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The Honourable Tommy Banks—Tributes

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Statement made on 13 December 2011 by Senator James Cowan, Senator Joseph Day, Senator Grant Mitchell, Senator Mobina Jaffer, Senator Joyce Fairbairn (retired), Senator Roméo Dallaire, Senator Jim Munson, Senator Pierre De Bané (retired), Senator Percy Downe, Senator Wilfred Moore, Senator Jane Cordy, Senator Vivienne Poy (retired) and Senator Claudette Tardif

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition):

Honourable senators, Prime Minister Chrétien surprised many Canadians with the appointment of Tommy Banks to the Senate. Tommy was a Canadian legend, a jazz musician who had played with hundreds of the great musicians of our time, conducted just about every major professional orchestra across Canada, composed, recorded, and was known from coast to coast, and beyond, as the host of "The Tommy Banks Show" from Edmonton.

Incidentally, Tommy's status as a Canadian icon became entrenched when on his show he challenged Wayne Gretzky to a game of table hockey and tied. I do not know anyone else in this chamber who could have stopped The Great One from winning a hockey game, even if it was on a table. Senator Mahovlich, perhaps, but I doubt that many of the rest of us would have even had the temerity to make the suggestion — and live, on national television.

Perhaps we should have realized from the very beginning that there is not much that Tommy Banks cannot do, and certainly he has demonstrated that here. He has been an indefatigable member of a large number of Senate committees, including National Finance; Banking, Trade and Commerce; National Security and Defence; and Aboriginal Peoples. For many years, Senator Banks served as chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, and recently as chair of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. He has sponsored bills dealing with species at risk, the bill that established the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and authored the Statutes Repeal Act, one of the rare Senate private member's bills that passed into law and indeed was passed unanimously by the House of Commons.

His ability to cut to the heart of an issue; to articulate an argument or question with passion, conviction and extraordinary rigour of intellectual analysis; always upholding the endgame of strengthening our Canadian democracy and parliamentary traditions — these qualities, and so many others, have made Senator Banks an exemplar of the best this chamber can be.

I cannot help but think that the passion our colleague displayed in his chosen field of music over the decades gave him an unusual head start when he was summoned here to the chamber. Wynton Marsalis once said that there is nothing like jazz that "will ever so perfectly capture the democratic process in sound. Jazz means working things out musically with other people. You have to listen to other musicians and play with them even if you don't agree with what they're playing."

Whether or not he agreed with what was being proposed in the Senate, Senator Banks was always prepared to play. He was always prepared to play his part in the orchestra that is the Senate as an engaged and thoughtful parliamentarian.

Since coming to this chamber, Tommy Banks has continued to advocate strongly and passionately for the things he believes in, including a responsible, forward-looking environmental and energy policy; safe drinking water for First Nations; a policy of what he has called the "three Cs" — careful Canadian control of our banking system through balanced regulation. Senator Banks also stressed the critical importance of the arts and cultural industry to Canada and of course was relentless in representing the interests of his beloved Edmonton. Senator Banks is known as "Mr. Edmonton," and none of us who have heard him speak about his adopted home city can have any doubt about how apt that title is.

Honourable senators, across all these issues, all the many, varied things that Senator Tommy Banks has done, musically and politically, one thing shines through as a unifying force: a deep love and respect for Canada — our traditions, our future, what grounds us and what we can become. It is what radiated from his television show; it is what audiences feel when they hear him perform; and it is what we have all witnessed whenever he rose and spoke in this chamber.

I will conclude with a final jazz quote, this time from Herbie Hancock, who once said: "Life is not about finding our limitations; it's about finding our infinity." I cannot think of a better way to sum up the career, so far, of my friend and colleague Tommy Banks.

Tommy, we will miss you very much. You once said that musicians never stop playing. I certainly hope that is true and that, following from what Wynton Marsalis said, the jazz musician in you never stops playing in the political realm either.

I know your wife, Ida, is here with you today in the gallery. Our very best wishes go out to you both as you enter this next stage of your life.

Hon. Joseph A. Day:

Honourable senators, I join with other honourable senators in paying tribute to our colleague and friend, the Honourable Senator Tommy Banks, who will be retiring from the Senate this weekend.

I did not know him prior to arriving here, but I did know of him, as most Canadians did, from his work as a musician, musical director and television personality. As new senators, we were appointed at approximately the same time. We shared a lot of ideas and experiences, searched through the Rules of the Senate to find out which rule applied in a particular instance as we were learning our way in this new environment. We served together on the newly formed Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence with Senator Kenny, a committee that was particularly active and effective in those early days.

In the time I spent here in the Senate with Senator Banks, I have come to realize what I suspect most of us here in the chamber do, that he embodies that which the Senate is intended to be: a place where one's motivation is to act in the best interests of the country and its people, above all other considerations.

An accomplished pianist, conductor, arranger, composer and television personality, Tommy Banks did not take the typical route to the Red Chamber. Though this may have been his greatest asset, Tommy brought to the Senate his experience as a CBC television personality, an entertainment business person, the founding chair of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, a member of the board of the Canada Council for the Arts, having been appointed by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, and a member of the Sectoral Advisory Groups on International Trade of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, to which he was appointed by the Honourable Michael Wilson.

In this chamber and in committee, Senator Banks, time and time again, has proven his mettle in helping us to reach consensus and in helping us choose just the right words to make our point in a report.

I was fortunate enough to travel to Afghanistan with Senator Banks on the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, as well as, over time, to most of the military bases across Canada. One could only admire the genuine concern for the Canadian soldiers and their families that he displayed.

While I have already touched on Senator Banks' musical career, I would be remiss were I not to mention one of his greatest musical accomplishments: that of playing the piano as part of the Singing Senators. Tommy's musical genius will surely be missed by both the Singing Senators and, in particular, our audiences. I fear for the future of the Singing Senators without his guidance and leadership. However, the Singing Senators have not been asked to join him as he moves back to his musical career, so we may only hope that from time to time he will return to perform as a special guest of our group.

There is little doubt that Tommy Banks will be missed in this chamber. The level of decorum, wit and genuine intelligence and compassion he has displayed in his time here will not be easily replaced. We owe it to him and to Canada to perpetrate that legacy.

Sincere best wishes, Tommy and Ida, as you embark on the next phase of your journey.

Hon. Grant Mitchell:

Honourable senators, I have been dreading the inexorable advance toward the retirement and departure of Senator Banks for a long time. Senator Banks made a remarkable contribution to the work of the Senate, of course, and to the lives of Albertans and Canadians. He has been an absolutely delightful colleague in every way. I became very aware very quickly after arriving here of how much I would miss him — all of us would miss him — when he left.

Being from Edmonton, for most of my life I have had a clear impression of Tommy Banks as a great musician. I certainly respected and admired him as a musician and as an enduring celebrity as I was growing up in Edmonton. I have always believed anyone who is really good at jazz must be very, very smart because this is a complex language that must be expressed intuitively to be at its best, and Tommy Banks knows this language intimately. In fact, he is fluently bilingual.

I met Murray McLauchlan several years ago and proudly told him that I worked with Senator Banks. This launched Mr. McLauchlan, a Canadian icon in his own right, of course, into a wonderful and animated description of his many fond memories of working with Senator Banks on various music projects, his obvious admiration for him and his genuine interest in how he was doing. When I think of that encounter, I can see myself and so many other colleagues, fans and friends launching into exactly the same kind of spontaneous explanation of how much we admire him and of how fond we are of him.

To play music at the level he has played music and to sustain his kind of creativity and energy for it over all these many years truly requires a certain genius, a genius that I believe has been equally apparent in his career as a senator. Senator Banks took so many of those attributes that made him great in his first career — a keen intelligence, a disciplined mind, compassion, passion and, of course, an ability to perform — and he transformed himself seamlessly into a skilled and respected senator, advocate and leader in the public policy arena in Canada.

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly he grasps a new issue, sees something in it that no one else has seen, expresses the essence of the matter and proposes a solution. He always inspires me with his profound empathy for people and the human condition, with his courage and integrity and with his passionate advocacy for what he believes to be right for his community of Edmonton, the environment, the military, the arts, the farmers, Canada and Alberta.

I am very sad about having to say goodbye to Tommy Banks. He is irreplaceable, and he will be truly missed.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:

Honourable senators, I, too, join other senators today to pay tribute to an amazing person: Senator Banks. Many Canadians know that Senator Banks is a well-renowned jazz musician. We here in the Senate appreciate Senator Banks' musical talent.

Many Canadians know of Senator Banks' hard work in the Senate. We here in the Senate appreciate Senator Banks' hard work.

Many Canadians know of Senator Banks' wisdom. We here in the Senate appreciate Senator Banks' wisdom.

Thank you, Senator Banks, for your hard work.

Senator Banks, I want to thank you for all the support that you have given me, especially in the last few months while I have been struggling to handle the loss of my mother.

Senator Banks, I want you to know I will truly miss you, as I always knew that you would stand up and voice your opinion in debates. You would voice your opinion even if you were the only one with a certain point of view.

You, Senator Banks, would voice your opinion, even if you knew that there were only a few who would support your point of view.

Most of all, you would not voice your opinion if we were all of the same view, including yourself, to give some of us a chance to speak and shine.

Senator Banks, we and I certainly will miss your courage in the chamber, in the Senate. Thank you for your leadership.

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn:

Honourable senators, today I would like to say a few words about my dear friend and colleague, Senator Tommy Banks, and also his family.

I first became aware of Tommy Banks in September of 1957. I had just ridden the bus from Lethbridge, Alberta, down in the south, to start the next phase of my life as a student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. A good friend to many of us here, a young man named Joe Clark, was heading off from his hometown of High River to get there too, with the same interest that I also had.

There we were. We were rocked that night because Tommy Banks was there at the university with his orchestra. It was for all the younger people coming in for Frosh Week. Those were the days, honourable senators, when everybody was up and dancing. It was terrific. We rocked and rolled all that night, and I have been a huge fan ever since.

I had the honour of watching Tommy perform again 54 years later in my hometown of Lethbridge this past June. He came there and the whole city was there. As I said to him earlier today, keep on moving because they are all waiting.

Honourable senators, Tommy Banks has made a tremendous contribution to the people of Canada. He has travelled to so many different countries, served on a number of Senate committees and caucuses, and has been a great representative for our beautiful province of Alberta.

I must say, beside his music and his smile, what I admire the most in our friend Tommy is his dedication to improving the lives of others. He does his best to give people at every level a fair chance.

Tommy, you have been a wonderful friend to me and you will be missed by all of us here — I know it — who have had the pleasure of working with you.

All the best to you and Ida for many years of happiness, as always. I will see you again; you cannot even shut the door. I will see you again in Edmonton — and you have promised already to come back to where the mountains are, down in Lethbridge. God bless you.

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire:

Honourable senators, although his first name — Tommy — may sound ordinary, this man has always demonstrated tremendous dignity and was always one of this institution's true gentlemen. I would like to illustrate my point with two quotations from another famous individual, someone who has also influenced people, in his own way.

This quote is from Winston Churchill, which I know some colleagues on the other side enjoy quoting. I decided to take it out of this book called The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill. In there, for this occasion, I read:

No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

Churchill uttered these words in a speech to the House of Commons in November 1947. He had, by then, seen all those other forms of government.

It brings me to the great democrat that you are. I find this quote may be interesting for you. It states:

Asked what qualities a politician required, Churchill replied, "The ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen."

My dear colleague, you have been a mentor for me. I remember my first days in the Senate, when I first saw you — and I was still a young man — with your full, wavy white hair. I saw a very wise man who helped me understand that I was a novice here, despite my years of experience within the Canadian Forces. As a novice or newcomer, I was wise to listen to my elders. You acted as my mentor, with a great deal of perseverance, patience and dignity.

I clearly remember the meal we shared, having a good steak of Western Canadian beef — even though we were here in Ottawa — during which you explained to me how the Senate works and our responsibilities as Senators. You made it very clear that we have responsibilities and not just privileges.

These responsibilities require hard work, often carried out behind the scenes. These responsibilities also require efforts to advance our democracy and our system of governance, and to ensure that Canadians are properly represented within the structure of our government.

Senator Banks has also demonstrated his humanity, especially by working with soldiers and their families. It is often easy to develop policies, establish directives and draft reports that contain big words and big plans.

But it is becoming increasingly rare to see men of Senator Banks' calibre and reputation, who are still able to humanize this work and remain humble with their colleagues.

Senator Banks, your humility is commendable and it is the reason you were so well liked in your work as a senator, particularly by soldiers and their families.

We thank you and wish you good luck and good health.

Hon. Jim Munson:

Honourable senators, it is a pleasure to have this opportunity to pay tribute to Senator Tommy Banks, who is, himself, a tribute to the Senate of Canada.

Where else could a person who has enjoyed a long, rich career in the world of arts and culture as a musician, conductor, advocate for the arts and a television personality be appointed to help shape this nation's policies and laws?

Senator Banks is a living, breathing example of what is great and distinct about this place, of why this place matters. He is a self-made man; he is an independent, conscientious thinker who takes issues seriously.

He is a modern man who respects the important traditions of Parliament. Carrying out my duties as Opposition Whip, I have always appreciated Senator Banks' commitment to the work that we do in this chamber and in committee rooms. He always answers the call to sit in and fill in. Thank you, Tommy, for making my job easier.

When Senator Banks walks into a room, including this room, you know it. He arrives ready to participate, a knowledgeable and skilled wordsmith. He uses language to great effect in debates and discussions. He makes his points the way points should be made — with compassion, conviction and a genuine willingness to collaborate. When Senator Banks cares about an issue, you can be sure he will learn everything he can about it and shape his convictions accordingly.

Just look at his remarkable record as chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, as well as the acts he has sponsored over the years. It is easy to see his passion for protecting the environment. Tommy, I learned a lot from you, too, during the Defence Committee.

Above and beyond the critical dimensions of this place, what matters to Senator Banks, to Tommy, is what he believes is right, what he believes is in the interest of Canadians.

On several occasions, his words and actions have certainly inspired me to earnestly consider the impact of policies and laws on our society. Right here in the Senate is where this kind of reflection needs to happen.

Senator Banks, in closing, I am grateful for your huge contribution to the Senate and the people we serve. I look forward to hearing about the great things you will do after your retirement. I know you will continue advocating for music programs in schools and that Canadian children will benefit in all sorts of ways from your efforts. I also know that there will be some great music projects in the future. You can bet, Tommy, that I will be keeping my ears open. Rock on!

Hon. Pierre De Bané:

Honourable senators, I would like also to pay tribute to a man that I admire profoundly, Senator Tom Banks. He has served in the Senate for 11 years. Before that, he enjoyed a career as an international musician that spanned over 50 years.

After studying the piano as a child, playing in jazz saxophonist Don Thompson's band at the age of 14, Senator Banks went on to work closely with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, where he played alongside the likes of Aretha Franklin and Tom Jones.

As Senator Tkachuk has said, his contribution to music, to composing and playing music and to managing musicians, was something very important.

In 1967, he led a jazz quintet at Expo 67. He served as music director for ceremonies at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and the 1983 World University Games in Edmonton, as well as the opening of Expo 86 and for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988.

Incidentally, he was born in Calgary, even if his profession was mostly in Edmonton.

Of course, Senator Banks spent an important part of his career in television, radio and film.

In addition to his musical accomplishments, he was a strong voice for the arts in Canada. He has worked with the Canada Council for the Arts and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. He has also received the Order of Canada, the Alberta Order of Excellence, and Juno and Gemini awards, and even has a street named after him, as Senator Angus has reminded us.

Following an incredible 50-year career as an international musician, he was appointed to the Senate, where he has been serving for 12 years.

Over the years, he has showed deep respect for Parliament. He often set aside partisanship in the name of a job well done. Unwavering attachment to one's own values is an essential quality that every great parliamentarian must possess.

Senator Banks accomplished exemplary work in many committees: energy, national security, finance. He also won a rare victory on Parliament Hill in getting a bill passed. This happens very rarely, but his bill was passed: if legislation is not enacted within 10 years, it becomes obsolete.

In this short speech, I have only scratched the surface of our colleague's many accomplishments. What a career! We have always been impressed by the level of his thinking. We have no idea what else the senator has in store for us, but we are sure that the people of Edmonton are pleased to welcome home one of this country's great musicians.

To you, senator, and to your beloved wife, our best wishes.

Hon. Percy E. Downe:

Honourable senators, when I worked in the Prime Minister's Office, I was tasked with cold-calling Tommy Banks to see if he was interested in being considered for an appointment to the Senate.

I must tell you that I guess I am one of the few people in here who had never heard of Tommy Banks. Perhaps in my family on the East Coast we had Don Messer on the television all the time instead of Tommy Banks' show. I looked at the CV and I thought the Senate is a chamber where they review legislation and bills and I am looking at a jazz musician. I was thinking this could be a problem. Senator LeBreton would well know that when appointments go well everyone has spoken to the Prime Minister and recommended the person; when appointments go badly, the person in the Prime Minister's Office is asked how they ever talked the Prime Minister into that appointment. With some fear and trepidation I called Mr. Banks to see if he was interested in being considered. After a few minutes of comments on my part, he said all the right things, very much appreciated the call and the consideration.

He went on to explain, "If you are looking for a partisan, I am not your guy," and he mentioned some of the areas where he disagreed with policies of the Liberal Party over the last number of decades, to the point where I wondered if he ever supported the Liberal Party. We concluded the conversation nicely, and a week later a detailed letter arrived, outlining Mr. Banks' concern that the Prime Minister fully understood some of the problems he had had in the past with various Liberal Party policies. I recall a long part of the letter was on the National Energy Program and other concerns. When I showed this to the Prime Minister he thought it was a well-written letter, and I agreed. Just reading that letter changed my opinion of musicians. It was so well written. The Prime Minister said, "Just the type of person we want in the Canadian Senate: an independent, clear thinking, smart Canadian." He appointed him.

Given Tom's early precarious position as a member of the Liberal Senate, I have a small token for him to take when he leaves here. He can keep it on his book case for many years.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore:

Honourable senators, I wish to be associated with the remarks of my colleagues here today with regard to my seatmate, the Honourable Tommy Banks, who is anything but retiring.

Tommy, I have deepest respect for your high intelligence, your high degree of participation and involvement here in the Senate, your wonderful sense of humour and your generous sharing of your musical talents on behalf of the arts and other community causes.

Without repeating all that has been said here today, whether it has been flying in a Black Hawk helicopter gunship outside the wire in Afghanistan, watching the stage performance of Guys and Dolls in London, enjoying your talents as you sang at a friend's piano in Oakland, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, or socializing over supper with you and Ida, it has been a gas. I really shall miss you. I wish you, Ida and your family all the best. I will be out to see you in Edmonton. Thank you, Tommy.

Hon. Jane Cordy:

Honourable senators, I also rise to acknowledge Tommy Banks' contribution to Albertans, to Canadians and as a member of the Senate.

We were both appointed to the Senate in the spring of 2000, and we both served for several those early years on the newly reconstituted Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. At that time, under the chair of Senator Kenny, the Defence Committee published some outstanding reports due to no small effort that Senator Banks did on the committee.

The level of the debate is always elevated with Senator Banks in this chamber. Whether you agree with his arguments, Senator Banks always presents reasoned arguments to debate in this chamber in a most articulate way. His intelligent and articulate discourse carried over to his work in the Senate committees, whether questioning witnesses or debating amendments to bills. That is the way the Senate should work.

Tommy, you have a natural curiosity and an inquiring mind, you listen well in the chamber and committees, and you ask in depth questions with a focus on the important aspects of an issue. I feel like I am back in school writing a report card. You were wonderful.

As an advocate for independent thought when examining bills by senators, I know that you view improving and critiquing bills — regardless of your political stripe — as a major role, and indeed the strength of an effective Senate and of an effective senator.

I also know that when the Liberals were in government you often proposed amendments to legislation or voted in favour of others' amendments. While our ministers did not always like it, that did not matter. You did what you believed was right. As you noted recently in an interview, in the last three years, no bill has been sent back to the other place from the Senate with amendments.

Tommy, you are a proud Albertan, and you have spoken of your province and your beloved Edmonton on many occasions. It has been a pleasure working with you over the past 11 years. Like others, I would like to wish you and Ida a happy retirement. As Senator Angus said earlier, musicians do not retire. They will keep on playing.

I think perhaps this will just be another new stage in your life. My best wishes to you and your family.

Hon. Vivienne Poy:

Honourable senators, it is a great pleasure for me to pay tribute to the Honourable Tommy Banks, a man who has won the respect and affection of many throughout his long and varied career.

As we all know, Senator Banks is a Canadian icon, as has been mentioned repeatedly.

He had his own television show on CBC for many years, and he has had a long career as a noted jazzman, conductor and composer.

Senators appointed in recent years would not have known that here on the Hill we had the pleasure of hearing him play on the piano at the Senate fashion shows, which used to be held to raise funds for the United Way. Remember that?

Senator Banks was not a career politician. As we all know, this diversity of our members is what makes the Senate of Canada special. Many of us are here because we represent our communities and our regions, and Tommy Banks is devoted to his province of Alberta.

Because of that, he has often moved across party lines, as mentioned earlier, by using common sense to make decisions. For that reason, I knew I could depend on him to co-sponsor my bill to amend the national anthem to include all Canadians. When I reintroduced it for the second time early in the new millennium, he checked the rhythm, and it was okay.

Senator Banks agreed with me that since the original O Canada, penned by Sir Robert Stanley Weir in 1908, was inclusive of both genders, and since women were equally important in nation building, there was absolutely no reason that the later version could not be amended in the 21st century to reflect its original intent.

That was Bill S-3, introduced in October 2002, which was approved unanimously by the Social Affairs Committee, but then Parliament prorogued.

I thank Senator Banks for his support.

The fact that Austria's national anthem has just been changed to include daughters, as Australia's was many years ago, reminded me of Senator Banks. We both know that the day will come when our national anthem will include all of us.

Thank you, Tommy, for your great contributions to the Senate of Canada over many years. I wish you great happiness in your retirement. May your music continue forever.

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition):

Honourable senators, it is indeed an honour and a privilege to speak today to pay tribute to our dear colleague Senator Tommy Banks. Let me begin by saying what a great pleasure and honour it has been for me to represent Alberta in this chamber with such a distinguished, eloquent and knowledgeable colleague, someone who undertook his work in the Senate with independence, determination and integrity and who always stayed true to his principles.

Many of Senator Banks' important contributions to the Senate have already been mentioned and are well documented: Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources for many years; long-time member of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence; author of the important Statutes Repeal Act; and his thoughtful work in other committees on questions that have helped shape policies in many areas, from urban to national security issues.

Since his appointment to the Senate in 2000, Senator Banks has drawn on his passion for music and his incredible wealth of experience in this domain to become an important advocate for the significant role that the arts and cultural industries play in our society. This again reflects his commitment and dedication to making Canada a better place.

What is perhaps harder to document but has made him a source of inspiration in the Senate is the integrity and independent spirit with which he has tackled issues during his parliamentary career. I have come to admire and respect Senator Banks, like so many of you, not only for his illustrious career prior to his appointment to the Senate, or for his tremendous work ethic, or for his great talent and wisdom, but also for truly embodying the spirit of this chamber as the place for sober second thought as well as independence of thought and action. These values and qualities that have guided Senator Banks' actions throughout his time in the Senate have made this chamber a much better place and have greatly contributed to advancing the public interest.

Senator Banks' contribution is now part of this institution's history for us and for future generations to study and reflect upon.

Dear Tommy, you are a wonderful person full of life and energy, a unifying force and a true gentleman. We will dearly miss the passion and the wisdom you have brought to this institution. Please accept my best wishes for happiness and health to you and Ida as well as for a life of new personal and artistic endeavours so that we continue to hear and be moved by your great talent.

Please click here to read more tributes to the Honourable Tommy Banks

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