Mr. Speaker, this is a night for “thank yous”, so a lot of my dissertation tonight will be about the people I need to thank for allowing me to be here and for keeping me here.
First, I thank my Lord and Saviour for all the gifts that He has given me, the gifts of family and values.
Speaking of values, I want to thank my mom and dad, Dan and Bernadette Norlock for the values they instilled in me and my five siblings. They are sort of the beginning, and I wish to thank them.
My whole life I have been a person of public office. The first long-term job I had was with the Ontario Provincial Police. I can recall my coach officer telling me, when I thought there were some things that needed to dealt with in the Ontario Provincial Police, that I had to earn the right to have an opinion. I joined our bargaining unit and we got a lot of things done. That was some 40-plus years ago.
In 1999, and I forget the exact date, I came home from work and was taking off my boots at the door. My wife had warmed supper for the second time. The phone rang and a gentleman by the name of Bert Purvis was on the other end. He suggested that I put my name forward as a candidate with the Canadian Alliance, the political party of the day. I can remember putting my hand over the mouthpiece of the telephone, looking up at my wife, who was standing, warming supper, saying, “Can you imagine?”. My dear wife said, “Just say yes”. Therefore, it is her fault that I am here today.
We were not successful in the year 2000 and we chose not to run in 2004, However, a couple of people are responsible in a way. A lot of my electoral district association, being party president for many years, working with it, thought that this unworthy person should put his name forward. The member for Leeds—Grenville made that comment to me, subsequent to the 2004 election, I also had the benefit of knowing the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, who also attended a fundraiser and was supportive. Of course Colin McSweeney gave me some great advice.
However, it is our electoral district association and volunteers who put their faith in us and who helped support us throughout the years during the elections.
I cannot forget, nor will I ever forget, the faith that the good citizens of Northumberland—Quinte West put in me in the 39th, 40th and this our 41st Parliament. My fellow citizens of Northumberland—Quinte West and me have done much together. I look across that great riding and I can see all the things this government, working with other levels of government, has been able to accomplish, and I am proud of that. I will be talking to the citizens of Northumberland—Quinte West, in a different venue, with regard to all that we have achieved together.
We cannot do this job without a team behind us. Throughout the nine-plus years that I have been here, we have had quite a number of staff. In the riding, most of the folks there have been with me for quite some time. With your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, I will mention their names because they are the reason why we kept getting elected: Barb Massey, who was there for us from the beginning; Catherine Cole; Stephanie Campbell; Rob Dodd; James Daniels; Sarah Honey; Erica Meekes; Jake Enright; Tom Rittwage, who is one of my trainers; Graham Howell and his wife Nubia; Mark Elton; and Sonia Garvey who was part of that training team; Daphne Gower; and Sally Harris.
I am sure I must have missed somebody and for that I apologize.
I am going to go out on a limb, and I am going to speak to my friends across the way, as well as myself. I can remember telling the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock at a barbecue, that during a question period, I thought it was awful to heckle and that I would never do that. I have not been able to live up to his expectations, and for that I apologize to him.
Why do we not have the kind of respect in this place that we should have? It begins with us. We cannot expect others to respect us, unless we respect each other. Question period usually begins with the opposition asking, “Why are you the worst government that ever existed on this planet, on Earth, in this country?” We respond by saying, “We are the best government ever”.
That is where I have to congratulate our forefathers, other members of Parliament, and the rules and regulationd that govern our behaviour, like using the third person to tone things down. This place often, according to many people, does not run very well. It brings to my mind those words of Sir Winston Churchill when he said this about democracy, “it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried”.
I would have to say that about this place. We sometimes look rather slipshod and bad in other people's eyes. but the right thing gets done. Canadians are well served by this Parliament. In the end, Canadians always get the right kind of government, because we are in a democracy. There will be changes, and that is good. Change is good; change is healthy for democracy. I want to reiterate how privileged I have been to be here.
When we get near the end of our time here, we have to recognize, as the first member to speak night did, why we are leaving. One of the principle reasons is because of his family. He mentioned that we needed the support of our family. I would not be here without the support of my family, especially my wife who recognized in me something I did not recognize. She knows me better than I know me. I say this for all the husbands and other life partners. If they are smart, they will listen to their wives. In the end, they are right. She sure is.
I want to spend some time with my family. I have been working 40 years, much less than many business people out there and other folks. The reason I am leaving politics is it is time to spend a little time with my sons. The Liberal member of Parliament mentioned a private member's bill. It is true, not many people in our country get to have a private member's bill pass.
I have a passion, and it is hunting and fishing. My private member's bill, and I will always be able to look at it, is the National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act for Canada. I am going to enjoy those pursuits.
I thank the great citizens of Northumberland—Quinte West, once again, for putting their faith in me in three Parliaments. I thank my dear wife for putting up with me. I thank her for having me say yes. It has been an honour and a privilege to be in this place. As the late Mr. MacMillan, the town crier in Cobourg ended all of his cries, I will end my speech with, God bless the dominion of Canada and God bless our gracious Queen.