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


Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. A. R. McMASTER (Brome):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle) in whatever blame or praise is due to him for bringing this matter before the House. There has been a reproach urged against him to the effeot that this is not a matter of first rate importance and that it has taken up too much of the time of this House. I ask, Mr. Speaker: Is that the fault of the hon. member for Kingston? I should say it is not. One evening last spring the House of Commons was prepared, in my humble opinion, by an overwhelming majority, to adopt and carry the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Springfield (Mr. Richardson), along the same lines as the resolution before the House to-day. It was not the fault of the hon. member for Kingston, and not the fault of the hon. member for Brome, who had seconded the resolution, that it was not carried on that occasion. It was the fault, if fault there be, of the Government

of the day which made the matter a nonconfidence motion and whipped their followers into line. If the House of Commons had been allowed on that evening to express freely and frankly its opinion, the amendment of the hon. member for Springfield would have passed by an overwhelming majority and, in so far as this House is concerned, the matter would have been disposed of. .
This session, when the hon. member for Kingston brought this matter up, urging again the same position as was assumed by the hon. member for Springfield last year, the motion would have been carried by a substantial majority had not the Government of the day thought it wise to refer the question to a committee. I believe firmly that the hon. member for Kingston has been absolutely sincere and courageous in this matter and I am proud to associate myself with him. I would say to him not to mind the sneers and jeers of those who state that he would employ his talents to greater advantage if he used them to forward some other reform. Every reformer has had to meet that. If people do not like a reform they say to the reformer: Why do you urge this reform; why do you not urge the other reform? You remember what was said to the woman with the alabaster box: Why was this ointment not sold for much and the money given to the poor?
The speech of the hon. member for one of the Torontos (Mr. Sheard) started off by saying that this resolution was a rebuke to His Majesty. His Majesty has no more to do with this than he has to do with a writ issued by a court in Canada which reads: George the Fifth, King of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India, and King of the Dominions Beyond the Seas, [DOT]to so and so, a bailiff of the superior court. It is merely a matter of form and every one knows it. His Majesty has nothing to do with the granting of titles and everybody knows that. The people in England who have to do with the granting of titles are the whips of the political parties and the people in Canada who have to do with the granting of titles are the Government of the day. If the title factory is continued in operation in Canada and the practice grows, -the member for North Grey (Mr. Middlebro), and if we on this side of the House get into power and this pernicious system still exists, my hon. friend from Chateauguay-Huntingdon (Mr. Robb) will say who is to be called a knight or a squire.

The members from Toronto are so numerous that I cannot remember all their geographical descriptions, but the distinguished medical gentleman who sits for one of the Torontos need not go very far to find evidence of popular disapproval of knighthoods. He has merely to turn to the distinguished gentleman who sits beside him and whom I congratulate on his support of democracy in voting against knighthoods last session.

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