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Tribute to the Honourable Anne C. Cools

Tribute to the Honourable Anne C. Cools

Tribute to the Honourable Anne C. Cools

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): 

Colleagues, it is difficult to imagine a Senate without Anne Cools. As the Dean of the Senate, as a number of our colleagues have said, that means you have worked your way up to the top of that left-hand column on the plaque out there. After all these years you finally got up there, and now you’re going to leave it to Senator Andreychuk, as I understand.

I could spend a lot of time recounting her life before she arrived here in 1984. As a student at McGill, she was heavily involved in school politics and participated in a 10-day sit-in at Sir George Williams University. She became a social worker and was ahead of her time in the area of family violence prevention. She founded one of the first women’s shelters and went on to help establish others in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. She served as a supervisor and adviser to countless students in the area of social work.

Anne, I am sure you have impacted and influenced the lives of many of the students that you have met along the way, as you have with many of us here.

It is on your time here in the Senate that I would like to focus my remarks, Senator Cools. Back in my early days here, we sat together with Laurier LaPierre down in the far corner down there.

Senator Cools: I remember it well.

Senator Day: I was between Laurier and Senator Cools.

I credit Anne Cools for her excellent tutelage when I first joined the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. As anyone who has ever participated in Finance Committee meetings can attest, membership has a very steep learning curve. But Senators Anne Cools and Isobel Finnerty were of great help to me as I took on more responsibilities from Senator Sharon Carstairs.

Later, when I became deputy chair of the committee, Anne provided invaluable advice and guidance on my new role, and her work certainly played a part in how I undertook my duties.

Her knowledge of parliamentary procedure, as we all know, is unparallelled, and her grasp of past practice and rulings is stunning. While many of us recall the rulings that have occurred here in recent memory, Anne routinely goes back much further in her interventions; there is nothing within the history of the Westminster system that is ignored in her analysis. She meticulously researches every speech she makes, and even those delivered off the cuff showcase her depth of knowledge.

I understand that she has three or four speeches that she hasn’t had a chance to give, but she may well be seen out in the foyer, when we come back in the fall, giving these speeches. I want to hear a couple of them on the Auditor General. I’m looking forward to that.

She is always urging senators not to move too quickly on legislation or to rush to judgment on issues, and she is right to do so. What we do here not only affects the lives of Canadians but also sets precedents that can carry us, or haunt us, far into the future.

Anne Cools has never been one to sit idle, and, as we have heard, she has experimented with each of the political groups here in the Senate over time, even the time that I’ve been here.

I cannot imagine that you will start the practice of being idle once you leave the Senate.

She has said that she wants to get back to her piano and enjoy her daily activities without that rush to get here to work.

On behalf of the Independent Liberals here in the Senate, Senator Cools, I wish you and Rolf the very best for a happy and healthy retirement.