January 21, 1942 (19th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Hervé-Edgar Brunelle


Mr. H. E. BRUNELLE (Champlain):

1933 a large group of citizens of my city of Cap de la Madeleine formed a social and political organization which they called the Club Lapointe. I have the honour of being the president of that club, and, aware as I am of the inspiration which the members derived from their patron, I feel that I might be looked upon as negligent in my duty were I not to say a word of tribute to the memory of the late Minister of Justice, and to express my profound sympathy to his wife and family.
At home a special confidence was placed in the late Minister of Justice, and on this occasion I must crave the privilege of expressing in a humble manner the heartfelt sentiments of my friends. After the eloquent addresses which have been made in this chamber this afternoon, and particularly the address of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), who so kindly and feelingly spoke of his late friend and colleague, the only merit my words can have is that of sincerity.
The Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe died on November 26 last; but the period of time which has elapsed since his passing away has not even begun to make us forget him, and that empty seat before us, where the least imagination makes one still see his genial face and strong, imposing body, is a sight that is both painful and1 depressing. His personality, his broad-mindedness no doubt made a lasting impression upon those who knew him. As one of the members from the province of Quebec, during the six years I have been in this house I have always been glad and proud that he occupied such a high position in the
Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe

government of this nation and such a place of honour in the mind of the Prime Minister of Canada. In the political field as in other fields he practically always met with personal success, and while other statesmen have had at one time or another in their lives to face defeat, he was spared that trial to a great extent. But success and glory never made him look or feel otherwise than modest in his nobility and valour. Successive personal victories did not alter his kind and sensitive heart. During his public career there came from the press of this land, from the press of other countries, from his political foes as well as from his political friends, such praises concerning him as might have made others think that the summit was attained. But such infatuation was unknown to Ernest Lapointe; he simply went his way looking up and looking ahead as though guided simply by the word "Excelsior."
It is my belief that the remembrance of his humble beginnings in life caused him always to prefer simple testimonies of confidence to admiration expressed with a flourish. In reality have not all great men such kind dispositions? In support of this belief may I tell this house of an incident which took place in 1935 when the Right Hon. Mr. Lapointe came to my city of Cap de la Madeleine to address a meeting on my behalf during the election that was then taking place. It was his first appearance in my city. He addressed an immense meeting. In fact, whenever and wherever he was- to speak, the crowd always had the aspect, in numbers and enthusiasm, not of a local, but I might rather say, of a regional or provincial gathering. Before the meeting, while I was accompanying him to the platform through the dense crowd, an elderly and dignified lady managed to get near us and said to me, "I wish I could say a word to, or even touch the minister"; whereupon I told Mr. Lapointe what she had said and he stopped, shook hands with her and spoke to her, ending with these words, which were said with emotion as I saw his lips quiver: "Madame, vous me faites penser a ma mere. Merci." "Madam, you make me think of my mother. Thank you."
A noble heart, a noble thought! And when the greatest of all the great men of the day*, the Right Hon. Winston Churchill, lately having set foot in the United States, saw with his own eyes and felt in his own heart that the whole American continent was thrilled by his presence, when he became aware of the majesty of the reception tendered him he also thought of the one who had given him life, and said, "I wish my mother could have seen this." There was another nobleman, but one who had the same noble thought.

The testimony of confidence by the old lady, to which I have just referred, made a deep impression on the mind of the late Minister of Justice. He did not forget it, although he must have forgotten many other expressions of veneration. He told it to his friends and to some of his colleagues. He told it in my presence. On several occasions afterward, when during sessions I happened to meet him he would ask me in his pleasant way if my people were always of the same faith. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, they were.
May I say in conclusion that the people in my constituency, the people in the province from which I come-yes, the people throughout the whole of Canada, had faith in Ernest Lapointe. On November 26 last, when his death-knell was ringing in the air, making the fatal announcement that that most sympathetic of public figures would no more be seen alive, a cruel chill ran down the backs of thousands and thousands of Canadians who realized that a noble but humble soul had departed. They realized that an honest and ardent apostle of good-will and tolerance had just closed his eyes to the land he served so well, to the people he liked-people who so much needed men such as the late minister and his worthy friend the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), two real Canadians, loyal and true to each other who, like Baldwin and Lafontaine, gave us a most admirable example of a united Canada.
Mr. JEAN-FRANgOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata) (Translation): Mr. Speaker, I have
listened with deep emotion to the speeches delivered by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) and others of our colleagues in commemoration of the; great man recently deceased, the late Minister of Justice. All these eulogies were eloquently uttered, but they would be but idle words if we failed to piously observe his memory.
Mr. Lapointe was first my friend, then my chief, but he remained my friend after becoming my chief. He did me the honour of often thinking as I did. I could not always think as he did, because the opinions he expressed were not always only his own, but also those of his colleagues.
I tender my heartfelt sympathy to my chief, the Prime Minister of Canada, in the heavy loss he has just sustained. It is sufficient to glance at the newspapers of August, 1919, to see how important a role the regretted Mr. Lapointe played at the Liberal convention held in the city of Ottawa to select a successor to our deceased leader, Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Certain candidates put forward by the financiers

Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe
received a large measure of publicity in the newspapers, but in the room where the delegates assembled, the memory of Sir Wilfrid Laurier was still lingering on. Mr. Lapointe's great success among the delegates from all the provinces in his appeal on behalf of the present leader of the Liberal party was due to his insistence on having them select as leader of their party a man who had been faithful to Laurier, who had never betrayed him, who had followed him in defeat and who was ready to revive this tradition for the good of the party. In thus appealing to the memory of Laurier, Mr. Lapointe contributed more than anyone else to the election of the man who is to-day and, I hope, will long continue to be the Prime Minister of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, it was touching indeed to hear at St. Lin the Minister of Justice's last message to the people of Canada. It was a eulogy of the man who had been his chief, of the man he so greatly admired, of the man under whose orders he had served for fifteen years-seven years while the great leader was in power and eight years while the great leader was in opposition. It was his last message to the Canadian people. We.must never, Sir, forget the memory of the man whose death has left such a void in this House of Commons. The reason why I sometimes followed Mr. Lapointe blindly is that I had confidence in his uprightness, in his integrity, in his afoolute honesty.
During the touching ceremonies that took place on the occasion of the funeral, both in Quebec and Riviere-du-Loup, many things have been said; however, at Riviere-du-Loup, the old parish priest of St. Patrick, a venerable old man, gave expression to thoughts which I shall be allowed, I hope, to repeat at this moment. They were uttered while the remains of our lamented Minister of Justice lay in state in the mortuary chapel at the Riviere-du-Loup City Hall. During his Sunday sermon, Reverend Roy, parish priest of St. Patrick, Riviere-dunLoup, while inviting his parishioners to pray on the remains of the dear departed, added the following words: "He was an outstanding Canadian whose memory we should cherish and bequeath to our descendants. Go, my dear brethren, see him, show *him to your children. For them, as for us, he will become a model of faith and enlightened patriotism."
Mr. Lapointe did not use dual arguments, one set for Quebec and a different one for the
other provinces. What he told our Englishspeaking fellow-citizens was identical to what he said to his French-speaking compatriots. Everywhere he used the same language and, my leader said so only a few moments ago, during the last general election, he visited the whole country, as far as Vancouver, where he supported one of my friends seated on the government side of the house, and the arguments he used in Vancouver were exactly the same as those he used in Quebec, Montreal or any other Canadian city.
Neither did he care for appeals to prejudice. He was far above all prejudice. While making himself respected, Ernest Lapointe was gaining respect for his compatriots, and that is the reason why his disappearance from the political scene is so keen a loss for Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I frequently had occasion to discuss informally with Mr. Lapointe matters of public interest in which we were mutually concerned and I never feared to open my mind fully to him. I had no secrets from him. I spoke to him as if he had been an elder brother, and I was never rebuked by him. There have been, of course, periods that were very sad for him. He did not always succeed in bringing others to accept his views. But he always succeeded in commanding the respect of all his fellow-citizens, which is the finest tribute that can be paid to him.
Mr. Speaker, once again I tender my deepest sympathy to the Prime Minister of Canada, and to Mr. Lapointe's family, to Madame Lapointe, his distinguished wife, to our excellent and popular colleague the hon member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Hugues Lapointe) and to Madiame Ouimet.

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