When I was appointed to the Senate in the summer of 2005 by Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, I was both humbled and surprised. After serious consideration and consultation with my wife and daughter, I chose to accept his gracious offer and do my best to contribute to my country through its second legislative chamber.
The majority of the work assumed by Senators is at the committee level where government legislation is reviewed, studies are undertaken and witnesses are given the opportunity to provide input into government decision-making. Since 2005, I have had the honour to sit on the following Senate Committees: the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (former Chair), the Committee on National Finance, the Committee on Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, the Selection Committee (former Chair), the Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee (Cities sub-committee, former Vice-Chair), the Special Committee on Anti-Terrorism (current Chair) and the Special Committee on Senate Reform. My Senate priorities include national security, defending Canada at home and abroad, strong support for our armed forces, recruitment, equipment, funding and a robust foreign policy that defends our values, our national interests; and ensuring income security for vulnerable Canadians at home. My primary concern is the steady reduction of poverty.
This site provides links to motions, bills and speeches I have given in the Senate and publicly as well as published opinion pieces relating to the priorities above. I am gratified that my Senate Bill on ‘job protection for Reservists’ was taken up by the government’s Minister of Labour, Jean Pierre Blackburn and passed into law last year. The Bill on ‘quarterly financial reporting’, allowing for more transparency in our expenditure of tax dollars became part of the government platform in its last Throne Speech. And motions on Canada/EU Free Trade, the severing of diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe and a recommendation for the G8/G20 partners to put poverty at the top of the priority list all passed the Senate unanimously. Bills and motions yet to be put to a vote include: Senate reform, the Citizenship Oath requirement, immigration of Afghanis who assisted our Canadian forces in their efforts, a motion to allow televising of Senate proceedings and a motion requesting a study on the efficacy of a basic income.
It is my honour to serve Kingston-Frontenac-Leeds in Canada’s Upper House.