Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to pay tribute to Bill Young. I have had the pleasure to know Bill Young since 1997, when I was first elected as a new member of Parliament.
I first encountered Bill at the human resources committee where he served as an analyst. As the lone NDP member, I was trying to figure out how committees worked and what we were meant to do.
I had many chats with Bill and because of him, I came to appreciate what an amazing resource the Library of Parliament is, and also appreciate the role of the analysts. Their superb ability to help committee members and MPs generally in such a non-partisan way is something on which all of us rely.
His career at the Library of Parliament, where he also occupied the positions of principal and senior research officer, spans 18 years. Bill Young was also deputy team leader, Social Security Reform -- Coordination Group for Human Resources Development Canada, from 1994 to 1995.
As we know, he was appointed as the Parliamentary Librarian in 2005. I would like to read from when he appeared as a witness before the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, because I think it gives us a flavour of his passion and his dedication. He said before that committee:
I'm very honoured to have my name go forward for the position of the Parliamentary Librarian, because for a political historian like I am, it's a job that brings both my passions and interests but also my training and experience. As I have mentioned, it's almost twenty years that I have worked with parliamentarians from all parties at the parliamentary research branch.
He went on to say:
For nearly 150 years, the Library of Parliament has been a shining light on our country's political and historical landscape. It is an architectural gem, a historical landmark and a unique institution that serves Parliament as well as the general public....While the library remains a repository of books and other printed information, it has moved into the technological era in its collections and reference services.Over 30 years ago it added a research and analysis function. During the past decade, it has been the public face of Parliament by providing information to citizens about how our Parliament works.
That is what Bill said to the standing joint committee.
As a trained historian, academic and then as a researcher, Bill has spent most of his career at the Library of Parliament. Shortly after he took the reins as the seventh Parliamentary Librarian in 2005, he set in place a broad-based plan for renewal of the institution to ensure that the library remained relevant for parliamentarians well into the 21st century.
Bill took on the big task of modernizing this honoured institution. This meant figuring out what it was that the users wanted and needed, and also how they wanted it to be delivered to them at a time when shifts to information technology and social networking seemed to be happening almost every day.
Bill has been with the library so long it is almost like he is part of the permanent collection. If he were a book in the library's collection, I think his staff would have a very difficult time deciding where to store him. He is certainly rare and valuable, so they would want to keep him under lock and key, but I am also sure that many people would be constantly referencing him that the tendency would be to leave him on a table by the main doors, just to save time.
I do not think it is too much of a stretch to say that he is the reason the library remains relevant to parliamentarians today. Not only is it relevant, but it is vital to our work. On behalf of the NDP, we extend our heartfelt congratulations and thanks for his dedicated public service to us and all Canadians over so many years. We wish him all the best in his retirement.
I have just one word of caution. We do not want him to watch CPAC too often. We do not want him to worry about committee reports anymore. Because of his stellar work, we know it is all being left in good hands. I extend our congratulations to Bill.