Interventions in Committee
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View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-13 11:00
Good morning. Welcome to the 162nd meeting of the standing committee. Although it says we're in camera, we won't be for a few minutes because we have to do just one thing first.
I'll read the notes from the clerk. They say, “The committee would like to thank the best clerk in the history of the House of Commons”—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Chair:—“and the best researchers.”
Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
The Chair: Those are good notes. Thank you.
Actually, what I'd like to do is this. We have a cake here to present which says on it, “Happy Retirement from Filibustering to the Great Parliamentarian from Hamilton Centre.”
Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
The Chair: Yes, you can take pictures.
I'll take requests to speak.
View David de Burgh Graham Profile
Lib. (QC)
Chair, I move that we put the recipe in the Hansard.
View David Christopherson Profile
That is amazing. Who arranged for that? Thank you so much.
An hon. member: You're famous.
An hon. member: Is it bilingual?
The Chair: Oh, yes, we can't present this: It's not bilingual.
An hon. member: It should be in braille too.
An hon. member: Hey, David, if you want to share that cake, it has to be in two languages.
Mr. David Christopherson: I wonder how much sugar is in it.
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
You deserve it. You impress me, you know that?
View David Christopherson Profile
You're very kind.
Listen, thank you to whoever did this. I'm blown away.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-13 11:02
So it goes without saying—and I'll get a speaking list here—that obviously you're a very passionate member. I think you've been very principled. Each of us, in theory, should have one-tenth of the influence on this committee, but I think that's not true. I think you have more than your one-tenth of influence on this committee. There's making a point and there's making a point, and you can certainly make a point very passionately, and although members might often disagree, we think the points you're making are principled—I do, anyway. You believe in them and you're a great asset to this Parliament, and I know there are some people who will add to my comments.
Mr. Bittle.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you so much.
When I was appointed deputy House leader, they told me I was on PROC and the only thing I knew about PROC was the filibuster that had happened, and I wasn't looking forward to it.
I came to my first meeting and I had an idea about something, and immediately Mr. Christopherson said, “Oh, the parliamentary secretary came and he's imposing his will on committee,” and I thought, “Oh, my God, what have I gotten myself into accepting this position and coming down here, and how are we going to do this going forward?”
But over the past couple of years, I have been just amazed and have incredible respect for what you do for your constituents and our country. The residents of Hamilton are incredibly fortunate to have someone as passionate and with such great integrity as you. We can disagree with you, but no one can question the integrity with which you raise and bring forward your points, and that you fervently believe in what you bring forward. Without any level of bullshit, you get straight to the point. I had to use swearing in this, and Hamilton can appreciate that.
I'll speak for myself and say that I'm fortunate enough to have a mentor in Jim Bradley. He may not be as loud, but I think he brings that same level of commitment to the point that you'd better not stand between me and my constituents, because you're going to have to go through me. It's something I strive to do, and I appreciate seeing it in this place. You will be incredibly missed in this chamber by all sides of the House.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
View Scott Reid Profile
First of all, I was given seven or eight minutes' notice that I'd be doing this, which puts me in mind of Gladstone's famous comment that if he were given a month to prepare a speech, he could deliver a five-minute speech; if he were given a week, he could deliver a 20-minute speech; if he is told immediately beforehand, it could take hours for him to get to his point.
Nonetheless, I do want to say this. First of all, David is a colleague who, as we all know, gets directly to the point, but then can persist in making that point for a very long time.
It's been a pleasure, David, a real pleasure working with you. Other members won't know this, but I have been pestering him about where he is going to live in retirement, because I am hoping to have a chance to hang out, have a beer on his dock, just chat and enjoy the company of a really remarkable colleague.
I did have enough time to ask a few other colleagues about you. I mentioned to them, of course, the fact that you started in municipal politics, and after a successful elected career there, went on to provincial politics, and then from there to federal politics. I asked what people thought of that, and some of my Conservative colleagues thought that it shows you are persistent and determined. I also heard the suggestion that it shows that you are multi-talented. The one I thought was most fitting was the observation that you're just a slow learner.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Scott Reid: You are retiring now, which shows that you've finally learned that it's worth spending as much time as possible with family—something we'll all learn sooner or later. I do hope you get to share some of that retirement time with us, and with me in particular.
Thank you.
View John Nater Profile
Thank you, Chair.
I'll echo what Mr. Reid has said, but I want to say as well that it's been a privilege sitting next to you and that I've had the honour—usually Scott sits here—of sitting between two distinguished parliamentarians who actually know what they're talking about, what this committee is about and what's being done.
Being the new guy on the committee and a rookie, it's been great to hear your observations, comments and experience, as well.
I say this truthfully: You will be missed, and I hope you'll be sitting at that table from time to time, perhaps in the next Parliament, when we need some expertise from the wisdom of the past.
I wish you very well, David. We appreciate all you've done.
View David Sweet Profile
It's good that I am here today, being someone who has shadowed this fine gentleman in Hamilton for some 14 years now. Of course, he predates me by many years.
Let me say this. There are some things that are consistent about David Christopherson. One of them is that he usually does not need a microphone to make his point. Secondly, no one in Hamilton ever wants to follow him on the platform after he has spoken.
I'll tell you, for 14 years, there has never been a partisan word from him, publicly, about me. I hope that I have kept that end of it as well. In fact, on many occasions, Mr. Christopherson has actually stood in front of audiences and commended me, so he is a parliamentarian who understands that, yes, we have to fight vociferously over policies that we sometimes profoundly disagree about, but we're all still human. We all still go home, have issues and wish to try to be dignified and decent human beings together.
That's what is most impressive to me about David Christopherson, and I see in him at home and in his actions in that regard.
His public service has always been like that. I have talked to those who have worked with him on council and who also, apparently, profoundly disagreed with him on many issues, but are still his friends, because of the way he dealt with them personally.
Knowing that, there is one thing that David has repeated to me. He said, “When we're on the ground here, it's about supporting our community—supporting Hamilton.” He's lived by that for all the time I've known him.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2019-06-13 11:10
Thank you very much.
Mr. Graham.
View David de Burgh Graham Profile
Lib. (QC)
The first time I encountered David was when I was working for a guy you might have heard of, Scott Simms, on the public accounts committee, where we served very briefly. My observation, because David Christopherson was the chair at the time, was that he was the first chair I had ever encountered who could filibuster his own committee.
I have learned a lot from you, David, and it's been quite fun, because on our first day here—as I have said in the past—we had a fairly tense exchange in our very first interaction, so I thought, “Okay, that's a good start.”
I do want to express some concern that when you leave, whoever replaces you from the NDP on this committee—or if it's multiple people; we'll see—will have your values in making sure that this committee can work in a non-partisan way. There are people in this place, in all parties, who are ruthlessly partisan, in a completely inappropriate way, and you're not.
We've been able to function because I think, on all sides, we have that here. I just want to say how much I appreciate that and how much I learned from you over the last four years of working with you.
Thank you.
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