March 7, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, before we begin the afternoon's proceedings may I be permitted to say to my right hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) how sorry I have been to learn that because of an impaired condition of his heart he has found it necessary to inform his party that he will not be able beyond a few months to continue to hold the position of its leader which position he has held during the past ten years. I know this expression of regret will be equally felt by all hon. members, and I hope that the right hon. gentleman will permit me to express this feeling toward him on behalf of the house.
I have often marvelled that my right hon. friend found it possible to assume the great amount of work he has undertaken, knowing something of the tremendous strain which, as leader of a political party, part of the time leader of the government and part of the time leader of the opposition, he has had to endure. Knowing how completely my right hon. friend's life has been devoted to public affairs, how conscientiously he has performed his duties as leader of his party and in the house, I can imagine how distressing it must be to him to feel that, because of the condition of his health, he is obliged to relinquish some part of those duties. In the decision which has become imperative he has my sincere sympathy.
I would express the hope that with release from extra strain, and some of the exacting burdens he has borne my right hon. friend's health may be speedily restored; that the

Civil Service-Special Committee
greater freedom thereby assured, may serve to increase and prolong the enjoyment of his days as well as afford opportunities of useful public service in other ways which otherwise might be denied.

Topic:   RIGHT HON. R. B. BENNETT REPORTED RETIREMENT FROM PARTY LEADERSHIP -OBSERVATIONS OF THE PRIME MINISTER
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