Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the government to offer tribute to the former MP from Edmonton—Strathcona. Hugh Hanrahan was a fellow Edmontonian and someone I got to know when we were both elected for the first time to the House in 1993. In fact the points of coincidence between Mr. Hanrahan and myself do not end there.
As the hon. Leader of the Official Opposition has pointed out, the University of Alberta was in Mr. Hanrahan's riding and I had the opportunity and pleasure to teach at the University of Alberta for over 13 years before becoming a member of the House. Mr. Hanrahan and I on our frequent flights back and forth from Edmonton to Ottawa often sat beside each other. We had the opportunity to talk about our shared love and commitment and at times concern for the University of Alberta.
The hon. Leader of the Official Opposition is quite right that Mr. Hanrahan carried a very deep commitment to the University of Alberta and the research and development and intellectual life of that institution. He did all that he could to ensure that it was nourished and fostered.
As the Leader of the Official Opposition has pointed out, Mr. Hanrahan, like myself, was born in Nova Scotia. We then made our way west. Mr. Hanrahan was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia where he earned degrees in both education and arts from St. Francis Xavier or as Mr. Hanrahan would say, St. F. X. Later he obtained a master's degree in economics from the University of Ottawa.
He did make his way west where he accepted a teaching position first in Calgary. Soon afterward he moved to Edmonton where he taught economics and earned a reputation in and out of the world of education as a man of commitment and thoughtfulness.
Mr. Hanrahan spent over 20 years teaching in the Edmonton Catholic school system. He was honoured as teacher of the year in 1998 by the Alberta Foundation for Economic Education. Many of his students have commented on how influential Mr. Hanrahan was in their lives. I thought as a former teacher myself it was very fitting that on the night of his election Mr. Hanrahan commented on how influential those students had been on his life. He acknowledged that it was through the encouragement of his students that he actually for the first time seriously considered running as a member of parliament. His lifelong advocacy of fiscal restraint and reducing the national debt provided him with a strong and obvious platform. His bid at federal politics was successful.
Among other duties he served on the industry committee where he developed an expertise on small and medium size business and research and development. Mr. Hanrahan worked diligently in the service of his constituents until ill health required his retirement from elected office.
Mr. Hanrahan was a religious man and one who found intellectual stimulation and comfort from the works of philosophy, religion, politics and history.
On behalf of the government, I am pleased to recognize the work of Mr. Hanrahan and his commitment to the public service of this country. We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife Dianne, his daughter Margaret and other family and friends.