Alberta elected Senator Tannas’ First Statement in the Senate

Well done Senator Tannas, proud to be working with you!

June 20th, 2013

“Honourable senators, two months ago I entered this chamber for the first time.

One of the most valuable aids to my early education as a senator has been this binder, provided to me by my very experienced and able assistant. It contains biographies of each of the honourable senators. I keep it in my desk here and every day I read your stories as you speak and go about business in this chamber. I am humbled to be in the presence of so many great Canadians.

I have learned that in the Senate of Canada there are respected doctors, nurses, award winning health scientists and researchers; outstanding career public servants who have advised and fulfilled the will of governments over many eras; distinguished former Canadian parliamentarians, provincial and territorial government members, including no fewer than three premiers and a clutch of big city and small town mayors; many revered members of our justice system, lawyers, judges and lawmen; wise Aboriginal leaders who bring the unique perspective of their people who have been here since forever; well-known social activists, philanthropists and clergy; accomplished professionals, business executives, industry experts and successful entrepreneurs; a number of our country’s most brilliant academics, teachers and professors; famous broadcasters, journalists and communications experts; a beloved actress, a dancer, musicians, writers and producers; an army general and an auditor general; and sports heroes — the Stanley Cup, the World Cup, the Grey Cup, Olympic gold and silver medals have been won by people here in this chamber.

This place is filled with remarkable people. I believe that most Canadians are largely unaware of the talent that lies within this chamber, and if they were made aware, they would be justifiably proud of the people assembled here on their behalf.

However, honourable senators, I also firmly believe that Canadians, once properly informed, would still tell us in their own frank way that we are not doing enough, that our body of work does not measure up to the collective potential that we so obviously possess, and that the whole of the Senate does not equal the sum of its parts.

Honourable senators, we must rise to this challenge. The winds of change are blowing, and we must come together to find ways to better serve Canada. We saw success in our own lives by working harder and seeking ways to improve upon the status quo. We now need to put our minds and efforts towards doing the same for this institution.

This fall, the Supreme Court will provide Canada with clarity around options available toward Senate reform. The coming years will no doubt present an exciting opportunity for us to participate in the reshaping of our valuable institution, with a goal to make it much more valuable.

In closing, I would like to say that I am honoured to serve with all honourable senators during this exciting time for the Senate of Canada.”