Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise here this afternoon to pay tribute to my friend and colleague, the member for Kings—Hants. We are long-time friends.
In fact, I remember, as executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada, going to meet with the Tory caucus to talk about Kyoto. The wonderful right hon. Joe Clark, John Herron, the environment critic of the day, and our friend from Kings—Hants, never suggested for one moment that there was any question about the science of climate change. We had a respectful hearing and a good conversation, as was always the case, so I was perhaps not surprised that he left the Progressive Conservative caucus. I had hoped that he would become leader of the Green Party so I would not have to, but unfortunately, as it turned out, he went to the Liberals, and as we know, it is a storied history of 22 years.
We have already heard wonderful speeches from the Minister of Public Safety; our friend from Milton, and I am sure the member for Kings—Hants is thinking that yes, it would take two girls from Cape Breton to give a proper sign-off to a member from the valley; our friend from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, also a great champion of LGBTQ rights; and the hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île.
We are gathered here because the member for Kings—Hants is an honourable man who is respected and liked by all members on all sides of the House.
We are sorry to see him go. We have talked of his great contributions in terms of public policy. I used to sit rather close to the member for Kings—Hants in the 41st Parliament. My seat has not moved. I take his point that there are no bad seats in the House of Commons, and I should know.
I do remember his repartee. I have disapproved strongly of heckling, but there was a style, a grace and a panache to the approach of the member for Kings—Hants that I would never regret.
Here, from memory, is something of a K-Tel greatest hits of the member for Kings—Hants. As far as I can remember, he was the first member to begin something that is now routine. When newer ministers get a softball question from their own backbenches, the questions are generally in the order of “The minister is certainly magnificent today. Can the minister tell us how much more magnificent he might be tomorrow?” As those questions were lobbed, the member for Kings—Hants would invariably say, “Watch out, it's a trick question”, then he would follow up with the inevitable, “Don't forget to thank the member for all his or her hard work back in the riding.”
My favourite, and usually in repartee with our friend, the member for Carleton, when he was a minister and the member for Kings—Hants was in opposition. The member for Carleton would say, “Our child care policies here on the Conservative benches draw on the expertise of mom and dad”, to which the member for Kings—Hants would say, “What about dad and dad?”
We are going to miss him around here, not least for the fact that there is nobody who can stand on his or her feet and make it sound like a comedy routine by saying, “Yes, Mr. Speaker, the bill is in its proper form.” How the heck that is funny I will never know.
To the member for Kings—Hants, please come to my wedding, and tell me when the picnic is going to be in Cheverie.