Maclean's Editorials

Maclean's Editorials

May 1 1940
Maclean's Editorials

Maclean's Editorials

May 1 1940

The Election Result

THIS is the first issue to go to press after the election, and our comment is therefore belated.

But we feel we must record our award for the best piece of election reporting. It goes to Judith Robinson, of the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Miss Robinson wrote:

“This reporter found the Tory she was looking for, and asked the question of the day: ‘To what do you attribute the King Government’s victory?’

“ ‘To the fact that we got licked,’ the Tory said.”

We do hope, though, that Prime Minister Mackenzie King will not permit his unprecedented majority in the Commons to obliterate the fact that out of the 4,458,861 civilians and soldiers who voted, there were 2,014,049 civilians and 33,570 soldiers who voted against his party.

That opposition will not be very comprehensively represented in the new Parliament. That is the only thing about the election which really gives us qualms. So long as a party gives good, sound government, we aren’t concerned which party is in power. But we do think that good government is more easily achieved when there is a rattling good opposition to audit its record as it goes along.

It’s Up to Mr. King

IT IS to be hoped that one consequence of the election will be a decision on the part of Mr. King to strengthen his Cabinet.

During the campaign the strategy of the Liberal high command in answering criticism of the Government’s record was to deny everything, to admit nothing. With the election out of the way, there is no longer any political excuse for this attitude.

Party expediency no longer extenuates the pretense that the Government’s record, commendable as it is in some respects, is all white and no black; that all its Ministers are as good as the best.

That sort of tactic may have its place on the hustings, but it is not the tactic which wins wars.

The people have said that as between Mr. King and Dr. Manion they preferred Mr. King as a war leader. Bombarded by conflicting evidence from all sides, they have said that on balance they believed the good in the Government’s record outweighed the bad.

But that does not mean they have condoned the bad while endorsing the good; or that all the criticism made of the Government’s record has been dismissed as groundless.

As the Prime Minister himself has indicated, the real significance of the verdict is simply this: “A vigorous and united war effort is necessary above all things.”

That being the case, it is now Mr. King’s clear duty to re-assess the criticism, not in the light of election strategy, but in the light of its bearing on the vigor and efficiency of the war effort; and then to take such remedial measures as the facts may warrant.

This may not be easy. Human nature being what it is, the danger is that the election result will induce a feeling of complacency among the followers of the Government, conceivably even among the personnel of the Government itself.

The temptation will be to believe that this is the best of all Governments, that no changes are necessary, that the war effort cannot be improved.

If an antidote is necessary, Mr. King might remind both himself and his followers that more than 2,000,000 of his fellow Canadians have indicated a contrary belief; that 33,000 service men registered disapproval of the administration of our war effort, as against 23,000 who endorsed it.

There is no room for complacency in such a picture.

From Mr. King the country has demanded “a vigorous and united war effort above all things.”

Mr. King, if he is to meet that demand, will have to be as ruthless in rooting out complacency, party expediency, incompetence or any other drag on our war effort, as if he were a commander at the front.

Call From the Sea

BEFORE us is a letter headed Fishermen’s Bethel. It is from Albert S. Austin, the port missionary of Grimsby and Cleethorpes, on the East Coast of Britain. This is what he says:

“Thousands of Grimsby fishermen are now engaged in the hazardous task of mine-sweeping, so keeping our shores open to shipping. This has meant the loss of many lives during the past three months. We are endeavoring to do what we can for the dependents of these, but our fund for this purpose needs constant replenishment.

“Having received several cheques from the Colonies, including one for £200 from E. H. Crake, of Kenya, and £60 from a collection made in Bolivia, we are made aware that our compatriots across the seas are feeling for those who are suffering here through the war. Mr. Crake writes, ‘As a colonial at present in safety and warmth, I appreciate more than words of mine can adequately express, the work of these gallant men. Nobody who knows the East Coast can fail to realize the hardships and dangers that they meet especially from the ferocious attacks of the enemy. I don’t want any thanks, but I would like you to tell some of the men that someone living thousands of miles away, under entirely different conditions, does want to thank them.’

“I have wondered if you would undertake to make reference to our fund in your editorials. Such co-operation would, I am sure be of considerable help to us. Demands upon the fund are constant. We have lost over seventy men and there are some 200 children without fathers.”

Mr. Austin’s address is 9 Constitutional Avenue, Cleethorpes, Lines., England.

"Lord, I’m Coming Home"

URGING the use of a “hymn speedometer” on automobiles, Reverend L. C. Miller, of Manitou Springs, Colorado, suggests the following music for driving.

“I’m But A Stranger Here. Heaven Is My Home”—25 miles per hour.

“Nearer My God To Thee”—45 miles per hour.

“I’m Nearing the Port and Will Soon Be Home”—55 miles per hour.

“When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder, I’ll Be There”—65 miles per hour.

“Lord, I’m Coming Home”—75 miles per hour.

And on the tombstone, the inscription might be “R.I.P.—he let her and he does.”