I rise today with gratitude, respect and humility and for the final time as the MLA for Carleton. It has been an incredible sixteen year chapter in my life and in the life of my family. As many of you know, my father is in the hospital and my father-in-law is also suffering ill health. On behalf of the Alward and Stairs familes, I want to thank everyone for your prayers.
Making a difference is why I entered public life 16 years ago.
I have been honoured to serve as Premier of New Brunswick and Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. I am humbled the people of Woodstock and Carleton County elected me five times to represent them, and it has been a privilege to serve as their MLA since 1999 with the election of Premier Bernard Lord’s government.
I want to thank my wife Rhonda. Anything we’ve done, we’ve done side by side together every step of this fantastic journey. And my 16 years as an MLA and Premier would not have been possible without the love and support of my sons, Jon and Ben.
My values in life are based on what I have learned from my parents and from members of the communities where I have lived. They are also based on the experiences I have had working with people – as well as running a small, family farm and working as a community volunteer.
No matter what else may come up, first and foremost we are elected to serve the people who we represent. I am grateful to the people of Western York and Carleton Counties for the opportunity to serve for the past 16 years.
I am thankful for the experience of working with many community leaders in our area to improve life in our part of New Brunswick.
The past 16 years have seen significant renewal of infrastructure in our area. I want to thank the local leaders for their support and partnership in seeing these projects move forward.
While not always easy,it’s been a privilege to work with my many constituents on their individual concerns during my time as an MLA.
I need to thank the staff who have supported me in my local office and throughout government and the public service to get results for the people of my riding.
I thank my colleagues, those MLA’s past and present who have been part of our team. It was an honour to work under Bernard Lord and as Premier to work with many outstanding ministers and MLA’s and I thank them for their support and dedication to the people of New Brunswick.
Thanks to the people of the P.C. party of New Bunswick for putting their trust in me and our MLA’s and for their dedication and commitment to make our province a better place for everyone.
Thanks to the workers of the legislative assembly for making it possible for me to do my work.
You know governing New Brunswick is becoming increasingly difficult in a rapidly changing technological environment. Social media channels like Twitter and Facebook means there is now an instant poll on every difficult decision a government makes.
There is no secret about the economic, fiscal and demographic challenges that we are facing as a province. I want to encourage all members of the house to continue with the work that they have been elected to do and continue to build public trust and confidence.
To the Premier and your government, I look forward to working with you in my new role to improve New Brunswick.
This is an important time in New Brunswick, and it is my hope that we will all find a way to work together to make a difference in the best interest of the province we love so dearly.
It has been an honour and a privilege to represent and serve the people of my riding of Carleton. I know my successor will be blessed to represent some of the most wonderful people on our planet. I want to say thank you for all of the prayers and best wishes as Rhonda and I begin this new chapter in our lives and may God continue to bless the people of New Brunswick.