Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to follow the member for Davenport whom I first met in 1972 when I came to the House. I could not help but notice when he was speaking the colour of our hair, and the Prime Minister still has a different colour. It must be the way he has treated us both.
Today we pay tribute to and salute a long and distinguished career in Canadian politics of the right hon. gentleman from Saint-Maurice. He has served Canada for nearly 40 years. In fact, it was in April we stood and recognized the 40th anniversary of his first election to the House.
All hon. members offer congratulations for a career spanning five decades.
We have disagreed vehemently many times over the issues and policies of the day but today we lay all that to rest when we thank him for his service to Canada.
We will recall that when he first came here he was the hon. member for Saint-Maurice--Laflèche. I am certain that the people of Saint-Maurice are grateful for his long years of service to his constituents. They will remember, when he was once questioned about federal grants and contracts in his riding, his response to the media. He said “What do you say after you say you're not sorry?”
Somehow I doubt if the little guy from Shawinigan ever regretted anything he ever did. That is not to be taken as criticism but simply recognition that he probably retired most evenings knowing that in the morning both his desk and his conscience would be clear.
We were colleagues on the opposite sides of this place back in the early 1970s and the contact we had in those years was renewed many years later.
In 1987 my friends and supporters organized a fundraising roast. The little guy from Shawinigan was the featured speaker. He could not be called little by that time because he drew a very broad audience that included Liberals. They would come to see and hear him even though it meant spending money that would go to some other political party.
That evening drew more than 1,200 paying guests and raised the largest amount of money of any political fundraiser to that time in British Columbia history.
His career has been a remarkable one. He has seen seven prime ministers come and Joe--