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Tribute in Senate Chamber: The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, former Speaker of the Senate

 

Tributes

The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, P.C.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to join colleagues in tributes to our now former speaker, Senator Noël A. Kinsella, who retired from this place last November. I believe that life is a pilgrimage, a journey, a collection of rites of passage as we move from one life stage to the next.

Recently, two precious individuals have retired from this place, Senator Kinsella and Gary O'Brien, our former Clerk of the Senate. These two persons are connected by the fact that their service coincided. Senator Kinsella was our speaker for the whole time that Gary was Clerk of the Senate. They were connected in service, as we senators were connected to the two of them in service. Their departures have touched us deeply and are great losses to us and to this place.

Sadly, colleagues, their retirement represents an end of an era. I recall when Senator Kinsella entered here in September 1990, at the insistence of Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Senator Kinsella was, among others, appointed to help secure the passage in the Senate of the famous GST bill, about the Goods and Services Tax, that was at great risk of defeat by the Liberals. The GST debate was a turbulent and acrimonious Senate battle between the Conservatives and Liberals, of whom I was one. It was a baptism by fire for Senator Kinsella and for those many new Conservative senators. They gave of themselves unstintingly, as did the Liberals. This famous debate was continuous, all day, all night, 24 hours a day for several weeks.

In this time, I acquired great respect and affection for Senator Kinsella and his work on human rights. Senator Kinsella's parliamentary diplomacy has contributed much and has done international relations a great service.

As you, Senator Kinsella, and your dear wife Ann navigate this next life rite of passage, I offer you my warmest wishes for a very wonderful and even more successful future.

I would also like to thank Senator Kinsella's devoted staff and servant of the Senate for many years, Janelle Feldstein, for her untiring service to this institution and its members.

Honourable senators, to reflect upon the character, stamina and greatness of those who are called to leadership, I turn to the Old Testament, the Book of Ecclesiasticus, chapter 44, verses 1, 3 to 4, and 7 to 8. These read:

Let us now praise famous men . . .
Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies:
Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent in their instructions . . .
All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.
There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.

Honourable senators, this is one of those moments where we have to admit the Senate has turned a corner, and the Speaker's shoes are very big shoes to fill. Your Honour, Senator Nolin, I have a suspicion you are going to work hard at filling them, and do it very well.

I would like to express my own personal gratitude, my personal affection and my own personal thank you for such a contribution to humanity and to this country.

Senator Kinsella, your work is the meaning of public service, and you have lived a life as a public man. I thank you.

The remainder of this day's Senate Debates are available here.