Tribute to the Member for Outremont

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I also have the honour to rise today and join all my fellow MPs in paying tribute to our colleague, the distinguished member for Outremont.

It is hard, as members would recognize, to play a sort of backup hitter at the very last of many fine speeches. However, I want to acknowledge something that was not specifically mentioned.

The word “courage” was used. I would not attribute it to continuing to wear a beard, but it does have to with the face. I think it was the bravest thing I ever saw. We were all together in the leader’s debate in Montreal. It was a tough thing to say that telling women what they can and cannot wear is not the proper role of federal leadership, and I want to thank the hon. member again for taking a strong stand on the very divisive niqab debate.

It can be said of every member that their family is always there, working side by side with them. If I am not mistaken, the member for Outremont was first elected in 1994 to the Quebec National Assembly, and already that was a tough job. It is an enormous sacrifice for a family. If there is one thing that appeared to me quite clearly, it is the very strong bond between the member and his extraordinary wife, Catherine.

Like the hon. member for Milton, I want to say how much I have enjoyed getting to know Catherine P. Mulcair, someone who has shown extraordinary presence in all situations at his side. It must be very handy for anyone leading a political party to be married to a psychologist, which I failed to do.

I also want to say that the relationship informed a lot of of who the member is today. The most moving speech I ever heard my friend, the member for Outremont, give was on the occasion of remembrance of the Shoah. It was a very emotional recollection of going back to the very barn in the fields of France where his wife’s mother hid throughout the Holocaust, descendants of Sephardic Jews hiding in a barn from the Nazi regime of Vichy, France. I do not think I have ever heard any words on the occasion of remembrance of the Shoah that were more keenly felt and brought us back to the individual cases and enormous horrors and evil of that period.

With that, I join others here in thanking Catherine, Matt, Greg, the family as a whole, who have toiled alongside, in a very distinguished career, the hon. member for Outremont.

I thank them and wish them all the best in the future.