Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):
Mr. Speaker, I know every hon. member will appreciate the very gracious words with which the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has paid tribute to a dear friend of every one of us. I feel, too, that the exception he has made on this occasion, for the reasons he has explained, will meet with the approval of all hon. members.
I know that the death of Mr. Smith is a shock to every one of us, because by his gaiety and wit, combined with his wisdom,
he left upon the minds of members of the house an impression which certainly will not be forgotten during the lifetime of any of us.
I had the privilege of being with him in his home just a little over two weeks ago, and I thought he looked better than he had at any time since he was compelled to leave here last spring, owing to ill health. The occasion of two weeks ago was a typical evening in the Smiths' home. His family were there.
I believe all who knew him well-and that would include members of the House of Commons-realized that it was one of the most closely-knit families one would find.
Every afternoon his son and daughter would drop in and, with that familiarity which expresses respect, in recent years they always addressed their father and mother as Sarah and Art, as indeed all the rest of us did.
I know that those who do not belong to the party to which he belonged will not misunderstand me when I say that, when I saw him last, he was confident that Carl Nickle would be coming down here; and Mr. Smith had promised to be here on the occasion of the swearing in of the new member. We were all looking forward to the reunion, because I think it may be said with confidence that no member of the House of Commons has more completely shared the affection of all members than did Art Smith during the years he served here.
Through his service in the House of Commons he made a great sacrifice, a very great sacrifice indeed, for his own community and for Canada. As the Prime Minister has said, he was an outstanding lawyer. His name is associated with some of the most famous cases in western Canada; and it was only a compelling sense of public duty that persuaded him to offer himself for service in the House of Commons.
I believe it may be said that in some measure his life was probably shortened by the fact that he was compelled to be away from those surroundings which meant so very much to him. He and his wife were fond of music, were fond of fellowship, were fond of simply being with other people and sharing ideas about the daily things that happened and that meant so much to every one of us.
He was known in his early days as Sport Smith. I recall that fact because one of the causes of his great popularity was that in
The late Arthur L. Smith everything he did, whether by way of witty comment or of sharp criticism, he was always a sport in the very best meaning of that word.
Calgary has lost an illustrious son and Canada has lost a truly faithful public servant. I know that all of us would wish to join in the expression of sympathy to his wife and family. We would wish particularly to convey to his wife Sarah the thought that all members of this house who knew him so well are in some measure sharing her sorrow at this time. I think we will all hope that there may be some very real comfort in that knowledge.
Because it is so difficult to realize that this gay and vital personality is gone, it seems natural to close these remarks with the sort of expression we might have used in our ordinary meetings: Good-bye, good old Art, we will be thinking of you.