Elizabeth May salutes Bob Rae — who could have been Green!

Bob Rae in Question Period
On his last day in the House of Commons as Interim Liberal leader, Bob Rae speaks during Question Period on March 27, 2013. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

After his caucus colleague Ralph Goodale, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird (you’ll want to read what Baird said about Rae), and NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen said some nice things about Bob Rae — it was last day in the House of Commons Wednesday as his party’s interim leaders — Green Party Leader Elizabeth May had this tribute:

Mme Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, PV): Monsieur le Président, c’est un grand honneur pour moi aussi de me joindre à tous mes collègues pour rendre hommage à mon collègue et mon ami, le député de Toronto-Centre.

It is an extraordinary experience for me to serve as a member of Parliament in the same House with 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, I will say, leader of the Liberal Party. I think the only thing that distinguishes his term from that of others is that he 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, and I knew it had been recently 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, and 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, no matter where we disagree, as other members around the House have said, we can disagree without being disagreeable, and it is simply not possible to end this tribute without saying to Arlene Perly Rae, whom I love like a sister, and to the member for Toronto Centre, whom I love like something else, but I do love him, as I do many people in this House, his role, his contribution to Canada cannot be overstated; it can only be underestimated, and we all pay tribute to a great Canadian today.

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