March 18, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)


I do not find any fault at the appointment of Sir Oliver Mowat, and while I admit that it was a proper appointment at the time, still I think that had it been possible for the leaders of the government to have foreseen that during his term of office such a peculiar crisis as this would have arisen, X venture to say that out of regard to the opinion of the country ; out of regard to the national reputation ; out of regard to the stability of our institutions, the government would have designated some lieutenant governor other than Sir Oliver Mowat. If that be the case, how much more is it the case now when he is remaining in office as it must be admitted on the sufferance of the federal government, when this unfortunate crisis has arisen. I am not prepared for a moment to suggest that the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario would not do his duty ; I would not suggest that he is not physically and mentally competent to do his duty; but I do say that it is an unfortunate thing for a healthy public opinion in the stability of Canadian institutions and the manner of their working, that just at this time matters should be in the position they are in. I do not know that the hon. gentleman who moved the motion had any intention of suggesting that during this crisis the federal government should intervene. I take it rather that his object was to call attention to an omission on the part of this government in not filling the office of lieutenant governor, an omission which has led to the present unfortunate state of affairs. I do trust that the crisis will so work out in the province of Ontario, that the people of that province may not be hereafter led to think that if the lieutenant governorship had been kept freer from the hands of politicians that perhaps in this peculiar time a different conclusion might have been come to from that which may perhaps be come to. For, Sir-, we must not forget that if the persent lieutenant governor should support his present ministers, even supposing he was perfectly right in so doing, and if he were doing what any dispassionate, impartial man would do under the circumstances, still, many people in the province might think, and not unnaturally, that with another man as lieutenant governor, a different conclusion might have been come to. If that be the case, if any large portion of the people of Ontario should come to the conclusion that the influence and the authority of the Crown were in any way affected by such political considerations at a time when the fair fame and reputation of our province is at stake, I venture to say that one of the strongest blows at the stability of our institutions that could possibly be given would be found to have been given.

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