Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Honourable senators, I would like to pay tribute to our friend and colleague, the Honourable Joan Fraser, who is retiring early from the Senate, as His Honour has just said, on February 2. Her life’s work, both here and in the private sector, has been exemplary, and it is worth mentioning.
After graduating from McGill University, Joan Fraser started her career as a journalist in 1965 at the daily newspaper The Gazette in Montreal. She then spent 11 years at The Financial Times of Canada, where she served as news editor, editorial page editor, and Montreal bureau chief. She returned to The Gazette in 1978 and became its editor-in-chief in 1993. Three years later, she accepted the position of director general of the Centre for Research and Information on Canada, a division of the Council for Canadian Unity.
To say that she was a success in journalism is a gross understatement: She has won two National Newspaper Awards and four National Newspaper Award Citations of Merit.
When Joan Fraser arrived in the Senate in 1998, her interest in serious public policy issues found a new home. Over the years, she chaired some of our most prestigious committees, including Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Transport and Communications, and the special committee on the “Clarity Bill.” She has also been Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament where her attention to detail — some call it an editor’s eye — served her extremely well. There can be no argument that her knowledge of our Rules and procedures is second to none.
To us on this side, she ably served as Chair of the Senate Liberal Caucus and as deputy leader not once but twice in her time.
Ultimately, Joan Fraser is a formidable parliamentarian. She is always fair and balanced and heightens every debate with her wisdom and expertise, constantly urging us all to consider the unintended consequences of hasty decisions we might be tempted to take.
In an interview about her work in the Senate, Senator Fraser said, “The Senate is a wonderful place and it is one of the greatest privileges imaginable to work here.”
Joan, I can say without hesitation that this place, and all Canadians, are better off for the work that you have done here.