April 8, 1918

UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I know the hon.

member for Maisonneuve, and I say to him here to-night that the meanest transaction which Max Aitken has ever been connected with is clean, compared with some of the deals that the hon. member has been associated with. Some one asks me: What about Flavelle? He is a gentleman who has caused all this turmoil. Talk of the water in stocks

what about the water in pork?

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:

Oh, o.h.

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:

My good friend, the President of the Privy Council is supposed to be his right hand man, and he is a "democrat to the hilt"; and the other runs the pork end of it. I shall not here enter into a discussion of anything in that connection -to-night, but 1 am taking the liberty of informing the House, that possibly at no distant date, should opportunity arise in the House, I am prepace-i for a very interesting and lengthy discussion in connection with many institutions with which that gentleman is connected. There are old things to be uncovered, and a true statement of affairs on. many matters of interest to the public in the past two or three years may yet come out fairly and squarely, ami

will prove very interesting. Let me tell the hon. member for Maisonneuve that I shall not tolerate the making of wrong charges or the slandering of a gentleman as he has slandered Max Aitken here to-night.

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

Joseph Read

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH READ (Prince):

Mr. Speaker, the hon.. gentleman (Sir Sam. Hughes! who has just sat down is a splendid illustration of the desirability of doing away with titles. We are too close to judge of men's honour here, we have to see them in perspective, and coming down from our province by the sea, with the straits of Northumberland between us and the mainland, we can view this gentleman's virtues better than those in other parts of the Dominion. I want to say of my hon. friend who has just sat down, with .all his idiosyncrasies and peculiarities, with all his humour, that, in my judgment, notwithstanding all these, and all the mistakes he has made, he will occupy a niche in the hall of fame in future history because of his great performance in connection with this war. But simply for that probably, and nothing more. With regard to another titled gentleman here, whom I see beside me, his title is a rag compared with the glorious position that he will occupy in the history of his time and of his country-I refer to the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), that grand, lone figure, who during the last five or six months has stood out and led his people out of the land of Egypt and the house of bondage alone, with tne men who ought to be supporting him heaping vituperation and abuse upon him! In the future, when the history of these times is written, his name will stand out as the greatest star of these times. The greatest Imperial statesman of our great Empire. Imperial in the best sense of that word.

There are two kinds of imperialism. There is the kind that stands for the integrity of the great British Empire, not as a solidified nation, but as a great federal body, in each part of which autonomy, home rule, obtains. The only way that this great Empire can be united is, as the poet Willie said, by the " chains of liberty." That is Laurier imperialism !

Some hon. gentlemen have referred to Robbie Burns. They do not seem to realize that Robbie Burns was a prophet. The following are the concluding words of that famous poem of his to which hon. gentlemen opposite have referred:

"Then let us pray that come it may,

As come it will for a' that;

That sense and worth o'er all the earth May bear the gree -and a' that.

For a' that, and a' that,

Their tinsel show and a' that; ,

The man of independent mind Is king- of men for a' that."

What would it matter to our titled friends if they should hum their titles to-morrow? The position given to them toy their miserable titles does not amount to a scrap of paper compared' with the position they must occupy in the future ,when each man will be judged on his merits'.

Like other members who have spoken on this subject, I am against the degradation of Canadian public life 'by the conferring of titles, and I desire to put myself on record as supporting the amendment.

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

Hume Cronyn

Unionist

Mr. HUME ORONYN (London):

Mr. Speaker, it will doubtless seem presumptuous to you that at this late hour of the night and after so lengthy a debate I should rise to address the House, particularly when I am deeply conscious of how far I fall short of the eloquence and research which has had my admiration and envy this afternoon. But, like the member for Brome (Mr. Mc-Master), I had given hostages on this question, as it had come up among others during the election, and I should not be redeeming one of the few promises I was called upon to make if I did not put myself on record.

It was a pleasure to have the resolution introduced into this House, and it was a still greater satisfaction to have the Order in Council which had been prepared toy the Government laid before the House. The amendment just proposed receives, it is evident, the support of practically every member present, if one may judge from the unanimous expression of opinion; and so far as I am concerned it receives my heartiest support. I do, however, wish to dissociate myself from some remarks which may be fairly 'construed into an attack on the House of Lords. While the Parliament of Cromwell might well pass a resolution commencing as follows:

The Commons of England assembled in Parliament, finding by too long experience that the House of Lords is useless and dangerous

"

I do not think it becomes the Parliament of any overseas dominion to reflect upon or criticize an institution which pertains almost altogether to the legislation of Great Britain, particularly at a time like this, when, as a former speaker said, that institution, its members and their descendants have done much to redeem themselves from the disdain with which they had been treated.

In view of the fact that 150 heirs to hereditary titles have already fallen in the war, and that some 2,000 recipients of honours have gone to their last home, I should be sorry to foe a party to anything in the nature of criticism. But it is clear that neither the Order in Council-I think that the Prime Minister referred particularly to that point-nor the resolution or amendment do reflect in any way upon that House, so that one can. support them without hesitation.

I agree with what the mover of the resolution said, that even in the mndst of war this question should receive our immediate and urgent attention. Debrett states that during the past three years, since the war began, honours have been conferred in 7,900 cases; that, of course, includes the various companionships. During the last twelve months, 3,870 such Orders have been granted; 18 peers have been created; 32 baronets, 277 knights and 3,472 companions. These, with some additional honours granted to existing peers make up the total of 3,870, so that, if that flood is to continue-and in comparison with past years, it is a flood-we in Canada could not fail to be inundated by it.

As the member for Springfield (Mr. Richardson) has said, the objection to speaking late in the course of a discussion is that one's arguments have all been advanced, one's quotation used, and little remains to be said. I should like, however, to emphasize the difficulty which the Prime Minister pointed out regarding the fourth section of the Order in Council. I agree with him that great difficulties exist, and although they may be removed by the action of the Imperial Parliament, that, as he pointed out, involves the consent of the House of Lords. As late as 1907 a case came before the House of Lords which illustrates the tenacity with which the Lords guard their privileges. It appears that in 1302 a picturesque individual who went by the name of Roger le Bygod surrendered his earldom of Norfolk to Edward I. Ten years later Edward II. granted to Thomas de Biotherton this earldom, ajnd for many years that new family enjoyed the honour. In 1907 a direct descendant of Thomas de Brotherton asked to be confirmed in the title. But the Lords heldthat the original earl could not surrender his title, that the chartergranted ten years later was invalid,

* and that the only persons entitled to the Norfolk title were the original descendants of our friend Bygod. As Lord Halsbury puts

it. "No peer of this realm can drown or extinguish his honour." As one knows, the doctrine of ennobled blood, based perhaps upon the same foundation as the divine right of kings, appears to endow the nobility with that ichor or ethereal fluid which supplies the veins of the gods instead of the blood of mortals, so that do what one may, it is 'a difficult matter to get rid of hereditary titles once they are granted. This, then, is the time to take action to prevent their entry into Canada, and for that reason the resolution should have the support not only of this House but of the country at large.

The mover of the resolution and others have pointed out very strikingly the evils which spring from the granting of titles. The harm is not so~ much to the recipient as to the rest of the community. Man is prone to worship, and too often, as we all know, he is ready to worship false gods. I remember Henry 'George prefacing one of his chapters with the translation of a proverb of India: *

White parasols and elephants mad with pride are the flowers of a grant of land.

It seems to me that might be paraphrased under these circumstances:

White stockinged serving men and a populace mad for worship are the flowers of a patent of nobility.

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

Frank Bainard Stacey

Unionist

Mr. F. B. STAGEY (Westminster District) :

Mr. Speaker, I have only a few

words to say at this hour, but I venture to think that perhaps the House will permit a new voice from the far West to express his very hearty endorsation of the principles that have been so ably and fully set forth this afternoon and evening. I labour under a disadvantage and a handicap. Being a new member, I have been careful to read the rules of the House, and I find there is a prohibition against repetition. It is, therefore, almost impossible to avoid the consequences of an injunction at this hour. I think I voice to some extent the opinion of the far West when I say that the expressions that have been made here today will give to the people of the West intense satisfaction and delight. We were inclined to think that perhaps radicalism would find, or had found its fullest expression in the West. But I do not think there has been heard from any platform in the West any more radical or thoroughgoing democratic expressions and statements than have been made here this afternoon from the old provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

I would not presume to pass any criticism whatever upon any English habits or customs

33*

at the present time. We know that the Premier of Great Britain has stated openly and publicly his great debt and gratitude to the labour unions of Britain. He has gone out of his way, if I may say so, to express his intense satisfaction with the attitude of the labour element of England their contribution towards the victory that is before us as a people. It becomes us, I take it, to confine our criticisms at least to our own country, and our own business, and the question that is before the House. If there is one reason more than another why J believe the people of Canada are in sympathy with the attitude and action that is proposed this afternoon, it is this, that certain people receive titles which, in the judgment of those who know them best, their fellow citizens, their own friends, they do not deserve. I may be wrong in some cases, but I know in many cases this is the deliberate conviction of the people of Canada. The question may be asked: Why are the Canadian people opposed to this? Answers have been given in great numbers this afternoon, and I shall sum them all up in one sentence which, I think, covers the entire ground-the Canadian people do not want titles. They have many reasons for taking that stand, but the result is the same in every case. They believe that true merit is, "when unadorn'd, adorn'd the most."

I have been impressed with this thought that after all the voice of history is truly democratic. Reference was made by my hon. friend from Springfield to certain names which .are known in history without any appendage. The fact is that in the whole realm of history, whether we take the field of letters, the field of science, the field of art, the realm even of religion, the realm of philosophy or the realm of statesmanship, the outstanding names in each one of those departments is without a title of any type, shape or character. To quote the language of one of my hon. friends this afternoon, who would dream of adding any title to some of the great names of English history, particularly of English letters? From Homer down to Lloyd George they are all alike; they stand unadorned because they are adorned with the force of their own merit, their own manhood and their own superb character. If I remember my Canadian history aright, I think that during the last few years when the people of Canada have been appealed to to decide some great national question, two or three words would have summarized that appeal. In 1873 the issue before the Canadian people could have been summarized in two words.

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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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Shelburne Queens):

I regret I had to be absent during part of the evening, having had to attend a committee meeting, and had not the pleasure of hearing my hon. friend, the President of Council (Mr. Rowell), nor the addresses of the hon. gentlemen who moved and seconded the amendment. I am informed, however, that an amendment has been moved, condemning all titles, and that is the issue upon which we are about to vote. Let me say that while, as most of my friends are aware, I have less appreciation, perhaps, than some others, less enthusiasm as to the value of these titles, I have never gone to the point of saying that all titles in Canada should be put an end to. I think the argument

against hereditary titles is absolutely complete and unanswerable. I am glad that that argument was presented, not only by the hon. member for Kingston and the hon. .member for Brome, but Also in the very important Order in Council which the right hon. the Prime Minister brought down. But with Tespeet to titles generally, leaving aside those of an hereditary character, though, as I say I am not as enthusiastic as some others in my admiration of them, I am free to admit that there may be circumstances-it has seemed so in the past-that might justify them. I do not think we should discuss it from a personal point of view. If one cared to do that, we could go over the list of gentlemen honoured with titles, and many of them would be recognized as men who have won eminence in the particular lines in which they are engaged. Some titles have been granted which are open to criticism. In some cases gentlemen who have been a short time in the public service, who might modestly have w-aited a little longer, have heen ready to seize the title when the opportunity came. Prom one viewpoint if you take the whole list of titles you could -find very little ground to take exception to any one of them. One may say that all the recipients are decent, honourable respectable people. But if you tak-e up the list and gp over them one by one and say, wherein does this man- differ from a hundred men around him, what service has he rendered, what distinction has he in the community, -what reason was there for giving him a title any -more than giving it to a hundred men around him?-you may fail to get -an -answer. It is a case in which you might quote the old lines:

The thing itself is neither rich nor rare,

The only wonder is how it got there.

But 1 am not prepared to go so far as the hon. gentleman who would condemn the titles g-enerally. I think, properly awarded, there is something to be said in favour of the system, and an abuse oi a system is never a good reason for -abolishing it. While I am not a,s warm in my -admiration for titles as some others, I would be -content to-day to adopt the moderate p-osdtion taken by the hon. member for Kingston and I should be content to vote against hereditary titles, because I think, in that respect, the argument is complete -and unanswerable.

A word -more-not of any importance. My hon. friend from Victo-ria-Haliburton (Sir Sam Hughes), who is not in his -seat now, made some allusion to the conferring of

titles at the time *when the right hon. leader of the Opposition was Prime Minister, and he rather intimated that all the gentlemen in that Government got titles. They did not all get titles. Quite a number did not. While my hon. friend was speaking, I made a little calculation. I may he wrong, I am giving this thing in all good faith, subject to correction-"errors and omissions excepted." If I am correct in my memorandum-I am confining myself to the. Cabinet ministers who q-uietly drew titles to themselves, and I am not finding fault with any of them-I find that in the Cabinet of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the following gentlemen, drew titles: Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Sir Louis Davie6, Sir Allen Aylesworth, Sir Richard Scott, Sir Frederick Borden and Sir William Mulock. They all received titles when they were Cabinet ministers. These coutrt six in number. I find that in the Cabinet which succeeded them, and of which my hon. friend the hon. gentleman from Halliburton was an ornament, the following gentlemen drew titles: Right hon.

Premier, the Hon. Messrs. Kemp, Perley, Foster, White and Hughes. They count six. That means that in six years of the Government of which my hon. friend was a member they drew to themselves as many knighthooas as the Government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier drew in fifteen years.

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

While I was

absent from the Chamber a little while ago my hon. friend from Springfield (Mr. Richardson) moved an amendment to the resolution which is now under consideration, and to the exact meaning of which I think the attention of hon. gentlemen of this House ought to be directed before any vote is passed upon it. As I understand the amendment of the hon. gentleman, it would convert the resolution as originally proposed into a resolution which read's as follows :

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty, Most Gracious Sovereign,

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.

Now, if we are to proceed along the lines evidently intended by this resolution, I think all hon. members of the House will agree that the language should be carefully selected, and we should not adopt any form of words which might go beyond the meaning and intent of those who are proposing to vote in favour of it. During the

past three years we have had a very large number of men fighting overseas for this Dominion, for the British Commonwealth of which it forms a part, and for the cause which the allied nations are supporting in this war. In the course of their military service, a great many men from our own Dominion, from the other dominions of the Empire, and from the United Kingdom have from time to time been honoured by their Sovereign, in recognition of theiir heroic services, with certain classes of distinction which might be regarded as coming within the terms of the resolution as now presented. The word " title " might probably embrace a great many of the honours which have been conferred upon men during the past three years for actual service in the field. It certainly would cover distinctions that have been conferred upon several of them at least. There are two classes of the Order of the Bath. One is a civil class conferred upon people for services of a civil character. There is also a military class of the Order of the Bath, conferred in its various distinctions, upon men for actual service in the field. There are also other orders by which actual service in the field is recognized. There is the Victoria Cross, the highest of -all. There is a D.S.O is there not?

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:

Yes, the Distinguished Service Order.

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

There is the

Military Cross and there are other distinctions for actual service in the field. I should think that the 'House might well pause before it should exercise upon our men, who have fought as gallantly and as well as any men from any other part of the Empire, or any allied nations, a discrimination which they would regard as absolutely unjust, and which might be brought about by the terms of the amendment as proposed. If we are ito embark upon this proposal, we should carefully select the language in which it is to be couched. Further than, that, I would respectively suggest that if we are to embark upon the policy of affording no recognition for any kind of service by any such means in future, we might very well consider whether those distinctions already granted in this country ought not to be abolished. In view of the fact that we have had no notice until to-night of the proposal which has been put forward by the hon. member from Springfield, I think the House should consider the question more maturely and, a.t all events select some form of words which would not discriminate against

the soldiers from this Dominion and place them in a different position to those from the United Kingdom and from other parts of the Empire. Having in mind these considerations, I move, Mr. Speaker, that the debate upon this motion, and upon the amendment, be now adjourned.

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:

If the debate is to be adjourned, will my right honourable friend give us a day to take it up again?

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

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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UNION

Robert Lorne Richardson

Unionist

Mr. RICHARDSON:

Probably the right honourable, the leader of the Government, would prepare a resolution worded in such a form as might be acceptable to the House, and if so, would be perfectly willing to accept it in place of my amendment.

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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Motion agreed to,and debate adjourned.


ADJOURNMENT-DECORUM OF THE HOUSE.


On the motion of Sir Robert Borden for the adjournment of the House:


UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I would draw the attention of honourable members to the fact that it is provided by the rules that honourable members may not leave their seats until the Speaker has left the Chair. It is hardly in conformity with the dignity of the House that the Speaker and the mace should rustle with honourable members for possession of the means of egress from this chamber.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   ADJOURNMENT-DECORUM OF THE HOUSE.
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Motion agreed to, and House adjourned at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, 1918,


April 8, 1918