April 8, 1918

UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM :

If that he the case, why not dispense with further discussion; it is not necessary to go into the merits of the case, at all, because the people rule. This is the age of democracy. When we speak of prerogatives, there is no prerogative but that of the people. When the people have said we do- not wish for titles, that is enough.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

Whether it is philosophically and intrinsically correct, or otherwise, it is not for us to say. The people, not le Roi, reign, and what the people will must he done. I am not, nor is anybody else, speaking in the slightest disrespect of the institution of monarchy. It has served its purpose in the past, and no doubt will serve its purpose in the future. That does not in the least derogate from the fact that the people do not want precedence and privilege which were once and for all swept away by the French Revolution. The people want more of that; and if this war does not suffice to convince men that the good and the peace of the world depend upon democracy, then in God's name, what will convince them?

I have been asked why I did not bring this matter up again. For two reasons: One was that I thought that titles were an

insignificant thing in comparison with the issues at stake at the present time, and in the face of the very fact that our soldiers one and -all deserve titles- which we have not the power to give them.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

f

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

That is one reason and in response to the request of the member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle) I gave him that reason. There was another reason which I did not give him and that reason is this: Having the abolition of the titles of honour thoroughly at heart, I was looking for cooperation, and if I could find one, two, three or a dozen more who would take up the burden-I knew my own heart was true -I was glad to see them co-operate and undertake it. Therefore was I not delighted to see the member for Kingston -and the member for Brome (Mr, McMaster) put resolutions on the Order Paper? Far be it from .me to say that they have stolen my thunder. More power to them. Let us have more expression from -the people of this country. We had -an expression from the people through the newspapers. The newspapers- exercise a very great power in this country, -and I must freely and frankly say that it is a power for good. They are doing with a conscientiousness the work of expressing public opinion upon democratic principles in Canada that speaks well for the future of this country, and the men of this House must see to it that they keep abreast of the times, of the newspaper, of the aspirations of the people, and of the very right -and- justice of the case.

I cannot sit down without saying that I quite .heartily concur in the statement of the member for Kingston when he says, in appreciation of the very forward steps taken by the Government in the OrdeT in Council, that a vote of this House would very greatly strengthen the hands of the ministry. I trust therefore, that the resolution will go on record, and not only so but that the chief men of this House, the men who in future will historically represent public opinion in Canada, men like the Prime Minister, the leader of the Opposition -and others will be chronicled' with the men who represent Canada in this great new Parliament, throbbing with the new life of the country, where there are so many representatives of a high order commercially and otherwise, in this new Parliament fresh from the people and through thoroughly understanding wh-at the spirit of democracy in Canada is, in putting on record that they do not wish any further so-called titles of honour to he conferred

upon its citizens, but that every man should do his level best for his country and realize that the highest reward he possibly can have is a consciousness of having unselfishly, done his duty.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Kamour-aska):

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

He did not forget

the " beaver " either.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. LAPOINTE:

That gentleman has been given a new position recently. I -must say that if -a capacity for disseminating the opposite of truth is a qualification for the office, he possesses tihiis fitness to a remarkable degree. Buffon has said:

" La louange publique, signe ficlatant du mfi-rite est une monnaie plus prficieuse que l'or, rtiais qui perd son prix et meme devient vile, lorsqu'on la convertit en effet de commerce."

The translation of these word's is as follows: " Public praise, shining sign of

deserving merit, is more precious than gold; but it loses its price, and even becomes valueless, when it is perverted into a negotiable article.",

A lavish distribution of titles has had the effect of depreciating the institution itself, and of making it no longer a valuable distinction for a citizen to he given & title. The institution itself is vicious and' productive of evil. It works as an inducement for gentlemen of proud dispositions, or whose ladies have social ambitions, not to do anything which might -injure their chances of obtaining honours and putting them on bad terms with those who are responsible -for 'their distribution-. I am not sure that this has not had -a certain effect with- certain gentlemen dbring the Hast general election, or previous to it. It has always been so. When old republicans protested to Naipoleon because he had instituted new orders in France, he said: " You call them toys; know that by these toys people are led." It is the same policy today, and has always been so. T'he ambition to acquire something which distinguishes one from- his fellows is as strong to-day as it was in the days when the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans were the great nations of the world. Now, Sir, I admit that great acts of heroism and of public devotion, great services to the State, outstanding talents and virtues, deserve special recognition, hut 1 deny that such recognition should take the form of empty titles. The public soul and spirit shall always discern true -merit. M. Thiers, the great French statesman, had been created a baron by King Louis Philippe, hut he never used the title. This did not prevent the French people, after 1870, -from giving him a more glorious title, and from- hailing him as "Li'berateur du Territoire."

I hope that a vote will be taken on this resolution, that it will carry, and that the practice of conferring hereditary titles will he entirely done away with in this country. To those who are eager to get titles and to those who are actually wearing them with distinction, I commend these words of the poet: .

Titles of honour add not to his worth

Who is himself an honour to his title.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. R. L. RICHARDSON (Springfield):

Mr. Speaker, I do not know that I should have risen at this stage of the debate were it not that I have an amendment to offer. iT should have preferred first to listen to the remarks of other hon. gentlemen, because, being a hew member, I like to sit at the feet of modern Gamaliels and learn wisdom. However, there is one objection to waiting until all other members have spoken: one finds that arguments that he had carefully worked out are used, one after the other.

The member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle) in his elaborate speech, to which I listened with interest and admiration, covered the ground very thoroughly. I had,' however, one note that I thought nobody would tcuch, and that was the instance of the French revolution. According to my reading of history, the French revolution was brought about largely by the aristocracy. The aristocrats of old France, coupled with the kings, were paramount, and the people-

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Do not forget the church.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

I will leave my hon. friend to deal with the church; he is probably better qualified to do that tl'.an I am. I assume that the church had something to do with it. However, those who have read the history of the French revolution know how the kings and the princes and the aristocrats were all-powerful; how the people were down-trodden until the clast; came and the common people rose and cut the king's head off, cut the queen's head off, cut the heads off half or most of the aristocracy. All honour to them for doing so; for when they did that they sounded the tocsin of liberty in that great nation of France. Moreover, I believe that it is not unlikely that the present war is largely due to the creation of titles, to the existence of the aristocrats. If the common people throughout the world were ruling as they should rule, as I believe God intended that they should rule and shall rule in the future, this bloody war would not now be going on.

I regret that the member for Kingston did

[IMr. E. Lapointe.]

not make his motion more sweeping, by including all titles. I spoke to him about the matter a day or two ago-he will not charge me with violating any confidence, because I asked him if I might make this statement-and he informed me that he was heartily in favour of the abolition of all titles, though he feared that if he introduced a resolution to that effect, it would not carry.

After listening to the right hon. leader of the Opposition in his splendid declaration of democracy, my mind is brought back to the old days when the right hon. gentleman used to tell! us that he was a democrat to the hilt.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

It was delightful to me, an old Liberal, to find my leader of twenty-five years ago coming back to the old line and declaring that he would be proud to stand by and see the title that the King had conferred on him burned in a bonfire. I wish that we could set that bonfire in the House of Commons to-night, and burn up all the titles.

The amendment that I propose, if I am in order-it is so long since I have been in Parliament that perhaps I am a little rusty on the rules; however, you will set me right, Mr. Speaker, if I am wrong-has for its object the abolition of all titles. Had I not secured a seconder, I should have asked the right hon. leader of the Opposition, in view of the statement just made by him, to second the motion; and I am sure that he would have been willing to do so, as would also the member for Kamouraska (Mr. E. Lapointe).

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. LAPOINTE:

Anything in that

line.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

So that I have a

number of seconders. The wording of my amendment, which is seconded toy Mr. Levi Thomson, is as follows:

That the word "hereditary" be struck out from the resolution and that the third paragraph thereof conclude with the word "Canada" in the ensuing line.

That means that the word "hereditary" be eliminated from the resolution, which would then read as follows:

We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the House of Commons of Canada in Parliament assembled, humbly approach Your Majesty praying that Your Majesty hereafter may be graciously pleased to refrain from conferring any titles upon Your subjects domiciled or living in Canada.

The test of the resolution, is deleted. I believe, with my leader of former days, that if "we are not going to. have a new heaven at the close of the war, we are at least going to have a new earth. A tide is rising against titles of any kind. I was interested in the Order in Council and the correspondence which the leader of the House read, and I could not help thinking that after all what a waste of time and money is involved in even discussing the subject of the conferring of these titles; let us be done with them altogether.

It is said that that great independent democrat, Robert Burns, was invited 'by a local laird to participate in some amusement which a number of distinguished guests had been invited from Edinburgh to enjoy. When Burns arrived at the house he was shown into the kitohen with the servants of the house, while the titled persons who were invited enjoyed their feast in the dining-room. It is said that while Burns sat in the kitchen he wrote that great declaration of independence, "A Man's a Man for a' That:"

A prince can make a belted knight,

A marquis, duke, and a' that;

But an honest man's aboon his might,

Guid faith, he maunna fa' that.

Tradition says that he recited these lines before the company, and that when he came to the following passage he pointed his finger at the person who was being entertained, and spoke out in declamatory tones:

Te see yon birkie ca'd a Lord,

Wha struts and stares and a' that;

Though thousands tremble at his word,

He's but a cuif for a' that.

We have had one Prime Minister in Canada who has refused a title. I refer to the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie-and I am sure when I speak the name of Alexander Mackenzie who was Prime Minister of this country from 1873 to 1878, the blood must flow fast through the veins of Liberals because Alexander Mackenzie was a real Liberal. Alexander Mackenzie was the type of Liberal who would (sooner go down fighting for what he believed to be right than stand for what he thought to be wrong. Then we had that great tribune of the people, Hon. Edward Blake, who led the Opposition in this House for years and years, and who was perhaps one of the noblest .sons that Canada ever produced. Hon. Edward Blake refused a title when it was offered to him. We have also a newspaperman in Canada-hon. members will pardon me for mentioning his name,

because I am a journalist from boyhood myself, and I like to think we had one stalwart newspaperman in Canada, John Ross Robertson, proprietor of the Toronto Telegram, who recently refused a title. He preferred to go down to posterity as plain John Ross Robertson. He preferred that his children should remember him as plain John Ross Robertson. The State, the Crown, can do nothing to dignify our manhood. After all, I agree with what the Prime Minister said, that whatever is inherent in man will come out and that titles cannot make him greater than he is. If that he so, let us accept the declaration of the Prime Minister this evening, and let us declare that in this young democracy, in this gem of the British Empire, we will set our faces steadfastly in the direction of democracy, and it shall not be said of us that we love titles, or that we shall receive any title from the Crown or from any other source, but let it be said that we Canadians will do our duty in a plain, simple manner and be content with such dignity as manhood can confer upon us.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

Levi Thomson

Unionist

Mr. LEVI THOMSON (Qu'Appelle):

Mr. Speaker, as my name has 'been associated with the amendment, I beg to offer a very few remarks. I think the Union Government of the day is to be congratulated on the stand it has taken on this question. Those of us who have supported Union Government, sometimes perhaps a little against the grain, and who have made Union Government possible, may congratulate ourselves on the work that has been done by that Government. I have noted what the Prime Minister has said in the beginning of his remarks, and which has been quoted partially by the hon. member for Springfield (Mr. Richardson), that is, that we are to judge men on their merits and not on any titles that are conferred upon them. That was the idea, if I do not quote the words exactly. They were very much along the same lines as the words quoted by my hon. friend from the great poet Robert Burns. If we are to judge men in this way, what, after all, is the use of titles? Titles, of any kind, are absolutely useless, if we are to so judge men. And if titles are useless why have them? There are plenty of useful things in this world without bothering our heads or wasting our time about the useless things. I have, therefore, very much pleasure, in seconding the amendment moved by my hon. friend from Springfield.

There can be no question that every hon. member present must support the original

resolution if we come to that resolution. I am heartily in accord with that resolution, and the Government are heartily in accord with it, because they have agreed to that themselves, and' there can certainly be no objection to this House expressing its approval of the action of the Government of the day, which is all we should be doing by passing the resolution which is submitted to us. I believe we should go further, and I for one am prepared to go further; I am prepared to follow the matter to its legitimate conclusion, and in doing so, I believe we should do away with titles altogether, and in doing that, we should only be carrying out the principle laid down by the Prime Minister in his address.

Hon, RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maison-neuve): Mr. Speaker, I have listened with great pleasure and interest to the remark-aible speech delivered this afternoon by my hon. friend from Kingston (Mr. Nickle). After having listened to him and to my good friend from Brume (Mr. McMaster), I thought their resolution was not broad enough. I am glad my hon. friend from Springfield has implemented that resolution by the amendment which he has just moved in very eloquent language. I shall give my support to that amendment, and I hope the House will face squarely the issue. Public opinion will be very much disappointed, indeed, if, after the House has spent the day over this question, it should 'be dropped. My hon. friend from Kamourhska (Mr. E. Lapointe) has cited the words of Buffon about the inanity of titles, Might I be allowed to quote a few lines of a French-Canadian poet, which describe the situation in very noble language? The lines run thus:

"Sur cette terre sauvage "Ofl les titres sont inconnus,

"La noblesse est dans le courage "Dans les talents, dans les vertus.

On this barren land where titles are unknown, True nobility resides in courage, talents and virtue.

These are the true sentiments which are embodied in the masterly addresses which have been delivered this afternoon by the mover and by the seconder. Titles in the Old Country have been a source of corruption. They are a .source of corruption in Canada to-day. As my hon. friend from Springfield (Mr. Richardson), whom I was so pleased to welcome in this House, after so many years of absence, said a moment ago, titles in the pre-revolutionary days in France, as he will read in Carlyle's history, were the cause of malfeasance in office. Privileges and titles also precipitated

a revolution in England, where, Sir, you must not forget that also a king was Le-headed. Let my hon. English-speaking friends, who are so proud of the glories of old England, not forget that if the French once beheaded their king, the English beheaded theirs also.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

He deserved it just as much, if not more.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Some appointments of

late have created a commotion in England. I regret to say that such a commotion was created on the occasion of honours bestowed on a Canadian far more famous for his cement merger than for his accomplishments on behalf of the Empire. I am sorry the name of Canada is to-day being branded in England on account of the bestowal of titles on such an individual. Sir, I cannot forget that during many months before the last election that individual libelled and slandered the province to which I belong, the faith which I profess, and the race from which I come. Sir, aristocracy of that brand is not healthy; it is not congenial to our soil. ,

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

May I ask a question?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Yes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   HEREDITARY TITLES IN CANADA.
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. NICKBE FOR ADDRESS TO HIS MAJESTY NOT TO CONFER THEM.
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April 8, 1918