Mr. Speaker, 65 years ago, Austin Hunt began a life of public service that sees him retiring as the longest serving politician in Canada. As a young man, he volunteered to drive Lester B. Pearson, and he quickly rose through the ranks, serving as his campaign manager for three successive campaigns. Five years later, Austin was serving as a councillor in Billings Township. He quickly became the mayor and was never defeated in a municipal election.
Austin's belief that civic engagement is more important than partisan politics helps explain his political longevity. He sought to build bridges and improve relations between his community and neighbouring first nations. He also spent time as the president of regional councils and associations and served on the executive of numerous other local committees, boards and associations. Perhaps most importantly, Austin Hunt has always been accessible to the people he serves, who have elected him time and again.
I urge all members to join me in congratulating Austin Hunt, a pillar of the community, as he retires from electoral politics at the age of 92.
I wish Austin a happy retirement.