Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking so very much my colleagues in the House. After the last couple of days of political rancour that has been going on, it is so lightening to listen to us all come together on something that affected Mauril Bélanger, one of our dear members, and many others who are not being spoken about today in the House. It is a nice, peaceful feeling in this room that we can come together and show Canadians that it is not all about politics all of the time; it is about doing the right thing. I thank all of my colleagues for that.
I like to believe that Mauril is sitting in the Speaker's chair, as he so much enjoyed his opportunity to be Speaker. It was not very long ago. The whole House truly respected Mauril for what he was, for what he did, and for his 20 years of contributions in the House. We watched him struggle with ALS. He was my partner, and when he sat beside me, he struggled every day. He made it for question period for very many days. It was such a struggle for him, but he was determined not to give in to this disease. He explored opportunities, such as what else was happening in Montreal, and went to different doctors trying to find a solution or a cure. Unfortunately, the disease went through him so very quickly.
I visited Catherine and Mauril a couple of weeks before Mauril passed away. My colleague spoke earlier about the immense cost involved in ALS. I have to say that I had been to their home many times before, but I found that they had completely converted their home, with a bed, a respirator, and such. It was like a small hospital, instead of a home.
He was able to be pushed outside in a wheelchair because it was a bright, sunny day. We sat outside in his back yard, where he had very recently built a barbecue and patio area for himself and Catherine. He invited many of his colleagues there, and we had such good times. There was great wine. He very good at barbecuing and all of that.
We sat in that very same place. He was unable to answer anything that I or Catherine said to him at that time, but we had a conversation through his eyes, because that was all he had left with which he could communicate. I left him that day knowing that there was not going to be another opportunity to see him again sitting in a wheelchair in his back yard. It was difficult. The least I can do and the least we can do is to recognize ALS for what it is.
Richard Wackid was another member of the Liberal family, who was a wonderful man. He died very quickly. He was someone else who was admired by so many people. There was also William Corbett. I do not have all of the names, but a lot of them were part of Parliament, in the sense of either serving as a member of Parliament, as Mauril did, or serving us. After 18 years of being here, when I had the opportunity to present a bill or motion, I wanted to do it on behalf of Mauril and the ALS Society.
Let me thank everybody here for their kindness and support. I look forward, on May 6, to joining in the walkathons and many other events to raise money. That is what it is about: it is about money for research. Whether we are talking about ALS, autism, or so many other things, we all need to pitch in and do everything we possibly can to eradicate these terrible diseases.