Mr. Speaker, today marks the 12th anniversary of the first election to parliament of a special friend of mine. On March 13, 1989, she won a byelection in the riding of Beaver River.
During those lonely days in Ottawa she kept the faith alive for a new political movement. She acted as a leader and encourager of the Reform Party as that party grew and eventually became the official opposition. She played key roles throughout the united alternative process which led to the Canadian Alliance and in the election in November, which saw an increase of 750,000 votes and an increase to 66 seats while other opposition parties decreased.
Her intelligence, her quick wit and her many skills have made her shine in whatever role she has played, whether as caucus chair, deputy leader or even as leader of the official opposition. She is living evidence that someone can be principled and authentic and still succeed in public life.
Her private life is also an example. During her years as a schoolteacher she opened her home as a foster parent to several aboriginal children. She is a hard worker and a loyal and loving friend.
It is with great affection and respect that I say happy 12th anniversary and congratulations to the hon. member.