As I rise for the first time in this 43rd Parliament, I would like to take a few moments to thank the people of my riding of Papineau, who once again placed their trust in me. I have been representing them in the House for over 10 years, and they again expressed their confidence in me for a fourth time during this past election. I sincerely thank them, and I will work hard to properly represent them, as always.
In October, Canadians placed their trust in us. They are counting on us to represent not only their interests, but also their values. I know that in recent months, the 338 members who are here in the House today had the privilege of meeting Canadians across the country.
Regardless of political stripe, we have all seen the values that unite us. Canadians are hard-working, generous and ambitious. They are involved in their communities. They help those in need.
However, this does not mean that Canadians agree on everything. In a country as big and diverse as ours, it is normal for people to disagree and engage in heated debate. Canadians meet each other with respect and understanding. When it is time to make things happen for their family or their community, they know how to put their differences aside. They expect nothing less from their members of Parliament, and rightly so.
They sent us here with clear instructions to work together to make life better for them, to keep our communities safe and our economy growing, to protect our environment and to create more opportunities for people to get ahead. Common ground does exist in this Parliament, and I know we can build on it.
Mr. Speaker, in the best of worlds, the Leader of the Opposition and I would not have had to put you in that chair. We would respect your wishes and leave you seated among us, but I am afraid the House needs you.
I have had the privilege of serving in the House of Commons for over 10 years now, and I know that debates can quickly become very heated. My colleagues on both sides of the House know that too.
Every member in the House has a responsibility to respect the civility of this place. Canadians chose each and every one of us to be guardians of this Parliament, and we must live up to the distinct privilege that comes from serving Canadians.
I am a third-generation parliamentarian, and what that emphasizes to me personally, as it does for many people in the House who have had friends, mentors and family members sit here, is that we get to occupy these seats for a blink in time in the life of this country. We occupy positions of extraordinary privilege in representing tens of thousands of our fellow citizens, being their voice and serving them directly. While we occupy these extraordinary seats, it is on us to continue to strive every day to represent them and serve them well.
However, while I know that every member will strive to ensure constructive and therefore productive debates, there will be times when our differences will get the best of us and we will get carried away. We will then look to you, Mr. Speaker, Parliament's referee, to keep us in line. I know you to be uniquely qualified to assume this role, a belief that obviously many of our colleagues in the House share as well.
Mr. Speaker, once again, I want to sincerely congratulate you on your election. You are more than worthy of this honour. I thank you and wish you the best of luck.