February 1, 1937

THE LATE HON. CHARLES MARCIL

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, the house is already aware of the great loss which its membership sustained on Friday last by the death of the hon. member for Bonaventure, Hon. Charles Marcil. The adjournment of this house on Friday evening was an impressive collective tribute on the part of hon. members to the memory of one who had attended forty consecutive sessions of this parliament, and who in point of service was its oldest member. This morning the citizens

of the capital and many from other parts of the country joined with hon. members of both houses in paying a further tribute of respect to the memory of him who had become so familiar a figure in the public life of our country. The press, of all shades of political thought, have united in expressions of appreciation of Mr. Marcil's many years of public service. The tributes thus expressed have been supplemented by others from former political opponents as well as personal and political friends and by the clergy of the church of which he was so devout a member.

In these circumstances, Mr. Speaker, my purpose in rising this afternoon is primarily that of gratefully acknowledging what has already been said by way of tribute to the memory of our late fellow member, and of saying, on behalf of those who knew him best, how worthy he was of the eulogies which have been expressed. Mr. Marcil's public life in Canada is generally known to all who are here assembled. I imagine that what our own and future generations will regard as of surpassing interest in his long career is the link which it affords between a past which is rapidly receding and a future which is certain to be full of change.

The Hon. Charles Marcil came of a family nine generations of which had lived in the province of Quebec and of which ten generations extend over three centuries. He was born in Ste. Scholastique on July 1. 1S60. Like the late Hon. Peter Veniot, his deskmate for a period, to whom tribute was paid only a few days ago, he was one of the very few remaining members of this parliament who were born prior to confederation and who, from memory, could recall incidents associated with that great event. He was one of another group, somewhat larger but also much too rapidly disappearing who sat in this house with the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

With Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Mr. Marcil was privileged to enjoy a close personal as well as political friendship. There was much in the lives of Mr. Marcil and Sir Wilfrid Laurier which made the association between them natural as well as close. Both, as I have said already of Mr. Marcil, came of families that for many generations had lived in the province of Quebec. The early careers of each had its association with journalism, each came to devote his entire time to politics. Both Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Mr. Marcil were endowed by nature with real distinction in appearance which their habit of thought and manner of life, as the years went by, continued greatly to refine. Both were gifted as writers and speakers, and each spoke with equal fluency in the French or the English

The Late Hon. Charles Marcil

language. I doubt if anyone who had not heard Mr. Marcil in his prime can imagine with what freedom and grace he spoke alike in French and in English. He was, I think, at his best depicting a scene from the romantic background of our country's history, or foreshadowing the greatness of Canada's future as he conceived it would become. He was a true Canadian, with great faith in Canada and the place Canada would come to hold among the nations of the world. That faith, throughout his life, he ever sought to impress upon his fellow countrymen. He was an ardent Liberal, strong in his convictions, but always moderate and tolerant in the manner in which he spoke. Like Sir Wilfrid, he exhibited at all times those attributes of courtesy and chivalry so characteristic of the race and generation to which each belonged. It was a part of Mr. March's contribution to the parliament of our day that when he presided over the proceedings of this chamber or participated in its debates he was true not only to the Laurier tradition in his point of view but, expressed himself in the Laurier manner with grace and dignity.

An estimate of Mr. Marcil's contribution to the life and work of this parliament would require perusal of its records and debates over forty sessions. To such a degree did he enjoy the unbroken confidence of his constituents that he was elected by them to ten consecutive parliaments. With the exception of two instances, so far as I have been able to ascertain, this record has not been surpassed. I believe Sir Wilfrid Laurier himself and the late Hon. John Haggart each sat in this House of Commons through eleven parliaments.

Mr. Marcil's return on so many occasions was a well deserved record of confidence and one which reflected equal credit upon his constituents. Last night I took occasion to glance through the pages of Hansard of the previous session in order to see what Mr. Marcil had said on the last occasion on which he spoke in this chamber. It was not. surprising to discover that his last word was one of grateful acknowledgment to a minister of the crown for something the minister had been able to do which was of assistance to the constituency represented by Mr. Marcil and to adjoining constituencies. Confidence akin to that so fully given to Mr. Marcil by his constituents was also expressed in a very real way by his fellow members in this house of commons who elected him successively to the position of deputy Speaker and chairman of committees in 1905, and to that of Speaker in 1909, a recognition which was further emphasized by his appointment in 1911 as a member of the privy council of Canada. During the last four parliaments his fellow members of

the Liberal party chose him as permanent chairman of the party caucus. In the course of his long life of public service, there was much else in the way of recognition of his abilities and attainments by municipalities, representative organizations, societies, univerities and by governments in our own and other countries.

Mr. Marcil was in his 77th year. For a life so full of service, of achievement and of well merited recognition, there surely can be either for him or for us no occasion for regret that he was taken away while still a member of the House of Commons and its oldest member in point of service. We shall miss the benefit of his long experience and wise counsel in parliamentary affairs, but to have had his faculties unimpaired to the end, and to have been spared the infirmities, disappointments and decline which too often are the accompaniment of advancing years is something which of itself is in the nature of a benediction, and something we should not begrudge him who has been taken from us.

It was his to enjoy the fulfilment of the ancient promise-

"Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age Like a shock of corn cometh in in his season."

As one whose life's endeavours were thus rewarded, his name will hold an honoured place in the history of this parliament, and his memory will continue to be cherished by all who knew him.

Mr. Speaker, this house will look to your Honour to convey to Mrs. Marcil and other members of the family an expression of its sincere and deep sympathy in their bereavement.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. CHARLES MARCIL
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, we are reminded by what has been said, as well as by our own observation and experience, that the hand of death is ever with us. My first expression is one of deep regret that this house has lost the knowledge and experience of one who was its dean in point of service.

With respect to the character and extent of the service rendered by our late comrade and fellow member, I can add nothing to what has been said by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). To have been a member of the house during ten parliaments is an almost unique experience. Indeed he was a connecting link between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; for he was elected Speaker of the house before most of us had a seat in the chamber. His life is a history of the years from 1900 to 1936.

I should like, too, to express my sincere sympathy to the right hon. the leader of the government, to his colleagues and the sup-

The Late Hon. Charles Marcil

porters of his administration, in the loss they have sustained both collectively and individually. They have lost a faithful friend, a warm supporter, a devoted follower, and a worthy exponent of the principles of Liberalism as he saw them. Faithful in the discharge of his duties, he was ever mindful of the claims of those who lived in the Gaspe peninsula. Those of us who have listened to him in the house will realize that while his convictions were strong he spoke but seldom, and expressed them in terms both moderate and persuasive.

Obviously it is not for one situated as I am to speak with any degree of authority as to the value and extent of the service he rendered to his party, and through it to the country. But I can say that on the other side of his life, that side we describe as citizenship, his example was of the first order. By precept he created for himself an influence which cannot readily be estimated. Sometimes it is difficult to appraise the value of public service. Opinions clash, criticism is keen, antagonisms are great, and regard for human frailty is not very evident. But when we come to consider the life of one who was a citizen of the community and occupied a public place, I think we are well within the mark when we say that by precept and example Mr. Marcil's life must stand as an influence to younger men not only of this day but of the generations which have come into the world during the time he lived among us. He was courteous; he was kind; he was considerate of others; he was unselfish; he was generous to a fault, and, within limits, he was most tolerant. He had that inward peace which is reflected in the outward man. His countenance indicated that quietness of mind which rises superior to all philosophic doubts or scientific dogma. He was devout, intensely so; he believed in religion as a practical living and moving force. He practised it, and the influence of his example among younger men cannot fail to have had a very marked effect among those with whom he came in contact.

These attributes were known to us all, whether he was our close personal friend, our political associate or otherwise known to us. Those of us who sometimes saw that courtly smile always received it as almost a benediction. I think I can say nothing that would more clearly indicate the impression his life has made upon mankind than the words I have just spoken. If ever there was among those whom I have known in the House of Commons and elsewhere one who seemed to me to give a fair answer to that

age-old question, a question that concerns us all-"And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"-it was Charles Marcil, whose passing we so greatly deplore.

Speaking for those associated with me, I trust the leader of the house will convey to the sorrowing relatives he has left behind an expression of our deep and sincere regret at the great loss they have sustained.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. CHARLES MARCIL
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to add my personal tribute to those which the prime minister and the leader of the opposition have just paid to the memory of our late lamented fellow-member. Hon. Mr. Marcil was the only member of this parliament who was in the house in 1904, when I came heTe for the first time. I knew him previously, for he was one of the public speakers whose eloquence had thrilled my youth. His melodious voice, his phrase which seemed to flow harmoniously like a clear and beautiful stream, his imposing and dignified presence made him a favourite speaker among the people. Sir Wilfrid Laurier once told me that he knew of no Canadian who had so perfectly mastered the two official languages of this country. During thirty-three years, I sat at his side, and it is with deep emotion that I bear testimony to his having always been a devoted friend, a loyal colleague and a wise counsellor. Owing to his extreme kindness he could not have enemies. " Charlie " Marcil never hated anybody. Nothing could ever impair his equanimity and natural recti-tude._ He gave all his intellect, all his heart, all his life to his country, to his friends, and to _ the principles he held dear. Intensely religious, as it has just been pointed out, he was a model of piety, charity and devotedness. He was a great Canadian.

To Mrs. Marcil and the other members of his family, to his faithful constituents in Bona-venture, I wish particularly to tender the sympathies of the French Canadian members of this house.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. CHARLES MARCIL
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CON

Robert Smeaton White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. S. WHITE (St. Antoine-West-mount):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to add my poor tribute to the dear dead colleague whose passing we to-day mourn. He was my friend and intimate, and I think it is probably true to say that at the time of his death I was his oldest living friend. It was in 1879, fifty-eight years ago, that he began his journalistic career on the staff of the Montreal Gazette, with which paper I had been associated since June, 1874. My recollection is

The Late Hon. Charles Marcil

that Mr. Marcil as a youngster-he was then only nineteen years of age-had a great flair for politics. He began life as an adherent of the Conservative party, and his earlier speeches on the public platform were delivered in the cause of that party. Not many years thereafter, from convictions the sincerity of which no man who knew Charlie Marcil will for a moment doubt, he changed his party allegiance. Throughout the rest of his life it can be said that he was a consistent and stalwart member and supporter of the Liberal cause.

His attainments were great. He was distinguished in many ways. He not only served his country in this House of Commons, but he served the city in which he lived, Montreal, first as a member of the city council and subsequently as one of the commissioners to whom the management of the city was entrusted. Summing up his character in a word, one can say of him that he was a gentleman.

The duration of his public life is almost unexampled. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) referred to two other men in public life, Mr. John Haggart and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who sat in parliament for perhaps as long a period as did Mr. Marcil. Of course the outstanding example of public service in parliament was that of Macdonald, who sat for forty-seven consecutive sessions, first in the legislature of the old province of Canada and then in this House of Commons. In a way the greatest tribute that has been or can be paid to Mr. Marcil is the fact that during the nearly thirty-seven years in which he was a member of this house he represented the same constituency, which is at once a tribute to his integrity, his character, his kindliness, and his ability. He was a most fluent speaker, as has been said, in both languages. Having had an Irish mother he probably lisped English at his mother's knee, but doubtless he would call himself, because of his ancestors through a long line, a French-Canadian, as he was in heart and spirit. He was a broad-minded man. I would not call him a partisan; I think that would be an unfair term to apply to Charlie Marcil. I would call him a moderate Liberal. He was always ready to give and take, and any opponent who may have crossed swords with him or differed from him in discussion would at least have agreed that he was fair in the maintenance of his views, and would have concluded that discussion with an esteem and respect and even an affection for Mr. Marcil.

I have said that as a young man campaigning in the good old province of Quebec he

made a reputation as an orator. I know as a matter of fact, and he was no mean judge, that the late Sir Adolphe Chapleau, regarded Mr. Marcil as one of the rising young men of Canada, an appreciation that has been fully justified.

Let me just say this in conclusion. If it can be said of any man it can be said of Charlie Marcil that-

He had kept

The whiteness of his soul, and thus men o'er him wept.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. CHARLES MARCIL
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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

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

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly not necessary that anything more should be said, but we in this group would like to associate ourselves with the tributes of respect that have been paid and to offer our very deep sympathy to those whom our late colleague has left behind him. The distinguished bearing and finely chiselled features of Mr. Marcil marked him out, I think, in almost any company, and, further than that, they seemed to indicate a certain spiritual quality not very common. I had thought, in trying to sum up the impression Mr. Marcil had made upon us, rather of the words just uttered by the hon. member for St. Antoine-West-mount (Mr. White)-he was a gentleman; and I think I might add-and I do in all respect- a gentleman of the old school. We shall all miss him.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. CHARLES MARCIL
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, judging from the manifest sincerity of the words of esteem with which previous speakers have praised the life of the late Mr. Marcil, and of the tone in which they were uttered, I deem it a privilege to join my voice with those who have already honoured him. It has been written: Blessed is he who has found his work; let him seek no greater blessedness. This man evidently had found his work, and ably he did it. During much of my life I have felt that one of the greatest blessings would be that of having the privilege of dying in harness. Mr. Marcil was blessed thus, and it can therefore be said that he has been blessed both in his living and in his dying. Our group rejoices to honour such a man.

Topic:   THE LATE HON. CHARLES MARCIL
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FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE

APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE

LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) :

Mr. Speaker, since the subject matter of this motion has been before the house previously and the names of the members of

Farm Implements Committee

the committee have been considered by all groups, I would ask leave of the house to move, without notice:

That a select special committee of the house he appointed to continue and complete an inquiry begun by the standing committee on agriculture and colonization, pursuant to a resolution of the house on March 2, 1936, into the causes underlying the high prices of farm implements, with particular reference to the advance in prices in the year 1936.

That the said select special committee shall have the power to send for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses under oath, and to report from time to time.

That the said select special committee be authorized to engage the services of counsel, auditors, technical advisers, clerks, stenographers and investigators to aid and assist the said committee in the inquiry, and to print the evidence, proceedings and documents received by the committee.

That standing order 65 be suspended in relation thereto, and that the select special committee shall consist of twenty-five members and the following be appointed members of the said committee: Messrs. Bouchard, Brooks, Cochrane, Coldwell, Davidson, Donnelly, Fraser, Gardiner, Golding, Johnston (Lake Centre), Lacroix (Beauee), Leader, Macdonald (Brantford City), McLean (Melfort), MeNevin, Needham, Perley (Qu'Appelle), Reid, Robichaud, Senn, Stevens, Taylor (Norfolk), Thorson, Tolmie, Ward.

And furthermore, that the records, exhibits and evidence received and taken by the standing committee on agriculture and colonization during the last session of parliament be made available to the said select special committee.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE
Sub-subtopic:   INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, for reasons that I made quite clear last session I do not agree with the steps that are being taken, but it is sufficient to say that; for it is quite evident that the government desires to proceed in this way, and having sufficient numbers to enable it to do so, that is the end of it. I think an inquiry of another kind would have been very much better than an inquiry before a political committee. I think it would be very much better to have a non-party body-not partisan but non-party-judicial or otherwise, than a committee of this house, to consider a matter that will lend itself to so much acrimonious discussion. I assume it was for that reason that the government selected a judge rather than a committee of this house to investigate textile matters. I believe that that is a much sounder method, but since the government has decided to proceed with a committee, I think the motion itself is hardly ample so far as the last paragraph is concerned. It is a motion to continue an investigation that has already been partly carried out, and it is not sufficient to say that what has already been done should be made available to the committee; it should be provided that what has been taken in the way of records

shall become part of the records of the continuing committee. Simply to make it available does not enable the committee to utilize it for the purpose of predicating findings upon it. It should become part of the records of the new committee. I shall content myself with making this observation, but I cannot think that the end sought will be accomplished as effectively as it would be by the utilization of the other method. Had that been done, the inquiry might have been carried on during the recess and the results made available to parliament, which is hardly possible now so far as this session is concerned.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE
Sub-subtopic:   INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

May I say to my right hon. friend that the government is proceeding in this way because of an undertaking given at the conclusion of last session that this committee would be reconstituted. If my right hon. friend had raised the point then-

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE
Sub-subtopic:   INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I did. I opposed it very strongly.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE
Sub-subtopic:   INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Then, what

I was going to say will not apply. However, the reason we are proceeding is, as I have indicated, because a pledge was given to the house that the committee would be reconstituted at this time.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE
Sub-subtopic:   INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

As to the suggestion

made by the leader of the opposition, I did not catch the point, but I understand he suggested that the words be added, "and made part of the records thereof."

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE
Sub-subtopic:   INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I merely suggested that

so that no question should arise.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE
Sub-subtopic:   INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

Yes. I think that would be an advantage, and I move that those words be added.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE
Sub-subtopic:   INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Is it the pleasure of the house to adopt the motion as amended?

Motion as amended agreed to.

Topic:   FARM IMPLEMENTS COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INQUIRE
Sub-subtopic:   INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
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COPYRIGHT AMENDMENT ACT, 1931


Mr. W. K. ESLING (Kootenay West) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 13 to amend the Copyright Amendment Act, 1931.


February 1, 1937