Mr. Speaker, it brings a tear to my eye to join my Bloc Québécois colleagues in the House of Commons in recognizing Deputy Clerk André Gagnon for his excellent work. By “colleagues”, I mean all MPs, past and present, and every Bloc Québécois staffer over the years.
Mr. Gagnon chose to step down a little sooner than we might have liked. It was only just in 2019 that we made a vigorous comeback. All of us—the Bloc Québécois, the House of Commons, Parliament, all members and every unit of the House of Commons administration—are losing an exceptional man, a man who made his mark and whose influence will not soon be forgotten in this place.
Mr. Gagnon is the Gagnon of Bosc and Gagnon's famous House of Commons Procedure and Practice. It is a monumental work, a manual detailing the procedure and practice of the House of Commons, and he was its co-author. It took seven years of rigorous, serious work by a rigorous, serious man.
It is also true that, throughout his career, which began in 1998, he has had exceptional experiences. He worked closely with Audrey O'Brien, the first ever female clerk of the House of Commons. He also worked closely with the youngest member of Parliament to become Speaker of the House, the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, who was 32 when he was appointed.
Mr. Gagnon saw and supported the arrival of several members from parties not recognized by the House of Commons: the Greens in 2011 and the Bloc Québécois between 2011 and 2019. He saw majority and minority governments and, in every situation, he was quick on his feet and skilfully dealt with the pressure from the various parties.
Mr. Gagnon is well liked by all political parties, members and colleagues, for a number of reasons. The first, and most important, is that he has a keen understanding of the political issues faced by MPs. We feel understood; he understands us.
He has a profound respect for the role of MPs. All members, be they government members, opposition members, members of an unrecognized party or independents, receive the same robust and respectful support.
Generous in his explanations and teachings, he wants members to understand procedure. He knows how to transmit his passion. I must also point out Mr. Gagnon's contribution to promoting the French language in the world of parliamentary procedure, since he has been vice-president of the Association des secrétaires généraux des parlements francophones since 2006.
Mr. Gagnon is known to be a unifier and a positive leader. The Bloc Québécois has a great affection for him and greatly admires his career. I want to say that he also has the perfect personality for the position. His smile, his good humour, his sense of humour, his ability to listen, his generosity and his respect for members are, in my opinion, human qualities that every clerk should have. Let us be frank, he has them all.
We are sad to see him go. We are losing a giant, an exceptional man, and we know that our sadness is shared by his colleagues and by every member of the House. We all know that he will be leaving behind a great void.
In conclusion, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to extend my most heartfelt thanks to deputy clerk, procedure, André Gagnon for his excellent work, his contribution and his dedication to the public service. We owe him much, and wish him a wonderful retirement.
Thank you, André Gagnon, I wish you well.