DAN CEARNS, The Standard
SCUGOG: Durham riding MP Erin O'Toole made his final speech in the House of Commons as the riding's representative on Monday, June 12th.
"It's been the honour of a lifetime for me to serve Durham in Parliament. My hometowns of Bowmanville and Port Perry, Oshawa and dozens of small towns and hamlets. But these are just names on signposts. The real honour has been working with and learning from Durham's people."
MP O'Toole announced in late March that he would be resigning his seat following the end of the spring session.
"We dedicated our family to public service, and I think we made a real difference," he stated. Mr. O'Toole also talked about his accomplishments as veteran's affairs minister.
"What an honour for a Canadian Armed Forces veteran to be able to expand mental health treatments for veterans, to reduce wait times. To start to win [the] trust back from a generation of Afghanistan war veterans [who] were already feeling forgotten. Mr. Speaker, I travelled to more legions than anyone in Canada at that time."
Durham's MP served as the Conservative Party of Canada's leader from 2020 until 2022.
"There are many challenges facing Canada at this time. But there are also incredible opportunities waiting to be seized. But that is not happening today. Instead of leading, instead of debating our national purpose in this chamber, too many of us are often chasing algorithms down a sinkhole of diversion and division. We are becoming elected officials who judge our self-worth by how many 'Likes' we get on social media, but not how many lives we change in the real world," Mr. O'Toole said.
He also called for an end to "performance politics" and the replacement of discussion with "virtue signalling."
"Far too often, Mr. Speaker, we're just using this chamber to generate clips, not to start national debates.”