Resolutions Carried at Meeting Following a Warm Debate With Colonel MacLean
Canadian Manufacturers Decide on New Policy
REVIEW OF REVIEWS
Resolutions Carried at Meeting Following a Warm Debate With Colonel MacLean
THE annual meeting of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association, held recently in Toronto, was featured by a stormy debate between Lieut.Col. J. B. McLean on the one hand and
S. R. Parsons, an ex-president of the association, on the other. For a number of years Colonel MacLean ha3 been criticizing the association on the ground that it is not handled on a broad enough basis; its executive direction is in the hands of a circle of Toronto manufacturers of narrow vision, and that consequently the manufacturers of Canada are placed in a false light. He has charged some members of the inner circle with illadvised activities, resulting in the antagonizing of other classes—labor, the farmer, and the retail merchant. Mr. Parsons replied to the charges and was followed by his lieutenant, Sam Harris, of Toronto, who attacked Col. MacLean directly, using the term “yellow cur.” Colonel Maclean replied in the current issue of The Financial Post. Some of the most interesting points that he makes in this connection are appended:
“The annual meeting of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association this week opened with a severe denunciation—which had been carefully prepare(l—of myself and The Financial Post, by two members, and wound up with the greatest general reward I have had in my whole journalistic career, going back over 37 years. When Mr. Bulman vacated the chair in favor of the new president, he advocated—at times in the exact words of The Financial Post—the policies put before its readers. He was followed by Mr. Robson, of Edmonton, in the same strain. The helpful work done by The Financial Post was specifically mentioned by one of the oldest members, Hon. E. J. Davis. Finally one resolution after another was unanimously adopted on exact lines persistently suggested in these columns. This is published as a vindication.
“As our readers know, a campaign has been going on in these columns for nearly five years for a reorganization and for a change in the general policy and attitude of the association. This campaign has been constructive in that the weaknesses and handicaps were frankly and fearlessly exposed and methods by which they could be overcome were specified. The cam-
paign was undertaken in conjunction with some of the older members, who from long experience clearly saw where the association would land if it continued to drift along as it had been under the men who had gradually assumed its control and direction.
“It has been an unpleasant fight. I knew my motives would be impugned, and as one distinguished correspondent wrote, I should have been ‘warned of the folly of proven experience tilting
at an adamant state of mind.’ I knew, also, that I would be bitterly attacked by the smaller minds. But when we had so many members of proven experience at our back we knew we were right.
“It is to these men the association should give credit for this week’s further developments. I, and the writers associated with me, have been merely the medium bv which the facts and sane views have been,placed before the membership generally, and through whom the necessary pressure was brought to bear to eliminate the influence of the Toronto clique. At one time the membership generally, including many in Toronto, felt that the only way to eliminate this control was to move the head office to Montreal or Ottawa. But the strong article in last week’s issue, the chief thought in which was inspired by a member, was the final blow that broke the power of the clique, and the motion to retain the head office in Toronto, in which district the vast majority of the members are, was adopted.
“These and following points are given because this issue is to be sent to those manufacturers who aro raot regular readers. Some of my good friends in the C.M.A., members like E. G. Henderson, a past president, question the advisability of dealing with these matters in The Financial Post. But the facts are that more manufacturers read this paper regularly than the total membership of the association to-day, the other readers being financiers and investors, who are very deeply interested as present and prospective investors in Canadian industrial securities. So important has this become that we have been considering for some time giving more space tc manufacturing topics. The encouraging developments at this week’s meeting have settled it.
“My life work has been as a specialist in giving of news, the advocating of policies in the best interests of the various classes, manufacturers, investors, merchants, farmers and others. In that way we get more closely in touch with the real opinion of the whole country than by other newsoaper publishers. Also, so much depends upon the accuracy of our information and views that it is absolutely necessary to tell the truth. That is what we are paid for. This naturally sometimes gives offense to my best friends, who see only their particular, selfish side, or to others, quite sincere, who cannot see that a newspaper like The Post is a national institution, not a local corporation. Readers have no conception of the strenuous efforts made to suppress or misrepresent important transactions. It is far worse in class than in general newspapers, and Stewart Lyon, editor of the Globe, speaking at a meeting of editors, deplored the way the big daily papers were handicapped on this account—the suppression of news—and he was followed by the editor of the Telegram, Winnipeg, to the same effect. The big class papers dare not suppress anything that is öf vital interest to their other readers, if they would hold their clientele permanently. This is much misunderstood. We have occasionally been accused of carrying on our papers in the interests of our readers. This is true and in the long run it has been realized by those who accuse us that it is in their best interests.
“I had my first experiences with the C.M.A. in 1882-3, at tariff interviews with Sir John Macdonald and Sir Leonard Tilley. From then on I have been an ardent protectionist for Canada and have been through every campaign since. With this experience and the information that comes to me through all the other classes we serve, we ought to know the attitude of the Canadian people as a whole better than most men. And we think we best serve our readers and the manufacturers generally by giving them the hard facts, and advocating the policies based on them that will aid in upbuilding Canadian industry, no matter how disagreeable.
“A number of men in the C.M.A. have refused to look at these facts. They say we are doing great harm in publishing them. They say, ‘The way to deal with the farmer is to throttle
him; to hell with trade unions; squelch the clergy.’ Some very good men hold some of these views because they do not know the facts. When they know them they act very differently. What promised to be a big, costly, very nasty strike, involving thousands of men, a few weeks ago was quickly and satisfactorily settled by a man who read one of our articles, which completely changed his attitude towards labor unions. I will give the names and details to the president of the C.M.A. for verification. Then there is the other class who seldom go outside their own circle and are out of touch with general manufacturing conditions, and still more so with public opinion. Unfortunately they have had most to say in the C.M.A. Hence present conditions. But of them I will talk later.
“In the meantime I will rise to a ‘question of privilege,’ as 'S. R. Parsons —one of the best presidents the association ever had, but an injudicious ex-president—would say, and he ‘rises’ often these days. Some of the leading dailies have taken great pains to play up the sensational parts of the C.M.A. meeting, omitting the explanation details. Our last week’s article on association matters stirred up the ‘old gang’; also Mr. Parsons, who, however, has not been one of them. Mr. Parsons brought it up and dealt with it unfairly and inaccurately as documents referred to since will show. He also raised several other interesting points on newspaper policy which will be dealt with later, hut he altogether refrained from dealing with the main points in the article.
“Then up rose Sam Harris. He said he considered himself one of the old gang as he had been 15 years one of the most active members of the executive committee and had much to do with the policies of the association all these years, which is quite true. He wanted to know who the pinheads were. ‘Am I one of them, Colonel?’ he asked.
“To which I replied I would let it be decided when he finished his speech.
“He refrained from dealing with the article which he had in his hand on its merits. That is, to explain or defend the charge in the article that the old gang in the C.M.A.—which he said he represented—had so mismanaged its affairs and misrepresented its membership as to unnecessarily estrange the farmers, labor unions, clergy, etc. Instead, he added the Irish to the list by proceeding to explain his knowledge of Irish dogs. He said there were several kinds of curs, but the lowest type of all was a yellow dog, and he evidently desired myself and the audience to understand I was one of the latter class.
“A stillness prevailed. It was not necessary to answer his question. The necessity for the changes advocated in these columns was emphasized. Compare the Association in its great days— and it is now going to be greater than ever—under Edward Gurney, Senator Nichols, Hon. E. J. Davis, W. K. George, W. K. McNaught, the Ellis brothers, Sir Albert Kemp, and others of like calibre. It is unnecessary to say more. A number of members got together to demand an apology from Mr. Harris. Some wanted a withdrawal from the association. One of the provincial branches threatened to withdraw, and sent a formal notice to that effect. It was felt that the story of such an exhibition going out through the country would create an entirely wrong impression of the membership. A deputation called on me to know if I would accept an apology. I said it was quite unnecessary.
“If Mr. Harris had called me a lap dog it would have been different. I know something about dogs, particularly about the ‘yellow dog,’ the name given by the ignorant to the grandest breed of all—the Irish terrier. I have owned and bred a great many of them. You will find my name in the prize lists as an exhibitor at shows from New York to San Francisco, and later, in conjunction with a partner and worshipper of dogs, the late Dr. W. A.
Drummond, Irishman, author of ‘The Habitant,’ and brother of a former president of the association. I have been going along the street with a dog for which I would not take $1,000. when ignorant persons have asked wherever did I get the ‘yellow cur.’ I sold one for $1,200, and paid as high as $800. Wm. Brodre, Banff, refused $5,000 for ‘Irish Ambassador,’ the yellowest of yellow dogs.
“The Irish terrier was originally, and still is, the gypsy dog of Ireland. His wonderful qualities were recognized about 100 years ago. Mr. Harris is thus a century behind the times. Queen Victoria had two as constant companions. They are noted for their wonderful intelligence, faithfulness, reliability, good temper and absolute fearlessness. They are very shy but love a fight. They are very discerning, being gentle with children and other decent persons. With others they will never be friendly, in fact, are vicious. You know the story of the man who dislikes dogs. Mr. Harris should apolo-
gize to the Irish and the Irish terrier. They have breeding.
“If Mr. Harris, and his Toronto colleagues, know as little about general business conditions in Canada, and the relations between the great classes of manufacturers, agriculturists and labor unions as he does about dogs, and particularly Irish dogs, the membership generally have all the evidence of the need of the new blood now being arranged for and the reorganization, of the Association now in progress. This is what we have been working for in conjunction with and under the advice of some of the best men in the Association, and in which we know we have the sympathy of the great mass of members.
“Typical of their view was what Hon. Mr. Davis, who came to me at the close of the meeting, said, ‘Keep it up; you are doing magnificent work for the C.M.A. Take the advice of one like myself who has been for so many years in public life exposed to criticism, false and otherwise. Pay no attention to it when you know you are right.’ ”
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