Mr. Speaker, I too, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, would like to pay tribute to our friend Steve. I had the honour of knowing him and of being with him and especially of appreciating him from 1984 to 1993.
In 1984, for the new Conservative members, he was a valuable advisor, an exceptional motivator, and he helped us a great deal in learning the rules of the House and the British parliamentary system.
As Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole House, he immediately gained the respect of all parliamentarians. Patient, impartial, a gentleman, knowledgeable of the rules of the House, he always found the words, the friendly approach and the right argument to have his decisions accepted.
In my first steps as House leader of the Bloc Quebecois-the party was not even recognized then-every time I asked him for a meeting to claim our rights, he always received me in a friendly, affable way. It was then that I learned to appreciate him. A sincere, democratic, humane, honest man, he always put the interests of the House and its members first.
I would like to conclude by saying a word to his family. We understand your sorrow and the great pain you feel. How many questions must have gone through your mind in trying to understand and accept the death of someone so close to you!
Is there an acceptable answer when such a tragedy befalls us? I do not believe so. There is only the courage and determination to go on with one's life, with the assurance that the deceased person is still proud of us.
The great French author Alexandre Dumas said one day that those whom we have loved and lost are no longer where they were, but they are still everywhere we are.
I extend our sincerest condolences and a word of encouragement to Steve's whole family. Thank you, Steve, for your invaluable contribution to Canadian democracy.