Madam Speaker, it looks like I may have the last word in this throne speech debate. I have been married for 30 years and I am not really used to that.
Since this is my maiden speech in this distinguished House, let me take this opportunity to thank the constituents of Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission for the honour they have bestowed on me to represent them in this 38th Parliament. I am keenly aware that I serve at their pleasure.
I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the team of volunteers and donors who assisted with my campaign. I would like to think that I was elected because of my sparkling personality, but probably not. We have all come to realize that politics is a team game and I would not be here without their support.
I would like to thank my family, my wife Ruth, my children, Mark, Melanie and Adam and their spouses, who have been with me on this journey. I appreciate their support and encouragement. I thank my parents, Peter and Evelyn Kamp, who have modelled for me that success in life is about giving, not getting. I appreciate that.
Finally, let me thank the previous member of Parliament, Grant McNally, who served us well at considerable personal sacrifice and with whom I had the privilege of working for seven years. It is clear that he was well liked by members from both sides of the House, so I will have big shoes to fill. In fact I think some of his colleagues are afraid that I will not adequately take his place, especially the group that meets regularly at D'arcy McGee's. That fear I think is probably justified.
In my opinion, the riding of Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission is the most beautiful riding in Canada. Some may differ with that, but if people had grown up there, as I did, or even visited there, I think they would come to agree.
It is the hometown of Larry Walker, probably the best right fielder in baseball. It is nestled between the north side of the Fraser River, which used to have fish in it, and the spectacular Golden Ears Mountains. There people will find three growing communities, microcosms really of our country, vigorous business communities co-existing alongside rural areas with farms that still produce and ditches that still croak.
Time is short so let me go directly to the throne speech.
Sometimes it is good to read the last page of a book before starting at the beginning to see how it turns out. If people do that with this speech, here is what they will find. If people go to the last page, they will find the claim that the government's agenda is based on a comprehensive strategy to do three things: one, to build a prosperous and sustainable 21st century economy for Canada; two, to strengthen the country's social foundations; and three, to secure for Canada a place of pride and influence in the world.
I wish I had time to comment on each of these three because they are all important.
Regarding the first, I think fulfilling our fiduciary responsibility is probably the most important task we have. Regarding the third, it is also a very important subject and I think some of us will have an opportunity to speak to that tomorrow. Because time is really short, let me focus on the second.
According to the government's claim, it has a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the country's social foundations. This of course should be of great importance to us all because history has shown us that it is impossible to build a prosperous, influential country without strong social foundations.
What does the speech reveal to us about the government's comprehensive agenda? There is a large section on health, and I will not speak too much about that. It is more a band-aid than a fix for a generation. I do not know if it will solve the personnel problems. We need doctors and nurses.
The speech also mentions in a single sentence the government's commitment to improving home and community care to safe and affordable drugs. There are some first steps in that area, but nowhere near the promises made during the election campaign.
Of course there is that promise that we have heard again and again for a national system for child care and early childhood training. I find it perplexing that the same government that claims to care so much about children cannot seem to produce loophole-free legislation which protects our children from child pornography.
Let me comment briefly in closing on what I did not find. Some of us have been chagrined to realize that our election makes us politicians.