THE PREMIER AND THE PRESS
How the New Government Leader Appears to Canadian Editors
WHEN the Governor-General, on the advice of Sir Robert Borden, called upon the Honorable Arthur Meighen to form a Government it did not come as a tremendous surprise to the country. There were other possibilities, but there was at least an even chance for Meighen. The even chance turned out to be somewhat more than even and the Hon. Arthur Meighen has taken upon himself the no small task of forming a Government and of carrying out: the policies of the newly inaugurated National Liberal and Conservative Party.
The newspaper comment on his appointment and on the probable success of his effort to give the country a Government, differs largely and generally according to the political stripe of each newspaper’s policy.
“He will be the youngest statesman,” says'the St. John, N.B., Standard, and no doubt the word statesman is used advisedly, “ever called to assume the duties of Prime Minister of Canada, and his future career will be watched not only with the deepest interest, but also with the fullest confidence, by the people of this Dominion.”
The Fredericton, N.B.,Gleaner is still more glowing in its tribute:
“He is the ablest man in the public life of Canada, and in Canada we have quite a number of eminent men. His view of public questions is invariably broad; he is practical, temperate, insistently logical, a student of affairs with great capacity for work, devoted to constitutional government, a powerful debater.”
The St. John, N.B., Telegraph hardly sees in the new leader one who represents all the elements sponsoring the new party.
“Liberals,” it finds, “who follow Hon. Mr. Meighen are receiving some thinly disguised warnings from Conservative newspapers, and are being told, in effect, that whatever the party name may be the Meighen ministry will be dominated by Conservatives and Conservative policies.”
The Globe, St. John, N.B., has somewhat the same opinion:
“His call to the Premiership is not only acceptable to the party, but follows a very decided expression of party opinion in his support.”
The Times of the same city sees in his appointment a promise of action.
“Whether men admire the new Premier or not,” it says, “they recognize in him a man of action. Whether his tenure of office be long or short there will be something doing all the time.” .
The Montreal Gazette sees in the youth of the new Premier an indication of better things.
“Premier Meighen,” it says, “has injected new blood into the Cabinet, and, better even than that he has infused young blood. The Government may, therefore, be fairly described as a Government of men whose vitality
has not been exhausted, and who have not outlived the ardor of youth.
And again the same paper points out:
“A recent weakness in the Union Ministry has been its tentative character. Formed for the prosecution of the war, its function in great degree ceased with the ending of the war. The new Government must show action. The aloofness from the electorate of recent years cannot continue if victory is to be gained when the appeal to the electors comes.”
The Toronto Star sees a situation very clearly marked.
“All the forces of Conservatism,” it says, “will naturally gather to his banner. His Premiership, in fact, has finally clarified the situation so far as Conservatives and Liberal Unionists are concerned.”
“Premier Meighen has made some progress in the selection of a safety-first Cabinet,” says the Toronto Globe. “Nine members have been sworn in, of whom seven were in'the Borden Administration. The two new men are Conservatives. That is natural. There is no place in the Government of to-day for anyone who is devoted to the principles of Liberalism.”
The Toronto World is frankly pleased with the choice of the Premier, though not quite so thoroughly pleased with the Cabinet he has chosen.
“It may seem like putting new wine into old bottles,” it says, “to have a new Premier with an old Cabinet. Probably the country would be just as well pleased if Mr. Meighen built his house out of new material.”
In another editorial it comments:
“Mr. Meighen is by nature a partisan, but, after all, we still have party government in Canada. He may be trusted to organize his followers, to boldly announce his policy, and prepare to carry on an aggressive«campaign.”
The Mail and Empire, Toronto, sees in the new Premier the hope of the present Government.
“There is no closer student of our affairs,” it says, “than he has been. He will prove an acceptable leader, and we hope the country will have the good fortune to have him long at the head of its affairs.”
“As Solicitor-General,” says the Hamilton Spectator, “Secretary of State and Minister of Mines, and latterly as Minister of the Interior and Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, successively, he demonstrated hig ability, even as a leader in the higher sphere of publié service, which he is now entering.”
The Hamilton Herald had a preference, but failing this is quite satisfied with the appointment.
“Under the leadership of Mr. Meighen,” it says, “the Federal Government will, in the Herald’s opinion, be less strong and will have less assurance of success, than it would have been and had under the leadership of Sir Thomas White. But, excepting the former Finance Minister, we know of no other man better qualified by ability,
character, experience and circumstances to be the successor of Sir Robert Borden than is the brilliant barrister from Portage la Prairie, Man.”
Not so the Times of the same city. It sees in the appointment an admission that it is but a forlorn hope.
“The belief is general,” it comments, “that the appointment of Mr. Meighen as Premier is tantamount to a notice that the Government is facing defeat when it goes to the polls. It will be to all intents a discredited Tory Government no matter how it may be tinctured by the presence of a few Liberals, who appear to be willing to forswear their Liberalism for the sake of office under a Tory Government.”
“Hon. Mr. Meighen,” in the opinion of the London Advertiser, “can scarcely feel that the future looks sunny, saddled as he is with the men whose record has placed the administration in such disfavor throughout the country.”
The London Free Press, commenting on the fact that the destinies of the three political parties are in the hands of young men, the Hon. Mackenzie King, Hon. T. A. Crerar, and the Hon. Arthur Meighen, states:
“It is the good fortune of Mr. Meighen, and, we believe, of Canada, that he should be the first of the three to be Prime Minister.”
The St. Thomas Times-J ournal, while speaking generously of the new Premier, is non-committal in regard to its opinion on the wisdom of the appointment.
“Mr. Meighen,” it says, “picks up the reins of power, therefore, at a critical period in the history of the older political parties, and it will be for him to disclose, in the comparatively brief period that will intervene between his taking up the task of leadership and the next appeal to the country, the real metal of which he is made and the path along which he proposes to guide the Canadian people. He has talent, courage, energy, but higher qualities than even these are now demanded.”
The Kitchener News-Record is more direct in its statement.
“No new leader,” it claims, “and no camouflaged party name will serve to restore the confidence of the people of Canada.”
The opinion of the St. Catharines Standard can be judged from its opening paragraph in an editorial dealing with the subject:
“In the highly competent hands of Hon. Arthur Meighen bas been entrusted the task of forming a new administration.”
The Times-J ournal of Fort William sees’a long, hard row for the new Premier to hoe:
“The task to-day is up to Arthur Meighen. It is for him to show that he is a big enough man to dominate a coalition, for such, as its name implies, will be the national
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GLEANINGS of WIT, WISDOM and WHIMSICALITY
The Vexed Question.—Gouin has gone, but where is he going?—Toronto Globe.
Defined.-—Compromise: an arrangement by which the worm and bird would both be late.—Kingston British Whig.
The Crafty Benedict.—After a man is married he begins to put the big bills on the inside of the roll.—Kingston Whig.
The Busy Needle.—About the only use of the needle the girls of to-day know is to change it for each record.— Regina Post.
But That Is Half the Joy.—If you have half an hour to spare, don’t spend it with someone who hasn’t.—The Western Review.
Our Deceitful Exterior.—There are probably a lot of good people in the world who do not look the part.— Kitchener Record.
The Growing Problem.—Seems to be getting harder all the time to tell just what it was that the war made the world safe for.—Edmonton Bulletin.
Restaurant Grades.—The prevailing variety of new potatoes now served in restaurants is known to patrons as
the dwarf.”—Vancouver Province.
But the Neighbor Spreads His.—People would be a
better lot if they cared as much about heaven’s opinion as the neighbor’s.—Calgary Morning Albertan.
Pollyanna Stuff.—Only a man’s philosophy will enable him to bear the burdens imposed upon him by the philosophy of others.—Toronto Telegram.
A Rara Avis.—The story that the Prince of Wales was captivated by a humble shop girl sounds fishy. Who ever heard of a humble shop girl?—Cobalt Daily Nugget.
Those Soft-Hearted Sitters.—A newspaper is once in a while a portable screen used by men to obstruct their view of a woman standing up in a street car.—Cobalt Nugget.
Hope They Did.—All things considered it. would be better for the Western members to go straight home instead of routing themselves f.o.b. via Montreal.—Ottawa Journal.
Headgear.—A church in Toronto has been turned into a hat factory. The change is after all only a slight one however. Folks will now get hats there instead of halos.— Toronto Star.
Expressive of What?—“My daughter was married yesterday and I got drunk,” confided a Toronto “souse” to a constable. Query—Celebrating or drowning sorrow? —Owen Sound Advertiser.
With Reservation.—Chancellor Fehrenback displays characteristics of the canny Scot when he declares that Germany must fulfill all the stipulations of the treaty-^ as far as possible.—Hamilton Spectator.
Ineffectual.—If David had put mud only in his sling Goliath would have lived to dangle his little Philistinette on his knee and tell her all about what her grandad did in the great war.—London Free Press.
Hard on Si.—Our country correspondent says Uncle Si Hornswoggle tried to explain politics to his wife the other day, and the doctor thinks Uncle Si will be around again in about a week.—Sydney, N.S., Review.
The Moral.—An economical Connecticut woman who kept her money in her stocking had to have her leg cut off, her money having poisoned it. The moral is it’s better to have your leg pulled many times than amputated once. —Toronto Star.
Cost of Living in Missouri.—A Missouri wife fed arsenic to her husband, but, as the Oregon Journal says, she couldn’t afford to feed him sugar, nor potatoes, nor beef-steak, nor strawberries, so what else could the poor woman do?—Saskatoon Star.
The Judgment of Our Friends.—A London, Ont., woman seized a shotgun and came to the rescue of a caller attacked by a savage dog. When the smoke cleared away the dog was out of sight and the visitor busy picking pellets out of his legs.—Vancouver Province.
Fully Equipped.—Says a special Washington despatch to the New York Times: “The President also has automobiles in which he may spin into the suburbs.” And, perhaps he has a safety razor so that he can have a shave when so disposed.—Toronto Mail and Empire.
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Cabinet. It is a more serious undertaking than to step into the leadership of an oldline party, and will require a breadth of vision and the ability to combine tactful compromise with the qualities of a real leader.”
Thus speaks the Sentinel-Review, Woodstock, Ont. :
“Mr. Meighen is very well qualified to be the leader of a straight Conservative party; his qualification for drawing, holding and leading a mixed following remains to be proven.”
The Guelph Herald. believes that: “Hon. Arthur Meighen will have a strong case to present to the people in the next general appeal.”
The News-Chronicle, Port Arthur, is glowingly enthusiastic.
“Hon. Mr. Meighen,” it says, “comes
to the Premiership of Canada free of party entanglements,” and continues: “He has
shown himself fearless and great-minded, capable of grappling with matters that others feared to tackle.”
The Kingston Standard too is favorably impressed with the appointment.
“Anyone,” it says, “recalling his career must be struck with the capacity for taking pains, which is said to be the meaning of ggnius, which he has consistently shown.” The St. Marys Argus reserves its opinion pending his future action.
“If at this time,” it says, “after he has chosen his Cabinet, he dissolves Parliament and appeals to the people for a mandate for his Prime Ministership, his position as a national figure is assured and established.”
The Cobalt Nugget is hopeful but uncertain:
“Premier Meighen, by careful choice of men to fill the vacant Cabinet positions, may be enabled to bring into action an administration that will have a chance of securing and holding public sympathy in these times of unrest.
A Western Premier
FROM the papers representing the Western provinces there is an almost universal note of approval that the Premiership has at last gone west of the Great
Aside from this general approval, however, there appears to be the same diversity of opinion here as elsewhere.
“Mr. Meighen’saccession to the Premiership opens the door, for him, to opportunity,” says the Manitoba Free Press. “The Premiership, in itself, will probably be a mere temporary gift of fortune at this time. What is of value to Mr. Meighen is that he has attained the leadership of a political organization which will command the support of very powerful influences, and is likely to play a great part in the coming political history of Canada.”
“Hon. Arthur Meighen,” comments the Saskatoon Star, “was a marked man from the time of his first session in the House. He has an extraordinary gift of speech. But speech was only the outward and audible sign of a fine character and an unusual mentality. Speech with Meighen is orderly, fluent.”
The Moose Jaw Daily News is eminently satisfied with the choice.
“Judging,” it says, “from his past record, the Hon. Mr. Meighen is fully capable of the task that lies before him. He has by his aggressive and constructive policies of the past justified his fitness for leadership, and in spite of a very difficult situation he can be relied on to carry on the work of Government successfully.”
So also the Lethbridge Herald:
“The new Premier is fully entitled to the honor that has been paid him. As a Western man the selection, in the honor that goes with it, will be a welcome one in this part of Canada.”
The Edmonton Morning Bulletin looks at the matter from a different angle, however.
“The selection of Hon. Arthur Meighen, it believes, “as Premier dissipates the camouflage declaration of principles by the alleged new party organization. The party must be as the leader is. A reactionary leader of a progressive party is an impossibility.”
Somewhat in the same strain is the opinion of the Morning Albertan:
“He is a hard-working, clever, competent member of the Government, but he is Tory in his methods, Tory in his ideas and Tory in his ideals. That is probably the most serious criticism that . can be offered. But it is a very serious criticism.”
“Mr. Meighen was the logical choice to succeed Sir Robert Borden,” says the Daily News of Nelson, B.C.
The Vancouver Sun in commenting on the choice
“Among the supporters of the Dominion Government the appointment of Hon. Arthur Meighen as Premier will be received with satisfaction. There was, in fact, no other choice possible that would have been so good.” And it continues: “He is
temperamentally perhaps just a little too fond of fighting for the sake of having a fight, but he has energy and ability and he has used them both for the furtherance of his acknowledged, and perfectly proper, ambition.”
The Vancouver Province is inclined to be favorably disposed toward the new Premier, to give him his chance, for it realizes, that while has done much in the past his present position entails new obligations.
“He will make himself thoroughly acquainted with all questions of policy and administration which he is expected to understand and explain. He will not be lacking in ideas or the courage to express them and follow them up,” and later: “Hitherto Mr. Meighen has had need to be a good administrator, & clever politician and a skilled publicist. Now he has to prove himself a statesman.”
On the whole there appears in the press comment to be a sportsmanlike feeling that the new leader should be given his chance to prove himself. Just how that shall be done of course varies with the varying ideas of the different mediums.