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Meet Senator

George Furey

The Hon. George  Furey, Q.C., B.A., B.A. (Ed.), M.Ed., LL.B. A distinguished educator and lawyer with deep roots in the community, Senator George Furey is one of the leading citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador. He was appointed to the Senate on August 11, 1999, by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien.

Statements & Hansard

The Late Jean-Robert Gauthier, C.M.

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Statement made on 15 April 2010 by Senator Maria Chaput

Hon. Maria Chaput:

Honourable senators, it is a great honour to speak today to pay tribute to one of the greatest parliamentarians in Canadian history.

The late Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier was an exceptional man. He enthusiastically represented the interests of francophones in Canada, and he fought for the equality of our two official languages until the day he died.

In 1977, the Honourable Jean-Robert Gauthier himself said:

The minimum objective in all the provinces should be that every person have the right to live in their first language, that every parent have the right to send their child to school in the first language of their choice . . . that every person have the right to communicate with the government and public officials in the official language of their choice, and have the right to appear before the courts in either of the two official languages.

Today, we are getting a little closer to that "minimum objective" thanks to the tenacity of Jean-Robert Gauthier.

In his roles as school board trustee, member of Parliament and senator, he never hesitated to remind Canadians and their successive governments of the importance of official language communities within the Canadian federation.

It was Jean-Robert Gauthier who fought tirelessly to have French-only schools in the National Capital Region, and who won a tremendous victory.

It was Jean-Robert Gauthier who stood up to Mr. Trudeau in 1982, voting against the repatriation of the Constitution. He wanted the rights of the Franco-Ontarian community to be recognized in the Constitution and refused to give that up. He voted with his conscience.

In 2005, a bill that the honourable senator introduced was passed by Parliament. These amendments to the Official Languages Act made the federal government's commitment to official language minorities binding. He gave some teeth to the legislation, and in doing so, he buttressed the protection of official languages.

All francophone Canadians recognize the scope of his efforts, his extraordinary dedication to public life and all the benefits they derive from his hard work.

I would like to quote the words of Bernard Grandmaître, a former minister in the Government of Ontario, who said:

There are few people of the same calibre as Jean-Robert Gauthier. He already serves as an example and will continue to do so. I hope others will carry on his legacy and pick up his torch.

To Monique Gauthier and the entire family, I would like to express my most sincere condolences and my utmost gratitude for having shared him with us.

Recent Statements from Liberal Senators

Business of the Senate

19 Jun, 2014 | By Senator Joan Fraser | Colleagues, I'm rising to speak on behalf of my leader, the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Cowan, who had to be in Halifax tonight on public business. I must tell you that when I called him to say we were going to be adjourning for the summer tonight, he was, I could tell, quite irritated, not because he wanted us all to go on working like galley slaves but because he had already written a speech that he wanted to give tomorrow morning.

Lighthouses as Irreplaceable Symbols of Maritime Heritage—Inquiry

19 Jun, 2014 | By Senator Jim Munson | Thank you, Your Honour, and my apologies to Senator Champagne.

Unequal Access to Justice—Inquiry

19 Jun, 2014 | By Senator Joan Fraser | Colleagues, I know that Senator Jaffer was preparing to close this debate but, before she did that, I just had to say how terribly important the subject she has raised is.

The Senate—Promoting and Defending Causes that Concern the Public Interest—Inquiry

19 Jun, 2014 | By Senator Jim Munson | Honourable senators, I am looking for a bit of love and empathy at this late hour because I do have a speech, but you have to understand that, in the interest of having dignified departures for our five senators this week, I gave up my time to make sure that we were able to celebrate the departures of Senator Buth, Senator Segal, Senator Callbeck, Senator Dallaire and Senator Champagne.

Study on Status of Canada's International Security and Defence Relations

19 Jun, 2014 | By Senator Grant Mitchell | So, you thought you weren't going to hear from me? Well, I fooled you! So there! I rise in support of this report by the Defence Committee recommending that Canada become involved in ballistic missile defence with NORAD. I congratulate Senator Lang and other members of the committee for what I think was great collaborative work, completely non-partisan, very extensive and detailed with intense research.
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