Mr. Chair, it is a great pleasure to rise tonight perhaps for the last time as the House winds down the 41st Parliament. It means a lot to stand among my colleagues here this evening. Some people have given great speeches tonight. A lot of great members are leaving the House. We know there are a lot of great ones sitting with us tonight who will remain here, and others who will come to reinforce the House after the next election.
I want to thank the Speaker and our House leader for the opportunity to speak tonight.
I was first elected to the 37th Parliament and following that November 27, to the 38th, the 39th, the 40th, and now this, the 41st Parliament. At the time, on November 27, there were 17 new members on the Canadian Alliance side, enough to boost our numbers to 66 and achieve official opposition status.
Nanaimo—Alberni is a beautiful part of Vancouver Island. It is covers nearly 9,000 square kilometres. There are 127,000 constituents. It is one of the most beautiful natural settings to live, work or play. Vancouver Island boasts the mildest climate in Canada. We enjoy natural beauty afforded by mountains, oceans, beaches and one of the richest resources and life experience in the human resources of our amazing retirement community, including some members of the House who live as my constituents now. Deb Gray, Randy White, and Brian Peckford, the former premier of Newfoundland, are all constituents in my riding. I expect that for some of the members who are now retiring, there is room as well, at least to come and visit, if they are not planning to stay.
It is an immense honour to represent an electoral district in Canada and to take a place here in the national house of debate. For most of us, there is an enormous team effort involved and therefore a lot of people to thank for our electoral success.
Many Canadians will be unaware of the challenge to relationships that federal politics demands. We have heard a bit tonight from members about the importance of family. I want to recognize the love and support of my wife Helen throughout these 25 years of marriage and15 in Parliament. She has been a rock. We could not have done what we did without the sacrifices of my wife. We very much appreciate that steadfastness that made it possible for us to do what we had to do to get elected, to stay elected and to serve our community.
As a Christian, I want give thanks to God for directing the life path that is before me and giving me the opportunity to serve my community. Lifelong service and learning is a commitment that has sustained me for more than half a lifetime, and I look forward to taking the life lessons from these amazing 15 years here into the next chapter of my life.
It has been a delight to work with so many great Canadians: the Hon. Stockwell Day, the party leader who took us to official opposition status; the Prime Minister who united the legacy parties along with the hon. member for Central Nova, the Minister of Justice, who spoke brilliantly tonight; the many stellar people who I have worked with in our expanded Conservative caucus; the cabinet; and many across the aisle in other parties. They have all contributed to one of the great chapters of my life. I want to thank each and every one of them.
At home, the legacy party and the CPC members, the Electoral District Association supporters, our campaign teams and workers who pulled together for a common cause are so much appreciated. No electoral success would have been possible without them.
My office staff were foundational to our success. There were many in three offices over 15 years, beginning with Gayle Goodman, who joined me from my chiropractic office; Ann Bell; Jim Chutka; Dave McEachern; Kathy Roycroft; Patti Pearce; Pamela Dransfield; Jean Farnsworth; and Chris Mellin, along with a few short or part-time assistants. However, all have served with the “constituent-first service model”, going the extra mile to find answers in an often challenging, complicated maze of services and expectations. In Ottawa, Anne Anders and Bobby Wollock have been our anchors. I want to thank each and every one for a tremendous team effort.
The one person who stands out above all for special recognition is Paula Peterson. She exemplifies the attributes that I see in so many of my staff members. Paula ran three of our five campaigns. She served as the EDA president for many years. Paula came out of retirement to take on the senior position in my constituency office for the finishing lap. Paula is in demand by persons at all three senior levels of electoral office. Her good nature, organizational skills and political know-how bring out the best in people. She is a lover and a giver, tirelessly serving our community, even when she is not in the spotlight. I thank Paula for her lifetime of service and, with our EDA and our office staff, for a united commitment to making our community and our world a better place.
Health care is a passion for me and I spent my entire post-secondary career in pursuit of understanding human health issues and relieving human suffering. I am grateful to the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College for the foundation in developing professional and academic skills to serve.
My Motion No. 501 on sustainable health care had its first hour of debate just a couple of weeks ago. It is about employing innovation, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness to achieve sustainable health care. Wellness promotion and disease prevention strategies save immense costs of managing high-needs patients. The motion is scheduled to make it through this session, but with changes in schedule, it may not. If it does not, I hope to have left a path and ideas for others to build on. We have the knowledge today to release billions of dollars back into our economy by examining and promoting low-cost, effective health strategies. Let us not miss the opportunity of behalf of Canadians to do so.
I recently raised alarms about those among us as Canadians who seek to rebrand our nation with a godless image. I leave this place after fifteen years and five elections. I urge members to take note of this serious assault on the foundations of our nation.
Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms acknowledges that Canada was founded on a belief in the supremacy of God. Our parliamentary precinct has scripture inscribed in the stones, on the Peace Tower and throughout the Memorial Chapel, the heart of the Peace Tower.
Famously in the wood over the doors in the fourth floor shadow cabinet room are carved the words, “Fear God” and “Honour the King”. Some of us served in opposition and saw that regularly.
Those who are determined to change that piece by piece and stone by stone to recreate Canada in a secular godless image propose to use their influence, their positions of authority, their money and our courts to this end. The recent Supreme Court ruling on prayer at city council in Saguenay has sent repercussions across the country and greatly advanced the godless rebranding exercise. This ruling basically redefines freedom of religion as freedom from religion. Big banks and corporate CEOs have used their money and influence to advocate against a Christian law school at Trinity Western University. Medical licensing authorities have unilaterally expunged doctors' long-standing conscience provisions, forcing costly legal challenges.
The most published and read book in the history of the world is in fact a record of God's dealing with man from the beginning of time. It has advice for those who despise God's counsel and oppose his purposes:
The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...
In fact, it says on the Peace Tower:
Where there is no vision, the people perish...
It also says:
Remove not the ancient landmark...
...be not many teachers...
Woe unto those who teach men to err.
Woe unto those that call evil good and good evil.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
The world the godless would build is a world without hope, a world of expanding darkness. It is our godly inheritance that has made Canada the great success it has been. Apart from Him, we have no remedy for sin; we have no moral code to build on except His precepts. Godlessness is and will be accompanied by increasing social disorder, violence, lawlessness and depravity; it is spreading around the world. Colleagues, let us keep the lights on in Canada.
It is not the Christian Right, if such can be found in Canada, that they seek to overthrow. It is the God of heaven and earth, who has been building His kingdom throughout the ages and evermore in our turbulent times.
If we reject His loving kindness and so great a salvation, we will surely meet Him as judge and those who set themselves against His purposes can expect to hasten the encounter. For those who would destroy the foundations of our great nations, I say, fear God. He knows your thoughts, your address and your expiry date. He has invested heavily in Canada and He will defend His investments out of love and compassion for our nation.
May those who love the king take note and engage accordingly and may God keep our land glorious and free.
Mr. Chair, I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight and colleagues for their service to our country, to the Prime Minister, to our party and to Canada. Friends, we know as we leave this place that we do so with a lot of friendships that we will take with us. We never say goodbye to our friends. We expect to stay connected. We will stay engaged in some fashion or another in wanting to see Canada become all that it can be. We wish success to those who remain behind. We will believe, we will pray for them and we will do whatever we can to see Canada remain successful.
I wish those who remain the best success in what they do here, and for those who are moving on, very successful pursuits in what they take on in the future.
I thank my colleagues very much.