Pierre Claude Nolin

We note with profound sadness the passing of Pierre Claude Nolin, a Canadian parliamentarian of extraordinary ability and humanity.

It was a mark of the high regard in which he was held that M. Nolin was unanimously elected Speaker pro tempore of the Canadian Senate in November 2013, and then appointed Speaker by the Governor General just this past November. The Senate has suffered the loss of a leader of exceptional character at a most untimely moment. On becoming Speaker, M. Nolin had urged Senators “to treat each other with the same dignity and respect whether we sit with the Government, the Opposition, or as Independents” and to “work better together in carrying out our shared responsibility of fulfilling the constitutional mandate of the Senate, to provide sober second thought in the important work we do here.”

M. Nolin was born in Montreal in 1950, received an LL.L degree from the University of Ottawa in 1976, worked as a lawyer, and occupied various leadership positions with the Conservative Party. He was appointed to the Senate in 1993, where he represented the senatorial division of De Salaberry in Québec. M. Nolin served on numerous Senate committees including in recent years those dealing with foreign affairs, defence, and national security; and on the Senate Special Committee on the Anti-Terrorism Act.

M. Nolin was also a long-serving member and leading light of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, serving most recently as its Treasurer for six years. On his departure from that position, parliamentarians from the 28 member states accorded him a standing ovation. In Brussels last week, they mourned the death of a specially honoured colleague. “Senator Nolin won the respect, admiration, and affection of the Assembly’s members, and his contributions to the Assembly were immeasurable.”

In 2012, the Minister of National Defence appointed M. Nolin honorary lieutenant-colonel of the Régiment de Maisonneuve. In 2014, he was named a Commander of the Order of Saint Lazarus. The Order is one of the oldest orders of chivalry in the world. Established in 1098, the order is dedicated to the alleviation of suffering by caring for persons with leprosy; caring for the aged, the sick, and the needy supporting palliative care; promoting Ecumenism; and supporting the ideals of chivalry.

Let it not be thought, said Churchill, that the age of chivalry belongs to the past.

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