Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Honourable senators, Canada lost an icon yesterday. Stuart McLean — journalist, storyteller, humorist, and friend to all of us through the magic of the radio — died at the age of 68 years.
Though I never met Stuart McLean, like so many Canadians across the land, I felt he was my friend. His voice, his timing and his stories showed us, with humour, who we are.
He brought out the best of us and of our country.
The tagline of his CBC radio show “The Vinyl Cafe” was, “We may not be big, but we’re small.”
Stuart — forgive me, but after decades of listening to him, he is and always will be “Stuart” to me — saw the greatness in the small and in the ordinary moments of our lives.
He regularly travelled with his radio show across the country, bringing a national voice to each community and the voice of each community to the nation. He had the gift for listening and then sharing what he heard with his own listeners. He made us feel that we were in the auditorium with him and that we were walking the streets of the town and sharing the local specialty and gossip with him at the diner.
He helped us celebrate our differences and knit us together, with laughter, some tears and always with great stories.
Say just five words, “Dave cooked the Christmas turkey,” and millions of Canadians would laugh, just as we have here today.
Well, Dave, Morley, Sam and Stephanie will have to live on without Stuart to tell us their stories. But they are part of the Canadian lexicon now, indelibly inscribed by that unmistakable voice and no doubt eating one or two of Kenny Wong’s Scottish meat pies.
Stuart, you will be terribly missed, but your voice and your stories will live with us forever. Rest in peace.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!