Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to mark the passing of the hon. Ron Atkey. Sadly, he died this past Friday.
Ron Atkey was first elected to the House of Commons for the Toronto riding of St. Paul's in the 1972 election as a Progressive Conservative. After being defeated in 1974, he was re-elected in 1979 as part of the Joe Clark minority government, and appointed minister for employment and immigration. Under his and the hon. Flora MacDonald's ministerial leadership, with the backing of the prime minister, Mr. Atkey was instrumental in large numbers of Vietnamese refugees, then known as the boat people, being admitted to Canada.
After accomplishing this great political achievement, Mr. Atkey was defeated in the 1980 election and returned to practise law. From 1984-89, he served as chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
I knew Ron for over 35 years. I know I speak for many friends and colleagues of Mr. Atkey in the House when I say how thankful we are for his many years of dedicated service to Canada.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, including wife Marie, and children Erin Tait, Matthew Atkey, and Jennifer Price. He will be greatly missed.