The last act of Bruce Lodge A.F. & A.M. was played out August 30 at the Saskatchewan Provincial Legislature, as the last surviving members of the now-closed Freemason lodge based in Francis. My father and uncle were long-time members before Bruce Lodge merged with the Weyburn Masonic Lodge at the end of last year.
Four of Bruce Lodge’s last members – my Uncle George (he’s the one in Pilot Butte who every so often writes letters to the Leader-Post, seeking to become to provincial politics what Don Cherry is to hockey, except that Uncle George dresses better), Don Driver, Keith Inches, and my father, Ben LaRose, formally turned over a chair that once belonged to the Speaker of the Legislature from 1925 to 1929. Bruce Lodge used it as the throne for their Master, or Fearless Leader, or whatever they called the president of the lodge chapter. My father sat in that chair for a few years.
The chair was officially presented to the current Speaker of the Legislature, Don Toth, on Aug. 30.
The story goes that the chair came to Bruce Lodge in 1930, donated by Walter George Robinson, who was also the MLA for the Francis area at the time. It’s now one of four former Speaker’s chairs that is or will be on display at the Legislature.
(It should be noted, as Toth told the Masons, that the stuff the Speaker of the Legislature gets in his term usually stays with him. It’s only recently that the Legislature abandoned the custom of giving the Speaker’s chair to the outgoing Speaker, and every new Speaker gets a new tri-corner hat and robes. Toth’s hat costs about $600: he says that when his term is over, he’s donating them to a museum in his hometown. Someone alert the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation to this egregious waste of money. Yes, I’m being a jerk.)
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