January 18, 1917

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

That is boasting.

The Clerk of . the House declared the motion carried in the affirmative, nemine contradicente, and Edgar N. Rhodes, Esquire, member for the electoral division of Cumberland, duly elected to the Chair of the House.

Honourable Mr. Rhodes was conducted from his seat in the House to the Speaker's Chair by Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Borden and Hon. Robert Rogers.

Mr. SPEAKER-ELECT said: I beg to bender to this House my sincere and hearty thanks for the high honour it has conferred upon me by electing me as its Speaker. It shall be my pleasure, as well as my duty, to endeavour to deserve -that high honour by dealing with all questions which come before me in my official character with firmness and with impartiality. I am fully sensible of my unfitness for the position, but I rely confidently upon the co-operation of hon. members on both sides of this House to assist me in maintaining and in preserving our rights and privileges, and in preserving the freedom and dignity of debate according to ancient usage.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER.
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APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY SERJEANT-AT-ARMS.

CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the House that the Serjeant-at-arms has appointed Louis Charles Panet, Esquire, with my approval, to be his deputy. [DOT]

Topic:   APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY SERJEANT-AT-ARMS.
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TRIBUTES TO DECEASED MEMBERS.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Mr. Speaker, before the House adjourns to-day, it is proper that we should give expression to our sympathy in respect, to the loss' which this House has sustained in the death of four of its members, who have passed away since the last session. They are, as hon. members know, the Hon. Thomas Chase Casgrain, Postmaster General; Lieut.-Col.. George Harold Baker, member for Brome; Mr. William Gray, member for London; and Mr-Charles H. Lovell, member for Stanstead. Mr. Casgrain, who was not only a colleague, but a warm personal friend of mine, had a distinguished record in the public life of this country. He entered the Provincial political arena in Quebec in 1886, and, I believe, continued in that arena until he was elected to this Parliament in 1896, the year in which I entered public life. It was then that I first became acquainted with him, and I had the privilege of enjoying his intimate friendship evter afterwards- He filled, several 'very important and distinguished positions in public life, -among others those of Attorney General of his native province, I!at-t-onier-Genera 1 of the province of Quebec, Chairman of the Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission, and Postmaster General of Canada, a position which he filled for more than two years. The very great ability of Mr. Casgrain, * whether at the bar or in public life, was universally admitted; and his high cha-r-

H

acter, his fine spirit, -his splendid enthusiasm for everything that interested him, and his charming personality were such as to endear him very closesly indeed to -those who had the privilege of knowing him intimately and who were associated with him in political affairs. He also, I believe, endeared himseslf to those who, although opposed to him in public life, had -the privilege of knowing him intimately. He had not been in robust health for nearly a year before his death. Last spring his condition became worse, and he was obliged to take a long rest from his- public duties; indeed, he was not sure whether the condition of his health might not then bring about his enforced retirement from public life. However, he came back from England with renewed strength, and took up with his accustomed devotion and energy the work of his department. The last occasion on which I had the privilege of speaking to him was in the city of Quebec, wh^re we both addressed the same public meeting. I was shocked at his apparent illness at that time, and strongly urged him to take a rest, a long respite from work. He promised to do so, and I next -heard from him -shortly after my return from the West when on Christmas day, -although then. very ill, -he sent me a message of greeting and remembrance. I mourn his loss as that qf a very dear friend and I am .sure that all the members of -this House will join in conveying their deep sympathy to his widow and the members of his family.

I did not know Mr. Lovell so well. He had not been in Parliament very long. I knew better his father who preceded him in public life. He was, I believe, a man well informed in public affairs, and although he did not often address the House, I realize that he commanded the complete confidence of those who entrusted him with their mandate in this Parliament. To his family as well, I am sure we will all join in the expression of our sympathy.

I had known Mr. William Gray, of London, for a long -time before he entered public life. He had been intimately associated for many years with the political affairs of the constituency which he afterwards represented. He was a man of great energy, who took a keen interest in public affairs; a strong partisan, but a man of warm and generous instincts. I deplore the loss which the House has -sustained in his death, and his family and children will also receive our deep sympathy.

I had known Lieutenant-Colonel George Harold Baker for some years before he en-

tered this Parliament. He is the first member of the Parliament of Canada who has made the supreme sacrifice for the cause of liberty and justice, the cause for which this Empire is fighting in this war. He came of a family that had great traditions in public life. His grandfather was in the Legislature of the province of Quebec as far back as 1834. His father had a service of no less than twenty-five years in this Parliament, and, I believe, of nine years in the Legislature of the province of Quebec. Lieutenant-Colonel Baker came into, this Parliament in 1911. His voice was not very often heard here, but, knowing him well, I had the warmest appreciation, not only of his character and ability, but of the great promise which he gave of usefulness in the future public life of this country. I do not think it is too much to say that there is no place in the public life of Canada to which, if he had been spared to serve his country in this Parliament, George Harold Baker might not have aspired. I remember very well, when he spoke to me about his offer of military service, the over-mastering sense of duty to his country which he evinced. I remember well my conviction that it was mot possible for me to interpose any objection in the face of such a sense of duty as [DOT]that which possessed him. He took up his work in a characteristic way. He knew the necessity of absolute thoroughness of training, and he searched not only Canada, but the other side of the Atlantic, and even India, to have associated with him a man who could undertake duties for which fee believed himself not adapted by previous training and' experience. He went to the front. I remember that shortly before he left I had the privilege of making him acquainted with a very distinguished American gentleman who was on a visit to Ottawa at that time. This gentleman, .after conversing with Lieutenant-Colonel Baker foi a short time, said to me, " If your Canadian officers and men are of the type of that man I do not wonder at the splendid record that * they have made at the front." We know of the splendid spirit and magnificent courage and patriotism that have animated, and still animate, the men of the Canadian Expeditionary Force; but I venture to think that no finer spirit, no truer patriot, no man of more brilliant promise, ever left the shores of Canada to make the supreme sacrifice beyond the seas than George Harold Baker. Somewhere in France is his grave. I believe that in the House, as in the *country, all who knew him mourn his loss. I feel that in him the country *r.Sir Robert Borden.]

has lost a man of the highest possible promise in public life, and personally I know that I have lost not only a loyal follower, who was most truly an encouragement and a support to me on many difficult occasions, but one of the most valued intimate friends I have ever known since I entered public life.

Topic:   TRIBUTES TO DECEASED MEMBERS.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Rt. Hon. Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with every word which has been spoken by my right hon friend with respect to the four colleagues whose loss we mourn. My right hon. friend has spoken fittingly of them, especially ot his colleague the late lamented Postmaster-General. Mt. Casgrain was not long enough in this present Parliament to give to it his full measure of strength. His health was not good, and it was noticeable to all who had known him formerly, and especially during last session, that perhaps we might anticipate what 'has occurred. Everything that my right hon. friend has said of Mr. Casgrain is perfectly true. He was, as those who knew -him in a former Parliament know, a very able member; and those who knew him before he came to Parliament know that ;he was not only a very able man, but just as courageous as he was able, and as fair in debate and in political combat as he was courageous. I have known him personally *since he was a law student. I met him when he had been called to the bar, and afterwards, when he had entered politics. It was my lot to meet him upon many platforms and in very hot contests, at a time when the political atmosphere was rather charged with electricity, and I am proud to remember at this date, how that he is no more, that not a single offensive word ever passed between us; nor did I ever hear such a word used by him. I may say further that, though we were opposed on almost every question, there was always between us what I will, not call an intimate, but a very strong friendship.

With regard to the late Mr. Lovell and the late Mr. Gray, one sitting on one side of the House and one on the other, both seemed to me to be of very much the same character; men unobstrusive in this House, but endowed both with a very high sense of honour and strong common sense, and upon whose judgment the leader of the party could always depend for solid advice.

As to Lt.-Col. Baker, it was not my privilege to meet him except on the floor of this House, but it was my privilege to meet his father, whom I knew very intimately in the province of Quebec, .and in this House

especially. The father of our late lamented friend was, like Mr. Casgrain, a man of absolute integrity, sincerity and courage, and if his son was endowed in any way like his father, I am not at all surprised that he took the part he did in the tremendous struggle in which we are now engaged. Of a man of his character, though we may lament his death, I am sure that we may say (he has met the death which he would have wished above all others. We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of our four deceased colleagues.

Topic:   TRIBUTES TO DECEASED MEMBERS.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE (Minister of Finance) :

Mr. Speaker, I desire to associate myself with the tributes which have been so eloquently paid by my right hon. friends to the memory of our comrades who have passed away, and particularly I desire to refer to my personal friend and deskmate, the late Hon. T. Chase Casgrain, Postmaster-General. I had the advantage of his acquaintance over many years. Originally I knew him when I was engaged in business in the city of Montreal, He was at that time one of the most eminent counsel of that great metropolis. On many occasions I had the privilege and advantage of his advice on matters of financial and commercial importance. Later I had the honour to be associated with him as member of the Government. I desire to bear testimony to the fine integrity of his character, to the exquisite urbanity of his disposition, and to the genial qualities of head and heart which endeared him to all, and made him so charming a comrade and friend. I wish to speak particularly of his unremitting devotion to the duties of his office, duties greatly increased by the exigencies of this unprecedented time through which we are passing. The late Postmaster-General had a very high sense of duty. He was unsparing of himself to the work of his department, and I am convinced that it was his unflagging devotion to the duties of his office which impaired and undermined his constitution, and thus laid him open to the insidious disease which carried him off. I desire to express my personal sorrow and my sympathy with his widow and the members of his family, and the sense which I entertain of the loss "to the people of Canada through his untimely death.

Topic:   TRIBUTES TO DECEASED MEMBERS.
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PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARYSHIPS.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I desire to lay on the table of the House an Order in

Council passed on the 15th of July last, providing for the office of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, and an Order in Council of 21st October, appointing to that office Mr. Hugh Clark, member of the House of Commons for the Electoral District of North Bruce. Also an Order in Council of 13th July last, providing for the office of Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Militia and Defence, and an Order in Council of 19th of July last, appointing to that office Mr. Fleming B. McCurdy, member of the House of Commons for the Electoral District of Shelburne and Queens.

Topic:   PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARYSHIPS.
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MINISTER OF THE OVERSEAS FORCES.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I also lay on the Table of the House an Order in Council approved on October 28, 1916, providing for the office of Minister of the Overseas Forces of Canada, and an Order in Council, approved on October 31, 1916, appointing to that office the Hon. Sir George Halsey Perley.

Topic:   MINISTER OF THE OVERSEAS FORCES.
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IMPERIAL CONFERENCE CORRESPONDENCE.


On the motion of Sir Robert Borden for the adjournment of the House:


LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Is it the intention of the Government to lay on the table at as early a moment as possible the correspondence with regard to the proposed Imperial Conference?

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE CORRESPONDENCE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Yes. I do not know of any reason at the moment why it should not be laid on the table of the House. I think it has practically all been made public so far. There has been no very extended correspondence.

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE CORRESPONDENCE.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

At all events you will bring down whatever there is?

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE CORRESPONDENCE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Whatever there is we shall bring down. I hope to lay it on the table of the House to-morrow.

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE CORRESPONDENCE.
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Motion agreed to, and House adjourned at 3.45 p.m. Friday, January 19, 1917-


January 18, 1917