Mr. Speaker, exactly 100 years ago today, on February 3, 1916, a fire broke out in the reading room here in the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings. The fire destroyed the entire building, with the exception of the library, and claimed seven lives, including those of the member for Yarmouth, Bowman Brown Law and the assistant clerk of the House of Commons, Jean-Baptiste René Laplante, a member of the Quebec bar who served in the House from 1897 until the day of the fatal accident. Florence Bray, Mabel Morin, Randolph Fanning, Constable Alphonse Desjardins, and his uncle, who shared the same name, also died in the blaze.
Today, some of the descendants of Mr. Laplante, Messrs. Desjardins, and some of the other victims are here in to Ottawa to mark the 100th anniversary of this tragedy.
Today, in commemoration of the disaster, we are using the wooden mace that served as a temporary replacement for the original mace, which was destroyed in the fire.