Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be resigning from my position as the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie effective January 25, 2008. I want to officially thank my electors who voted me in five times.
I entered politics almost 18 years ago: first in 1989 as the member for Chambly in the National Assembly of Quebec, and then in 1995 as the federal member for the riding of Saint-Henri—Westmount, as it was called at the time.
Often being a politician is a thankless job, but it can be extremely rewarding when we succeed in serving our constituents.
I must admit that I was privileged in my political career to have six different leaders, including four prime ministers, believe in me and I want to take this opportunity to thank them: the late Robert Bourassa, Daniel Johnson, Jean Chrétien, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, Bill Graham and the leader of the official opposition, the hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.
Throughout the years I worked wholeheartedly and I would like to think I have shown that it is possible to be in politics and stay true to one's self, by staying true to one's values, by being loyal and honest and maintaining a sense of duty.
I owe my success in this career to the great people around me: to the volunteers in my political party and my association, to Simon Potter, the late Hans Fluehler, and Brigitte Garceau; the staff in my constituency office under the direction of Nathalie Dallaire and the staff in my political offices led by Marc Saint-Pierre, Marie-José Reid and Yves Lemire. I have also worked with public service officials of the highest quality and I want to thank them.
None of this would have been possible without the love of my friends and the unfailing support of my life partner, Christian, who was there with me through all the ups and downs of political life.
I leave today with a sense of accomplishment, but also with high hopes for the future.
I dream of a Canada where respect and belief in the potential of every individual are the driving forces behind every government action and the inspiration for every parliamentarian.
I dream of a Canada where the children are bilingual and travel across the country and are open to the world.
I dream of a Canada where there is equal representation of men and women in Parliament.
I dream of a Canada where the partners in the federation trust one another and focus their common efforts on the best interests of the citizens.
I dream of a Canada that is an international leader in peacekeeping, the development of democracies, the respect for human rights and the preservation of this planet.
I dream of a Canada where our country's history is taught to children and new immigrants so that they come to understand that the presence of francophones throughout Canada, their attachment to their language and culture, and Quebeckers' determination to affirm their unique identity have resulted in Canada being open to cultural diversity.
And I dream of a Canada where Quebeckers take their rightful place in this country that belongs to them.
These dreams, or most of them, could become reality with the will of our political leaders.
Mr. Speaker, dear colleagues from all political parties, it has been a pleasure and an honour to work with you and to serve my country.