Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I rise to add my voice to those paying tribute to Mr. Alistair Graeme Fraser.
I met Mr. Fraser on several occasions when my father took his oath in this House. He was, like I, a Nova Scotian. He often referred to his field at Guysborough, which was very important to him. His brothers and their families shared that home. I extend my deep condolences to them and all the members of the Fraser family in Nova Scotia. They have suffered a great loss, as has this House.
On September 25, 1967 the journals of this House recorded the announcement of Mr. Fraser's appointment as clerk of the House of Commons. When he retired in 1979 this House was different than it is today.
Mr. Fraser loved this Chamber. The people who worked in and around it were very important to him. He knew political life mattered and that those who practised it, supported it and reported it were key to the basic freedoms of this country.
He saw Parliament Hill as a welcome place for those who sought to learn about it and who came to pay their respects.
Someone once said that Mr. Fraser saw this place as a sort of university. He devoted much time to explaining it to the people who came here.
He was critical to the success of parliament and the parliamentary internship program. He supported the establishment of the Canadian study of the parliamentary group and he represented this institution in the Parliament of the World with distinction.
At his retirement he was made an honorary member, officer of the House, with a seat at the table before us. He took this honour very seriously. His counsel remained available to several committees and his testimony was given to a special committee established following the famous ringing of the bells, which remained lively and cogent in his critique of the House of Commons.
Parliament has too few friends. Mr. Fraser's death robs us of an ally and one of the Commonwealth's great parliamentary officers.
On behalf of the Conservative Party, I add my voice of condolence to the family, to this House and to all Canadians, for Mr. Fraser will be sorely missed.