Statement made on 22 June 2009 by Senator Charlie Watt
Hon. Charlie Watt:
Honourable senators, today I will speak to you in Inuktitut and in English.
I rise today to thank you for your support regarding the use of Inuktitut in the Senate chamber. This initiative was raised by Senator Corbin in 2006 and was championed by Senator Corbin and Senator Keon, for which I am grateful.
Today is Senator Adams' birthday and day of retirement. Tomorrow, I will be the only Inuk in the Senate. I will count on the skills of the interpretation team to convey my message to honourable senators when I wish to speak to my people in the North. Some of my people do not speak English or French, and, for them, our Hansard is not very useful.
For those who cannot read English or French, they can replay my Inuktitut version on the Internet. They can find this information by viewing my page on liberalsenateforum.ca. This is one of the ways that I am making our Senate more accessible to the Inuktitut-speaking community.
I would like to thank the Clerk of the Senate, the Senate administration and the Department of Public Works for their support of this pilot project, and the interpretation team for their patience and professionalism.
When we reconvene in the fall, I will look forward to speaking to you again in my mother tongue.
I thank all honourable senators for working together on this special project that is important to all of us.
Honourable senators can be assured that our community is very proud.