Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime
Minister): Mr. Speaker, I am deeply moved at this time as I rise to pay tribute, at the very beginning of this session, to the memory of the late Alcide Cote, who died at his St. Jean home on August 7 last. Every hon. member must have been as shocked as I was on learning of the death of a colleague esteemed by all, at an age which still held the promise of many more years of fruitful labour in the public service. While we were not unaware of the seriousness of his illness, we had thought that his return to this house, on June 8 last, after a few months' rest, justified the assumption that before too long he would be able to resume all his duties. The 67509-1J
Tribute to Hon. Alcide Cote spontaneous applause, from all parts of the house, which greeted his return here on that occasion, told more eloquently than I am able to say today of the affection and high esteem we all had for him.
The late Alcide Cote could proudly claim direct descent from one of the first Canadian settlers. After completing his studies at the College of St. Jean and the University of Montreal, he practised law in the city of St. Jean, of which he was mayor from 1945 to 1949. For several years he took an active part in the initiatives of the bar association of his province, of the union of municipalities, of the chamber of commerce and of numerous other associations.
Mr. Cote had first been elected to the House of Commons in 1945. His constituents had renewed his mandate in the general elections of 1949 and 1953. In 1952, he had been sworn as a member of the privy council and appointed postmaster general.
Mr. Cote's participation in public affairs, in the field of his profession and in municipal and federal politics is abundant evidence of the interest he had dedicated to the welfare of his fellow citizens. The passing of our colleague has caused deep regret among the members of this house as well as in all the other spheres in which he had carried out his beneficent activities. And it is, I believe, the spontaneousness and sincerity of such regrets which constitute the most touching tribute that could be paid to his memory.
Since we last met, Mr. Speaker, death has removed from our midst an esteemed and helpful colleague, Hon. Alcide Cote, at a time in his life when it might have been expected that he could look forward to many more years of useful activity.
I am sure I speak for all members of the house in saying that Mr. Cote will be remembered in this assembly for his gentlemanly nature and his deep consideration for his fellow men, which made him one of the most popular members of the house. Those endearing qualities were combined with a deep sense of responsibility as a citizen. Throughout his career in the professional, municipal and federal fields, he worked hard and conscientiously for the welfare of the people who had put their trust in him, and gave of himself unstintingly in the service of the nation as a whole.
Another trait of his personality which I am sure all hon. members would have me recall