Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time today.
It is with a great sense of pride and honour that I rise in the House today to respond to the throne speech on behalf of the people in my riding of Kildonan—St. Paul in Manitoba. This is my inaugural address and I want to begin by congratulating the Speaker on the re-election in this assembly and to congratulate as well those other members who were elected to represent their constituents. It is my hope that we will each justify the faith and confidence that our constituents have shown in us. I also want to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your appointment to the bench and it is a great honour to have you sitting there as well.
I am honoured to serve my constituents. I am here today because the Leader of the Opposition has proven to be a very capable, intelligent person with a vision for Canada. He renews the Canadian spirit and rekindles my faith in the political future and the well-being of our nation.
I would like to say how special I feel about my very special riding of Kildonan. I want to acquaint members with it because the Speech from the Throne impacts the people I serve. It is a place where families live, work and grow together. The beauty of the countryside is reflected in East and West St. Paul. The sense of community touches anyone who lives there.
For example, the people of West St. Paul had a vision to build a brand new recreation centre. They raised thousands of dollars toward that dream. They did not wait around for someone else to do it for them. They got busy and made it happen.
I celebrated Canada Day with them this year and enjoyed the friendly atmosphere that surrounded the event. The family fun days are amazing in East St. Paul. Hundreds of people showed up to make the event a success. I stood all day handing out tickets and candies to young and old alike. It seemed like the day went by in a moment, and that moment was filled with much fun and more memories.
A short while ago, our gateway community centre was host to two socials for local people who needed community and financial support. They had both developed cancer, unfortunately, and the whole community was out to see that they had the support they needed. That is an example of true community spirit. That is what Kildonan—St. Paul is like. I was never more proud to be the member of Parliament than when I rolled up my sleeves and worked alongside these dedicated people, my people of Kildonan—St. Paul.
It is the same community spirit at what is known as 1010 Sinclair. This is a well known and well respected home for residents who need support. It is a place on which people can count.
The Seven Oaks hospital is our local hospital and has become a pillar of our community. The wellness centre attached to it attracts people from all over the city of Winnipeg, and I know of the care and dedication of the medical staff there, the doctors, the nurses and the administration.
My constituents do not ask a lot. They just want commitments made to them by the government to be real and honest. However, as the throne speech was read, I had an uneasy sense that I was watching a rerun of an old television series, one in which the plot had become predictable, the outcome a foregone conclusion and so familiar that viewers could recite the words with the actors. It is unfortunate that the present minority government opted not to take better advantage of the opportunity to address the concerns voiced by Canadians and lay out an agenda with substance for this 38th parliamentary session.
There was an air of expectation in the homes of families across our great country. They wanted the newly elected minority government to stand by its election promises and provide substantial programs, policies and funding in critical areas of concern, areas like health care, the BSE crisis, the military, justice issues, victim rights issues and the much needed infrastructure concerns.
In Kildonan--St. Paul the recent Liberal announcement boasting about Winnipeg becoming the home of the National Centre for Disease Control is in need of a reality check. This grand description implies that a lot will be happening in our capital city.
The present government led our residents to believe that many new jobs and many new opportunities would be created for the people living there. Far from increasing Winnipeg's job market, this new entity instead will spread the jobs all across the country. The same holds true with the virology lab announcement. It will not provide the jobs for Winnipegers that were promised by the government in the last election.
As I said earlier, my constituents want these government announcements to be real and honest. They want new jobs in Winnipeg, not recycled press releases with grand promises of things to come, camouflaged by spin that permeates the reality of what actually will be provided.
Parliament can work for the good of all Canadians. This was demonstrated yesterday in these halls when all members of the House voted unanimously for amendments to the Speech from the Throne. Canadians are encouraged by the fact this has happened, but we still have much to do. I hope that members opposite will grow to show respect for our neighbours to the south. They have families just like our families. Our neighbours to the south have been friends for a lot of years.
Over the years, we as Canadians have had much pride in the bond we have with the U.S.A. and pride in the open border between our two countries. Now things have changed. I believe the problem is not one mad cow. The problem lies with the careless use of public words that crumbled the trust between our two countries. This issue has to be addressed. I would encourage members opposite to promote respectful interaction between our two countries at all times. Friends do that. Our international trade depends on it.
In closing, I would like to make a comment regarding our Canadian military. Now that our military has made the front pages of our newspapers, under regrettable circumstances, perhaps the government once and for all will work toward ensuring increased funding is made available to it. These fine men and women in our military work under extremely difficult conditions. Their duties will not diminish, rather they will increase in the future.
I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me this time in the House of Commons to put a few comments on the record. I am hopeful about the future of our country and I am very proud to serve on this side of the House.