Honourable senators, it’s never easy to say goodbye to one of our own.
I have learned in my almost 35 years serving the public that people do not care who we are until they know what we care for. Richard Neufeld, people know whom and why you care. Humble beginnings.
It is not an easy task to talk about Richard Neufeld in three minutes, but I will do my best with the 180 seconds.
Who is Senator Richard Neufeld? First, Richard, I want to say to you that your adopted parents, Peter and Jessie Neufeld, chose a remarkable baby in 1944. Who would have ever thought that you would become a reputable, envied parliamentarian who is finishing an extraordinary political career in the Senate of Canada, retiring in 2019?
British Columbians and Canadians from all walks of life respect you because they trust you. They admire your keen sense of fairness, transparency and your high standard of accountability. It is said you were the go-to guy in B.C.
Richard, there is no doubt in my mind that no one ever predicted, when you were driving your truck up and down the Alaska Highway, making deliveries in the north of Canada, you would become the parliamentarian that you are today in the Senate of Canada.
Richard was a member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from 1991 to 2008. He served as Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources from 2001 to 2009. He also served on the Fort Nelson City Council from 1978 to 1986, five of those years as mayor. Richard, you left a remarkable legacy.
The great Wayne Gretzky once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Well, Richard Neufeld, no one will ever deny the fact that you have always skated to where the Freds and Marthas would go for help and advice. You were the guy to go to.
Senator Neufeld, Winston Churchill once said:
. . . it is better to be both right and consistent. But if you must choose — you must choose to be right.
In my book, you have chosen to be right.
Honourable senators, as a great parliamentarian once said:
As a legislator, I’ve always believed in doing what is right, not what is popular. I did not get involved in politics to win a popularity contest. Rather, I’ve always strived to provide the best leadership possible and defend the interests and rights of Fred and Martha, your everyday Canadians.
Honourable senators, the great statement that I just read was Senator Richard Neufeld himself. Johnny Cash would say — and the song goes — Richard, you’ve been everywhere, man.
May God bless you and your family for many years to come.