Mr. Speaker, as this is my first opportunity to address Canadians from this my new seat in this august chamber, allow me, before I congratulate you, to thank all Canadians for sending 338 strong individuals to be their representatives in the House. All of us in the House will strive every day to be worthy of the trust they have placed in us individually and collectively.
In particular, I would like to take a moment to thank the people of Papineau for having placed their trust in me a third time. They will remain at the heart of everything I do.
I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to you, my esteemed colleague and long-time friend, for having been selected to fill this extremely important role. Maintaining order in the House of Commons is no easy task. The Speaker must ensure that our parliamentary rules and traditions are respected, and defend the rights and privileges of all members, including the right to speak freely.
Mr. Speaker, you bring tremendous experience to this role of Speaker. Clearly, you will have the confidence of all of our hon. colleagues.
To my knowledge, only two women in the history of Canada have had the dubious distinction of being the daughter, the wife, and the mother of a member of Parliament. One of those women is my mother; the other is the Speaker's, whom we see here today. It is in the spirit of openness and transparency that I disclose that familial connection. I had to get that story in before the Speaker starts telling me what I can and cannot say.
I would also like to thank all my esteemed colleagues who ran for the position of Speaker. Canadians are extremely lucky to have such passionate, dedicated people in this place, and I think we can all agree that when it comes to those qualities, no one has more passion and dedication than our friend and colleague from Ottawa—Vanier.
We all need to work together to restore faith and trust in the House of Commons.
Mr. Speaker, I know you will play a role in this effort by promoting respectful, thoughtful debate between members on both sides of the House.
Moving forward, I know that it is important that we have constructive debates in this place on issues that Canadians have told us matter to them. We will work hard to promote more openness across government. We will give Canadians and all members a voice in Ottawa and in this chamber. This also means greater independence of committees, reforming question period, and more free votes.
We have already taken action, and we will do more in the coming weeks and months.
Once again, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your election today.
It is an immense honour and responsibility for which you are uniquely suited.
I look forward to working with you and with all members in this House as we strive to build an even greater country together.