Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, hon. members will have learned with profound regret and also, I am sure, with a sense of shock, of the very sudden passing last night of one of our number, Mr. Frederick C. Casselman, the member for Edmonton East.
WThen the house assembled yesterday the hon. member was in his accustomed place in this chamber, and when the house reassembled
The Late F. F. Casselman
in the evening he was again here and, I believe, remained until after the resolution respecting the war appropriation bill had been passed and the bill itself had been introduced and received its first reading. He then left the Commons to go to his place of residence in Ottawa. As he was about to enter the door of the house he was overcome by a heart seizure and passed away immediately.
The very sudden passing of one who was only in his fifty-sixth year, one who in so many ways appeared strong and well, is evidence to us all of the great strain under which men who hold positions of responsibility labour in the discharge of their duties to-day. I doubt if any of us begin to realize how great is the burden upon the heart, as well as the mental and nervous strain borne by members of parliament who seek to discharge their duties as representatives of the people in these terrible times. So momentous have been the events of the past year that it is difficult to realize that it is less than a year since hon. members in this chamber were returned to the House of Commons by the people of Canada. Mr. Casselman, a supporter of the present administration, was one of the number who were elected to parliament for the first time in the general elections of March 26 of last year. He had therefore been a member of parliament for less than a year. He was of Canadian parentage, though born in the state of Montana. Only the first five years of his life were spent in the United States. He was educated in the province of Ontario, at Queen's University, at the university of Toronto, and later supplemented his education at the university of Alberta. He held degrees in both arts and law, and in the course of service overseas was awarded the Military Cross. He had been wounded in action.
In his chosen profession of law in the city of Edmonton Mr. Casselman gained a position of real prominence in the city. He was not content to devote his time merely to his profession. He gave evidence at an early age of his desire also to serve the public in disinterested ways. He began, as many men in public life have begun, by serving on the school board, a position he held for many years. Later, in 1937, he was elected as an alderman in the city council of Edmonton This position he continued to hold up to the time of his death. The place Mr. Casselman had won for himself in the community, his character, his abilities, his attainments, all helped to gain for him the confidence of the citizens of Edmonton, who honoured him with the representation of one of the city's constituencies in this House of Commons.
As I have already indicated, Mr. Cassel-man's services were genuinely patriotic as well as public-spirited. When he went overseas in the last war as a member of the Canadian expeditionary force, he had enlisted as a private and served for two years with Canada's forces. Later he joined a regiment of one of the imperial forces and received a commission as a lieutenant.
Reviewing the career of one who was but fifty-six years of age, a career embracing public service to his municipality, to his province and to his country, both in its parliament and on its fields of battle, one feels that the nation is indeed poorer to-day through the loss of so public-spirited and patriotic a citizen. Had Mr. Casselman been spared, there is no doubt he would have played an increasingly prominent part in the public life of Canada. As it is, he has left a record of honourable services to his city, his province and his country with which his name will be long and gratefully associated.
The hon. member has left to mourn his loss, a widow and a daughter. It will be the desire of all members of this house that you, Mr. Speaker, should convey to Mrs. Casselman and her daughter an expression of the very deep sympathy which we have for them in their great bereavement.