Mr. Fraser, the first and one of the most important tasks of the members upon the opening of a new parliament is the election of the Speaker of the house. The member whom we choose will preside over our deliberations and direct the services which are essential to the efficient guidance of our business; he will also represent us on numerous occasions in Canada as well as abroad.
To perform these functions, and to perform them to our satisfaction, he will require a formidable array of qualities. He must enjoy our respect without losing our affection. He must be firm yet sensitive, a master of language and a good listener, able to interpret the law and to understand human nature. He must be prepared to cite a precedent, and to know when to distinguish it. It will be helpful if he has a good sense of humour, and if
September 12, 1968
Election of Speaker
he can be equally witty in both languages. He needs the skills of a judge and a diplomat. He should combine the talents of a tight-rope walker, a juggler and, occasionally, a lion tamer. In short, he must be a born parliamentarian.
It was our good fortune to find such a man for our Speaker in the last parliament. At the beginning of this session it is reassuring to nominate a man who has demonstrated these qualities and who now has behind him the experience of an eventful and sometimes hectic parliament.
The distinguished career of the Hon. Lucien Lamoureux has prepared him particularly well to fulfil the role of Speaker. Born in Ottawa, where he also studied, he spent the greater part of his life within a few miles of parliament hill. After having been admitted to the bar in Ontario, he became executive assistant to the Minister of Transport. Since 1954, he has practised law at Cornwall, where he took an active part in public affairs, particularly in the field of education. Elected member for Stormont in 1962 for the first time, he was re-elected in 1963, 1965 and 1968. He was appointed Deputy Speaker of the house and Chairman of committees of the whole for the 26th parliament. He was Speaker of the house of Commons during the 27th parliament.
At the end of the last parliament, a large number of members from all parties paid tribute to the way in which he had fulfilled his duties by agreeing that his seat should not be contested in the election. I know that the hon. member firmly believes that independence is necessary to the good operation of the speakership and I welcomed with pleasure the co-operation of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) and of the leaders of the other parties who did not contest his election as an independent member.
To propose a former speaker and an independent member for the speakership of the house constitute two precedents which I am pleased to create. Those precedents give an idea of the new role that the Speaker will be called upon to play.
At every session of parliament the amount of legislation and other parliamentary business increases substantially, while the amount of time available for debates in the house remains virtually the same. If
parliament is to play its proper role we must ensure that the available time is used wisely and fairly. An active Speaker who enjoys the confidence and support of the members can greatly improve the performance of the house. This has been our experience and the experience of other Commonwealth parliaments.
In the last parliament we agreed to abolish appeals from the Speaker's rulings. All who were members of the house during that parliament would agree, I believe, that this improved our proceedings without detracting from the rights of individual members. The special committee on procedure, which visited the United Kingdom parliament last winter, reported:
Again and again during the days we were at Westminster we were impressed by the key role as the impartial conductor of the work of parliament conferred on the Speaker.
When neither rules nor understandings can be devised to guide, the wisdom and diligence of Mr. Speaker prevails. Experience has shown that an officer of his high standing is needed. At Westminster he has been given both heavy duties and countervailing independence and honour. Undoubtedly, the independence of the Speaker and the power vested in him constitute a condition precedent to the effectiveness of parliamentary procedure in the United Kingdom.
I am convinced that these remarks apply with equal force to our own house. That is why the policy of strengthening the Speaker's independence and increasing his responsibilities has been advanced and supported by many members in all parts of the house. That is why I feel certain that the members of the house will support me in urging the Speaker, with respect, not to hesitate to restrain abuses of the rules and irrelevancy, no matter on which side of the aisle they arise.
I am sure that all hon. members will want to join with me to express our feeling that, of all the members of this house, the Hon. Lucien Lamoureux is the most qualified by his temperament, his knowledge and his experience to assume the heavy responsibilities of the office for which I have the honour to propose his candidacy.
Therefore I take great pleasure in moving, seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, that Lucien Lamoureux, Esquire, member for the electoral district of Stormont-Dundas, do take the Chair of this house as Speaker.
Subtopic: MR. LUCIEN LAMOUREUX, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF STORMONT-DUNDAS