Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Acting Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I regret to have to announce to hon. members the passing of one of our members since the house adjourned on Tuesday last. Mr. Eugene Durocher, the member for St. James, died on Wednesday, May 10. after an illness lasting two weeks. Had he lived, Mr. Durocher would have been sixty-three years of age on August 27 next. It was such a brief time since Mr. Durocher was with us in this house, seemingly in good health, that his death comes with an unusually sudden shock to many hon. members who were unaware of his illness.
He was first elected to the House of Commons at a by-election in December, 1939. He was returned in the general elections of 1940, receiving what was I believe the largest majority won by any member of the house. Our
friend brought to the House of Commons a breadth of experience gained in a successful business career, both in his profession as a chartered accountant and later in the business of insurance. He had already served his fellow citizens in the post of alderman of the city of Montreal for two years preceding his entry to the house. Earlier than that, in 1939, he served as a member of the Montreal metropolitan commission. His activities in fraternal and community and philanthropic organizations were many and helpful and as a citizen he could be depended upon to give his assistance to any activity for the betterment of conditions of the less fortunate.
Mr. Durocher was not a frequent speaker, but when he did take part in debates he was listened to with attention, and always made a genuine contribution. In private discussion he was noted for being vigorous and outspoken and, at the same time, sane and clearheaded in his presentation of his views.
Mr. Durocher was faithful in his attendance in the house, and followed the proceedings carefully and keenly. He was extremely well informed, and he served with great acceptance and benefit on the radio committee. I think I can say that no member of the house possessed greater charm, was more amiable and at the same time better informed or better able to present the point of view which he had in mind than our friend who is gone. He possessed the quality of being agreeable and, at the same time, forceful and impressive. He was a living exponent of the bonne entente, not by obtrusive declarations but in the quiet neighbourly kindness and the sincerity and friendliness of his character.
Our friend was the possessor of that estimable quality, a fine sense of humour. Perhaps one of the most distinctive traits of his character was his zest for life and his enjoyment of the simple things and the little things which make up happiness of living. His early going out is I think all the more tragic because of his satisfaction in the associations with which God had blessed him.
I should like to add this personal word. It was my good fortune to meet and talk frequently with Mr. Durocher in connection with his interests in matters affecting his constituents, and I was impressed by his personality, his tolerance and his moderation. So that I myself, while expressing the deep regret of the house at his untimely ending, can say with sincerity that I feel that in his going out I have lost a valued personal friend.
The hon. member has left to mourn him a widow, three sons and a daughter. I know personally from his own talks with me that he
The late Eugene Durocher
took great joy in his family and he spoke of them frequently. One of his sons, Lieutenant Claude Durocher, is overseas with the Fusiliers de Mont Royale. I am sure it will be the wish of all hon. members of the house that you, Mr. Speaker, should convey to Madame Durocher and her daughter and her sons-I am sure we will join in remembering particularly the soldier son overseas-an expression of the very deep sympathy which we have for them in their great bereavement.