Mr. Chair, two weeks ago, I made my last member's statement. I admit that I was very emotional. I did not think that I would have another chance to rise in the House to speak. I would therefore like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to have more than one minute to thank everyone properly.
I rise today with a voice filled with emotion. I do not want to talk about everything I have done during my time here; I would rather remember how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to be a member of Parliament for four years, four years in which I found extraordinary colleagues with whom I shared good times and some not so good times.
Together, we were elected in 2011. Together, we dealt with the death of our leader, the late Jack Layton. Together, with party members, we chose the member for Outremont as the leader of our party, and I know that we made the right choice. Together, we stood up to the government, which—let us be honest—was not always easy. All joking aside, it is important to mention the cordiality that exists here in this Parliament between the members of all parties.
Over the past four years I have gotten to know all of the dedicated people who work in the House of Commons.
The Speaker and deputy speakers do not have an easy job, and I commend them. The clerks are procedural wizards, and we could not do without their expertise. The analysts make our research much easier.
The members of the security team and the RCMP are always smiling. I must also point out that they did an excellent job during the tragic events of October 22, 2014. The pages make our lives in the House much easier.
Despite my loquaciousness, the translators have always rendered me so well in English.
Although we truly appreciate the bus drivers in the middle of January or in the driving rain, we appreciate them every day of the year.
The food service team brightens my mornings and ensures that my day ends well. The maintenance team ensures that our work environment is always clean and pleasant.
The mail team always gives me my mail with a big smile, no matter how many times I forget my keys.
I am sure that I am missing some, but I hope everyone knows that life on Parliament Hill would be quite dull and dysfunctional if not for you.
I would also like to thank everyone in the whip's office, the house leader's office and the leader's office. Your work is essential to ours. Thank you.
I also feel it is important to salute my team's work. In all humility, an MP cannot do much without a team.
Thanks to Yvon for making sure that people who come to my office with a problem leave with a solution. Thanks to Vicky for warmly welcoming all of the people who come to our office. Thanks to Pierre for doing such a great job of representing me in my riding while I am in Ottawa. Thanks to Yanéric for all of the research and answers you give me.
Garanké, Stéphanie, Geneviève, Sarah and Philippe, you spent some time in my office, and you certainly left your mark. My work would not have been the same without the work you did for the people of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.
I am proud of the work I did during my term. Being the housing critic gave me a chance to raise awareness of certain problems and talk about them with local and national stakeholders.
I also had an opportunity to introduce a bill on a national housing strategy. It was not passed, but I believe there is always next time.
I also had the opportunity to chair the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. It was an enriching experience where I learned to work effectively with several parties.
I was also a member of a few committees of the House, including the Standing Committee on Official Languages and the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.
In my riding, I had the honour of being named the honorary patron of various causes, including homelessness and mental health.
I also had the chance to work on various files with top-notch people in my riding, including in agriculture. We did an agricultural tour where we met a number of stakeholders.
During my term, we also did two tours of municipalities during which we discussed infrastructure, local development and other very interesting topics, and everything that goes on in the municipalities in my riding.
I had the chance to work in immigration, by providing help and information. I had the chance to tour businesses to discuss employment insurance. I had the chance to raise awareness about homelessness and mental health and to hold public consultations.
I attended a number of diverse activities in my region from Saint-Hyacinthe and Acton Vale to Saint-Jude and Sainte-Christine, and I am delighted. I was always happy to meet my constituents and listen to their concerns, and hear about their interests and passions. It is often said that a region can be judged by the people who live there. Well, I am here to say that Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot is a great riding. The people there are welcoming, kind, vibrant, innovative and lively.
“Welcoming” is exemplified by Acton Vale, which is part of the Villages-relais tourism route and which, I have to say, is a town that is growing and where young families want to live. The term “innovative” applies to Saint-Hyacinthe. Its Cité de la biotechnologie agroalimentaire, vétérinaire et agroenvironnementale was deemed the top emerging technology park in the world. And how about “lively”? There is no time to be bored in Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot with the Show de la rentrée Desjardins in Acton Vale, the Expo de Saint-Hyacinthe, the Festival de musique traditionnelle in St-Bernard-de-Michaudville, the Festival de l'accordéon et du folklore québécois in Saint-Marcel, the Festival du porc in Saint-Nazaire and the Festival du maïs in Saint-Damase.
Dear constituents, I cannot thank you enough for having me serve as the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for the past four years. As I already said, I worked for you and with you. Thank you for your trust. You can be sure of one thing: I put my heart and soul into my work and I was always mindful of my values. It was a great privilege to serve you.
I would also like to acknowledge the tremendous work done by the people of the Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot Federal NDP Riding Association. They are among the builders that our country needs so much. It is thanks to people like them that the NDP continues to grow in Quebec.
I would also like to talk about someone very important, Brigitte Sansoucy, whom I have had the privilege of knowing for many years. Brigitte, I am especially excited that you are going to be an NDP candidate in the next election. You have my full support, and I would be honoured to see you as a member of the first NDP government in Canada's history. I wish you the best of luck.
I want to conclude with one very important point. As members of Parliament, we sometimes make work the most important part of our lives, even at the risk of neglecting other areas. I became quite ill during my mandate, and I managed to get through it thanks to the love of my partner, my family and my friends. It is important for me to underscore everything they have done.
J-F, thank you for being by my side over the past four years. I am so happy to be sharing my life with you. Mom, thank you for always believing in me and for instilling in me the values that I espoused as an MP. You were never far from my thoughts. Michel, thank you for taking care of my mother during my many absences, and above all, thank you for making me feel like part of your family. Dad, thank you for all the wonderful discussions we shared, and thank you for teaching me to walk with my head held high, in spite of everything.
To my in-laws, thank you for accepting me and always making me feel at home. Hélène and Gilbert, my second parents, thank you for being in my life for so long and always being there for me. Seb and Alex, I love you like brothers. Thank you for always accepting me as I am. Sarah, Jacinthe and Marie-Claude, thank you for always treating my like a friend, and not like an MP. Thanks, also, for your sweet and silly side, one of the things I love most about our friendship.
As we can see, MPs are never alone. If not, it would be impossible for them to do their job. I was lucky to have a lot of support during my time here, and I still have a lot of support as I leave my position with no regrets and with peace of mind. I have a lot of plans, but the first thing I want to do is to take care of the people that took care of me over the past four years. They certainly deserve it.