Mr. Speaker, after 22 years, thank you for allowing me to take but a few moments to thank all members of this House, past and present, who have stood tall in their efforts to help a short person.
When I arrived here in 1988, I found an inspiring place where partisan rancour might boil in this chamber but the collegial spirit filled the halls.
I recall asking rather pointed questions of a minister, Perrin Beatty, then walking back to our offices in the West Block together talking about the issues of the day, family and life. It was rather like the old Warner Bros. cartoons with the wolf and the sheepdog, but I am not sure which of us was the sheepdog.
However, I have tried to maintain that view of this place ever since, and found many friends among the many parties.
I think most every one of us comes here with the willingness to raise the potential of Parliament to change the lives of people. I look back on my years here and just about every fond memory comes from the many occasions when members from all parties banded together to support a cause or a bill. Sound and fury often drowns the more tender tones of consensus that I have been privileged to experience over the years.
I remember being in Holland and witnessing the emotional connection that all four party leaders had for our veterans and their determination to make a difference in their lives.
As I take my leave, I feel the need to thank three Prime Ministers: Paul Martin for a huge leap of faith in allowing me to join his cabinet; Jean Chrétien for giving me the experience of the 1992 constitutional committee and for not throwing me out of the party for my sometimes contrary voting record; and finally, our current Prime Minister for giving the families of murder victims a measure of justice and peace through consecutive sentencing.
From now on I would thank all hon. members in advance for looking straight into the camera so that I can watch with a keen eye, miss everyone with a heavy heart and be thankful again for all the fond memories of my decades in this House.