Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
The Honourable Jerahmiel S. Grafstein, Q.C.

 Honourable senators, two and a half decades ago, Senator Grafstein entered this chamber. Today we say goodbye as he takes leave of the Senate early in the new year. It is difficult to imagine this place or the Liberal Party without him, and I am sure it is equally difficult for Senator Grafstein to imagine it.

All honourable senators are well aware of Senator Grafstein’s past in the Senate, his legal background and his long involvement in the media through the co-founding of CityTV. Named to the Senate in January 1984, a month before Prime Minister Trudeau took his walk in the snow, Senator Grafstein has participated on any number of committees, as has been outlined by my colleague opposite, but he is perhaps most identified with his work on the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, where he served as chair.

In this chamber, he has been both prolific and tenacious in introducing, reintroducing and re-reintroducing private bills on any number of subjects that are of particular interest to him.

As a parliamentarian and as a private citizen, Senator Grafstein has shown a deep, abiding affection for his home, his beloved city of Toronto. He is one of the biggest and best supporters imaginable for the city of Toronto and has proven this time and time again. Whether it was his involvement in mayoralty races, or rock concerts featuring the likes of the Rolling Stones and the promotion of tourism in the wake of SARS, Jerry Grafstein has been a true champion for Toronto.

As all honourable senators know, Mayor David Miller has decided not to seek another term. We will await with interest to see what role our honourable colleague plans to play in the upcoming mayoralty campaign.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that Senator Grafstein has consistently worked for years to strengthen Canada’s ties with our biggest trading partner and closest neighbour and friend, the United States of America. Honourable senators agree, I am sure, that stronger relations between our two countries are always worth pursuing, for the benefit of Canadians and Americans alike. There are many citizens on both sides of the border who sincerely thank Senator Grafstein for all of his efforts in this regard — most particularly, as Co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group and for organizing the "Canada Loves New York" event in the wake of September 11, 2001.

Senator Grafstein, on behalf of all Conservative senators, I wish to extend our best wishes to you and your wife, Carole, and your entire family for a healthy and happy retirement — although, like Senator Cowan, I have my doubts that you will be retiring. Rather, you are taking forced leave of this place and will now zero in on some new endeavour on which to focus your extreme energy.

 

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