May 22, 1919 (13th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal


I hope, to recall the old saying, that we may strike the iron when it is hot and catch his vote on this occasion. The hon. gentleman seemed to be very much disturbed about the way in which the British people govern themselves. He seemed to think that there was a serious danger to the world if the British people should be permitted to deal with their own affairs, and that we must step in and tell them how to apply democratic principles in that country.
I do not share in that fear; I, believe that the British people are quite capable Of looking after their own affairs. I submit, Sir, that the granting of titles is entirely a matter for the people; and if we can educate our own people to say that titles are unnecessary, that they should not be recommended and that Canadians should not receive them, then they will not be granted. If the granting of titles' is coming to be a matter of disgrace, as the hon. gentleman (Mr. Nickle) said, and a matter of corruption in the Old Land, the British people will deal with that, and they will see to it that a Government will be put in power who will not make those^ recommendations which should not be made. That I think is the way in which this question must be effectively dealt with.
It has been acknowledged by the hon. gentleman, and I think quite truly and properly, that His Majesty the King is not responsible for the creating or making of these titles; that he is simply carrying out, or allowing his name to be used in connection with recommendations made by the Government of the day in every country in which those titles are being conferred. It is one of the basic principles of our constitution, under responsible government, that the King can do no wrong. We have to stand by that principle, and to realize that the King''acts upon the recommendation of his advisers, and that his advisers are responsible to the people; and if there is any abuse of His Majesty's prerogatives or power, the abuse must be visited upon the Government and rectified by the people and not make any direct representations to the King himself. I am in favour, Sir, if I have anything to say about it, of the language of this resolution. I am not in favour of bringing this matter directly to the notice of His Majesty, but I do believe in this House declaring itself, as a principle of democracy, against titles. When that happens we are declaring, as far as this House can declare,

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