April 30, 1917

LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

At the time my hon. friend the Solicitor General and the Minister of Finance were declaring

10 p.m. that the people of Canada should not have senatorial representation until the voice of the people was heard, as their colleague, the Minister of Public Works, said these words.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

We could not help ourselves. We would lose the Bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

If hon. gentlemen

wanted to settle the question at that time, and if they were not preparing for an election, all they had to do was to let the matter run a year or two until they should have a majority in the Senate that would have carried the Bill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

They printed the ballots; too; what is the good of talking?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

In 1915, when the

Minister of Public Works declared that the people of Canada were crying for an elec-'t'i'Cin im tboraeis, of thunder, foe liimnnediialtely proceeded to have the ballots printed and sent over to England. After Parliament rose he went to the city of Montreal and, in those thunder-tones in which he usually utters his declamations, he announced that the time had come for the people of Canada to say which party should rule. The Minister of Finance, therefore, should remember when he speaks to us about elections, that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he and his colleagues had decided in 1915, while war was on-whatever stopped them, we do not know-that there would be an election.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Oh, no.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Then what did the Minister of Public Works mean when he made the utterances to which I have referred?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I suggest that

my hon. friend ask the Minister of Public Works. He is not quoting the Prime Minister, and he is not quoting any of the ministers here to-night.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

He spoke in the presence of his colleagues.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Surely you are not gicfing back ion your ooilleagiuie. Iin Ithiait very session tfee Minister of Justice made careful preparations for taking the votes of the soldiers across the seas. Then came the announcement of the Minister of Public Works; then came the printing of the ballots; then came the speech in Montreal -and for some reason the matter ended. I repeat that the Minister of Finance- whatever he may say now-together with his colleagues, decided that there should be an election during war time. When the Solicitor General and his colleagues accepted the amendment pf the Senate in April, 1915, declaring that there should be no additional senatorial representation until after the termination of Parliament, they either settled the principle definitely, or they settled it with the full knowledge and belief that there would be an election in 1915 within one or two months. This Government is the .only one in all the Dominions of the Empire which has during the war pursued its functions upon purely partisan lines, which has carried out a system of patronage in connection with military and public expenditures, notwithstanding the fact that the extension of time was given, as the member for Halifax very well says, by the grace of the Opposition. In Australia there have been two elections since the war began, and a coalition Government has gone to the country now. In the meantime, in Australia, under the coalition Government, if any appointments are made, such as judges or appointments of that character, they have been made upon lines entirely free of any question of party interest; they have been made for considerations which are behind the existence of the Government as a coalition Government. The same principle applies in South Africa and in Great Britain. The only question that my hon. friend from Halifax has submitted-and he foiais done so in .a very reasonable way

its this: seeing that has Goveimi-nremit bias tad rife term of office extended by

y-34

the grace of ithe Opposition'; iseed'ngithat (there its mo i public dmltenesit that will suffer by permitting these vacancies in the Senate to exist any more than any interest suffers by permitting vacancies in the House of Commons to exist, will the Government agree to this principle that, until the termination of this Parliament and until the people of Canada say who shall govern this country after the war is over, the vacancies in the Senate shall not be filled? If hon. gentlemen make an appeal to the country or to this House to sink party considerations on account of any reason they may put forward why such party considerations should be disregarded, is it an unreasonable proposition on the part of my hon. friend to say to hon. gentlemen opposite: Will you not also, pending the termination of the war and the decision of the people of Canada as to who shall govern them, sink party interest, and seeing that no public interest shall suffer, let these vacancies in the Senate remain unfilled? If hon. gentlemen opposite are sincere.in asking that the first interest before this country should be the performance of our duty in regard to the war, they should give us an illustration of what they can do in great, big, broad lines, by sinking party considerations and refraining in the public interest from making appointments which can be justified only for partisan reasons. My hon. friend's proposition is a reasonable one, and I fail to see how, if hon. gentlemen opposite do not accept it, they can expect from the opposition in the future that consideration which we have given them in the past. How is it possible for this Government to come before the people of Canada and say: in

regard to our administration of the war, in regard to the performance of our several duties we have not acted in a partisan way, we have done that which was broad and generous and big upon this question and therefore we are entitled to favourable consideration from the Canadian people and the party that are opposed to us, if they decline to accept this reasonable request put forward by my hon. friend from Halifax, when manifestly in the judgment of the people of this country there is no public interest which would suffer by holding in abeyance vacancies in the Senate, just as no public interest suffers by holdlimg tin 'abeyance vtaaainicfes tin the House of Commons?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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LIB

Michael Clark

Liberal

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, from the outbreak of hostilities to the present moment, I think it has been

possible to contend that every Canadian whose patriotism was at once strong and enlightened, had one object before him, altogether paramount to anything else that could occupy us as public men in this country, and that object is the winning of the war. Another proposition can be laid down as to the method by which that object could best be obtained. For the winning of the war, it was absolutely necessary for strong and enlightened men to combine, irrespective of previous differences, to preserve the national unity. Those propositions are obvious. They prevail in Germany; they prevail in Britain; they are not questioned there for a moment. When the question of the extension of the term of Parliament came before us last year, these considerations animated both sides of the House. I would not say that the Government are in power by the grace of the Opposition; I do not think that is quite a fair way to put it; the government are in power under an extended term of Parliament because last year the Opposition shared with the Government the two views which I have just said are the views which have prevailed with Canadians whose patriotism was at once strong and enlightened once the war broke out. It was perfectly obvious that for a continuance of those conditions'-and I agree with my hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) that the general question of extension will , be far better discussed when it is again before Parliament-it is necessary that there should be give and take between the two sides of this House, because after all whence does the threat to national unity come? It must come and can come only from an outbreak of partisanship. That is possible on the part of an Opposition; it is obviously equally possible on the part of the Government benches, and the duty to refrain from partisanship on the part of the Opposition must be enforced upon the Opposition by the example and the conduct of the Government and their supporters. I think that my reasoning up to this point would require my hon. friend the Solicitor General in his very best form to puncture it, even by methods of which I am not at all sure that he always approves himself. It is no use speaking to plain men about appointments to the Senate being the same as appointments to the judiciary. Of course, during the war, it goes without saying that the judiciary must go on, and I should be sorry to think that appointments to the judiciary are largely political

at any rate in any British country; but as my bom. friend' from Souith Renfrew (Mr. Graham) has pointed out, there is such a uniform course of action in regard to appointments to the Senate that a strong suspicion of partisanship regarding the matter does arise. The two cases are not alike. There is really strong ground for suspicion that appointments to the Senate are very generally political. I do not put this thing on the ground of the interest of the Government. I do not say the Government are in power by the grace of the Opposition; they are in power during an extended term of Parliament on a mutual understanding that party politics should be dropped and that the Government and the Opposition should achieve glory for their position in history as politicians and as statesmen by dropping their politics and uniting for a common purpose of paramount importance. All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient. Is it wise for

the Government who, I take it,

assent to every proposition I have laid down hitherto, to offer provocations to the Opposition that are only human? Is it in accordance with the general principles animating the country, animating the people, and, I hold, animating Parliament last year? I put it on that ground. Is it a wise thing? Ig it not certain to have the effect of leading the political parties to lock horns and destroy the national unity, and to that extent interfere, I would say terribly if not monstrously, with Canada's efficiency in the prosecution of the war? I do not want, in the words I am using, to refer to conditions in the spring of 1915 at all. I am too intent, Sir, upon the main objects which I say command the attention of Canadians at this time to want to refer to that. I am glad to be able to say that the Government, for some reason or another, did not have an election anyhow, and I am prepared to give them credit for that. The country knows perfectly well, of course, that there were members of the Government at that time who were thinking in terms of elections. I do not think it possible to convey any other impression to the country than that. I do not want to be unfair to anyone, but' that speech on the Senate could not \eave any doubt in any reasonable mind as to what the emergency man of the Administration was thinking about anyhow. But I noticed from their countenances that many of the other members of the Administration from the Prime Minister downwards were filled with doubts

as to the procedure of the emergency man. That I took to be the psychology of the Cabinet at the moment. I do not think cabinets always agree, not for a moment, but the fact remains and will go down in history that the Government did not have an election, and from that day on they have kept reasonably before them-and I have conceded it fully to them from this side of the House-the objects which I have said ought to command the consensus and agreement of Canadian opinion at this time. Now, in view of that, I would ask the Government to hold over a final decision on this question, if need be, until the Prime Mimisiteir returns, .and umltiil the subject can be carefully discussed and considered in the Cabinet. Because, after all, if an election comes, tremendous blame will be attached by the country to the party which brings on that election if it comes at a time when our men aTe falling in thousands, and when it is bound to have the effect of harming to- a dreadful extent the national unity.

I think the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) made an admirable speech in presenting this resolution, a speech of very great moderation, and of very strong reason. I do not think that what he advanced has been met by the speeches we have beard from, the other side and I would ask the Government to give the most careful consideration to the views I have tried to put before them in these few words.

Motion (Mr. A. K. Maclean) negatived on division.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Might I be allowed a

word of explanation? We would certainly have asked for a vote on this resolution but for the fact that an arrangement was entered into by the whips on Friday night thalt there would -be mo. division on Monday.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

That was my understanding. The motion is lost on division at the request of the Government. I may be allowed to observe that the motion as it stands includes all appointments from this date forward, which would cover the vacancies at the present time.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

It includes all since

last year.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

It includes all.

On the motion of Sir Thomas White, the House adjourned at 10.22 p.m.

Tuesday, May 1, 1917.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF SENATORS.
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April 30, 1917