December 17, 1947 (20th Parliament, 4th Session)


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


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

Some years ago, Mr. Speaker, I was much impressed by a passage I read-I think it was by George Eliot-in which appeared the words:
Speech is but broken light upon the depth of the unspoken.
I was much impressed with the significance of those words at that time. But they have come to have a new and fuller meaning this afternoon, one for which I cannot be too grateful. and for which I cannot thank the members of this house too warmly. All that has been said by the leaders of the different groups opposite, by my colleagues on either side of me, by other fellow members from this and the opposite side of the house, has touched me more deeply than I can begin to express. I hope they will understand that, while I am deeply in their debt for the kindness of heart they have revealed, it is only because I feel as deeply as I do that I am unable in return to express to the house the debt I feel I owe to its members for these many evidences of their friendship and great good will. To one and all I am profoundly grateful for the congratulations and good wishes which have been so generously extended on my seventy-third birthday anniversary.
The wish has been very kindly expressed that I might continue in public life for a considerable, time longer. No one knows what the

Anniversaries-Mr. King and Mr. Power
future holds in store. As, however, I look at the beautiful basket of flowers immediately in front of me, and see that in number the roses represent seventy-three years, I realize only too well that, with the years, the number is rapidly becoming far too large.
I should like to take advantage of this moment, if hon. gentlemen opposite will allow me, to express my appreciation, particularly to hon. members on this side of the house who have presented me with this gift, together with the good wishes they have *expressed, accompanied by a scroll containing their names individually and including the entire membership of our party in the house. This parchment is something which I shall treasure deeply all my life, and which I hope, when I am gone, may find its place in the public archives of our country.
This is the seventy-third anniversary of my birthday. In many ways I could wish the figures might be reversed, and that it might be the thirty-seventh anniversary. Looking back over the shears, I would say that had I been able to glimpse at thirty-seven what I have lived to see since, or had I been able to surmise it, I wonder very much if I should have felt at that or any time that I could ever accept office and assume the responsibilities that have come with office in the years that have followed since.
Reference has been made to the county of Waterloo. I think it was just four years before that thirty-seventh anniversary that I had the honour of being elected the member for 'North Waterloo. It was a year later that I had the honour of being made a member of Sir Wilfrid Laurier's government as the first Minister of Labour. Little did I suspect, at that time, that a political career awaited me through the years, or that any career would begin to present the problems and responsibilities that have come with the years. I wonder if any of us, if we could see ahead for the next twenty or thirty years, would be able to pursue our tasks with equanimity of mind. Yet, speaking honestly, as the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario (Mr. Macdon-nell) has questioned me for saying, looking back over the years I think I can say that, great as the anxieties and trials have been, at times, what there has been of so-called burdens of office over those strenuous years have been far outweighed by the rewards of public service. Of those many rewards, I can think of none greater than the one which has come to me this afternoon in this House of Commons. I am indeed grateful to all hon. members for that. How much all that has come to me of opportunity and reward is
owing to the sacrifices, privations and sufferings of others no one realizes more fully than myself.
May I say this further word. It relates more particularly to the future. I believe all hon. members of this house and of the parliaments which will succeed this one will have great responsibilities to bear. We have seen difficult times in the past; but I would not speak my heart honestly this afternoon if I did not say I believe we were going to witness very serious times in the years to come. I think every member of any free parliament must consecrate his life as never before to the furtherance of good will, to the utmost of his ability; and to a determination to battle evil forces as he never has battled them before.
I hope every individual member will, to the utmost of his power, wherever opportunity comes, do what he can both as between individuals and between nations to foster the utmost of good will; but, at the same time, be prepared as an individual, as we must be prepared as a nation, to use every instrument in our power to battle the forces of evil whenever and wherever they raise their heads.
I am sure we must all bend our energies in that direction; and, if we do, I have not the slightest doubt that, having played the part that the different nations of the British commonwealth with their allies have played in preserving liberty and freedom in this world, come what may, liberty and freedom will be preserved through future generations and in the same courageous way, if that is necessary.
In facing the unknown, there is only one sure path to follow. It is, from day to day, to the best of one's judgment and ability, to perform the duty which is closest at hand, sustained by the belief that, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be."
Little has given me more pleasure this afternoon than that there should have been associated with my name on this anniversary the name of another who has been a very close colleague through many years, and who is so greatly honoured and beloved by members of this House of Commons. I refer, of course, to the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power). It is true that, in point of number of years of membership in the house, I still am a little in advance of him, a little over a year; his time may come but meanwhile I will not allow anyone else to assume the role of dean of this house, who cannot meet its requirements to the full.
Let me say, however, that thirty years of continuous and unbroken service as a member
Anniversaries-Mr. King and Mr. Power
of this House of Commons is a record of which the oldest no less than the youngest member might be enviable. It is one all of us are proud the member for Quebec South has made. I extend to him both personally and on behalf of the party I represent-indeed, as hon. members appear to wish to have it, on behalf of the house-the heartiest congratulations and the warmest and best wishes for his future.
I should like with the permission of hon. members, to mention at this time one or two other hon. members who have been in the House of Commons for a long time, and whose association with its business through the years I have been here, it has been the privilege of my hon. friend from Quebec South and myself, to share. The hon. member for Danforth (Mr. Harris) has been kind enough to extend greetings in terms which touched me deeply. May I say he has been an associate of Mr. Power and myself for over twenty-six continuous years, and I extend to him the warmest congratulations and best wishes, on the record he also has made. I reciprocate toward him in fullest measure all the kindly feelings he has expressed towards myself.
There is one other hon. member who shares with the hon. member for Danforth the record of over twenty-six years of continuous service in the House of Commons. I refer to the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Senn) who, unfortunately, is not with us today. Through illness he has been prevented from taking his seat at this session. A day or two ago, when I learned of the serious nature of his illness, I took it upon myself to send him a telegram -not personally only, but on behalf of all members of the House of Commons-to express to him the solicitude we felt concerning his health, and how earnestly we hoped he might soon be restored to health and able to take his seat in the house again.
There are other hon. members who have been here for quite a long time. Somewhat hurriedly I have prepared a list of those who have been in the house for over twenty-one years. Among those who have been in the house for over twenty-one years are the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot), the hon. member for Grenville-Dundas (Mr. Cas-selman), the hon. member for Beauharnois-Laprairie (Mr. Raymond), the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe), the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church), the hon. member for Yukon (Mr. Black), the hon. member for Cochrane (Mr. Bradette), the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis-Kings (Mr. Ilsley)' and the hon. member for York East

(Mr. McGregor). There may be others, but I believe I have covered all of those who have been here for more than twenty-one years.
Then there are some, like my colleague the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie), who have been associated with politics in legislatures as well as in parliament, and whose combined years of public service would extend over a very long period.
May I say to these old-timers, these old friends, how deeply I have appreciated the association we have had together through the years, and how warmly I wish for them all that is best in the future.
May I, in conclusion, thank all hon. members of the House of Commons for what their association has meant to me in the years I have been in this house-and it has never meant more than it has today. I hope each one will believe that from my heart I extend to him and to her, the very best of wishes for the future, all that one could wish for what is best in their lives.
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to add a word of thanks and also of good wishes to hon. members of the other house with whom through the years I have shared public life in this parliament; and also my thanks to members of the fourth estate, my friends and fellow members of the parliamentary press gallery whose friendship has also helped greatly to enrich my life, and for whose futures, I extend my best wishes.

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