Rt. Hon. Sir ROBERT BORDEN:
to the question addressed to me yesterday by the leader of the Opposition, it is my duty, but with great regret, to inform the
House that the health of Sir Thomas White has 'been seriously impaired by the enormous responsibilities and the severe, and unremitting 'labours -which have been imposed upon him in the performance of his duties since the outbreak of -war. No burdens of anything like the same magnitude have ever been imposed upon a Minister of Finance in Canada for a like period. Sir Thomas White's keen realization of duty impelled him to throw into the task his utmost strength .and: energy. His wide business experience and his great ability enabled him to render to Canada a service for which the whole country should be grateful. After my return to Ottawa about the middle of J anuary I became convinced that he required immediate and prolonged rest, and I strongly urged him to put aside his work for such a period as would bring about a thorough restoration of his health. He finally agreed to do so; and upon consulting an eminent physician he was informed of the imperative necessity that he should desist from all active work for a period of six months at least There is not the slightest doubt that Sir Thomas White would greatly desire to be relieved from his present responsibilities, but on the other hand he finds himself confronted with the duty of remaining at his post, if at all possible, until the conclusion of the war. His colleagues would gladly undertake to carry on the work of his department during the present session, in order that he may have the necessary rest; and the duties of Minister of Finance have been, during his absence, entrusted to the very capable hands of Mr. Maclean. I am not confident, however, that Sir Thomas White will find it consistent with his ideal of duty to remain absent during the session while still continuing as Minister of Finance. On the other hand, his colleagues naturally shrink from asking him to resume, at the risk of a permanent breakdown of his health, the crushing burdens which he has been sustaining during nearly four years of war. I am in correspondence with him and any further announcement will be delayed until after the Easter holidays.
Subtopic: STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER AS TO HIS ABSENCE BECAUSE OF ILL-HEALTH.