O, DEMOS, WHERE IS THY STING?
J. K. MUNRO
THE election has come and gone, the fighting and tumult have faded into recrimination and sneers and the ordinary everyday citizen, “even as you and I,” is realising that it makes mighty little difference to his individual prosperity who regins at Ottawa, or what brand of Government hands out favors to its friends. On the whole that election ran to form fairly well. Crerar and his Grain Growers swept the Prairies; Quebec paid a last tribute to Laurier and gave a last slap on the wrist to the party that enacted conscription; and Premier George Murray made good his threat that Nova Scotia would send no more supporters of the Government to Ottawa than did old Quebec.
New Brunswick split according to schedule, little P.E.I. put up a solid Grit front and British Columbia did the expected. Old Ontario was the real battle ground; which was as it should be. But the final returns, these were the real surprise. The Tories did fairly well, but the Farmers fell down badly and Hon. W. L. M. King not only carried his own seat but a dozen others that were expected to go to the honest tillers of the soil. Yes, the Liberals ran a bit strong with their twenty-two members elect, and the. Farmers were about 16 or 17 behind their expectations.
There are three groups in the new Parliament. None of them is strong enough to go ahead without fear of or favors from the others. But Young William Lyon MacKenzie King with 116 followers is far enough in front to ensure his realization of the ambition of his young life. Also Canada has as nice a little tailor-made Premier as any young country could ask for.
And this might be as good a time as any to explain that MacLean's absolutely refuses to take any responsibility for any remarks I may make about Mr. King or anything else. All of which is as it should be, for I object to any one at long range revising anything I examine at close quarters. Mr. King is one of the little things I have given study to. And he doesn’t look a bit bigger because chance and the electors have stuck his feet into a pair of man-sized shoes. However,.Mr. King is Premier, or rather will be Premier by the time this is in print. At the time of writing he is raking a well-earned rest by making another speech in North York. Speaking with appropriate gestures is still the young Premier’s favorite exercise. Some statesmen find relief from the cares of Government by playing golf; <ome go fishing. But Mr. King finds relaxation in orating. He talks automatically and it probably rests his mind. That’s one reason he emerged from the campaign looking fresh and cherub-like. Premier Meighen came back looking as faded and worn as one of Sir George Foster’s threeyear-old suits while weeks before the polling day the Hired Man’s Hero knew a fatigue he never learned on the harvest field or at a threshing
Next Campaign Should be Shorter
\ ND it was a long, hard campaign, weeks longer than ' * it should have been. Whether or not it was the educative campaign Premier Meighen said it would be, depends entirely on your point of view. Mr. Meighen doubtless learned a lot—enough to graduate him both from the Premiership and his constituency. But the mob which is governed by prejudice and the higher-ups who are swayed by self-interest appear to have acted as in the good old days ere prohibition took the joy out of celebrations and Wesley Rowell extracted most of the remaining joy from our private lives.
Meighen preached protection. King implored the population to dethrone autocracy and plant democracy (meaning King) in its place. Crerar pleaded for business methods in
Government that would bring lasting happiness in its train. Each of these succeeded in convincing his own followers and such others as would be convinced. And the others just went out and voted because they liked the candidate, they didn’t like the other fellow or because times were pinching a bit and they wanted to get even somewhere. It is a good bet that more people voted against Meighen than voted for King, and that more people voted against the Farmers than voted for either of them. Funny isn’t it, that five people will turn out to gratify a spite far quicker than one will leave his own fireside to pay a debt of gratitude?
But to stop moralising and get down to cases, did you
notice how the Montreal Press which
cajoled Premier Meighen into an election turned and rended him once they got him fairly in the field? Did you remark how
J. K. Munro demands an explanation from the Editor. In the December 15th issue there was a statement reading: “We don’t mind saying that Crerar is quite as ‘good’ a second as 'J. K.’ anticipated.” Here’s the explanation, in justice to “J. K.”; for “is” read “isn’t”!
King made love to the Progressives for part of the way and then turned and told them they had lost their chance and that now they could go to perdition any old way they liked?
These little things just marked milestones in the campaign. Everybody who plays the political game from the inside knows that the election was Montreal made and Montreal controlled. The early idea was a union of Gouin Liberals and Ontario Conservatives ostensibly to protect protection and
ostensibly protect protection head off the Farmers and incidentally to turn the National Railways into the kindly arms of the C.P.R. Everyone knows that as the campaign advanced the Government cause made its weakness more apparent. Finally Montreal decided that those Tories wouldn’t do for allies and went out to grab the Government on its own hook. That was when Mr. Meighen got the knife from his eastern friends. And his intelligent board of strategy, made up of these eminent has-beens Hon. J. D.
Reid, Hon. J. A. Calder and a partially reformed Liberal and very wise person
known as John Bain, never realized what was happening to them and went on playing Montreal’s game almost up to the day of election. When the blow fell they hied them off one to Flonolulu, and another to Southern France. And rumor has it that Premier Meighen wished them a safe journey to an even warmer climate.
Everything In The Making
NOW this chapter of history is written at an unfortunate time. Mr. King knows he is going to be Premier, but it is doubtful if even he knows what his cabinet will be or what his party will do. Crerar is entrenched at Winnipeg trying to make up his mind whether heshould make aD offensive and defensive alliance with the Liberals, or draw down $10,000 per year as the leader of the Opposition Meighen is in Ottawa getting ready for the obsequies and wondering whether he should get a seat and lead the little band of followers in the House and if so where he can pick up a seat to sit in.
Everything is in the making. Nothing is made. And it is bad business to prophesy when people don’t have time to forget. So they must be left alone to work out their own salvation, the while we glance back and size up the raw material the populace has provided for the making of statesmen. Most of said statesmen are made from sawdust But there are exceptions and some of these may have been uncovered by the landslide of December 6.
Starting from the East you find that Nova Scotia has returned us Fielding, MacLean, and Duff of the east House and “Ned” Macdonald who in 1917 rested up till the sledding improved a bit. No use to discuss the first three just now and it is only necessary to add that “Ned” MacDonald is'as fine a specimen of an old Tory as ever came to Ottawa done up in a Liberal wrapper.
New Brunswick’s most notable ones are Copp, the fluent Liberal who can bury any old idea beneath an avalanche of words—and take all day to do it—and James Babbington Macaulay Baxter who after a brief if not glorious career in the Meighen cabinet comes back to Ottawa bringing almost half his Province with him. The Tories expect much of Baxter who is a “he” man and who has learned politics in the New Brunswick kindergarten. If by any chance Hon. Arthur Meighen should decide to quit Baxter is mentioned as his likely successor. Anyway he is a bit of a rough and tumble fighter and should have a lot of fun with the new Premier. And right here let the opportunity be taken to remark that with Meigh en, Baxter and Bennett lined up on the opposing front Mr. King is faced with busy afternoons and bad nights. For he is a glib talker rather than a quick thinker, is the grandson of his grandfather That’s one reason the last session of Parliament was so deadly dull. An opposition leader must know how and when to move. That new opposition trio should show how it should be done. But to get back. There’s also Prtmier Foster down there—who may move up to Ottawa if the invitation is nicely worded.
I.apointe l.ooms Large
QUEBEC with the bulk of the Liberal
following and never a trace of Tory .
anywhere in its make-up. of .-.ourse, furK
nishes the greatest array of Liberal statesmen. There’s Lapointe, Gouin, Beland,
Mitchell, Robb, Lemieux and Bureau— almost enough to decorate an entire cabin-
et. And Lapointe is placed first advisedly. For was he not the first man summoned to Ottawa to consult with Mr. King in regard to the formation of his cabinet? Gouin, of course, has been hailed as the Quebec boss, as the man who was to grab the Premiership when King was safely beaten in North York—whither he had been sent for that sinister purpose.
But King didn't get beaten. Like most other schemes batched in Montreal that miscarried. Today King is in i he saddle. He is Premier. His word is law unto the Liberal party and his first act is to call Ernest Lapointe, Sir Lomer Gouin’s rival, the man who thwarted the Gouin plans at the Grit convention, to be his first lieutenant. And whether Mr. King’s choice was prompted by pique, vanity or a judgment for which none has so far given him credit, he appears to have made a ten-stroke. For if it came to a -¡howdownin Quebec, Lapointe could command ten followers where Gouin would have difficulty in finding one. Sir Lomer is a captain of finance and captains of finance are not made of the material that produce popular idols. Gouin may or may not be in the new cabinet. But if he is, he will have to go in hat in hand and await his opportunity. Everything comes to him who waits—perhaps. For a long time to come Mr. King will probably remember that Sir Lomer belongs to the same clique that betrayed Meighen and that was prepared to bury himself in North York and keep a wary eye on him. Montreal over-played its hand a bit in the election just past and will require more than a day or two to recover what it lost.
Hon. Walter Mitchell is the other new man. He was provincial treasurer of Quebec under Sir Lomer and caught the latter’s fancy to an extent that report billed him for finance minister had the Gouin attempt to gain control of the Dominion Government been a bit more successful. Now it looks as if he would be lucky togetwithintheSacred portals of the cabinet even as Minister without portfolio. For indications are that Premier King, a bit nervous over what has happened, will stick as far as policy will permit to the friends who supported him in the Liberal convention or who at a later date furnished him with the opportunities to make speeches. Of the others,
Beland is a political poet; James Robb is a level-headed business man, deservedly popular, who has earned recognition as temporary leader after Laurier’s death, and subsequently as chief whip of the Liberal party; Lemieux is ■redited with being a big interest man and is none too popular in his own party even if he has considerable ability and unlimited oratory;
Bureau is a merry little Frenchman, who divides his love between Ernest Lapointe and the C.P.R. At present Jacques is so tickled with himself for having made one of Meighen’s new French ministers lose his deposit that he doesn’t really want anything else for himself. By the way, those four new ministers from Quebec that Hon. Arthur enticed into his ante-mortem cabinet disappeared with the expected suddenness. All four lost their deposits. So again 1 ask, why bother about their names?
Ontario’s Cabinet Timber
COMING to Ontario you find a great falling off in high class cabinet material. The King cause looked to be at a low ebb in Ontario and almost any old thing did for a Liberal candidate in any of the majority of constituencies. But during the last days when Meighen started to fad« and Montreal had hopes of a working majority over all those, came a sudden rush of money and influence to anything labelled “Grit” that looked to have a ghost of a chance. So quite a bunch of them pulled through, though most of them don’t carry names that loom large in political
history. However, never mind, they are grits.
To be sure our old friend George P. Graham made the grade in South Essex and his favorite jokes will again cause laughs to ring through the stately corridors on Parliament Hill.
But George wabbled a bit on the conscription issue and has never been quite forgiven by either side.
Everybody will welcome him back but nobody will be rushing around to offer him any cabinet jobs. There is always a possibility of course that he will make the grade but if he does he’ll have to do some tall climbing. W.
C.|Kennedy, of Windsor, is another who sticks out a bit.
William has money, an offhand manner and a right hand that does not hesitate to write checks. ’Tis said that he and another, William Duff, of Lunenburg, financed King’s first trip over Canada. Anyway the new Premier announced in North Essex, Kennedy’s constituency, that if he arrived Kennedy would sit in his
cabinet and naturally William looks to him to live up to his election promises. But if he does, what a knife Hon. Charles Murphy will carry in his boot. For it is an unwritten law of the cabineteers that only one Roman Catholic Minister must come from Ontario. Hon. Charles has
all an Irishman’s capacity for nursing a grievance. Moreover Wesley Rowell will bear witness that once he starts after an opponent—he never knows where to stop. So keep an eye on this little knot in the political skein. It may have an interesting sequel.
Of course Archie McCoig, the greatest rural politician of this or any other age, was again elected in Kent. Archie is always going to be beaten and always wiggles in—this time by a scant 4000. But Archie is too busy looking after the interests of the humble husbandmen of Kent to bother about portfolios.
Then, too, Mr. King himself also comes from Ontario and James Murdock, the defeated Labor-Liberal of South Toronto, is said to be billed for the Labor Department and that helps out the available supply.
Scant Material in West
solved. The Farmers whom th.e boy leader scorned in the closing days of the campaign rpay have rushed to his rescue. But at the moment in all that broad expanse of prairie only three M.P.’s wear the Liberal brand. And, sad to relate, one of those, viz. and to wit, Hon. A. B. Hudson, is really a Progressive wearing a bit of Liberal disguise to ensure his election in the Tory constituency of South Winnipeg. Hudson was a Liberal in the good old days when the Rogers-Roblin combination was being hurled from power. He was the Lib-
DUT it is when Mr. King gets West D 0f the Great Lakes that he finds his real difficulties. Of course as you read this those difficulties may be
eral Attorney-General of Manitoba till ill-health turneo him back to a more peaceful life and the practice of law Then he learned to love Hon. T. A. Crerar and became hisfriend and political adviser. King wants him; Crerar can hold him and you will know now howthe thing worked
McMurray,of North Winnipeg, and Hon. W. B. Moth erwell, of Regina, are the other two. Of those McMurray is an unknown quantity; Motherwell is an ex-member of the Saskatchewan cabinet, always a Liberal and always a Laurierite. In Alberta the Liberals are apparently obsolete Of course there is always Farmer Willie Martin of Saskatchewan, who learned politics at the footstool of Hon. James Calder and evidently absorbed some of his methods. He took Maharg the Grain Grower into his cabinet to make himself solid with the Progressives and then under the influence of the final Liberal swing somersaulted on to the Liberal stump for Motherwell Unless Willie by this time has managed to turn another flip and land in the King cabinet. He would appear to be in a bad way, for those Western Farmers are bad forgetters and if the Liberal returns are any indication, those socalled Progressives are somewhat in command of the political field in Willie Martin’s favorite province.
As for British Columbia it has two ministers in the late cabinet but its three Liberals-elect don’t stick out, and beyond Senator Bostook, who without portfolio will head the Senate minority,itis not likely to loom like Mt. Baker in the new outfit.
But what of the defeated? What of Hon Arthur Meighen, the young champion of protection, who experimented on an unthinking country with an educative campaign? There can be no doubt that this “intelligent aristocrat” got a bit of a bump. He fought manfully. To the war of words he contributed his full share and then some And he got his share of the applause. It took the return? to convince him that his hour of humiliation was at hand. He may not have expected a majority over all. But he did expect to have enough seats to carry on and meet parliament. Had the groups run close in numbers and he had had even the second largest there is every reason to believe he would have stayed in the saddle and tried out this kind of government by minority practised by Drury in Ontario and Norris in Manitoba.
Good Friends in Adversity
AND he had the best of evidence that he would be a good first. For did not that fountain of political wisdom, Hon. J. A. Calder, furnish him with a confidential report the day before election? It was an artistic report too, with the safe government constitution marked in red ink. And, whisper it softly, there were one hundred and five of those red letter seats. Do you wonder that silent James has hied himself to Honolulu till the country—yes and its late premier—have a chance to forget some things? But Hon. Arthur bore up bravely under the shock. Hi? face is not a shade more mournful than on the day a grateful bunch of M.P.’s made him Premier of Canada. He is learning that even in adversity he has friends—far better friends than those whose advice he took in the days of his glory—for they are prepared, some of them, to provide all too scarce seats in parliament that he may lead the survivors of the Tory débâcle in the house.
Others would establish one of those “secretarial funds'' sacred to the memory of Hon. Wesley Rowell, that Hon. Arthur may live in peace and comfort while his tongue wags in the same old way. For little Arthur would probably have made a rich lawyer had he not preferred being a poor politician. And he who would live by the people will surely
Continued on page 44
O, Demos, Where Is Thy Sting?
Continued from page 15
surely die by the people. Nor will he when the inevitable day of defeat comes, he is in a position to strike a heroic attitude and chant “O Demos, where is thy sting?” That Mr. Meighen will stay in the game goes without saying. When the political virus gets into a man’s blood there’s no cure. He’ll be provided with a seat and as T. A. Crerar probably will decide that the Opposition leader’s job is something he doesn’t want even with the $10,000 thrown in, the Meighen star will shine more brightly than ever before.
For if Hon. Arthur is anything he is a critic. He loves to tear an opponent limb from limb, and with the dignity of Premier removed from his shoulders he won’t have to try so hard to conceal his contempt for his plump little successor. _ Yes, when the first pangs are over, Mr. Meighen should find things much to his liking. That feeling that you are not appreciated hurts a lot. But it is finally succeeded by a yet firmer conviction that the people will yet be sorrier than you are at present.
King Coaxing Crerar
AS FOR the Hired Man’s Hero, he met disappointment in four provinces, Little P.E.I. promised him a seat and didn’t come through; N.S. and N.B. held out hopes of eight or ten and couldn’t put over more than one. Even Quebec looked for a moment as if it might add to his following—and didn’t. But it was Ontario that really disappointed most. There
the government was entrenched in Queen’s Park and that wise old owl, J. .1. Morrison, was roaming the concessions and sidelines. The wires that went West carried the glad tidings forty, forty-five, yes, as high as fifty seats. And when the returns were all in only twenty-three of the husbandry could qualify to attend prayers on Parliament Hill! That was the blow that almost killed Crerar.
Out around home of course all the neighbors voted for him. Of the forty-one seats in the three prairie provinces thirty-eight went Progressive, for no matter what Hudson may do later he was a Progressive when he was elected, two went Liberal and one went Tory. And the chances are that a recount may place still another Progressive in the place of. R. R. Bennett, the one Tory. Crerar couldn’t have cleaned up much better if he had used a hand
In all he has around sixty-five followers in the house and as this is written King is trying to coax him and his lieutenants into his cabinet. Unless this is a wrong guess he won’t go. Neither will he lead the opposition. He’ll play “flying wing” in the political foot-ball game. His force joined to the regular opposition will put the government in a minority of one or two. He cpn block government legislation at any moment. He can dictate the terms of his support. And as you size up the situation you might recall a prediction of two or three years ago, “the Western tail will wag the Eastern dog.”