January 22, 1914 (12th Parliament, 3rd Session)


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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. L. BORDEN (Prime Minister) :

It is fitting, and I am sure that in this all the members on both sides of the House will agree, that we should pay a tribute of respect to the memory of the grand Canadian who passed away yesterday. I speak of Lord Strathcona as a Canadian because, although born in the old land beyond the seas, his life work was almost altogether carried on in this country to the service of which he consecrated so many years of his life. He had a notable career, a career carried on especially in the early part of his life in the face of conditions and difficulties more arduous than those which most men are called upon to meet. When one looks back upon the great span of years over which his lifetime stretched, one is tempted for a moment to recall all that has transpired in His Majesty's dominions on this continent since Lord Strathcona first came to this country at the age of 18. At that time there was much political unrest in Canada carried in some parts of the country even to the extent of rebellion. At
that time we had not achieved the right of self-government, or enjoyed many of those constitutional liberties which have since been developed and have come into force from time to time Nearly half the period of his allotted life was passed before this Confederation was formed and after his first arrival in Canada in 1838, he saw in the succeeding years what one might call without exaggeration the complete transformation |of the northern half of this continent. He had been a notable figure in the public life of Canada for more than a quarter of a century before he undertook, at the age of seventy-six, to discharge the duties of the great oflice of High Commissioner for Canada. My right hon. friend knows perhaps better than I do the devotion which Lord Strathcona gave to those duties. I have known many men who were imbued with a high sense of duty, but I do not know of any man amjong all of those of my acquaintance or knowledge -who was more profoundly inspired by a sense of public duty than was Lord Strathcona. As the weight of increasing years bore upon him, it was almost pathetic sometimes to see the devotion with which he insisted upon performing even the minor huties of his office. In all the time that I had known him, and that was during the later years of his life, I was especially struck by the fact that time did not seem in any wav to have dimmed the freshness of his spirit, the vigor of his will or the strength of his purpose. The duties of the office which he discharged as High Commissioner for Canada were always important and sometimes delicate; and it is satisfactory to us to remember that no man more than he had a high pride in this country, in all that it has achieved and in all that it may look forward to achieve in the future and no man more than he had a deep and abiding interest in all that concerned the honour, the dignity .and the interests of Canada or was more concerned to discharge fully his duty in that regard.
I need not recall to the memory of the members of this House the notable events of his great career. Through many difficult conditions he advanced with indomitable will, and unshaken strength of purpose to great things, and $or many years he has been truly a great Imperial figure.
I believe that the example of his life may well be an inspiration to all Canadians and indeed to all the citizens of the Empire. Some one said many years ago that Thomas Carlyle spent his life in preaching earnest-

ness to the most earnest people in the world. Some lessons in earnestness, perhaps, might not be thrown away even upon the people of the British Dominions; and I am sure that the earnestness of purpose which is set forth in all the record and career of Lord Strathcona may well serve as an inspiration and an exemplar to us in Canada. [DOT] It is not for me to-day to speak at length of his great public service. In the office which he filled he discharged very important duties indeed and performed services of the highest character to this country and the Empire. Besides that his many benefactions for great charitable purposes are known to all men so that I need do no more than allude to them to-day. I consider that it would be a fitting tribute of respect to his memory that this House should stand adjourned until to-morrow and I shall move, seconded by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, that the House do so stand adjourned; but before doing so I should like to read to the House a message which has been received by His Royal Highness the Governor General from the Secretary of States for the Colonies. It is in these words :
London, 21st January, 1914.
I desire on the part of His Majesty's Government to convey through Your Royal Highness to the Government and people of Canada an expression of deep sympathy in the loss which the Dominion has sustained by the death of Lord Strathcona, High Commissioner for Canada in London for the past seventeen years, a sympathy shared by his many friends in the United Kingdom and throughout the Empire.
His name has been for many years a household word among us embodying to all the thought of Canada and her marvellous progress, as well as of his own notable career distinguished by large public usefulness and magnificent liberality, and his memory is assured of an honoured and abiding place in the annals of the Dominion, to which he devoted his faithful service to the end.
< Sd.) Harcourt.
In conclusion, I am sure that I may, on behalf of Canada, of all the members of this House and of all the people of this country, convey to his daughter and to all the members of his family, the assurance of our deepest sympathy and of our sorrow for their loss.

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