Eleven years. That’s how long I’ve had the pleasure of serving as your Member of Parliament for Haliburton— Kawartha Lakes— Brock. What I see, and what I’ve always seen, is that we live in a beautiful place. A place filled with energetic, involved people. I’ve had the chance to meet with and work with so many of these driven people. People who put their hearts and voices to causes. People who put their hands to hard work. People who put their vision to the future so that our spot on the map continues to draw crowds. There’s a reason tourists flock here. And it has a lot to do with what we do with our place. We are doing something right! We see it from our adirondack chairs: our deep blue waters and pink rock, our pines and sugar maples, our happy kids and crazy
neighbours. We see it when we go to town too: our shops and boutiques, cafés and eateries, our farmer’s markets and roadside stalls, our workshops and performances. It all paints a proud picture. We build here. We innovate here. We enjoy life here together. And it wouldn’t be possible without the enthusiasm and commitment I’ve seen for over a decade.
I am one of those people who wanted to do something good! I wanted to help businesses and farmers succeed. I wanted to take care of our natural resources. I wanted to reach out to my community and help seniors and students. I wanted to make a difference. I did it the way I thought I could make the most difference: I went into politics. I became an MP. Four years after that I also became the Deputy Speaker in the House of Commons. One of my colleagues asked me why on earth I would want that job. He said, “it is like fighting to get to the NHL and then agreeing to be one of the referees.” I guess that there is some truth to that, but I also think that sitting in that chair takes a particular temperament and it is an important role. Without the Speaker, the House
could not function. It has been an honour to serve there, as much as it has been an honour serve here as MP.
When I went into politics, so did my family. In fact, George and Molly have only ever known me as the Politics Dad. As we switch gears, they will get to know me as the Traveller Dad. And also as the Professor Dad. But before we begin our next chapter, I want to thank those who helped me write this past one, starting with my wife, Ursula. My biggest supporter from day one, Ursula is the reason I got my shot on the stage. She’s the reason I stayed up there for so long. And she injected reason too. Thank you, Ursula. Thank you to my staff who lugged bins to all 115 passport clinics that helped over 14,000 people. Starting as a test-drive 10 years ago, almost all MPs across the country have now jumped on the passport clinic bandwagon. Thank you to everyone who
participated in our Senior’s Seminars. Thank you to the local businesses and service organizations who funded the Capital Experience program, and thank you as well to the parents who trusted me to take their high-achievers to Ottawa. 165 teens experienced life for a brief time on the hill thanks to the Capital Experience. They got a snapshot of the opportunities that exist in the field that I have found so rewarding. And finally, thank you to the 105 000 people in our beautiful riding who stopped me on the street or wrote in with their concerns, suggestions, and kind words. I will miss our conversations!
Whether it was in the riding, on the hill, I worked hard and I did some things right and I got some things done. And that is what I set out to do. I was accountable and I was available. I have a great deal of respect for my constituents and it has been an honour to be part of the great things that we accomplished. As I leave, it is on a note that I’ve been working hard to hit since 2006. I am
proud to say that I recently helped deliver $285 million for much-needed infrastructure improvements along the Trent-Severn Waterway. With that, we can take care of what is considered
one of the finest navigable waterways in the world.
And so now I leave. It’s been a good chapter! I know my friend and colleague, Jamie , is ready to continue our story.