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He made approaches to several of Sir Wilfrid's principal followers in the House. He opened communications with leading Liberals in provincial politics. To the onlooking public his task seemed hopeless. He has prevailed by sheer force of patriotism. More than any other Canadian statesman Sir Robert Borden stands out as the National Moderator.
In the Western provinces, especially in Saskatchewan and Alberta, there are many people of enemy country birth. Being widely distributed in the constituencies, the power of these numerous ex-aliens at the polls would be great, and would certainly not be exerted in favour of reinforcing the Canadian troops. No part of the country has a more creditable showing at the front than the Canadian west. The four provinces west of the Great Lakes have a record for volunteering that, relatively to population, is not excelled in any other part of Canada. That being so, the home voting would be in a very large degree in the hands of persons of enemy country birth or descent. Sir Robert Borden took the perfectly reasonable view that naturalized citizens of enemy country birth ought neither to be permitted to vote in the war-time election nor required to serve against their fatherland. Accordingly he introduced his War-time Elections Bill, which, like his Military Service Bill, was put through parliament against the strong opposition of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his remaining adherents. After that measure became law there was little chance of the west, whose representation in the new parliament was increased by twenty-two members, returning a majority in favour of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. The War-time Elections Act also established a Dominion franchise independent of the provincial franchise laws, and conferred the vote on all the women of Canada who are mothers, wives, sisters, or daughters of men serving overseas. This added hundreds of thousands to the voters' list. In some cases there would be as many as half a dozen women relatives of a man entitled to vote because he was in the army. By previous legislation the soldiers themselves were all enabled to vote in this election. It was the delay in counting their votes that kept the election returns so long incomplete.
For many weeks before the election it was manifest that English-speaking Canada, irrespective of party, was rallying to Sir Robert Borden. That this was a consequence of
increasing war sentiment is not the inference to be drawn, for the balance of opinion throughout English-speaking Canada was unmistakably heavy in favour of further war efforts before the question of compulsory service was taken up by the government. The point is, that the mass of the people were getting out of the party grooves and showing themselves to be of one mind against the enemy. They were throwing off the metaphysics of partyism. The delusion that there was a Liberal way of supporting the war different from the Conservative way could no longer be kept up by party sophists. The crushing force of the war facts was too much for the stewards of partyism. Former strong supporters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier in Ontario and the western provinces called forth outbursts of applause by their declarations from public platforms that this British Dominion must not come under the control of a political leader elected to office by the grace of Quebec and its political masters and religious pastors.
It will not be the Premier's fault if the union he has established does not last. Having vanquished self-seeking partyism, he now proposes to famish it, for the effect of his abolition of patronage and his project of civil service reform can be no less than the starving out of the plunder-bund of party politics. The Union Government is receiving very loyal and very general support from the press, which assuredly is not concerning itself much about the fate of party systems, now that the best principles of both parties are held to by the government of the day. The support of the great body of Canada's English newspapers is no slight testimonial to the character of the government. Of the polemics of Canadian politics comparatively little is now to be found in the country's English press. That is a condition very favourable to the cementing of the bonds between the two elements of the Union Government. Much of the stereotype of politics has been made obsolete by the war and must go to the melting-pot. Take the tariff question, for example. It cannot be exactly what it was before the war. The Imperial sentiment of Canada, as expressed by more than four hundred thousand of its sons who volunteered to fight the battles of the Empire, and as expressed at the polls by the great majority of English-speaking Canadians, must have its part in shaping the tariff. need for larger revenue to carry out the programmes of
reconstruction will also have its weight in determining tariff policy. So will the goodwill of Canada towards its neighbour and ally, the United States. The claims of the west, too, supported as they now will be by a greatly increased representation in parliament, and favoured, as they will be, by the national gratitude for the west's magnificent part in the war, cannot be disregarded. It is worth while to add that the two parties in the Ontario Legislative Assembly have agreed to avoid a war-time election and maintain a truce until the war is over. Very possibly other provincial legislatures in the Dominion will come to similar agreements. The effect of this suspension of party strife in provincial politics must be to give the new union at Ottawa a chance to become firmly knit. If the Conservatives and Liberals in the Union Government live up to the covenant to which they have severally put their hands, they need have no fear of any 'cave' of grafters, hard-shell partisans, racialists, and disloyalists that may gather themselves unto any political captain whatever, for the great mass of the English-speaking people are as solid for clean government as they are for BritishCanadianism.
CLAUD A. C. JENNINGS.
1. Reports from the Select Committee on National Expenditure, 151, 167, 188 (1917); 23, 30, and 59 (1918).
2. Parliamentary Debates. House of Commons, Official Report. Vols. 102-105.
arma silent leges. Literally interpreted the ancient aphorism has lost none of its point; but it is not less applicable if for judicial laws we substitute those observed uniformities' which economists are wont to describe as' laws.' So far as they are laws, and not mere maxims of the schools, their silence is not likely to be permanent. The vindication of economic laws may be more tardy than that which attends upon the transgression of the laws enacted by senates, but it is at least as sure.
Such reflections, though trite, are inevitably suggested by a perusal of the reports presented to the House of Commons during the last few months by the Select Committee on National Expenditure. The Committee was appointed on July 27, 1917, and its terms of reference were as follows:
To examine the current expenditure defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament and to report what, if any, economies consistent with the execution of the policy decided by the Government may be effected therein. To make recommendations in regard to the form of public accounts, the system of control within the departments and by the Treasury, and the procedure of this House in relation to Supply and Appropriation, so as to secure more effective control by Parliament over public expenditure; and to have power to appoint from outside its own body such additional persons as it may think fit to serve on any Sub-Committee which it may appoint with the view to the preparation of such recommendations.'
The Committee got to work without delay; it distributed its duties among six sub-committees, dealing with (1) The War Office; (2) The Admiralty and the Ministry of Shipping; (3) The Ministry of Munitions and the Air Board; (4) The
Treasury; (5) The Office of Works, the National Service Department, the Ministry of Labour, and the Post Office; and (6) The Ministry of Food, the Wheat and Sugar Commissions, the Board of Agriculture, the Ministry of Blockade, and the Board of Trade and the multitude of new departments which the Board of Trade has thrown off during the war. Two further sub-committees were also appointed of a somewhat different character. One was charged with the duty of considering the form of public accounts and of reporting what changes, if any, are desirable; the other was ordered to report on 'the present procedure of the House of Commons in relation 'to Supply and Appropriation, and on proposals for its amend'ment with a view to securing more effective control by 'Parliament over public expenditure.'
It was obvious that if any effective purpose was to be served as regards current expenditure, investigations would have to be carried through with expedition, and the results of them would have to be embodied in a series of interim reports. No fewer than six such reports have already been presented to the House of Commons. From a perusal of these, together with a consideration of the detailed information given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the action already taken by the Government on the several recommendations of the Committee, the public is in a position to estimate the value of the work accomplished by the Committee. But the reports, though widely noticed in the daily and weekly press, are at once voluminous and somewhat technical, and Mr. Bonar Law's communications to the House of Commons are buried in the pages of 'Hansard.' It may not therefore be amiss in the following pages to indicate briefly some of the topics with which the Committee has dealt and to consider the action taken by the Government in reference to them.
The first report, presented at the end of October, 1917, began, very properly, with an attempt to estimate the gross cost of the war. But that estimate is already out of date. During the last eighteen months the rate of expenditure has increased by no less than 50 per cent., with the result that, according to the estimates recently submitted to Parliament, the expenditure for the year 1918-19 will reach the appalling total of £2,972,000,000. It might have been expected that the defection of our most expensive ally and the generous assistance