June 14, 1941 (19th Parliament, 2nd Session)

LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

In reply to my hon. friend, who was kind enough to inform me of his intention to ask this question this morning, I would say that some little time ago the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom informed me of what he had in his mind with respect to recommending the appointment of the Right Hon. R. B. Bennett to the House of Lords, and asked if I had any observations to make with respect to the matter.
Perhaps I can best explain the situation by reading the resolution of the House of Commons which was adopted in 1919 with respect to titles and orders, or rather, that portion of it which is pertinent. An address was presented to his majesty praying that his majesty may be graciously pleased:
fa) To refrain hereafter from conferring any 'title of honour or titular distinction upon any of your subjects domiciled or ordinarily resident in Canada, save such appellations as are of a professional or vocational character or which appertain to an office.
(b) To provide that appropriate action be taken by legislation or otherwise to ensure the extinction of an hereditary title of honour or titular distinction, and of a dignity or title as a peer of the realm, on the death of a person domiciled or ordinarily resident in Canada at present in enjoyment of an hereditary title of honour or titular distinction, or dignity or title as a peer of the realm, and that thereafter no such title of honour, titular distinction, or dignity or title as a peer of the realm, shall be accepted, enjoyed or used by any person or be recognized.
All of which we humbly pray your majesty to take into your favourable and gracious consideration.
A suggestion was made that the title of "right honourable" and "honourable" be discontinued, but the suggestion did not meet with the approval of the committee.
The house will see from what I have read that the question which was of importance in connection with what the Prime Minister of Great Britain had in his mind was as to whether or not Mr. Bennett might be regarded as being "domiciled or ordinarily resident" in Canada. My attention was drawn by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the fact that Mr. Bennett had been a resident

of the United Kingdom for some time, and had permanently established himself in England, and did not consider himself as a resident of Canada, that he had abandoned his domicile in Canada and become domiciled and ordinarily resident in Great Britain, and therefore, in the opinion of the Prime Minister's advisers in the United Kingdom, any recommendation by him would not fall within the terms of the 1919 resolution of the House of Commons of Canada. It was added that Mr. Bennett had expressed his intention both in Canada and in Great Britain to live in England for the remainder of his life, and therefore that he could now rightly be regarded as falling outside the turns of the resolution as regards honours, and as a person who could properly be recommended for the award of an honour in Great Britain. In reply to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom I said that I had no observations to make on what he had in mind, but I added that I was sure that Mr. Bennett's own statement would be accepted as a complete answer to any question arising out of the resolution of the Canadian House of Commons of 1919, as to whether or not he is to be regarded as domiciled or ordinarily resident in Canada.
I was also advised of the intention of His Majesty the King to invite the Hon. Vincent Massey to become a member of His Majesty's Privy Council in the United Kingdom, and of the intention of the Prime Minister of Great Britain to make the necessary submission. I was asked specifically whether I would approve the appointment. I replied I would approve most cordially of the appointment should it be made. I may add that I think the appointment has met with high approval in all parts of our dominion.

Topic:   TITLES OF HONOUR
Subtopic:   ELEVATION OF RIGHT HON. R. B. BENNETT TO THE PEERAGE
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