December 17, 1952 (21st Parliament, 7th Session)


Charles Gavan Power


Hon. C. G. Power (Quebec South):

Mr. Speaker, in the thirty-five years that it has been my privilege to take part in debates and to close one or two, I cannot recall one where the words used by the speakers who went before me were so uniformly kind, tolerant, generous and magnanimous. Even my hon. friend who compared me to a wild goose was

probably unaware of the fact that there are few greater legendary heroes in the history of Ireland than the wild geese who were obliged to flee their country in order to remain faithful to their faith and to their king.
I have other friends outside the house who, having considered the events of the past few days as they concerned me, were somewhat perturbed lest the laudatory remarks and even the adulation which has been showered upon me, as they said, on account of a sort of careless promenade on the fringes of Canadian history during the past third of a century, might affect my better judgment, and they have furnished me with certain quotations which I hope are not too irrelevant but which may perhaps be considered to be salutary. One is from the Hansard of the British House of Commons of March 7, 1945, Mr. Winston Churchill speaking:
I have only two more minutes to speak, and I will devote them to my noble friend, the father of the house. He is a comparatively young father of the house; he has many years of useful life before him. We still hope they may be years of useful life in this house, but unless in the future his sagacity and knowledge of the house are found to be markedly superior to what he has exhibited today, I must warn him that he will run a very grave risk of falling into senility before he is overtaken by old age.
It is perhaps well that I should take note of this warning and that I do not indulge in semi-senile maunderings about the good old days. Perhaps I might quote another little piece, I hope not quite so relevant but still salutary. It is an epitaph on the politician:
Here, richly, with ridiculous display,
The politician's corpse was laid away,
While all of his acquaintances sneered and slanged,
X wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.
These lines are from the writings of Hilaire Belloc who, strangely enough, was a member of parliament in the British House of Commons. I rather suspect that he must have been for long years a member of the opposition faced with a vociferous, turbulent and arrogant majority. I too in the course of my career have been twice on the opposite side. I have had the privilege of sitting in two parliaments as a member of the opposition and can well remember the irritation and the anger which were occasioned by what I then considered to be the arbitrary and dictatorial acts of the members of the government. I am quite sure that my good friend, the hon. member for Inverness-Richmond (Mr. Carroll), when he sat in the house as one of the heroes of the Liberal filibuster against the naval bill in 1912-as a humble camp follower I had the privilege of sitting in the gallery at that time -must have had his moments of blind rage when first closure was introduced into this
Private Bills-Divorce
house and his beloved and idolized leader, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, had to submit to the gag.
But as the years went by those of us who changed our positions in the house were able to look at similar proceedings with a certain degree of calmness and perhaps satisfactory equanimity. Therefore I suppose' the strength of one's emotions and one's feelings is largely to be gauged by the lapse of time and the geographical situation in which we find ourselves. Nevertheless there does develop over the years a feeling of kindly tolerance which grows into comradeship and finally develops into true and strong friendship as between members of this great institution, the House of Commons. Even Belloc himself, whom I have already quoted, must have come to that conclusion, because in his later years he had this to say:
From quiet homes and first beginning Out to the undiscovered ends,
There's nothing worth the wear of winning But laughter and the love of friends.
As for me, to paraphrase the poet, all I can say is:
My thanks, my friends,
My thanks, my foes;
My love to these,
My peace with those.

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