Mr. Speaker, on behalf of myself and my party, I offer you my heartfelt congratulations on your election. You can count on my collaboration in your duties.
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise in the House and on behalf of the Conservative caucus to congratulate you on your election.
As this is my first time rising in the 43rd Parliament, I would also like to congratulate each and every one of my 337 colleagues here in having respectively won the right and the responsibility of representing their constituents in the House. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the voters of Regina—Qu'Appelle for their continued confidence in me to be their elected representative.
I will not repeat the words of the Prime Minister, but I too would like to congratulate the other candidates who ran for Speaker. They all acquitted themselves with dignity and grace, and gave members of the House a difficult choice in voting. I thank them for their participation, and I again thank the member for Halifax West for presiding over the previous Parliament with such great ability.
The Speaker must serve the House first. It is the Speaker's responsibility to ensure that all members can exercise their rights and privileges in the House. The Speaker's authority comes from all members, and that allows the House to function properly.
Mr. Speaker, the robes you will put back on, having had a set from the previous Parliament, are symbols of a few things: the neutral colours of black and white to denote your detachment from party affiliation, the old-style Queen's council robes and wig bag are a sign of the unbreaking traditions that are the foundation of parliamentary practice.
Mr. Speaker, you will represent the collective rights and responsibilities of members while you are in the chair, but you will also represent our Parliament in several ways around the world. I have great confidence that you will do so with the dignity and professionalism that being the Speaker of a G7 country warrants.
Many people have run for Speaker in the past, and many of the formulas the Speaker reads at various times in this place come from a very famous Speaker, William Lenthall, who was Speaker in 1640. He had a very famous quote. When the king demanded to know the whereabouts of certain members of Parliament who had committed treason, he replied, “May it please Your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak in this place, but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here, and I humbly beg Your Majesty's pardon that I cannot give any other answer than this to what Your Majesty is pleased to demand of me.”
While William Lenthall was Speaker in 1640, he presided over what became known as “the long Parliament”. That Parliament lasted over 10 years. Thankfully, here in Canada we do not have to worry about that anymore. With the results of the last election, Mr. Speaker, you may well be presiding over a short Parliament, but you can count on our co-operation on one thing: Regardless of the length of this Parliament, the Conservative Party will do its best to make sure that it is a productive Parliament on behalf of the Canadians we serve.
Once again, Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you and offer congratulations to your wife, Chantal. I did not realize you are the first Speaker of Italian origin, so cent'anni.