February 1, 1937 (18th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, we are reminded by what has been said, as well as by our own observation and experience, that the hand of death is ever with us. My first expression is one of deep regret that this house has lost the knowledge and experience of one who was its dean in point of service.
With respect to the character and extent of the service rendered by our late comrade and fellow member, I can add nothing to what has been said by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). To have been a member of the house during ten parliaments is an almost unique experience. Indeed he was a connecting link between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; for he was elected Speaker of the house before most of us had a seat in the chamber. His life is a history of the years from 1900 to 1936.
I should like, too, to express my sincere sympathy to the right hon. the leader of the government, to his colleagues and the sup-
The Late Hon. Charles Marcil

porters of his administration, in the loss they have sustained both collectively and individually. They have lost a faithful friend, a warm supporter, a devoted follower, and a worthy exponent of the principles of Liberalism as he saw them. Faithful in the discharge of his duties, he was ever mindful of the claims of those who lived in the Gaspe peninsula. Those of us who have listened to him in the house will realize that while his convictions were strong he spoke but seldom, and expressed them in terms both moderate and persuasive.
Obviously it is not for one situated as I am to speak with any degree of authority as to the value and extent of the service he rendered to his party, and through it to the country. But I can say that on the other side of his life, that side we describe as citizenship, his example was of the first order. By precept he created for himself an influence which cannot readily be estimated. Sometimes it is difficult to appraise the value of public service. Opinions clash, criticism is keen, antagonisms are great, and regard for human frailty is not very evident. But when we come to consider the life of one who was a citizen of the community and occupied a public place, I think we are well within the mark when we say that by precept and example Mr. Marcil's life must stand as an influence to younger men not only of this day but of the generations which have come into the world during the time he lived among us. He was courteous; he was kind; he was considerate of others; he was unselfish; he was generous to a fault, and, within limits, he was most tolerant. He had that inward peace which is reflected in the outward man. His countenance indicated that quietness of mind which rises superior to all philosophic doubts or scientific dogma. He was devout, intensely so; he believed in religion as a practical living and moving force. He practised it, and the influence of his example among younger men cannot fail to have had a very marked effect among those with whom he came in contact.
These attributes were known to us all, whether he was our close personal friend, our political associate or otherwise known to us. Those of us who sometimes saw that courtly smile always received it as almost a benediction. I think I can say nothing that would more clearly indicate the impression his life has made upon mankind than the words I have just spoken. If ever there was among those whom I have known in the House of Commons and elsewhere one who seemed to me to give a fair answer to that
age-old question, a question that concerns us all-"And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"-it was Charles Marcil, whose passing we so greatly deplore.
Speaking for those associated with me, I trust the leader of the house will convey to the sorrowing relatives he has left behind an expression of our deep and sincere regret at the great loss they have sustained.

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