Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the hon. federal member for Hamilton East, a true steel town fighter, a passionate partisan, a devoted wife, mother and daughter, and a ferociously patriotic Canadian.
When she presented legislation to protect gays and lesbians, a rock was thrown through her office window but she did not back down. When her hometown steel companies were angry about her outspoken support of widowed pensioners, she did not back down. When she was under fire from Mulroney's Conservatives, the rat packer did not back down, although she did jump over a chair or two.
When her critics, among them New Democrats, forced her resignation over the GST, she did not back down, although I backed down from running against her in Hamilton East because I knew that would be folly.
When her own party conspired to oust her, she did not back down.
The hon. member for Hamilton East launched her leadership campaign in Canada's first Tim Horton's to demonstrate her commitment to speak for ordinary people.
In her beloved hometown of Hamilton, she is best known for her devotion to new Canadians, always seizing the opportunity to lobby for family reunification, to amend Canada's arcane immigration laws and to open doors to employment and education opportunities. For this alone, her presence on the national stage will be sorely missed.
I know the member for Hamilton East loves this place, and she should leave knowing that more members than she knows, love her, will miss her and celebrate her compassion, her chutzpah and her devotion to our Canada.