Mr. Speaker, I too rise today to pay tribute to my colleague, the hon. member for Winnipeg North, who has had a long and distinguished career of public service. The hon. member has always been a strong and feisty voice for Manitoba, first as an MLA, then as Manitoba minister for culture, heritage and recreation and, as of 1997, a member of Parliament.
She has been an effective voice for women, previously serving as the NDP critic for the status of women and, before her federal election in 1997, she played important roles as a coordinator of the women's directorate in the Manitoba government and as co-chair of Choices, Manitoba's social justice coalition.
In her current role as the NDP critic for health and persons with disabilities, the hon. member has been a vigorous defender of our public health care system. She has also pushed for reform of Canada's access to medicines regime so that lifesaving drugs are more readily available to developing countries.
The hon. member has also been a strong advocate for Israel and has stood alongside many other parliamentarians to denounce anti-Semitism. I had the honour of working with her to establish the Holocaust Remembrance Day on Parliament Hill in 2000 and, more recently, served with her on the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism. More recently, we travelled together to Poland with the friends of Simon Wiesenthal to visit the many sites preserving the physical remains of the Holocaust.
As she moves on to her next challenge, we know that she will continue to be a strong spokesperson for the community she serves. We wish her well, we wish her family well and we wish her bonne chance.