After twenty-two years as the M.P. for the federal constituency of Yorkton-Melville, I will retire at the next election.
I thank my constituents and those who have worked on my campaigns over the years for the faith they have shown in me. I also thank my colleagues and staff for their tremendous support. But my greatest thanks (and sympathy) go to my wife, Lydia. She’s been a political widow. I appreciate her faithfulness to me more than she’ll ever know.
It is very difficult to leave the House of Commons. I enjoy my job and will miss the people I’ve worked with on both sides of the House. I’ll always be grateful for the wonderful opportunities they’ve given me.
Scratching below the surface has defined my political career -- that began in university. After dabbling in many faiths, I was challenged to scratch below the surface. After struggling, I chose to become a Christian and that has defined my life.
Some people know my nickname is “Mr. Gun.” Shortly after I was elected, constituents confronted me regarding gun control. I was challenged to scratch below the surface on that issue too. I’d never planned on that. But by scratching below the surface, I realized that $2 billion would be much better spent by putting 10,000 more policemen on the street to improve public safety. That has become another defining part of my career.
I worked a lot on the abortion issue and took a firm stand for life. Again, I had to scratch below the surface. To ask, “What is it that in the womb of a woman?” and search out the truth.
Whatever I’ve worked on, I’ve tried to take a principled approach. Many people have helped with that and I’m grateful. Opposition members played a key role in challenging my thinking.
I sat with the Prime Minister in the House from 1993-97. He was also a person to really scratch below the surface, and he has become a phenomenal Prime Minister. I hope that all Canadians will realize what our Prime Minister and Government have done and what is at risk next October 19.
I got into politics because I wanted my children and grandchildren to live in a better Canada. In many ways, it is better. Our Conservative government knows that families are the solid building block of our society. Our support for families makes Canada the envy of most nations. That could all change at the next election.
Members receive the perk of free phone calls home. My children were teenagers when I was first elected. Once I became an MP, our nightly 10-minute call brought us closer. Even Lydia and I talked more because of that perk. She has suggested that when I retire we put one phone on her side of the bed and another on mine. Today, our four wonderful children, their spouses and our 12 grandchildren help me look forward to October 20, and a new chapter in my life.
May God bless Canada.