Mr. Speaker, it is truly an honour to rise in the House today for my last statement in this beautiful chamber, a place where I have had the good fortune of serving for 15 years.
At the outset, let me thank all of those within this House and outside the House for their tremendous good wishes over the last number of days.
I want to thank a number of people today. I want to thank the people of the ridings of Edmonton—Leduc and Edmonton Southwest, whom I have been privileged to represent over the last five terms. I thank them for their confidence and for their support for me.
I wish to thank the many volunteers and supporters who helped me during this period: the constituents who provided me constant feedback and guidance and the supporters who are like a family to me, many of whom supported me for the entire time.
I would like to thank my present and past colleagues on both sides of this House for their passionate love of our country, their commitment to making it better and their kindness toward me. They are friends for life.
I would like to thank and express my sincere appreciation to the many wonderful people who have worked in my offices in Edmonton and Ottawa for their incredible service to our constituency and our country.
I may get very emotional here. I want to thank Debbie Healy for 15 years of amazing service to me. Debbie and I are part of the same family now. I just love being part of her extended family and I thank her so much. I thank Kim Dohmann, who has served me for 15 years as well in such an extraordinary capacity. I thank Willii Burgess, who served me for 10 years and worked with me for another five years. I thank all of my current staff, Samantha Johnston, the communications whiz, Lene Jorgensen, Carmel Harris, Trevor Rogers, who have done such an outstanding job for all the constituents. They are so much part of my success.
Two of my staff who were very colourful in my past are here today: the lovely and talented Michele Austin, and Bryan Rogers, about whom I will not tell any stories here because that would not be appropriate in this chamber, but I thank them so much for being here today.
I also want to thank my family and friends for their unconditional love, their support, the friendship they have given me in this fantastic journey through politics, particularly my heroes: my parents, Ron and Elaine Rajotte. I am more like my dad today than my mom. My mom is the strong one; my dad is the guy who cries at everything.
I believe more profoundly today than I did when I entered Parliament that Canada is the best country in the world, a place where we can fulfill our deepest hopes and aspirations and be a light and example for the world.
I want to end by saying this. There are a lot of comments about political life and politicians that occur here today and a lot of cynicism. After 15 years of serving with people in this place, people who volunteer in politics, I have more faith in those people who are in politics, who volunteer in politics. It is a noble endeavour. It is making this country a better place. This is the best country in the world. We can continue to make it better.
I thank all those in the chamber and outside of the chamber for their service. It has been a wonderful path for me. I genuinely appreciate it.
Thank you very much, and goodbye.