Before resuming debate, colleagues, I would like to take a few moments also to say good-bye to this House of Commons as it is my last few minutes in this place.
As you know, I was first elected in 1988. It was a big honour then and it is still an honour today to be representing my constituents of Timmins—James Bay.
I would also like to point out that, when I was first elected in 1988, I represented the riding of Cochrane—Superior, which disappeared in the electoral boundary changes of 1997. That is why, finally, I found myself with the riding of Timmins—James Bay. It has always been a great honour for me to represent this riding, which has changed a great deal. It was a very rural riding and now it has become somewhat more urban, because of the large area of the city of Timmins.
Nevertheless, I would like to add that I made an important decision when I entered politics, and the decision to leave is just as important. I will miss this place enormously, as I will miss the contact with my constituents, everyone I worked with on projects and the people I have helped.
I would like to thank the staff members who have been with me these past 16 years. They have all excelled at the work they have done for me. Every one of you knows that it would be impossible to do the work of a member of Parliament without the staff there to help us. I would also like to thank the very large number of volunteers who worked on my four election campaigns. Once again, without those people, it would not have been possible.
Finally, I would like to thank the people who are the most important to me, and they are the three women in my life: my wife, Jo-Anne, and my two daughters, Annie and Julie, whom I love very much. I did not see them grow up, but that, after all, is one of the sacrifices one makes on becoming an MP.
In this spirit and with a heavy heart, I leave this place. I have spent some very fine moments here, and others that were less fine. In general, though. I have learned a lot and I leave this place, this House of Commons, as a man who has grown a lot in 15 years.
I thank all the members for their cooperation in the past four years. In the position of Acting Speaker, of course, one is sometimes called upon to make very difficult choices, but ones that are also acceptable, most of the time. Therefore, I thank you for your cooperation.
Topic: Government Orders