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The Honourable Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, C.M. — Tribute

The Honourable Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, C.M. — Tribute

The Honourable Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, C.M. — Tribute

Hon. Art Eggleton: 

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about now retired Senator Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie.

During tributes last Thursday, I was in Toronto speaking to the Canadian Conference on Dementia about the Social Affairs Committee’s study on that subject, which was completed a year ago under the chairmanship of Senator Ogilvie.

A number of senators talked about his science and academic backgrounds or the many awards he has deservedly received. I won’t repeat all of those contributions and recognitions other than to honour them as my colleagues have.

What I do want to comment on is my working relationship with Kelvin Ogilvie in the six years he served as Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, when I served as deputy chair.

When it came to the major policy studies we undertook in that time, such as the health accord review, prescription pharmaceuticals, obesity, dementia and the recently completed report on integrating robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing into the health care system, he brought solid leadership to those issues. His scientific expertise, and his commitment to evidence-based conclusions and recommendations, was a major factor in all of these study reports. He can be proud of the fact that all of these studies received unanimous support in committee and were approved by the Senate without a dissenting voice.

When it came to dealing with legislation, as in the case of studies, he exhibited absolute fairness in his conduct of the meetings. Even though there was not the same degree of consensus on government legislation as in the studies, he never lost his cool approach to chairing. We served together on the steering committee of Social Affairs, along with, first, Judith Seidman and then Carolyn Stewart Olsen and, also in the past few months, Chantal Petitclerc. He was always a good listener, bringing a sense of humour to our deliberations, and, most importantly, he strove to find consensus amongst us on each decision.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention his enormous contribution to the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying and the subsequent debate on Bill C-14.Senator Harder, in his tribute, suggested that:

Science is not something you study; science is something you apply to the broader sense of public policy.

Well, I think Kelvin Ogilvie applied that evidence-based thinking in his work, along with the studies done at Social Affairs. He also exhibited, in this particular case, much compassion for his fellow citizens who are suffering from incurable conditions.

I believe that the greatest of distinctions, Your Honour, is service to others, and, in that context, I say: Well done, Kelvin Ogilvie. You have served with distinction this chamber. You have served with distinction your country. Best wishes, my friend, to you and your family in your future endeavours.