Mr. Speaker, it is pretty hard to summarize 20 years in one minute, but here I go.
I came to this place knowing little about myself and less about my country. I leave today having experienced an incredible journey of discovery. Discovery of myself, my beloved Hamilton and Canada. That journey could not have happened alone.
Today, I especially want to thank those people who believed in me and supported me, even in the GST byelection; the steely people of Hamilton. We are tough. We make steel. It makes a person tough. I know my community will weather the challenges ahead.
I want to thank my colleagues on all sides of the House. Critics, and I have had a few, members of our caucus, parliamentary secretaries, Liberals, public servants who made our jobs easier, staff and leaders of all political parties, but especially the right hon. Jean Chrétien who gave me a chance to do my best for Canada.
I especially and mostly want to thank my family: my husband, my lover, my sailor, my partner in life, my daughter Danelle, who at 17 has never known a day when I was not in politics, my stepchildren, who have always been there for me, my mother, my deceased father, my family who have seen the pain of politics and also experienced the joys, the highs and the lows.
I turn the page today at peace that we have built a stronger Canada.
I would also like to thank the women of Canada, who have always believed that being here was important for each and everyone of them. Today, I am saying goodbye, but not forever.