May 24, 1948

FARM PRICES

POWERS OF AGRICULTURAL PRICES SUPPORT BOARD EXTENDED BEYOND MARCH 31, 1948


Right Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) moved that the house go into committee at the next sitting to consider the following resolution: That it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide that section nine of the Agricultural Prices Support Act, 1944, dealing with the powers of the agricultural prices support board, shall be deemed to have continued in force after March 31, 1948, and that it may be continued in force for such further period as the governor in council may fix by proclamation. He said: His Excellency the Governor General, having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the consideration of the house. Motion agreed to.


BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

WEDNESDAY EVENING SITTINGS

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

That on and after Wednesday, the 26th of May, 1948, and1 all subsequent Wednesdays to the end of the present session, the sittings shall in every respect be under the same rules as provided for other days.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   WEDNESDAY EVENING SITTINGS
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Peel):

I should think that at this stage the house would be ready to accept the Prime Minister's motion to increase the time at our disposal

for the discussion of the business of the house. Can he indicate to the house what legislation the government intends to bring before the house between now and the end of the session? This information would I am sure be helpful to hon. members in that it would enable them to arrange their plans to meet the government's program.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   WEDNESDAY EVENING SITTINGS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I shall be glad to bring before the house a statement of legislation which is outstanding. I shall not be here tomorrow, but I should hope that on Wednesday I might be able to give the house a full statement of what remains to be brought forward. There is not a great deal.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   WEDNESDAY EVENING SITTINGS
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Motion agreed to.


VICTORIA DAY

ANNIVERSARY OF BIRTHDAY OF QUEEN VICTORIA


On the orders of the day:


PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Peel):

Mr. Speaker, as this is an important day in the annals of the British empire, the anniversary of the birthday of a great and beloved sovereign of yesterday, I believe that as a House of Commons we would do well to follow the precedent suggested by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in former years. I suggest that we pay our tribute and homage to her memory, and our tribute and homage to her great grandson, the reigning monarch of today, by standing and singing God Save the King.

The members rose and sang

God Save the King

Topic:   VICTORIA DAY
Subtopic:   ANNIVERSARY OF BIRTHDAY OF QUEEN VICTORIA
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THE LATE HON. J. L. RALSTON


On the orders of the day: Mr. JOHN T. HACKETT (Stanstead): Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day are called I should like to say a few words as president of the Canadian Bar Association about a man who was not only a pillar of the Bar Association, but one of its rarest ornaments. Canadian lawyers are proud to claim the late Colonel Ralston as one of their very own. They mourn his death and will long cherish the example he has set to his profession in the various avenues of their high calling. Perhaps I may be permitted to say here in part what I have said elsewhere about Colonel Ralston and his sudden and much lamented death. Colonel James Layton Ralston died at the end of the day,-a day like all his days, filled with labour. He led a life of labour. Tribute to the late Hon. J. L. Ralston Well equipped physically and mentally, he turned to account every ounce of energy that his stout frame and powerful intellect were capable of generating. Few men in our time have successfully engaged in broader fields of endeavour; none has been more unsparing of self. Ralston was in turn lawyer, soldier and politician. In each of these callings he excelled; in each he left enduring marks and abiding friendships; in all, his way was lit by the lamps of a purpose that never wavered, of a courage that never weakened, and of ideals that never dimmed. Ralston was primarily and always a lawyer. In early manhood as his first choice he went to the law; to the law he returned from both soldiering and politics. He was admitted to the Nova Scotia bar at the early age of twenty-one, and to the Quebec bar half-way through his career. His capacious mind and its easy intake, his faithful and well-stored memory, his intellectual curiosity, his gift of orderly and lucid exposition, his endless industry, made of him one of the great Canadian advocates of his generation. He understood the meaning of professional duty in its public no less than in its private aspects. He was alive to the traditions of the Bar. He knew that it has functions of supreme importance to the life of a free country, that its members are called upon to develop and exercise qualities of leadership and guidance which are not exacted from the members of any other profession. He knew that in a democracy where all are subject to the law, and where so much depends upon the interplay of political parties for the enactment of good laws and their fair administration, the lawyer is better qualified than many to make a contribution to public life, and his he made generous, wholesome and vigorous. He suffered the fortune and the fate of those engaged in the endless adventure of governing men-no more, no less. Ralston understood. He did not complain. He considered it a privilege to have given of his best in field and forum to the public service of his country. When this came to an end he returned to his briefs, not sad and dejected, but lighthearted and joyous. He had done his duty; he had retained his ideals; he had kept his friends. To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die.


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I have naturally, knowing there would be those who, like myself, would wish to make reference to the

late Colonel Ralston, given careful thought to what should be said or done in the house this afternoon regarding the passing of one of the greatest public servants Canada has had.

Part of my duty as leader of the house and Prime Minister is to preserve traditional practice and to be careful in the matter of establishing precedent. I therefore had a careful search made as to what had taken place in parliament in the past, and have been unable to find that at any time, with one exception only, has reference been made by the leaders of the parties to the passing of former members of governments who were not members of the parliament then in session. The only exception, so far as I have been able to ascertain, has been with former prime ministers or leaders of political parties. I considered whether it would be proper for me to depart from the traditional practice today, or rather to set a precedent which it might become embarrassing to follow in some future cases. Before taking my seat this afternoon I had a word with the acting leader of the opposition and mentioned to him that I did not think, for the reasons I have mentioned, that I should depart from what has been the customary practice and thereby establish a new precedent.

However, I am happy indeed that the hon. member for Stanstead (Mr. Hackett) as president of the Canadian Bar Association, has found the best of reasons for drawing the attention of the house to the loss which the legal profession of this country has suffered in the passing of the late Colonel Ralston. May I say that I echo sincerely and deeply all the sentiments that he has expressed. I would say on behalf of the public of Canada that I think Canada has lost one of the finest men of our country in the passing of the late Colonel Ralston.

I knew Colonel Ralston intimately, and a more unselfish and self-sacrificing public servant I have never known. I cannot recall anyone of my acquaintance who seemed to be more industrious, more conscientious or more ready to sacrifice everything for duty, as he saw it, than Colonel Ralston. We had our difference as to what was the most advisable course to be adopted at a particular time, but such differences arise in government and are sometimes inevitable. As far as I am aware, that difference, which was a political difference, did not make a difference in our personal friendship. I continued to retain to the end of his life the strongest affection for Colonel Ralston and the greatest possible admiration for his high character and exceptional abilities. I believe that the great service which he rendered our country in the period of the war

5849-273J

4292 COMMONS

Tribute to the late Hon. J. L. Ralston

years as Minister of National Defence brought *a reaction which was inevitable. I would think that it helped to account for the shortening of his life. But those wrho knew Colonel Ralston will realize with me that he was a man who [DOT]could not spare himself no matter what particular task he might be engaged in. As has been reported in the press, he was apparently following his customary habit of working until half past six or seven o'clock at night before returning from his duties to his evening meal. I would not have been surprised if the evening had found him engaged again on the task he had in hand. Certainly it was so through the years that he was here as Minister of National Defence'. The continual taxing of his energies, and what must frequently have been the overtaxing of his strength undoubtedly contributed to his sudden passing at the age of sixty-six. I feel that our own country is very greatly the loser in the death of one who held so high a place in his profession, who played so important a part in public life, and who took such a great part in the larger task of helping to save the world's freedom when freedom itself was at stake.

I do not think we should ever forget that Colonel Ralston, when the first war came on. gave up his practice to join Canada's armed forces for service overseas, and that his was a heroic part. He served with great distinction through the whole of the first war. When a second war threatened, I remember talking with him very earnestly before w'ar actually broke out. Fearing that something of the kind might happen, I begged of him to come into the ministry forthwith. He told me in his quiet, humble, modest way that he had felt the need of making provision for his family and himself and for that reason did not wish to come back into the government, but that if war came I could call on him in a moment. When war came, I asked him again to come into the government, and he responded instantly. No one could have rendered the country greater service in the time that he was minister of the department of defence than Colonel Ralston. His name will always be greatly honoured in this country, and nowhere more than in this parliament, and by none more than by those who knew him best.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. J. L. RALSTON
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, as an old personal friend of Colonel Ralston, a fellow Nova Scotian, and also as the honorary head of the Canadian Bar Association, I should like to add a brief and simple tribute to the great man whose death has just occurred.

Colonel Ralston never did a selfish thing in his whole life, and I cannot think of anyone whose death would cause more widespread

sorrow than his. A truly great Canadian has passed away, and his countless friends are shocked and grieving. His whole life was devoid of selfishness and filled with distinction. A brave soldier, a fine lawyer, a wise statesman, he brought honour and glory to Canada throughout his whole illustrious career. His devotion to duty, his intellectual honesty, his frankness and courage, his capacity for self sacrifice, his unfailing manliness in all the activities and relationships of life, were altogether exceptional. His heart was full of human sympathy, his friendships were innumerable, his loyalty to old comrades and friends unshakeable.

To his devoted wife and son I extend my deepest sympathy.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. J. L. RALSTON
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, as one who had the privilege of sitting in. this house with Colonel Ralston when he sat on this side, and also when he was a member of the government, I wish to associate myself and the C.C.F. group with the tributes paid to his memory by the member for Stanstead (Mr. Hackett), the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), and the Minister of Justice (Mr. Usley).

I shall remember Colonel Ralston best because of the meticulous care with which he answered, or at least attempted to answer, every letter L wrote him during the time he occupied the position of minister of defence. I knew how busy he was, and how many important questions he had to deal with, and I refrained whenever possible from writing him in regard to anything. But as happens with all private members, I had occasion, at times, to put questions to him, and no matter how much trouble the answer involved I always got an answer which was full and complete in every detail. I am sure that that is the way in which he will be remembered by most of the members, at least on this side of the house.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, inasmuch as the member for Peace River (Mr. Low) was not a member of parliament while Colonel Ralston was winning the admiration of the whole house by his estimable behaviour in the cabinet during wartime, he has asked me to say a word on behalf of the Social Credit group.

After all the beautiful and noble things that have been said, it seems utterly impossible for me to say anything more, or to say it any better. But an inspiring passage referring to the war comes to my mind at this moment, as put into the mouth of a soldier boy who was called upon to make the supreme sacrifice. The words are, "Now, God be thanked, Who has

Tribute to the late Hon. J. L. Ralston

matched us with His hour." I believe those words are exceedingly appropriate as applied to Colonel Ralston. In his spiritual life, having left this life of storm and stress, he must now be able to say with great satisfaction, "Now, God be thanked, Who has matched us with His hour."

The members of my group join with all other members of the house in deep appreciation of Colonel Ralston's fine life, and in tenderest sympathy and good will toward his bereaved ones.

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LIB

John Watson MacNaught

Liberal

Mr. J. W. MacNAUGHT (Prince):

Mr. Speaker, I feel that as the member for Prince, the constituency represented in this house from 1939 to 1945 by the late Colonel Ralston, I should add a few words to what has been already said by the other speakers.

I believe that I am voicing the feelings of every one of my constituents and the people of the maritimes in general, regardless of politics, race or creed, when I say that in the passing of the late Colonel Ralston the maritimes have lost one of their most distinguished sons. Colonel Ralston had a tremendous capacity for forming deep and abiding friendships. During the six years he represented . Prince he made many such friendships. I well recall that on a return from a trip to the battlefronts in Italy, Colonel Ralston spent literally hours telephoning the friends and relatives of boys he had met and talked to while overseas. Such genuine acts of courtesy and thoughtfulness on the part of a busy man are not soon forgotten.

On behalf of my constituents and myself, I wish to express deepest sympathy to the family of the late Colonel Ralston.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. J. L. RALSTON
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May 24, 1948