View From the Legislature

Tribute to Hugh McFadyen

  • Kelvin Goertzen, Author
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly, Steinbach

On June 14th, Hugh McFadyen spent his last day in the Manitoba Legislature as Leader of the PC Party and the Official Opposition. As is tradition, tributes were offered to Mr. McFadyen on his last day including those from Premier Greg Selinger and Liberal leader Jon Gerrard. I was pleased to offer the tribute on behalf of our Caucus and Party. What follows below is my statement in the Legislature last Thursday.

“On behalf of members of the PC caucus, our staff, the PC Party board and its members, it’s a pleasure to say a few words of tribute to the member for Fort Whyte (Mr. McFadyen), the Leader of the Official Opposition.

Mr. Speaker, since becoming the Leader of the PC Party in April of 2006, the member for Fort Whyte has had the opportunity to travel our province and to meet thousands of Manitobans. Those that have spoken with him personally will have appreciated his sincerity, his depth of understanding of the issues that affect Manitoba and his willingness to stand up for what’s right for Manitoba, and for Manitobans.

Over the past five years we, as his colleagues, have seen his willingness to identify issues and to take a clear stand on them. He stood up for all Manitobans who saw the routing of the new bipole line as a bad decision. He stood up against the vote tax, Mr. Speaker, and he won that fight. And he reminded us today that he’s always stood up for his own constituents, demonstrated by his quest for that high school in Fort Whyte, probably to be aptly named Hugh McFadyen High School in the future.

Mr. Speaker, the demands of modern-day leadership in a political party are many. We, as caucus members, his caucus members, and staff, often marvel at our leader’s ability to meet each of those demands with grace and with good humour. He demonstrated in this House a good sense to know when to fight, to know when to join with government in a cause and to know when to put aside our partisan differences that often come between us as individual members.

All members of this House have seen the wit that he has demonstrated in what can be a pretty combative environment at times. As his seatmate for the past number of years, I’ve heard much of went on the record and, thankfully, much of what did not go on the record, Mr. Speaker. But all along he demonstrated that he took the job seriously, as Manitobans, of course, demand, while not letting it consume the sense of perspective that each of us need in this job.

As a leader he has helped to bring our party back to a strong financial position and helped us to attract many new voters and many new supporters. And while those of us on this side of the House will regret that his many fine leadership qualities were not able to be brought to the position of premier, the fact is that of all the things we leave this Chamber with, titles are among the least valuable. If we achieve the respect of our constituents, respect of our colleagues and the respect of those who we fought to make a difference for, we have achieved the best that this job has to offer. And I say without hesitation or reservation, Mr. Speaker, the member for Fort Whyte (Mr. McFadyen) has achieved each of these in spades.

On behalf of our caucus, our staff, our party and its members, and I would dare say on behalf of all members of this House and the staff of the Assembly, we thank you, along with Jen, James and Rachael, for the sacrifice that you have made to Manitoba in your capacity of Leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and as friends we say, God speed and good fortune in the days ahead.”