THEY’RE ALL GOOD MEN
Lieut.-Col. John Bayne Maclean
MODESTY and generosity are traits in Hon. Mr. Crerar’s character. He has been generous enough to say that J. K. Munro’s brilliant national political reviews in MacLean's Magazine were responsible for his selection for the leadership of the National Progressive Party with the Premiership of Canada in the horizon. He was modest enough to doubt Mr. Munro’s estimate of him. He was public-spirited enough to accept the burden when his private inclinations were against it.
Fate made Mr. Crerar’s most violent opponent, and critic, Colonel Currie, M.P., the leader of the extreme Tory wing in the House of Commons, primarily responsible. I had been looking for a long time for a man at Ottawa who could give our readers an honest, fearless review of the national political situation. One day I was talking to Colonel Currie in the lobby of the House when a member of the Press Gallery stopped to pass him the latest gossip. Currie himself is an old journalist.
He came to me at The Toronto Mail fresh from High School— a rosy-faced country boy with a great head of jet black hair and a Celtic accent. We took him on. He was unusually successful. He grew up imbibing staunch old Tory principles. Like myself he left soon after the then editorial director deserted Sir John Macdonald. Sir John was our hero, we worshipped and loved him. Currie should have remained in journalism. He had an instinct for being the only writer on the spot for some big happenings. Sometimes he helped to stage them.
One of the latter was witnessed by more foreign correspondents, police and secret service men than ever assembled before or since for any show in Canada.
That night some of the leading participants were severely injured. Probably all of them would have been killed but for a friendly alleyway into which we rushed them from the mob.
The Colonel introduced the correspondent—J. K. Munro, who handled the political news for the Toronto Telegram.
Some months before there appeared in that paper one of the best reports of a meeting I had ever read. Only an expert on the subject Äuld have written it. It was unusual because it occupied the editorial column, but it was not the editor’s style. In the course of conversation Mr.
Munro admitted he had written it and explained how it got
there. He also admitted that he was The Telegram’s chief specialist on public ownership—to which, based on all experience, I am opposed. We also differed strongly on some other public policies but there seemed to be no question as to his courage and sincerity, entire absence of self-seeking or personal vanity, and an unusual knowledge of current politics and politicians.
J. K. Munro’s Free Hand
rjERE was the man who could give MacLean’s readers *■ what they wanted. But Managing Editors do not always agree with their Presidents—which is a very good quality—and it was some months before I could convince our Managing Editor that the man who wrote for a local evening daily like his had the training to meet the demands of a great national audience. The Toronto Telegram is written exclusively for a narrow-minded insular uplifted Toronto. It refuses outside circulation. It champions mediocrity and persecutes success, particularly in business. It appeals to the masses, often to their prejudices. It has
the largest local circulation. It is the best edited, most fearless, honest, sincere, narrow, petty daily in all Canada. That same policy has been very injurious to the welfare of its city. It has driven great industries to other centres.
Could a man who spent his life-time for that petty audience think nationally in Canadian affairs as we have to? I believed that Mr. Munro could. He was started and worked with persistently by the editor. He has succeeded very well. That is not to say that I agree with him. I certainly do not. He has played up favorites—often not mine. But he was on the spot—• often on the inside. He tells us about the national characters, national happenings as they impress him at the time. Canada never knew in so much detail the real story of our public men and their doings.
How Mr. Munro came to pick and ßlay up Crerar as a national leader and Lapointe of Quebec as his chief associate—I do not know. But it seems quite a natural development. Borden was breaking down and wanted to retire. There must soon be a new Prime Minister. The country was dissatisfied with the Government. The farmers were in the ascendancy. They were well organized. They represented the most substantial conservative interests in the country. But they had no leadership. Based on his history as the public knew it, Crerar had shown unusual business and administrative ability. He was not nationally well known and though very retiring in private life was an outstanding man in the House. Probably no one was more surprised than he to find himself suggested for leadership.
The impression has been given across Canada on the platform and elsewhere by the Progressives that because of Mr. Munro’s articles, MacLean’s Magazine, and therefore myself, a Tory, was supporting that party. This article is written first to correct this statement and next to size up for our readers the present political situation as we find it—a situation, which is very clear as to what the public want, but very complicated as to what the professional politicians are trying to make it think it wants.
All Publications Not Propagandist
BECAUSE some newspapers are started for, or are associated with, and always carrying on propaganda for various interests, party, business, personal or financial, the general impression is that all publications are of this type. This is seldom the case where papers are under capable ownership-management as are the great majority of rural weeklies and the dailies in the smaller centres in Canada. The policy of practically all of these owners is to do what is right in the public interest though it may conflict with their private affairs. Sometimes they may support a political leader or party as a necessity because they agree with him on some big questione while strongly differing on the general policy.
Very few of us in a large and complicated organization know or see what is to be published, or read much of it after it is published. Sometimes our writers bring us into conflict with our personal friends and business clients. The public gives the general newspaper, and very properly, a good deal of license in the matter of accuracy, and important details are usually verified. But with specialized newspapers like ours they are more exacting. Recently «n 'tem in a U. S. technical weekly caused the loss in a ,.jat industry of several hundred thousand dollars because the editor made careless deductions from an economic condition. It cost him a ten thousand dollar a year position.
We get the best writers and experts and investigators
Rv I ipnt rv»1 Tnhn Ravnp available to give the facts, and interpret them in ny LMCUU.-AJOI. JOnn Dayne iviaciean the light of experience and the application of
common-sense for you readers whom we serve, that you, may form your own conclusions. As a rule it is only when great issues or principles are involved like the 1911 Reciprocity, Conscription, and so on, do we lay down a definite policy. Mr. Munro is one of these writers to whom we have given a free hand, and in selecting Mr. Crerar I think he showed unusually good judgment. A recent investigation among groups of our readers in town and country indicates that his articles have put Mr. Crerar in a strong position among them. They respect him for his record and for his capacity, though they may not .express it in applause. His enemies criticize him but they have so far brought no evidence. Until they do Mr. Munro’s estimate must stand.
Pampering Hogs, Persecuting Men
CEVERAL times I have told Mr. Munro he was not ^ generous to the Premier that I thought his racy comments were weakening him but the same investigation showed a surprising and extraordinary friendliness for him among our Liberal as well as our Conservative readers; among farmers as well as town people. The constant answer came: "He himself is all right but his Government!” He suffers for the derelicts he had wished upon him. Some of the clever things Mr. Munro made him do or say and the funny attitudes in which Mr. Skuce, the cartoonist, placed him were constantly referred to. He has become a great popular, lovable hero. Some think when he grows older, finds himself, develops more tact and broadens his vision he will become the Sir John of this period. I am not intruding my own view but telling you what we found among our readers. Trying to analyze the reason, I conclude that there are some kinds of human weaknesses we like and extreme virtues we abhor. Some of our public men are so good we cannot hope to approach them. None of us can ever be as serious or as good as Mr. Munro says Hon. Mr. Rowell wants to make us. I think we would all like to be as brilliant and human as Mr. Munro makes Mr. Meighen. We found that Mr. Meighen’s troubles and weaknesses as described by Mr. Munro and cartooned by Mr. Skuce had awakened a good-natured sympathy for him, such as the one over the words "Day after day came reports of Unionist after Unionist sick or dying, till in his agony the Premier moaned, ‘I’m not leader of a Government, I’m head of a hospital’ ” which the Liberal mayor of an Ontario town had cut from MacLean’s and pinned on the wall of his office.
To Mr. King, Mr. Munro has been very unjust and has helped to create an entirely wrong impression. As I see it, Mr. Munro has given a superficial view—the view of the Press Gallery accustomed to record happenings only: I made the same mistake and cheered King’s personal defeat in 1911. Even in his own party the Liberal leader is much misunderstood. He sees too far in advance of public opinion to be personally popular. We belittled him for the radical policies he promoted in’ the Liberal Cabinet but they were very conservative compared with the more advanced social and labor legislation since adopted. Mr. King is perhaps the best-informed publicist and the poorest petty politician in the Hoyse. The opinion seems to prevail among our readers that he would have been in a strong position if he had followed his own inclinations and concentrated on the big questions which he understands and had ignored the advice of the pin-headed Grits about him—to nag the Government on trifles. As a Conservative reader put it: Are we Canadians as ignorant, uneducated, unintelligent as all political leaders, big and little, by their petty appeals think we are; so unthinking that we will vote on prejudice instead of common-sense?
Who and What Canadians Will Vote For
'T'HE strongest evidence that King is an able man -*■ is his continuous employment by Mr. Rockefeller. No man is more insistent upon getting full value for his money than the founder of Standard Oil and other great activities. Would a stickler for results like Rockefeller, with the world of able men to select from, give Mr. King $25,000 a year, which was the salary he is said to have thrown up to accept the Liberal leadership? Not likely. He must be worth it. But that type of man, unless he be a Schwab, has little appeal to public fancy until his real worth is known. Why do we pamper our prize hogs and persecute our prize men, particularly at this time when we need our best men to plan and to direct our work?
These enquiries covered only a small portion of our field, mainly in Ontario with a few excursions into the other provinces. There are well over a quarter million more of you—the subscription department say twice that —and you can tell how accurately the above personally represents your own view \
Continued on page 33
They’re All Good M e n
Continued from page 22
\ S TO the national problems, as they e* appear based on our own direct touch with public opinion; on the public utterances; on the press comments which we have lieen following closely.
Primarily they indicate, so far no outstanding national issue. There is a waiting for something to break. In the meantime the public is trying to see its
way clear of the deluge of conflicting oratory, campaign literature, of editorials and advertising—much misleading, some absolutely false,—such as this country never experienced. The trend of opinion seems to favor the Liberal party, and, of the leaders Mr. Meighen is the most popular personality.
Hut if party policies are vague and confusing, there are some things on which a very definite public opinion seems to prevail from coast to coast. These are; that the voters want the liest leaders; that they want more economy and therefore less taxation; that they want aggressive policies for building up the country and extending its markets for agricultural and other products. Audiences puzzle the old-time spellbinders. There is little response to flag waving or other old tricks; but the speakers are listened to attentive-
ly and aro undoubtedly doing some deep thinking, which is a very good indication.
Light on the Rail Muddle
THE politicians, not the public areworrying about the tariff. Recent United States policy has reunited all wavering Canadians on protection but the politicians have failed to catch this drift. Some interests are pushing the railway question into prominence, but the disgusted public seem satisfied that nothing better can be done than what Mr. Meighen has done in placing Sir Joseph Flavelle in charge of the re-organization of the system and of the financing. It is a tremendous burden for us to carry but when we compare present Canadian conditions with the days of American over-built railroading there is no need for pessimism. Canadian railroads are in a better position than were American railroads at a corresponding period. Based on American experience and given a Flavelle or C.P.R. type of good management in the railways and in the national government the seven hundred or more millions capital which Sir Joseph thinks is worthless will some day be worth par.
A S TO THE leaders. It would be A hard to find three men so much alike in character. In integrity and conscientious devotion to Canada there is nothing lacking. Each has a good history. Each works earnestly, seriously. Each leads a lonely, studious, hard-working life. Each has few intimates. These are characteristics of successful men. King and Meighen looked forward to a political career. Crerar is surprised to find himself in it and is still asking whether some mistake has been made.
But Meighen is far more energetic, resourceful and quick-witted. These with his law training and experience in petty politics have given him very great platform and other advantages. I know of no other Conservative who could have made so good a fight. But we should not judge men by what they say—particularly when they are getting their bearings as these three are—but by what they have done over a period of years. Crerar and King have the better records of accomplishment. In this respect they are away above the average of men in public life. Unfortunately men of this type are almost invariably poor speakers and have*little personal appeal to the popular fancy. Hoover the most respected international figure is one of the poorest public speakers I ever heard. This is why we are so often taken in by the pleasing faker. This is not to suggest there is anything of the faker about Meighen. There is not. Indeed I can think of no public man, at the moment, who has shown so much honest courage in dangerous situations when it would have been easier to side-step.
Based on their records as administrators, Crerar easily stands first and King second while Meighen has yet to prove his capacity as a great executive. During his short career as Prime Minister he has played party politics most successfully but his constructive statesmanship has so far been disappointing. The exigencies of the situation, the precarious state of his Party may explain that. His outstanding act was the appointment of Sir Joseph Flavelle to take charge of the railway problem. Flavelle is one of two or three of the ablest men we have. If this is suggestive of his policy in the handling of our other big questions the nation’s affairs may be as safely entrusted to him as to Crerar or King.
The chief point Mr. Meighen’s critics make is his association with big business. How little they know! If he had as much experience in big business as in petty politics he would be a much more capable Premier. He would have learned first that big businesses are built on hard work and better service. Watered stocks and profiteering are the exception not the practice. He has not given us a broad business government and he has had a freer hand than President Harding. He would have learned next that big business men’s profits are not used, as his taxation policy indicates, and as Hon. Beniah Bowman, Ontario Farm-Progressive, asserts, in luxurious living. He would therefore not be able to say, as he is saying, that Canadian business men are so much more heavily taxed than in England or the United States, that Canadian capitalists would save money by moving to these
countries. I would suggest that before he again appeals to the unthinking masses with this talk he consider how the taxes he thus extorts from the hard-working classes are used. Successful business men are the most economical and least wasteful in their personal spendings; they use their money to extend and to maintain operations in productive work, buying more from other producers, giving more employment. Test this for yourself. Much of the taxes go into unproductive government channels; often wasteful in keeping two or three men in one man’s job, as shown by our own efficiency experts, on unnecessary public building, docks and various fads. Mr. Crerar, who charges him, is himself one of the biggest of the big business men.
King’s War Record Critics
1LJON. MR. KING is chiefly criticised
for not seizing a rifle when the war came and taking the first boat for France. I have recently checked up the prominent speakers who are making this charge. One is a prominent Conservative leader four years younger than Mr. King. Not one of them has a war record. It cannot be suggested that I had any sympathy with slackers, particularly among the higher ups. I was abused for using my papers to advocate a bigger army and conscription, and criticising certain British. Army methods, particularly the absence of trained executives on fighting staffs. Many of the important positions were occupied by untrained men who got them by family or political influence. Men who took the arduous staff college course— and they were the pick of the army— were kept on routine work. Many of them threw up the army before the war on this account. A Canadian who had served with marked distinction in the South African war as a youngster—was a leader in one of its outstanding episodes -—had just finished his staff course in 1914. He was one of its most able men. I was horrified to see his name among the officers killed in the front lines as a captain in his regiment in the first engagement of the war. A staff officer told me that in a place he might have occupied was a non-military friend of a Cabinet Minister. Influence put Sir John Seely—a down and out Cabinet Minister, professional politician, a brave, it is true, but amateur soldier—in the command of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade over the heads of such experienced professional soldiers and Miliary College graduates as Perry, Sir Archibald Macdonell, General Emslie and many others. Canada was not free of it. Influence sent scores of men, important in their way at home but militair misfits in France, who constantly worried the senior officers by their creditable desire to serve in the trenches when they could have given greater service elsewhere. This is where Mr. King ex-Cabinet Minister, would have, in all probability found himself. These experiences were constantly repeated all through the war. For many of the blunders and loss of life this incompetent staff work was shown to be responsible.
So rotten had been the Asquith Government’s handling of the war that in 1915 if the Germans had pressed the attack the shortage of British and Canadian machine guns and of artillery munitions was so serious that authorities tell me we could not have withstood them. We had only two or three shells per gun per day. It was not British but Canadian and United States manufacturers who first relieved the situation; who first got their labor lined up for big production. British labor was not producing. The study and promotion of better understanding between employer and employe had been Mr. King’s specialty. Mr. King worked to promote U.S. war production. He was one of the most valuable men in that field on this side. I have a strong prejudice against any eligible man who side stepped military service—and there are many thousands of them—but common-sense compels me to admit that Mr. King was far more useful combating enemy propaganda to keep back vital war supplies here than messing up a minor staff job overseas. Many men in England who did far less service were highly rewarded with hereditary and other honors.
I do not believe we ever had a Government with the capacity to give US' as practical administration as any one of these three would if given autocratic control. Siiip'if Iff Wfn expressed that we and
other business men show friendliness to a farmer administration. The reason is that there is more common-sense in the head of one good farmer like Drury than a whole cabinet of the old line petty politicians selected not for their ability but their pull, their religion, their language, or locality. If it came to class government I would prefer farmers. Drury with a weak following is giving Ontario the best administration it ever had. But unfortunately it is becoming apparent that if Crerar has a majority following, he may be a figurehead, directed by faddists, not the autocrat we need.
I-JERE let us leave the men and take up their policies and see how far they meet your wishes. We cannot go much on official platforms. You, who have been on the inside at party conventions, know how platforms are built. Conventions are not representative. They are usually packed by cheap ward heelers, claqueurs and cliques with single-track minds. Policies—with which the leaders have no sympathy—are inserted to keep these excitable fellows quiet. At the recent Ontario Conservative convention the canny leaders took fright and adjourned before the agitators could commit them to planks that might embarrass them or Meighen. I am told that Crerar when he recently met his Committee and took real national leadership, ruthlessly ordered the scrapping of a great part of these unk policies. But punk followers are usy preaching from the old texts and many new ones. Here comes the real danger. To third parties or Progressives you will always find flocking the mental misfits, faddists with their weird, impractical theories. Magnetic, convincing speakers, they sway audiences of otherwise sane men. The late Hon. Mr. Tarte told me that the mesmeric Bourassa could make socialists out of capitalistic Montreal Tories—they would attend his meetings to scoff and remain to pray. Mr. Meighen was right. The Bolshevists are all in but not of the Farmers’ Party. If they mislead and outnumber the sane farmers as they have done in the western states, Crerar’s control will pass and we will enter upon a most dangerous
Mr. Meighen has no platform to embarrass him and Mr. King—driven to it by the Premier’s platform dexterity— is perhaps the only man in his own party so conscientious as to pay any attention to that of the Liberals. Therefore we may dismiss platforms in figuring what the leaders may do and form our conclusions in policies, on past records and current comments.
The Liberals got a splendid start. Mr. King and his associates had large, attentive audiences. He showed that every family in Canada had to pay over $300 a year to keep up the national Government before they had anything for themselves; that Mr. Meighen had refused to make economies, in fact had greatly increased their burdens. He gave details which could not be controverted. He got little applause but the intensive thoughtful silence which prevailed showed that his story had sunk deep and the results were decidedly unfavorable to the Government and its candidates. Unfortunately, as the campaign developed, he dragged in so many silly petty side issues that he began to lose the respect of the growing army of adherents, flocking to his support.
Hon. Mr. Meighen was quick to see the rising discontent with his Government— a discontent for which he was not responsible. Two courses were open. To camouflage or meet the issue frankly. He chose the former which he has so often worked successfully in Parliament where quick action was needed to save a situation. But he has yet to learn that it will not work on a nation with time to think. Sir John occasionally worked it on the House but never tried it on the country. One of his most brilliant efforts was in the North-West Rebellion. His French supporters sympathizing with the rebels were threatening to join the Liberals. He introduced an outrageous Franchise Bill under which Liberals would lose votes. He had no intention of passing it but the opposition kept the House in session night and day to prevent its going through and he did not give in until the Liberal members were too wearied to think, let alone talk about the Govern-
ment’s responsibility for the ’85 troubles. All they wanted was home and rest. Mr. Meighen has concentrated on the tariff and has told the manufacturers they must pay his campaign expenses. But they see no emergency and are not responding as of yore. Many of them in fact are supporting the Liberal Party particularly in Quebec—but this is another story which is best written after Election Day.
Mr. Crerar has followed Mr. King’s original plan of national economies, without being drawn much into many trifling side issues. On the tariff he has made a more popular appeal. He has said what a lot of us protectionists say and feel. That protection is helpful but we want our own machinery and raw material free. He asks that for the farmers; He says that the whole country is dissatisfied with some iniquitous things said and done in the name of or under a protective tariff. He asks for the elimination of combines, price agreements, extortionate terms, excessive profits and unfair stock wateringall of which are the basic complaints and
Silicies laid down in great detail by the on. Mr. Drury as the Farmers’ policy four years ago but for which some manufacturers or those who speak for them and not the tariff are responsible.
Imperial Tariffs our Best Policy
^\N HOW thoroughly have these campaigns—wastefulness in national affairs and dissatisfaction with tariff administration not the tariff itself—been absorbed by the voters .will depend the fate of the Government. Mr. Meighen has not only ignored these campaigns but showed his disdain by refusing to reduce national expenses when urged to do so by his own officials and he has been disappointingly silent and inactive on constructive policies, like settlers, industries and the extension of trade to meet the new conditions brought upon us by U.S. tariff legislation. In this connection it appears to me he has neglected an unusual opportunity. I have before me some recent U.S. foreign trade returns. Picking out their exports to the Old Country and the numerous British possessions as far as they give them in details, I find we buy well over forty per cent. The United Kingdom is first, Canada second and Germany a very poor third. We had built up a very large trade with the U.S. neglecting other markets in doing so. They now tell us in effect they do not want our farm and some other products. There is a great slump here and in consequence we have to take great losses and start afresh to build up new markets as we have had to do so often in the past. We have no complaint to make. The U.S. Congress is doing what it thinks best to protect its own people from our cheaper lands and raw material and to-discourage so many of its splendid farmers moving over here. That condition can only be met by buying less from the U.S. and buying and selling more elsewhere chiefly within the Empire. A much higher general tariff and a much lower Empire tariff where it would not injure existing investments and trade treaties with European and trans-Pacific nations, would be the best policy for building Canada today and, as I read public opinion, would also be the most popular with all classes. In 1897 Laurier and Chamberlain discussed this development. They went to the extent of considering the closing of and paying for certain Canadian industries—woollens being one of them—in exchange for a preference on Canadian grains.
Sir Lomer Gouin’s Rise
DUT suppose no party comes back -*-* strong enough to control. A union of groups and discarding of present leaders is then likely. For some time there have been preparations for such a possibility. The big man in this situation is Sir Lomer Gouin, ex-Premier of Quebec. His critics say that he has waxed rich but admit his province prospered greatly under his economical and practical administration. He now belongs to the realm of big business; and he is so able thaf important industries are constantly seeking to secure his presence on their directorates. Therefore, his critics say he would be impossible. After all is this not exactly the ability and experience we need to-day—a man who can put our fearfully muddled national affairs on a business basis and lay down plans for our future development for great prosperity for Canada as a
whole as he would for a great industry? This is a Conservative-French-Liberal combine which Mr. Meighen had been trying to effect to the consternation of the French minority who remained steadfast to the Conservative Party. But all Liberals in Quebec may not follow Sir Lomer. For a possible Farm-Liberal combine Hon. Mr. Rowell’s friends at the Toronto Star are laying foundations by assiduously spreading propaganda for his leadership but they fear a spontaneous demand for Mr. Drury. Then there might be a combination of Lapointe Liberals and Crerar Progressives with another good man as Premier whose name is at present being held in reserve.
How to Vote
What are the deductions in this complicated situation? There are times when other things being equal sentiment or prejudice may direct our vote, but this is not one of them. It seems to me that common-sense and our own selfish interests suggest that we support only the man or woman who has a record of high character, courage, energy, sanity, ability. I would judge the latter by what he has accomplished in life and not be led astray by his capacity to talk or by the new theories he advocates. I would put a success-
ful farmer in the same class as a successful business or professional man. We have undoubtedly too many small professional men in Parliament. They are a handicap in public life. They are coming out in great numbers in this campaign. On the other hand there are among them some of our best men like, for example, Hon. Mr. Stewart, the new Minister of Railways, a lawyer who has identified himself in a big way with the industries of his home
In the scores of well meant but untried theories are many worth-while, many that some day will come but the big thing for us to-day is getting started once more on the road to prosperity. The immediate outlook is discouraging. The prosperity we hope for is nowhere in sight. Governments cannot bring it. Only hard work, greater production and lower prices can. But a willingness to work hard is no use if there is little or no work; no experts to direct our work; no one to buy what we produce; and high taxation and other living costs absorbing a great share of our income. But a Government and Parliament made up of our soundest, most progressive men and women would be the greatest step to start us on the road to prosperity. It is up to us now to work for and vote for the man or woman with a decent record.