The Conservative Party is strong and united, says Justice Minister Peter MacKay. “I am proud to have served as a Conservative and am comfortable in the knowledge that we are a strong, united party with strong values, Canadian values, a progressive political party deeply ingrained in the origins and future of our nation in our outlook and orientation,” he told the House of Commons on June 9 in a farewell speech. “My fellow parliamentarians, and those in particular of the Conservative Party, my political home, also went through an evolution during my tenure. There has been throughout our history, from John A. Macdonald to our current leader, the Prime Minister, an unbroken continuity in our political bloodline and a commitment to the building and advancing of our Canada.” Mr. MacKay was first elected in 1997, in the riding of Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough, N.S., whose name changed to Central Nova in 2004. He was re-elected in each subsequent election, but will not be running in the upcoming election. During his speech, he said “the majesty and the splendour of these gorgeous buildings and this remarkable chamber leave one breathless.” He said it’s the people who’ve made his career memorable, including his constituents, his dedicated staff, and fellow Parliamentarians. He recalled working with Liberal MP Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Que.), a former Justice minister who is also not running in the next election. “ was for me, in many ways, a mentor. I was his critic, and today he is in some ways my critic. However, that criticism is always constructive and respectful and indicative, I think, of the very best of this place when we come together around important ideas and important notions that move the country forward,” he said. When Mr. MacKay, 50, first came to the Hill, he was a young, idealistic and single man, “Ready to bring about change.” During his time as the opposition House Leader, one of the concrete contributions he was able to make as an MP was the successful “installation of baby change tables in all of the Parliamentary precinct washrooms, both male and female,” he said. “I used one the other day with my son.” He told the House: “I made that presentation at the Board of Internal Economy, but it was really the brainchild of my good friend, John Holtby, a giant in my eyes, who remains one of the most knowledgeable Parliamentary procedural experts in Canada, an author and intellect, an icon and a friend. He is now back growing his garden, and like my grandfather, he loves to watch nature grow, including budding politicians, who he took under his able wing.” Mr. MacKay spoke about his family, noting that his father, Elmer MacKay, was also a politician who “set a high bar” and his mother, Macha, “would have been an excellent and compassionate member of this place as well, with a heart that would fill this chamber. She would have been a great debater as well, and I never want to debate my mother. I thank them for their love and support. It has been my lifeblood.” He also thanked his wife Nazanin Afshin-Jam, who he met as an MP, “in fact, in this lobby just behind me. Were it not for politics, I would not have met the love of my life.” After 18 years in office, both in opposition, as party leader, in government and as various ministers, Mr. MacKay said politics is “an honourable calling, despite its frailties and its failings, like democracy itself. … Time and time again, we have proven that when Canada's collective freedom and security is threatened, it does not matter where we come from or what our political background. When it comes to Canada, we come together for the betterment of our nation and our constituents. That is when this House is at its best. May this place never be without our truly dedicated citizens, who above all else, stand for the betterment of our nation.” On the agenda (all times local) Events NDP Leader Tom Mulcair (Outremont, Que.) will make a keynote speech to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, outlining his vision for the economy and the middle class. 12:30 p.m., Hotel Bonaventure, Montreal, Que. The Macdonald-Laurier Institute will host a panel discussion on intellectual property protection. The discussion features MLI senior fellow Laura Dawson, Entertainment Software Association of Canada vice-president Tanya Woods, and Fogler Rubinoff partner Colleen Spring Zimmerman. 8:30 a.m., Rideau Club, Ottawa, Ont. House committee hearings The Environment Committee will continue its study on how the private sector can partner with non-profits to work on local environmental initiatives at 8:45 a.m. in room 306, 151 Sparks St. The Transport Committee will meet at 3:30 p.m. in room 253-D Centre Block for a briefing on the implementation of recommendations from the auditor general’s 2013 report. Senate committee hearings The Human Rights Committee will meet at 8 a.m. in room 9, Victoria Building to continue its study on the women, peace and security. The Agriculture and Forestry Committee will meet at 9 a.m. in room 2, Victoria Building, to continue its study on international market access priorities for the Canadian agricultural and agri-food sector. The Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee will meet at 10:30 a.m. in room 257 East Block to continue its study on Bill C-42, the Firearms Licensing Act. The committee will hear from Coalition for Gun Control president Wendy Cukier and Groupe des étudiants et diplômés de Polytechnique pour le contrôle des armes (Polysesouvient). The committee will then move to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-12, the Drug-Free Prisons Act. The Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee will meet at 10:30 a.m. in room 2, Victoria Building, to continue its study of obesity in Canada. The committee will hear from Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission officials, Advertising Standards Canada, and Association of Canadian Advertisers. The Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators Committee will meet in camera on matters relating to the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators. Senate Ethics Officer Lyse Ricard will testify at 2:30 p.m. in room 172-E Centre Block. Announcements Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel (Roberval-Lac Saint Jean, Que.) will make an announcement regarding Grand défi Pierre Lavoie at 5:30 p.m., La Baie, Que. Press conferences Liberal MP John McCallum (Markham-Unionville, Ont.) will speak about his private member’s bill related to the Caregiver Program. 10:30 a.m., Charles Lynch Press Theatre, 130-S Centre Block. Liberal Senator Wilfred Moore will speak about his bill to phase out the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canada. He will be joined by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.), former Marineland head trainer Phil Demers and Canadian Federation of Human Societies CEO Barbara Cartright. 12:15 p.m., National Press Theatre, Ottawa, Ont.