Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, hon. members of this house learned yesterday afternoon, I am sure with sorrow, of the death at his home at St. Constant, Quebec, of Mr. Roch Lanctot, member for Laprairie-Napier-ville. Mr. Lanctot had been in ill health for [Mr Duff.]
some time past; indeed, he was unable to be present at all during this session of parliament and was absent during the latter part of the last session. His death therefore, was not unexpected. At the same time, I am sure it will bring a feeling of sadness to the hearts of all present to realize that we shall not again see within this chamber or about the corridors of parliament, his familiar figure.
Mr. Lanctot was in his sixty-fourth year. In years of representation in parliament he was one of the oldest members. He came into the House of Commons after the general elections of 1904 and was again returned in the elections of 1908, 1911, 1917, 1921, 1925 and 1926, a continuous service, as a member of parliament, of some twenty-five years. During the whole of that time Mr. Lanctot was very faithful in the discharge of his duties as a member, in attendance upon the sittings and work of the house and in representing in parliament the interests of his constituents and, in particular, the interests of the agricultural classes with which he was specially identified. It was characteristic of his concern for ,the people and their welfare that, in addition to being a member of parliament he should have continued to interest himself in municipal affairs. He was, 'at the time of his death, mayor of the parish in which he lived.
Mr. Lanctot was a true son of the soil. He was born in the country; he came to Ottawa for his early education, but thereafter returned to the farm and devoted himself to rural pursuits. He was not only a son of the soil but a lover of the soil and was true to the soil. Had he lived in France he would have been spoken of as a peasant proprietor; had he lived in Great Britain he would have been referred to as one of the yeomen of the country, the class of men who in both these lands are the backbone of the nation, and who are known throughout the world as the salt of the earth. In Canada he brought to the rural life of our country what was best in the rural life of these older countries, with which through blood or birth he was associated. A true representation of the type of man of which Mr. Lanctot was an outstanding example is given, it seems to me, by Gray, in his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard:
Some village Hampden, that, with dauntless breast,
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
The late Mr. Lanctot
Mr. Lanctot had many of .the characteristics of a Hampden. He was a man of sturdy independence and of sterling integrity; one who would not submit to arbitrary measures; who was fearless and courageous; prepared to stand alone for a principle in which he believed. He had many of the qualities of a Milton. He possessed a deep religious conviction, a strong faith. He was a lover of nature and there was about him, in his love of the simple and beautiful things of life, in his broad human sympathies and great friendliness of heart, not a little of the poet and the philosopher. He had, too, many of the attributes of a Cromwell. He was one who had a hatred of caste and of class; he was a great believer in the commonwealth, the commonweal, and at all times and on all occasions he stood for the rights of the people. This is the man who has passed away from our midst.
Speaking more particularly of the party to which he belonged, may I say that we had in him one of the firmest of upholders of Liberal principles. He was an intimate friend and strong supporter of Sir Wilfrid Laurier during the time that Sir Wilfrid was the leader of the Liberal party. In the ten years that it has been my privilege to be in the leadership of the party, he accorded to me a like friendship and an equally loyal support. Personally I feel his death very deeply. I am sure that feeling is shared in equal measure by all who sit on this side of the house, and I believe it is felt in great measure by all members of parliament, irrespective of party.
May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to convey to his widow the sympathy of this house in her great bereavement. The 'house I am sure will feel sympathy for the constituency as well, the constituency which has lost a member who has represented it continuously and faithfully for so long a period of time. Perhaps nothing more worthy could be expressed of his name and his fame than to say he was as much respected and beloved by members in this house of parliament as he was honoured by the constituency which over a quarter of a century gave him an unbroken confidence.