Statement – MP for Toronto Centre, Bob Rae

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to join my colleagues in paying tribute to my colleague and friend, the member for Toronto Centre.

It is a great honour for me to serve in the House with the member for Toronto Centre in his time as leader of the Liberal Party. The only thing that distinguishes his term from that of others is he has escaped attack ads.


I took my seat here in June 2011, and I was very happy to find seat 309. There were only 308 members in the House. Seat 309 has its special characteristics. I knew it had recently been vacated by my friend from Sackville—Eastern Shore. However, my friend from Toronto Centre said to me, “See that seat where you are now, that is where I started in 1978, 33 years ago”. He gave me great advice. He said, “You play your cards right and 33 years from now, you can be where I am today”. I pictured myself at 90 as the leader of the third party.

Our friend from Toronto Centre has changed parties over the years. I once had great hopes he would become a Green. At the point that he was arrested for blockading the logging roads in Temagami, I thought, “There stands a Green”. Then he had to go and blow it today with that whole Keystone XL joint sales job. The point is that no matter where we disagree, as other members around the House have said, we can disagree without being disagreeable.

It is simply not possible to end this tribute without mentioning Arlene Perly Rae, whom I love like a sister. The member for Toronto Centre I love like something else, but I do love him, as I do many people in the House. His role, his contribution to Canada cannot be overstated; it can only be underestimated. We all pay tribute to a great Canadian today.