Mr. Speaker, I rise to join in the tributes to a great Canadian, a member of the House, a member of the other place and a devoted servant of Canada, the Right Hon. Roméo LeBlanc.
Roméo LeBlanc was always a proud Acadian, a leader and a beacon for his community, especially as the 25th Governor General of Canada and the first Acadian to bear that title. At every stage of his long and impressive career, Roméo LeBlanc was dedicated to the service of his country.
He was an incredible fisheries minister, at home with everyone on the wharf. The bond he developed with everyone on the wharf and in the whole fishing industry was legendary. He held the post for eight years. I think he was the distinguished Canadian to hold that post the longest. We remember his service to the fishing industry and the fisheries with affection and respect.
As a senator and then Governor General, Roméo LeBlanc was a tireless advocate of education, volunteerism and teaching the history of Canada. He also championed the cause of improving living conditions for the first nations.
We want to publicly offer our most sincere condolences to the LeBlanc family, especially to our colleague and friend the hon. member for Beauséjour, his son, and to his daughter Geneviève.
Today, in the place that he served, we pay tribute to Roméo LeBlanc's career. We remember him as a consummate public servant and a staunch believer in Canada and the Canadian people.
While we mourn the loss of a great Canadian, we also celebrate his life and his place in the history of a country that he loved with a passion.
If I could conclude in a personal way, I think anyone who attended the funeral service in that little church in Memramcook will never forget the deep affection and love that was expressed for him by the crowd outside and the crowd inside.
And when we all sang that beautifully melancholic song, Partons la mer est belle, we felt the affection and respect that everyone at that ceremony, everyone in that small town felt for a very great Canadian who will be sorely missed.