Mr. Chair, it is my pleasure tonight to give my farewell speech here in the beautiful Parliament of Canada. These past 11 years have been a very interesting time here in Canada.
I have to thank first of all my beautiful family. My son Edward actually inspired me to come to Parliament because of his work in the ICE unit, because of his heart for those who could not help themselves, the trafficking victims and the child abuse cases he worked on. As my son, he turned my heart as a mother and subsequently the nation's heart was turned, because in this place I was able to come and represent the survivors of human trafficking. I thank my son Michael, who is a brilliant young man; Janet who is a top supporter of everything that I have done; Natasha, who is absolutely creative and brilliant; Alexandra, of course, who does so much on my foundation and who is truly a wonderfully caring human being; and Jenna. Those are my six children, and there are my grandchildren.
I am eternally grateful to my family for supporting everything I have done since I came to Parliament Hill. Of course, I thank my husband. He has suffered cancer through a large part of my stay here over the 11 years. I thank him for believing in my work and inspiring me to carry on.
Also, I thank my EDA who supported me in everything I have done, especially John Feldsted and Kaz Malkiewicz. John Feldsted was the president of my EDA for three years and continues to do much to further the cause of the political side of what I do.
I thank all the people across the country for their prayers as I did my work to bring laws to this place to combat human trafficking. Those prayers mean a lot because first in my life is my God. He is my strength. Second is my family, and everything else comes underneath that.
There are three people who I have to recognize as well: Brian McConaghy of Ratanak, who is my brother in terms of fighting human trafficking here in Canada and worldwide; Jamie McIntosh, who started International Justice Mission; and Benjamin Perrin, who started The Future Group. It is like the group of three. These people have always been with me through the many years, even before I came to Parliament and certainly during the time that I spent here.
Most of all, I would like to thank the survivors of human trafficking. When I came here I had a vision to stop human trafficking. I had a vision to get laws through to protect the victims of human trafficking. I did put two laws through that made Canadian history, thanks to the grace of God. They are survivors like Timea Nagy, Natasha Falle, Bridget Perrier, Trisha Baptie, just to name a few. They are absolutely amazing young women.
Around this place, to my colleagues in the Conservative caucus and my colleagues across the way, there have been real friendships welded together because of the common good. I believe everyone in the House has the good of the country at heart.
There is a man who sat in our lobby for years, John Holtby. He was such an encouragement to me. He was a brilliant man who cared very deeply about the issues and about my work.
There is a young lady, Kelly Williams, who worked with me, and on me as a matter of fact, when I was chair of the health committee. She did a lot of work around the committees.
Of course, there are the security people, the restaurant people, the pages and all who make Parliament work.
When I stop to look back at why I came here, for me, I came to stop human trafficking in our country. If it was not for the survivors who use their bravery to speak out, if it was not for ministers, like the Minister of Justice, and others, I would never have been able to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.
When I think about the leaders in this Parliament, I know there have been many who have been very strongly affected by the human trafficking issue here in our country and who stood up in this Parliament to protect the most vulnerable. I thank them for that.
I thank Susan Finlay, my prayer partner. She has been my prayer partner for years, and she has always been with me. In my down times and triumphant times, she was always there.
This Parliament is a place where we change the laws of the land. There are very talented decision makers in this place, and often we do not see the small things that are there. To me, especially, the small things but very important things and people are the people like my staff.
Joel Oosterman, my chief of staff, and his wife Kristy have been with me for a very long time. I love them like family. Marian Jaworski, who runs my constituency office, is just an amazing person. I have to say that those are the people who saw the vision with me and who helped me. Joel is one of the most talented writers I have ever come across. If anyone needs anything, even a kidney, ask Marian. He will find it. He is that kind of staff member. He is just an incredibly honest man who stands above many.
All these people come together for such a time as this, to stop human trafficking here in Canada. God rest her soul, my mother always said that we should leave the world a better place and I hope that, because I have been here, that has occurred.
I have to say that there are many laws we have here, such as Bill C-268, regarding mandatory minimum sentences for traffickers of children age 18 years and under. There is Bill C-310, where we reached the long arm of Canadian law into other countries when Canadian citizens or permanent residents go to traffic or exploit others. We can now bring them back to Canada.
My heart started to really look to leaving this place on December 6, 2014. On that day, we passed Bill C-36, on which I worked with the Minister of Justice. For the first time in Canadian history, the buying of sex is illegal in this country. Now, we are at a point where we can press the button and have a new start. At that point in my career, I knew I had to leave this place.
I knew I had to do something else, so I am working on my foundation, the Joy Smith Foundation. I will continue to do that, I believe, until the end of time. The foundation is going very well. I have had hundreds of lovely letters from around the country from victims who have said thanks and that the foundation has helped them to restart their lives. What could be better than that?
I have a book coming out before Christmas, called I Just Didn't Know. All of the proceeds will be going to my foundation. I really hope the book touches the hearts of Canadians and people across the country who read it, because it has real life stories in it. Brave survivors have agreed to tell their stories, put their pictures in it, and explain how traffickers are able to lure young people.
It is my very great honour to have served and to continue to serve my country in this great place, the Parliament of Canada. It is rare to have the privilege of doing that and it is rare to have met all of the people in my caucus who I call friends and who are astoundingly strong leaders and decision-makers in this country.
I thank God for the opportunity that I had here, and I look forward to rekindling and keeping those friendships along the way as I go on to my other career.