Mr. Speaker, Gildas Molgat was first elected to the legislature of Manitoba in 1953 when I was five years old. I became aware of him early on in my life as his work as the Liberal leader and leader of the opposition in the Manitoba legislature was often the focus of some very heated discussion between my very Conservative parents.
Later when I, having joined the Liberal Party, finally met this often demonized man, I was delighted to find a proud Manitoban, a proud francophone and a committed Canadian.
Elevated to the Senate by Prime Minister Trudeau, Gil Molgat was a formidable ally in the dark days when there was only one elected Liberal, federally or provincially, west of the Ontario-Manitoba border.
He was tireless. When the troops were frustrated and dispirited, Gil and his lifelong partner Allison were there, working with us, leading us, teaching us, chairing campaigns, recruiting candidates, and always advocating for his province and his people.
Since my arrival here in 1993 it has been an honour and a rare privilege to serve in the same caucus with him. He served for six years in one of the highest offices in this country and yet he never forgot what it was to be the MLA for Ste. Rose du Lac. We will miss him.