Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay special tribute to the member for Sydney—Victoria.
When I was first elected to the House, I was on the agriculture committee. The Liberal government was trying to get through a very contentious bill on agriculture, and there were a lot of problems with it, as there are with a lot of legislation. At the time, there was a minority government, so every vote counted.
At committee, we did one round of voting on some of the clauses, and the member for Sydney—Victoria voted with the opposition. The next day, the whip came down and he was out of that committee, replaced with someone who was more than willing to do whatever the PMO said. I had just been elected, and this really impressed me.
As much as we are here for partisan reasons, at the end of the day, we are here to represent the people who sent us. Farm and rural people sent him here, and he knew the files really well. The fact that the Liberals let him become a committee chair afterward is a testament to the credibility he has in the House.
Many people come here. Some swallow the Kool-Aid, and some become bitter. I have never seen the member for Sydney—Victoria lose his incredible sense of humour and warmth. Maybe he treated me nicely because my aunts were nuns in the convent on Whitney Pier. My family was in the first wave of Cape Breton coal mine closures, and that is why we ended up in northern Ontario.
Through it all, he has been a really good presence in the House. Along with his partner in crime, the other Cape Bretoner, he has brought a sense of decency and a sense of community to this place.
I want to pay special tribute to his family as well. People read in the newspaper that we are going to make Parliament more family-friendly, but it is not. It is a terrible life for families.
I am interested in the member's work with greenhouses. When I ran for the leadership of the NDP, I sat down with my wife and told her that it would affect our family and we should talk. She said, “Spare me. I've heard all the promises. Here's the deal. You run for the leadership, and win or lose, you build me a greenhouse.” When I lost, I did not get angry; I came home and built the best damn greenhouse. Now all these people in the north want a greenhouse from me. When I retire, maybe the member and I can go into business together.
We have talked about his great sense of humour and the fact that he is a great parliamentarian. People may not be aware that he is also a great humanitarian and, as I understand, an animal rights activist.
There have been a lot of rumours over the years about the poor beaver that was out on the road when the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria and the member for Cape Breton—Canso were coming home. This could not have been at two in the morning, so they were probably at a caucus meeting.
The way I heard the story, they found the poor beaver on the road and managed to get it down to the river. That is somewhere in the ether of legend, and I would like the hon. member to confirm what happened to the beaver. Did the member for Cape Breton—Canso end up in the river alongside the beaver while trying to help? For the record of Parliament and what is going to be in Hansard 150 years from now, I ask him to stand up, unashamed, and tell us the truth. What happened to that beaver?