June 16, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


John Patrick (Pat) Nowlan

Independent Conservative

Mr. Pat Nowlan (Annapolis Valley-Hants):

Madam Speaker, I will be brief. Although I have known John Fraser longer than any other member of the House I almost felt listening to the testimonials that Speaker Fraser could very well have been completely rehabilitated and perhaps grace the chair before the tributes stopped. My tribute will be very short. I have a letter that I wrote to him. I really do appreciate the fact that the Deputy Prime Minister, on this adjournment for the summer recess with the obvious potential for election coming, did raise the tribute to John Fraser.
Just before I read my short letter I want to make a comment to the Deputy Prime Minister who has been an old colleague and a friend of mine. We have unfortunately grown apart in these past couple of years, perhaps with his heavy duties trying to keep the ship of state on course and I in my position trying to sometimes put some reefs in the path of the ship of state.
The interesting thing from the Deputy Prime Minister has been alluded to by the member from Papineau- Saint Michel. I was in the class of 1965 but then there is the class of 1968. The member for Algoma is the one
who brought this home in a tribute to him not too long ago in the Commonwealth Room at his 25-year recognition. The public wonders about how members stay around here. I am an exception to a point. I bet this will be news to you, Madam Speaker, that of 96 who came in here in 1968, in view of defeats and announced resignations, there are only 2 who have indicated that they will reoffer. They are the members for Yorkton-Melville and Davenport. In that period 94 of 96 have bitten the dust one way or the other. There are only 2 to come back. In terms of the class of 1968 I think they have added a lot. Certainly the Deputy Prime Minister has added very much.
It is John Fraser whom I say I have known longer than anybody else here. I practised law with him in British Columbia before either of us ever became members of Parliament. I remember him on the Brockton Oval playing English rugby while I had come in from the east to tell the westerners how to play English rugby because that is all we played back there.
I am obviously not going to repeat everything about friendship and I am not going to talk about carrying his daughter home or who carried whom home in some of our relationships. However the fact of the matter is that this is the letter I wrote to Speaker Fraser and I want to read it. It is short. It covers the essence of an awful lot that has been said here today:
Dear John,
The curtain is about to ring down on this Parliament-and none too soon-and sadly your stewardship comes to a close. Hopefully, you may grace the Chair in a 'brief' summer-September session (if politically correct!) of the new Government, so that Members could pay public tribute to your historic term as our first elected Speaker. But seriously, your health is more important than any public accolades-especially from some 'honourable members' who may have caused some Speaker stress and strain!
So "prenez la garde" and follow the Standing Orders of the Medical Journal and your doctor-for the Hansard record already shows that you graced the Chair with dignity, diligence and the special delights of subtle Scottish humour. Your calm in the jungle of partisan procedural harangue defined new dimensions of common sense and diplomacy-the tender ego of parliamentary warriors was rarely bruised, just directed down the Byzantine byways of Beauchesne to the pastures of parliamentary peace!
Thanks for a job welldone-and all the best to you and Cate.
June 16, 1993

I am glad to have this opportunity to pay tribute to a friend, a great parliamentarian and our first elected Speaker. It was an honour to serve under him.

Subtopic:   HON. JOHN FRASER
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