Mr. Speaker, I promise I have a very important question for this member, which I will get to rather shortly.
When I was asked to speak here today, I was told to say some nice things about Mark. I said, “Okay.” Then I asked Rodger, and he said, “I don't know.” I said, “He was a farmer, so he has to be a good guy.”
Seriously, I first met the member for Sydney—Victoria at the agriculture committee. He was in opposition and we were in government. The member for Malpeque also joined us on the agriculture committee, and we had some great battles—but respectful battles. One thing we always knew about this member is that when he fought a battle, it was for the right reason. It was for a farmer or an issue very important to him and his constituents. He fought hard and fought well. I respect him for that.
I think it was in the second year I was elected that I decided I was going to take some Spanish lessons in a little place called Bocas del Toro. Bocas del Toro is hard to get to. It is in Panama on a little island on the Caribbean side. I was in Bocas del Toro taking these Spanish lessons and staying at a hotel. One morning I got up, went out on my balcony, looked over and saw the member for Sydney—Victoria standing there in the middle of Panama. I said to myself, “What the heck?”
It was actually a couple of good days. We got to know him and Pam. He explained to me how he had done some work in Panama when he was younger, helping to develop the greenhouse industry so that people could be more self-sufficient and earn a living. He had come back just to check up on that. He thought that would be something to do. I think it is something he has planned in the future. I encourage him to continue doing that, because he has a gift for doing that type of work.
Then I got to know the member at the trade committee. He was the chair of the trade committee, and I will say this: He ran a good committee. It was a civil committee. It was a committee that actually functioned. I have to say we have some good memories from being on that committee as we travelled around the U.S. on the CUSMA. Even last week, we were down in Washington working together. I think a lot of Canadians would be proud of that committee and how we put our partisan differences aside, left them here in Ottawa, and went down there and did what we had to do for Canadian businesses and Canadian voters.
I think, Mr. Eyking, you can take pride in knowing you were part of that and helped move the yardsticks to make it better. I definitely want to highlight that factor also. I hope you will remember those types of trips, because we had some really good times together.
I want to thank Pam and her family. She shared a great guy with Ottawa. She allowed him to serve. She allowed him to do what was honourable. She gave up a lot of time so he could be here with Rodger.
Seriously, when members travel here on a Sunday, are gone until Thursday or Friday, then travel home to do two or three events on the weekend and then do it all again, it is a huge sacrifice. We tend to forget that it is not only the members who are making the sacrifice, but also their families. We thank his family for allowing him to do that, because allowing him to do that meant that he was able to do some great things here in Ottawa.
Mark, I want to thank you for your service. You served well. You have integrity, served with honour and showed respect to everyone. I can honestly say that your constituents and the people around you are very proud of you because of the way you conduct yourself here in Ottawa.
I will get to the last question at this point in time. The chair of the international trade committee promised the members of the committee one last lobster dinner. Can the member please inform this House when that dinner will take place?