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Marcel Lambert: Wikis


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Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert, PC, QC (August 21, 1919 - September 24, 2000) was a Canadian politician and Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons (1962-1963).

Lambert was born in Edmonton to a French-Canadian father and a Belgian mother. He served in the King's Own Calgary Regiment during World War II, and saw action at Dieppe, France.

After returning to Alberta, he was named a Rhodes Scholar in 1946 and in 1947 he entered Hertford College, Oxford (University of Oxford) to study law.

Lambert was a candidate for the Alberta Progressive Conservatives in the 1952 provincial election, but failed to win a seat in the provincial legislature.

He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons as Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) from the riding of Edmonton West in the 1957 election. He was returned in the nine following elections, and remained an MP until his retirement prior to the 1984 election.

Lambert served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence from 1957 to 1958, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue until 1962.

Following the defeat of Speaker Roland Michener in the 1962 election, Lambert was nominated to the position of Speaker of the House of Commons by Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker.

Lambert presided over the House of Commons during a tenuous minority government situation. As Speaker, Lambert strived to be very correct in his interpretation of standing orders, ruling opposition questions out of order during Question Period if they were not strict inquiries and strayed at all into argumentation. This displeased the Opposition and led to his rulings being appealed unsuccessfully.

Lambert refused to allow an emergency debate on the issue of Bomarc missiles that the opposition demanded when an American State Department press release was issued contradicting arguments made by the Diefenbaker government against accepting the missiles. Lambert asserted that the matter was not of sufficient urgency to warrant a special debate. Liberal leader Lester Pearson challenged Lambert's decision, and the House overturned Lambert's decision by a vote of 122 to 104.

This incident indicated that the government had lost control of the house. Soon after, the government was defeated on a motion of no confidence on the Bomarc issue. Diefenbaker called an election, and appointed Lambert to Cabinet as Minister of Veterans Affairs. While Lambert was re-elected in Edmonton, the Progressive Conservative government lost the election, and Lambert's two month career as a cabinet minister came to an end.

With the Conservatives in Opposition, Lambert sided with Diefenbaker's critics, and refused to sign a petition declaring loyalty to the Conservative leader in 1966 when Dalton Camp attempted to force a leadership review.

In Opposition, Lambert was a leading Critic in the areas of National Defence and Finance. During the short lived government of Joe Clark, he was Chairman of the Miscellaneous Estimates Committee, and led it through a flurry of activity.

Lambert retired from the House of Commons at the 1984 election. He was appointed to the Canadian Transportation Commission by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney following the election.

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Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
James Angus MacKinnon
Member of Parliament Edmonton West
Succeeded by
Murray Dorin


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