My hon. friends opposite, if they stop to ponder a minute, must know that it will turn in the future just as it has turned in the past, and when another government comes into power, are we to follow this precedent which it is proposed to establish here to-day? What would be said if another government established the precedent of ap-
Election of Speaker
pointing nothing but English speaking speakers? I do not think that would be fair; I do not think it would be just, and I do not think it would give the rights which our constitution intended to give to the two dominant races in this country.
For these reasons, Mr. Beauchesne, I desire with great respect to register the formal protest of the official opposition in regard to the course taken here this afternoon in connection with the Speakership of this House by my right hon. friend the Prime Minister. We are not disposed, however, to press the matter any further, certainly not to a division. A division would be misapprehended, and might be looked upon as in some way a personal slight or criticism of my hon. friend from Gaspe, and I can assure the House that we have no desire to make any such suggestion. I am one of those who have known the hon. member for Gaspe for a great many years now. I know something of his fitness and of his qualifications for the high office for which he has been proposed this afternoon by my right -hon. friend the Prime Minister. We all admit his long experience; we all admit his great ability. It is true that during the past five years we have not on all occasions been able to agree with some of his rulings, but we have always bowed gracefully to his rulings, or we have placed ourselves within the judgment of the House of Commons. We all admire his urbanity. We all admire his wonderful patience. I confess that as I saw him in this House last January, day in and day out, night in and night out, presiding over this august assembly, I used to wonder where all his patience came from. I used to wonder what his thoughts were as he cast his eye over this chamber, and recalled that there was not a single member of the House of Commons who sat as a member of this House when the hon. member for Gaspe first entered this chamber. What a change! He saw no faces there that were in this House in 1896. He himself I think has changed the least of those who sit in this chamber to-day. He seems to have found for himself the secret of perpetual youth, and all we wish him is that he may be continued long in this chamber, not necessarily in the Speaker's chair, but long in this chamber, and that in the future he ~ may be able to say of himself as the years go by, in the language of the poet, For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.