Mr. Ross Belsher (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency):
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to say a few words to note the passing of Alex Patterson, a former member of this House of Commons and my predecessor as the member of Parliament for Fraser Valley East.
Alex Patterson spent most of his adult life working on behalf of the people in Fraser Valley East. He represented the riding in Parliament for most of the period between 1953 and 1984. In that period he earned a reputation as a hard worker and served as an MP for both the Social Credit Party and the Progressive Conservative Party.
April 19, 1993
Alex generated a good reputation in the riding not based solely on his ties with the Social Credit Party or the PC Party but more as a hard working gentleman who emphasized being involved at the grass roots level in the community.
Alex Patterson was bom in 1911 in Raymore, Saskatchewan, a prairie boy like myself, and moved to Abbotsford in 1951. It was in the early years, while carrying out his responsibilities as a minister of the gospel in the Church of the Nazarene, that he was approached to run in the 1953 federal election. His background and training in the church gave Alex a very clear view of right and wrong. He tried to emphasize these positions in his speeches during his first election campaign and continued to do so as the member of Parliament.
Alex was first elected in 1953 and then defeated in the Diefenbaker sweep of 1958. He was re-elected in 1962 and was defeated in the Liberal victory of 1968. He was then asked to serve under the Progressive Conservative label instead of the Social Credit label and accepted that challenge. He was elected in 1972 and served in this House until 1984 when he announced his retirement and I was nominated to stand as the Progressive Conservative candidate.
It was my privilege to attend, along with my wife, the funeral services held in Abbotsford on April 6 and to express the condolences of my wife and myself to his wife Charlotte, their four children and their spouses and his many grandchildren who were there. They are a credit to Alex and Charlotte's life together. I want them to know that this House appreciates the contribution that Alex made not only to the community of Fraser Valley East in British Columbia but to Canada in his service in this House of Commons.
Topic: ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic: THE LATE ALEXANDER BELL PATTERSON