January 18, 1935

ELECTORAL LISTS


On the order for motions:


CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. C. H. CAHAN (Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, on the order for motions, may I be permitted to reply to the inquiry made by the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) at yesterday's session. Pursuant to the provisions of section 46 of the Dominion Franchise Act of last session, the dominion franchise commissioner commenced on November 20 last to deliver to the king's printer copies of the lists of electors for the several electoral districts of Canada as they were severally prepared, with directions to the king's printer for the printing of the same.

These lists comprise approximately 6,000,000 names of electors, of which about 1,000,000

names are now set up in type, although the printing of departmental reports, in English and French, for presentation to parliament, has been given precedence over other work. The printing bureau, in addition to its other work, is now setting up in type about 75,000 names per day, so that in the ordinary course, without grave accidents to the equipment of the bureau, the composition should be completed early in April, and the printing of the lists should be completed about April 15 next.

This date will permit the printed electoral lists to be distributed to the registrars of electors in the several electoral districts, so that, as provided in section 20 of said act, the annual revision of the electoral lists may commence on May 15 next.

Topic:   ELECTORAL LISTS
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MINISTERIAL CHANGES


On the order for motions:


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to advise the house that during the recess the Hon. H. H. Stevens, Minister of Trade and Commerce, resigned his office, and that on the 17th day of November last Mr. R. B. Hanson, member for York-Sunbury, having been previously sworn of the privy council, was appointed Minister of Trade and Commerce. The Hon. Murray MacLaren resigned his office as Minister of Pensions and National Health, and on the 17th November the Hon. D. M. Sutherland, the then Minister of National Defence, was appointed Minister of Pensions and National Health. On the same date the Hon. Grote Stirling, member for Yale, having been previously sworn of the privy council was appointed Minister of National Defence. The correspondence I now table.

Topic:   MINISTERIAL CHANGES
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I rise to a point of order. Would it not have been proper to make that statement before the ministers tabled the reports of their departments?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Undoubtedly it would

have been, and I intended to do so, but a minister rose before I could speak. There is no point of order, however; it is purely a matter of the custom of the house.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Did not the

Prime Minister himself as Secretary of State for External Affairs table the first report?

Topic:   MINISTERIAL CHANGES
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I did, yes.

Topic:   MINISTERIAL CHANGES
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes, I thought the Prime Minister tabled the first report.

Topic:   MINISTERIAL CHANGES
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes, but the hon. member referred to "ministers" and "reports of

Tributes to Deceased Members

their departments." The point was that before they addressed the house the Prime Minister should have intimated the changes.

Topic:   MINISTERIAL CHANGES
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

If they rose before they should have, it shows they have no discipline

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LIB

TRIBUTES TO DECEASED MEMBERS

THE LATE JOSEPH ARTHUR DENIS-THE LATE HON. WILLIAM ANDERSON BLACK-THE LATE WALTER DAVY COWAN THE LATE GEORGE BRECKEN NICHOLSON

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, since last we met the grim reaper seems to have gathered a greater harvest than usual. In the interim four of our members have passed to the great beyond. I must first offer my sympathy tc the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and his colleagues in the loss of one of their members, namely the late member for St. Denis. I was not privileged to know Doctor Denis very well, but I used to see him frequently and upon those occasions passed the time of day. I believe however one might state truthfully that he was a very constant attendant in this chamber and followed the debates with great interest and care. That he was a loyal party man there can be no question, and that he was held in high esteem in the community in which he lived is evidenced by the fact that he was returned as the member for the constituency of St. Denis in 1921, 1925, 1926 and 1930. He was thirteen years in this house and in point of service was becoming one of its oldest members. On behalf of the government and myself I should like to express our very warm sympathy to the family in the great bereavement they have suffered by reason of one so young having been called. I offer also to the leader of the opposition and to his colleagues the sympathy of those sitting on this side of the house in their loss of a loyal and devoted colleague.

In point of time the next of our members who passed was the senior member for the city and county of Halifax. The late Hon. William Anderson Black was the oldest member of the House of Commons. Although he did not come to parliament until late in life he had been a very active business man and was closely associated with the growth and development of the city of Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia. He was interested in all commercial pursuits, had a strong individualist turn of mind, and was always frank in expressing his opinions. He

was an authority on shipping, and as a governor of Dalhousie university he took a keen interest in educational matters and especially in the commercial department of that institution of learning. The late Mr. Black was held in the highest possible esteem not only by the citizens of his own community and the people of the province in which he lived, but by those throughout Canada who knew him. For a short period of time he served the crown as a minister, and although he had then passed the three score years and ten he showed great interest and activity in the discharge of the duties of his office, indicating that his years did not in any sense determine his age or his outlook upon the problems of life. He will be missed not only by hon. members on this side but, I believe, by all members in this house who had the privilege of knowing him, and by those who had met him in that wider sphere of business activity in which he had continued as long as his health permitted. His place will not easily be taken. I express the opinion of my colleagues to which the hon. member sitting to my left (Sir George Perley) has already given public expression when I state that in the death of Mr. Black we have lost a very valuable friend, a devoted supporter, and a great citizen of the province in which he lived and of the dominion of which he was so proud.

In point of date the next hon. member who passed from our midst was Doctor Walter Davy -Cowan, who sat for the constituency of Long Lake. When I first went to the city of Regina in 1898 to attend the sittings of the Northwest legislature the late Doctor Cowan was a resident of that city. A more kindly hearted man it would be difficult to conceive, and I believe he was much misunderstood by some of our friends in this chamber. He was a tolerant and broadminded man, but one who held strong convictions which he never for a moment failed to express. I believe the kindliness of his disposition might best be explained by a little story which I shall now repeat. He was a practising dentist, occupying a very high position in his profession, and when the dental organization became dominion wide for a long time he held the position of secretary. By reason of his office he found it necessary to relinquish much of his practice. I learn from what I regard as sound authority that when his books of account were examined after the late member's death they found that in order that there might be no possible chance of those whom he had attended being harassed he kept their names

Tributes to Deceased Members

in his books of record in terms such as this: "The man with the grey overalls." Some service had been rendered to that man, but the entry had been made as I have indicated so that by no chance could his personal representatives after his decease determine the name of the debtor or endeavour to secure payment of the outstanding account. That I believe is typical of the man. He was warm hearted and conscientious, he was a good citizen and one who occupied a very important position in the dental profession of our country. The late Doctor Cowan will be mourned by a very wide circle of friends in the communities in which he had lived. I suppose it is within the knowledge of hon members that when he lost the devoted companion of many years of his life he ceased to take a great interest in public affairs, and I am quite certain the death of his wife hastened his own demise.

The last of our members to leave us was George Brecken Nicholson, the late member for the constituency of East Algoma. Born in Prince Edward Island, early in life the late Mr. Nicholson came to what was then called the western part of Canada. In those days any part of the country beyond the northern boundaries of New Brunswick was known as Canada West. He had been associated with the building of a section of the Canadian Pacific railway, and had always been proud of the fact that he continued to carry his union card. I believe that for a short period he was a fireman, and rejoiced in the fact that he retained his standing in the union organization. The late member was deeply interested in the growth of the community in which he lived, namely, the town of Chapleau. His business expanded to the point where in the latter days of his life he controlled a very large enterprise employing great numbers of men. He was a man I think at times much misunderstood. He was blunt of speech, strong in his convictions, determined in his ways, those who knew him and lived in the community in which he resided or in the district which he represented always spoke of him in warm and kindly terms. I recall reading in an Ottawa newspaper a letter from a correspondent written after he had passed, and I thought then, as I still think, that if any of those who knew us could speak in terms such as that correspondent used, we must indeed have been something out of the ordinary to warrant it. In public affairs Mr. Nicholson was, of course, deeply interested. He was a strong adherent of the church of his choice and took a very active part in organizing many funds which will

long ensure his being remembered. In this house he took a fair part in debates, and expressed himself in terms as strong as were warranted by the convictions which he held. To those of us who sit on the right, news of his death brought to us a sense of real, personal sorrow. I might add that in the last conversation I had with him, only a few days before he passed to the great beyond, he was discussing a means by which he could better serve the country and assist the party to which he belonged.

I cannot take my place without indicating that one of the saddest circumstances connected with the office of the Prime Minister is that year after year as we gather here we realize how great the mortality is amongst our members. I think that since we were elected we have lost twelve members of this house-that is my recollection-out of 245, a rather large number. It reminds us not only of the uncertainty of life but also, and especially in view of the fact that at least one of them was a fairly young man who was called suddenly, that members of parliament are subject, it seems to me, to perhaps a higher mortality than a similar number of men engaged in the ordinary vocations of life.

I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to convey to those who mourn, the sympathy of this house in their great bereavement, and I am sure that I voice the sentiments not of a party but of all of us when I say we deeply regret the passing of our colleagues and hope that they have passed to a reward which is not dependent upon popular favour.

Topic:   TRIBUTES TO DECEASED MEMBERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE JOSEPH ARTHUR DENIS-THE LATE HON. WILLIAM ANDERSON BLACK-THE LATE WALTER DAVY COWAN THE LATE GEORGE BRECKEN NICHOLSON
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just referred in feeling terms to the extent of the mortality of the membership of this house. He has mentioned that in the course of the present parliament no less than twelve members have been taken from our midst. His remarks come with added emphasis when we recall that no fewer than four of that number have been taken away in the short time that has elapsed since the prorogation of this house in July last. I am sure that none of us assembled here at that time ever thought that there would be owing to death such a number of vacancies in the membership of this House of Commons when parliament reassembled. I do not remember a year when the house in the interval between sessions suffered so large a loss in its membership.

It is, I think, worthy of note that all of those who have been taken were members for a considerable period of time. All four

Tributes to Deceased Members

had been in parliament during two or more parliaments, and occupied seats in this house for eight or more years. In the case of one, there was a membership of eleven years, and of another of thirteen. All for a much longer period of time had been active, and had participated in many party conflicts. It can be said that, without exception, each had given a considerable part of bis life to public service in one representative position or another, and that each occupied a very prominent position in the affairs of his party in his native province, and, one of the number, a quite exceptional position in the public and business life of the dominion.

It is not without significance that the Angel of Death, in his flight over the membership of this house, should have been no more the respecter of provinces, than of persons. We meet to-day under the shadow that his wing has cast across the sea-girt provinces of the east, the highly industrialized central provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and the prairie provinces of the great west.

Of the four, to whose memories we would pay our humble tribute before entering upon the duties and controversies of the session, three were members of the Conservative party and have been taken from the ranks of hon. gentlemen opposite. I hasten to express to the Prime Minister, as he has kindly done to me, my deep sympathy for him in the loss which he has sustained in the passing of so many loyal and able colleagues, and that 33rmpathy I should like to extend upon behalf of the entire official opposition to all hon. members of hiis party in what is also their loss. To them the loss is political as well as personal. We on this side who enjoyed in greater or less measure the friendships of one or other or of all three, will share what they experience of personal loss; and we are glad to join in the tribute deservedly paid by the Prime Minister to their public service and achievements.

What that service has been, and what these accomplishments were, you have already heard in part. I shall not attempt to repeat the record. With respect to each of the late members I should, however, like to add just a word.

As the Prime Minister has said, the late member for Halifax, in point of years though not of membership in the house, enjoyed, at the time of his death, the distinction of being Canada's oldest commoner. It was a distinction of which anyone might be justly proud. It was something more than a distinction where, as in the case of the Hon.

William A. Black, it crowned a life that already ivas full of years, and full of wide and varied disinterested public service.

In these days, when many are beginning to lose their respect for years, and the experience and wisdom which comes with years, it is worth while to recall that it was at the age of 76 that Mr. Black entered federal politics; that, between the ages of 76 and 86, when he died, he had participated in no less than four political contests, three of them general campaigns, and been returned four times as a member of parliament, and that, until his days on earth were ended, he never ceased to be active in the affairs of his party and the country, and never ceased to enjoy the admiration and great regard of members of all political parties in the house.

The late member for Long Lake, Doctor Walter D. Cowan, was scarcely less of an example of high and persistent endeavour. It was not because of labour continued to a great age, though he lived and remained remarkably active up to the age of 68, but because of the fortitude with which, after many years of unselfish service in a variety of directions, he bore one handicap after another in his determination not to permit bodily suffering or infirmity to conquer a spirit devoted to public service and the wellbeing of his fellowmen. And it was not his fortitude only, and his persistence that were so praiseworthy, but the cheerfulness with which everything in the nature of misfortune or suffering was borne. It never embittered, but if anything softened his nature. I share in all that the Prime Minister has said so feelingly about the late member for Long Lake.

Dr. Cowan knew that most of us on this side had a cordial dislike for some aspects of his politics, and enjoyed provoking him at times into a retort, but he knew equally that this was in order to have the benefit of his quick repartee and that we were always appreciative of his unfailing and kindly humour. We shall all much miss the spontaneous and original wit with which at times he enlivened the debates of the house, and I for one shall much miss the doctor himself.

I was not as well acquainted with the late member for East Algoma, Mr. George B. Nicholson, as with Mr. Black and Dr. Cowan, and therefore cannot speak as intimately of his personal qualities. I believe, however, that those who knew him well were strong in their admiration of his zealous concern for his party's interests; and of a zeal no less great for the well-being of those whose interests he sought to serve in parliament. He began his life in the work of railway construction, and

Tributes to Deceased Members

later became interested in the timber business in northern Ontario. These associations brought him into immediate contact with large numbers of workingmen on railways and in lumber camps, and with the many needs of a pioneering community. To be a friend and neighbour to those in humble circumstances was, we are told, the constant endeavour of his life. In this endeavour he seems to have largely succeeded. I had the pleasure, as the Prime Minister had, of reading this article to which he has referred. It appeared, I think, in the Journal of this city shortly after Mr. Nicholson's death and was by a former citizen of Chapleau wbo had been a life long friend. My feelings upon reading it were similar to those to which my right hon. friend has given expression to-day. It closed, if I recollect aright, with the -words: "Those of us who knew him best, liked him more." After all that is the one real test and the highest tribute that can be paid to the worth of a friend and a neighbour; it is a tribute that in Mr. Nicholson's case many will believe is worthily bestowed.

To all of us who are of the official opposition, the death of Doctor J. Arthur Denis, the late member for St. Denis, Montreal, means the loss of a deeply valued colleague as well as friend: to myself personally it means the loss of one of the most loyal and devoted supporters that any leader of a political party could wish to have.

Though the youngest in years of the four members who have been taken away since our last session, Doctor Denis was the oldest in point of membership in the house itself. He entered parliament in 1921, in his forty-first year, and represented the constituency of St. Denis continuously up to the time of his death on the first of October last, when he was in his fifty-fourth year. His popularity in his own constituency could not have been better attested than by the huge majorities he received at each of the four contests at which he was a candidate, and which varied from 6,500 to 18.000. These majorities were by no means the result wholly of the exigencies of politics. They reflected in a very true way the place which Doctor Denis held in the hearts of the people of his constituency. He was a man devoted in his sympathies to the poor; and being a medical doctor practising in a thickly populated industrial community, his profession brought him into close contact with the conditions of thousands of workers, many of them possessed with little or nothing of this world's goods. To one and all in need he ministered as best he could, and, as may well be assumed, with

little in the way of remuneration. He took a special interest in young people, and sought to encourage their participation in politics. For a time, a club which he formed to this end, met every week in his own home.

Few members have been more ardent advocates of their political faith. Liberalism to him, as to many another, was a gospel. When not practising his profession he was immersed in politics; indeed, his profession, save as a means of furthering charitable ends, came to hold a wholly secondary place, and its rewards were sacrificed to politics. He died as he lived, a poor man with large family obligations.

In this House of Commons, Doctor Denis was most regular in his attendance. He participated freely in the debates, especially where social and . industrial questions were under discussion. As opportunity presented he never failed to say the word which he believed might be helpful to the people he represented and the cause he had at heart. I really believe that the strain Doctor Denis experienced in seeking to serve both at home and in parliament the needs of a working class constituency in these years of depression was responsible more than all else for the heart affliction which occasioned his death, and his passing at the early age of fifty-four. It was a strain which was also felt by other of our late colleagues, and is a strain which I believe is felt in considerable measure by most men who take part seriously in public affairs to-day. Doctor Denis' death has occasioned an irreparable loss to those he served so well by his profession and in parliament. It is a loss which will be much felt in this House of Commons, and in times such as the present, a very real loss to the country.

I join with the right hon. the Prime Minister in expression of the desire that the sympathy of this House of Commons be appropriately conveyed through His Honour the Speaker to the immediate members of the families who since our last meeting together here have been so greatly bereaved.

Topic:   TRIBUTES TO DECEASED MEMBERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE JOSEPH ARTHUR DENIS-THE LATE HON. WILLIAM ANDERSON BLACK-THE LATE WALTER DAVY COWAN THE LATE GEORGE BRECKEN NICHOLSON
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTII (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, it is hardly necessary that I should follow the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) and the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) in a review of the careers of the four members who have been called away. I desire, however, to associate this group with the tribute of respect which has been expressed by the other groups in the house to our fellow members who have passed on. Sometimes I wonder, when we can find admirable qualities in all of those, even our political enemies, who have gone

Business of the House

from us, whether this should not lead us to be a little more charitable to those who still are round about us.

We desire to express to the friends and relatives of the late Mr. Black, Doctor Cowan, Mr. Nicholson and Doctor Denis, our very great sympathy with them in their bereavement.

On motion of Mr. Bennett the house adjourned at 3.50 p.m.

Monday, January 21, 1935

Topic:   TRIBUTES TO DECEASED MEMBERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE JOSEPH ARTHUR DENIS-THE LATE HON. WILLIAM ANDERSON BLACK-THE LATE WALTER DAVY COWAN THE LATE GEORGE BRECKEN NICHOLSON
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January 18, 1935