March 18, 1903

FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 14) to amend the Canada Temperance Act.-Mr. Law. Bill (No. 15) to amend the Dominion Elections Act, 1900.-Mr. Clancy. Bill (No. 16) to amend the Railway Act.- Mr. Scott. Bill (No. 17) to aid in the settlement of Railway Labour Disputes.-Hon. Sir Wm. Mulock.


REPORT PRESENTED.


Report of the Department of Labour for the year ending June 30, 1902.-Hon. Sir Wm. Mulock.


SUPPLY-THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF ONTARIO.

IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (East York).

Before the Orders of the Day are called, I wish to say, in order to put myself fairly before the House, that I intend to make some remarks followed by a motion, unless the Prime Minister now says that he will move the House into Committee of Supply, when I would rather speak to the question I have in view.

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The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

We are going into Supply.

The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W.

S. Fielding) moved that the House go into Committee of Supply.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

On this motion to go into Supply, I propose to call the attention of the House and the country to a grave condition of affairs that exists in my own province, that of Ontario. A political crisis exists there to-day that is attracting the attention of all the people of Canada. Certain circumstances have been made public which reflect on the moral tone of that province, which reflect on the political tone of that province ; and I say a crisis has arrived in which the honour of the province is involved, in which the honour of politicians is involved, and every one must be concerned in the settlement of that crisis. At the present moment the Lieutenant Governor of that province has exceeded his term. He was appointed about November, 1897 ; his five years consequently are up, and he is holding office, I think, very improperly. Not only is he holding office after his term has expired, but his condition of health, I believe, is such that he is unable to discharge the high functions of his office. Certainly he was unable to open the legislature last week and it had to be opened by commission. After what transpired not long ago in connection with this affair, I think it is my duty now to call the attention of the House to this condition of affairs in Ontario ; and also to call the attention of the House to the record of the hon. gentlemen opposite in regard to that question. On a motion to go into Committee of Supply, in the year 1895, I find that Mr. Mills (Both-L well) submitted the following resolution :

That, in the opinion of this House, section 59 of the British North America Act of 1867, which prevents the removal of a lieutenant governor of a province for five years from the date of his appointment, except for cause assigned, and communicated to the House of Commons by message, was intended to prevent the undue influence of federal ministers in provincial affairs ; and the practice which has become prevalent, of permitting lieutenant governors to continue in office for long periods of time after the expiry of their commissions, by which they become removable at any time, without assignment of cause, is an abuse of authority calculated to impair responsible government in the provinces of the Dominion.

Mr. Mills supported that motion by an argument, and I propose to read a few sentences from that argument. He said :

Now, the objection I make to the existing condition of things is that in the case of many of the lieutenant governors of provinces, they have been permitted to hold office for several years after their commissions have expired, and at the moment the commission expires, it is in the power of the government to remove a lieutenant governor without assignment of cause, and without any report to either House of parliament. Now, I say that this is a highly objectionable condition of things. If it is proper during the five years that the commission is in existence that the lieutenant governor should not be removed without adequate cause being assigned, and without that cause being reported to both Houses of parliament, it is obviously improper that the lieutenant governor should continue to hold office after that period has expired. If the government desire that the' lieutenant governors shall hold office for a longer period than five years, they should issue to him a new commission, they should put him beyond their power of removal for any subsequent period, just precisely as he was beyond their power of removal for the period for which he was appointed in the first instance. What is the object of the provision of the law ? The object is to make the lieutenant governor independent of the government here, and solely subject to the advice which his constitutional advisers may think proper to give him.

Then he went on

Sir Leonard Tilley held office in the province of New Brunswick from 1885 to 1893, a period of eight years ; so that for three years of his term of service he was liable at any moment to be removed from office by the administration ; and therefore, if the administration had chosen to interfere in local affairs, they could have brought pressure to bear upon the lieutenant governor if he desired to continue in offiee, which was altogether inconsistent with the duties that are assigned to him, under the law to discharge. In 1888, Mr. Schultz was appointed lieutenant governor of Manitoba, and now, in 1895, at the end of seven years, be is lieutenant governor still. For the past two years he has held office by the sufferance of the ministry, he is liable at any moment to be removed without assignment of cause ; and that being so, I say that this condition of things has become an abuse which ought to be corrected, and for that reason I put into your hands this resolution.

Then Mr. Laurier continued the debate. And here is what he said

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

The lieutenant governor of Manitoba has for sometime occupied his position by sufferance of the administration, and not by his commission upon which he was appointed. He can be dismissed to morrow and a successor can be appointed to him the day after to-morrow. He may be retained for one day or for one year, just as suits the convenience of the party in power. I ask the Minister of Justice, is that a practice which should be tolerated ? The hon. gentleman says that so far no evil has flown from this, but does my hon. friend argue that because no evil results follow from the breaking of a law, that it is right and proper that the law should be broken ? Will he maintain that because no evil results have followed that therefore we should go on without any rules whatever. If the provision of the constitution which says that the lieutenant governor shall be appointed for a term of years by commission, can be violated with impunity, and if no evil results flow from such violation of the law, the law might as well be dispensed with at once. But Sir, laws exist in all cases because if there are no laws, abuses may result, and I call the attention of my hon. friend that he has given no reasons whatever why such a practice should be defended. Indeed he has not defended it. His only argument is that no evil results have flown from it and I submit that is no argument at all.

Mr. McCarthy spoke, and X am going to quote a couple of sentences from him :-

It may be felt that when it was brought to our notice that lieutenant governors have been permitted to hold office, after their terms have expired, and during pleasure, and subject to removal of course without notice,; that we did not think it of sufficient moment to give it any attention. I therefore desire to say that I believe it to be a matter of the very gravest importance that this provision of the statute should be definitely adhered to. It does not prevent a gentleman who is lieutenant governor being reappointed, for we know that in the case of Sir Leonard Tilley that was done twice or thrice, but what is calculated to degrade the high and important office of the representative of the Crown in the provinces is that he should be in the position that he could at any moment be recalled ; and that in that sense he is put in a position to perhaps obey directions from the central body, which in his duty to his province ho should wholly and absolutely disregard. The case that has been referred to in the province of Manitoba is a very striking one, and one which exposes the mischief and danger to follow from a continuance of this practice. We are told in this House and we have been told elsewhere, that the gentleman who holds the office is most anxious for reappointment.

I wonder if there is any anxiety in this special case for reappointment.

We were told not very long ago that this gentleman had come to Ottawa for the purpose of trying to be continued in his office and was willing under these circumstances to bargain away his functions and the rights of his province. I do not know' whether these charges are true, but this I do know ; that the fact that these charges could be made tend to degrade and lower the dignity of the high office which the lieutenant governors occupy. For that reason, and that alone, I think that we should require that the statute should be

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adhered to, and that the abuse should not be allowed to continue to exist.

Sill Richard Cartwright continued the debate. Let us read a few sentences from his speech [DOT]

In particular I thought that the Minister of Finance, who admitted substantially the correctness of my hon. friend's position, was exceedingly weak when he contended that no man's impartiality, no man's independence was liable to be impaired by the fact that he was a mere occupant at pleasure.

And then

There can be nothing more calculated to degrade the office of lieutenant governor than to allow those who hold that office to remain there at the mere pleasure of the ministry of the day. And I am very far indeed from believing that no evils have arisen when ministers, as we have seen on various occasions, hold their office to a certain extent at the mercy of the lieutenant governor, who in turn holds his absolutely at the mercy of the government here. Because no evil has been stated to have occurred, it does not follow that no evil has occurred. . . . Under circumstances such as are occurring to-day in Manitoba to keep in office a gentleman who holds it absolutely and mainly at their pleasure, they will expose themselves very justly to the charge of having interpreted for purposes of their own, the plain intent and spirit of the British North America Act in a manner in no way contemplated by the constitution, and utterly repugnant to the spirit of the constitution ; and their action may produce very grave and mischievous results. . . .

If it is of any use to have lieutenant governors-a thing which may be doubted and which is under discussion at present-if these officers are of any value, if it is desirable that they should be continued, if it is desirable that these petty mock courts should be maintained at considerable cost to the country, then at least the men who preside over them should be independent of the government here, or at any rate only subject to removal under such circumstances as the constitution prescribes. It is an evil-and one which may prove a serious one before we meet again-that the governor of one of our provinces should be ifi a position entirely fatal to independence ; and this parliament will be false to its duty unless it expresses a strong opinion as to the inexpediency of allowing such a state of things to continue for one hour.

The vote was taken. Among those who voted in favour of Mr. Mill's motion were Borden, Cartwright, Charlton, Laurier, Mulock and Sutherland. Mr. Speaker, I intend to hold these gentlemen to their vote on that occasion. They laid down a certain doctrine in regard to the lieutenant governors, yet, now that they are in power, and the terms of office of their first hatch of lieutenant governors are running out-the terms of two or more of them are running out-we find those gentlemen still continuing lieutenant governors in their places under conditions which these gentlemen on a motion of a want of confidence in this House declared were disgraceful. Now what does the right hon. gentleman (Rt.

Hon. Sir Wilfz'id Laurier) intend to say ?

X am not here to say anything against the character of Sir Oliver Mowat. I respect his character as I do that of any other man. He has a great record ; and I am not here to throw dirt upon it in any sense. But I am here to say something for the people of this country and for my own constituents, and to demand the vindication of the constitution. And am I to be insulted in this House, when I but ask that the constitution shall be maintained ? Am I to be told that I am going out of my way to make an attack upon the holder of a high office ? Why, those who make such an attack upon me are not defending the constitution ; they are defending the office holder. There is a lust of power in the Liberal party that is something alarming, and the condition of affairs that now exists in Ontario is due to this lust of power and of office. I am well within my rights as I stand here, and I repudiate the Prime Minister rising in this House and saying to me, even though I am a private member, that when I attempt to defend the constitution

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

Order. The hon. gentleman has no right to refer to a past debate.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I bow to your decision, Mr. Speaker, I did not refer to a past debate. But I am told that I am doing something improper and gratuitously insulting to the holder of a high office. I am doing nothing of the kind ; as I have said, I am demanding the vindication of the constitution. I am asking hon. gentlemen opposite to immediately remove the stigma that they have put upon Sir Oliver Mowat-for they stigmatize him when they keep him in office without renewing his appointment. They must do one thing or the other-they must give Sir Oliver Mowat another term of office, or they must appoint his successor. Most of all, they ought to put his successor in office, i have no objection to the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright) going to government house in Toronto and setting up one of these ' petty courts ' to which he referred in the speech I have quoted. I would like to attend his ' petty court,' if he would be good enough to send me an invitation when he goes to occupy that position. I call on these hon. gentlemen to-day, in view of the grave crisis that exists at Toronto, to vindicate the constitution, to put a new man in office, and not to keep Sir Oliver - Mowat in the position in which he is to-day. He is entitled to better treatment. For all we know he may have asked to be relieved of the duties that are devolving upon him at the present time. At all events, the situation is serious, the duty is plain, the constitution has been violated, hon. gentlemen have once again, as many a time, been convictdd of being untrue to their pledges, to their professions, to the votes and to the speeches

which they have made in this House. Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take up any more of the time of the House, and yet I feel justified in going as far as I have done out of regard for the honour of my province, and out of regard for the honour of the first man in my province, and I call upon the Prime Minister to tell this House that he intends to put a stop to the condition of things that exists in the province of Ontario at this moment.

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The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

Mr. Speaker, I have in the first place, to express my regret to my hon. friend (Mr. Maclean) that he has not accorded me the usual courtesy of giving me the notice which is generally given when an important member occupying the position which he occupies in this House- I do not know if it is the position of a prominent supporter of the opposition, or the leader of a new party; at all events whatever the position may be, it is an important one-is about to bring up a question of this kind. I regret, as I have said, that he has not given me the opportunity of knowing beforehand that he was bringing up this question. The hon. gentleman has spoken with a great deal of vehemence on this question. He has spoken of the outrage that has been committed upon our constitution. I do not know if I shall do an injury to my hon. friend or not-if I do I beg in advance to apologize, but I do not believe that my hon. friend has read the constitution of which he pretends to be such a champion. I do not believe that my hon. friend has read the clause of the constitution which provides for the appointment of lieutenant governors, because, if he had read that clause of the constitution he would have spoken differently. He would have known that the lieutenant governor is not appointed for five years, that he is not appointed for four years, nor for a term of years, but that he is appointed during the pleasure of the Governor General. He would have known that during five years he is not removable except for cause, and that after five years he can be removed for cause, that he is appointed not for a term of years but so long as the Governor General thinks that it is to the advantage of the public service that he shall continue in office. Let me therefore call the attention of my hon. friend to this clause in the constitution, which, 1 am sure, if he has read it, he has forgotten it. Clause 59 of the constitution is as follows :

A lieutenant governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor General ; but any lieutenant governor appointed after the commencement of the first session of Ihe Parliament of Canada shall not be removable within five years, from his appointment, except for cause assigned which shall be communicated to him in writing.

And so on. You see, therefore, that within five years he cannot be removed except for Mr. MACLEAN.

cause, but the moment the five years have expired he can be removed at the pleasure of the Governor General. That is all the difference in the world. But, what we called attention to in 1895 was a very different condition of things from that which now exists in the province of Ontario. In 1S95 we called the attention of the House to the fact that some lieutenant governors, for one, Sir John Schultz, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, for another, Sir Leonard Tilley, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, had been allowed to remain, not for days, not for months, but for years, after the expiration of the supposed term for which they had been appointed. In the case of Sir John Schultz he had been allowed to remain in office for two years, and in the case of Sir Leonard Tilley, he had been allowed to remain in office for a longer period, and we thought under those circumstances it was quite justifiable and proper that new power should be exercised and that lieutenant governors should be appointed under a new commission. But, I call upon my hon. friend to show me a case in the long history of confederation, in the thirty-five years during which it has existed, where the lieutenant governor has been removed from office immediately at the expiration of five years during which he has been occupying that position. Such a case is not in existence. It has never been considered to be according to the courtesy of the office that the incumbent should be removed the moment the five years dui'ing which he has occupied the position have expired. On the contrary, we have granted, as a rule, to all incumbents of this office some time before we have felt called upon to name their successors. The usual course has been followed in this case. Sir Oliver Mowat was removable when the day expired; the day expired in November-November, December, January, February; March has not even passed. Yet we are told that we must appoint a successor to fill the position, that because the lieutenant governor has been four months in office, an old and venerable man as Sir Oliver Mowat is, immediately as soon as his term of five years has expired we must apply the axe, remove him and put some one else in his place. If Sir Oliver Mowat has not discharged the duties of the office with satisfaction to everybody there might be some cause which would justify the hon. gentleman in making this demand, but the hon. gentleman does not base his case on the fact that Sir Oliver Mowat has now come to the time in which he may be removed without cause, but he states that Sir Oliver Mowat is not fit to occupy the position which he occupies. Why is he not fit ? Has anything been said in the press, in parliament, or anywhere else, against the mental capacity of Sir Oliver Mowat 7 Not a word has been said against that. It is known and acknowledged that his mental

faculties are bright and keen, although Sir Oliver Mowat is not physically as strong as he was at one time. He is not as young as he was at one time and we all deplore that fact, but I say again, that no insinuation can be thrown against Sir Oliver Mowat, and if Sir Oliver Mowat were physically incapable of administering the office he has too high a sense of honour to occupy the position one day more than he felt himself able to discharge the duties attaching to it. But, if he is occupying the position to-day it is because he thinks he can fulfil admirably the duties which he has in charge. Moreover, it is true, as has been said by my hon. friend, that there is a crisis in the province of Ontario, an important crisis in which the honour or the life of a government is at stake. I ask hon. gentlemen opposite, is this the time, is this the moment, when there is a grave crisis in the province of Ontario, to remove from the helm a man of such experience, of such knowledge, and of such unimpeachable honour as Sir Oliver Mowat ? If we were to remove Sir Oliver Mowat in the midst of such a crisis, I think we would be committing a grave crime against the province of Ontario, if we were to take away at this moment the firm and experienced hand that is at the head of power in the province of Ontario to-day, I believe the Conservative party themselves would protest against such a course, and at all events it seems to me that it would be the part not only of courtesy but of duty for the hon. gentleman to wait until that crisis is over before he calls upon us to remove Sir Oliver Mowat from the position which he occupies and adorns. We are familiar with these tactics; we remember them long ago, and this is only another repetition of the cry with which we have been familiar for twenty years that ' Mowat must go.' This is a new version of the cry ' Mowat must go.' How many times did we hear that cry in the old days ? How many times have we heard the hon. gentleman himself and his associates declare to the people of the province of Ontario that ' Mowat must go ' ? The people would not sanction such a cry at that time, nor do I believe they would do so to-day. Sir Oliver is not as vigorous as he was, but still he is deep in the affections of the people of Ontario, who would resent any action we would take in following the advice of hon. gentlemen opposite; advice which we shall not follow.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).

It is not pleasant for the hon. gentlemen opposite to have their past record thus brought before them, and the dying words of the premier is the best evidence in the world that they do not like to be reminded of their past. The Prime Minister tells ns that we are familiar with these cries and these tactics. Yes, we are. They were admirably played for 18 years in this House by the

Liberals in opposition. What troubles; these gentlemeh now is that their chickens have come home to roost, and that no stronger condemnation can be given of their inconsistency than the very position which they have talien to-day. The hon. member for York (Mr. Maclean) distinctly declared that hei made no insinuation against Sir Oliver Mowat, but what he denounced was the pernicious principle which these gentlemen on the treasury benches themselves denounced in this House some years ago. Not a word was said disrespectful to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, but it was said that in view of the most imminent crisis now pending in that province, it is regrettable that Sir Oliver Mowat is at the present time holding his place by sufferance of the present federal government, for it is needless to say that Sir Oliver can be removed at any moment that the government here intimate to the Governor General that he should be removed, and so if Sir Oliver Mowat does not carry out the wishes of the powers here, he is at their mercy. The parallel cases cited were most apropos. They were argued at great length in great vehemence, and with strong logic by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright) by the present Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier), by the Postmaster-General (Hon. Sir W'illiam Mulock) and by the leaders of the opposition of that date. Will they say to-day that they were entirely wrong, or else that they were insincere. Which horn of the dilemma will they hang themselves on. If they were sincere then according to their own reasoning they made out a good case, and if their case was good then it is equally good to-day. What glaring inconsistency do we not find here ? The right hon. gentleman tells us that the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba was then overholding his office for two years, he points out which is not so in the case of Sir Oliver Mowat. What has the length of time got to do with it ?

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

That argument is absurd.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Sir Oliver Mowat's time expired last August, and the Lieutenant Governor, of Manitoba was overholding his office several months longer than that. What has that got to do with the principle at stake ? If it is wrong to hold an office of that kind for two years over the allotted time, it is equally wrong to overhold it for six months, because the same principle is involved. It is not the length of time that is questioned, but it is the system that is denounced. There is no logic in the argument of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister complained that the hon. member (Mr.' Maclean) had not given him notice of the question. Well, the right hon. gentleman had a stack of books in front of him from which he essayed to quote, but probably

finding that the quotation did not suit his purpose he refrained. Be that as it may, the incident of the books in front of him indicated that he got notice from some source. I do not believe that the Prime Minister, even with all his great ability could, tfo matter what notice he had, present arguments sufficiently strong to convince the House and the country, that the system which he is carrying out to-day, and which on a previous occasion he and his colleagues denounced, is right now, and was wrong then because the Liberals happened to be in power and not in opposition.

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CON

William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. B. NORTHRUP (East Hastings).

Without in any way endeavouring to controvert the proposition in law laid down by the mover of this motion, I may call attention to the fact that Bourinot evidently takes the same view as was held by the hon. gentlemen opposite some six or seven years ago. We recognize perfectly that while the statute does not say in so many words that the Lieutenant Governor is to he appointed for five years, yet on a fair construction of the language used in the British North America Act, we are led to the conclusion come to by the hon. gentlemen opposite in former days ; come to by Bourinot in his work, come to by the late Mr. McCarthy and other prominent parliamentarians : That when a term of office is expressed as it is in the British North America Act, that although nominally appointed during the pleasure of the Governor General, yet within the five years the Lieutenant Governor is practically irremovable, because unless good cause can he shown he cannot be removed. Therefore it is perfectly clear that at the expiration of the term, he stands on a different footing from the footing he held up to that time. The view that strikes me in connection with the matter is simply this : That while in one sense it might be an important matter in this present crisis to the province of Ontario, yet a higher and better view can be taken on the subject.

We are living at present in a time of change. We know that our institutions are as it were on trial, and we know that the permanence of our institutions must to a great extent depend on the manner in which they work out. Now, Sir, if the present Lieutenant Governor of Ontario were a man twenty years younger ; if having occupied the position which he has occupied in that province during all these years ; while admitting his ability and admitting his integrity as I will without the slightest hesitation-still any man in the province of Ontario who takes a dispassionate view would say, that it was unfortunate, that it was regrettable, that at such a peculiar crisis as this, the Lieutenant Governor Should have been one who had been so long and so intimately connected with the party in power in Ontario, and with the gentlemen who are now the leaders of that party.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULH.

I do not find any fault at the appointment of Sir Oliver Mowat, and while I admit that it was a proper appointment at the time, still I think that had it been possible for the leaders of the government to have foreseen that during his term of office such a peculiar crisis as this would have arisen, X venture to say that out of regard to the opinion of the country ; out of regard to the national reputation ; out of regard to the stability of our institutions, the government would have designated some lieutenant governor other than Sir Oliver Mowat. If that be the case, how much more is it the case now when he is remaining in office as it must be admitted on the sufferance of the federal government, when this unfortunate crisis has arisen. I am not prepared for a moment to suggest that the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario would not do his duty ; I would not suggest that he is not physically and mentally competent to do his duty; but I do say that it is an unfortunate thing for a healthy public opinion in the stability of Canadian institutions and the manner of their working, that just at this time matters should be in the position they are in. I do not know that the hon. gentleman who moved the motion had any intention of suggesting that during this crisis the federal government should intervene. I take it rather that his object was to call attention to an omission on the part of this government in not filling the office of lieutenant governor, an omission which has led to the present unfortunate state of affairs. I do trust that the crisis will so work out in the province of Ontario, that the people of that province may not be hereafter led to think that if the lieutenant governorship had been kept freer from the hands of politicians that perhaps in this peculiar time a different conclusion might have been come to from that which may perhaps be come to. For, Sir-, we must not forget that if the persent lieutenant governor should support his present ministers, even supposing he was perfectly right in so doing, and if he were doing what any dispassionate, impartial man would do under the circumstances, still, many people in the province might think, and not unnaturally, that with another man as lieutenant governor, a different conclusion might have been come to. If that be the case, if any large portion of the people of Ontario should come to the conclusion that the influence and the authority of the Crown were in any way affected by such political considerations at a time when the fair fame and reputation of our province is at stake, I venture to say that one of the strongest blows at the stability of our institutions that could possibly be given would be found to have been given.

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Motion agreed to, and the House went into Committee of Supply.


March 18, 1903