Tribute: The Honourable Maria Chaput on the occasion of her retiring from the Senate of Canada


February 24th, 2016

The Honourable Maria Chaput

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I rise today to add my sentiments and well wishes to our colleague and friend, Senator Maria Chaput.

When she was appointed to the Senate in December 2002, Senator Chaput had already established herself as a leader and business woman in the francophone financial sector. She is the first Franco-Manitoban woman to be appointed to this chamber and has done much throughout her time here to support her community and to encourage pride and interest in her culture and in her language. She has made great strides in trying to improve francophone life in Manitoba and across Canada.

For her work, Senator Chaput has received many awards, including, in 1975, the Prix du journal La Liberté as a francophone woman of action; the Prix Radio-Canada as Manitoba's outstanding francophone in 1987; and in 1989, the Prix Réseau for being a driving force in the cultural sector. Additionally, she received the Société franco-manitobaine's Prix Riel for her dedication and for being a role model in her community. In 2002, she was awarded the Western Canada Francophone leaders award, and notably, in 2011, the Légion d'Honneur, the highest distinction of the Government of France in recognition of her work on behalf of francophone communities in Canada.

I am delighted to have had the privilege of working with Senator Chaput in committees, in particular the Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee. Her input was always reasoned and greatly appreciated.

Of her time in the Senate, Senator Chaput has said, "I've always been the kind of person who really wants to do my work the way it should be done." She has said that a good senator has to have strong values, believe in the good of Canadians, listen and be able to work with other parties. She, of course, exemplifies those qualities. She has taken much pride in having involved Manitoban communities and minorities over the past 13 years and in the work she has done in bringing the Senate closer to the people.

Despite the seriousness with which Senator Chaput does her job, I am sure you have all noticed the twinkle in her eye. Maria has a wonderful sense of humour; and yes, I would agree with Senator Mercer that her heckling skills have improved considerably under his guidance. And yes, Senator Plett, she is very partisan, but I don't think that's a bad thing.

Maria, today we celebrate you and we thank you for all that you have done. Take care and best wishes to you and your family. We will miss you.