Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the Prime Minister for his deeply felt words about our friend, Mr. Péloquin, and members like him who died in similar circumstances.
Gaston Péloquin, the member for Brome-Missisquoi, was our friend and his tragic death has greatly saddened his family, his constituents and his colleagues. He leaves behind his 16-year old son Pascal and his close friends, Denise and Gilles Duval, to whom he has entrusted his son. During his professional career, in education, in politics and in social life, Mr. Péloquin was always concerned for the most disadvantaged, those who are excluded and left behind. That is what motivated him to work for Haitian children.
He was respected by all for his commitment to his constituents and his deep convictions for Quebec's full development. Everyone recognizes the work he did to serve his fellow citizens in the Eastern Townships and the determination he brought to the task.
Mr. Péloquin was very human and modest, very giving of himself. The most important value for him was volunteerism. His great availability, his commitment of time and energy to his constituents, made him very well liked and many mourned his passing. He was very sorry about the difficulties facing the families of laid-off Hyundai workers in his riding. His concern and the comfort he gave them show his compassion.
Quebec and Canada have just lost an honest, warm-hearted parliamentarian for whom it was difficult to accept the fate and suffering of others. Members will understand that because of his Haitian experience, he was particularly affected by the painful situation in that country. Shortly before he died, he was devastated to recognize on television someone he had known who had been killed by the military junta.
Mr. Pélonquin's career was one of service for the good of his fellow citizens. First as a teacher, then as a school principal, missionary and member of Parliament, he was involved in many organizations. A committed believer, he dedicated himself to many religious and parish activities. His faith in young people and concern for their future were very important to him.
Allow me to repeat the message which he always wanted to give to his fellow citizens, a message of tolerance, of openness, of respect for what democracy in Quebec and Canada will decide. On behalf of the members of the Bloc Quebecois, I extend our sincerest condolences to all those who are affected by this tragedy. Like them, we feel the emptiness left by the passing of Gaston Péloquin.