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BILL S-218 : NATIONAL FIDDLING DAY (THIRD READING)

 

Honourable Senators, I rise today to speak to third reading of Bill S-218, National Fiddling Day. As in my previous speech, I'll be quite brief. As committee members learned yesterday, fiddles are better heard than spoken of.

I want to thank the members of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology and all of the people who work in that committee for their willingness to open their minds to a different way of doing business in the Senate. I want to thank them very much for that. We had a lot of fun. We heard from extremely talented musicians, not to mention Senator Hubley herself, who joined the group to give us the benefit of her playing as well.

We know that fiddling styles are extremely diverse. The fiddle followed the territorial expansion of our country, and the traditions were established by the many peoples who settled in Canada. Members of the committee last evening heard the demonstrations of this skill and the diverse playing styles in what was surely the first Senate kitchen party.

Colleagues, Senator Hubley's bill shows the best of what I believe the Senate should be. Bill S-218 touches thousands of Canadians and validates the historical impact of the fiddle and its music on the evolution of our country.

We heard, yesterday, from the finest musicians in Canada. We heard about fiddle camps where thousands of young people are learning to play, and we heard about the lifechanging differences these camps can make in the lives of our youth, especially our Aboriginal youth.

I approach this bill in a non-partisan way, with an understanding of a value of a Senate that is in touch with real people, the people every senator must reach out to and represent in their regions.

To me, this bill is one of the finest examples of how the Senate can be there for ordinary Canadians. It recognizes how a simple gesture can make people feel that Ottawa is in touch with them in a very real sense. Bill S-218 is a very positive bill for the Senate. It is an opportunity that connects the Senate with ordinary Canadians and honours a Canadian tradition.

Colleagues, I urge you to support this bill and bring Canadians a national fiddling day.