Mr. Speaker, it is with mixed feelings that I rise today to give my final speech here in this place.
I was elected on May 2, 2011, under the leadership of Jack Layton, who will forever live in my heart as one of the greatest political leaders Canada has ever seen. I was elected with 102 other NDP MPs. We formed the first New Democratic official opposition in the history of this country, and I am very proud of that.
The day after my election, I was called by the Kinder Morgan president, Ian Anderson, who informed me of his plans to build a new bitumen export pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, and so began my odyssey of fighting what I view as a terrible project for my community. I will not give up. I will not give up fighting even after I leave this place, and I hope that the government sees sense and cancels this pipeline.
While my life here in Ottawa has been centred on fighting Kinder Morgan, it has been much more than that. I have made great friends, both within my own party and within others. Each time I stand to vote with my NDP colleagues, I know we are the party that fights for all Canadians, the party that exists to protect and further the interests of workers and marginalized people. I urge my fellow New Democrats to never give up and to keep working toward the day when we will form the first NDP government in Canadian history.
I have also enjoyed co-operating with others, including you, Mr. Speaker, to improve democracy. I was very grateful to members of other parties who voted for my motion to bring electronic petitioning to the House of Commons, a program in which now approximately two million Canadians have participated.
I also very much enjoyed working with those who contributed chapters to our book Turning Parliament Inside Out, and I challenge others to look for ways to make Ottawa more democratic, especially working to ensure that women come to hold 50% of the seats in this place in the not too distant future.
I wish to thank all those who have travelled with me on this journey and, of course, the voters from both Burnaby Douglas and Burnaby South, who granted me the great privilege of representing them; my current and past staff, who are second to none; the outstanding NDP staff team here in Ottawa; those who have volunteered in my campaigns; and my local executives.
Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for always sticking by me and forgiving my absences and the stresses of this job. Most of all, I want to thank the love of my life, Dr. Jeanette Ashe, for her support, wisdom, and patience. It has been a great adventure here, but it would have been nothing if I could not share it with her.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this indulgence and for your good work in the Chair. I will miss this place very much, but I hope everyone will wish me luck in my new political adventure as I seek to become Vancouver's next mayor and bring the lessons and values I learned in this place to Vancouver City Hall.