Retiring Sask. MLAs make farewell speeches
Amid tears and laughter, the Saskatchewan legislature heard some final speeches from a number of MLAs on Thursday.
It was the last day of the spring sitting and the final day of business before the Nov. 7 general election.
Seven of the MLAs won't be running for their parties again, including Joceline Schriemer, Michael Chisholm, Denis Allchurch, and Rod Gantefoer of the Saskatchewan Party and Pat Atkinson, Kim Trew and Ron Harper of the New Democrats.
Allchurch, who wanted to run again but was defeated at a nomination meeting, wasn't in the legislative chamber Thursday.
As is customary, the outgoing politicians were allowed to make a final speech before calling it a career.
Some made jokes, some wiped away tears. Most thanked the people who helped them over the years. A few expressed the wish that the legislature would be a more civil place to debate the issues of the day.
Schriemer, elected in 2007 and leaving politics for health and other reasons, said she was honoured to serve the people of Saskatoon Sutherland.
"I remember walking into this building thinking it was a dream," Schriemer said.
Harper, the MLA for Regina Northeast who was first elected in Pelly in 1991, said he leaves politics rich in the memories of the people he has gotten to know over the years.
"Old politicians never die, we just fade away," Harper concluded.
Gantefoer, a former finance minister who left cabinet for health reasons, said he planned to come back from time to time and watch the proceedings from the visitors' gallery.
"Soon, I'll be up in the stands with you guys," he said, looking up at family members.
He also invited his colleagues to drop by and see him in his retirement, drawing chuckles after insisting that he really meant it.
"If you don't come come to see us, we'll come to see you," he said.
Trew, the MLA for Regina Coronation Park, said he had few regrets from his long career, although looking back there were times he wished he could have done more for individual constituents.
"I am among the very luckiest people on the face of the Earth," Trew said in conclusion. "Thank you, it has been fun."