September 30, 1974

THE LATE M. J. COLDWELL TRIBUTES TO FORMER MEMBER

LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, during the past summer Canada lost one of its most respected citizens, a man whose name is indelibly etched in the pages of our history. I pay tribute today to the late M. J. Coldwell who represented Rosetown-Biggar in this House for 23 years.

Although Mr. Coldwell represented a Saskatchewan riding, his constituency, as we are all well aware, was far greater. He served all Canadians, and not only Canadians of his time but those of generations to come. The social security system we have in Canada today, which among the best in the world, was created by those who saw injustice and could not rest until they saw it corrected. M. J. Coldwell was one of those.

At age 21, he emigrated from England and settled in Western Canada, where he taught for 24 years in Alberta and Saskatchewan. While a teacher he took up politics, with a concern for the well-being of have-nots. Farmers and their employees were the first to benefit from his efforts, but by helping them he also helped fishermen, miners and workers across the country.

As leader of the Farmer-Labour Party of Saskatchewan, he helped establish the CCF Party, predecessor of the New Democratic Party. Later on, as parliamentary leader and head of the CCF Party, he became so to speak the social conscience of Canada.

His legacy to Canada came not because he held power- he led a minority party in this House-but because he had power: the power of high ideals, strong principles, and total commitment. Mr. Coldwell once observed: "If you live by your principles and are true to them, you can't fail". That explains his success.

As a politician, as a humanitarian, as a parliamentarian, as a man of courtesy and grace, Mr. Coldwell is greatly missed. He has left us with much to remember.

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Subtopic:   THE LATE M. J. COLDWELL TRIBUTES TO FORMER MEMBER
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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prince Albert):

Mr. Speaker, I join the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) in the tribute he has paid to the memory of one who was a true parliamentarian and whose life was epitomized by the quotation which the Prime Minister placed before this chamber, that he lived a life of principle. I knew him from the earliest days, when he was an alderman in the city of Regina, as a candidate for the legislature of Saskatchewan, and finally as a member of the House of Commons. Both of us attempted to enter the political field federally, unsuccessfully, in 1925. He came to parliament in 1935 and I came in 1940. Both of us were middle-aged when we came to this chamber.

I recall as if it were yesterday the untimely illness of James Woodsworth, the leader of the CCF, who indeed was a conscience in his own day and generation. When he became unable to carry out his duties following a speech, I think it was during the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar became the House leader and acting leader of the CCF. He was a parliamentarian who understood parliament. He had wide knowledge of the history of our institutions, the meaning of our traditions. He was meticulous in preparation for debates.

I saw him but once when he became greatly disturbed at what he considered action dangerous to parliament. It was during the 1956 debate on the pipeline. There is nothing more sacred, as you know, Mr. Speaker, than the mace. It remains inviolate. Only once, as I recall my history, was it ever grabbed by any member of parliament. So disturbed was Mr. Coldwell that he rushed up and grasped the mace-a dramatic event that had only been equalled in 1641 or 1642 when Cromwell grabbed the mace at Westminster. I think of Mr. Coldwell as an individual, as a family man. For many years his wife was an invalid. He bore that burden of responsibility with admirable and indomitable courage.

This place has memories for those who have served in it. I recall when I came in here in 1940 seeing the front benches of the government of Mackenzie King. There were giants-

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An hon. Member:

Just like now.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

-on the government benches.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, a belief that the tradition of 1940 has been continued is something that is furthest from my mind.

Mr. Coldwell had a sense of humour, too. I remember on one occasion how unusually happy he was at the location of two hon. members of the Social Credit Party whose names were Fair and Kuhl. He called them the weather prophets of the House of Commons. I can only say that if

September 30, 1974

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COMMONS DEBASES


he were here today as I am, looking across the floor and seeing the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lang) and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan) sitting side by side, separated from the Minister of Consumer Affairs (Mr. Ouellet) by the Secretary of State (Mr. Faulkner), who is placed there for the purpose of keeping order in this honourable chamber, I am sure he would mention it. He would say that Damon and Pythias today have their counterparts in the House of Commons.


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Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

That is the spirit of this institution. We may disagree, we may profoundly criticize those who sit in other parts of the House, but where there is sincerity and a devotion to idealism there is always respect shown to members no matter where they sit. We have no Watergate tradition in this country. Mr. Coldwell was a man who embodied the finest principles of parliamentary democracy in the British heritage.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa-Whitby):

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to thank the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker) for the thoughtful words they have uttered in memory of the late M. J. Coldwell.

Mr. Coldwell was a leader of our party for 18 years and was a member of this House for 23 years. There are many things one could say about him. A number have already been said this afternoon. But what struck me as most important about Mr. Coldwell was the cause to which he devoted his life. Above everything else, even above his concern for the important question of civil liberties, was his concern for the poor in Canada and for the poor and underprivileged abroad. It was that kind of passionate commitment that led him finally to the acceptance of the principles of socialism. It was that kind of commitment that provided sustenance for himself and his family, and leadership for so many people in my party over so many years.

A second point to be made about him is that although he was tough in commitment to his ideals and firm in his convictions, he was also among the most considerate, polite and tactful of men. This is a rare combination to find in one person, a solid commitment and strong determination accompanied by a total willingness to be always civilized and considerate of one's opponents. That leads to my final observation on behalf of my party this afternoon, Mr. Speaker. It is with respect to Mr. Coldwell's fundamental commitment to this institution.

The right hon. gentleman from Prince Albert has already referred to the esteem that Mr. Coldwell had for this institution. I think that when the history is written for this century there will be few others, if indeed any, who could be singled out in terms of their contribution to the House of Commons while displaying as great a combination of concern and thoughtfulness for the well-being of men, understanding of their opponents and commitment to serious action. He was a truly exceptional Canadian.

The Late M. J. Coldwell

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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SC

David Réal Caouette

Social Credit

Mr. Real Caouette (Temiscamingue):

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and I wish to join with the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker) and the leader of the NDP (Mr. Broadbent) in expressing our most sincere sympathy to the Coldwell family.

I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Coldwell personally in 1946 when the seat he occupied was exactly the one where I am now, while I sat behind Solon Low.

Our party was larger then than the CCF Party. Mr. Speaker, I should like to point out to you something very important, namely that Mr. Coldwell was the leader of eight federal members and was recognized by everybody as a rightful party leader.

A while ago the right hon. member for Prince Albert mentioned Mr. Coldwell's great interest for his country, Canada, and it is true that notwithstanding our political convictions, we must all recognize that Mr. Coldwell was relentless in his efforts to promote Canadian unity and especially to help the underprivileged classes.

At that time, we Social Crediters, perfectly agreed with the CCF members about that goal. However, we did not agree about the methods to be used. They advocated socialism while we advocated private enterprise. It is still thus today. As far as the goal was concerned, I believe he sincerely aimed to reach it: to help the working classes, the neglected people, as the right hon. Prime Minister said a while ago. His efforts were sincere. In 1946, 1947 and 1948, the Prime Minister worked towards the same goal. That is why he said a while ago that he knew him very well. I know he knew him very well.

Mr. Speaker, Canada has certainly lost a great citizen, a man who showed devotion to his country, who commanded respect in the House of Commons. Everybody listened to him attentively, even the right hon. member for Prince Albert who occupied then the second seat behind the leader of the then official opposition, Mr. Bracken, I believe.

As a man, Mr. Coldwell was held in respect as much by the Liberals who were in power as by the opposition parties, which were all duly recognized without exception.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues and on my behalf, I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the Coldwell family. Again I say that Canada lost a great Canadian in Mr. M. J. Coldwell.

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INTERNAL ECONOMY COMMISSION


Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister) presented the following message from His Excellency the Administrator of the Government of Canada: His Excellency the Administrator of the Government of Canada transmits to the House of Commons a certified copy of an Order in Council appointing the following members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada to act with the Speaker of the House of Commons as



September 30, 1974 Commissioners of Internal Economy Commissioners for the purposes and under the provisions of Chapter H-9 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1970, entituled, An Act respecting the House of Commons: The Hon. Mitchell Sharp, the Hon. Allan Joseph MacEachen, the Hon. Charles Mills Drury and the Hon. Jean Chretien.


PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Marcel Lambert (Edmonton West):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise a question of privilege at this juncture.

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September 30, 1974