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Tribute Statement to Senator Kelvin Ogilvie (Retirement)

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: I think at this point the rest of us could probably say “me too” and sit down, but I do want to associate myself as well with my colleagues as we pay tribute to our good friend and colleague, Senator Kelvin Ogilvie. And as has already been said, to list each of his awards, accolades and significant achievements would put me well beyond my allotted speaking time today. However, as has already been said, there are a couple I also want to draw to your attention.

Senator Ogilvie developed the chemistry of the “gene machine,” an automated process for the manufacture of DNA. He invented a drug — and this lets you know how different I am from Kelvin Ogilvie in our previous lives — a drug that I cannot even pronounce the name of properly. I think it is Ganciclovir, a drug used worldwide to fight a variety of infections in patients with a weakened immune system. Both of these scientific achievements are recognized as milestones of Canadian chemistry in the 20th century, according to the Canadian Society for Chemistry.

Kelvin Ogilvie was admitted to the Order of Canada in 1991 and has received countless prestigious awards for his scientific work and his contribution to innovation.

I also had never met Senator Ogilvie until Senator Seidman, I and six others were appointed at the same time with Senator Ogilvie on August 27, 2009. We could not have come from more different backgrounds, and for that reason our paths had probably never crossed previously. But sometimes, colleagues, it’s the people you have the least in common with that you learn the most from.

Senator Ogilvie’s leadership on the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology and the passion he brought to his work should serve as an example to all of us. And most recently, his work on the obesity study and as Co-Chair of the Special Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying are things I am sure we all hold in high regard. But more than that, Senator Ogilvie is the epitome of a team player, and as the whip of our caucus this is what I really appreciated about Senator Ogilvie.

He has demonstrated time and again his commitment to unity within our own caucus. He believes that even when we disagree, we come out as one united front when it counts. He understands wholeheartedly that independence — the independence that matters — is how you think and how you conduct yourself, not where you sit in this chamber.

Colleagues, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Senator Ogilvie. He not only is a great colleague but also has become a very dear friend. And I know I am not alone when I say that we have been so fortunate to have him serve in this chamber. Indeed, Canada is a better place because of it.

Senator Ogilvie, I wish you well in your next chapter of life. Thank you.

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