Mr. Speaker, Honourable colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, we gather today to remember and pay tribute to the distinguished parliamentarians lost to us this last year. This virtual celebration of public lives and public service gives us, the family, friends and colleagues past and present, the opportunity to acknowledge the lives of these men and women who served their country and their fellow citizens ably and with dedication. While I am disappointed that we cannot, for the moment, come together in person, I am grateful that we are still able to share this day together.
Those of us who serve in Parliament know how much of our work happens behind the scenes, and we are aware that our contributions will not always be seen by others. And so today we acknowledge the contributions of the Members of Parliament and senators who have been lost to us in the past year, recognizing the time, talent and energy they dedicated to serving their constituents and their country. The world is a better place because they were in it.
Gatherings such as this one are bittersweet: it is difficult to deliberately let oneself feel the loss of a friend, a family member, an admired colleague. But at the same time, I think there is solace to be found in our feelings of gratitude that they were part of our lives at all. Remembrance need not always be painful – it is also a chance to heal.
On behalf of all the Members of the House of Commons, I offer my sincerest condolences on the passing of too many dear friends and colleagues from Parliament. They and all the other men and women whom we remember today sought to make our country a better place. We are the poorer for their departure, but the richer for their time on earth.
My sincere condolences to those who are in mourning. We mourn with you.