Honourable Senators, I rise today to pay tribute to one of our own, a colleague who left us much too soon – the Honourable Tobias Enverga, Jr., who passed away suddenly on November 16th.
Au cours de son passage de cinq ans au Sénat du Canada, notre collègue fut un participant actif, engagé et enthousiaste aussi bien en chambre qu’en comité, qui effectuait son travail dans la joie et la bonne humeur. Le sénateur Enverga était un homme chaleureux et accueillant envers chacun d’entre nous et sa perte est très vivement ressentie.
Senator Enverga was very proud to be the first Filipino-Canadian Senator. He used his position as a Senator to advocate for our multicultural communities. As a Filipino immigrant, Senator Enverga cherished the opportunity that he was given to make a better life for himself and his family in Canada. With that in mind, he worked tirelessly to ensure this same opportunity was afforded to many deserving immigrants who now also call Canada home. He also used his time as a Senator to draw attention to some of the most overlooked people in our society, including caregivers and people with disabilities.
Before being named to this place in 2012 upon the recommendation of our former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Tobias Enverga was already a trailblazer, with a history of public service. In 2008, he founded the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation, to assist various community charitable needs. In 2010, he became the first Filipino-Canadian elected to public office in the city of Toronto, as a trustee of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. He was also the very first visible minority to be elected to this board.
For all these reasons and more, the Filipino-Canadians all over our country loved “Senator Jun”, as they affectionately called him, but he was especially loved by those in the Greater Toronto Area, where he made his home.
Our thoughts today are with Senator Enverga’s family, especially his wife Rosemer and their three daughters, Rystle, Rocel and Reeza, who will miss him more than I could ever adequately express. Tobias and Rosemer were truly a team, devoted to one another, and it is a small comfort for us to know that they were together at the end. It is my hope that their deep Christian faith will sustain his family in the days ahead.
On behalf of all Conservative Senators, I extend sincere condolences to Senator Enverga’s family, friends and staff. I want them to know that we feel their loss, too, and will miss him greatly.