forever be, enriched by this experience.
I am truly leaving with a sense of calm and serenity as I begin a new stage in my life at home in Manitoba. As one of my dearest friends said, I am starting a new chapter in my life. Thank you very much.