Mr. Chair, for the last seven years it has been a great honour for me and, indeed, a privilege to serve as a member of Parliament for the Medicine Hat constituency. All good things come to an end, and these are the last few weeks of Parliament. I want to take a short time to share with members some of the memories of this place, memories that I will always cherish.
Allow me first to thank my constituents, those who voted for me and those who did not. For all the electors of the Medicine Hat constituency, I offer my profound gratitude and praise for each and every one of them. Being a member of Parliament in Canada is a big job as it requires representing tens of thousands of citizens in the House of Commons.
Over the years, I have done my best and I have always thought about what their wishes would be when it comes time to speak here or to vote on important legislation. I hope they understand that I always acted in the way I thought would be most beneficial for the citizens of the Medicine Hat constituency. After all, if it had not been for them, I would not be here today. I extend my eternal thanks.
I would also like to thank all the members of my EDA board, all the volunteers who helped me get elected on two occasions. I will always remember with great gratitude the employees of the House of Commons, who are among the most professional in the world.
First, with regard to the security service staff here, I have never seen a more professional organization in my several years in the private sector before going into public life. They are the best of the best and always do their utmost to keep us safe. They were tested on October 22. We know they did their very best, preventing any further bloodshed from happening that day and saving an untold number of lives. I thank them from the bottom of my heart and ask that they please keep doing what they are doing.
For the pages who keep this place running every day, I do not know where we would be without their assistance. I have seen many pages come and go and hope my colleagues have made their time in the House an enjoyable one.
For the translators, who do a critical job and have a very high-stress career, I have a lot of respect for them and thank them for all their hard work.
For the technical and support staff who keep the chamber running like a well-oiled machine, keep up the hard work and I thank them.
I would also like to thank the Speaker, who works hard every day to ensure we are able to have our free and open deliberations in this place and that our rights as duly elected members are always held in the highest regard. He will always have my gratitude.
I know I have been a bit of a heckler at times, but it has been an outstanding privilege. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have excellent staff who have kept me on the straight and narrow. They were always there when I needed them. I want to thank them for all their hard work over the years. It has been a wild ride. Specifically, I would like to thank Trudi, Karen, Sue, Holly, Andrew, Blair and Jeff and the many interns who I have the joy of hosting in my office over the years.
I thank my children, Scott and Carmen, Darcy and Jennifer, Nicole and Jerry and Todd and Brandy for standing by me. I also thank my grandchildren for their support, Conner, Abby, Carter, Mason, Jessica, Chelsea, Megan and Tristan, along with my sister and her husband, Rena and Clayton.
I would be remiss if I did not say that I could never have accomplished so much as I have without the ongoing support of my partner, my dear wife Micheline. She has always believed in me and her encouragement means that the people of Medicine Hat have been served. I thank her.
I want to take a few seconds to highlight a few of the issues that have meant a lot to me and my constituents over the years.
First, there was the Medicine Hat Family Leisure Centre upgrades, which I was proud to deliver on behalf of the Government of Canada through our economic action plan. This was a $10-million project dedicated to the improvement of an important place in city of Medicine Hat. I am happy I could play a part in that, as well as in all the millions of dollars of funding right across our constituency.
There has been the port of Wild Horse, which is an ongoing concern for the people of the Medicine Hat constituency. There has been some progress on this with pilot projects for extended hours at the port. I have worked hard with my colleagues and interested parties, both here and in the State of Montana, to see that we continue making progress on this file. I am glad we were able to make some progress there. It is incumbent on our officials to continue to advocate for this important crossing in the coming years.
There was the issue of the greater sage grouse.
A number of my constituents worked with my office and with me over the last year and a half or so to bring many of the concerns and issues to the table. We must never forget that these folks are hard-working, everyday Canadians who make an important contribution to our local, regional and national economies. I was honoured to stand up for them and speak out when it was necessary to do so.
CFB Suffield has been an important part of my constituency as the Canadian Forces base that also serves as home to the British Army Training Unit, BATUS. CFB Suffield is an important asset to our military capabilities, and it has been my pleasure to support it over the years as the member of Parliament for Medicine Hat, along with the Defence Research and Development Canada, Suffield Research Centre. I look forward to continuing to have a relationship with the good people there after my term ends.
There have been countless pieces of legislation that have gone through this House. It was my first election in 2008, and taking part in the democratic process, being able to contribute to our democratic system is one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had.
This is such a special place. How lucky we are as Canadians that we can have a free and open democracy, a system where everybody can play a part, without fear of violence or oppression. I think we often take things for granted, and I hope that we continue to be one of the best parliamentary democratic countries in the world. If we allow the system to erode, we will allow the independent voice of democratically elected members to lose its value, and we will cause this place to lose its value and meaning.
To those members I have interacted with over the years, I thank them for their advice, wise counsel and assistance. We are sort of like a family here. I know that it can become hyper-partisan on the worst days, and I might have been part of that, but I have also seen numerous occasions where we have been united for the good of Canada.
I will never forget how we came together in the wake of the loss of our beloved friend, Jim Flaherty, offering our heartfelt and sincere tributes. We need to see more of this, and I hope in the future, as I watch the proceedings on CPAC, that I will see more of this spirit of collegiality here. We would be better off because of it.
I want to give a word of thanks to my colleagues in the Conservative Party of Canada caucus, both here and in the other place, and to tell them to keep up the hard work, and to keep delivering jobs, growth and prosperity for our nation. I appreciate each and every one of them, and will remember them with great fondness.
Finally, I offer a word of thanks to the Right Hon. Prime Minister. He is a great man who cares deeply about Canada and about its people, and about Canada's status as a world-class nation. I thank him for his advice, wisdom and guidance over the years and for believing in me. It has made me a better, more effective representative for my constituents. Canada needs him. We need him. I wish him all the best in the upcoming federal election.
I thank my colleagues for listening. To those who, like me, are retiring in a short while, I bid them an enjoyable retirement and a relaxing summer. I will miss this place along with my colleagues.
God bless all of them, and may God bless Canada.