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TRIBUTE TO SENATOR KOCHHAR

Honourable Senators,

I rise today to pay tribute to a fine Canadian who has devoted three decades of his life to improving the lives of countless people and "change the way Canadians think about disability" through acts of service and empowerment.

Honourable colleague, on a personal level, I feel so privileged to have served with you for your entire Senate tenure. Please know that you leave an indelible mark in my heart (and most likely, in all of our hearts).

I recall the day you poked me in the back from your seat directly behind me at the time to invite me to sit on the Canadian Paralympic Foundation board. As your good friend Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, David Onley, has said to me, "No one can say 'no' to Vim. Vim doesn't take no for an answer."

Tenacious. Unwavering. Passionate. These are qualities that explain how one man can and has done so much. Raising millions of dollars "to assist individuals with physical challenges to live fuller lives and raise awareness of their achievements and contributions to society" (as is the goal of the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons, which Vim Kochhar is the Founding Chair since 1987).

Only a visionary, a leader with absolute resolve and conviction would be able to bring Rolling Rampage for elite wheelchair athletes to the Hill in April 2011, and attract thousands of participants and spectators. 

Dear colleague and friend - I have learned from you the true meaning of service through action. I am inspired to believe in the power of working hard to achieve what may at first seem impossible, but is indeed possible.

Honourable colleague, we have stood side by side at the inaugural G-20 Speakers' Consultation, an initiative of the Honourable Noel Kinsella. We have broken bread together and have shared conversation with our spouses (Dorothy and Doug) in my hometown Vancouver, where your son also resides. Steve is a fine man who is living proof of your strength of character and love.

Loving father. Devoted husband. Lifelong servant leader. Champion of the physically disabled. Honourable colleague and friend. Vim Kochhar, thank you for all that you have done.

May God bless you and your family always.

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