Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the NDP caucus, I am pleased to join with my colleagues from other parties in giving thanks for the life and work of the former Speaker of the House, James Jerome.
We pay particular tribute to his contribution to this House and to his distinguished ability as Speaker.
As one of the few left who sat in the House while Speaker Jerome was in the chair, I can certainly attest to his capacities in that role and to the respect which he enjoyed on both sides of the chamber from those who had longer experiences of his leadership in the House. Thanks to the peculiar dynamics of the minority Parliament of 1979, I had a short-lived experience of Speaker Jerome. I certainly remember my first question. I asked it of a future Speaker of the House, John Fraser. When I got what actually passed for an answer from the minister, I was denied a supplementary.
I say this by way of harkening back to a parliamentary culture, symbolized by Speaker Jerome who was the last Speaker to enjoy the benefits of such a culture, in which the Speaker felt free to exercise more discretion and individual judgment over who was to be recognized and who was not and in what context. Speaker Jerome certainly exercised that judgment with much wisdom, humour and discernment. In doing so, he served Canadian democracy and the institution of Parliament with great distinction.
We hope that the memory of the esteem in which he was held will be comfort to his family and we express our sincere condolences to them.