On behalf of the Scottish Green Party, I pay tribute to all the politicians who are about to retire and, in particular, to Dennis Canavan, who is a great
Presiding Officer, it has been a pleasure and an honour to work with you over the past eight years in our new Parliament. Your contribution to Scottish politics and to our development as a legislative body has been extensive, constructive and universally appreciated.
Those of us who have shared from the very beginning your passion for the building in which we now meet owe you eternal thanks for your calm wisdom, tenacity and dedication in bringing the project to a successful conclusion. When sought, your advice has always been freely and patiently given, sound and helpful, and has always been in Parliament's best interests.
Your contribution has not, however, been restricted to Parliament's business. I echo the sentiments that have already been expressed that you have been an ambassador par excellence not only for Parliament but for Scotland. Your dedication to the vision of a new politics for Scotland is beyond question, and your encouragement to our Parliament to be open both to the public and to discussion, and to engage as much as possible with the wider world has been widely recognised.
The words "Wisdom", "Justice", "Integrity", and "Compassion" are inscribed at the end of the mace that sat below you in the first four years of Parliament, when you were Deputy Presiding Officer, and which has sat below you as Presiding Officer. Your compassion was well exemplified in speeches on Iraq, on Afghanistan and on international aid and co-operation that you made during the first session of Parliament. You have dispensed justice with an even hand, acted with wisdom and behaved with complete integrity throughout your time as our Presiding Officer.
On behalf of the Green group, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your contribution and wish you a happy time at home with Dee and in the company of your fellow citizens in your much-beloved constituency of Clackmannanshire. I hope—indeed, I am quite sure—that you will soon be as busy as ever, still making your contribution. May you have many years of health and happiness to accompany you in your projects. Thank you. [Applause.]