Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, it is with a very heavy heart that I rise today to pay tribute to our late colleague Senator Enverga. It is tragic for a life to be cut so short, especially when it is a life of devotion and service to family, to community and to country.

Senator Enverga was a man of deep faith, a man who lived his faith. He was always kind and courteous. He listened to people. He helped them.

He was a proud Filipino and a proud Canadian and, as Senator Smith has noted, a man of many firsts: the first Filipino-Canadian elected to public office in the city of Toronto and the first Filipino-born senator in Canada. As his colleagues, however, we have the privilege of knowing that, for Senator Enverga, his priority was not so much to be the first to achieve these positions but to break down the barriers for others so that he would not be the last in these positions.

A generous man, he was dedicated to many good causes.

As noted, he founded the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation with his wife, and he helped to relieve poverty in developing countries and to provide disaster relief and, here in Canada, to provide support services for immigrants and refugees in need.

With his strong voice, which often filled this chamber, he advocated on behalf of people whose voices were too soft or went unheard — people with disabilities, children, the most vulnerable in our communities.

During Question Period, there was no issue too small, including peas and pulses, or too large, including large rubber ducks and cardboard cutouts, that escaped Senator Enverga’s scrutiny.

He was a relentless presence in the Senate to hold the government to account for the benefit of Canadians, from farmers and small-business owners to immigrants and public servants, and for that we are all grateful.

He was devoted to his family and so proud of his daughters.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to his family and hope that they find comfort knowing that his lifetime of achievement has made Canada a better place.