February 14, 1929

LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I would ask the hon. member to give notice of this question. It might stand as a notice.

AIR MAIL SERVICE On the orders of the day:

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CON

Lewis Wilkieson Johnstone

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. L. W. JOHNSTONE (Cape Breton North-Victoria):

I should like to ask the Postmaster General if any provision has been made for carrying mails by the air service to Cape Breton?

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LIB

Peter John Veniot (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. P. J. VENIOT (Postmaster General):

Not up to the present time. The question of the air mail service to the maritime provinces is now being considered by the department. We have inaugurated a tentative service between St. John and Halifax. The matter of extending it further will receive consideration later on.

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TITLES OF HONOUR


FROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF SPECLAL COMMITTEE The house resumed from Wednesday, February 13, consideration of the motion of Mr. Cahan: Titles oj Honour-Mr. Heaps That a special committee of the house consisting of eleven members be appointed forthwith to investigate and report upon the advisability of qualifying, amending or rescinding the address to His Majesty the King, which was adopted by the house in May, 1919, dealing with the conferring by His Majesty of titles of honour or titular distinctions upon His Majesty's subjects domiciled . or ordinarily resident in Canada; and also to consider and report upon the appropriate action, if any, which the parliament of Canada should take with respect to the acceptance, enjoyment or use by persons domiciled or ordinarily resident in Canada of titles of honour or titular distinctions or decorations conferred by any foreign government, governmental authority, potentate or power; and also to consider and report upon the advisability of instituting orders of merit, distinctions or decorations, which may be conferred by His Majesty upon persons domiciled or ordinarily resident in Canada, on the advice of the government ot Canada, in recognition of distinguished public services; and that such committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, and to report from time to time to this house. ,Mr. SPEAKER: If any other hon. member wishes to speak on this motion, the time is now, because the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) will close the debate.


LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. A. A. HEAPS (North Winnipeg):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) is indeed very fortunate, because this is the third day on which a private member's resolution has had the opportunity of being discussed in this house. He is fortunate also in another respect because I believe there are very few people in Canada who are interested in the question whether titles are conferred in this country or not. Yesterday I had a question on the order paper and I think it is quite pertinent at this particular juncture to make reference to it. It related to a matter considerably more important than that of titles in Canada. It had to do with the development of the St. Lawrence river and when I asked the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) whether the house would have an opportunity of discussing that question, the reply I received indicated that the house would have no opportunity whatsoever of dealing with it. As a result of the reply which I received yesterday from the Prime Minister and the hours and days that we may be discussing a question of titles, there will go abroad throughout the Dominion the impression that a good deal of the discussion in this house is unreal. Imagine, when corporations are asking the privilege of developing the St. Lawrence waterways, when this matter which is of such vital importance to Quebec, Ontario and in fact, to the people of western Canada, is placed before the cabinet, the house is informed that it is to be denied the right of

discussion in regard to itl An impression of that kind is not good for the prestige of the House of Commons.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I should like

to know if we are discussing the question of titles or if we are considering some other subject.

Mr. HEAPS; I realize that the question may not be altogether to the liking of the Prime Minister at this particular time.

Mr. MACKENZIE KING; Oh, not at all.

I thought possibly I was mistaken as to my hon. friend's intention. I really do not know whether he is debating the motion of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George or taking up a different subject.

Mr. HEAPS; I am just comparing the actions of this house and I am sure the Prime Minister cannot object. I am comparing the time given by the house to the discussion of a question in which very few people are interested and the fact that the Prime Minister denies to us the right of discussing a much more vital question.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not wish to interrupt my hon. friend, but may I say that the Prime Minister does not and cannot control the procedure of the house. The procedure is regulated by the rules, and the hon. member has rights under the rules to discuss any question, including the question my hon. friend has raised, but he must do so according to the rules as they have been determined by the house itself.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

The rules of the house will permit the government if they so desire to submit the question of the development of the St. Lawrence waterways to the house, but if they do not submit it, we have scarcely an opportunity of discussing it. Therefore I made that comparison and I do not intend to dwell on it, because now is not the time to do so; but I hope within the very limited scope that private members have in the house, some means will be found of discussing more vital questions than that with which the time of the house is being taken up at the present time.

To come back directly to the question raised by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George, I endeavoured to understand the motive of the hon. member in bringing his resolution before the house. I do not think I do him an injustice when I say his motive is to secure for the people of this country the privilege of having titles conferred upon themselves under conditions similar to those obtaining in other countries. Another motive for bringing forward this particular resolution may be attributable to the fact that on a recent occasion the hon. gentleman received from his

Titles of Honour-Mr. Heaps

alma mater certain honours which, I think, were given quite rightly and which, I am sure, all hon. members are happy to find the hon. gentleman a recipient of. No member in this corner of the house objects to titles of that kind being conferred upon people in this Dominion. In fact, the resolution that was passed by the house in 1919 has not prevented those distinctions from being given to those people who deserve them; but if I had to look for an answer to the mover of this particular resolution, I would refer him to the speech delivered by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) on Tuesday. In his speech he said:

There is something in human nature that is urged to the utmost endeavour and to the extreme of self-sacrifice by incentives such as these. I will give you an instance, a matter of personal interest to me. I believe my name was submitted once for distinction which I felt that I could not accept-perhaps that is the way I should put it.

I claim that action of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George is a sufficient reason why the house should not adopt his resolution this afternoon. I do not think that because the hon. gentleman did not see fit to accept the honours that were proposed to be given to him, he is to-day any worse a citizen than he was ten years ago. I believe, an spite of the fact that he could not accept a title of distinction, he is to-day rendering to the people of Canada just as good service, in the way he sees it, as he did ten years ago, and I do not think his incentive is one whit less because he declined the honour. Therefore I claim that the answer to the hon. gentleman's motion is given in his own speech of the other day.

IV e find that distinctions are being given to worthy people in this country. They may not be knighthoods or peerages, but nevertheless they are distinctions which, I think, are more highly prized than anything we' might confer upon them by way of a title.

A few years ago the house honoured a man who, I think, is deserving of great honour.

I refer to Doctor Banting, the man who discovered insulin. The name of Doctor Banting to-day is honoured not merely in Canada, but, I believe, throughout the whole world. How much (better would Doctor Banting be to-day if he had a title before his name or a few letters after it? He would not be one whit better than he is to-day, and I am sure he would not be giving any better service to the community than he is giving at the present time.

V\ e who belong to the Labour party in this country object to the granting of titles, because we believe that the conferring of such titles creates classes in the community. We as a party have often been accused of creating class difficulties in the community, but let me assure the house that if there is one thing we wish to abolish, it is class distinctions. Titles create an aristocracy. There are different forms of aristrocracies. You may have a titled aristocracy and a moneyed aristocracy, but there is only one true aristocracy in any community, in my opinion, and that is the aristocracy of labour. The people who are performing useful service in the community form the real aristocracy of a nation, and that useful service is nett necessarily performed by the man who works in the workshop or in the factory. Looking back to the distinctions that have been conferred upon people in the different countries; I would like to know what distinction either in Great Britain or Canada has ever been conferred upon a man who has given distinguished service to the labour movement, and yet the labour movement forms a very large part of the life of any community. When it comes to conferring distinctions, it is not the labour man who gets them. For everything that labour has to-day it has had to fight those who, as a rule, have been of the titled classes, and there has nothing come to labour without a very stern struggle. If you want to see what the results of granting titles have been, look at the British House of Lords, which to-day hardly commands the respect of the people of Great Britain. In 1911, the veto power which the House of Lords possessed was taken away because it had abused its privileges. How many labourers, I might ask, do you find in the House of Lords? All you find there is rank and wealth, with labour not having any show there at all, and that, by the way, is the result of the honours system as they have it in Great Britain. We have another form of second chamber in Canada. We have a Senate where people of distinction, I presume, are supposed to go when they have given sen-ice to the country. But what do we find in the Canadian Senate? I do not think anybody would care to claim that if the question of the abolition of the Canadian Senate were put to a vote of the Canadian people, the Senate would be retained. I feel satisfied that the people of Canada would vote for its total abolition. That is another result of the honours system as we have it in this Dominion.

I believe that one of the reasons the house adopted in 1919 the resolution which we are now asked to reverse was because

Titles oj Honour-Mr. Heaps

the people of Canada were sick and tired of the way (people in this Dominion were receiving honours. Have things here in this regard changed very much in the past ten years? Are governments now so different from what they were ten years ago that we are likely to have any change in the conferring of these honours?

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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

The hon. gentleman surely cannot compare this government with the government of 1919.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

I notice both in this session and in the last session of the house a remarkable unanimity between the front benches on the two sides of the house, and on this particular question I find them both unanimous.

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PRO
LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

peerage and every other distinction had been degraded by the profuse and incautious use which had been made of it. He went out of his way, however, to approve of Pitt's dictum and clearly stated that honours were properly used "in strengthening the administration."

There can, indeed, be little doubt that every prime minister since Walpole made definite use of this prerogative for the purpose of "strengthening the administration," though few, if any, of them were so incautious as to acknowledge that definite gifts to party funds constituted the practicable means of attaining this end.

That, Mr. Speaker, refers to conditions in Great Britain about seventy years ago.

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CON
LAB
CON
LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Yes. What I have quoted

will be found in the Nineteenth Century of September, 1922. In another part of the same article we find the following:

Many men in recent years have been given honours because they have fairly earned them; many on the other hand have not only not earned them, but are completely disreputable, some contemptible.

It is not alleged that those responsible for recommending them knew of their disreput-ability, past or present, but that the question of reputability or disreputability was not greatly agitated; it is alleged that those that received them did so either on account of payment into party funds or that the consideration was a promise express or implied to do so.

Now I quote from another article which appeared in the same magazine in February, 1923:

No system on earth can make the national honours list a perfect document, or anything like it. For one thing, the great men need no official titles. Would Shakespeare have created a greater Hamlet if Cecil had made him a knight? Would Chaucer have made better verse had he been an earl? Could Meredith have built more perfect prose if Lord Salisbury had made him a duke? Or again, was it likely that Lord Palmerston would have had the wit to see that Darwin should have been made a peer when he published the origin of species?

We have now, of course, got to the days when the honours list recognizes artistic and scientific merit. But unfortunately we have also reached the time when merit hesitates to recognize the honours list. Men now refuse titles as well as ask for them.

As my hon. friend from St. Lawrence-St. George does.

Within the last few years a novelist and dramatist of distinction awoke one New Year's morn to find himself by mistake a knight. He regarded it in a different light from the one in which it was offered-and hastened to wipe the stain from his honourable name.

[Mr. Heaps.}

Now, Mr. Speaker, I could go on quoting from articles which have appeared in the Daily Mail and other Conservative papers of Great Britain in regard to the Lloyd George election fund. But that is too recent history and, I believe, is well known to most hon. members; at least it is common knowledge how the funds were obtained. In fact some men to whom honours were given in return for large contributions to the campaign funds were accused of the utmost disloyalty to the British crown. One name in particular comes to my mind, a name that was freely discussed at the time he was made a peer. I refer to Lord Vestey. He made millions and millions out of the war, but to escape taxation he removed his headquarters to South America. Such is the type of men who have been honoured by titles in Great Britain. Possibly the same condition has not obtained in this country, and consequently I do not wish to say anything about our titled people; but at the same time I think it will be far better not to follow the practice.

Now, the hon. member who moved this resolution said he wanted equality. I am quite prepared to agree with him in that regard, I wish to see everybody put on an equal basis, but possibly our two methods are of an entirely opposite character. If we are to have equality-and it is complained now that foreign rulers are at liberty to confer distinctions upon Canadians while His Majesty is preclued from doing so-the way to bring about that equality is to see to it that no Canadian shall be allowed to accept foreign titles or wear foreign decorations. This will be a very simple method of insuring equality in this respect.

I do not believe, Mr. Speaker, that the recipient of a title, whether it be sir or lord or some other high-sounding distinction, is one bit better off, nor do I think is it to the country's advantage. I believe the greatest honour that any citizen of Canada can have is the confidence and the respect of those with whom he comes in contact. And surely that is all the honour any man could wish for. If any member of this house gives honourable and conscientious service to his constituents, he is bound to be honoured by the community in which he resides, and I do not think it is necessary to honour such a man with a peerage, a baronetcy or any similar title. The man or woman who enters public life with the hope of securing a title of honour is the least deserving of reward.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, this House of Commons having in the year 1919 passed a resolution renouncing titles, and there being no

Titles of Honour-Mr. Adshead

particular agitation to have that resolution rescinded, I think that this motion should not be entertained. The government, if it sees fit, can use the discretion conferred upon it by the resolution of 1919 and abolish all titular distinctions. I do not mean that distinctions earned by those who have distinguished themselves in science or art or literature should be interfered with; they are entitled to whatever honours our universities may confer on them. Far be it from me to stop those institutions from honouring their sons and daughters who have given their best to their country; but I hope that those titles which confer a certain class distinction will never be revived in this Dominion.

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LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. H. B. ADSHEAD (East Calgary):

It is not my intention to be censured by the hon. member who has just spoken (Mr. Heaps) for taking up the time of the house when it might 'be more properly occupied in the consideration of matters of greater importance. We both, perhaps, may err in that respect. However, I have a brief contribution of about ten minutes to make to the question at issue.

I was lead to believe, from the resolution of my hon. friend from St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan), that it applied simply to the question of foreign decorations and distinctions; but upon reading the hon. gentleman's speech I find that there is implied, not only the question of decorations and distinctions from foreign lands, but also the reintroduction of titles to be granted in Canada by His Majesty the King. The hon. member labours very much the king's prerogative; he mentions the king's prerogative a number of times. In one passage he asks:

Why. . . should His Majesty be denied the exercise of his prerogative. . . to confer titular distinctions or decorations upon persons who have rendered such distinguished services?

We see, therefore, that the hon. gentleman had in mind not merely the regulation of foreign distinctions and decorations but the re-introduction into Canada of titles from His Majesty the King. Further on in his speech my hon. friend says that action must be taken in the ordinary constitutional way, by the advice of His Majesty's ministers in Canada of the government in power. If that be the case, it simply means, as has been pointed out, a return to the old system of patronage; and the government, having it in their hands to confer titles upon whom they will, will confer them .most likely, as was done before, on persons particularly favoured.

This aspect of the question has been traversed both by my hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) and by the hon. member for Toronto Northwest (Mr. Church), and I do not propose to discuss it in that direction. The suggestion is made that titles should be given "for services rendered." When this matter was under consideration in 1919, this phase of it, with reference to services rendered, was dealt with at very great length in the house, and I propose for a few minutes now to give you some of the ideas of the gentlemen who took part in that debate- gentlemen on both sides of the house, including Liberals who were in the Union government. There are now one or two hon. gentlemen sitting to the left of the Speaker who were members of the government at that time. Speaking about service, Mr. Nickle gave expression to the true idea when he made this statement:

I said that you cannot measure sacrifice and you cannot measure service. As I stand here this afternoon speaking to this house I see a woman in dull black who came into my office some five or six months ago and told me that she was a widow; that her only son, who had gone to the front, had been killed. She said: "All I ask is that you get me a picture of the cross that marks his grave in Flanders' fields; I shall be content to have that as a memento that he did his duty in a time of national peril and in a time of world crisis." Could you measure that woman's sacrifice and service as against the sacrifice, if needs be, and probably the service, of hundreds of men who stayed at home and did their best, but whose best was incomparably less in sacrifice than the sacrifice that this widow made in giving her only son to a great cause?

That was the idea of Mr. Nickle and of the house at that time: after such a catastrophe as the Great war it was impossible to measure the service and the sacrifice of those who had participated, and to confer distinctions on all those who had come to the country's aid. Let me now quote five lines from the speech of another hon. gentleman in the house at that time-the gentleman who now occupies the distinguished position of Speaker. Mr. Speaker said:

Sir, in this wrar the private was a knight, in my judgment, as much as a colonel, the major or the general. They were all knights and if you make a distinction,-

You will see that the hon. gentleman was opposed to the conferring of distinctions and decorations.

-I say that the greatest knights of all are the dead. Where are the decorations for the dead?

This is the question he asks; and he answers the question himself. Their decorations are crosses, white crosses in Flanders' fields. A

Titles of Honour-Mr. Brown

little after that, by way of change from the more serious side of the matter, an hon. member quoted in the house on that occasion a poem or ode which might very well be repeated in this house to-day. There were a number of orders then, as there are now, such as the G.B.E.; K.B.E.; D.B.E.; C.B.E.; M.B.E. and finally O.B.E., which so many people have after their names to-day. This is the ode:

I knew a man of industry

Who made big bombs for the R.F.C.

And pocketed lots of L.8.D.

And he (thank God!) is an O.B.E.

I knew a woman of pedigree

Who asked some soldiers out to tea

And said, "Dear me!" and "Yes, I see",

And she (thank God!) is an O.B.E.

I knew a fellow of twenty-three Who got a job with a fat M.P.,

Not caring much for the infantry.

And he (thank God!) is an O.B.E.

X had a friend, a friend-and he Just held the line for you and me,

And kept the Germans from the sea,

And died without the O.B.E.

Thank God!

He died without the O.B.E.

I have one more reference to make and I am through with what little I have to say. I trust that the right hon. gentleman who occupies the position of Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) will follow this carefully, inasmuch as it has particular reference to some of his forbears. Speaking in the house, Mr. Richardson, the member for Springfield at that time, gave utterance to these remarks, of which all Liberals might very well take cognizance. He said:

Yes, and you might add to theirs the name of that other great Canadian, William Lyon Mackenzie, to whom this country owes far more than the average citizen dreams of to-day. Because the people have short memories and I find that we Canadians make a great mistake when we fail to study the lives of the men that served us. Think of William Lyon Mackenzie, who fought for representative and responsible government, who fought against the old Family Compact, a man with Scotch blood in his veins who refused to be domineered, who stood nobly for right and principle, and was willing even to .place his life and liberty in jeopardy by entering upon rebellion against what he considered the wrongs of the day. Perhaps he was mistaken-I would certainly in the light of history and of developments not like to venture the idea that he was mistaken

but he took the consequences of his act, and it is to William Lyon Mackenzie that this Dominion owes so much at the present day. Driven from his own country he became an exile in a foreign land for years, often going for days if not weeks without food. He was without friends, without a man to say a kind word to him. Then an amnesty was declared, and he returned to Canada and died a broken old man.

Would it endear the name of William Lyon Mackenzie to the people of Canada if a knighthood or any other honour that a human potentate might control had been conferred upon him? Not at all. The memory and name of William Lyon Mackenzie to those who have studied and appreciated his life and work wik live as long as Canadian history lives. These are the men who are entitled to honour, the men' who spurned anything that kings could do for them, the men who fought for principle and placed their lives in jeopardy. This nation little dreams how much it owes to men like William Lyon Mackenzie and as a Canadian I would deeply deplore the conferment of any title that a human potentate could confer.

I hope my right hon. friend the Prime Minister will take note of the aotions of his forebears. To attempt to confer a title upon men who have rendered a real service is like painting the lily or trying to gild refined gold.

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LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mir. J. L. BROWN (Lisgar):

At one time I felt somewhat disposed to vote for the resolution now before the house, but the trouble is that the resolution contains too much. If it were limited to the subject mentioned by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett),, decorations for services Tendered, I could heartily subscribe to it, but I am entirely opposed to anything in the way of titular distinctions; I am opposed to them because they have a tendency to create class distinctions. We may not think that danger very serious, but it is a .problem we must face,, and perhaps I can give an illustration which came to my knowledge. On one occasion a certain titled lady in a certain town, speaking to another lady whose husband recently had been created a knight, said, " Oh, I aim so glad that now you have become one of us." It is that "one of us" spirit which we do not want to encourage. Perhaps I might be permitted to place the situation before the house in the words of one whose birthday we celebrated only last month. The leader of the opposition made a very apt quotation a few days ago from a famous Scotch author in eulogy of the old country doctor, and when you want to express yourself in terse and emphatic language you cannot do better than go to the good, broad Scotch. I would like to recall to your minds the words of that great Scotch poet, Robert Bums, who wrote:

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord,

Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;

Tho' hundreds worship at bis word,

He's but a coof for a' that:

For a' that, an' a' that,

His ribband, star, an' a' that:

The man o' independent mind He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight, .

A marquis, duke, an' a' that;

Titles oj Honour-Mr. Spotton

But an honest man's aboon his might,

Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!

For a' that, an' a' that,

Their dignities an' a' that;

The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,

Are higher rank than a' that.

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CON

George Spotton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEORGE SPOTTON (North Huron):

Mr. Speaker, if I could be sure that there would be a vote on this resolution I would not even take ten minutes of the time of the house, as I propose to do. However, I just wish it to be known to this house and to the constituency which I represent that I am not in a position even to flirt with this matter.

This question was settled by my party in 1919, and I have heard no person in my county or in the province of Ontario express any desire to return to medieval times. This seems to be an innocent matter when we are asked simply to refer the question to a committee for consideration, but there may be leaders of parties who perhaps discern the psychology of the situation. In an old school book there was a verse which read like this:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,

As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;

Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

These advocates may think that this session we will endure, next session pity and the third session embrace.

If in my remarks I leave the track, Your Honour will call me to order, but I remember a- New York paper which, before the United States went into the war, was neutral -so neutral-that it did not care who licked Germany. If there are men taking part in this discussion who are so neutral that they do not care who restores these titles, I must say once and for all that I am opposed to any such restoration. I have been in this house only a short time, but I have never seen the leader of the administration seize with such avidity upon any suggestion coming from this side of the house. I have seen the Prime Minister, in my own constituency, smile blandly and serenely on two men speaking from the same platform at the same meeting, one making a free trade speech and the other pleading for protection. As far as I am concerned I propose that my people shall know where I stand, and I will not be a party to pulling the chestnuts out of the fire for this administration.

In 1919, when men were rendering the greatest service men could render their country and their empire, this house did away with titular distinctions, presumably almost unanimously. In my constituency, Mr. Speaker, I have mothers who have given one, two, three, four and five sons for the

empire, and I will never vote that they shall bow the knee and call some other woman lady. The mothers, the wives and the daughters in my constituency are all ladies, and they never shall be placed in a class lower than that of some other lady who happens to be married to a man who, for reasons best known to himself and to those who confer these titles, has received such a distinction. My mother, my wife, my daughter; the mothers, the wives, the sisters and the daughters of my constituency never shall say that I cast my vote to place them in a lower class than any other woman in this fair Dominion. It may seem to be an innocent matter to refer this question to a committee, but we have a member of this house bringing forward another innocent resolution to change the old Union Jack. Do you think, Mr. Speaker, I could vote for any such recommendation and still play fair and be honest with the people who elected me? In my constituency they do not take stage fright even when three, four, or five cabinet ministers attend a meeting; in such cases less than fifty people will turn out, but when a commoner comes along a few nights later he is greeted by 300, 400 or 500 people.

There has been some laboured argument about foreign kings and potentates granting titles to Canadians. I think that matter was fairly dealt with in 1919, and if the Sultan of Turkey wishes to bestow any little decoration on any member of this house he can have his sounding brass and his tinkling cymbal, pleased with the rattle and tickled with the straw. If they wish to wear their little past master's jewels about their necks I have no objection, but in my constituency "Jack is as good as his master."

I shall not take up more of the time of this house. This is a question on which a student of history might speak for some time, but in Canada we have the titles of "Honourable," and " Right Honourable," " Mister " and " Esquire," and if the title " Mister " is not good enough for any man he can tack " Esquire " after his name. In the name of the noble band of men and women in my constituency, the descendants of the real makers of Canada, the descendants of those early pioneers who fought the great battle of the forest-

Those worthy sires who bore

The day's first heat, their toils are o'er.

Rude fathers of a rising land.

Theirs was a mission truly grand.

Brave peasants, by the Father God Sent to reclaim the stubborn sod,

Well they performed their work and won Altar and hearth for the woodman's son-

Titles of Honour-Mr. Bird

I can only say that until the government of Canada raises memorials to those pioneers and to the men who fought and bled in Flanders, and to the mothers who spent the sleepless vigils at home, I shall not be a party to granting any titular distinctions or creating any caste system in this fair Dominion of Canada.

T. W. BIRD (Nelson): Mr. Speaker, I

would like to point out that not only in 1919, but as recently as 1923 this house decisively set its face against the bringing back of titular distinctions into Canada. In the session of 1923 this house was almost unanimous on that question. I think it is a very significant thing that this question should have been raised on three previous occasions only. These occasions are very significant.

In February of 1914, this question was raised in this house, and the motion to banish titles from Canada was not even seriously debated. The representatives of the people of Canada were almost unanimously in favour of titles just a few months before the Great War. In 1919, only a few months after the armistice, the representatives of the people of Canada were almost unanimously against titles. What had happened in the meantime? We all know what had happened; we know that Europe and the world had been turned upside down and that many ancient ideas of medieval origin were put into the discard during those years. Our eyes had been opened in 1919 and Canada, England and the civilized world realized for the first time what were really the sound values in life. They also perceived that the tragedy of the Great War was due in no small way to the medieval conceptions and ideas which had cluttered up our civilization before the Great War.

It might seem to us that we should not be engaging the time of the house regarding titles, but I do not think it is a small thing. I cannot but look upon an attempt of this kind, however sincere its immediate motive may be, but as an attempt to bring back again some of those medieval ideas which were banished from the world by the Great War.

We all know the mood we were in, in 1919. Parliaments were meeting to consider the work of reconstruction; they said to themselves, "This is the only way we can honour the men who laid down their lives, begin to reconstruct upon the foundations they have cleared for us. They have cleared away the debris and the effete notions of centuries and have left the way clear for us to reconstruct." Some of the debris still existed, and one of

the first things the Canadian parliament did in the way of reconstruction was to banish titles. I am sorry to say it was about the only thing they did in the way of reconstruction. It was the one result of their efforts at reconstruction and now the wolves of reaction are after it. They want to bring back that effete, medieval idea into this enlightened, democratic country.

It is claimed that merit should be recognized. I take exception to that statement; true merit does not require distinction. When Doctor Banting discovered insulin there was no artificial label that we could tack on his coat that would have heightened the sense of merit. I would like to leave this question of recognizing merit to our scientists themselves. Call the scientists of Canada together and ask them if they want this tinsel. It is contrary to the scientific spirit. Ask Doctor Banting himself if he wants his good name cluttered up with these effete signs. No scientist wants to be raised to a pinnacle above his fellows. Doctor Banting's discovery was but the last link in a long chain of discoveries. He and his colleagues were working on the results of discoveries of scientists who had worked before them, or who were working simultaneously with them. There is not a living scientist of any merit who wants to decorate himself with these peacock feathers which can be granted by parliamentary or governmental sanction. Not only does merit not require distinction after it has made its achievement, it does not require it before. By calling Doctor Banting "Sir" you might be adding a colour to the rainbow or painting the lily, but I rather think you would be besmirching it. You would not be adding one incentive to Doctor Banting for further discovery, because all the incentive he needed he already possessed. He was endowed with the scientific spirit which pushed him on regardless of all artificial tags we might pin on him. _ _

The only way to encourage science is to give it bread, or the equivalent of it; give it leisure, or the equivalent of it. If this parliament wants to help science, let it free science from its bonds. There is no parliament in the world meaner to its scientific men than this one. H this parliament is sincere in its desire to further scientific discovery, let it begin at home and treat the scientific men in such a way that they can be free of all responsibility.

Topic:   TITLES OF HONOUR
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February 14, 1929