January 28, 1938


John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, I have thought several times this afternoon, while listening to the words and enjoying the quiet and sympathetic tones of those who have spoken, what a beautiful thing humanity is when it is at its best. An occasion such as this is one of the rare occasions when humanity is at its best. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) can, I think, scarcely realize how good their kindly attitude towards their fellow members is, how it pleases and reassures us in times like these.

We of this group are not very wellacquainted with the men who are beingmourned to-day. We have to depend upon what others tell us, what we have read in the Parliamentary Guide and what we havelearned here. Mr. Ryan and Mr. Verville were comparatively young men. The fine

edifice of life and service for which each had laid the plan had only been completed enough to indicate the dimensions and nature of the structure; then these men were stricken and taken from our midst. Such comfort as we can find in a situation like this is, I think, rather well hinted im Robert Louis Stevenson's noble words:

To travel hopefully is better than to arrive; and the true success is to labour.

Mr. Cameron, I conclude from what I have learned of him, must have been a strong, courageous, hopeful fighter, one who by careful and persistent self-discipline had acquired the ability to look through the darkest and most threatening gloom and glimpse signs of

the silver lining. I fancy it was such a man as he that Browning had in mind when he wrote those inspiring words:

One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,

Never doubted clouds would break,

Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,

Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,

Sleep to wake.

With the leader of the opposition I agree that it is quite impossible for one who is new to this house to have as complete sympathy as one desires to have, because we can really sympathize only with those through whose experiences we have gone. We have never known what it is to pass through what the leader of the opposition has passed through in the loss of these good men.

To few, indeed, is it permitted to attain the age of eighty years. Of Sir George Perley it can truly be said that he was "full of years." Listening to the words of the Prime Minister and of the leader of the opposition, recounting the many acts which Sir George had performed, the many offices he had filled, and the honour he had gained, I felt we could also say that he died as full of honour as of years. They tell me he was buried in Ottawa; in this city his honour was striven for and gained. It is fitting, therefore, that in this city his remains should rest. The thought of him brought to my mind those fine words of Robert Louis Stevenson, when he was contemplating his own decease:

Under the wide and starry sky,

Dig the grave and let me lie.

Glad did I live, and gladly die,

And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:

Here he lies where he longed to be;

Home is the sailor, home from sea,

And the hunter home from the hill.

The Hon. Doctor Tolmie was a man whom I had heard a great deal of as I had heard of Sir George Perley before I came here. I believe he was known favourably far and wide throughout Canada. I read about him, in the Parliamentary Guide, a passage which it seems to me it might not be unfair to him to read into Hansard:

A farmer and breeder of pure bred live stock. President Dominion Holstein Breeders; B.C. Vety. Assn.; B.C. Holstein Breeders; Chief Inspector Health of Animals Branch, B.C.; Representative Dominion Live Stock Commissioner for British Columbia. Mem. Pacific and Union Clubs, Victoria, University Club, Ottawa.

A Unionist. First elected to H. of C. at g.e., 1917. Sworn of the Privy Council and apptd. Minister of Agriculture, Aug. 2, 1919. Reelected after assuming office, Oct. 27, 1919. Upon the formation of the Meighen adminis-

The Late Sir Robert Borden

tration, July 13, 1920, following the resignation of Sir Robert Borden, was re-apptd. Minister of Agriculture. Retired from office with the Meighen Government, Dec. 1921. Re-elec, to H. of C. g.e., 1921; Apptd. Dominion Organizer for the Conservative party in Aug., 1923; reelec. to H. of C. g.e., Oct. 1925. Apptd. Min. of Agriculture, July 13, 1926.

No one needs to grieve overmuch because this man has been taken away. For us, I think there is cause for genuine regret. In a time when the farmer is more in need of sympathy than ever before in our history, in a time when possibly the west needs more sympathy and understanding than ever before in the history of Canada it seems untimely that this man, who understood the farmer and sympathized with him, who understood and sympathized with the west, should be called away. But in this matter, as in all others, we have to bow to the will of Him who doeth all things well.

It was -comforting indeed to us to hear the kind expressions regarding Doctor Hall. One of the first things that c-ame to my mind when I thought of Doctor Hall, looking back over his life, was a fine passage that appears in Drinkwater's play, Abraham Lincoln. Speaking of Abraham Lincoln, one of the chroniclers said:

Shall a man understand,

He shall know bitterness because his kind, Being perplexed of mind,

Hold issues even that are nothing mated. And he shall give

Counsel out of his wisdom that none shall hear; And steadfast in vain persuasion must he live, And unabated Shall his temptation be.

Of course, the loss of Doctor Hall was a painful shook to us. It has been written, "Where there is no vision the people perish." Singularly fortunate, I believe, are those people in the minds of whose older men vision comes. This man was one of a large class of elderly people in Canada, whose careful studies of realities have convinced them, first, that a change must come, and, second, -that that change must take the shape of monetary reform. Once convinced, Doctor Hall courageously decided. The risk to his business and professional well-being he disregarded, and -plunged industriously and firmly into the fight for a safer and more prosperous Alberta and Canada. In the struggle he spared neither time nor energy nor wealth. He became one of the first and foremost social credit leaders through-out Edmonton and the north. The more clearly -men- come to see the meaning of our times, the -more they will realize that in a great and -righteous cause the good doctor strove well and died striving. We have known and will remember our colleague, Doctor Hall,

for -his wise counsel, tolerant nature, and devotion to his family, to his church and to his country.




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


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

Mr. Speaker, I need not remind the house of the loss which our country sustained in the death, in June last year, of the Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden. From October, 1911, to July, 1920, Sir Robert Borden was Prime Minister of Canada, a period of nine years, all but three months, years which included those of the great war with their exceptional anxieties and responsibilities.

When Sir Robert resigned the office of Prime Minister he intimated that he intended to relinquish his part in active politics, and as a consequence, when parliament dissolved in 1921, he ceased to be a member of this house. Sir Robert Borden had been a member for twenty-five years, and was sixty-seven years of age at the time of his retirement.

Though Sir Robert ceased in 1921 to be a member of parliament he did not cease to be interested in politics or to take an active part in public affairs. Indeed, the period of retirement which followed his activities in parliament afforded him an opportunity to place at the service of those who sought his counsel the great experience which he had gained in public life. His retirement gave him also an opportunity to devote his time and talent to the great causes which he had so much at heart.

In those years, I believe, Sir Robert found the real reward of the sacrifices which his earlier public services had entailed, for they gave -to him not only -the opportunities I have just mentioned, but they also afforded, what a man inevitably sacrifices in the course of great public duty, namely, opportunity for the quiet enjoyment of personal friendships and a chance to pursue with a degree of thoroughness not otherwise possible cultural interests; as well as many forms of public service. Those years of retirement were years of freedom and calm. They were shared with Lady Borden at their home, Glensmere, in this city, where together they enjoyed the beauty of its surroundings, its lovely view of the Rideau river, the society of their personal friends and the activities of the capital with which Sir Robert's life had been so intimately associated. Sir Robert there, too, regained in large part the health and strength which had been considerably impaired during the time he was in office.

The eventide of Sir Robert's life was not, ere its close, without its glow upon the horizon.

The Late Sir Robert Borden

It must have been deeply gratifying to him to have lived to see the time when, despite the differences of view there were and will always be with respect to some of the acts and policies of his administrations, he had nevertheless gained a place in the esteem of his fellow countrymen which was altogether above party, and had won a position of honour not only in his own country but throughout the empire, and that his name was held in high regard in other countries as well.

I shall not say more. Sir Robert's life and work are already a part of the history of this country. There is moreover very little, if anything, which could be added to the many and deeply sincere tributes which have been paid his memory in this and other lands. I have felt, however, that hon. members of this house would wish to have recorded in the proceedings of this parliament some expression of the sense of the loss which, as representatives of the people of Canada in the House of Commons, we feel our country has sustained in the passing of a great Canadian who for twenty-five years was a member of this house, for nineteen years, the leader of the Conservative party in this country, and for nearly nine years the Prime Minister of Canada. Sir Robert's name will find an enduring place among those of our land who have sought to serve parliament, their party and their country and who have done so with outstanding devotion and high distinction. His name will find its place also among the names of world statesmen who had to do with empire councils at a time of war, and whose memories will be associated with Versailles and Geneva, and with the beginnings of the League of Nations.

It will, I am sure, be the wish of this house, that you, Mr. Speaker, convey to Lady Borden, who for almost half a century shared so fully and sympathetically the struggles and the achievements of Sir Robert's career, the expression of the sincere sympathy which is felt for her by all hon. members.


Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

Mr. Speaker, when the

Right Hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) suggested that the course he has taken should be followed this day, I felt that those of us who sit here are under a debt of obligation to him for having so publicly stated the claim of the late Sir Robert Borden on the regard and esteem of the Canadian people. Perhaps I knew Sir Robert Borden longer than any member of this house. He had one characteristic that marked him from his younger days, that is he was a man of infinite patience. I have never known a more patient

man. I think there is one, perhaps more than one, hon. member of this chamber who was associated with him in government and who knows how patient he was with respect to matters that affected his country. He was a great lawyer, a great constitutional lawyer, an

It was charged at times that Sir Robert Borden was indecisive. The truth is that he was cautious almost to the point of indecision, but once his mind was set, once he had arrived at a conclusion-sometimes taking a very long time to do it, weighing the pros and cons with great thought and care-nothing diverted him from his purpose. Once he had made up his mind that he was following the correct" and proper course he was almost relentless in the pursuit of his purpose. He was jealous of this country and its honour and reputation. We have not produced a stronger Canadian. At times of stress and strain, when difficulties were multiplying, he never for a moment lessened his support- nay more, his advocacy-of the claims of this country to a measure of consideration that sometimes was denied and ofttimes questioned. Our position with respect to the peace treaty I frankly think we owe entirely to Sir Robert Borden. Those of us who know something of the attitude which he took, the manner in which he supported his views, and the vigour and strength of his advocacy, will realize what a debt the Canadian people owe to him with respect to the position of Canada at the negotiation of the treaty of Versailles.

Although I was a supporter of his government, I differed from him with respect to the railway problem of this country. But that did not in any sense interfere with our personal or political friendship. The last political speech that he made, as far as I recall, was made on behalf of the party with which I am associated, on the same platform as myself. During the long hard years in which we held office I think a week did not go by when I was in Canada that he did not either ring me up or send me a note about some matter which struck him as worthy of comment. When he was in the United States he frequently sent me clippings for consideration.

I agree with everything the Prime Minister has said; Sir Robert's last years, the years of calm, of reflection, of honoured position in the community where he was almost an oracle,

Civil Service Act-Language Qualification

were the happiest of his life. I saw him in his Gethsemane; for like most men he had to undergo not only violent criticism but worse during the years between 1908 and 1911. But he bore it with patience that was amazing and with fortitude that was exceptional. That during all those dark days he faced his troubles so valiantly was in large measure due to the fact that he found in Lady Borden a helpmeet in the truest and best sense in which that term is used in Holy Writ. She was a tower of strength in those dark days, even as she was a well of inspiration in the happier days that followed.

I am deeply grateful, not only on my own behalf but also on behalf of those who are associated with me here this day, Mr. Speaker, that the Prime Minister has seen fit to express not on behalf of a party but on behalf of the people of Canada their sense of obligation, of appreciation and of thankfulness that God in his wisdom and mercy gave us such a leader at such a time, who was enabled by strength of purpose to give effect to firm determination with respect to the position of this country and its relation to the other communities of the world, apart altogether from the agonizing effort through which he went during the long years of the war.

It may well be that later in the history of some parliament some other recognition may be accorded to the memory of so great a man, but one thing is certain, that on the bead-roll of fame his name among Canadians will occupy a very high place, revered, respected and honoured, not only by his own day and generation and by succeeding generations of Canadians but by men and women who in his life of effort see evidence of a great goodwill on the part of a man who endeavoured- sometimes, he used to think, with great uncertainty-to bring about the creation of a league of nations by which great aggregations of people would be able to settle their differences by recourse to tribunals, even as man emerging from the state of savagery has been able to set up tribunals with which to settle his differences with his neighbours.

For that cause he laboured. He believed in it until the end, and if it failed it was through no fault of his. It has not yet failed, for as long as the idea prevails that nations may settle their disputes as individual citizens of nations settle theirs, his memory as an exponent of that great cause will endure amongst the peoples of the world.


John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, we desire to associate ourselves with the views already expressed. I believe this man was worthy of all that has been said.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the house adjourned at 4.55 p.m.

Monday, January 31, 1938


January 28, 1938