May 10th, 2016
Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, I’m pleased to rise to talk about my seatmate and how much he has contributed to this country and how much we’ll miss him.
I’ve known him for some 50 years, just like Senator Cowan. We started together in the Young Liberals of Canada. I have a lot of stories. Many of them are not repeatable, but maybe we’ll get a few in.
As I stand here, he would refer to me as Brother Eggleton and I would refer to him as Brother Smith. He likes that whole Christian tradition of calling people “Brother” or “Sister” — Brother Harder, Sister Martin. He enjoys doing that. He enjoys gospel music as well. Amen!
It was once said that the greatest of distinctions is service to others, and I think that well describes David Smith. He has spent his lifetime serving others. He has served others in his country, his province, his city, his party and his profession of law. He has excelled in all of them.
He started here at a very young age, while he was getting his law degree, but he was learning so much from some of the icons of our party, people like Walter Gordon and John Turner and Keith Davey. He worked closely with Keith Davey and learned a lot about how to run election campaigns. That really paid off for Mr. Chrétien, who won three majority governments, and David was the chair of those campaigns, a great achievement in terms of his political involvement.
But he and I also shared a number of years together on city council. We sat on the executive committee for a number of years. Following that, he ended up coming out here and I went on to become the Mayor of Toronto.
He came up here, and we’ve heard both Senator Cowan and Senator Carignan talk about his signature achievement. I just have to mention how proud I know he is of the report on the disabled and handicapped, the report entitled Obstacles. It helped pave the way for a new direction in terms of dealing with the challenges that so many people in our country face, and it helped to move us into a very important commemoration of the UN year of the disabled.
But most important, of course, how many people can say that they made a very solid contribution to the Constitution of this country and to the wording of that Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? That’s a very significant legacy that this man leaves.
He left here, of course, as has been pointed out, to go back to law, and a number of people are here from the firms that he had the pleasure of being chair of for a number of years.
I see my time is just about up, but there’s so much more I could say. He has shone in terms of the 14 years of service he has provided here.
David, your retirement is so well-deserved, and we wish you well. Heather, Alex, Laura and Kate, we wish you the same as well, and to all of your family and friends who are here.
You have served well, sir. Thank you very much, my friend.