Mr. Speaker, to my dear friend, the member of Parliament for Sydney—Victoria, as a Caper myself from Margaree, I remember his first political action as the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria, which was very green. It was fighting the Point Aconi coal-fired power plant that was going to suck the water out of the farms on Boularderie Island, which it did. However, that was when I first came across the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria. As members have heard, his actions as a member of Parliament have continued to be green.
We worked on the Sydney tar ponds issue. I well remember, as some members would, that in the spring of 2001, right around this time of year, which was before 9/11 and so protesters were allowed to sit right by the members' entrance, I was there on a hunger strike. I thought two or three days and Allan Rock would crack. I never thought I would have to be on a hunger strike for 17 days to get the commitment to clean up the Sydney tar ponds. However, the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria, who had been a member of Parliament for something like six months, came outside and talked to me. He said, “Geez, this place. I don't know if I'm ever going to figure out how to make this place work so I can get things done. I knew how to work when I was home on the farm.”
I do not know if the hon. member remembers those conversations, but he certainly did figure out how to get things done. From that early first time of being elected, I think in the fall of 2000, until today, he has gotten a lot done. We did not always agree on the way we should clean up the Sydney tar ponds, but we sure did make a big improvement.
My hon. colleague for Cape Breton—Canso is a cousin to my sister-in-law. It is all very cozy at home. I want to put it on the record, as leader of the Green Party, to certify and satisfy some of the earlier questions. This may not be in Hansard, but in the annals of Hinterland Who's Who members will find the hon. members for Cape Breton—Canso and Sydney—Victoria for their daring midnight rescue of the beaver in the middle of Wellington Street and getting it down to the water.
The hon. member for Sydney—Victoria first flashed across our TV screens in Cape Breton many years ago, as this handsome young farmer speaking on behalf of chicken farmers everywhere and, with a great big smile, saying, “Get cracking”. It was a good ad, and here he is all these years later.
The hon. member for Sydney—Victoria has accomplished a great deal, and I will really miss him around here, assuming I can get re-elected. He is a dear friend, a solid citizen and a wonderful family man. In the language of Gaelic in Cape Breton, go raibh maith agat; in the language of the Mi’kmaq, wela'lin; and a good dose of Dutch, dank u wel.