March 5, 1935

DEATH OF ARMAND LAVERGNE

TRIBUTES TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE DEPUTY SPEAKER


On the orders of the day:


CON

Thomas Hay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right. Hon. Sir GEORGE PERLEY (Acting Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, it is my sad duty to inform this house that another of our members has passed away, the hon. member for the constituency of Montmagny, who has been the Deputy Speaker of our house. Mr. LaVergne had a varied and colourful career. He was born at Arthabaska; he went to school there and in Montreal and, I think, in Ottawa also. He was very successful at school and at the university, where he studied law and graduated with honours. He was first elected to this House of Commons in

Topic:   DEATH OF ARMAND LAVERGNE
Subtopic:   TRIBUTES TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE DEPUTY SPEAKER
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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,

again on behalf of the official opposition I have to express to members of the government and hon. gentlemen opposite our sympathy in the loss of one of the members of their party. Again at this session we share their deep regret at the passing of one more of our number, particularly one who held the prominent position of Deputy Speaker in this chamber.

I believe it had long been apparent to all of us that Mr. Armand LaVergne, the late hon. member for Montmagny, was bearing with great fortitude very severe impairment to his health. It would be unfair and indeed impossible,, therefore, to attempt any estimate of his services to the public life of Canada by referring to the part with which we are most familiar and what we have known of him in this parliament. Personally, I like to go back in my remembrance of him to the days, to which reference has been made by my right hon. friend opposite, when as a

young man, almost, I should say, the youngest member, he entered parliament in the year 1904, and sat as a Liberal member of the Commons for the four following years. As the right hon. gentleman has truly said, the late hon. member was believed by all at that time to have before him a very promising career. He was an able debater and brilliant speaker. Even at that time he was an ardent advocate of more or less independent views. In 1908, as my right hon. friend has said, he resigned his seat in this house in order to enter the Quebec legislature, in which legislative body he served also for a period of four years.

In 1911 he was one of the organizers of the Nationalist party in the province of Quebec and, thereafter, a foremost member of that party; and in 1927 he was one of the Quebec organizers of the Conservative convention at Winnipeg. I believe the fact that in his day he was by turn a member of different political parties and, I fear, not very happy in his relations with any of them, accounts in part for the fact that although he was a candidate for parliament in all the political contests between 1911 and 1930, despite his attainments, it was not until 1930 that he was again returned as a member of this house.

It is very difficult to estimate the services to the public life of a country of those who too frequently alter their party allegiance, or of one who by his very nature is critical and independent in his views to the extent of finding it difficult to work with other men. I believe it is one of the laws of politics that we have all to learn to seek to accommodate our views to the views of those who belong to groups entertaining ideas similar to our own, if anything effective is to be accomplished. While undoubtedly it may be a mark of strength for one at all times to be wholly independent and outspoken in the expression of one's views, it is also at times an evidence of equal strength for one to be able, while holding and cherishing independent opinions, to cooperate with others differing somewhat in opinion but who are seeking to serve like national ends.

The late member for Montmagny achieved an enviable position in his profession of law, and also an important place in journalism. As a journalist, he was much given to expressing independent and, at times, extreme views. It is my opinion that the country will remember him for the zealous manner in which he upheld minority rights, particularly as they had to do with matters with w'hich he was deeply concerned. At all

Death of Armand LaVergne

times Mr. LaVergne was courageous and fearless, even to the extent of welcoming opposition and, upon occasions, of courting unpopularity. He will also be remembered for this, and, to those who knew him best, for qualities of heart and mind and for talents which, had he been less critical and more constructive and in some matters less eager perhaps to plough his solitary furrow, would have afforded him even wider spheres of public usefulness and national service.

1 join with the acting leader of the government on behalf of hon. members on this side, in the expression of sympathy which it is the desire of all should be conveyed by Your Honour to Madame LaVergne in her great bereavement.

Topic:   DEATH OF ARMAND LAVERGNE
Subtopic:   TRIBUTES TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE DEPUTY SPEAKER
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UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. ROBERT GARDINER (Acadia):

Mr. Speaker, it is with deep regret the house has learned of the death of our former colleague from Montmagny. All hon. members will realize that as we have not had the pleasure of his company during the present session he must have been seriously ill. May I be permitted to join with the acting leader of the government (Sir George Perley) and the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) in expressing from this corner of the chamber our deep regret of his passing, and our desire to convey through you, Mr. Speaker, to his widow and relatives our sincere respects.

Topic:   DEATH OF ARMAND LAVERGNE
Subtopic:   TRIBUTES TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE DEPUTY SPEAKER
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Quebec East) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, may I

add my personal tribute to the homage paid by the parliamentary leaders to the memory of our departed colleague. Armand LaVergne and I commenced our parliamentary career on the same day, in February, 1904. We have battled ever since, sometimes side by side, sometimes under different banners, and I cannot help feeling painfully shocked at the thought that Armand LaVergne is dead.

A true son of Quebec, he reflected throughout his entire life love of country, fidelity to traditions, the nobleness of our history and the joy of fighting in defence of what he loved. He always manifested an active devotion towards our land and towards our race, which he ever sought to keep conscious of its originality. Possessor of a caustic, original and supple mind, he never sought to conceal his thoughts. Quite properly was he known in days gone by as "l'enfant terrible" of Canadian politics.

Mr. Speaker, Armand LaVergne had reached the stage when one's thoughts turn no longer to the past, but to the future. His straightforward and lucid mind was too fond of clarity in matters pertaining to this world

not to seek the higher verities. He died as a true Christian, in the bosom of eternal truth. And our supreme farewell to him is the sad but confident one of those who believe, who hope and who love.

Topic:   DEATH OF ARMAND LAVERGNE
Subtopic:   TRIBUTES TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE DEPUTY SPEAKER
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CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. MAURICE DUPRE (Solicitor General) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, may I

add a word to what has just been said on the tomb of our departed friend. We were united, the member for Montmagny and I, by bonds of friendship dating from the time I left college, in 1908. Since then, we have followed sometimes the same path, sometimes different ones, but always have I held him, even when he was fighting us, in high respect and admiration. As a lawyer, Armand LaVergne was distinguished. In political life, he made a great name for himself. He was known in every province of the Dominion. An ardent patriot and a brave man, he was ever ready to defend the cause of minorities and to take up the cudgels for the oppressed. He conducted, for the rights of the French language, battles that will ever remain memorable. I think it can rightly be said that henceforth his name belongs to our history, to Canadian history and to the history of the French Canadian race. Likewise can we say of him what has been said of a man he greatly admired and of whom he frequently spoke: He was a knight without fear and without reproach.

To Mrs. LaVergne and to all his relatives and friends we extend our deep and sincere sympathy.

Topic:   DEATH OF ARMAND LAVERGNE
Subtopic:   TRIBUTES TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE DEPUTY SPEAKER
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OTTAWA AGREEMENTS


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. J. A. BRADETTE (North Timiska-ming):

Mr. Speaker, basing my question on an article signed by F. J. Savage and entitled "Britain likely to revise Ottawa agreements" which appeared on Saturday night of the 2nd instant, I beg to ask the government if it has been notified by the government of Great Britain of her intentions in the matter?

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?

Right Hon. S@

So far as I know there has been no such notification, but I will make inquiries regarding the hon. gentleman's question.

Topic:   OTTAWA AGREEMENTS
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CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS


Hon. R. J. MANION (Minister of Railways and Canals) moved the third reading C. N. R.-Auditors



of Bill No. 20, respecting the appointment of auditors Iq the Canadian National Railways. He said: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. Hanbury) and some others I think mentioned when this bill was in committee the taking care of Touche and Company in regard to the work which they have done this year, and I agreed that on the third reading some provision would be made in the bill to take care of them in regard to the year 1935. However, upon making inquiries I find that their work has been entirely the auditing of the books for 1934; in other words, they have not yet begun upon the work of 1935, and until they have completed their report and presented it to parliament and until they appear before the committee, their work will not in any way affect 1935, and so with their consent there is no necessity for any arrangement for 1935.


LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. JEAN FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked for information from the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) about Mr. Laforoe, one of the employees of the Canadian National Railways. In what I have to say I will be brief.

My intention is that not only the members of the railway and shipping committee are entitled to receive information from the Canadian National Railways, but also every member of this house who is called upon to vote moneys for the Canadian National Railways. I understand, of course, that some information may be confidential, but when I ask a question about the salary of a man and the kind of work he is doing for the railways, I am perfectly justified in doing so, and such a question calls for a reply, and a straight reply. We are ready to vote money for the Canadian National Railways when it is required, and we are entitled to receive all the information which is available. I have been most reasonable in asking for information in regard to the railways. In fact, this is the first question I have put this year with regard to them.

There is something I wish to tell the house about Mr. Laforoe. Here is a man employed by the railways for colonization purposes, and he is writing articles which are just like the exercises of a school boy, expatiating on the beauty of the country and all that. Furthermore, I am told that the publication of his articles in the press is paid for by other governments. Here is a man who is supposedly working for colonization. His salary is paid by the Canadian National Railways,

and his articles are paid for by the provincial governments. If the minister wants to practise economy in the Canadian National Railways the first thing he should do is discharge that man. Whenever I spoke in this house about distress in the different centres in the north the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon) would come along with a telegram from that man saying that all was well, and the telegram was signed J. E. Laforce. I have mentioned that not only in this house, but I said the same thing in the parliament buildings of Quebec when the last congress on colonization was held there last fall.

I have received no answer to my question

about this man. Here is an opportunity for tlie minister to practise real economy. Let him see to it that the men who have been discharged from the railways, men who were doing good and useful work, are restored to their positions, and let him also see to it that all those who are doing nothing for the railways, and whose salaries are paid by the railway for doing nothing, are discharged at once.

I remember two years ago when I first brought up this matter it was at a morning sitting and the minister was right where he is sitting now. I advocated the same thing then, and the minister seemed to sympathize very much with my attitude.

With regard to the employees of the railway, Mr. Speaker, all the men who are doing useful work should be kept in their positions, but if you can dispense with a man who draws a big salary without doing useful work, and who draws that salary at the expense of three men who have the responsibilities of a family, that man should be laid off and the three men who could do useful work should be restored to their former positions. That is my humble view, and I submit it to the minister. I hope he will realize the stupidity of keeping on Mr. Laforce on the Canadian National Railways when no member of the house can get any information about his doings. I say that it is most unfair. The minister is fair enough to appreciate that. He probably will not admit it at once, but when he goes back to his office and thinks over what has just been said he will probably admit that the member for Temiscouata is following the right course in asking the minister to see to it that the greatest possible number of men are employed by the Canadian National Railways, and that all those who are drawing salaries for doing nothing shall be dispensed with at once.

There is another thing. What is the use of keeping as assistant superintendent at

C. N. R.-Auditors

Campbellton a man who can neither read nor write properly? It is just a fat job. What is he doing? The only thing he does is to try to put the greatest possible number of men out of their positions in order to justify his own salary. Is that economy? It is fattening one at the expense of many, and I ask most emphatically that his head be cut off. I do not say physically, but the house understands what I mean. There are many things like that, the purchase of materials for the railways, jam, lumber, construction materials of various kinds.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I am sorry to have to interrupt the hon. member, but after all I have allowed him considerable latitude to-day. This bill calls for the appointment of auditors for the Canadian National Railways, and I must confess that the subject matter of the hon. member's remarks has not yet come within the scope of the bill. If he intends to continue, I must ask him to confine his remarks to the bill.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

With due regard to you, Mr. Speaker, may I explain how my remarks come within the scope of the bill? This bill relates to the auditors of the railways. Well, the auditors have to audit every expenditure, and what I am mentioning is itself a saving for the railways. The greater the saving the less the expenditure for auditing, and therefore I am within the bill, I am within the subject matter before the house in asking for the curtailment of useless expenditures so that fewer such expenditures will have to be audited by these men.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

While I appreciate the remarks by which the hon. member seeks to bring himself within the scope of the bill, I do not think that what he has said is relevant. The bill covers the appointment of auditors and what the hon. member is arguing is a matter of management, not of auditing.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILL TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS
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March 5, 1935