‘We are all Canadians and we all love our country’

The Conservative MP for Calgary Centre rose after QP today to announce his resignation. Mr. Richardson was first elected as a Progressive Conservative in 1988—here is his maiden speech—but he first worked on the Hill as an executive assistant to John Diefenbaker and later served in the Prime Minister’s Office of Brian Mulroney.

Last spring, he sought the Speaker’s chair, finishing third in balloting. He will be returning to Alberta to serve as principal secretary to Premier Alison Redford.

Below, the text of Mr. Richardson’s remarks in the House.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to inform you of my resignation as the member for Calgary Centre.

Serving in this House on two different occasions, in two different centuries, has been the greatest honour of my life.

From 1988 to 1993, I was privileged to serve as the member of Parliament for Calgary Southeast in the government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, whose achievements included the free trade agreement and the acid rain accord, two landmark agreements between Canada and the United States.

Since 2004, I have been equally privileged to serve as the member for Calgary Centre and, since 2006, in the government of Canada’s 22nd prime minister, the right hon. member for Calgary Southwest.

To both prime ministers, I thank them for the honour of serving in their caucus. Each has remarkable listening skills when it comes to leading a united caucus, the most important leadership attribute in our parliamentary system.

This Prime Minister has reunited our party and brought it from political wilderness to government, where he leads our country with great distinction.

As a Calgarian, I think all Calgarians take great pride that our country is led by one of our own. I am proud to have served in his government and am grateful for his friendship and support.

I am equally proud of Laureen Harper, a wonderful chatelaine of 24 Sussex and ambassador for Canada.

I first sat in the members’ gallery, and some members will recall me saying not long ago, 40 years ago, as executive assistant to the Right Hon. John Diefenbaker, Canada’s 13th prime minister. He was no longer leader of the Progressive Conservative Party at that time, but he was still master of this House, the greatest parliamentarian of his time. It was a privilege to have known him and have worked with him on his memoirs, One Canada. There was never a more partisan figure in this House than Mr. Diefenbaker, but he was, above all, a man of this House.

If I could share one thought with colleagues, it would be this. While we advocate for different ideas of Canada, we are all Canadians and we all love our country. We would all, I think, do well to remember that and leave the partisan furies at the water’s edge.

There are many people I would like to thank, many people to be thanked, beginning with the voters of my two ridings who sent me here in five elections.

I would like to thank the volunteers and supporters in my Calgary association and my dedicated staff who have served me so well over the years.

In particular, I want to thank Lynda MacKay, my executive assistants, who is now the longest-serving staffer on Parliament Hill. Just last week, she received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her decades of unbroken service.

I am leaving to take up a new opportunity as principal secretary to the premier of Alberta, Alison Redford. This is an exciting challenge at a moment when Alberta’s new premier is claiming Alberta’s leadership role in the Canadian federation in a way that only Peter Lougheed, among her predecessors, has done.

To my friends here, goodbye for now. I hope to see all of you at the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede this July. It has been an honour to be in your company.




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‘We are all Canadians and we all love our country’

  1. And so what did Lee Richardson accomplish in all those years as a backbench MP? Anything? Nothing? Did he, as one MP, make a difference?

    Personally, I still hold it against him that he had Sun’s Krista Erickson as his “spouse” for free travel on our dime, same as Bernier had Couillard; and I think it’s fair to say that Couillard is the classier woman. But as he resigns, everyone is calling him “gentleman” — and so I want to know why.

    • I saw him vote yesterday and I thought – I haven’t seen him in years. I’m with you – what has he done?

    • “everyone is calling him “gentleman” — and so I want to know why.”

      Mostly politeness, I’m thinking. In addition to the Erickson situation, I recall some comments about how immigrants are criminals, and a rather nastily ageist campaign for speaker last year. (Rumours at the time he’d try to move his support to the NDP rather than let Andrew Scheer win, because of Scheer’s “inexperience”—despite the fact that he’s served in the House longer than the NDP candidate for speaker had.) There are worse MPs, but not many.

      Also, he was easily the most experienced political hand (Diefenbaker gig, previous House experience, etc.) to be left out of Harper’s first cabinet. If you’re too much of a jerk for *this* prime minister, you’re probably in the wrong business.

      Is “principal secretary” anything in Alberta? In some places, it’s a chief of staff, and in others it’s, well, a secretary. Here’s hoping Lee Richardson isn’t about to be running Alberta.

  2. Bags o cash to subvert military??

  3. Does this mean Wilks now only needs 11 Conservative MPs to vote with him against the budget omnibus bill?

  4. Oppo MPs are pointing out that harper pointedly did not speak after Richardson’s speech and wondering why he did not recognize Richardson in HoC.

    • That doesn’t bode well for the Redford/Harper relationship.

  5. Did he give Harper a heads up about his resignation, or did he do a Witmer, and pointedly tell him an hour before the announcement? Because I’m hearing a message in those words, and that action, that says “nothing for me here now, and never will be.”

    • I am only guessing but perhaps Richardson was one of the few AB MPs who did not back Smith. He’s only a year into his term, and it’s only a month since the AB election.

  6. Near the top Richardson offers us these two observations:

    To both prime ministers, I thank them for the honour of serving
    in their caucus. Each has remarkable listening skills when it comes to
    leading a united caucus, the most important leadership attribute in our
    parliamentary system.

    This Prime Minister has reunited our party and brought it from
    political wilderness to government, where he leads our country with
    great distinction.

    But then a few paragraphs later he offers this:

    If I could share one thought with colleagues, it would be this.
    While we advocate for different ideas of Canada, we are all Canadians
    and we all love our country. We would all, I think, do well to remember
    that and leave the partisan furies at the water’s edge.

    I’m having a very tough time reconciling Lee’s thoughts.

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