Right Hon. John N. Tiirner (Vancouver Quadra):
Mr. Speaker, when I was first elected in Ottawa-Carleton the senior member of the party in Ottawa was the Hon. George Mcllraith.
He had deep roots in the Valley. He was a very intimate friend of three generations of leaders of our country. He was a superb parliamentarian. He was leader of the House at one time. I remember one evening when he asked me to fill in for him. I was Parliamentary Secretary to the then Minister of Northern Affairs, Arthur Laing, and he asked me to be the acting House leader. The late Gordon Churchill was then the House leader for the Loyal Opposition.
After we conducted the business of the House, Mr. Churchill got up and complimented me on the very clear way that the House business had been conducted and would I arrange with the Prime Minister to replace the Hon. George Mcllraith.
I said it might be that the hon. House leader of the opposition would prefer me but he may not know, to use the parlance of football, where the play is going. That is Mr. Mcllraith's technique. I want to assure him and through you, Mr. Speaker, the entire House, that we do not often know where the ball is going either.
Mr. Mcllraith was once faced by the then very popular mayor of Ottawa, the late Dr. Charlotte Whitton, the first female mayor of a major city in this country, a remarkable woman, a remarkable person, and one of the leading social workers in the country.
She was mayor of Ottawa and she challenged George Mcllraith in the then riding of Ottawa Centre, now Ottawa West. Despite the great Diefenbaker landslide in 1958, she was unable to unseat the Hon. George Mcllraith, so deep were his roots on Preston Street and parts of Ottawa that only Jean-Robert and I would be able to describe and guide you through.
Despite the fact that Dr. Whitton as mayor of Ottawa was defeated by the Hon. George Mcllraith, she retained him continually as her personal solicitor. He was one of the two executors of her will who administered her estate when she died. If that does not take talent, if that does not take skill, if that does not take human qualities, I do not know what does.
The Hon. George Mcllraith served our country and served Parliament for over 43 years in both Houses. He is one of the few senators I know, had he been here, who could have been elected in an elected Senate. He was a wonderful parliamentarian, a very fair man and a great credit to public life in this countiy.
Topic: ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic: THE LATE HON. GEORGE MCILRAITH