Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and to keep this appropriate and proper, through you to my fellow committee members, as was mentioned the people who really make this committee work, I call them the unsung heroes, are the Library of Parliament, our analysts, and the clerk.
I tell everyone I meet that the only non-political people, the people you can go to for a straight answer if you need one, the people who are always there to help you and not set little traps for you are those at Library of Parliament, the analysts and the clerks. These are the people who actually make this place work, the technicians, the folks who make sure we have enough to eat and drink, and see to our needs, like unplugging things and plugging things. And of course, there are the translators, who I think try to do their best to sometimes use the proper words when we can't find them.
After nine years on the committee and three parliaments, I must say that of the committees that I've sat on and been a part of during that time—of course, we sit in for our members—I always feel right at home at this committee. Despite my sparring with Mr. Easter, I respect every member of Parliament.
I was at a class of gifted students in three different grades and I always try to be somewhat apolitical. I tell them to talk to their parents, go on the Internet, find out who they are first, then see which political party best represents who they are and recognize, as I did, that you may change, that you may change your political views as time goes by.
Mr. Chair, when someone leaves this place—this is my second retirement—there's always some bitter sweetness and this is for sure is bittersweet. I have to say that in only one Parliament did this committee not work that well and it was a minority government, so things got pretty hairy. But, generally speaking, this is the best committee I've ever been on in both this and the last two Parliaments.
I must say, Randall, LaVar hit it right, when we went to another country, you represented yourself and us in the true style of what a member of Parliament in another country should do. You made sure there were differences, because there are, but you did it in a way that if we all used....I must admit if I used your tact and your way, I'd be prouder of myself at times. You are a true gentleman. Your whole team has reflected well on your party.
I don't think we've ever said anything truly hurtful to each other at this committee. When I had my little tirade with Wayne, it was political in nature, it was not personal in nature, and I think he understands that. I think we all do.
Everybody sees us during question period and I call it a blight on our democracy because we should respect our political leaders, but that respect has to start with us. I always say that question period starts off with the question: “Why are you the worst government that ever existed? You're a bunch of liars and cheats, etc.” Then we get up and respond: “We are the best government that ever was and you can blah, blah, blah”. If we want people to respect us, we need to respect each other and we need to show that. I don't think that's ever going to stop with question period.
Behind the scenes, we have our political handlers, we have the people who feed us the questions, we have the things we're trying to say. Hopefully, someday, Randall, we'll adopt a kinder, gentler way, and I hope I'll see that, but I don't think I'll see it in my lifetime, but it may happen.
This is the time, when you're leaving, as Shakespeare said—of course, I'm not dead, but I'm referring to my political career—“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”. Let's just say I'm burying all the old bones, and I'll try to have nothing but good memories of this place.
To all of you from me, a very heartfelt thanks, and an apology if you felt hurt by anything I said. It was strictly political, and we know we all hold different views, but we all have—as Diane mentioned in her hope—the best interests of our country at hand. If we always remember that, I think this country will continue to be the best place on God's good earth to live, to raise a family, and to work.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.