THE LATE RIGHT HON. ARTHUR MEIGHEN TRIBUTES ON PASSING OF FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA
Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, this morning Right Hon. Arthur Meighen passed away. In his passing Canada has lost a devoted statesman, the commonwealth one of its founding fathers, and the world of letters one of its master craftsmen. His career from his first participation in public affairs to the present spanned more than half the history of Canada since confederation. He first came into the House of Commons in 1908. He was appointed solicitor general in 1913 and -was sworn of the privy council of Canada on October 2, 1915. Later he became a member of the imperial privy council, and was twice prime minister of Canada. It has been given to few Canadians to have served so long and made so distinguished a contribution. This is not the time to review his life or his achievements, but it can be said that the true nature of that contribution grows with the years as historical perspective makes clearer the real truth of this man and his mission, often misunderstood. I had the opportunity some months ago of seeing him for the last time, and I could not but marvel at his attitude toward life and his freedom from recrimination whatever the vicissitudes of his life had been. Indeed, his own words displayed the nobility of this man. He said on one memorable occasion: Fortune came and fortune fled. It is only the lot of all of us, at least of all who strive-the joy of the upward struggle, the successes, disappointments and defeats. Perhaps it has been my fate to have had more than the average on both sides of the account, but I promise you there Is going to be nothing of bitterness carried forward after the page is turned . .. Whether now judged right or wrong, whatever I have said, whatever I have done, is going to remain unrevised and unrepented .. . The page of his great life is now turned forever. The book of our history is richer because he wrote upon that page. His life was characterized, above all, by stainless integrity, courage and steadfastness of faith. I have mentioned the honours that came to him throughout the years and I shall not repeat them. Only one member of this house was here during the days when Arthur Meighen occupied so great a place in this forum, and that is the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe). I heard him speak on a number of occasions, and they were unforgettable. He had the unique distinction of having been the only Canadian who had held the four great offices of parliament, for he was both prime minister and leader of the opposition in the House of Commons, and government leader and leader in opposition in the Senate. His voice was heard in adornment of 23 sessions of the House of Commons and 13 sessions of the Senate. Arthur Meighen was my friend. I twice contested a seat in parliament under his leadership. I heard him on the hustings many times, and whenever I heard that man the words of Lord Curzon, as he described another great statesman, Right Hon. Herbert Asquith, came to mind: Whenever I have heard him on a first rate occasion, there arose in my mind the image of some great military parade. The words, the arguments, the points, follow each other with the steady tramp of regiments across the field; each unit is in its place, the whole marching in rhythmical order; the sunlight glints on the bayonets, and ever and anon is heard the role of the drum. Sir, he had the amazing capacity to marshall his facts and express them in language so clear and colourful that the pages of Hansard will always be a monument to his memory. He was an outstanding scholar. From his boyhood days in St. Mary's to his last days he was immersed in the classics of the world's literature. Indeed, many of us will remember that speech on his favourite subject, Shakespeare which he delivered ex tempore, which was copious with long quotations from memory; that speech reproduced time and again in anthologies containing collections of the world's greatest speeches. To his intimates he was a warm and sensitive personality. This was so in his latter days, but those who knew him well will also bear witness that even in his most controversial days he maintained a spirit of generous forgiveness to those who wounded; an attitude of companionship in a common dedication to those with whom he disagreed; an uncommon loyalty to his friends and followers. I think of his words regarding his predecessor in office as prime minister of
The Late Right Hon. Arthur Meighen Canada, Right Hon. Sir R. L. Borden, of whom Mr. Meighen used these words, so applicable today: Happy indeed are they who, as the night of life approaches, find that the inner vision does not fade. Happier still are they who, as the shadows lengthen, have full assurance that they bore with head unbowed a strong man's measure of the heat and burden, who are conscious that they enjoy the undimmed confidence of everyone who shared with them their struggles and anxieties, and who have just cause to hope that when all is over there will be heard from their fellow men the simple and sincere benediction: "He served his country well".
Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of the Opposition):
Mr. Speaker, when we heard a short time ago of the death of Mr. Meighen I think we shared with all Canadians a feeling of sorrow at the death of one of Canada's outstanding citizens; a man, as the Prime Minister has put it, of great nobility of character; a former prime minister who made a distinguished contribution in politics and in business to the development of our country and our commonwealth.
Few Canadians in all history have surpassed him in intellectual brilliance and scholarly attainment, in incisive skill in parliamentary work and, above all, in parliamentary debate. Few Canadians have ever served their country in so many fields of activity so selflessly and so well over such a long period of time. May he rest in peace as he served with honour.
Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):
Mr. Speaker, it is with regret that members of the C.C.F. party heard of the passing this morning of Right Hon. Arthur Meighen.
Mr. Meighen, as the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have so well pointed out, was an outstanding Canadian statesman, a man of great courage, a skilful debater, a tower in Canadian parliamentary history. His public career extended over more than half a century. It was interspersed with many victories and some defeats, but on all those occasions Mr. Meighen showed himself a master. He was an outstanding leader of the Conservative party. He was a great Canadian, and our nation will mourn this day at his passing.
Hon. W. Earl Rowe (Dufferin-Simcoe):
Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the house leader of the C.C.F. party, the hon. member for Assiniboia, have eloquently expressed, I am sure, the sentiments of all members of this Canadian House of Commons. However, perhaps I might have permission to pay a personal tribute to one with whom I have been associated in different ways for many years.
It was my privilege, as the Prime Minister has said, to enter parliament as a member with Right Hon. Mr. Meighen in 1925. Many others who joined us on that occasion have not been so privileged as I have been with health in survival. However, this outstanding Canadian was known to those of us who were closely associated with him as many other Canadians have been known by their close associates.
His ability was legendary. He was brilliant on the floor of parliament, and in all the history of the Canadian House of Commons and Senate debates his debating skill has never been surpassed. As the Prime Minister said, he achieved many outstanding distinctions in our Canadian history.
I also feel that while his ability was legendary generally, his outstanding loyalty, statesmanship and leadership inspired all those who were close to him. Indeed his sterling political integrity and character earned the lively respect of all those who dared oppose him. I have valued very highly my close association with him through all these years to which I have referred. His friendship has been an inspiration to me and his loyalty has never been in doubt amongst his close friends.
I could add many things from the memory I have of him, but let me say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to all my associates here that I am sure I am only expressing the feelings of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and all members of the House of Commons when I say that Canada has lost a great Canadian, the senior privy councillor, having been sworn in in 1915. He was the oldest living ex-prime minister. His memory to me will always be an inspiration. To Mrs. Meighen and to the family I express on my own behalf, and on behalf of my family, our sympathy and high respect.
CIVIL DEFENCE FALL-OUT SHELTERS-PROVISION FOR INCORPORATION IN NEW HOMES
Hon. D. J. Walker (Minister of Public Works):
I have a brief announcement to make concerning fall-out shelters. Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, at the request of the emergency measures organization, has prepared a pamphlet giving basic criteria on the method of designing a basement fall-out shelter for new housing. The pamphlet is being issued today.
Entitled "Blueprint for Survival No. 2", it is the second in a series showing survival techniques in the event of radiation fall-out. You will recall that the Prime Minister announced the first pamphlet "Blueprint for
Survival No. 1", in this house on June 17, 1960 which explained the construction of fall-out shelters in existing houses.
If they so desire, borrowers under the National Housing Act may include a fallout shelter when planning their houses and the cost of the shelter may be considered in the appraised value of the house for mortgage loan purposes. Up to $500 of additional loan will be made available to assist in the financing of an acceptable fall-out shelter in new housing built for home ownership. Where necessary, the maximum loan regulations can be exceeded by up to $500 for this purpose.
I must emphasize that the additional $500 may only be used to incorporate a fall-out shelter in a new house. Fall-out shelters for existing houses, as mentioned by the Prime Minister, may be financed with home improvement loans under the National Housing Act.
Subtopic: FALL-OUT SHELTERS-PROVISION FOR INCORPORATION IN NEW HOMES
AGRICULTURE SUNFLOWER SEED
Hon. D. S. Harkness (Minister of Agriculture):
I wish to announce that the agricultural stabilization board has been authorized to support the price of sunflower seed produced in the province of Manitoba at 4 cents per pound, Canada No. 1 grade, 10 per cent moisture, basis delivery crusher, Altona, Manitoba. This is the same support price as last year. The prescribed price of 4 cents per pound is 93 per cent of the base or 10-year average price of 4.3 cents per pound.
Subtopic: SUNFLOWER SEED
Sub-subtopic: ANNOUNCEMENT OF MANITOBA SUPPORT PRICE
PROCEDURE CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
On the order: Motions. July 25-The Minister of Trade and Commerce- the following proposed motion:- That the report of the special committee appointed to consider with Mr. Speaker the procedure of this house, presented Monday, July 25, 1960, be concurred in. Hon. Gordon Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce): I would ask that this motion stand with the proviso that it may be called later today. There are certain consultations going on which have not yet been completed.
ACREAGE PAYMENTS NEWSPAPER FORECAST OF GOVERNMENT POLICY
On the orders of the day:
Hon. Paul Martin (Essex East):
May I ask
the Minister of Agriculture if it is true, as
Inquiries of the Ministry reported in the Financial Post, that the government has decided on a program to assist western farmers by way of an acreage assistance program not to exceed $200 per person and not to exceed in total $40 million?
Subtopic: NEWSPAPER FORECAST OF GOVERNMENT POLICY