April 8, 1918

UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Formerly they

were not so addressed in New Brunswick, but I believe that recently they have followed the custom even there. The member of the legal profession who happens to rise to judicial office is not thereby rendered a Lord, and there is no particular reason, I suppose, in logic or in law why he should he addressed as " M*y Lord;" yet he is so addressed'. Tlhe member for Kingston must not go too far against the women

in this 'matter, or toy and by, when he has down high enough to " roost on the bench,

,-if 1 may use his own expression-some .eloquent lady member of this House may propose a resolution' asking His Majesty the King to debar my hon. friend from being 'addressed as " Your Lordship " or "My Lord."

As a matter of fact, these appellations .vary from time to time and from century to century. Three or four hundred years -ago every Master of Arts in Great Britain ,was addressed' as " Sir," and ibeeanse members of the clergy were usually of liberal education, the title " Sir " was applied to all clergymen in England. In the time of Shakespeare, as any one will recall who has read his plays, even a curate was addressed as "Sir" So-and-so. That practice has passed away.

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UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

Sirloin steak.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN :

Yes, .that is so. Other similar usages prevail in this country. For example, certain, members of provincial legislatures, that 'is to say legislative councillors, the Speakers of legislative assemblies and members of executive councils of the provinces, are enitled .to t'he appellation' of " Honourable " as a matter of law, under the King's direction, so long as they retain the position to which .the title appertains. >When they cease to hbld these positions, then they cease to be entitled to' the appellation of " HonourAble;" but every one continues to term .them "Honourable." It does no particular harm' that I know of. We might as well ,ask His Mlajesty t'he King to fulminate against this usage as to ask him to make a pronouncement against the courtesy titles which certain ladies in this, country receive as a matter of usage and which they do not enjoy as a matter of right.

However, there is a much 'broader aspect of the whole question: 'The motion proposed by the member for Kingston and seconded by the member for Birome :(IMr. MoMaster) does touch very closdly the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown. The functions of the Crown as distinguished from those of the Cabinet, and Parliament are very clearly set forth, so far as the United Kingdom is concerned, in the monumental work of Mr. Todd, which was first published in 1866 and of which a second edition edited by his eon, appeared in 1887, Following that came his work-still more useful to us in the Dominions-on parliamentary government in the British colonies., the first edition of which appeared in 1880 and the

second, also edited by his son, in 1894. Todd himself died in 1884, all too early. Hon. gentlemen who are familiar with these matters know that both these works are regarded as of the highest authority, not only in the United Kingdom, but in every dominion of the Empire. The exercise of the prerogative of the Crown in self-governing dominions was defined by Todd in his work on Parliamentary Government in the British Colonies as follows:

Moreover, certain prerogatives of the Crown are suitably reserved in every colony to the direct and immediate expression of royal pleasure thereon. The powers so reserved differ according to the .position and circumstances of the particular colony; but they invariably include the abstract right of dealing with all colonial legislation, and of disallowing such acts as may be deemed' objectionable, or in direct opposition to Imperial policy. Sometimes, colonial laws which, for defect in form or substance, might otherwise need to be disallowed, are remitted to the colony wherein they were enacted, accompanied .by a despatch from the secretary of state for the colonies suggesting their modification or repeal. The judicial prerogative of the Crown, or the right of determining in the last resort all controversies .between subjects in every part of the Empire, has been universally reserved, as being one of the most stable safeguards, and most beneficial acts of sovereign power, The administration of the prerogatives of mercy and of honour is either reserved to the Crown or is made the subject of special and limited delegation. Finally, all questions which involve the relations of British dependencies, and consequently of the United' Kingdom itself, with foreign States-the formation of treaties and alliances; the naturalization of aliens; the declaration of war or peace, and, toy consequence, all regulations affecting the disposition or control of Imperial military forces-are, invariably and for obvious reasons, reserved for the direction and control of the parent state.

We have travelled far in constitutional development since these words were written by Mr. Todd. One of the most notable steps taken in Canada was that taken in 1876 by Edward Blake as Minister of Justice. The instructions to the Governor General authorized his independent exercise of the prerogative of mercy. Upon the very able report presented to the Privy Council by a subcommittee over which Mr. Blake presided, those instructions were changed in 1878, and the British Government, in their subsequent instructions, have fully recognised that the prerogative of mercy in all of the self-governing Dominions must be exercised upon the advice of ministers. In all these matters, the natural trend of constitutional development has been along the same line, that is, of ministerial responsibility for the exercise of the prerogative in any self-governing

Dominion. There are illustrations of this arising from time to time. I need not go over ail the changes brought about since Mr. Todd's book was first published. The absolute control of many matters there alluded to as being within the function of the Imperial Government, is now exercised without question by the Governments of the Dominions. Since this war broke out, a question arose as far back as November, 1916, as to whether or not the prerogative of the Crown to requisition in time of war ships registered in Canada and owned by people domiciled in this country should be exercised by the Government of the United Kingdom or by the Government of Canada, and we had no hesitation whatever in maintaining-and our view was accepted-that the exercise of the prerogative in such cases ought to be upon the advice of the ministers of the Crown in Canada and not upon the advice of the ministers of the Crown in the United Kingdom.

In this respect, I might express the doctrine of the present day in the words of a notable author, a man, evidently of varied gifts.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. Mr. FIELDING:

Does my right

hon. friend mean that, although the House should adopt this resolution, the Prime Minister of Canada would still toe free to exercise that power?

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I think I shall make myself clearer to my hon. friend as I go on. I do not observe anything in the resolution which would conflict with the view I have just expressed!. It lis dealt with in that way in. the United Kingdom as a matter of ministerial responsibility, but as a matter in which the Prime. Minister speaks for his colleagues in the Government, and I do not think that it is there dealt with by Order in Council or in any formal way but as I have just now indicated. The question as to- the procedure in such matters was taken up by my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) as far back as 1902, and I have obtained permission to bring down., and communicate to the House, the Order in Council then passed, as well as the reply then made by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. I have obtained the like permission to communicate to the House an Order in Council which was under consideration of the Government some weeks before this session began, which was submitted to His Excellency the Governor General on 9th March, and which has since received his approval, after he had the necessary communication with the Government of the United Kingdom on the subject. The Order in Council approved on the 19th February, 1902, is as follows,

On a report dated 15th February, 1902, from the Right Honourable the Prime Minister submitting that the exercise of the Royal Prerogative conferring honours and titular distinctions upon His Majesty's subjects in Canada is one which has not hitherto -been brought into harmony with the .principles of Parliamentary Government, of which it is an important part.

The Prime Minister further submits that the great development of Canada, and the- high position which she has now obtained, render it advisable that upon this subject, as upon all others, the exercise of the Royal Prerogative shall conform to the well understood principles of Ministerial responsibility.

The Prime Minister observes that though Canada has had conceded to her the powers of self-government, and His Majesty the King, is here the fountain of honours and titular distinctions, yet, the exercise of this branch of the Royal Prerogative which may be as necessary to reward the servants of the Crown, within the sphere of Government in Canada, as it is in the United Kingdom, is, nevertheless, totally disassociated here from Parliamentary Government.

The Royal Prerogative of conferring honours and titular distinctions for Important public services, is within the sphere of Ministerial authority, as necessary to good government in Canada as it is in the United Kingdom; so that those who are responsible for administra-

tive government in the Dominion would be greatly aided by the stimulus which such powers would give to those engaged in the service of the Crown for the time being, not less than such 'Prerogative strengthens the hands of the Executive in the United Kingdom.

The Pfiime Minister states that in practice, since the establishment of Confederation, the granting of honours and titular distinctions upon the subjeots of the Crown in Canada, has been the result of correspondence between His Excellency the Governor General and the Colonial Office, and of recommendations made by the former, usually yet not invariably after consultation with the Prime Minister, but not in conformity with any settled principle and without constitutional responsibility.

The practice is not in harmony with the principles of our constitutional system. There are two classes of persons upon whom honours and titular distinctions may be conferred within the Empire, and outside the United Kingdom ; the one class, honoured by His Majesty for services of an Imperial character, and in respect to which His Majesty is rightfully advised by His Ministers at Westminster, and the other is for services done by the subjects of the Crown associated with His Majesty's Government in the Colony, and on whom honours and distinctions should be conferred upon the advice of those Ministers only, who are there responsible to His Majesty and to the Colonial Parliament, for that part of the administration of His affairs. In this way, the constitutional advisers of His Majesty, within the United Kingdom, would avoid Invading the sphere of His Majesty's advisers in the Colony, and would leave to those advisers both the advantage and the responsibility for everything which might contribute to the honour and efficiency of His Majesty's Government within the range of the constitutional duty assigned to them.

The Prime Minister submits that while His Majesty may take the initiative in respect to the bestowal of honours and titular distinctions, the Minister should be none the less responsible for what may be done. To the MKnisters of His Majesty at Westminster responsibility attaches for every reward conferred for public service within their sphere of action.

In Canada a Government similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom has been established, and the advisers of His Majesty in Canada are the proper advisers of His Majesty for every kind of reward bestowed upon His Majesty's subjects for services performed within the legal and constitutional sphere of Canadian jurisdiction. His Majesty's Ministers in Canada are acquainted with the standing in the community of the persons upon whom it may be proposed to confer honours, and of the character of the services for which these honours are the reward, and to have those rewards bestowed by His Majesty on the advice of those who are but imperfectly informed as to the estimation in which the recipients are held, or of the character of the services for which the honours are bestowed, is practically an Invasion of the right of local self-government.

The Committee of the Privy Council concurring in the report of the Prime Minister, recommend that the same be presented to His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, and respectfully ask that the Royal Instructions be modified to the effect that the same rules which apply for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative in granting honours and titular distinctions to subjects of the King in

the United Kingdom be made likewise to apply to all recommendations by the Governor General for the exercise of the Prerogative to the King's subjects in the Colonies, and that all such recommendations by the Governor General to the Sovereign in such matters be made upon the advice of his responsible Ministers.

To that Order in Council, which went forward in the form of a despatch, a reply was sent, dated the 23rd of April, 1902. It is as follows:

Downing Street,

23rd April, 1902.

Canada.

Confidential.

My Lord,-[DOT]

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Lordship's Confidential despatch of the 4 th March forwarding for consideration a Report of your Privy Council relative to the procedure they advise in respect to future recommendation for Honours to be submitted to His Majesty.

2. The Report in question has received my most careful consideration, and I have now to acquaint you with my views upon the subject.

3. I am of opinion that it is of primary importance not to lose sight of the fact that the Crown is the source of all honours, which may even be granted without the interposition of a responsible minister, although as a rule they are only given on his advice. As Your Lordship "is aware, the usual method of rewarding conspicuous services rendered, by those resident in the Colonies is by appointment to the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, an Imperial Order, for appointment to which, in all but very exceptional cases, the responsibility ultimately rests with His Majesty's Government. Service to Canada is recognized by conferring membership of this Order, because service to the Crown in any part of the Empire, is service to the Empire.

4. As regards the question of procedure in making recommendations, I consider that if the service is of a political or administrative character, rendered solely in the sphere for which the Ministers of the Crown in Canada are responsible, they are constitutionally the proper authorities for making recommendations, and that in transmitting the same, they should be accompanied by Your Lordship's observations thereon.

5. In regard, however, to persons whose purely Imperial, Provincial, or Municipal services, or public services of a charitable, literary or scientific character, are held to merit recognition, I consider that the proper course would be for you to transmit a list of such persons to your Prime Minister, inviting his observations on the same, and such list, with the remarks of the Prime Minister, should be submitted to me.

6. In dealing with this subject I have been desirous of meeting the views of your Ministers as far as possible, but as the responsibility for making recommendations to the Sovereign in regard to appointments to an Imperial Order, such as that of Saint Michael' and Saint George, rests with the Secretary of State and not with your Ministers, it is his duty to obtain the best advice he can, and he must be the sole judge of what is the best advice.

7. I should toe glad If Your Lordship would make known to Your Prime Minister the purport of this despatch, and I trust that the arrangement herein described will prove acceptable tooth to yourself and to your Ministers.

I have the honour to toe,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient, humble servant, (Sgd.) J. CHAMBERLAIN.

It will foe -observed that the reply of the then Secretary of State for the Colonies does not at all conform to the views which were put forward in the Order in Council I read a moment ago. For example, in the fifth clause of this despatch, Mr. Chamberlain says that where purely Imperial, provincial, or municipal .services, or public services of a charitable, literary, or scientific character are held to merit recognition, he is to be the judge and not the responsible ministers of the Dominion in which the persons alluded to are domiciled at the time .and in which they have rendered such services. The matter does not seem to have been followed up. I can find no trace of any further correspondence on the subject. The Order in Council which I have just read and the reply of Mr. Chamberlain thereto have been carefully considered toy myself and by my colleagues as well, -and after giving a very great deal of thought and consideration to the subject, in the month of February last, I brought into Council, on the ninth day of March, a recommendation which was approved and submitted to His Excellency, who gave his approval thereto on the 25th of March last, after communication with the Imperial authorities. That Order in Council, which I shall now read, is as follows: P.C. 668.

Certified Copy of a Report of the Committee of

the Privy Council approved toy His Excellency the Governor General on the 25th day of March, 1918.

The Committee of the Privy Council have had under consideration a report dated the 9th day of March, 1918, from the Right Honourable the Prime Minister, touching the procedure for conferring titles of honour upon subjects of His Majesty ordinarily resident in Canada.

Submitting that the subject demands consideration and attention, the Prime Minister observes that the Royal Prerogative of conferring honours and titular distinctions for important public services is unquestioned, but that it is necessary to consider the conditions under which and the advice upon which it should be exercised within this Dominion. He submits that the bestowal of honours is a matter of concern to the whole community and has a direct relation to the orderly government of the State. Its purpose is to signify -public recognition and approval of the recipient's conduct and services in cases where these have been commendable and notable.

Having regard to1 the firmly established principles of self government in Canada, the

Prime Minister is of opinion that no title of honour or titular distinction should hereafter toe conferred upon any subject of His Majesty ordinarily resident in Canada except upon the direct advice and responsibility of His Majesty's Canadian Government. Such an assumption of control toy the Government of Canada follows the natural course of constitutional development in this country as the tendency has invariably been in the direction of complete control Of every function of government.

The constitutional aspect of this question suggests consideration of the analogy to other exercises of the prerogative. It has -been said by a careful student of government in the Dominions that:-

"It is now clear law that the Governor has a delegation of so much of the Royal Prerogative as is required for the conduct of the executive government of the Dominion or State of which he is _ Governor, and time and good-sense have uniled to make it clear that this necessary delegation includes practically all the prerogatives of the Crown in the United Kingdom." (Keith, Imperial Unity and the Dominions, p. 52.)

The Prime Minister is not aware of any other prerogative of the Crown which in its relation to Canada is not exercised on the advice of His Majesty's Canadian Ministers; and he is unaible to agree that a different principle should toe maintained- in the exercise of the prerogative of conferring honours. He entirely assents to the view that in Canada the functions of the Sovereign in such exercise should toe subject only to the same limitations as in the United Kingdom, except with regard to hereditary honours as hereinafter set forth.

The Prime Minister calls attention to a Minute of Council approved on the 19th day of February, 1902, copy of which is hereto appended, and he desires to associate himself with the views therein set forth insofar as they are ini accord with th-e recommendations herein contained. Attention is also called to the confidential Despatch of 23rd- April, 1902, from the then -Secretary of State for the Colonies to His Excellency the then Governor General, copy of which is also appended-. Without pausing to examine the development of constitutional relations at that time, the Prime Minister finds himself unable to accept as appropriate to present conditions the view set forth in that despatch as to the responsibility for recommendations to the Crown in respect of honours to be conferred upon persons ordinarily resident in Canada.

In expressing this view the Prime Minister realizes that the character and- number of the honours to toe conferred in any Dominion must necessarily toe considered toy the Government-of the United Kingdom. This view seems entirely consistent with the principles which are herein affirmed.

With respect to the -bestowal of hereditary titles of honour upon persons ordinarily resident in Canada, special considerations must he taken into account. In submitting these considerations the Prime Minister desires it clearly to be understood that they have no relation whatever to the status or functions of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom in its legislative or judicial capacity. He thoroughly realizes that any representations which might toe construed to bear such a meaning would be uncalled for if not presumptuous ; and the observations which follow apply only to conditions of national -development in this country. The Prime Minister

equally disclaims any intention of casting the slightest reflection upon the status or service of any resident of Canada who has heen honoured toy the .bestowal of hereditary distinction. The purpose of this recommendation is concerned with the question of general policy and with that alone.

The Prime Minister is firmly of opinion that the creation or continuance of hereditary titles in Canada is entirely incompatible with the ideals of democracy as they have developed in this country and that the time has arrived when their heritable quality or effect should toe abolished in this Dominion. The hereditary peerage as an institution can find rieither historic justification nor scope for usefulness in a state structure and social tradition such as that which now exists in Canada. Consequently the effect of such an institution in this country is merely, on the one hand, to confer and to perpetuate arbitrarily for some members of the community a titular distinction or status of honour, and on the other hand to imply a position of special though ill-defined privilege to which there is not and cannot be assigned any obligation or function in the activities of Canadian national life. Honours conferred directly upon deserving recipients, under appropriate conditions and by proper authority, will be respected by the community; but a decoration or titular distinction which is attached to the holder, not in recognition of his own services, hut merely from the incidence of birth, and which is invested with no special or public duties or responsibilities, will inevitably arouse in this country a sense of utter incongruity and a feeling of keen impatience.

Such an attitude toward a state institution cannot but have unfortunate effects upon the respect and regard in which the ' authority of the State is held; and since the question concerns so intimately the honour, dignity and security of the Crown it becomes the duty of His :Majesty's Canadian Ministers to take immediate and serious notice of it and to advise an appropriate course to be followed.

The Prime Minister further observes that the procedure necessary to provide that titles of honour already held by Canadian residents shall no longer have hereditary effect in Canada will doubtless require careful consideration, and that the question involved is one which may appropriately he submitted for the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown advising His Majesty's Government. In this connection it is desirable that a course should be followed under which any Canadian citizens who now hold hereditary titles would not be subjected to undue inconvenience or disadvantage. For that purpose appropriate provision for a reasonable time limit may be desirable within which the operation of the proposed enactment or other necessary proceeding would be postponed.

The Prime Minister therefore recommends that this Report, if approved, be forwarded to His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies with the respectful request that the necessary formal action may be taken to render effective the proposals herein set forth, which are recapitulated as follows:-

1. No honour or titular distinction (saving those granted in recognition of military service during the present war or ordinarily bestowed by the Sovereign proprio motu) shall be conferred upon a subject of His Majesty ordinarily resident in Canada except with the approval or upon the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada.

2. The Government of the United Kingdom shall exercise the same authority as heretofore in determining the character and number of titles or honours to he allocated to Canada from time to time.

3. No hereditary title of honour shall hereafter be conferred upon a subject of His Majesty ordinarily resident in Canada.

4. Appropriate action shall be taken, whether by legislation or otherwise, to provide that after a prescribed period no title of honour held by a subject of His Majesty now or hereafter ordinarily resident in Canada shall be recognized as having hereditary effect.

The Order in Council goes somewhat further than the resolution which my hon. friend from Kingston has proposed in respect of the continuance of hereditary titles in this country. That question deserves some serious consideration for this reason: although we may provide, and the -Crown may assent to our proposal, that hereditary honours shall no longer be granted to any person ordinarily resident in Canada, it is quite possible that persons holding hereditary honours may come to reside in this country and may become domiciled therein, and titles may be perpetuated- in that way. According to the judgment of the advisers of the Crown in this country, this would not be a desirable consummation

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

-and therefore we reached the conclusion that some method should be devised by which, after a certain period, no title of honour held by any person resident in Canada, should continue to have the heritable quality. I must admit, at the same time,- that the difficulties which present themselves in biinging about such a result are somewhat serious. With respect to the Order in Council I have just read, I have had communication with the Secretary of State for the -Colonies, and I am authorized to state this: First, the British Government offer no objection to its publication, provided it is made clear that, it is published before they have had time to consider it, and that the whole matter is reserved for personal discussion after miy arrival in England some time this summer. Second, that in the meantime no honours will be conferred except in accordance with the proposals recapitulated at the end of the Order in Council. They give their assent in that way for the time being, and as a matter of fact, I do not apprehend that there will be any serious difficulty in obtaining the concurrence of the -Crown to the first three proposals. The only difficulty that is likely to occur is with regard to the last of the four proposals. And third-they have not asked me to say -this specifically, but I

think it is a fair deduction from what has been said-there are grave difficulties as to the fourth proposal and it raises serious questions affecting the United Kingdom. It does certainly raise a serious question, because after an honour has once been conferred carrying with it the heritable quality, it would require legislation, I should think legislation of the Parliament of the United Kingdom itself, to deprive that honour of its heritable quality. Without special legislation it is impossible that any person shall sit as a peer of the United Kingdom in the House of Lords, holding simply a life tenure. Members of my own profession will recall that, in 1856, Sir James Parke was appointed a life peer with the title of Baron Wensleydale. The House of Lords appointed 'a committee, and decided eventually that life peers could not be created. It was alleged that there had been a prerogative exercisable and exercised in former days by which life peers could be appointed; but it also appeared that the exercise of that prerogative had been discontinued for at least four hundred years, and there was grave doubt as to whether any such prerogative had ever existed at all. Accordingly Sir James Parke was appointed a peer in the ordinary way, took his seat in the House of Lords, and afterwards Acts were passed by which, first four, and then six, Lords of Appeal in ordinary were appointed as barons, and for life only, as members of the House of Lords. There is an interesting note in an English constitutional writer which sums up the whole matter very well, and which I might as well give to the House. Sir William Anson says:

The rule of law seems clear. The Crown can confer such dignities and with such limitations as it may please, but a Lord of Parliament must be an hereditary peer, except in the special cases of the Bishops and the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary; when once an hereditary peer is summoned the right to a summons descends to his heirs, except in the special case pf the representative peers of Ireland.

Then, of course, there are the special provisions with regard, to the representatives of the Irish and Scottish peers in the House of Lords, as to which I need not trouble the House.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Might I draw the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that if hereditary peers of Britain are debarred from living in Canada, because I understand they have to give up their hereditary title here, how would French, Italian and peers of other nations be affected?

32 *

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Their titles

would have effect in this country only as a matter of courtesy.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

The others would only have effect by courtesy, too.

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

No; the others are quite different. Any person who comes from another country, enjoying a title of honour from that country, has a different status here from that of a peer of the United Kingdom, whose right extends over the Empire so far as the heritable quality to which I have alluded is concerned.

Now, it is only proper for me to say that no reflection is intended by the Order in Council which I have just read upon those domiciled in this country who have been honoured by the bestowal of the peerage or other hereditary honour, or upon the character or extent of their service in any case. We are simply laying down a general line of policy -which we think ought to he followed, and which, I believe, will be followed in this country in the future.

My hon. friend from Kingston made a very forcible and eloquent speech, pointing out the incongruity of hereditary honours in this country. It is

well to bear in mind that the most important privilege of a peer is to sit and vote in Parliament as a hereditary legislator. That is a duty which cannot ordinarily be discharged by persons domiciled in this country, and no duty or responsibility in relation to this country is attached to any such position. The Order in Council which I have cited sets forth in concise form the considerations which influenced the Government in reaching its conclusion. I might add, as a summary by the constitutional writer whom I have already quoted, a citation which is to be -found on page 62 of Mr. Keith's work on " Imperial Unity and the Dominions." He says:

If as early as the end of the 18th century, it was felt that the proposal to create hereditary aristocracy, which was contemplated'' as possible toy the Quebec Act of 1791, -was out of the question, the creation of a mere social arstocracy must be deemed still less in harmony with the ideals of the Dominions in the twentieth century. The grant of membership of the various Orders, of knighthoods, of the highest distinction of Privy Counciliorships terminate with life, and are earned by service: there is no essential objection on democratic grounds to such distinctions which meet a need of human nature, but there is the gravest .objection to the grant of honours which descend to those who have no claim to them except by the accident of birth.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Might I ask the right hon. gentleman a question? If an English peer should take up his permanent resi-

dence in 'Canada, would he have the right t) run for a constituency in this country, and have the right to sit in this House?

Sir ROBERT BORDEN. I remember looking into that question as a matter of interest many years ago, and I came to the conclusion then that there was no reason why he could not be elected.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

He could not sit in the House of Commons in Great Britain?

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Not there, but here he could. I do not think that has ever been a subject of a judicial decision. Apart from all this, the hon. member for Kingston has raised the question as to how far the bestowal of honours not of a hereditary character should proceed in this country. I entirely agree that that is a question which may well concern Parliament and the country. On the other hand, I am bound to say that there have been a great many cases in which I think such recognition has been very highly regarded from one end of the country to the other. Leaving out of the question those actively concerned in public life, let us take the case of Sir Frederick Fraser in the province of Nova Scotia, a man who, through an accident, lost his sight when he was eighteen or twenty years of age, and whose life has been devoted to the upbuilding of the finest institution for the blind which exists in the Dominion of Canada. A recognition of that character, granted to a man of that type, is, in my opinion, very happily bestowed. The same might be said of Sir William Gage of Toronto; of men who are at the head of great universities; of men whose duty and pleasure has been found in service to their country and doing good to their fellow beings.

Reference has been made to the British Empire Order, which was instituted last year. We heard something of it when we were in London, but we were too much engaged with other matters to give very much consideration to what wa.s proposed. I think that the constitution .and the Iby-laws and all that is necessary in these matters were being prepared a,t that time. I was asked at the end of last summer and again in the autumn, .as well as at the beginning of the year and later in January, to take into consideration the preparation of a list. The Order itself embraces, I think, no less than six classes. The number of persons who might be honoured under it in Canada was very large indeed; I think it ran into some hundreds, including all the minor classes of the Order. I should like hon. gentlemen to realize that the institution of this Order

[iMr. Edwards. ]

was prompted toy the very best of motives. The idea end desire was to give some suitable recognition in the various dominions of the Empire to those who by service, by devotion, by self-sacrifice, had sought to do their full duty to their country in. time of war. When the matter was presented for my consideration, I felt that it was one which gave rase to the greatest difficulties. In the first place, I was not at all clear as to the wisdom of the proposal. But, assuming that it was wise, I should like hon, gentlemen to consider the very great responsibility and the burden that would be placed on a Prime Minister who undertook a task like that. Even if it were possible for him to have a perfect knowledge of the service that had been rendered by every one of the eight million inhabitants of Canada, it would be a difficult task for him to determine which service was most worthy of recognition. Of course, it is not humanly possible for a Prime Minister or for any one else to have that perfect and absolute knowledge; therefore it seemed to. me that if the task had to be fulfilled at some time or other, it should at least receive more eonsidartion than I bad been able to 'give it since my return to this country on May 15 last.

Another order has recently been instituted, known as "Companions of Honour." We were not consulted with regard to its institution; nor were we with regard to the institution of the Order of the British Empire, otherwise than as I have indicated. It is true that honours under the British Empire Order have been awarded in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, but I thought that I might very well, under the circumstances, defer the consideration of any list for Canada, and action has been postponed for the present. It is a subject that may (be taken into consideration and discussed when the Canadian ministers visit Great Britain next year.

I have placed the whole matter with the greatest possible frankness before the House and the country exactly as it rests at the moment. The proposals which are set forth in this Order in Council represent absolutely the opinion of the Government. I desire, however, that the House and the country should understand that the fourth proposal, although it does embody our absolute conviction, cannot toe worked out without great difficulty; indeed to work it out in the way we have suggested may prove to toe altogether impracticable. I am not at all confident how the House of Lords, for example, might receive a legislative proposal which would cut down an hereditary honour to merely a life honour;

nor am I confident that the Government of the United Kingdom would he prepared to propose such legislation to the Imperial Parliament. However, we have recorded our opinion, and I leave it at that. Under the circumstances, and as the British Government has as yet had no opportunity of considering fully the proposals which we have put forward to them, possibly the mover and the seconder of the resolution may consider it desirable to let the motion stand, upon the assurance of the Government that no action inconsistent with its purport will be taken 'before we meet in another Parliament.

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Right Hon. S@

Mr. Speaker, the member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle) has certainly reason to congratulate himself upon the result which he has already obtained in the declaration of the Prime Minister. For my part, I should have been more pleased if the Prime Minister had not marred the effect of his remarks by suggesting that the member for Kingston and the member for Brome (Mr. McMaster) should not press their motion to a conclusion. I infer from the remarks of the Prime Minister that the Government are in sympathy with the motion, and if that is the case it is obvious that when the Prime Minister takes the subject up with the authorities in Great Britain his hand will be very much strengthened if he has in support of it the declaration of the Parliament of Canada. With all due respect, therefore, I suggest that the member for Kingston persevere in his present iiftention, inasmuch as the idea embodied in his resolution has been accepted by the 'Government.

If the member for Kingston will permit me, I think I can say that every member of the House has been impressed by the exhaustive manner in which he has presented his case.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I agree with every syllable that he uttered-not only every syllable that he uttered, but also the hint he threw out, if I understood him correctly, that if he had followed his own inclination he would have gone further than he did and asked for the suppression of all titles in Canada.

The reasons for the conclusions which my hon. friend has embodied in his resolution and which, aside from the terms of the resolution, he has presented to the House, seem to me to be based upon the forward movement which is now developing in Europe 32*

and all over the world. We are engaged in a great war the object of which is the triumph of democracy, and it is inconsistent with the objects for which we are fighting that we should do anything the effect of which would be to promote or to perpetuate that which is not in perfect accordance with the principles of democracy.

Democracy and aristocracy are not compatible institutions, and as democracy advances aristocracy must recede. For my part, and I gay it with full sincerity, I bow with respect to the aristocracy of Great Britain to whom the world owes a great debt. If England has been preserved from the bane of autocratic Government, it is very largely owing to the efforts of the aristocracy of that country. It was the barons of the day who dragged from King John hie rte&uctant consent to Magna iCharta, which has been the charter oif freedom not only in Great Britain but throughout the world, and from that day on to the revolution of 1688, the Lords of Great Britain were in accord with every movement that went on to curb the powers of the Crown. In the revolution of 1688, it was the Lords who took the lead in the revolution which finally forced the withdrawal of James II and brought about the advent of a new dynasty, the Bill of Rights and other great charters of the liberty of the people have been the consequence. Whilst up to the 19th century, the aristocracy of Great Britain has always been in the van off freedom, it has not, in my judgment, in the 19th century-, been equal to its opportunities. .

I am a Liberal of the old school of England. T would have been a Whig if I had been in England. I wish, for my pari;, that the British aristocracy had continued to do as they did in the past. But they do not understand the times Hn>

which we live. Whether the British aristocracy like it or not, or whether men generally like it or not, at the present time England is on the eve of a revolution. Such revolutions do not take place in England by force or violence; they go simply from step to step and from reform to reform. The days of aristocracy are over; a new force is now entering into the Government of Great Britanm, tfyat is to. say, the great masses o-f the nation. Whether it he for woe or for weal the future will show. For my part, I think it is for weal; but I am sure of this, that in the new order of things, which will be the order in England, England will not he as picturesque as we have known it hitherto, but I believe

that undoubtedly the great masses of the nation will be more happy than they have ever been 'before.

The resolution of my hon. friend from Kingston (Mr. Niekle) goes only to the suppression in this country off hereditary titles. Hereditary titles in Canada are of *little consequence, I believe, and I think they were property represented by the Prime Minister. The only benefit, if a benefit it be, at all events the only privilege, which is given to-day by the creation of a peer resident in Canada, iwill be the privilege of becoming a legislator in Great Britain.; he would1 be in Canada a 6imple *citizen of Canada. My right hon. friend says that he has at one time looked over the question whether or not a peer of Great Britain will be eligible to sit in this House, and he came to the conclusion, as I understood it, that he saw nothing to make him ineligible. I also studied the question, and I came to pre-. cisely the same conclusion, that a citizen of Canada who is a peer of Great Britain is eligible to sit in the House of Commons of Canada. This will not happen frequently, I am sure; it will be very infrequent that a man resident in Canada will he made a peer of Great Britain, but recent events have rather excited public opinion upon this point, and have contributed, I have no doubt, to induce my hon. friend from Kingston to introduce this resolution.

So far as I can see, I think we are unanimous in this House on this matter. I have not heard a word or seen a sign of dissent in any quarter against the resolution of my hon. friend. Everybody seems to agree that we should not have any peers created in this country. But we might go a step further. Is there any reason why there should be the bestowal of titles of any kind in Canada? Everybody will, I believe, agree that in Canada badges, titles, honours and trappings -will never take any root. We are a democratic country; we have been made so by circumstances. I listened with great pleasure and interest to what my hon. friend said. this afternoon. His ancestors left Scotland, and my ancestors left France, because they were not satisfied with the conditions of their native land. If there is anything that is dear to the heart of man it is the soil upon which he was bom, and if any man deserts the soil upon which he was born in order to take up his abode in another country, he does so for very serious causes. We are all in the same condition in this country. No one in Canada, I believe, claims blue blood. We

are all from the people, and, I believe, we shall ever be pleased to say that we are of the people, and we shall have no distinctions and no classes. I may be told: If you hold those views, how is it that you have accepted a title for yourself? Well, so it is. I have accepted a title. It was offered to me. Why I accepted it with the views I hold now, will be going into a matter of personal history which I do not care to bring forward. But at all events I may say this: I see here a little class of titled people, knights commanders of this order or that order. If they will make a bargain with me, I am quite prepared, if we can do it without any disrespect to the Crown of England, to bring our titles to the marketplace and make a bonfire of them. We are British subjects, and for my part I take very much pride in the fact that British institutions do not proceed by violence but grow up quietly and gradually to given ends. I have no doubt at all that, whether my suggestion is accepted or is not accepted, the time will come-and perhaps soon rather than late-when all titles will be held to be of no value in this country, and the only title which will be accepted will be that of a citizen of Canada and British subject.

Hon. N. W. ROWELL (President of the Council) Mr. Speaker, the question now before us is one in which I have taken, for some years, a very deep interest. I am sure we are all interested in the progress of democracy and in Canada as a free and democratic country. One who thoroughly believes in democracy and in the development of free and democratic institutions must, I think, realize that titles, and particularly hereditary titles, are not a normal growth of such institutions. They are rather the survival of a dying feudalism which continues to this day in some of its aspects, but which is rapidly passing away.

My hon. friend from Kingston was good enough to quote a brief extract from an address 'I delivered something over a year ago on this question, and he said if I was not accurately quoted I might have the privilege of so stating and1 repudiating the statement. I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that I was accurately quoted. Those were my sentiments' at the time they were uttered, they are my sentiments now, and they are embodied in the Order in Council which the Prime Minister has presented to the House. My hon. friend from Brome (Mr. McMaster) quoted a French philosopher, who said, "How artificial are the lines that divide us," and he applied that to the

discussion in the House this, afternoon. I think we will all agree that it was an apt quotation as. applied to the subject matter under discussion, and it was also a very apt quotation as applied to the manner in which the Union Government has dealt with this question. I frankly thought I entertained somewhat radical views on hereditary titles, but when we put aside these artificial party lines that divide us and look at this question /from the standpoint of common Canadian citizenship, we find all the members of the Union Government, irrespective of party, holding exactly the same views on the question of hereditary titles. And perhaps one of the benefits which have come to us during the war is that, at times at least, we are prepared to forget these artificial party lines that divide us and to look squarely at the great issues from the standpoint of our common Canadian citizenship. The more frequently we do it the larger sense of unity we realize, because, we find there is a common consensus of opinion on the majority of the great issues which face the people of Canada at this time. My hon. friend from Kingston, I know, thought he was a radical, as I thought I was. He thought he was a radical in saying he was a Socialist on certain questions. I think that, having listened to the hon. member for Kingston we must regard him as a very moderate Socialist. The views he expressed with reference to the status of the average man in Canada in the days to come are views which might be accepted by every hon. member of this House. My hon. friend from Brome thought he was a great radical on this question, and we find that the Order in Council itself is more radical than the resolution submitted by my hon. friend from Kingston, and the hon. member for Brome. In view of the very full, admirable and convincing statement made by the Prime Minister on the constitutional aspect of this question, I shall not add anything except to observe that this Order in Council, when accepted by the Imperial authorities, as we confidently believe it will he, will mark a distinct advance in the constitutional status of Canada. It marks, perhaps, the relinquishment by the Crown of the last prerogative which it has claimed to exercise within the Dominion, apart from the advice of the responsible advisers of the Crown in the Dominion. I shall not take time to outline the development of self-government in Canada, and in the dominions of the Empire, but it is of interest to note the

fact that by successive steps the dominions have developed from dependent colonies of the Crown, to free self-governing nations, part of the British Commonwealth; and I think I am correct in saying that in every momentous departure Canada has taken the lead, and all the other dominions have shared the benefit of her advance. In the Order in Council which the Prime Minister has presented to the House you have another of these constitutional developments which indicates that Canada is now reaching the full status of a nation, and the Government of the nation is exercising the full prerogatives of advisers of His Majesty in all matters relating to the government of Canada. Just in passing-although it is not germane perhaps, tout yet as indicating the growth of Canada as a nation-the establishment of a Canadian mission at Washington where Canada is directly represented in dealing with the United States Government in important matters of trade and commerce, directly represented with full authority of His Majesty's Government, is another step in the development during the past few months of the policy of managing our own affairs in the Dominion of Canada. The net result of this growth is that Canada in a very real sense is to-day no longer a dependent colony of Great Britain, but is, as I have stated, one of the free nations that go to make up the British Commonwealth. The resolution passed at the Imperial Conference, which was read by the hon. memfbeT for Kingston, moved by the hon. Prime Minister of Canada, and seconded by General Smuts, I think, states the relation of the self-governing dominions to the Mother Country in a way that can be accepted by all those who believe in maintaining the full rights of self-government, and at the same time preserving the essential unity of the Empire. Passing away from the important constitutional aspect of this matter which is the assertion of thte right of the Government of Canada to pass upon all these questions and to say that no title or honour should be conferred except upon the recommendation of .the Prime Minister of Canada, speaking for the Government of Canada, I have one or two observations to make on the other question, that of conferring hereditary titles. The matter has been so well and so ably dealt with by the hon. member for Kingston, supplemented by the hon. member for Brome, and further discussed by the Prime Minister and by the leader of the Opposition, that I shall not dwell upon it, but I think a recent British

writer has expressed in very clear and admirable language the effect of such hereditary titles. He said: "The effect is to develop the twin evils of snobbery and flunkey-ism," both incompatible with' a free democracy. We do not wish to see those twin evils flourish in Canada by the enlargement or development of such a system. It has been suggested by my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition that we should go still further. This Order in Council goes further than any proposal made up to this time by any government in Canada. It is the most advanced declaration on the question of titles made by any government in Canada. My right hon. friend has said that the British Commonwealth has made progress not by revolution, but by orderly development, and it may be that what he has predicted, in this case will be true tin the future; but certainly up to this time we have gone even in advance of public opinion, as indicated by the resolution submitted to the House and now upon the Order Paper. Personally, I am a democrat, and I would not object to be present at the bonfire to which my right hon. friend the' leader of the Opposition referred, but it may be we will not have the opportunity of witnessing that for a short time to come. The whole question is larger than the simple question of conferring certain titles and dignities. It is the whole question of a class or caste system. We all realize in the time of a war like this, when we are fighting the battle of democracy against autocracy and for the triumph of our free democratic institutions, the spirit of democracy will have a larger expression in English-speaking communities after the war than prior to it. The whole tendency will toe towards a fuller expression of democracy in all the affairs of government.

When we recall the fact that more than sixty per cent of the men who have gone from Canada hr fight our battles come under the class of labouring men. we realize what a tremendous contribution the working men of Canada are making for the preservation of our homes, our liberties, our property, our free institutions. I venture to think that when these working men return to Canada, having defended our homes, preserved our lives and liberty, and saved for us our inheritance, they will expect and demand a larger share in that inheritance than they have received in the past. If that is true of Canada it is true also of Great Britain. The ferment of industrial and political revolution is at work. That man

LMr, Rowell.]

to-day is (blind who does not look into the future and see the great and the grave possibilities that face us. It behooves us at this time, facing conditions as they exist, to recognize that the democratic tide is setting in, that it will go on to the flood, and to set our houses in order and give full recognition to the honest service, the honest toil of the honest man, so that, not only will every toiler have the rights which my honourable friend from Kingston (Mr. Nickle) mentioned, but he will live under conditions where he is able not only to earn sufficient to maintain himself in decency and comfort, but to provide a suitable home for himself and family, to feed and clothe those dependent on him, and to give them .a suitable education so that every child born in Canada may be properly equipped for the service and the opportunities of life.

We are facing great industrial and social changes as well as changes in the political world. Because this whole system of hereditary titles is absolutely inconsistent with the spirit of democracy, and with the great cause for which our gallant men are fighting, we are opposed to its continuation in Canada. The Government has stated its position that no more shall be conferred, and if proper legal means can 'be found for putting an end to the hereditary character of titles already conferred these means will be found and the spirit of this Order in Council will be carried out to the full extent and power of the Government.

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UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. J. H. BURNHAM (West Peterborough) :

Mr. Speaker, I had hoped to

give way to some honourable gentleman on the other side who would continue this debate, following in the footsteps of the right honourable the leader of the Opposition -(Sir Wilfrid Laurier) who has done me, the humble member for West 'Peterborough, the very signal honour of having announced himself a convert to my views. I wish to express my gratitude to the leader of the Opposition for his gracious acknowledgement of the correctness of my statement. I must confess that, knowing how ibroad his sympathies were and what a splendid and highly illuminated idea he had of democracy, my feelings received a severe rebuff when, having brought a resolution before the House on a previous occasion, I found that he could rise and speak against it. The leader of the Government for the time being probably felt called upon for some reason beyond my penetration to object to it. 'The members of the House, I had found, were distinctly in

favour of my view that all titles of honour in -Canada should be dispensed with as being entirely inconsistent with the necessities of democracy. But, when the right bon. leader of the Opposition, without waiting for others to intervene in the debate, and without giving the humbler members, the back benchers, an opportunity to express their opinions, snuffed us all out in a genial, thoroughly polite and chivalrous manner, I felt there w.as nothing much more to be said. I went away considerably abashed. But, how proud am I to-night to feel that, having thought the matter over, his conscience having pricked him, he has come to the conclusion that it is necessary to retrace that step and speak *according to the promptings of his own heart, the teaching of his own knowledge and the aspirations of democracy and to vote for doing .away with all those artificial distinctions which mean nothing and which cannot make a man any better than he is.

I view, as I did on that occasion, the long procession of people who pass in the course of everyday life. The last shall be first and the first last. It was sometime before I grasped the true idea of that phrase. When a woman has been left, by the untimely death of her husband with .a large brood of small children to bring up, when she faces her task boldly, meeting all the trials that we know surround her and fighting the good fight; when she brings her children up and turns them out good citizens, working her way for herself and family as the hirelings perhaps of people who have done nothing but who have received the very titles to which we now object, if virtue, if greatness, is to be rewarded, in Heaven's name, why is it that such a woman should not be created a Lady of the Wash tub if others are to he created Ladies of the Bed Chamber?

We have had to-day a magnificent restatement of the case of democracy by the hon. member from Kingston (Mr. Nickle). He went into the whole case thoroughly and well realizing how difficult it is to read copious quotations and put them all down on Hansard so that those who come to read the matter up will have a thorough grasp of the whole question. I admired his perseverance just as much as I was charmed by his fluency of speech. Democracy, as the previous speaker has so well said, is a growth, the very flower of the people

be encouraged by an emphasis being placed upon the equality of all people who deserve recognition. How absurd it is to analyze the question of the bestowment of titles. Pray, who could give Plato a title? Who is there would venture to dub Aristotle or Socrates with a title. They did attempt to give a * title to Sir Isaac Newton, who. interpreted the heavens for us. He probably knew nothing about it, but they gave him a knighthood which one of our Kings of England gave to a roast of beef. We have also Shakespeare remaining without a title; Milton, Leibwitz and Laplace. When we come to investigate the history of learning, the history of greatness, we find that as a matter of fact titles are a blot, not an honour. We should therefore he much less scrupulous than we might otherwise be in addressing a request to His Majesty to discontinue bestowing titles of honour upon people when they are in themselves unnecessary, and historically incorrect.

The resolution is to be interpreted in two ways: One is, do the people of this country want titles? I do not suppose there is a member of this House who is not prepared to answer and to say: No.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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April 8, 1918