MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“I’ve Got Your Back”
This week I stood in the House of Commons to announce that I will be stepping down as your Member of Parliament on October 25th, 2010.
In my final MP Report in a couple of weeks I’ll talk more about my 17 years as an MP. For now, I would like to share what followed my announcement and to convey my gratitude to a few of my fellow MPs.
Ralph Goodale, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Saskatchewan MP, rose to comment on my departure. For years he and I sat across a table from each other “vigourously debating” House legislation and procedure as I carried out my roles as Whip and House Leader in both opposition and in Government.
Mr. Goodale said, “The member for Prince George-Peace River was one of those MPs who could hear and understand and respect somebody else’s different point of view.”
“We would rarely agree…but we could come to a conclusion … We could look each other in the eye, shake hands on it and be absolutely confident that each would keep his word. That element of trust is fundamental to the functioning of this place and is a rare quality.”
Thank you Ralph for that incredible tribute.
Next, Christiane Gagnon for the Bloc Quebecois and Libby Davies for the NDP bid farewell to me on behalf of their respective caucuses. I am also grateful for their kind words for me and for my work as your MP.
Finally, my long-time caucus and cabinet colleague…my best friend, the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and MP for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, stood to address the Chamber on behalf of the Government.
I don’t think there was a dry eye in the House. Including mine. He recalled when we first came to Ottawa after being elected as Reform MPs in 1993 and I told him that “we’ll go to Ottawa and we’ll look after each other’s backs.”
He called me “a no-nonsense guy who knew what he knew and was not afraid to tell anyone how things were in the real world outside of the Ottawa bubble.” I’m already appearing considerably less than modest by repeating these tributes. Yet I was overwhelmed by the high praise from the man assigned the most difficult portfolios in the federal cabinet.
Minister of Agriculture: for every type of crop and animal there is an industry that needs leadership and problem-solving from the federal minister. Then throw in drought, floods, international trade issues, animal disease and food processing. Yet Minister Strahl gained the respect and support of farmers across the nation.
This admiration continued when he took over the Indian and Northern Affairs file. His diplomacy, sincerity and collaborative approach earned him high praise from aboriginal and community leaders everywhere. In his latest assignment in the massive Transport, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio, I have no doubt he will again put his heart and soul into serving the nation with excellence.