May 22, 1919

UNI L

Michael Clark

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. M. OLARK:

The point has the merit of a very slight distinction. What my hon. friend will admit is that the paragraph which asks for the extinction of hereditary titles asks for the discontinuance of the conferring of knighthoods.

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UNION
UNI L
UNION
UNI L

Michael Clark

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. M. CLARK:

Then, Mr. Speaker, if a member of the Committee does not understand the report, I can only say that that would be a very good reason for the next Committee over which my hon. friend presides sending out notices for the final meeting rather more than twelve hours before the final meeting is called; and it would also be a very good reason for this House taking some considerable time to study the report before endorsing or amending it. I understood that we were to recommend His Majesty to confer no more titles of the knighthood order in Canada

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UNION
UNI L

Michael Clark

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. M. CLARK:

That is what I said a minute ago. Then 'my hon. friend interjected that the report did nothing of the kind.

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UNION
UNI L

Michael Clark

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. M. CLARK:

That is exactly what I said a minute ago, and I must say that my hon. friend has wrought himself up to such a pitch of excitement on this question that he forgets one moment afterwards what has been said one minute before.

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UNION
UNI L

Michael Clark

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. M. CLARK:

I must retuim to my argument in spite of these interruptions, which are of a somewhat persistent and disorderly nature, Mr. Speaker. At the time when my hon. friend intervened to make a distinction without a difference I was pointing out .that this report asked the House of Commons to recommend His Majesty to extinguish the custom of giving knighthoods, and in the next paragraph it says that it does not reoommend His Majesty to interfere with the titles of "Honourable" or "Right Honourable." And I had arrived at the point in my remarks when comparing the title "Honour-

IMr. Nickle.]

able"-which is a title that goes to hon. members of the Senate-with the title "Sir"-which is the prefix of knighthood,-[DOT] I was pointing out that what we would actually do if we adopted this report in its entirety would not be to abolish titular distinctions >ait all, but to abolish titular distinctions conferred by His Majesty, while we ourselves would continue those which come to our fellow citizens un* der the British North America Act. So that the report of the Committee brings us to this position: We have more respect for what was done in the British North America Act by the titled gentlemen who occupied the House of Lords fifty or sixty years ago and their comrades in the House of Commons, than we have for His Most Gracious Majesty at present occupying the throne of the British Empire. I contend that that is an absurd recommendation for any committee to make to this House, and that we should be illogical in the extreme if we adopted it.

Another reason why I would not have concurred in this report if I had been at the last meeting of the Committee is because of the recommendation in regard to foreign titles. Mr. Speaker, just think of what is actually recommended in that part of the report. It reads:

Your committee further recommends that appropriate action he taken toy legislation or otherwise to provide that hereafter no person domiciled or ordinarily resident in Canada shall accept, enjoy or utoe any title of honour or titular [DOT]distinction hereafter conferred by a foreign ruler or government.

The House will observe that we cannot interfere with a foreign monarch. But the Committee recognized that it would be a great anomaly to recommend our own Sovereign to confer no titles upon people resident in Canada and yet to allow people in Canada to accept similar decorations from a foreign monarch. But the difficulty of the whole subject as it is dealt with in this report will at once be brought home to the mind of the House when we reflect that there had to be a recommendation that legislation be passed by this House to prevent our citizens from receiving titular distinctions from a foreign monarch. Now, legislation, to be effective, must carry with it a penal clause. Therefore, what is recommended by this report is that we should pass legislation with a penal clause, sentencing to fine or imprisonment men who have been so distinguished among their fellows that they have been picked out by monarchs of foreign countries to be the recipients of dis-

tinction. It is the thought of that condition that led me to say in the opening of my remarks that if we adopted this report in its entirety we should be passing very nearly into the realm of the absurd. That is a brief history of the arguments that came before the *Committee as they appealed to at least a minority of the Committee, of which this report is not the unanimous finding. _

The second purpose, Sir, for which I rose was to say that I thought the feelings and sentiments of the Canadian people would be met on this subject at the present time if they accepted the guidance which was to be had in the very sane, constitutional speech of my hon. friend who leads the Opposition (Mr. McKenzie). I think he indicated, without doing so specifically, the lines which would meet the average thought of a majority of the thinking people of this country. For the principle of heredity I do not think any one has any use. But I feel that, what was in the mind of my hon. friend who leads the Opposition was that to go much further than a recommendation to governments that greater care should be taken in the conferring of distinctions would be going further than would be wise, having regard to all the circumstances.

I was very much impressed by the argument of my hon. friend by which he made it clear to the House, or clear to my mind anyhow, that in practice the King confers only those distinctions that are recommeded by governments. What I think my hon. friend wanted us to infer from that was that it would be a wise thing, it would be a temperate thing, to keep the King out of this thing altogether. If it is governments that do this, then let us, as a House of Commons, be reasonable and address ourselves to governments and tell them what we think is the average opinion of the people of Canada upon this subject. I am confident that the prevailing sentiment of this country is that the principle of hereditary titles is utterly bad and that there has been an abuse of the giving of titles; that titles have been conferred upon people that the majority of the Canadian people would not have honoured in that way. If these two points were brought clearly out in a recommendation to this Government, in conjunction with the Imperial Government, we should keep the monarch out of tire matter; we should take a step in advance along the line of what those who feel keenly about it feel is the line of reform; and we should leave a large

number of people with the satisfaction that they derive from the thought that constitutional proceedings which have come down through centuries should not be too lightly or too rudely interfered with at this particular period of our history.

The leader of the Opposition laid down an excellent principle when he said that he was for freedom in these matters-he added,

I think, " in all matters." Well, I was particularly glad to hear him say that, because I at once added mentally that he is not only for free titles, but for free trade as well. I hope I did not misunderstand his generalization. If that is the state of his mind, it has come about suddenly; but after all, there have been sudden conversions in history that have been very beneficial to mankind and I should rejoice with unspeakable joy and without any reserve if the case of Saul of Damascus was repeated in the case of my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition. I think that freedom might well be allowed to rule in this matter, for a time at any rate. I repeat that so far as I can interpret the mind of my hon. friend (Mr. McKenzie) he has, on this question anyhow, interpreted the mind of the country. The country would be very well satisfied at this time if the House could see its way to pass some resolution or to amend this recommendation so that we express ourselves strongly against hereditary titles and strongly in favour of more care being exercised in the conferring of any other titles.

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UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

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

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say

a few words on this subject, because I believe it is of vast importance. Many things which appear to be trifling because they are splashy nevertheless hide a great deal of rottenness, and that is the case with the whole scheme of titular distinctions, without exception. The day has passed for the triumph of aristocracy.

We have reached the age of democracy, and it would be well for the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. M. dark) and the hon. member for Toronto South (Mr. Sheard) to remember that fact. If hon. gentlemen fancy that they are not interpreting the wishes of their constituents by voting for the resolution and if they are in favour of the continuance of titles, let them go on and vote for titles they will find out what their constituents think about the matter the next time they go home or the next time they stand for election. I do not intend to debate this question at great length, as we have heard about it for years. I

brought up the subject in 1913-14, and I was knocked out by two heavy weights, the great and much lamented late leader of the Opposition, Sir Wilfrid Eaurier, and the present Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster). This seemed too much for me to go up against at the time, so I retired for a sponge-off and a glass of water. But there intervened a war, and it seemed to me that it was inadvisable, under all the circumstances, to interpose a row about titles in the much greater row that was going on in Europe. The hon. member for Kingston (Mr. iSTickle), however, after consulting me about the matter, took up the question and has dealt with it with the object of stemming the tide of decorations which was about to flow in consequence of the war. He is no doubt well advised, and he had more courage than I, or perhaps more wisdom. I thought the day was coming when, undoubtedly, people in Canada as elsewhere in the world would insist that titular and class distinctions must disappear. We could well afford to wait. We have waited for hundreds of years for this consummation to be brought about, and surely, when we view the world over, we may well and confidently say that those who are in favour of class distinctions will disappear with the junkers of Germany and the aristocrats of Russia.

We find in the world to-day very little in support of the arguments of these hon. gentlemen. We find that the last desperate stand of aristocracy made in Europe as it has been, has been a signal failure, and the only reason that it has stands apparently solidly in Great Britain is that in that country it has been less abused than, perhaps, anywhere else in the world, and therefore, it has more apologists. But to argue, as has been argued here this afternoon, that because certain men like Joshua Reynolds were knighted, therefore, that knighthood, is a distinction conferred upon art, is to give the whole case away.

_ All I need to do is to refer, as I did in my interruption of the hon. member for Toronto South (Mr. Sheard), to the fact that all the greatest men with the exception of Sir Isaac Newton remained without titular distinctions. You have to begin if necessary with Homer, Buddha, Confucius, Thucydides, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Seven Wise Men of Greece, with all the historical characters of Europe, unless you appeal to the great rascals such as Nero, Commodus and the like. Surely hon. members do not think that Scipio Africanus required a title. Surely they do not think that our friend Julius Caesar

was smaller for not having, a title. And these hon. gentlemen show their ignorance of history when they say that these distinctions confer honour on the arts. What about Titian, Michael Angelo, Velasquez, Correggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, Corot, and Hod knows what other great names. Do not entangle these great men with these little trappings of titles that hang like spit curls at the side of a woman's head, and that amount to nothing. These great men tower majestically over all these little things which arose from what? They arose from property owners, and not from the people. They were not recommendations of the people. They were what the aristocracy gave to themselves before the people had the right of franchise or had any liberty at all; but when the time cann that the people rose strongly in their own might and shook off these things, they shook off class distinction's, and these hon. gentlemen here to-day who have spoken so strongly in favour of titles, so insidiously and in many ways, so cunningly, are compelled to acknowledge that the rottenest branch of the whole tree is hereditary titles, the greatest and highest of all. If it be the case that the 'topmost branch, the great culmination, the apotheosis of the whole titular business is absurd, it follows that the lesser is only less absurd, unless logically you choose to argue that it is more. I am not going to condescend to argue the question against titles. If hon. members are so ill-read in the history of class and class distinction's in the struggle of the people as to continue to wish that titles and class distinctions and all those abominations should be perpetuated, let them go on, but they will reckon with their people at home some day, and I am content to leave the matter to the great mass of the people of this country, if the members of the House do not wish to exterminate these titular distinctions to-day. We have been told-and I believe it is true-that the Government wants this to be a fight to a finish. We have been beaten several times; we have been more or less jockeyed-and I do not say that in any nasty sense. I brought a good deal of opprobrium last year upon my humble self by having endeavoured to find out from the late lamented leader of the Opposition if he intended to let the Opposition have a free-for-all. I found out that the Prime Minister regarded that as a constitutional mistake, and I retired under my bed, and I did so promptly, but I do not purpose getting under the bed any more. I do not mind being moderate nor endeavouring to be discreet; but

this question is one of great importance to the people, and if some of these gentlemen will go to Winnipeg or Toronto or to some other place where there are great gatherings of the masses of the people and deliver the speeches which they have delivered to-day, they will have a reception which will astonish them, or I am mistaken. ,

Brigadier-General GRIESBACH (Edmonton West) : Mr. Speaker, I rise to point out to my hon. friend (Mr. Burnham) that as regards Scipio Africanus, Scipio was the gentleman's name and " Africanus " was the title conferred upon him. The point to which I particularly desire to direct attention is the paragraph of the report which says:

Your committee, however, do not recommend the discontinuance of the practice of awarding military or naval decorations, such as the Victoria Cross, Military Medal, Military Cross, Conspicuous Service Cross, and similar decorations to persons in military or naval services of Canada for exceptional valour and devotion to duty.

This paragraph must be construed, I take it, somewhat as a legal document, and inasmuch as certain decorations have been mentioned, it may be assumed that those which are not mentioned are thereby excepted. As I understand this paragraph and as it has been explained to me by the Chairman of the Committee, it would, if adopted, prevent recognition by the granting of an honour or an award to any officer in the Canadian service above the rank of captain.

That is what this proposal means. It excepts the D.S.O., the C.M.G., and the C.B. and the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for some reason unknown to me, although some 1,204 have been granted to Canadian soldiers in the war. The Victoria Cross, of which fifty-three only, although that is a laTge number, have been granted to Canadian soldiers, is a decoration which can really only be won by non-commissioned officers and junior officers. Only in very exceptional cases can it be won by officers above the rank of captain, because when officers are in their proper places and in the proper discharge of their duties, a major or lieutenant-colonel will be too far away from the scene of fierce activity to win this distinction. The Military Medal can only be won by non-commissioned officers and men and the Military Cross by warrant officers, lieutenants and captains. The Conspicuous Service Cross is unknown to me.

An hon. MEMBEB: That is naval.

Brigadier-General GRIESBACH: I do not know what it is awarded for. Therefore, if this report means what it purports on the face of it, this House, by implication, is asked to say that decorations which have been won in the last four years, and which are being proudly worn by distinguished soldiers of the rank of major and upwards, and n.c.o's and men shall he-barred in the future. For although these distinguished officers and men may wear these decorations, they will do so in face of the implied opinion of this House that they are unnecessary and do not stand for anything, and that the wearing of them is dangerous and pernicious. That is what this report virtually asks the House to declare in reference to the deco-rations worn by Canadian officers of the rank of major and upwards. I shall vote against the adoption of this report because of that aspect of it.

With regard to foreign decorations, Canadian .soldiers are to-day wearing a considerable number of French orders and Belgian orders which have been awarded to them by the governments of those countries for services rendered by them in France and Belgium during the war, and the same observations apply to these decorations as to the British decorations. Those who have them at present may keep them, but they will not be permitted in the future, and I would direct attention to the situation that frequently arises, and will arise,1 in connection with rescues at sea by British ships. At the time of the earthquake in Italy British ships went into the harbour, and British sailors, displaying admirable courage, and at a serious risk to life and limb, rescued people who were buried beneath the ruins. What position would the Canadian sailor be placed in if, having performed such a splendid act and having been graciously offered some recognition of his service, he had perforce to decline the honour which a foreign government desired to bestow upon him? The question as to whether this country can legally make it impossible for citizens to receive these decorations is a matter for the legal gentlemen to consider; but I can conceive of no legislation short of a penal law that could prevent a man from accepting such a decoration if it were conferred upon him. The argument which may be urged against the decorations that are of the nature of orders is that such orders lead to knighthood. The report of the Committee

declares that there is an objection to the C.M.G. because it is the third class of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, and the C.B., because it carries membership in the Order of the Bath, and because in these _ orders there is promotion to knighthood. The Committee are objecting to the C.B. and the C.M.G., although in themselves they are not knighthoods. In themselves they are not titular distinctions or titles of honour, for you can hardly go around appending the phrase "Companion of the Bath" or "Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George" to a man's name when speaking of him, no matter how respectable his companions may be. The situation that would arise, then, assuming that this report is accepted, would be that in the future Canadians serving in co-operation with Australians, South Africans, New Zealanders or British troops, would be unable to accept such honours and awards as might be bestowed on officers of equal rank in the other forces. It may occur to some one, Mr. Speaker, as being a matter of very small moment; but I assure you, as a soldier, that it is, on the contrary, of considerable importance. A soldier does not ask very much; he does not get very much. But he does wear with proper pride the ribbons and the distinctions of the orders which he has gained. These distinctions cost the soldier a great deal, and are earned with a labour that is inconceivable to those who are not of his calling. It is almost futile to attempt to convey to the civilian mind all that they do mean to him. But let me assure the House, even if I repeat, that they mean a great deal. They round off his military career, and inform others exactly where he has been and what he has done; and if, without any endeavour to safeguard the well-earned and dearly-bought distinctions of these men, you indiscriminately abolish all these decorations, you are introducing, in my judgment, a very serious innovation. We find in the Army that these distinctions^ are necessary. Not only has this, during the past four years of fighting, been true in the British Army, where the full value of these rewards is recognized, but the Americans, who came into the war practically without any medals of any sort, found it necessary during the struggle to evolve a complete system of decorations. Before this Committee's report is' adopted, I earnestly desire that every hon. member will seriously consider the position of our Army in the future when called upon to co-operate with other armies [Brigadier-General Griesbach.]

in the Empire; and I ask that the House will weigh well the feelings and sentiments of many gallant soldiers who are not able to speak for themselves here to-day, but who will, without doubt, feel keenly the effrontery and insult which this report, if adopted as it stands, will reflect upon them.

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UNION

Robert James Manion

Unionist

Mr. ROBERT JAMES MANION (Fort William and Rainy River):

Mr. Speaker, I did not have the honour of being put upon this committee when it was appointed, but I had hoped that when this committee brought in its report the report would be in such a form that it would be accepted by the House practically without discussion and that probably, as soon as it had been accepted we would be able to get back to the discussion of some of the really practical things of life, such as the cost of living, and so perhaps the cutting down of some of the Bolshevism and revolutionary feeling in this country. However, as the report has come in and as I had nothing to do with framing it, I-must say that it is not entirely satisfactory to my mind, therefore I should like to offer an amendment, if it is permitted, on the report of the committee. I do not know whether it will be in order or not. I did not intend to speak at this moment, but perhaps I might proceed with the discussion and leave the point of order to be considered afterwards. The part of the report that I do not wish to agree with was that which was taken up by the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Griesbach) that Tefers to the cutting out such distinctions as C.B. or C.M.G., which do not carry any title. Therefore, I believe these distinctions need not have been cut out by the committee. I^believe it was the feeling of this House last year, and that it was the feeling this year when the question was up for discussion, that hereditary titles and knighthoods, which give the titles of Sir and Lady, should be discontinued. I do not think that anybody in this country who has been bothering about this question really cares how many letters you place after a man's name, if you leave off the aristocratic touch of knighthood.

The hon. member for South Toronto (Mr. Sheard) made a very eloquent speech this afternoon, one of the most beautiful that I have ever heard him deliver, and I have heard him many times in the old days in Toronto. But, I believe that many of his points were beside the question. For example, the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle), the hon. member for Brome (Mr. McMaster), and those who are supporting

the report, are not making any attack upon those who have been given knighthood. Nobody in this House has greater respect from me than the hon. the leader of the Government (Sir Thomas White) who has a knighthood. Such distinguished people as Sir William Osier, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir James Simpson, the discoverer of chloroform, and the other distinguished men whom the hon. member for South Toronto mentioned, are not being attacked by tho.se who are supporting this resolution.

I should like to get the view of the House upon making a motion to do away with hereditary titles of all kinds, and knighthoods, ih this country.

I understood the hon. member who has just taken his seat to desire that titles should be given to certain officers who have performed good service overseas. I understood from his remarks that he believes that knighthoods should be retained at least for certain officers, those in charge of divisions or brigades who have not been discriminated against, hut who have more or less been forgotten up to date and who might be given knighthoods by the Crown. Am I right in that?

Brigadier-General GRIESBACH: I did not say anything about that at all. I hope the hon. gentleman will confine his remarks to what he himself thinks. I have said what I have said; I did not say anything about what the hon. gentleman has said. '

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UNION

Robert James Manion

Unionist

Mr. MANION:

That is quite possible. 1 do not wish to put any words into my hon. friend's mouth that he did not use, but I understood him to say that certain men who had served at the front if they were forgot, ten would feel that they had been insulted by this country. That is my understanding of what he referred to, but I do not know whether I am right in that or not. If I am not right I will be glad to be corrected.

Brigadier-General GRIESBACH: What I said-or what I meant to say-was that by accepting this report barring out C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., D.C.M., this House would be reflecting upon a number of gallant men who have gained these distinctions in the past I concluded by stating that it would appear that the framers of this report considered the granting of such distinctions to Canadians as unsound, dangerous, and pernicious.

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UNION

Robert James Manion

Unionist

Mr. MANION:

I accept the hon, gentleman's statement. I, perhaps, have been carried away to a certain extent by the fact that I understood that he had made that

statement to the committee, but I accept my hon. friend's statement absolutely. I agree with the hon. gentleman that such distinctions as C.M.G. and D.S.O. should be continued. But I certainly do not gather from the report of the committee that they should be discontinued. The report says:-

Tour committee however do not recommend the discontinuance of the practice of awarding military or naval decorations, such as the Victoria Cross, Military Medal, Military Cross, *Conspicuous Service Cross, and similar decorations to persons in military or naval services of Canada for exceptional valour and devotion to duty.

I distinctly take that into account.

Brigadier-General GRIESBACH: I would suggest that the hon. gentleman ask the Chairman of the Committee to state what *the Committee does say.

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UNION

Robert James Manion

Unionist

Mr. MANION:

We will leave that question out for the present. I have just heard there is an amendment to be made by the hon. member for East Algoma which will cover the point that I wish to make in my amendment.

There is an objection to making a distinction .between military men and others in regard to the conferring of knighthoods. In the first place, the war has been carried on for four years against the German military caste or aristocracy. I do not think that we wish in this country to establish any such military caste to take the place of the military caste that was destroyed in Germany. The second point I wish to make in regard to the conferring of distinctions upon military men is this: The real heroes of this war have not been Sir Arthur Currie, gallant soldier as he is, or the staff officers, or the commanders of divisions, brigades, battalions or the medical officers but they have been the ordinary private soldiers who went over the top. The private soldiers are the men who have endured the greatest hardships, who have faced the greatest dangers and who have displayed the greatest courage in this war and yet, not by any stretch of the imagination, would any of these private soldiers be given a knighthood. The greatest soldier of all, Ferdinand Foch, has no title except his military title of Marshal. I might go further to exemplify the point that a title is not necessary in order to enable any man to be great. On the contrary, three of the greatest men at the Peace Conference are plain Misters, Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Georges Clemenceav and Mr. Woodrow Wilson, and they would not have been any greater if they had had titles.

I am not belittling the officers of the Canadian army, of whom my friend from Edmonton (Brigadier General Griesbach) is one of the most gallant, but I think there should be no distinction in the giving of titles, titles should be allowed to be given to all or none. The hon. member for South Toronto mentioned the discoverer of chloroform and a number of other discoveries in medicine. I think that if the day should come that some Canadian would discover a cure for tuberculosis he will have performed a greater service to humanity than any general or hero who has served at the front in this war -and he would deserve a title. I do not like to see any distinction made by giving titles to one class and not to some other class. In other words, we should teach our youth to aspire to proficiency in the constructive arts of peace rather than in the destructive arts of war.

The hon. member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) as I understand it, is going to move an amendment along the lines that I suggest-that is that we do away with hereditary titles of all kinds, and do away with knighthoods in this country. That is the only point I wish to make; I think the rest of the report might easily be omitted.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. G. B. NICHOLSON (Algoma East):

dent in Canada, the greatest care should he exercised in the selection, and that special regard should toe paid1 to the personal merit and distinguished services of the recipient thereof.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

With the limited opportunity I have had of looking into the wording of this motion, I am inclined to the . opinion that it is not in order. When a motion is made for the adoption of the report of a committee, it is competent for the House to adopt it, to reject it, or to refer it back to the committee with or without instructions. Or, a motion may be made for the six month's hoist. I do not think it competent to move to amend the report of a committee.

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UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. G. B. NICHOLSON:

Would I he in order, -Sir, if I should ask to amend the motion so as to conform to your ruling.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

In the circumstances,

the hon. member should ask for leave to withdraw the amendment.

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May 22, 1919