March 14, 1930 (16th Parliament, 4th Session)


George Spotton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEORGE SPOTTON (North Huron):

Before the orders of the day are called, I wish to make a few observations on a considered article printed in the Ottawa Citizen. Had it been in the nature of a neiws item I would have been pleased to let it pass, but since it is a considered article, as an editorial, and in which I am named, and grossly misrepresented, I rise to a question of privilege in the matter. The editorial is as follows:

Privilege-Mr. Spot ton
Divorce still in Politics
The House of Commons had the opportunity to rid itself of the obnoxious business of sanctioning hundreds of divorces every session. Mr. Woodsworth's bill would have given the province of Ontario authority to establish divorce courts, as they are established in every province outside of Quebec. Last Tuesday night, however, when the house divided on the proposed measure, the majority voted against it.
Criticism is being voiced in some quarters that the French-Canadian members are denying Ontario the right to have divorce courts. After last Tuesday's vote, this criticism is unwarranted. The house divided on Mr. Woodsworth's bill, 78 for and 79 against. One vote made the difference between approval and defeat. Protestant members from Ontario, including some Orangemen on the Conservative side, decided the issue by voting with the Roman Catholic members to defeat the bill.
Under such circumstances, it cannot be said truthfully that Quebec is denying Ontario the desired legislation. French-Canadian and other Roman Catholic members were in the minority.
I am glad to know that some have the definition much clearer than I have. They apparently have a few more degrees.
Political Orangemen, including W. F. Garland of Carleton county, James Arthurs of Parry Sound and George Spotton of North Huron, provided the necessary majority to defeat the bill. [DOT]
After Tuesday's experience, Mr. Woodsworth's energies in parliament can surely be conserved to better purpose for the consideration of economic issues. The game of sectarian politics as it is played for generation after generation between Ontario and Quebec is largely a waste of time. It is certainly a waste of energy for intelligent members like Mr. Woodsworth who are among the few_ to be genuinely interesting themselves in social and economic reconstruction.
Parliament has voted to keep divorce in politics. Some members would be lost without it as one of the issues to be produced from the political conjuror's box of tricks on election platforms in Ontario. Mr. Barnum will never be dead so long as the political hocus-pocus between Ontario and Quebec can be kept alive.
I am free to admit that I am an Orangeman, and I am proud of it. I would expect any other brother of the dust in this house to be proud of any organization to which he may have subscribed. I do, however, take objection to this official organ of the Orange order, the Citizen, telling me when and how I should vote. I strenuously object to the imputation and the implication in the sentence:
Protestant members from Ontario, including some Orangemen on the Conservative side, decided the issue by voting with the Roman Catholic members to defeat the bill.
I was one of those Orangemen who so voted, and I am prepared to vote that way again regardless of the criticism of any organization, society or newspaper. I am unalterably opposed to making divorce any easier to 2419-38
obtain in this country, and, I will not change my vote. I claim the proud privilege of voting with the Roman Catholic members of this house if I see fit to do so, and I am not dishonouring my name, the name of my predecessors or the reputation of my constituency in so doing. I wish boldly to repel the implication that an Orangeman cannot register his conviction in a certain way because he is walking hand in hand with men of another faith with the purpose of restraining a great evil in this country.
I am an Orangeman, but I am not a political Orangeman. The Orange order to which I belong asks nothing for itself that it is not willing to give any brother in this country.
What matter that at different times Our fathers claimed the sod?
What matter that at different shrines They prayed unto one God?
In fortune and in fame we're bound In stronger links than steel;
And neither could be safe or sound But in the others' weal.
I am sent here to represent the people of North Huron, not the Ottawa Citizen or an occasional wild man from Borneo who may go from Toronto to attend the Grand Lodge of Western Ontario. I am here, sir, to register my conviction as representing my constituency and not as an Orangeman I am not ashamed of voting hand in hand with the French Canadians, and my Roman Catholic fellow citizens in this house.

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