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Speakers’ Bureau of Alberta©

Tommy Banks Photo


The Importance of the Arts
Politics in Canada Today
The Role of the Senate

Reputation: International

Location: Edmonton

Before becoming a Senator of Canada, Tommy Banks served as Chair of the Music Committee of the Board of Governors of Alberta College; he was founding Chair of the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts;  Chair of the Music Program at Grant MacEwan University; Chair of the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation; Chair of the Instrumental Jazz Division of MusicFest Canada (North America’s largest music festival organization); Chair of the B. & B. Foundation for the Theatrical & Musical Arts of Alberta; Member of the Board of the CKUA Radio Network Foundation; Honorary Chair of the Alberta Heart Fund; Honourary Member of Cosmopolitan International and of Rotary International (of which he is a Paul Harris Fellow).

Tommy won the Sir Frederick Haultain Prize, the Juno Award, the Gemini Award and he has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from ACTRA and SOCAN.

Tommy Banks is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Alberta Order of Excellence. He was Patron of the Military Family Resource Centre. His wife Ida and he are Honourary Co-Chairs for Northern Alberta of the CKUA Radio Network Capital Campaign and Board Members of Wellspring Edmonton.  Tommy also serves as the Honourary Patron of Pro Coro Canada.
During the administration of the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney, Tommy Banks was appointed for two consecutive terms to the Board of the Canada Council for the Arts and to a further term as Policy Adviser to the Board. 

Tommy was appointed by the Minister of Finance, the Hon. Michael Wilson to two consecutive terms as a Member of a Sectoral Advisory Group, International Trade (SAGIT) which advised the Government during negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

Under the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, he served as Alberta spokesman in the campaign for the national referendum on constitutional amendment and, with Professor Kathleen Mahoney, Tommy argued the “yes” side, opposing Stephen Harper and Mel Hurtig on the referendum’s televised debate.   

During the administration of the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, and following a fifty-year international career as a musician, Tommy Banks was summoned to the Senate of Canada on 7 April 2000.

Tommy was a Member of the Liberal Parliamentary Caucus.

In the Senate, he served as a Member of the Standing Committee on National Finance, of the Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, of the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence (SCONSAD) and on its Steering Committee, and as Chair of the Subcommittee on Veterans’ Affairs.   

In each of the 37th, 38th, and 39th Parliaments he was elected Chair of the Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources.

In the 37th and 38th Parliaments he served as Chair of the Alberta Liberal Parliamentary Caucus.                                   
Following dissolution of the 37th Parliament, Senator Banks was named to an all-party Committee of Parliamentarians from both Houses, given the task of advising the Government on the setting up of parliamentary oversight of security intelligence matters. 

Tommy served on an “ad hoc” basis on several additional committees of the Senate.  He was Vice-Chair of the Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues that produced Canada's Urban Strategy – A Blueprint for Action which Report led to an important national debate.
Senator Banks was the author of The Statutes Repeal Act, (2008); and of An Act to Amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act and The Auditor General Act (involvement of Parliament) (2010).

Senator Banks was the sponsor of the Canada National Parks Act(2000); the Canada National Marine Conservation Act (2001); the Species At Risk Act(2002); the Act to Establish the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness(2005); the Act to Amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act 1994 and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999(2005); the Canada Border Services Agency Act(2005); and An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (justification for detention in custody) in 2010.

Tommy’s Senate term ended on 16 December, 2011.
Tommy has conducted symphony orchestras throughout North America and in Europe. They include the Budapest Symphony Orchestra of the Hungarian State Radio & Television, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova-Scotia and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Tommy is a member of the A. F. of  M., ACTRA, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (U.S.), the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

Tommy acted as host of nationally and internationally-syndicated and network television programmes, including: “The Tommy Banks Show” (1968-1983), “Somewhere There’s Music”, “What’s My Name”, “ Love and Mr. Smith”, “Celebrity Revue”, “Symphony of a Thousand”, “Tommy Banks Jazz” and more.

Tommy was the Musical Director for the Ceremonies of: The XI Commonwealth Games, the World University Games, State Visit of President Reagan, Visit of John Paul II, EXPO ’86, XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary and a Command Performance for Her Majesty The Queen.

What does Tommy Banks do now?

Tommy articulately and authoritatively speaks to audiences across Canada on a variety of subjects including the Importance of the Arts, The Role and Future of the Senate, and Politics in Canada Today. His stance in politics is neutral. He does not analyse nor attack a political issue from a partisan point of view. Tommy is as sharp as a tack and his command of vocabulary is legendary. Tommy packs a great sense of humour.

For more information contact the Speakers’ Bureau of Alberta©: 1.866.420.3338 toll free info@speakersalberta.com

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