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The Speakers of the Canadian House of Commons


Hon. Lucien Lamoureux
P.C., O.C., Q.C., B.A., B.Ph., L.Ph., M.A., D.U., LL.B., LL.D. (1966–1974)

Praising Lucien Lamoureux’s service as Deputy Speaker during Prime Minister Lester Pearson’s first minority term (1963–1965), Leader of the Opposition John Diefenbaker described his tact, wisdom, sense of humour and impartiality. Each was a quality that Lamoureux would need even more in his new post as Speaker during the next Liberal minority government of 1966–1968, and each was one that he would go on to demonstrate consistently during his 3,177 days as Speaker. His tenure in the 27th, 28th and 29th Parliaments was unmatched until 2009, when it was exceeded by Peter Milliken.

Members of the House recognized Lamoureux’s convictions about impartiality from his first nomination as Deputy Speaker, when he withdrew from the Liberal caucus. He was so scrupulous, it was said, that when he and his wife invited MPs and their spouses for dinner, they invited exactly the same number of members from the government and Opposition. Impeccably bilingual, he ruled the House firmly but in a gentle and witty manner.

Lamoureux chose to run as an Independent in the 1968 general election; both the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives agreed not to nominate candidates in his riding. Diefenbaker and his successor as Conservative Leader of the Opposition, Robert Stanfield, had long called for a permanent Speaker, but Pearson’s successor as Prime Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, disliked the concept. Lamoureux again ran as an Independent in the 1972 general election, but not unopposed. Although the question of a permanent Speaker was raised sporadically thereafter, the government never took the necessary steps to implement the arrangement.

The Speaker was known for working exceptionally long hours; not infrequently he spent the whole week in his Centre Block office, having his meals brought in and sleeping on a couch. Following his decision not to run in the 1974 general election, the Prime Minister described him as “a great Speaker, in the view of many the greatest since Confederation.” After the election Lamoureux was appointed Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg (1974–1980) and then Ambassador to Portugal (1980–1985).

After the new maple leaf flag was adopted in 1965, Lamoureux was given the first flag flown from the Peace Tower for safekeeping. Forty years later his widow returned the flag to the House of Commons.

Next Speaker: Hon. James Alexander Jerome

Previous Speaker: Hon. Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Artist: Suraj Sadan
Date: 1977

Born: Ottawa, Ontario, 1920

Died: Brussels, Belgium, 1998

Professional Background: Law

Political Affiliation: Liberal, Independent

Political Record:

Prime Ministers During Speakership: