prerogative of the government to appoint the Speaker though, under our parliamentary practice, it has become the custom for the name of an hon. member of the House to be placed in nomination for that high office by the administration of the day.
In the mother of parliaments, whence we derive in the main our parliamentary usages and practices, a Speaker, once elected, is honoured by being re-elected to the chair at the beginning of a new parliament so long as he remains a member of the House of Commons. There has been a difference in practice in this particular in our House of Commons from that which exists in the British House. In our House of Commons the practice :in successive parliaments has been for the most part to choose the Speakers alternately from members of English and French origin. To which practice it may be best to adhere is a matter which the House must decide for itself, and which cannot be determined except in the light of existing circumstances by the decision of successive parliaments. At the moment there would appear to be a very special reason why we should, at least for this parliament, follow the British practice.
At the opening of the last parliament, the House unanimously re-elected as Speaker, the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Lemieux), who, in the parliament preceding, had filled that high office with great ability, dignity and impartiality, and who is equally felicitous in the use of the English and French languages. When first elected Speaker in 1922, the hon. member for Gaspe had been continuously a member of the House of Commons for over a quarter of a century. This was a distinction which, with but two exceptions, was not enjoyed at the time by any other hon. member. When re-elected Speaker in the month of January of the present year, his period of continuous service as a member of the House of Commons had extended to thirty years, and this distinguished record admitted of but one exception. To-day the period of continuous service of the hon. member for Gaspe runs beyond thirty years and is unparalleled in the case of any other hon.