Hon. Thomas Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development):
Madam Speaker, on this important day of adjournment I would like to add a few words in honour of our colleague and friend, the Speaker of the House who cannot be with us today.
John Fraser has represented the riding adjacent to mine for 20 years. He has been a true friend to every
member of the House but in particular to those of us in the British Columbia caucus. We came to know him closely and have missed him these past few years as he has presided over the whole House. We have been able to continue to share his friendship. In his quiet and helpful way he was always there for us. I know he has been there for all members of the House.
I remember first learning of John Fraser many years ago when I was organizing a conference on the environment at the University of British Columbia. I learned of this rather strange paradox: a Conservative who cared about the environment. I learned about this great man who was the environmental critic for the Conservative Party at that time but who had also led a great crusade against the proposed damming of the Skagit River between southern British Columbia and Washington state.
John's first love was preserving the waters and the natural resources, the fish and wildlife, and enjoying the outdoors as a true sportsman. It is his compassion and dedication to those environmental values which above all else has made the Speaker a great Canadian and one who has made a great contribution to our children and our way of life.
The Speaker, it may not be recalled, was a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party in 1976. I am sure he was glued to his television set last weekend as the great national convention unfolded. I am sure but for his larger duties he wished he could have been there on the convention floor in the heat and excitement of that occasion.
Our Speaker as a British Columbian, a Canadian and a great historian would have been proud from his soul to his mind and throughout his being to see a leader selected as the first woman leader and Prime Minister of Canada from British Columbia.
We all enjoyed those warm and cordial times in Mr. Speaker's office. Other members have other recollections. I remember attending a Christmas dinner with Speaker Fraser in his quarters where he invited his larger family. It was a very unusual experience but one that showed his desire to reach out and bring many friends together with his family.
June 16, 1993
I remember as a young member of Parliament not being on the aeroplane that the member for Kamloops spoke of, but having the Speaker who was a minister of the Crown at the time carry home my infant daughter and escort my wife to our home in Ottawa because there was no one else there for her but Mr. Fraser. I remember him campaigning for me in my first election and fighting off the hordes that were supporting the Liberal Party. There were not that many left in western Canada but he came to campaign in my riding and ended up suffering from a dog bite because of the way in which he pursued his diligent work on my behalf.
I wanted to say a few words of gratitude because Mr. Speaker cannot be here with us today. We know he has had recent difficulties. To Cate and the family, the daughters, and to John especially, we are very grateful for his fellowship. We wish him good health. This House is poorer today for his absence, but we know that in his heart and soul Mr. Speaker is indeed here with us today and for that we thank him.
Subtopic: HON. JOHN FRASER