Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize one of the true icons of Canada's House of Commons and our Parliament, a person I am extremely proud to be able to call a friend, Ms. Audrey O'Brien.
Calling Audrey a trailblazer would be an understatement, as her passion, her integrity and discipline has defined a career that has been nothing short of admirable and inspiring.
Audrey started out as a committee clerk in 1976, as the Speaker just mentioned. Mr. Speaker, I was a bit surprised that you glossed over our friend's age. I obviously will not point out that our Prime Minister was five years old when Audrey started working here. She was always prepared to share her knowledge, and her presence and experience were tremendous assets to all members who had the honour of learning from her.
I was honoured to inform the House of Commons of Audrey's nomination as Clerk of the House in 2005, when I was the then parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, and again to move her nomination as Clerk Emerita and an Honorary Officer of the House of Commons with an entrée to the chamber and a well-deserved seat at the Table.
As many people know, Audrey was the first female Clerk of the House of Commons. Her work no doubt opened many doors for everyone who aspired to, one day, take on a role so important to Canadian democracy, a role that she has fulfilled with dignity and honour since 2005.
Audrey's name will continue to permeate this chamber for many years. There is a reason why so many people colloquially refer to the book she co-edited on the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, O'Brien and Bosc, as the bible of parliamentary procedure. God knows, many of us would still be lost and wandering around this place if it were not for her writings, her wise counsel, and the person who has served as deputy clerk and acting clerk since her departure some months ago.
To those who had the honour and the privilege of dealing with her on a daily basis, she quickly became a friend and confidante.
Always cheerful, respectful, wise, and fair, Audrey exemplifies the very best of service to Canada, to our democracy, and to Canadians.
I want to say to Audrey, on behalf of all members in the Liberal caucus, a big thank you for her wisdom and her advice over so many years. We wish her the best in her next step forward and look forward to seeing her in this chamber, and on the Hill in good health for many years to come.