February 16, 1950 (21st Parliament, 2nd Session)


Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)


Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure all hon.
members of the house were much grieved to hear last week of the death of one of the oldest and most respected, and, I would add, best loved members of the House of Commons, Mr. Thomas Langton Church, member of parliament for the constituency of Broadview, Toronto, since 1935.
Mr. Church's death brought to a close a remarkable career of public service to the city of Toronto and to the nation. I doubt if there are many who enjoyed the confidence of their electors over such a long period of time, because he occupied public office, practically without interruption, from 1898 to the date of his death. He was first elected to public office in 1898 as a member of the high school board in the city of Toronto. In 1905 he became an alderman, and he remained a member of the city council until the end of 1921. In 1910 the electors promoted him to the board of control, and from 1915 to 1921 inclusive he was mayor of that city. That, I understand, is a record which has not been equalled by any other mayor in the history of Toronto.
The late T. L. Church
Mr. Church was also for seventeen years a trustee of the Toronto General hospital, and for fifteen years a director of that great institution, the Canadian national exhibition.
In 1909 and 1910 he brought forward a proposal for the development of a harbour at Toronto worthy of the growing importance of that city, and became a member of the reorganized board of harbour commissioners, and afterwards its chairman. As mayor he was chairman of the Toronto board of police commissioners, and was also for seven years a member of the Toronto Hydro Electric Commission.
Mr. Church was president of the Union of Canadian Municipalities for two terms, and at different times he was president of the Ontario Municipal Electrical Association, the Hydro Radial Union, and the Ontario Municipal Association. He had been called to the bar of Ontario in 1897, and for many years acted as general counsel for the Toronto Electric Commission.
He was first elected to parliament in 1921, and, though he suffered a defeat in the general election of 1930, returned to the House in a by-election in 1934. I am sure all hon. members are agreed that at Ottawa he displayed the splendid qualities which endeared him to the electors of Toronto during all those years. Perhaps his two most outstanding qualities were his capacity for making and keeping friends, and his devotion to the welfare of his native city.
He was always kind, generous, honest, and uncompromising. He held views which perhaps were not widely supported throughout the country, but he was a man of pi'inciples to which he adhered constantly and unswervingly. There never could be any doubt as to where he stood. He knew it himself, and he made it known to his constituents, to the house and to the nation. Perhaps no man in public life ever fought more fiercely for his convictions, but I doubt if any was ever more considerate of his opponents. He always treated his bitterest political antagonists as gentlemen, and I do not believe there was ever a grudge in his whole make-up.
There was a striking contrast between, on the one hand, his progressive outlook as an official of his native city of Toronto and the great achievements and developments which he inspired and promoted in the affairs of that city, and, on the other, his staunch conservatism in respect of everything which had to do with the evolution of Canada from colonial status to nationhood.
Mr. Church was a staunch believer in British imperialism, and seemed to be quite unhappy that Canada should not always
The late T. L. Church remain a dutiful daughter in her mother's house. His great sincerity, his unswerving consistency, the courtesy and warm-hearted kindness in all his dealings with his fellow men endeared him to us all; and the manner ill which he represented those who elected him will, I believe, for those who follow, stand as an example which will be his best memorial.
I am sure all hon. members of the house will wish to extend to his two sisters, to his countless friends, as well as to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) and to his colleagues, sincere condolences on the passing of one who had become affectionately known and will long be remembered by all of us as Tommy Church.

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