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SENATORS’ STATEMENTS — The Late Honourable Josée Forest-Niesing

Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to my friend, colleague and office neighbour, the Honourable Senator Josée Forest-Niesing.

For all of us, Senator Forest-Niesing represented kindness and elegance in manner and approach. She led with her keen intellect and brilliance as an orator, shining her light on all of us. She was a gentle force and a strong voice within the Senate, and her passing has been a great loss for our institution and for Canada.

When I was appointed to the Senate, Josée enveloped me with her kindness, her realism and her wisdom. She was the first person who contacted me to welcome me within a day of my appointment, sharing her own experiences joining the Senate not too long before and offering a guiding hand and a gift of friendship.

She held, and will always hold, a special place in my heart, and she will be missed.

Senator Forest-Niesing served for just over three years, as we have heard. She was an ardent champion for minority language communities. She had a fierce commitment to truth and reconciliation. She was a defender of human rights, social justice and substantive equality for all Canadians in and outside the chamber.

She was never one to let an opportunity pass to fight for the rights of the under-represented.

Colleagues, these are just some of the many ways that Senator Forest-Niesing left her mark in pushing forward to a more just, equitable and inclusive Canada.

Josée wanted to be the best senator for Canadians, a proud legacy that we can all emulate.

To Senator Forest-Niesing’s husband Robert and children Véronique and Philippe, and to the rest of her family, friends and to her community, we want you to know that she will be greatly missed here in the Senate and in our lives as well. We are not the same without her.

To Josée, I’m immensely grateful for the privilege to have known you, worked with you and learned from you.

I miss you a lot, my dear friend and colleague.