Hon. Lincoln M. Alexander (Hamilton West):
Madam Speaker, I hope that you will forgive me if I take a few moments of the time of this House. 1 know that there are matters of significant importance which must be debated, but I feel that it is necessary, after having spent 12 years in this House, to give some credibility to what is already a fact, that I will be leaving my "family", as I would like to have it known, this House of Commons, because I have accepted a position with the Workmen's Compensation Board of Ontario.
I wish you well, Madam Speaker. 1 saw that you were being tested today. I think that you have the fortitude and excellence of mind to handle yourself in your new position. I am sorry that 1 did not have an opportunity to become more involved and to challenge you as well, but I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak to the House.
I have been touched by the excitement of this place. I have been moved by the challenges and touched by the joys and disappointments. But what is more important to me is that I have been touched by the friendships which I know I have made, because I have received so many letters wishing me well. When my friend from Edmonton East (Mr. Yurko) triggered that spontaneous standing ovation, it was a good thing that I did not have to speak at that time because there were tears in my eyes. I am not ashamed to say that I was not able to control myself. That was a great tribute and one 1 will never forget.
That is why I feel so sad at this particular time. This is a great family and a tremendous institution. When I think of the
Resignation of Member
criticism which comes from all quarters, I say to my colleagues, "Forget it, because you are serving". Let those who criticize try to get into this place. There are so many who try to get in, but who cannot make it.
However, I have been blessed. I am grateful to three of four people, who I would like to single out, with your patience, Madam Speaker. The late Right Hon. John George Diefen-baker is the one who asked me to run, who believed that I should be here in this House and who believed that I had a role to play. No matter where he may be, I hope that I have not disappointed him.
I remember Bob Stanfield. He plucked me from what is called the back benches and honoured me by making me a critic in the shadow cabinet.
Of course, there is the right hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) who made me a cabinet minister. Madam Speaker and my dear colleagues, I stand here naked because in my wildest dreams I never believed that I would represent my country as a member of Parliament or that it was possible I would represent my country as a cabinet minister.
Yes, I will have some very fond memories of this place, but 1 think it must be recognized that there are many around us who make our lives more successful. It is not only the "me's" and the "I's" who are fortunate to be sitting here temporarily, but I think of those who are involved in Hansard, the maintenance department, the office of the Clerk, the Sergeant-at-Arms, security, the post office, public servants and even the media- although, there are a couple I would like to mention specifically, but I will let them know that I have love and forgiveness in my heart! Frankly, I could not care less what they think about me anyway.
I care about what the hon. members of this House think of me, and I care about what the people of Hamilton West think of me. 1 am pleased to have concrete evidence that they thought enough of me to send me back to this House on five occasions. But to those people to whom I made reference, I would like to say thank you, because without their assistance and help the Alexanders and anyone else you would like to mention, Madam Speaker, would not be effective in this House of Commons. They are the people who protect us and who look after us. I would like publicly to thank them now for looking after me for the past 12 years.
Subtopic: RESIGNATION OF HON. LINCOLN M. ALEXANDER