Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING
(Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I have again to ask the house to pause in its proceedings to permit mention being made of the sudden passing of another of our number, who but a few days ago was in his accustomed seat, to all appearances in the best of health. I refer to Mr. Alexander McKay Edwards, the deputy whip of the conservative opposition, who for nearly thirteen years past has represented the constituency of South Waterloo in this house.
At the end of the week before last, when the hon. the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) left Ottawa to address a meeting in the city of Galt, Ontario, in the constituency of the hon. member, the minister was accompanied by Mr. Edwards, who on the day following introduced him to his audience. Later in the day Mr. Edwards complained of not feeling well, and was obliged to rest. It was not thought, either by himself or by others, that his condition was serious. On Friday last this house had only begun its afternoon's proceedings when word was received that the hon. membei had passed away.
Mr. Edwards was in his sixty-third year. He was born at Bothwell, Ontario, but at an early age went to live in Waterloo county. His personal, business and political interests were centred in the county of Waterloo, and, more particularly, in and about the thriving and industrial communities of Galt and Preston. His career, however, had its intimate association with the affairs of his native province and with the larger and wider interests of our dominion.
By marriage, Mr. Edwards was related to the late Hon. George Clare who for many years represented the constituency of South Waterloo in this parliament. Like the late George Clare, Mr. Edwards held an enviable place in the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens. He was successful and prominent in business; the head of an important manufacturing enterprise, and the director of several others. For eight years he served the city of Galt as an alderman, and for two years as its chief magistrate. He was first elected to the House of Commons in the general election of 1925, and was reelected at each of the three subsequent general elections, representing the constituency in all, as I have said, for nearly thirteen years.
During his years in parliament, Mr. Edwards represented his constituents with fidelity and ability. He was held in high personal esteem in parliament as he was in his constituency. In this house he was regular in his attendance, was active in the work of its committees. When he participated in the debates he spoke to the point, and was listened to with attention and respect. As assistant to the chief whip of the Conservative party, he rendered services which were much appreciated by all parties in the house.
It is not without significance that his last public act should have been the one to which I have already alluded, an act of courtesy and chivalry towards a political opponent. It was the expression of a nature which was essentially kindly, cheerful, and generous, and which won for him many strong and enduring friendships among members of all parties.
We shall all greatly miss his pleasing personality. His was a career of quiet, unobtrusive conscientious service to his community and to his party, one which maintained and served to further the amenities of public and parliamentary life. Not his party only, but the entire membership of this house, has suffered in his passing a loss which will be deeply felt.
I extend to hon. gentlemen opposite, and to their leader, the very sincere sympathy of my colleagues and myself, and, indeed, of all hon. members on this side, in the loss of so old, trusted, loyal, and valued a colleague and friend.
I should like to express our sympathy as well to the constituency which the late member represented so faithfully over many years.
To Mrs. Edwards, and to her son and daughter, who have been thus greatly bereaved, and to the aged mother of Mr. Edwards, who shared his household and now mourns the loss of her son, the sympathy of all hon. members of this house goes out in fullest measure. It would, Mr. Speaker, be appreciated by all if this expression of our sympathy could be conveyed by Your Honour, to Mrs. Edwards, and to the other members of the family.