March 21, 1929 (16th Parliament, 3rd Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, it is appropriate that at this time and in this place mention should be made of the sorrow with which Canada, in common with all parts t>f the British Empire, and in common with the nations which were allied and associated with France in the Great War, learned of the loss which the world has sustained in the death of Marshal Foch. It is unnecessary to review either the noble life of Marshal Foch or the incidents of his great career; they are known to all. Suffice it to say that never before in the history of mankind was the fate of so many nations entrusted so completely to the judgment of one man. That so great a trust was wisely reposed, is everywhere acknowledged. In expressing, therefore, to France our sympathy in her national bereavement, we give expression as well to a sense of world loss in which we also share.
It was my privilege, on the occasion of the visit of Marshal Foch to Canada in 1921, to extend to him, on behalf of the Canadian people, a welcome to the capital of our country. May I be pardoned if I venture to repeat to the house, from the report of what was then said, words with which I concluded my remarks, and which, if they possessed aught of appropriateness at the time, have an added significance in the existing circumstances of to-day. They are repeated in the belief that a word of just appreciation to the living is worth many eulogies upon the dead. Seeking to express the feelings of the Canadian people I said to Marshal Foch:
"It is, however, not alone because in the hour of supreme conflict in the world's greatest of wars, millions of warriors looked to you as their leader, or because a war swept world hails you to-day as a deliverer, that we most honour you. Rather is it that in your singleness of vision and humility of spirit we perceive the secret of all guiding genius worthy of the name.
Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to he?
-It is the generous Spirit, . . .
Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,
And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train!
Turns his necessity to glorious gain; . . .
He labours good on good to fix, and owes
To virtue every triumph that he knows.
In Foch, the man, we discern the character of the happy Warrior. He who, whether amid adversity or triumph, loves mercy, seeks to do justly, and walks humbly with his God. To have had among us one who is truly great, a hero with a hero's soul, is to inspire within our country more of reverence for the source
of all true greatness. For this inspiration, which we shall ever hold in remembrance of this visit, we thank you, too, with all our hearts.
As Canadians, we honour your illustrious name; your immortal fame we shall ever cherish. May the light that never faileth lead you on!"
That prayer, Mr. Speaker, would appear to have been answered. We are told in the press despatches that among the last requests of the great soldier was that he might be moved into the sunlight. That wish has been fulfilled, not with the aid of his physician, but by the hand of the Creator.
May I add, Mr. Speaker, that the government has given instructions that the flag which flies over these parliament buildings shall be flown at half mast during the time of the funeral of Marshal Foch, as a mark of national respect to the memory of this great and good man.

Full View