Hon. C. G. POWTER (Quebec South):
Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a happy occasion, and perhaps for me a happy coincidence, that the birth of the Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the House of Commons should coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of my entry to this chamber. It has permitted hon. members who were kind, generous and courteous enough to pay the usual compliments to persons in my position, to couple my name with that of the Prime Minister.
They have been most kind. They have shown that in this House of Commons, even in the midst of an emergency session, one may take time out to deal with matters which ordinarily might be considered as indications of frivolity and perhaps a lack of interest in affairs of state, but which really might better be considered as indications of the spirit of good will in the House of Commons, the spirit of friendship, the spirit of comradeship and of chivalry which is characteristic of this Canadian nation of ours, and which is so well represented by the members of the house.
My right hon. friend the Prime Minister has made some reference to the competition which might exist between us for fatherhood of this house. Speaking for myself, when I
Anniversaries-Mr. King and Mr. Power
look at the brood of children which throngs the benches of this chamber I would say to the Prime Minister that I wish him well in his role of father to all those who sit about him. I also admit freely he has, through his kindness, his fatherly affection and guidance, all the qualities and qualifications of a father in a degree far superior to mine.
For many years the paths of the Prime Minister and myself have followed along parallel lines, although at all times they may have been on vastly different planes. Both of us have taken active parts in political life. For my part I have enjoyed the relationship which has existed between us. of an admiring and devoted1 follower to a respected chieftain. If at times our paths have diverged, there was in no respect a lowering of the honour in which I held him or a lessening of the gratitude which I have had for his kindness. So strong has that attachment been, and it still persists, that I rarely neglect him in my prayers. As one of the few of us who are still continuing Liberals, I pray that he will return to the faith of his forefathers.
You have probably often speculated, Mr. Speaker, as I have, when at the beginning of a session you hear addresses made with respect to those who are no longer here, as to just what will be said about you. If you want to resolve that speculation all you have to do is remain twenty-five years more in this house. You will then be a witness to a full-dress rehearsal. You will also have an advantage over those others in that if hon. members who are making the addresses or observations with respect to you forget to mention salient points which you believe to be important in connection with your career-after all, you know better than those who are speaking about you-you can rise on a question of privilege the next day and correct them.
I have spent half' of my life as a member of this house. It has been a good half life. It has been joyous; it has been one filled with comradeship and kindness. There are no moments of it which I regret. I say that with perfect sincerity. There are those who have the idea that politics is a mean kind of game, that it is filled with disappointments and delusions, but so far as I am aware, and *co far as I have been able to observe during ail these years, politics is filled also with loyalties, with decencies, with honesties, with comradeship, with evidence of the helping hand and the sympathetic spirit. I for one can say that it has been a wonderful life and a good one, and I do not regret it.
My right hon. friend the Prime Minister has often expressed the wish to write a book. That desire comes to almost all of us who have taken some part in public life. I too have thought that perhaps in my retirement I might solace my years and days with the writing of a book. It would not be concerned with the mazes of statecraft nor with the intricacies of international affairs. I should like to write a book about this Commons House of Canada. I perhaps would put it in the form of a homily, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, and I would entitle it "Back to Front and Back Again". I would tell of the long and painful progress down five rows of seats to the front benches, and I would tell also of the short and rapid and sudden transition from a private car to an upper berth. I would perhaps dedicate it to the over-ambitious youth who inhabit the back benches and also to the over-pretentious elderly ones who inhabit I he front benches. I might comment on the title page in ancient Greek, "Mati-otes, Matiotetoun Ta Panta, Matiotes"- "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity".
I cannot close these remarks without making some reference to the constituency of Quebec South which during all these years has shown such patience, tolerance and indulgence in sending me here to represent them, alien though I was in birth and language. That constituency has shown me a measure of confidence which is rare indeed in parliamentary history, and for which I shall be forever grateful.
Mr. Speaker, may I for a moment forgo parliamentary rules, in the strict sense of the term, to direct a few words to my friends and colleagues of the province of Quebec.
My friends, for years we have stood together in struggle and in triumph, we have been friends in good times and bad. In Canada, I stand as a living example of the tolerance and broad-mindedness characteristic of our fair province since, for thirty years, electors whose language and racial background are other than my own, have been so kind as to return me as their representative.