The title of Kings-Hants MP will soon belong to someone other than Scott Brison for the first time in nearly 22 years.
And the highlight reel winding through the accomplished politician’s mind brought him back to Gormanville, Hants County as he penned the farewell address that would serve as his swan song in Ottawa’s House of Commons Feb. 6.
He read a brief May 2005 news clipping from the Enfield Weekly Press about an elderly Gormanville woman receiving $27,000 in retroactive pay for 20 years of Guaranteed Income Supplement payments she’d unknowingly missed out on before turning to Brison’s constituency office for help.
“It wasn’t easy to get her retroactive payment but we found a way, and my constituency team’s work helped this elderly lady of modest income, who had raised a large family in rural Hants County, get the money she deserved – and that enabled her to build an accessible bathroom in her house so she could continue to live at home,” said Brison, reciting his prepared speech.
“It changed her life.”
Brison stressed the importance in knowing – and believing – that the work of all involved in Parliament matters.
“Never take for granted the honour of serving our constituents,” he said in the farewell address, which can be viewed through a video that is available via the Scott Brison Facebook page.
The Cheverie resident’s speech showcased a combination of textbook one-liners and heartfelt sentiments delivered in Brison’s own nonchalant way of getting to the heart of the matter at hand.
“The House of Commons has not just been a place that has shaped my career, it has shaped my life. When I was first elected in 1997, a family like mine would not have been legally recognized in Canada. I feel privileged to have helped contribute in some small ways to this progress as a Parliamentarian but also to have benefited from it as a citizen,” said Brison.
“And that’s one of the many reasons that today, as I leave public life, my belief in government, in Parliament… in politics as a force for good, is stronger than ever,” he said, earning a standing ovation that he would quickly wave off.
“Stop doing that, I may want to stay,” he added, eliciting a round of laughter that filled the room.
He acknowledged Kings-Hants constituents for seeing him through seven successful election campaigns and some groundbreaking public triumphs that would prove life-changing for countless Canadians, Brison included.
The former Conservative joked that his faithful supporters stood by him when he came out as gay in December 2002, and again when he came out as Liberal in 2003. He would go on to become the country’s first openly gay cabinet minister in 2004.
On Jan. 10, Brison announced his resignation from the role of Treasury Board President in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet and declared that he wouldn’t be offering in the next election.
Leading up to Feb, 10, his final day as Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison, he said three factors led to the decision to step down: he’s proud of what he’s done, there are new opportunities to explore and he wants to spend more time with his family.
“For me, there are three miracles in the gallery today: Maxime, Rose and Claire. Now, some people become parents easily, some even accidentally. For Max and me, our journey to parenthood was neither easy, nor accidental.”
The 51-year-old father of four-year-old twins signed off with some help from a borrowed saying he’s grown familiar with through attending many funeral services in his riding throughout the years.
“Miss me, but let me go,” he said, drawing a final round of animated applause.
Brison could not be reached for additional comments prior to publication Feb. 8.