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Speech in Senate Chamber: Tribute on Retirement—Mr. Mark Audcent—Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel—


The Senate

Mr. Mark Audcent—Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel—Tribute on Retirement

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise today to honour our most beloved Mark Audcent, our devoted and industrious Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel of the Senate.

A Bachelor of Laws magna cum laude graduate of the University of Ottawa, he has served us for 32 years. Assistant Law Clerk from 1982, in 1996 he was elevated to Law Clerk. Mark was distinguished by his clarity of mind and his superb drafting skills. I thank him for his good and faithful service to the Senate, to senators and to Canada.

For senators, public men and women in public service, service is our duty and vocation. Our service needs the service of others. Mark Audcent is one of those who have served us well and faithfully. There is something in what we do here which attracts the best qualities of the people who work here. There is something compelling about service, with its deep and abiding human need to share, which need to share is found in our inner persons. This is connected to the deep human and psychic need to love and be loved.

As a senator called to serve, I note Mahatma Gandhi on the human impulse to give of self. In the 1967 book The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, edited by R.K. Prabhu and U.R. Rao, at page 229, Gandhi said:

He who devotes himself to service with a clear conscience will day by day grasp the necessity for it in greater measure and will continually grow richer in faith. The path of service can hardly be trodden by one who is not prepared to renounce self-interest, and to recognize the conditions of his birth.... If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large.

Honourable senators, life is a journey, a pilgrimage, through which we must pass. We move from stage to stage of our journeys, as skilful, sometimes not-so-skilful, pilots, navigating the courses that have been set before us. A man of the law, Lawyer Audcent has served us with distinction, study and generosity.

I also thank Michel Patrice, Melanie Mortensen, Janice Tokar and others for their good work and for their service to us as senators in this place.

In adversity and triumph, all are sojourners in life. Our Abrahamic faith heritage demands the duty of love and service. The New Testament book 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says:

Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It always is ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.

As Mark Audcent embarks on his new course, retirement, we say bon voyage. I pray that his time of retirement will be as successful as his time as our Senate Law Clerk.

To you, Mark, sitting in the gallery, I thank you profoundly, from the bottom of my heart, for all our contacts and for all your information and good advice. I especially thank you for your brilliant drafting on my shared parenting bill, Bill S-216. Au revoir.