National Fiddling Day Bill Thirteenth Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee Adopted


Bill S-218, An Act respecting National Fiddling Day Senator Jane Cordy June 19th, 2014

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the thirteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (Bill S-218, An Act respecting National Fiddling Day), presented in the Senate earlier this day.

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I wasn't going to speak on this bill, but how could a Scottish girl growing up in Cape Breton not comment on a bill dealing with a national fiddling day?

Fiddling was a way of life for me growing up in Cape Breton, and, whenever my parents had a house party, there were always fiddlers and lots of dancing. That was the way in many households in Cape Breton. In Cape Breton today, we have Celtic Colours, where people from all over the world travel to Cape Breton and put on concerts not only in the city of Sydney but also in all of the rural areas, in small church halls and community halls, bringing back the Scottish tradition of fiddling, dancing and singing.

We heard yesterday — and I have no doubt about this — that the old-style Scottish fiddling is more likely to be found in Cape Breton than it is in Scotland. In fact, I remember when my husband and I travelled to Scotland. When we came back to Nova Scotia, our comment was that Cape Breton is actually more Scottish than Scotland in more ways than just the fiddling.

We heard fiddling witnesses last night who said that fiddling unites us all around the country and, certainly, that is very true. It didn't matter where you were from in our committee last night. You could see the toes tapping and a few people taking off their shoes and dancing. As Senator Stewart Olsen said earlier, we were delighted that our own Senator Hubley played the fiddle along with our witnesses last night. Senator Hubley called it "a happening." If you were in Cape Breton, you would refer to it as a kitchen party or a ceilidh. Whatever we call it, it was a great committee hearing last night.

I also want to say that, in Cape Breton, we have the Gaelic College, and the CEO of the Gaelic College is a former Premier of Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald, who, in his own right, is a very talented fiddle player.

I'm delighted to stand up and support this bill. I also want to join with Senator Stewart Olsen in thanking committee members for what was a much-needed break in listening to speeches and to have our witnesses playing the fiddle last night. It was a lot of fun,. I want to thank Senator Hubley very much for bringing this bill forward and Senator Stewart Olsen for seconding this bill.