Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable Senators, today we say goodbye to our colleague, Senator Claudette Tardif, after almost 13 years of public service in the Senate of Canada. Ever since she was appointed to this place in March 2005 on the recommendation of former Prime Minister Paul Martin, Senator Tardif has been a gracious and articulate member of this place, with a tremendous work ethic. She will be missed by all of us.
Senator Tardif has been one of the foremost champions of our country’s minority language communities — not just in the Senate, but in the entire Canadian Parliament. This commitment was present throughout her entire professional career as an educator in her home province of Alberta. In particular, Senator Tardif’s tenure at the Faculté Saint-Jean — the French-language campus of the University of Alberta — gave her invaluable insight into the area of minority language rights. That experience has informed all of her efforts as a senator, particularly during her work as a member and former chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages.
Honourable Senators, in addition to serving as a committee chair, our colleague took on several other important roles during her time in the Senate of Canada. For six years, Senator Tardif served as Deputy Leader of the Opposition, playing a key role in the daily management of the work which takes place here in this chamber. As well, through her work with the Canada-France Interparliamentary Association, serving for many years both as the Chair and Vice-Chair of this group, she has helped strengthen the ties between the two countries.
While Senator Tardif has chosen to step down from the Senate of Canada several years early, I expect that retirement will find her just as active as ever, particularly on matters respecting our linguistic duality, to which she has dedicated her life’s work.
On behalf of all Conservative Senators and all members of the Senate, I extend our sincere best wishes to Senator Tardif and her family as she embarks on the next chapter of her life.
Have a great retirement. I know you will never stop. As Joseph Day and Peter Harder said, you have the charm and eloquence to convince everybody before they even hear you talk.