Hon. Jean Marchand (Minister of Manpower and Immigration):
Mr. Speaker, it is with deep dismay that I learned, as most members, of the death of Hon. Rene Tremblay which occurred just before noon today. We knew that he had been ill, but we expected that he would still be with us for a long time.
Mr. Tremblay had a rather brilliant career. He studied in Canada and in Europe. He was at first professor at Laval University and then became deputy minister of the department of industry and trade in Quebec. In 1963 he was elected member for Matapedia-Matane. Soon afterwards he was appointed Minister for Citizenship and Immigration-he was thus one of my predecessors-to become eventually Postmaster General.
Mr. Tremblay was not only our colleague, he was everyone's colleague and he was also a personal friend. We are of the same generation not only as far as age is concerned but also from a political standpoint.
You will understand, Mr. Speaker, that as other members of this house, we are particularly affected by this sudden demise, particularly when it is realized that it follows upon the death of Hon. Mr. Favreau and our friend, Maurice Rinfret. This might lead us to ponder on the effects on health of political tensions which may possibly be felt more particularly by the group to which I have the pleasure and the honour to belong.
The death of Hon. Rene Tremblay is surely a loss for the province of Quebec but it is also a loss for the whole country. I am sure that the members of this house will be unanimous in expressing to his wife and to his children their most sincere condolences.
Personally, I regret that, before leaving us, he did not have the good fortune of seeing certain injustices committed against him repaired as they should have been. But this is
probably what one can expect in politics; we are in a ring where the opponents do not always pull their blows and it is in circumstances such as those that we realize that we are mere human beings.
As I have already said, Mr. Speaker, to the name of Hon. Mr. Tremblay we must add that of another friend, a sincere friend of all, that of the hon. member for Saint-Jacques, Maurice Rinfret. He presided over the proceedings of the house with a great deal of humour, of kindness. I do believe that regardless of political affiliations everyone liked Maurice Rinfret. I think, therefore, that the house should also agree to express its condolences to Mrs. Rinfret.
Mr. Rinfret was ill for a very long time. He was seriously ill when he was last with us here, and yet he never complained and no one even noticed it.
At this moment of our political history, Mr. Speaker, when there are so many problems which we must face collectively, it is particularly painful to witness events such as these.
[DOT] (2:40 p.m.)