December 18, 1951

THE LATE ARTHUR L. SMITH TRIBUTE TO FORMER MEMBER FOR CALGARY WEST


Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I had a word with the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) and the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low) after I heard over the radio this morning the sad news of the death of Mr. A. L. Smith. We all felt that, though it would be a departure from the usual practice of the house, it would be the wish of all hon. members that we ask you to send Mrs. Smith a message of our deep sympathy in her bereavement. I think there are two principal reasons for such a departure in this case. One is that Mr. Smith was a member of the House of Commons during this very parliament and up to the end of the last session, when he resigned only because the state of his health was such that he felt he could no longer devote to the discharge of his duties the time and close attention that he felt such duties required. And the second, and I think the very compelling reason, is that during the six years of his membership he had, by his great qualities of intellect, of humour and of warm-hearted love of his fellowmen, endeared himself to each and every one of us, and secured in our regard for him a place of high esteem and enduring affection. I trust, Mr. Speaker, that you also will feel it is proper to make this departure from our usual practice, and convey to Mrs. Smith the expression of our condolences and of our lasting admiration for a dear personal friend, a distinguished citizen, a great lawyer and a great parliamentarian.


PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

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.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roseiown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that every member of this house joins in the gracious tributes paid by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) to the memory of one who not only adorned this chamber but who often enlivened a dull evening with a witty contribution. Only ten days ago I happened to be in the west and I spoke to Mr. Smith over the telephone. He told me how well he was feeling and I was very glad indeed to know that the rest was doing him good.

We shall long remember him. Regardless of our political differences in this house we do admire a bonny fighter, a man of courage and of wit, as he was. Mr. Speaker, we join with all others in this house in extending to Mrs. Smith, a charming personality herself, and to his family our heartfelt sympathy in their loss.

He was always busy, kindly, interested and friendly. I think it might be fitting to say that we all hope and pray he may rest in peace.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Solon E. Low (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, those who have preceded me have in fact spoken for all of us. There is little that I 'can add to what has been said already by way of tribute to this great man except to say that while I was a member of the Alberta government I was more or less closely associated with Art, who was the crown prosecutor in Calgary for a good many years. During those years of close association I learned to admire his great capacity, his great abilities and to know him for the lovable character he was.

(Mr. Drew.]

When I came to the House of Commons and shared with him membership in this assembly I learned to love him even more. On behalf of our group I want to say that we do join in the gracious and loving tributes that have been paid this morning to our departed friend, and join with others in extending to Mrs. Smith and the family our deep regrets and assuring them that we are with them in spirit at this time of their trouble.

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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. D. S. Harkness (Calgary East):

Mr. Speaker, I believe I knew Art Smith better than anyone else in the house. We were elected to the House of Commons at the same time in 1945. We came down to Ottawa together and occupied the same office throughout the time he was a member. Probably no two men ever enjoyed a closer, finer and more harmonious political partnership and friendship, one which to me was an education and inspiration. Art Smith had an extraordinarily quick mind and an unusual gift of expressing his ideas in forceful and clear language. His wit was proverbial in this house and in Calgary, and I think probably I can say throughout the country.

His death is a great shock and a great loss to all of his very wide circle of friends. I wish to join with others in offering my deepest sympathy to his wife and family and to express my own grief at the loss of a great friend and a great Canadian.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. M. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, as Art Smith's deskmate, perhaps I may be allowed one word. He had the unique gift of winning the love and admiration of all who knew him and I am sure that none of us here will ever forget him.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Jean Francois Pouliot (Temiscouata):

Mr. Speaker, as one of the senior members of the house I wish to join with those who have paid such fine and well-deserved tributes to our departed friend. You must remember, sir, the evening when you were kind enough to call me over the telephone to invite me to a reception you were giving for the late Mr. Smith after he had delivered his famous farewell speech in the House of Commons. That speech will always be considered as a classic example of parliamentary eloquence. I had the privilege through you of meeting Mr. Smith for the last time with some of his friends in your study. At the time he was suffering from the illness which took him away, but he was just as genial, kindhearted and thoughtful as ever. I had one more occasion, thanks to you, to appreciate his serene philosophy of life.

Mr. Smith was an outstanding member of the bar, of the Canadian Bar Association and of the House of Commons of Canada. He made a success in each field that he entered. Why? Because, as has been so well said, not only was he gifted with a powerful intellect, he had a big and generous heart. This is the reason why this faithful servant of the people before the bar of his province and of Canada at large, as well as in the House of Commons of Canada, belongs to a legion. He will belong forever, like Tommy Church and others of my dear friends, to that legion. Why? Because he has done his duty and because he has been so generous and kind to all. I wish to convey my heartfelt sympathy to his charming wife, Mrs. Smith, to his children, and to his roommate and closest friend in the House of Commons, the hon. member for Calgary East.

Right Hon. J. G. Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture: Mr. Speaker, I am sure many

of those who were associated with Art Smith in the days when he was "Sport" Smith would expect me as one of two members of this house who were of the group to express a word on their behalf. The hon. member for Fort William was associated with him in the days when he became known as "Sport" Smith in the college life of the city of Winnipeg. I myself had the privilege, and it was a privilege, of engaging in contests with him on the football field in Regina as long ago as 1904 and 1905. From then until the time he left this house a very close understanding and friendship existed between us.

Reference has been made to the fact that he thought quickly. Anyone who ever contested with him in sport on the football field or on the hockey ice knows that his quick thinking was not only a fact of recent years. He was one of the most effective players of his time and earned the title of "Sport" Smith because of his quick thinking followed by action on the football field and hockey ice. I am sure all those who were about his own age and who are still with us would expect me as one who knew him in those days, and who was associated with him, usually on an opposing team, to say a word of appreciation of the long association we had with him as athletes in the early days and in politics in later years. I do not need to say that I have already sent a message of personal sympathy to Mrs. Smith, and am very anxious to join with members of the house in extending the sympathies of the whole house to the family of one who was appreciated, respected and liked, both in his days of sport and in his active political life, by opponents and those who were associated with him as well.

Privilege-Mr. Cannon

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

If it is the wish of the house I shall immediately send a telegram of sympathy to Mrs. Smith, and when Hansard is printed tomorrow I shall write to Mrs. Smith and send her a copy of these proceedings.

(Translation):

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PRIVILEGE

REFERENCE TO EDITORIAL IN "LE DEVOIR"

LIB

Charles-Arthur Dumoulin Cannon

Liberal

Mr. Charles Cannon (Iles-de-la-Madeleine):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege in order to call the attention of the house to an editorial published in yesterday's he Devoir. This newspaper criticizes certain remarks I made in this house on the Canada Elections Act. The writer of this article expresses opinions which differ from mine; that is his privilege. There is however one statement against which I wish to protest most energetically. It is stated there that French is only my second language.

Mr. Speaker, I flatter myself that I speak French and English with equal facility but if there is one language which is most assuredly not a second language with me it is French. I have learned French as a child, in my own home; my whole upbringing has been in that language.

I was a student in the Quebec seminary for eight years and at Laval university for three more. All my studies, in these two institutions, were carried out in French.

That is why I wish to put matters right and to state, most emphatically, that French is certainly not a second language with me.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Jean Francois Pouliot (Temiscouata):

Mr. Speaker, a friend of mine told me that Le Devoir was taking me to task, along with my distinguished colleague, the hon. member for Iles-de-la-Madeleine (Mr. Cannon). I do not know what Le Devoir has said because I sent that newspaper back when I found out it was falsifying my speeches and I have not read it since then. If Le Devoir feels I am wrong, that means I am right.

(Text):

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Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO EDITORIAL IN "LE DEVOIR"
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POSTAL SERVICE

REQUEST FOR MAIL DELIVERY AT WOODROFFE, ONT.


On the orders of the day:


PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of ihe Opposition):

It is possible that this question should be, regarded as a notice rather than as a question because the matter was brought to my attention just this morning. I am directing my inquiry to the Postmaster General and it relates to earlier questions. In view of the very great increase in population, and the extremely heavy mail delivery to Woodroffe on the outskirts of Ottawa, is it

Inquiries of the Ministry possible that delivery from house to house may be arranged there instead of the present very difficult arrangement of picking up that mail from the local post office? I end these remarks by saying that I would naturally expect the answer that this will be merely treated as a notice on this occasion.

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Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR MAIL DELIVERY AT WOODROFFE, ONT.
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LIB

Édouard-Gabriel Rinfret (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. Edouard Rinfrel (Postmaster General):

I will take it as such.

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Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR MAIL DELIVERY AT WOODROFFE, ONT.
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

Look over Lakeview, Ontario, at the same time.

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NATIONAL DEFENCE

December 18, 1951