Mr. Speaker, it is with profound sadness that I stand in the House today to join my voice with others in paying tribute to our dear friend and colleague, Gord Brown. It is also with immense joy that I can share what a wonderful person Gord was in every imaginable way.
First and foremost, on behalf of the Liberal Party, and Liberal members both current and past, I extend our deepest condolences to his wife Claudine and his two sons Chance and Tristan.
I first got to know Gord as members of the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group, in which we worked in common cause on Canada-U.S. issues for more than a decade.
If memory serves, our first IPG meeting together was the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers' Annual Conference in Prince Edward Island, when Gord accepted my offer to show him around the island. As everyone knows, while Gord was always willing to work with others across party lines, he was a true blue Conservative through and through. Therefore, for Gord to hop in my red truck and do a couple of tours with me around the island was, to say the least, interesting but a lot of fun. We repeated that experience years later when the Conservative Party held its national caucus meeting in Prince Edward Island. I did not mind driving up to the door of it in my red truck to pick up Gord Brown.
However, I will have to admit that no matter how hard I tried, Gord was not about to change his political stripes. Gord would often speak about his riding, always emphasizing the Thousand Islands and how he could look across his yard and see the United States. He took great pride in introducing a bill to change the name of the St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada to Thousand Islands National Park of Canada. The bill became law in 2013 because of his hard work.
Gord served as co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group, and he worked tirelessly to make, sustain, and build relationships with our counterparts in the U.S. Congress. In fact, without question, he was one of our strongest ambassadors on U.S. issues, and not just within the IPG context. On more than one occasion, he travelled to Washington to play with the Republican representatives on their hockey team. Some say the Republican team referred to Gord as its “ringer”, and he loved that, and the representatives loved to have him. We would hear, in the discussions when we would meet the Congressional representatives in the U.S., about a number of them, but especially Gord, who played for their hockey team.
Without a doubt, Gord loved hockey, and his son's hockey abilities were an endless source of pride for him. Often he would pull out his phone and show us pictures and videos of Tristan, at a very young age, in full hockey gear, racing up the ice. I imagine many in the House have seen those videos. Gord showed much pride in his family.
In this place, and on trips to the United States, Gord was always respectful of everyone, and thoughtfully considered the viewpoints of others, even though he might not agree. That was the tenor of the man.
Gord set goals and priorities, and set out to achieve them in his political life. However, he was always clear about the importance of family and friends. For him, they always came first.
He will be deeply missed by everyone who had the good fortune to meet him.
Our condolences, again, to his family.