Mr. Speaker, it is with some pleasure and sadness that I rise today to thank a colleague and dear friend, the member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity.
From the first moment I arrived on Parliament Hill, almost 10 years ago, I got to meet good people who every day strived to do great things; people who were focused on serving Canadians, on tackling difficult challenges, on trying to figure out the best way forward for our country; people whose diligent efforts and dedicated work never failed to make a positive, meaningful difference in the lives of those who elected them. The member for the then-riding of Random—Burin—St. George's was one of those people.
Newly elected to the House together in October 2008, we were both technically rookies, but I knew very well that, unlike me, the member did not fit that label.
Having previously worked as a senior advisor to Premier Wells and a provincial minister in Newfoundland and Labrador, she had answered the call of public service well before we crossed paths. She had already dedicated her career to what she does best, and that is serving the people of Newfoundland and Labrador with passion and commitment.
Once she arrived in Ottawa, she quickly became known for her incredible work ethic and her determination to help others.
She was appointed opposition deputy House leader and then Liberal whip. We all know that the whip's job is nominally about discipline, but she understood that it was actually more about morale and team-building. Remember, the party had been dealt its worst-ever election defeat in 2011, and we were reeling without a permanent leader. It was this member who wrangled and managed and motivated the 35 of us, helping us with her strength and resilience to remain united and focused.
Once I became leader, I relied on her time and time again, through some extremely difficult moments, for her support and leadership. No matter what the situation, she has always been, for me, a model of grace and compassion, a source of intelligence and deep wisdom.
Whether in opposition or in government, as a member of caucus or cabinet, the hon. member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity was always an excellent voice for her constituents here in Ottawa. She always made sure that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador had a place at the decision-making table and that their interests were represented and their voices heard. Canadians are all the better for it.
However, what has perhaps left the greatest impression on her colleagues, constituents, and fellow citizens is the member's strength of character. We will miss not only a skilled politician but also a dedicated citizen, a devoted wife, an incredible mother, and a loving grandmother; a great Canadian who will continue to inspire women across the country to choose a career in politics; who will continue to motivate young people to serve their community, and continue to encourage those who are fighting an illness to keep on fighting.
Canadians, like the members on all sides of the aisle, will not forget the courage and fortitude shown by the member in the face of adversity. She is and always will be an example of resilience, passion, and grace to us all.
The hon. member is without a doubt one of the hardest-working people I have had the pleasure to know.
It was a true privilege to have her by my side since the day I decided to serve this great country.
She has dedicated her career to serving the world in which her children and grandchildren would grow up, and now the time has come for her to enjoy it with them, and of course with Howard, her extraordinary husband to whom we are all deeply grateful for having shared her for so many years in service to her community, her province, and to her country. Thank you, Howard.
Judy, my dear friend, I am going to sorely miss you, miss having you by my side, but I know, we all know that your family and friends need you by their side even more. I love you. Thank you.