Madam Speaker, I seldom rise in the House for questions and comments, but I would like to do so today to tell the House how much respect and admiration I have for the hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.
The hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell succeeded me as the Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie. In these capacities, he has done an impeccable job and demonstrated great competence.
As he prepares to leave, I would like to express to this House and to our colleague from Glengarry—Prescott—Russell all the admiration I have for him. This is a man who, in spite of important parliamentary, governmental and political responsibilities, has always endeavoured to be open to new possibilities. This member is fluent in both official languages of this country, as very few members of this House are. Moreover, he recently took up learning Spanish, which he speaks very well. We have travelled together on business trips to Mexico, where I had the opportunity to see that, with him, we were able to conduct all Canadian government business in Spanish.
This ability of our colleague represents precisely what he has always been: a man who has dedicated his life to fulfilling his professional responsibilities, while on his personal time opening to new possibilities, most recently learning a third language, Spanish, which opens new horizons because it is spoken so widely. He took the same approach to his education, which he patiently completed while carrying out his responsibilities. He is a man of great intellectual curiosity and great competence.
I want him to know that he will certainly be greatly missed by our team and this House as a whole. I want to wish him the best for the future and tell him, on a personal note, that I hope we will always be friends, because I greatly value his friendship.