Mr. Speaker, it has been an honour and a privilege to serve in this place. One does not get here on one's own merit. If that were the case, I would not be here. We get here because some folks have confidence that we will represent their best interests.
I would like to thank them.
First, I would like to thank Preston Manning who provided the inspiration for me to seek elected office in 1988 as a Reformer; Dr. Pat Pettman and others who encouraged me to run again in 1993; Alex Soroka who managed so many of my campaigns, and Eric Sykes and Jim Northey who did the same; the good people of Delta and Richmond who have supported me all these years; but mostly, my wife Sue who has been steadfast in her support, my daughter Carolyn who was just two when I was elected, my older daughters Erin and Kristy, and my son Martin and the grandkids.
Success in this place depends on good staff and I have been fortunate in that regard. Brian Derrah, friend, lawyer, researcher extraordinaire, has served me well for over 17 years on the Hill, as well as Michelle Cormier, Gail Galloway and Kelly Williams. Most important, Karen Siefken and Karen Wilson have served my constituents with devotion in the Ladner office. They were indispensable. I thank them and others, including collaborators Phil Eidsvik and Dennis Brown.
I thank the staff on Parliament Hill for their kindness, concern and dedication to duty, especially the folks at the Library of Parliament whose solid research can make us look awfully good.
I thank the good people at Air Canada who have done their best to make an onerous travel schedule doable and the staff at the Ottawa Marriott, my home for close to 15 years. Last but not least, I thank my colleagues and the Prime Minister for his outstanding leadership.
Not long after I was elected, I had a significant decision to make and I looked to the hon. Ron Huntington, a former member of this place, for counsel. His advice was to choose not just what served my purposes that day but to choose what I would be comfortable with when I left this place. I have followed that advice.
My hope when first elected was that when my time here was done the folks at home would say, “He kept his word. He represented us well”. That remains my fondest hope.