Routine Proceedings – Nelson Mandela

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I would like to add a few words, not many.

We are gathered in a spirit of non-partisan grieving for someone we had the honour to call a fellow Canadian. Nelson Mandela was marked by two extraordinary things, among many: moral clarity and moral courage.

We know he inspired us. With your permission, I would like to close this session with the words that inspired him, words written in 1888 by William Ernest Henley, which he recited over the 27 years he remained on Robben Island, imprisoned:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela, who captained that soul to the safest of harbours. God bless him, his memory, and all who loved him.