Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking you and your colleagues, the Deputy Speaker of the House and the two Assistant Deputy Speakers of the House, for the dignity and efficiency with which you have honoured the function of Speaker of the House. Thanks to your vigilance and impartiality, you have enabled me, a 70-year-old novice, to speak in this place on behalf of the people of Trois-Rivières and defend their interests. Thank you for that.
I would like to thank all the House of Commons employees, the interpreters and the IT staff, who are doing amazing work in every way during these pandemic times.
I also want to mention the work my incredible riding office team has done, the one that was with me when I started as an MP and the one that is with me now. Some of them believed in me before I even put my name on the ticket. Their loyalty, their unconditional support and their confidence shaped me as a politician. Gabriel, Nicolas, Josée and André have dedicated themselves to serving constituents. They have done whatever it takes to meet our constituents' needs. An MP could never do this job alone without her team. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
Because of the pandemic and the adjustments required as a result, this term will certainly have been one of the most extraordinary in recent years. I would even say that this term will go down in history. I am very proud to have been able to help many of my constituents before and during the pandemic.
I also had to adapt to the new reality imposed by the lockdowns. Specifically, I had to learn to use the technology needed to sit virtually and to vote using facial recognition. None of this is easy at my age. Because of COVID-19, I will miss out on the experience of typical parliamentary life on the Hill, which I must admit is something I will regret. That is why I wanted to be here, in the chamber, for my farewell speech.
This term has been especially difficult for me in many ways. This year, I lost my sister, Danielle, to COVID-19. It has also kept me away from my children, grandchildren and family. On top of that, one of my staffers is still suffering from the effects of two cancers after 50 weeks.
Despite this very difficult context, I have nevertheless noticed some wonderful things during my parliamentary activities.
Among other things, I have been pleased to see the considerable strides women have made for several years now in politics, but I also see how much work is left to do. I still hold the conviction that this different, feminist, open policy is the way of the future. I very much hope that the new generations will follow suit.
During parliamentary work and the periods of confinement, I learned, and I realized one thing: I still have so many dreams to fulfill. Being a member of Parliament was one of my biggest. In that sense, I still consider myself blessed. I still have tremendous energy that I will use in other areas of life. Thus, the reason behind this decision not to pursue a second mandate is an urgency to live. However, rest assured, my passion for politics remains intact. I intend to pursue my work as a member of Parliament with the same diligence, until such a time as the citizens of Trois‑Rivières are called to the polls and my successor is elected.
Of course, I have a special thought for the men and women who, by participating in the electoral process, chose to place their trust in me and afforded me the honour of representing them in the House of Commons. To the people of Trois‑Rivières, thank you.
On a more personal level, I am so grateful to my husband for his unconditional support through the hectic pace of political life. He has been there for me throughout my career as a canvasser, as president of the executive, as campaign director and, finally, as candidate and Bloc Québécois member of Parliament for Trois-Rivières. Thanks a million, Michel.
Thank you to my family, my friends, my fellow canvassers in Trois-Rivières, Nicole Philippe, and the Bloc Québécois executive, all of whom have supported me through this wild ride in politics.
Lastly, I want to thank my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois with whom I have had the honour and privileged of serving the people of Trois-Rivières. I do not think the House will mind if I acknowledge my mentor, the francophone dean of the House of Commons, Louis Plamondon. His leadership and advice were a huge help to me here, and it was his Plamondism, as I like to call it, that helped me stay connected to my constituents throughout the pandemic lockdowns. I have very much missed that feeling of closeness and human connection to my constituents during this time.
I also want to express my appreciation for my colleagues. I have been blown away so many times by their knowledge of the issues, their genuine commitment, their passion, their sincerity, and their hard work on their own files, all in the name of improving the lives of Quebeckers.
I will always cherish my memories of each of them.
Finally, I would like to give a shout-out to my leader, Yves‑François Blanchet, who continued to impress me every day with his public speaking and analysis skills and his leadership. He proved time and time again, both before and during the pandemic, that he is a true head of state, and he will go down in history as such. Thank you for everything.
In closing, I am very proud of what I have accomplished. I have changed and grown a lot since I was elected in 2019 and since I was sworn in as the Bloc Québécois member for Trois‑Rivières. I am proud of the woman and politician I have become. I am entering this final stage with enthusiasm and optimism. Like one of my friends often tells me, “Make a nice life for yourself”.
That is what I intend to do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.