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Title: The Making of a Premier

Date of first publication: 1922

Author: Owen E. McGillicuddy

Date first posted: May 29, 2017

Date last updated: May 29, 2017

Faded Page eBook #20170556

This ebook was produced by: Al Haines, Cindy Beyer & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net


Premier of the Dominion of Canada.




An  Outline  of  the  Life  Story  of  the  Right  Hon.

W.  L.  Mackenzie  King,  G.M.G.



Author  of  “The  Little  Marshal”



Author of “The Life of George Brown”







Publishers           •            TORONTO

Printed in Canada.

To  My  Mother.


Mr. McGillicuddy’s work is timely. There is a special reason why at this time the people of Canada should seek as intimate knowledge as possible of their political leaders. The death of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the retirement of Sir Robert Borden, and the rise of a new political party, the Progressive or Farmers’, have brought into positions of responsibility and prominence three new men, each under fifty years and not long known to the public—Mr. King, Mr. Crerar, and Mr. Meighen. Moreover, because of the new party alignment, the nature of the Premier’s office and the relation of the Government to Parliament have been changed.

Under the old two-party system it was assumed to be essential that one party or the other should have a clear majority in the House of Commons, a majority on which the Government could rely for the support of its measures and for the granting of supply. But that condition is now difficult to fulfill at Ottawa. The strength of the new Progressive party in the House is such that it holds the balance of power, and can give the Liberal Government an overwhelming majority or none. With more than twice as many supporters as there are members of the official Conservative Opposition, the new Government still has rather less than half of the whole House. It may be regarded as an inconvenient situation. But it is the result of the will of the electors, and unless and until they choose to go back to the two-party system Governments must adapt themselves to the new conditions, and Parliamentary practice may have to be changed. Parliament has more power, the Government less power, than in the days of Macdonald and Laurier. This, at least, is the situation which exists at the time of writing, and which continued during the first session of the new Parliament.

In one respect Mr. King is peculiarly qualified to meet the new conditions. He has always been a strong advocate of the authority of Parliament, and he would therefore not be disposed to complain of the necessity of consulting or sounding the House of Commons and taking its sense upon proposed Government measures, recognizing that he is the leader, not only of a Government, but of a deliberative assembly controlling the Government. Government has been described as a Committee of Parliament. If that description has not always been strictly accurate, it was at least more nearly in accordance with the facts during the first session of the new Parliament than at any previous time.

Not often is the permanent Civil Service the gate by which a man enters the field of the more strenuous or contentious political life. In this respect Mr. King’s career is exceptional. His appointment as Deputy Minister of Labor, as Mr. McGillicuddy shows in his interesting book, was the result of his keen interest in and his careful and sympathetic study of labor problems, as exemplified in his university career and in his experience as a newspaper writer. As an official he had remarkable success in adjusting labor disputes, and the reputation which he gained in this way opened up for him a career outside of politics. But political life held out strong attractions for him. In his book, “Industry and Humanity,” he says that many an industrial problem, so-called, is really a political problem, a problem of government. In the same book he says that in working toward a wise evolution of government in industry the evolution of government in the State cannot be studied with too much care. He traces the growth of British political history with this in view, and the analogy is always in his mind. His plan for the settlement of a serious labor dispute in the United States was based upon the idea of representation in industry. The four parties to be represented, he says, are Capital, Labor, Management, and the Community.

In entering political life he was, therefore, not treading unknown ground, but ground familiarized by his study of labor problems. The new field is wider, yet there is the common ground of human welfare. As in labor disputes one must be able to take the point of view of employer and worker, so in the government of a country like Canada it is necessary to take the point of view of men of different races, faiths, parties, localities, and occupational classes; and in international affairs there must be an outlook at least as wide. Mr. King is strongly impressed with this saying of the philosopher William James:

We are practical beings, each of us with limited functions and duties to perform. Each is bound to feel intensely the importance of his own duties and the significance of the situations that call them forth. But this feeling is in each of us a vital secret, for sympathy with which we vainly look to others. The others are too much absorbed in their own vital secrets to take an interest in ours. Hence the stupidity and injustice of our opinions so far as they deal with the significance of alien lives. Hence the falsity of our judgments so far as they presume to decide in an absolute way on the value of other persons’ conditions or ideals.

And again, dealing with the labor question:

One half of our fellow-countrymen remain entirely blind to the internal significance of the lives of the other half. They miss the joys and sorrows, they fail to feel the moral virtue, and they do not guess the presence of the intellectual ideals. They are at cross-purposes all along the line, regarding each other as they might regard a set of dangerously gesticulating automata, or, if they seek to get at the inner motivation, making the most horrible mistakes.

Commenting upon this, Mr. King says that its truth was impressed upon him in his experience as mediator in about forty labor disputes, extending over a decade. “Every dispute and controversy of which I have had any intimate knowledge has owed its origin, and the difficulties pertaining to its settlement, not so much to the economic questions involved, as to this ‘certain blindness in human beings’ to matters of real significance to other lives, and an unwillingness to approach an issue with any attempt at appreciation of the fundamental sameness of feelings and aspirations in all human beings.”

The truth here expressed is applicable to the whole field of domestic government and international relations, and it is of good omen that the new Premier has accepted it as the guiding light of his political career.

John Lewis.

Toronto, October, 1922.


The following chapters have been written with a view to presenting a connected story of the Premier’s varied achievements during an exceptionally active life. In examining Mr. King’s career one cannot but be impressed with his constant growth in strength and capacity as he has been called to new responsibilities.

The author has found the preparation of the material for the following pages of considerable interest. If others find interest in the life story of this conscientious and good-hearted Canadian, it will afford a further satisfaction.

The author is indebted to Mr. John Lewis, of the editorial staff of The Globe, for his informative and interesting introduction. Thanks are also due to Mr. W. A. Lahey, of The Globe staff, who superintended the reading of the proof sheets while the book was in process of publication.

O. E. McG.

Toronto, October, 1922.


I.A Seeker of Facts1
II.Early Life7
III.Family Affection12
IV.A Diligent Deputy Minister16
V.The Industrial Disputes Investigation Act25
VI.A Courageous Minister of Labor31
VII.With the Rockefeller Foundation37
VIII.“The Secret of Heroism”43
IX.“Industry and Humanity”49
X.Chosen Leader of the Liberal Party57
XI.An Efficient War Record63
XII.Premier of Canada73
XIII.The Premier at Close Range81
XIV.An Advocate of International Good-Will87


Rt. Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King, C.M.G., Premier of Canada
The Parents of the Premier
A Trio of Peacemakers
Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King and members of the Cabinet
The Premier’s Summer Home



A Seeker of Facts.

FACTS are defined as being fixed, perceptible truths, and Robert Burns in homely phrase has declared that they are “chiels that winna ding and daurna be disputit.” It is as a seeker of facts concerning man and his relations to government and industry that the present Premier of Canada has achieved a reputation second to none on the North American continent. Whether as a student of books and authoritative data, or as an interpreter of the conditions of working men, learning of their sufferings and yearnings, Mackenzie King, at all times, has tried earnestly “to get the facts in the case” before defining a cause or advocating a remedy. His success provides one of the most romantic stories in the political annals of the Dominion.

The search for facts has led him through college halls into newspaper work, and from the reporting of conditions into sympathetic fellowship with those whose lives are lived in the industrial communities of large cities, as well as those others who tread the hard, lonely furrows of pioneer life. After graduating in Arts and Political Science from the University of Toronto at the age of twenty, Mr. King turned an inquiring mind to labor and social problems. He won a fellowship in Political Economy at the Graduates’ School of the University of Chicago in the winter of 1896-97 when, among many other activities, he prepared a thesis on “Trade Union Organization in the United States,” and another on “The International Typographical Union.”

While in Chicago Mr. King made his home at the Hull House Social Settlement, where he had an exceptional opportunity of studying the lives of those who had been set adrift from home ties and steady, progressive work. Every morning he travelled, partly on foot and partly by elevated railroad, seven miles from Hull House to the University of Chicago to attend lectures, and to do this had to rise between six and seven o’clock. “It was first-class exercise,” he told the writer, with a smile, recently “and it gave me a vivid contrast between life as it is lived in Jackson Park and the existence which is eked out in the foreign slums of Chicago. I worked very hard in those days, but looking back upon my experiences I can truthfully say that they gave me much enjoyment.

“The Settlement, its surroundings, and my studies,” he pointed out, “brought me into touch with such concrete problems as those presented by the tendency of the foreign population in large cities to become grouped into colonies representative of different nationalities, and by the tendency of home life to be transferred from single dwellings into overcrowded tenements, allied too often, through opportunities of social intercourse, with some neighboring saloon and its light, warmth, and boon companions.” It was at the Settlement that Mr. King became acquainted with Miss Jane Addams, and from then until now he has continued to take a keen interest in her work among the industrial population.

Returning to Toronto in the summer of 1897, Mr. King, who had been employed on The Globe staff before going to Chicago, began a series of articles for The Mail and Empire in connection with his sociological interests. He had been impressed so much by what he had witnessed in Chicago that he wanted to study any tendencies “of possible similar development in Canadian cities.” Among the subjects dealt with were the foreign population of Toronto, the housing of the working people, and “sweating” in industry. The result of these investigations has particular significance, for it shows Mr. King’s enthusiasm and his capacity for research work. The experience launched him into a political career combined with sociological interests, with which he has been connected since that date.

Mr. King tells the story in the following words: “In visiting the homes of workers in the garment trades in company with a labor friend, I came upon letter carriers’ uniforms being made up under contract awarded by the Post Office Department at Ottawa. On questioning one of the workers as to the remuneration she was receiving for machine and hand work, I found that it came to a very few cents an hour. I shall never forget the feeling of surprise and indignation I experienced as I learned of the extent of that woman’s toil from early morning until late at night. The circumstance that it was Government work and that the contracting firm was one of high repute in the city did not lessen the resentment I felt. As I visited other homes and shops I found the condition of this woman’s employment to be in no sense isolated, but all too common.”

On a certain Sunday afternoon Mr. King, accompanied by his father, the late Mr. John King, K.C., called on Sir William Mulock, who was then Postmaster-General for the Dominion. After telling him of the conditions he had discovered Mr. King declares that the former Postmaster-General was noticeably annoyed at the revelations, and asked if something could not be done which would remedy immediately such an abuse of public patronage. The young student suggested that conditions might be inserted in public contracts ensuring a minimum wage to all labor employed, and that wherever work for the Government was being executed the premises should be open to inspection to prohibit “sweating” on Government contracts.

A few days later the Postmaster-General wrote to Mr. King from Ottawa asking him to make a report to the Government upon the methods which had been used in carrying out Government clothing contracts. This report was submitted to the Government early in January, 1898, and revealed many evils incident to unregulated Government contract work during the preceding ten years. It also urged the need of Government intervention to prevent the continuance of similar abuses. These recommendations were later embodied in “The Fair Wages Resolution,” sponsored in the House of Commons by the Postmaster-General, “whereby all Government contracts are required to contain conditions to prevent abuse arising from sub-letting, and which will secure to labor on Government contract work the payment of such wages as are generally accepted as current in each trade for competent workmen in the district where the work is carried out.”

Mr. King’s educational days were not finished when he left the University of Chicago, and at Harvard, where he took a post-graduate course in Political Economy, he won a travelling fellowship which took him to Europe in 1899. Here he remained for more than a year, in close personal contact with men of broad intellectual powers who had spent their lives seeking solutions to social and labor problems. His studies took him to Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy. In London, as in Chicago, he lived at a settlement—the Passmore Edwards Settlement—where the very atmosphere was charged with sociology.

It was while in Italy that opportunity knocked on the young student’s door by way of a cablegram from Ottawa offering him the editorship of The Labor Gazette, and with it the position of first lieutenant in the Labor Department, which was still in the chrysalis stage. The acceptance of the position was not easy. He had developed a great liking for academic work and had been offered the position of Instructor in Political Economy by Professor Taussig at Harvard University. After weighing both offers he replied to Ottawa in the negative. Another message was transmitted asking him to reconsider the matter, and after consulting with Professor William Cunningham at Cambridge, on his way back to Canada, he agreed to enter the Government service. From that date Mackenzie King has been in public life as a public servant, and the university world lost one of its most promising instructors.

Early Life.

MACKENZIE KING did not become the first citizen of the Dominion by chance. Family tradition and history, plus a keen interest in economics and sociology, inclined him toward public affairs. His father, the late Mr. John King, K.C., who was a lecturer for many years on Criminal Law and Evidence at Osgoode Hall, had a keen desire to have his son follow in his footsteps and take up law as a profession. When Mr. King went to the University he took up an Arts and Law course, but in his last year decided suddenly to specialize in Political Economy.

Mr. King inherits strong political proclivities from both his father and mother. His father was President of the North Waterloo Reform Association and was once asked to accept the Liberal nomination in that constituency. He is known to have been addressing a political audience when the future Premier was born. His mother before her marriage was Miss Isabel Mackenzie, the youngest daughter of the late William Lyon Mackenzie, leader of the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada, and first Mayor of the City of Toronto. At the time of her death on December 18th, 1917, Mrs. King was the only surviving member of a household well known in Toronto during most of the last century. After being stricken with blindness in 1914, Mr. King predeceased his wife on August 13th, 1916.

At Kitchener (formerly Berlin), where the Prime Minister was born on December 17th, 1874, there are still a number of people who will tell you they “always knew that ‘Billy’ King would, some time or other, make good in a big way.” Here in his own home town, where he attended school, learned public speaking, and caught his first visions of industrial partnership—where he fought and won his first election and lost another—he is honored to-day as few men have ever been honored in Canada.

One of the Premier’s old friends is David Forsyth, a former schoolmaster, who has known him from early boyhood. “I have known ‘Billy’ King from the time he was big enough to steal plums from my garden, and while he was a very human boy, he was an exceptional one. Billy came to the old High School in 1887 and was there for three years. He was a popular boy, and at that time showed qualities of leadership in athletics and school social circles.” W. J. Connor, Principal of the old High School, is authority for the statement that the Premier was a good student, and that he matriculated in three years to the University of Toronto with honors in modern languages. “He not only was a good student,” declared Mr. Connor, “but he was a good cricket and soccer player.

“All three masters in the school played soccer with the boys at that time,” continued Mr. Connor, “and they all showed a real interest in keeping in fit condition for their games. I believe that it was in those early days that Mr. King developed the strength and stamina of body which have stood him in such good stead during his strenuous career.” Asked what kind of boy the present Premier was, Mr. Connor declared that he was always full of mischief. “I distinguish between two kinds of boys—the restless and the vicious,” he explained. “Now, King was restless, but never nasty. A master will always do anything for a chap who applies himself, and King certainly did apply himself.” Mr. Connor, who is seventy-eight years of age and now lives a retired life in Waterloo, remembers “Billy” King with fondness, and is proud of his former pupil.

The old Berlin High School, now the Kitchener Collegiate, on King Street, is most substantially built, and has hardly changed at all since “Billy” King was president of the Literary Society there thirty-four years ago. While King was one of the school’s best cricket and soccer players, it was well known that the young president of the Literary Society preferred his studies and debates to athletics. At this period of his life he had a keen desire to take up law as a profession, and in the autumn of 1891, when the young student turned his face toward the University of Toronto, it was with the firm intention of becoming a lawyer, and later on entering the political arena. As he pursued his studies at the University, however, and looked into social conditions, economics and sociology so gripped his imagination that he decided to make them his life work.

The King family came to Toronto when “Billy” was in his sixteenth year, and within six years he had earned three degrees—B.A., M.A., and LL.B. All through his university course “Billy” King and Norman Duncan, who afterwards achieved fame as author of “Doctor Luke of the Labrador,” were inseparable chums. Friends have said that the affinity was explained by that natural law which matches physical opposites. Duncan was called “Dunc,” while King was known as “Rex.” Both boys were intensely interested in sociology and practical economics, and spent much time together in university settlement work.

Classmates of Mr. King testify that he was always completely absorbed in practical economics—so much so that fellow-students often went to him when they had overlooked some important points at lectures. “When we did not understand a knotty point in our lectures we did not go to the lecturer for an explanation—we always relied on King,” declared a former classmate. “Even in those days he had the ability to reduce economics to its simplest terms.” King was a systematic as well as an assiduous student, and during the last two years at the University he and C. W. Cross, afterwards Attorney-General of Alberta, went to the King home at 147 Beverley Street almost every night to rewrite notes of lectures taken during the day.

One of the most inspiring features to many students who visited their home was Mr. King’s mother. “She was a wonderful woman in the eyes of students who were away from home,” declared one who attended Varsity in those days. “The King home was always open to large numbers of students, and we had many delightful hours together. Mr. King, Billy’s father, was very friendly to students; Mrs. King treated us like a second mother; while the two sisters and two brothers made us feel like members of the family.”

Family Affection.

FROM the time Mackenzie King left the parental roof-tree to seek out remedies for economic and social problems he has kept in constant touch with the members of his family. His affection for his own people has never waned, and during the lifetime of his parents, no matter how onerous his duties at Ottawa or elsewhere, he always sent them a weekly letter.

On the birthday anniversary of any member of the household a message of congratulation could always be counted upon from “W. L. M.” Once from Singapore, on the other side of the world, a cablegram to his mother brought best wishes for a happy birthday, and again, during voyages to Europe, wireless messages of remembrance were sent to both parents. These little kindnesses, especially in the career of one upon whose time there have been constant and increasing demands, show the real manliness of the little fair-haired boy who later was to become the Premier of his country.

During the winter of 1922, just after having assumed office, the Premier was not unmindful of family obligations, and visited his brother, Dr. Macdougall King, at Denver, Colorado, during the illness which resulted fatally some few months later. The Premier travelled across the continent to his brother’s bedside, cancelling all engagements in order to be for a brief while with his only brother “Mac.” It was but another evidence of that deep family affection which has characterized “Billy” King from his earliest boyhood up to the present time.

Between his father and himself there was a constant companionship. “The library was a meeting place for members of the family,” Mr. King told a friend recently, “and after most of us had read the same book we used to exchange thoughts concerning the theme discussed by the author. My father was always stimulating the family to take an interest in public affairs, and many important questions were discussed with the family assembled together. Father was really more like an elder brother, and we enjoyed many long walks and talks together. We were a united family, and the concern of one, no matter how small, was the concern of all. Growing up together, we were always close to each other, and the affection we had for our parents was the natural return of an affection which had been lavished upon us.”

The memory of his mother and father remains an active inspiration to Mr. King. In the study of his apartment at the Roxborough, in Ottawa, there are portraits of his mother and father. The portrait of his mother sitting in front of the fireplace is hung over the mantel in the corner of his study, while on the side walls are large paintings of his splendid father and his rugged Scottish grandfather.

“Any idea I may have had as a boy of entering public life was certainly inspired by the interest which my parents took in public affairs,” Mr. King admitted to a friend recently. “The story of my grandfather’s struggles in the early history of Ontario fired my imagination, and I must admit that from time to time I had dreams of representing North York some day.”

Speaking at Newmarket a few days after his election, the Premier showed how lovingly the memory of his dead parents still lingered with him. “I am sure you will believe me,” he said to his constituents, “when I tell you that this is the happiest moment of my life, and I am equally sure that if my dear mother and father had been spared to have witnessed this moment they would have said that it was the happiest of their lives.” But there is another story told which, even more than any other, shows the splendid affection of the Premier for his parents.

Hurrying home to Ottawa from North York in the evening of a day which had been filled with smiling faces and victorious acclaim, he motored along Yonge Street. Approaching Mount Pleasant Cemetery he asked the driver of his car to stop, and entered on foot this resting place of many dead. Outside was the noise of passing traffic, and as the moon and stars shone forth this son of a loving mother came to the quiet corner where she and his good father had been laid to rest. There he stood in silent reverence, his shadow falling on the graves of those he loved and who had gone from him.

The visit of the Premier to his parents’ graveside might have been lost to all except the lonely-hearted son who sought the comfort of a lovely memory had he not visited a friend’s home before going to his train. Here the wife of his friend told him that, remembering the mother who had not lived to see her son’s success, she had, on the day following his victory at the polls, laid laurel leaves on her grave. Taking a leaf from his overcoat pocket, he mentioned his own visit, and it is through her that this evidence is made known.


The late John King, K.C., and the late Mrs. Isabel

Mackenzie King. Mrs. King was the youngest

daughter of William Lyon Mackenzie.

A Diligent Deputy Minister.


MR. KING’S eight years of service as Deputy Minister of Labor resulted in more legislation respecting the relations between employer and employee than had been enacted previously in the Dominion. When the young Deputy Minister began his duties in October, 1900, he found himself facing handicaps which to another executive might have proved disheartening. At its inception the Department was looked upon as a sort of younger brother to the Postmaster-General’s Department, and as a result signs were painted directing people where to call and for whom to ask. Office space to properly house the work of the new organization was lacking, and the first few numbers of The Labor Gazette were written by hand.

One of the first things Mr. King did, with the aid of his assistant, Mr. H. A. Harper, was to emphasize the fact that The Labor Gazette would be a reliable publication for informing the employer and the employee as to the actual industrial conditions existing throughout the Dominion. By employing scientific methods in collecting and compiling data and preparing reports, The Gazette soon obtained an outstanding place for itself. Mr. King’s reports, while largely statistical and made up from many sober facts, were always characterized by a certain literary finish not usually found in departmental reports.

From 1902 to 1908 the Deputy Minister of the new Department was an exceedingly busy man. Time after time he was appointed to Royal Commissions to inquire into problems calling for a more or less urgent solution. During 1902-03 he acted as secretary of a Royal Commission to inquire into industrial disputes in the Province of British Columbia. In 1907 he was appointed Chairman of a Royal Commission to inquire into the conditions of labor among telephone operatives. The report of the Commission resulted in important changes beneficial to the operatives. In the same year he acted as a Royal Commissioner for the Government to inquire into the anti-Asiatic riots in British Columbia. Following his investigation he was appointed a Commissioner to assess and pay losses to Japanese and Chinese residents in British Columbia which had resulted from the riots. Later in the year he was appointed a Royal Commissioner to inquire into the methods by which Oriental laborers had been induced to come to Canada from India, China, and Japan.

A close study of Mr. King’s career as Deputy Minister would lead one to believe that whenever the Government had difficult work requiring tact, conscientious effort and study Mr. King was generally chosen to perform the task. In 1905 he conducted a special investigation into fraudulent practices which had been carried on in England with a view to influencing men to come to Canada to take the place of others on strike. This investigation resulted in the enactment of legislation drafted by Mr. King in 1905 respecting false representations to induce or to deter emigration. A similar investigation into methods by which Italian laborers were induced to come to Canada was also conducted by the Deputy Minister. In 1906 Mr. King was sent to England as a representative of the Canadian Government to confer with members of the British Government concerning the enactment of legislation by the British Parliament to prevent fraudulent representations being made in Great Britain to promote emigration to Canada. The legislation was passed as part of the Merchants’ Shipping Act a few months afterwards.

From 1907 until the end of 1908 Canada’s young Deputy Minister was called upon to assume additional duties which resulted in legislation of a far-reaching character being enacted. In 1907, after conducting investigations, he prepared for the Government a report emphasizing the need of legislation aiming to suppress the opium traffic in Canada. Mr. King personally drafted the legislation which was subsequently passed by Parliament. Because of the thorough investigation made by him on behalf of the Canadian Government he was appointed by the Government of Great Britain, in 1908, to serve as one of the British members of the International Opium Commission which met at Shanghai, China. While on his way to China to serve on this Commission Mr. King was entrusted with a further mission by the Government of Canada to the Government of India concerning emigration from that country to the Dominion. An arrangement restricting emigration from India to Canada was satisfactorily effected shortly after his visit.


But it was in the settlement of labor strikes and disputes that Mr. King achieved his greatest success as Deputy Minister. Under his administration some forty strikes were adjusted satisfactorily. Numerous instances could be cited of the thorough way in which Mr. King investigated labor troubles and found the means for either settlement or adjustment. One of these will serve as a very definite example, because it brought into effect legislation which is still in use for dealing with labor disputes.

About the middle of November, 1906, the people of Saskatchewan awoke to the fact that severe winter weather was setting in and that they were short of fuel. Their principal coal supply had come from the mines at Lethbridge, in Alberta, but the coal miners in this locality, as well as in the Crow’s Nest Pass, had been out on strike for eight months, with no prospect of an early settlement. On representation from Hon. Walter Scott, Premier of Saskatchewan, the Minister of Labor, Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, telegraphed to each party to the dispute at Lethbridge, tendering the friendly offices of the Government with a view to settlement under the Conciliation Act.

This Act was practically the first Canadian legislation looking to Governmental settlement of industrial troubles, and was passed by Parliament in 1900. It provides that where a dispute exists between an employer and employees the Minister of Labor might: (1) inquire into the matter; (2) take steps to bring the parties together; (3) if advisable, appoint a conciliator; or (4) upon application of both parties appoint arbitrators. The duties of the conciliator are to allay distrust, remove causes of friction, promote good feeling, and encourage settlement. There are no compulsory features to the Act, although it practically compels the parties to listen to a mediator clothed with the prestige of the Dominion Government, and to whom they must either disclose their case or admit themselves to be in the wrong.

In response to Mr. Lemieux’s wire each party intimated that it did not desire intervention, and each placed the blame upon the other. The urgency of the case required immediate action, and Mr. King, as Deputy Minister, was sent to Lethbridge, arriving there on November 22nd. He proceeded at once to interview both parties, and with a view to receiving their voluntary co-operation offered himself as conciliator under the Act, and was accepted by them. After further interviewing representatives of the miners and the employing company—the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company—he decided, in view of the serious public emergency, and of the fact that it would require prolonged negotiations to arrive at a basis of settlement, to write a letter to each of the parties suggesting a temporary plan of operation. In the letter it was suggested that the miners return to work at once; that the parties agree to refer to arbitration whatever difficulties they might not be able to adjust through conciliatory procedure; and that the terms of ultimate agreement revert to the time when the men returned to work. The letter was sent to both parties at the same time, and the Deputy Minister of Labor laid special stress upon the public suffering and danger which would be brought about by a continuance of the strike.

The responses from both the company and the men, though far from being enthusiastic, opened the way to a joint conference presided over by Mr. King. It began at 7 o’clock on a Sunday evening and continued until 2 o’clock Monday morning. As a result of the conference, which was conducted in a friendly manner, what appeared to be a basis of settlement was reached, although one or two points were left over for further consideration. One point on which no agreement appeared possible, however, was the acceptance by the men of a clause which the company demanded as security against discrimination between union and non-union men. Mr. King was informed by the men on Monday morning that if this clause was insisted upon negotiations might as well cease.

A deadlock took place upon this point and settlement was delayed until the following Saturday, when, due to the persistent efforts of Mr. King, an agreement was finally arrived at. The men returned to work on the following Monday, and, among other terms, the company granted an increase in wages of about ten per cent. and withdrew its objection to its men being members of the United Mine Workers. The strikers, on the other hand, withdrew their demand for a complete recognition of the union, as well as for the eight-hour-day schedule, and made other less important concessions.

The miners’ strike in Alberta raised a question which in recent years people in many countries have been asking with growing bewilderment and indignation—“Where do we come in?” This question is voiced with considerable vehemence when strikes affect public utilities, public carriers, or essential commodities. Usually the public does not “come in” at all until it is found necessary to preserve order while the contending parties fight it out, and generally it is the public which suffers the greater part of the loss and inconvenience and pays most of the damages.

In making his report on the strike of the Alberta miners Mr. King pointed out that “organized society alone makes possible the operation of mines to the mutual benefit of those engaged in the work of production. A recognition of the obligations due society by the parties is something which the State is justified in compelling if the parties are unwilling to concede it. In any civilized community private rights should cease when they become public wrongs. Clearly, there is nothing in the rights of parties to a dispute to justify the inhabitants of a province being brought face to face with a coal famine with winter conditions, so long as there is coal in the ground and men and capital to mine it. Either the disputants must be prepared to leave the differences which they are unable to amicably settle to the arbitrament of such authority which the State may determine as most expedient, or make way for others who are prepared to do so.”

Mr. King closed his report with a strong recommendation that some measure be presented to Parliament which would provide more efficient machinery for dealing with similar disputes. As a result of his recommendation, Parliament, on March 22nd, 1907, passed a law known as “The Industrial Disputes Investigation Act.”

The Industrial Disputes Act.

THE Industrial Disputes Investigation Act is one which has attracted widespread attention in many countries. Although introduced in the Parliament of 1907 by Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, then Minister of Labor, the Act was actually written by Mr. King, who spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s preparing it for submission to the House. Mr. King in the following words tells how the Act came to be prepared: “Having been requested by the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) to draft my recommendations in the form of a bill, I did so, making abundant use, in some sections, of existing legislation in Canada and other countries, and supplementing these by such additional provisions as experience seemed to indicate would be in the public interest.

“The Act had its genesis in the coal mine strike, and strong arguments in favor of it were based upon the situation created and the needs of the people of the western provinces in the winter of 1906. The Act, however, was made broad enough to include, not coal mines alone, but all other public-serving enterprises. The underlying idea is that any corporation, firm, or individual doing business in what has come to be a necessity of life or is essential to the public welfare must not allow that industry to be paralyzed and its function rendered useless through any dispute, without having first made every reasonable effort to settle the dispute, and, at any rate, made the cause of the dispute a public record.”

The Act provides that, whenever a strike or lock-out is threatened in any one of these industries, the parties, if unable to adjust their difficulties amicably, must refer them to a Board for settlement before such a strike or lock-out can legally take place. If the men are going to strike, they must serve a notice on the Government that unless a Board is appointed a strike will take place. If the management proposes a lock-out it must serve a similar notice on the Government. The notice will say that all possible means of arriving at a settlement have been exhausted and will ask the Government to appoint a Board of Investigation. The notice served on the Government must contain a statement of the differences between the parties, and a copy of that statement must also go to the other party to the dispute.

When such a notice has been served in compliance with the terms of the Act, the Minister of Labor calls on each of the parties to name a member of the Board. These two members have the opportunity to name a third member for chairman, but if they are unable to agree within a reasonable time the Minister of Labor himself appoints a chairman, and if either party fails to name a member of the Board the Minister of Labor appoints someone to serve on the Board as the representative of the party defaulting its own appointment.

The Board appointed under the Act has all the powers of a Court of Record. It may compel the production of documents; it may subpoena witnesses; it may take evidence under oath; but its duty is primarily that of a Conciliation Board and a Board of Inquiry, and only secondarily that of a Court. After having met and heard evidence, if a settlement is effected the Board simply reports to the Government the details under which it was brought about. If no settlement is effected, the Board publishes a report of the dispute. This is given to the press and public and sent broadcast throughout the Dominion. This report gives the Board’s finding as to the real trouble, and what, in its opinion, ought to be done to prevent a strike or a lock-out. There the Government’s function ends.

There is no compulsion on the part of either of the disputants to accept the finding of the Board. After an inquiry has been made they may declare either a strike or a lock-out. But while there is no legal compulsion after a hearing has been held, there is the restraint which the Government imposes of delaying an interruption to industry before and pending inquiry, and there is, following an investigation, the powerful influence of intelligent public opinion. If, after investigation, any company or any labor group operating a public utility of any sort desires to tie up that public utility so that the public has not full use of it, the public at least knows what the causes of the dispute are, and also has an opinion as to what appears to be the right and the fair thing to do under the circumstances.

The original Act of 1907 was amended by Mr. King, when, as Minister of Labor in 1910, he introduced an amendment compelling a thirty days’ notice to be given by either the company or the men when any change of wages or of hours is proposed. If the change is objected to it cannot go into effect until an inquiry has taken place. This clause gives the men opportunity, should the company announce a reduction in wages, to appeal to the Government. It also gives the company a similar opportunity if the men demand an increase in wages or change in the working hours. The amendment, which is the most important that has been made to the Act, was made at the request of representatives of Labor. It simply places upon the party proposing a change in conditions the burden of showing cause for the change.

That the Act has been successful is evidenced by the few strikes which have resulted during its existence. During the first six years it was in force, out of one hundred and forty-five applications for Boards received, only eighteen strikes resulted. Formerly in the street railway field strikes occurred somewhere in the Dominion almost every year, and they were generally among the worst strikes as regards damage to property and danger to life. Since the passage of the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act there have not been more than half a dozen strikes which seriously inconvenienced the public. Strikes by telegraphers and telephone operators also were not infrequent, but since the passage of the Act there has been no interruption of these important means of communication.

In writing the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act Mackenzie King made a notable contribution toward a solution of labor troubles and a satisfactory understanding of the difficulties with which the management and the employees have to contend. It has helped Labor to think out its own problems by applying reason instead of force. By recognizing the public as a party immediately concerned in the prevention of industrial wrongs, it has made the verdict of public opinion, or the fear of it, all-powerful in the maintenance of industrial peace. While the Act may have its limitations, it is, in its essentials, an instrument that ensures fair play between the employer and employee in situations which directly affect the public welfare.

A Courageous Minister of Labor.

DURING his administration as Deputy Minister of Labor Mr. King had shown that he was well equipped in many ways for the political arena, and those in close touch with affairs at Ottawa were not surprised when he was appointed Minister of Labor by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in June, 1909. Mr. King had demonstrated in many industrial disputes an evident desire to make fair adjustments in troubles arising between employer and employee. It was felt that his skill and tact, together with his fine understanding of economics, might be used to better advantage if he were given charge in the House of all legislation affecting the Department.

The big question was whether this quiet student and efficient executive could adapt himself to the ceaseless combat of party politics. His campaign in North Waterloo during the general election of 1908 soon dispelled all doubts. His resignation as Deputy Minister to enter upon the uncertainties of party politics indicated unusual courage, while his choice of the constituency of North Waterloo, a former Conservative stronghold, proved him a man of fighting blood. Friends at Ottawa tried to dissuade him from going into what was considered a hopeless contest, but having been born in the constituency he determined to stake his political fortunes on the opinion of people who knew him best. He declined Sir Wilfrid’s offer to find “a safe seat,” and, with faith in his boyhood friends, he entered a spectacular contest and won a notable victory.

As Minister of Labor, Mr. King had charge of much important legislation during the last three years of the Laurier Administration. The Dominion was having at that time a rapid industrial development, and a whole series of industrial disputes from coast to coast was up for solution. As a result the youngest member of the Cabinet was confronted with hard problems at the very beginning of his administrative career. Only a few weeks after he had been appointed the new Minister introduced amendments to the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act. Shortly afterwards he was appointed Chairman of a special House Committee to investigate the benefits of eight-hour-day employment.

The year 1910 saw Mr. King face to face with the most difficult situation of his whole career. It was also a testing time for the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, and for a while it seemed as if the Act might fail to accomplish its purpose. The chief value of such an Act is its ability to work when a strong labor organization confronts a large corporation on matters of fundamental principles, and where both sides are prepared for a fight. This was the problem which faced Mr. King when the members of the Order of Railway Conductors and the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen in the employ of the Grand Trunk Railway Company decided to fight the company in a dispute over the general question of wages, hours, and terms of employment.

The company, which was at that time operating its lines from Portland, Maine, to Chicago—with the larger part of its system in Ontario—had not yet granted to its employees the “standard” terms which were in operation among employees of other eastern roads. The men demanded the same working conditions, the company refused to concede them, and the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act was invoked. A Board was appointed, which spent several months taking testimony and investigating the issue. On June 22nd, 1910, it made its findings and recommendations to the Minister of Labor. These provided, among other things, for an increase in wages of about eighteen per cent., to take effect at once, and the immediate standardization of conditions of employment. Provision was also made for a further increase in wages—sufficient to bring them up to standard—at a date to be subsequently agreed upon between the company and the men.

The terms used in these recommendations were such as to permit of some elasticity in their interpretation. The company nominally accepted the recommendations, but in its interpretation it strained these elastic terms to the snapping point. One instance of this was the construction placed on the terms “forthwith” and “immediate,” which, in the opinion of the management, meant not earlier than January 1st, 1913. The company also rejected certain other indefinite features of the recommendations, with the result that no agreement could be reached and the men went out on strike.

During the fourteen days the strike continued it developed some of the most troublesome features that had ever been experienced in the Dominion. Mr. King and the Department of Labor were working night and day to effect a satisfactory solution. The Minister wrote open letters to each party asking in plain language if they would submit their remaining differences to arbitration if a board of arbitrators satisfactory to both parties could be found. The president of the railway company replied in a letter which evaded the question, while the striking employees at first declined the proposal unless certain men named by them were selected as arbitrators. Shortly after, however, the men withdrew their condition and accepted the Minister’s proposal.

The Minister of Labor now concentrated his efforts upon the company. He sent letters and telegrams outlining the situation to the company, and on receipt of their replies, which were far from satisfactory, published them in the daily press. The company, continuing to evade the direct issue, claimed that it had desired arbitration all along, but that it was too late to do anything, with things as they were. Mr. King met this contention by showing that at no time could arbitration have been had under the law without the unconditional consent of both parties, neither of which had given such consent until the men had expressed their willingness after first refusing. Step by step the Minister forced the company into the open and exposed its position to the public. The company flatly refused to arbitrate, and there, for a few days, Mr. King let the situation stand.

Meanwhile public indignation was venting itself throughout the Dominion, with criticism focusing directly upon the company. It was too much for the management to bear, and in less than a week the company and the men entered into a conference, at which Mr. King presided. The Minister outlined a form of agreement which, after some discussion, was accepted by both parties. The men accepted the eighteen per cent. increase in wages, and the company agreed to standardize the terms of employment from January 1st, 1912. Agreeing on these two main features, the railway employees the same night “called off” the strike.

While Mr. King made an outstanding record as a conciliator of industrial disputes during his three years’ service as Minister of Labor, he also took charge of and put through much social legislation. In January, 1910, he introduced the Combines Investigation Act in the House of Commons, which called for the investigation of all combines, trusts, monopolies, or mergers. The legislation was drafted personally by Mr. King and received the third reading on May 4th. In the same year he instituted an inquiry into the prices of necessities throughout the Dominion, and a little later he introduced in the House a Bill prohibiting the use of opium and other habit-forming drugs.

In September, 1911, came the Reciprocity campaign which sent Sir Wilfrid and his Cabinet into the cold shades of Opposition. During the campaign Mackenzie King proved to be one of the most tireless fighters the Government forces had, but notwithstanding the efforts he put forth he was defeated in North Waterloo, and once more resumed his sociological and economic studies. Articles by him appeared in leading British and American publications, and early in 1914 overtures were made to him to direct an investigation into industrial relations under the Rockefeller Foundation.

With the Rockefeller Foundation.

MR. KING was selected to direct an investigation of industrial relations under the auspices of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1914 following a thorough canvass of the whole field of available men. The appointment was made only after a number of conferences had been held between Mr. King and members of the Executive Committee of the Foundation.

Writing of the circumstances which led to the Rockefeller Foundation making an investigation of industrial relations, and of the choice of Mr. King for its direction, Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in an article published in The Atlantic Monthly, January, 1915, refers to the industrial disturbances in Colorado during 1914-15. In the article, which is entitled “Labor and Capital—Partners,” Mr. Rockefeller goes on to say that the many distressing features in connection with the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company’s mines gave him the deepest concern. “I frankly confess,” he wrote, “that I felt there was something fundamentally wrong in a condition of affairs which made possible the loss of human lives, engendered hatred and bitterness, and brought suffering and privation upon hundreds of human beings.

“I determined, therefore, that, in so far as it lay within my power, I would seek some means of avoiding the possibility of similar conflicts arising elsewhere, or in the same industry, in the future. It was in this way that I came to recommend to my colleagues in the Rockefeller Foundation the instituting of a series of studies into the fundamental problems arising out of industrial relations. Many others were exploring the same field, but it was felt that there were problems affecting human welfare so vitally that an institution such as the Rockefeller Foundation, whose purpose, as stated in its charter, is ‘to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world,’ could not neglect either its duty or its opportunity.

“This resulted in securing the services of Mr. W. L. Mackenzie King, formerly Minister of Labor in Canada, to conduct an investigation ‘with a special view’, to quote the language of an official letter, ‘to the discovery of some mutual relationship between Labor and Capital which would afford to Labor the protection it needs against oppression and exploitation, while at the same time promoting its efficiency as an instrument of economic production. In no sense was this inquiry to be local or restricted; the problem was recognized to be a world-problem, and in the study of it the experience of the several countries of the world was to be drawn upon. The purpose was neither to apportion blame in existing or past misunderstandings, nor to justify any particular point of view, but solely to be constructively helpful, the final and only test of success to be the degree to which the practical suggestions growing out of the investigation actually improved the relations between Labor and Capital.”

When Mackenzie King was chosen from among the world’s specialists to conduct this inquiry into industrial relations it was felt by those who knew him best that he was the right man for the position. At the same time many of his friends feared that he might be lost to Canadian public life. At the time the position was offered to him he had been nominated as candidate of the Liberal party in the constituency of North York, and he pointed out that if the studies made on behalf of the Foundation meant any change of residence in Canada it would be impossible for him to consider it. “I was told,” said Mr. King in a speech made in the House of Commons April 20th, 1920, “that I could pursue my researches anywhere I wished, that there was no obligation to live at one place rather than another, that I could go to any part of the world, and have a staff of men to assist me if I so desired in carrying out the researches which I had been asked to undertake. The sole object was to conduct a study that might be helpful as a contribution toward the solution of industrial problems.”

How well he did this is shown in the comprehensive “Industrial Constitution” which was drafted by Mr. King and given to the employees of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company in 1915. By this constitution every employee is given an opportunity to voice his complaints and aspirations, and an opportunity is also given to bring the men and managers together to talk over their common interests. The plan was endorsed by the miners in the employ of the company by a secret ballot which, it was announced by the men, showed a majority vote of nearly eighty-five per cent. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. King pointed out that the reason he went to Colorado at the time he did was because there had been a situation there very much in the nature of an industrial civil war—one of the most serious industrial situations that had ever developed on the continent.

“I went of my own volition, under direction or suggestion from no one,” declared Mr. King. “I had been given a perfectly free hand by the Rockefeller Foundation to do what I thought best in the way of carrying out the work which the trustees of the Foundation had given me the opportunity to perform. I felt that if it were possible to demonstrate in the State of Colorado, under conditions such as existed there, that the application of certain principles to the relations of employers and employees could operate in a manner helpful alike to Capital, Labor, and the public, it would be rendering a service to industry at a time when it was very greatly needed. The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, which is the largest concern in that state, was one of the companies affected by the strike. It employs somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000 workers in iron mines, coal mines, and steel works. Because of the Rockefeller interest in that company I believe that my association with the Foundation gained for me an exceptional opportunity in connection with my work. For that service—or what measure of service it may have been possible to render in the State of Colorado—I received no payment from any interest or any individual concerned with any of the companies with which I had to deal. I undertook the work as a part of the opportunity afforded me by the Rockefeller Foundation, and I carried it out wholly in that spirit.”

A letter from Mr. J. F. Welborn, president of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, gives some idea of the results accruing from Mr. King’s efforts. Mr. Welborn had no hesitation in writing that, as a result of the forming of Industrial Councils, coal production in the mines of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company during the period of the war exceeded per man per day that of any of the other coal mines in the United States. Mr. Welborn concludes his letter as follows: “I feel that the part you (Mr. King) have had in the establishment of a new and better relationship in our industry represents a contribution to the late war of inestimable value. I can consistently so express myself because I had some misgiving as to the course you had laid out for us, and am now convinced it has exceeded the most sanguine expectations expressed at its beginning.”

So prominently has Mackenzie King’s name been linked with industrial reforms in Colorado that many thought at the time that the industrial representation plan instituted by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company marked the completion of the work which the former Minister of Labor had in hand. As a matter of fact Colorado was only the first field to be approached in a study which embraced the whole continent. The Colorado plan of industrial representation was only the machinery constructed to meet the needs peculiar to a particular industrial situation. The results of Mr. King’s studies in various industrial centres, as well as the conclusions drawn from the problems presented, are set out at some length and in much detail in his book, “Industry and Humanity.”


Mr. King ready to enter the mines of the Colorado Fuel and Iron

Company. The picture shows Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a

director of the company, at the right; Rt. Hon. W. L. Mackenzie

King, in the centre; and Mr. Archie Dennison, who represented

the miners of Frederick, Colorado. The three men were the leading

figures in bringing about a satisfactory settlement after one of

the most disastrous strikes in Colorado’s history.

The Secret of Heroism.

IF Mackenzie King had decided upon a literary career rather than one combined of sociology, economics, and politics, he would, in the estimation of many critics, have achieved a very high standing. The reason for this is shown very clearly in his creative efforts, “The Secret of Heroism” (1906), which is a tribute to the sacrifice made by his friend, Henry Albert Harper, and the graphic presentation of industrial problems as depicted in his more recent book, “Industry and Humanity” (1918).

Of the two books “The Secret of Heroism” is more inspirational, and, according to critics, of a higher literary order. The book is the expression of admiration for a brave deed and the loving kindness of a close friend. On an afternoon in December, 1901, Henry Albert Harper, a fellow-graduate of the University of Toronto, and the chief assistant to Mr. King in the formation of the Department of Labor, endeavored to save the life of Miss Bessie Blair, who, while skating on the Ottawa River, had fallen into open water. Without any hesitation Harper plunged into the icy current in the direction of Miss Blair to effect a rescue. They perished together, and their bodies were found on the following morning, the one not far from the other.

At a largely attended public meeting held in Ottawa a few days after the occurrence, resolutions were passed inviting the public to join in the erection of a monument to commemorate Harper’s heroism. It was decided that a monument of bronze or stone, to take the form of a figure symbolical of heroism and strength of character, should be erected in an open space. The choice of a sculptor was to be determined by a public competition and not restricted in any way.

In the opinion of the memorial committee, in the design and model submitted by Mr. Ernest Wise Keyser, a citizen of Baltimore, Maryland, the best expression for the ideal sought was found. Keyser was commissioned to execute the work, and a beautiful bronze, “Sir Galahad,” mounted on a granite base with the carved words

If I lose myself

I save myself”,

now stands at the right of the main entrance leading toward Parliament Hill.

The last portion of Mr. King’s introduction to his book gives some idea of the motive which guided him in writing this beautiful tribute to a brave and gallant gentleman:

It was the writer’s privilege to have been Harper’s oldest and most intimate friend. It has seemed to him that he would be unworthy of a friendship such as existed between them were he unwilling to share with others some of the beauty of soul which he knew so well, and of which Harper’s heroic deed was but an expression. For personal reasons, he has, up to the present, hesitated to disclose aught that has been in his keeping. The generous appreciation by the public of a single act appears to him now to warrant a larger confidence. He has ventured, therefore, to allow those who will to look in at the windows of the soul, and see, in its sacred chambers, the secret which was an abiding presence in a life whose heroism has already received from the nation a recognition so splendid and impressive.

To those into whose hands this little volume may come, the writer begs they forget not that it is but a collection of fragments gathered, after he had gone, from along the path on which he trod. It is not Harper’s life, it is not even a worthy tribute to his character. What it may contain of thoughts and expressions of his own wall be acceptable as “broken light upon the depth of the unspoken”; for the rest it will be well if, as a labor of love, it has done no injustice to the memory of a friend.

The opening chapter of the little book gives some idea of Mr. King’s facile style as a writer, and also sheds further light on the motive which prompted him to write it.

“The quality of a man’s love,” writes Mr. King, “will determine the nature of his deeds; occasion may present the opportunity, but character alone will record the experience. To a life given over to the pursuit of the beautiful and true the immortal hour only comes when conduct at last rises to the level of aim, and the ideal finds its fulfillment in the realm of the actual. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’

“Few lives have been more earnest or constant in the pursuit of an ultimate perfection than was Henry Albert Harper’s; few have sought more conscientiously than he to live out existence under the guidance of lofty aspirations, and in the light of pure ideals. There was nothing exceptional, save the opportunity, in the chivalrous act which cost him his life. It was a sublime expression of the hidden beauty of his real character and soul. Day by day he had been seeking for years to gain that freedom which is the reward of obedience to the highest laws of life, and little by little he had been fashioning a character unfettered and untrammelled by human weaknesses and prejudices, and strong in the noblest qualities of heart and mind. Galahad cried, ‘If I lose myself, I save myself!’ In the same spirit, and with the same insight into truth, Harper sought to keep unbroken the vision of immortality which was his, to be faithful to an ideal of duty, which, by a seeming loss, he has made incarnate for all time.

“By what path the heroic was attained in Harper’s life may be traced from the pages of a diary in which at intervals he recorded his thoughts, and from the words he has left in letters to his friends.”

In simple, yet colorful, language Mr. King, writing his own thoughts of his friend, and piecing in quotations from the letters and diary of Harper, weaves together a story of character which must be an inspiration to all who read the book. A section of the chapter entitled “The Purpose of Life” will serve to show the high ideals which have animated not only Harper’s life, but also King’s:

“If love for others was the ruling passion, the realization of a high ideal was the constant purpose of Harper’s life. He deliberately, at an early age, looked in upon his life; regarded it as a trust given him by the Creator to mould and fashion at His will; saw that it had capacities which he believed to be infinite and divine; and sought, by reflection and action, to unfold its meaning and to work out its end. . . . His search was not in vain. It could be said of Harper, with all his mysticism, that he was one

Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole.

“Man found himself in a world surrounded by mortals like himself. Two theories were possible: either all was chance, or there was design. If chance, there could be no ultimate meaning of things, no relation between the parts, either between the universe and man, or man and his fellows; truth and right there might be, by arrangement, but they could not be absolute; duty might exist, but under what law? No, the world, man—these clearly were to be accounted for in some more rational way. The only alternative was design. The finite mind, seeking to interpret the Infinite, had invented a language whereby, through the medium of words, it sought to give expression to its thoughts. A creator and an infinite purpose were essential to design; the creator, the finite mind conceived of as God; the infinite purpose, His will. To know God and to do His will became then the chief end of man.

“From a consciousness of the mystery of his own being and of the universe about him, the earliest perception of the infinite nature of each and of their relation came to Harper in the discovery of what he was wont to call ‘the rule of law.’ In Nature he found it first. In Nature there was no chance; all was cause and effect; there was constant change, but no final destruction. ‘Immortal growth was the prophecy which Nature made for man.’ What the eye of the senses discovered in the physical world, the eye of the soul discovered to be true of the inner life. Character was not the child of Destiny, the shadow of Circumstance—it was the one immortal creation of which man was capable. ‘What a man sows, that shall he also reap.’ In character was the harvest of all that a man ever thought, or willed, or did.”

Industry and Humanity.

BY the writing of one book, “Industry and Humanity,” Mackenzie King has received world-wide recognition as an authority on sociological and economic problems. That the book is a very positive contribution on the industrial problem is evidenced by the fact that it is in general use as a text-book at many important universities.

In a short prefatory note the author acknowledges his indebtedness to the Rockefeller Foundation for the opportunity which made possible the writing of the book. When he was invited by the Foundation, in June, 1914, to undertake a study of industrial relations it was expected he would visit different countries to make investigations, and from these inquiries offer constructive suggestions concerning industrial and social policies.

“The war not only prevented me from making studies abroad,” writes Mr. King, “but so completely changed the industrial situation in all countries that I was compelled to modify my plans considerably. Hopeful of being constructively helpful, notwithstanding changed conditions, I decided to make a personal investigation into the root causes of some of the existing industrial controversies in America, and to contribute, by suggestion or otherwise, as opportunity offered, to working out improvements in relations between Capital and Labor. I also decided to prepare, on the basis of my own experience and the literature available, a statement of underlying principles which were finding expression in the organization of industrial society, and which should obtain in all efforts at reconstruction.”

In the main introduction to this book Mr. King points out that the existing attitude of Capital and Labor toward each other is too largely one of mistrust born of fear. “That was the position of the nations of Europe before the war,” he writes. “If Industry is to serve Humanity, this attitude must be changed to one of trust inspired by faith. An industrial system characterized by antagonism, coercion and resistance must yield to a new order based upon mutual confidence, real justice and constructive good-will. The change will involve patience, but nothing short of it will solve the problems to which industry gives rise.

“Christianity differs from Heathenism in that its attitude is founded upon Faith, not upon Fear. Despite contrary appearances, the transition from Fear to Faith is being wrought out slowly in international and industrial affairs. Wherever it has progressed, an attitude of militancy has given way to one of co-operation. The transition has been accompanied by changes in outer form and organization, but the indwelling spirit has been its one sustaining reality. Where the spirit fails the whole fabric becomes dismantled.

“Infusion of a new spirit into Industry will come, as a new attitude in Science and Religion came, only through a belief in some order with which all things should accord, and through the application of principles founded on this belief. As respects the phenomena of Industry, the perception of such an order demands above all else fine discernment between Economic and Human values; between the ends which Wealth and the ends which Life were meant to serve. The unplumbed depths of contrast so profound are to be estimated only by the unfathomable difference between Matter and Spirit. It is impossible to express relationships born of such distinctions in terms of either class or nationality. A material versus a spiritual interpretation of Life alone defines the issue. . . .

“Through the establishment of right relations in Industry, Labor and Capital have it in their power to end competitive arming between nations, and to secure to the world immunity from further wars. They have the even greater opportunity of relieving Industry from the servitude in which it is held by war and the fear of war; and of making of forces hitherto utilized in the work of destruction instruments for the relief of Mankind. Industry must be made to serve and to save Humanity through a recognition of common interests between men of all classes and of all countries.”

In plain and lucid language Mr. King proceeds to show that society can never reach a correct understanding of the problems of Industry until there is an adequate appreciation of what Industry really is, and who the responsible parties are in maintaining and carrying on large industries. “Industry,” he declares, “is the means by which material resources of the world are transformed, through human intelligence and human energy, with the aid of natural powers, tools, and machines, into commodities and services available for human use.” Later on he writes that he has found in many quarters a misunderstanding as to the sections of society which take part in or bear a definite relation to Industry.

“We are accustomed,” he continues, “to discuss the problems of Industry in terms of Capital and Labor on this continent, although in England the general discussion appears now to be centering around Labor and Community. . . . To carry on Industry in any but the most primitive way there must be, as I see it, recognition of four parties, each discharging separate and distinct functions. First of all there is Labor, which supplies the muscular and mental energy necessary to effect the processes of immediate transformation. Next there is Capital, which is necessary to provide the raw materials, the tools, appliances and equipment essential to industrial processes, and the advances in the way of food, clothing and shelter required by Labor, pending the distribution of the finished product. Then there is Management, or directing ability. So frequently has Management been associated with the ownership of Capital that the identity of the former has more or less been merged in the latter.

“Managerial ability is in the nature of personal service of the very highest order, and is necessary, not only to bring about efficient co-operation between Labor and Capital in the work of production, but also to effect and maintain right relations with the fourth party, without whose co-operation in all that pertains to Industry the other three parties could accomplish little or nothing. The fourth party is the Community—that entity which we speak of sometimes as Organized Society—under whose sanction all industry is carried on, and by whose continuous co-operation with the other parties to Industry, production, distribution and exchange are rendered possible.”

Mr. King here proceeds to work out his idea that there are four partners to Industry, and that they are all equally necessary to one another. Labor, he contends, can do nothing without Capital; Capital can do nothing without Labor; and neither of them can co-operate effectively unless guided by Management; while Management, however great its genius, can do nothing without the opportunities and privileges the Community affords. “Surely,” he pleads, “if all four parties are necessary to Industry, and each other, a partnership plan should be devised where each should have some voice in the control of the conditions under which their services to Industry are rendered.”

Mr. King emphasizes in his book that the vaster an industrial organization becomes, the more it depends upon the investments of the Community. “It is the Community,” he writes, “that provides all the natural resources and powers that underlie all production. Individuals may acquire title by one means or another, but it is from the Community, and by the consent of the Community, that titles are held. It is the Community, organized in various ways, which maintains government and foreign relations, secures law and order, fosters the arts and inventions, aids education, breeds opinion, and promotes, through concession or otherwise, the agencies of transportation, communication, credit, banking, etc., without which any production, save the most primitive, would be impossible. It is the Community which creates the demand for commodities and services through which Labor is provided with remunerative employment, and Capital a return upon its investments.”

Developing his theme, Mr. King points out that partnership is essential, no matter what status, and that, while it does not involve identical or similar functions on the part of partners, or equality either of service or rewards, it does imply equality in the right of representation in determining the policy on matters of common interest. “It is this principle,” he contends, “that has thus far so largely failed of recognition. It is only within the past century that the highest form of government, Responsible Government, has been attained,” he points out. “Under Responsible Government, the executive is responsible to the people as a whole, not to any one class. . . . When the managers of Industry become responsible to Labor, Capital and the Community for the manner in which their vast powers and opportunities are exercised, we shall have something in the government of Industry closely resembling the responsible executive in the government of the State. Meanwhile, our duty would appear to be that of putting an end to autocracy of control, no matter by which of the parties to Industry it may be attempted or exercised, and to work out a system of joint control based upon representation of all the parties in the determination of industrial policy.”

“Industry and Humanity” does two things: It throws much-needed light on the different industrial relationships, and it demonstrates Mr. King’s ability to deal understandingly with world-wide problems. The book has made him an international figure.

Chosen Leader of the Liberal Party.

DURING the past three years Mackenzie King has been referred to by several writers and speakers as “a man of Destiny,” but close friends are convinced that his success has been attained by consistent hard work and an unshakable faith in his fellow-men. Shortly after undertaking the duties of Deputy Minister of Labor Mr. King gained the confidence of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Mutual respect ripened into friendship, and when Mr. King was called from the Civil Service into the political arena several keen observers ventured the prophecy that Sir Wilfrid had “chosen his heir” to the party leadership.

When Mr. King entered Sir Wilfrid’s Cabinet in 1909 he was in his thirty-fourth year. It was pointed out at the time that Alexander Mackenzie had Laurier in mind as a future leader of his party when he called the young French-Canadian into his Cabinet in 1877, and it was maintained that Laurier was actuated by a similar motive in taking the grandson of William Lyon Mackenzie as one of his lieutenants. “I am convinced,” declared Alexander Smith, K.C., of Ottawa, who was a close friend of Sir Wilfrid, “that the Old Chief looked beyond the incidents of the moment and had the future very clearly in view when he chose Mackenzie King to be Minister of Labor.”

But while Sir Wilfrid may have had the future leader of the party in mind when he called Mr. King to his Cabinet, it was solely because he recognized in him a young man of sure and growing powers, in whose hands the reins of the party could be placed with full confidence. With the death of Sir Wilfrid there passed away much of the romance and glamour which surrounded party leadership in former years. The old seigneurial tradition which had been reflected during the Laurier regime has probably gone forever. To-day a new era has dawned in which the human factors of the industrial problem figure most largely.

Many of the delegates to the Liberal Convention which met in Ottawa during the early days of August, 1919, realized the situation. The Convention, which had been planned during the life of Sir Wilfrid for the purpose of considering policy and promoting unity within the party, had the new duty thrust upon it, by his death, of choosing his successor. It was felt by certain delegates that the party needed a man in the full vigor of life, whose character was above reproach and whose ideals were of the highest. The Convention sat waiting for a sign—a dramatic moment. It came with Mr. King’s speech introducing the Labor Resolution of the International (Paris) Conference.

“When Mr. King appeared on the platform to introduce the resolution more than half the delegates rose and greeted him with one of the most remarkable demonstrations of approval ever accorded a Canadian political leader. The speech he gave showed clearly that the industrial problem, with its human relationship, is one which appeals to him more than any other.

“My feeling,” he said, in addressing the delegates, “is that the Liberal party of Canada in accepting the (Paris) program in its entirety is taking a position that will in the course of time be regarded as historic, for it declares itself the first political party in any country in the world to accept this program. In doing so it recognizes that the labor problem is a human problem; that human personality is more important than any considerations of property; that ethical and human considerations ought to stand above any considerations of a purely business or material nature. It is based on the assumption that industry exists for the benefit of humanity, and not humanity for the sake of industry.”

On the afternoon of the last day of the Convention the delegates began the work of choosing a Leader. The result of the first poll was announced at 5 o’clock, and showed Mr. King leading with 344 votes out of 949. Hon. George P. Graham and Mr. D. D. McKenzie dropped out after the third ballot, and when the fifth ballot was announced two and a half hours later Hon. W. S. Fielding moved that Mr. King be made the unanimous choice of the Convention, and assured the new Leader of his loyal support. Mr. King obtained a large majority of the Quebec votes of the Convention, but these were considerably less than half the total votes cast for him. Mr. Fielding, his strongest opponent, won the hearts of all the delegates by his acceptance of the situation.

The selection of Mackenzie King as Leader of the Liberal party, while a verification of the prophecies uttered by political wiseacres, was really the inevitable reward for conscientious public service, loyalty to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and a recognition of his abilities as a conciliator. His capacity as a fighter had also endeared him to his followers. Taking all the chances of defeat when he left the Civil Service to contest North Waterloo in the Liberal interests in 1908, he won a decisive victory. In 1909 Sir Wilfrid called him to the Cabinet as Minister of Labor. After three years of hard work, both in his Department and in the Commons, Mr. King suffered defeat in his native constituency on the Reciprocity question.

In 1917 he was tendered the Liberal nomination for North York, the home of his grandsire, and where Mr. King himself is now more generally known than in his first constituency of North Waterloo. In accepting the candidacy in North York he quoted from the election address of his grandfather, issued in York eighty years before:

“I have no end in view but the well-being of the people at large; no ambition to serve but that of contributing to the happiness and prosperity of our common country. The influence and authority with which you may invest me shall always be directed, according to the best of my judgment, for the general good, and it will be my care to uphold your rights to the utmost of my power, with that firmness, moderation and perseverance which becomes the representative of a free people.”

In the campaign which followed, Mackenzie King fought the Union Government with such vigor that the struggle in North York became one of the main centres of interest during the campaign. He contended that a “dead Parliament” had no right to force through such controversial measures as the Franchise Act and the Conscription Act. He strongly opposed the Franchise Act on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and that it struck at the roots of democratic government. He maintained that Sir Robert Borden had broken his word in telling Sir Wilfrid that nothing controversial would be introduced after the extension of Parliament.

After a bitterly fought campaign in North York Mr. King went down to defeat, but he went down with colors flying and with a smile on his face. Notwithstanding his defeat in North Waterloo in 1911 and in North York in 1917, he was chosen Leader of his party two years later and shortly after elected by acclamation to fill the vacancy in Prince County, Prince Edward Island, caused by the death of Capt. Joseph Read. In the general election of December 6th, 1921, he was offered the nomination for Prince County again, but declined it, saying he felt it a duty to contest North York. “Ontario is good fighting ground,” he remarked, “and my friends are counting on me to lead the fight in North York.”

With the coming of Mr. King to the Leader’s chair in the House of Commons, filled so long by Sir Wilfrid, the Liberal Opposition commenced to attack the Government with new hope and spirit. The Government was persistently criticized, and the spirited leadership of Mr. King resulted in the carrying of a number of hard-fought by-elections. The rank and file of the Liberal party commenced to rally to the leadership of Mackenzie’s grandson, and when the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen went to the country in the fall of 1921, instead of a split and leaderless Opposition, he faced a united party.

An Efficient War Record.

LIKE his grandfather of old, Mr. King has been subjected to criticism on so-called patriotic grounds. Realizing that many people never think things through, an insidious whispering was started by his political opponents during the general election campaign of 1921, the tenor of which was: “Mackenzie King is a single man; what did he do in the Great War?”

The fact that he was one of the world’s recognized experts on industrial relations, and that men of his ability and resource were necessary in the production of munitions and other war materials, was lost sight of for the moment. It is sometimes overlooked that Mr. King’s connection with the Rockefeller Foundation was formed before the war commenced in August, 1914. After the actual outbreak of war he made a careful survey of several factors entering into the situation and he decided that his work with the Rockefeller Foundation would probably help the allied cause to a greater degree than any other course of action on his part.

During the war the activities of the Rockefeller Foundation were largely in the nature of international war work co-operation. It was the first organization in the United States to come to the relief of the Belgians in the matter of food and clothing. Its funds were drawn upon freely to bring relief to the starving populations of France, Poland, Serbia, and Armenia, at the hour of their greatest need. It gave millions of dollars in assistance to Red Cross and Y.M.C.A. work in the army and navy camps and committees. It equipped and maintained war demonstration hospitals, provided the services of Dr. Alexis Carrel and his staff, hospital and surgical laboratory at Compiegne, France.

Speaking in the House of Commons April 20th, 1920, in reply to misrepresentations concerning his services in the adjustments of relations between workers and employers in war industries, Mr. King made the following statement:

“When the war came on I had to decide, just as every other man in this country had, what, under existing circumstances, it was best to do. I had to decide, in relation to the Rockefeller Foundation and the work which I had undertaken, whether I should abandon these studies altogether, or whether I should undertake them in relation to the problems which were growing out of the war. I shall mention in a moment or two certain private considerations of which I was obliged to take account, but for the present I wish to confine what I have to say to the public reasons which I felt were strong enough to cause me to make the decision I did—a decision which I believed at the time, and have ever since believed, was entirely in the right direction.

“The war had not proceeded very far,” continued Mr. King, “before it became perfectly apparent that the winning of the war depended upon the successful co-operation of Capital and Labor in the industries that were engaged in the production of munitions and the furnishing of war supplies and materials, as well as upon the heroic efforts of the men who were fighting at the front. The Governments of the different countries recognized that to be the situation. The Government of Great Britain established, shortly after the beginning of the war, a Reconstruction Committee, which subsequently became the Ministry of Reconstruction in England, with a sub-committee on relations between employers and employed, to deal with the problems of industry as they arose during the war, and were likely to arise during the period of reconstruction. The Government of the United States appointed a National War Labor Board, and the Government of Canada—the present Government—appointed the Reconstruction and Development Committee of the Cabinet, with a labor sub-committee. The work of all these bodies was to study the problems arising out of the relations between Capital and Labor with a view, if possible, to avoiding industrial controversy in essential industries during the war, and finding means for the rapid development of peaceful and helpful relations in the period after the war.

“The work I was doing for the Rockefeller Foundation,” declared Mr. King, “both in its purpose as research and in its practical effort, was identical with the kind of work which was being done by persons associated with these bodies. Every man associated with any of these organizations was regarded by his fellow-countrymen as rendering a much-needed war service, a service for which he was specially qualified. My selection by the Rockefeller Foundation had been made, among other reasons, because of the circumstance that during a number of years I had held a position in the Department of Labor of this country as Deputy Minister of the Department, and subsequently as Minister, and during that time had had considerable to do, at first hand, and in a practical way, with industrial problems. It was believed that, with that experience and with the opportunity the Foundation afforded, a useful service might be rendered.”

After his success in working out a solution of the industrial problems of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company Mr. King, during 1915-16, received invitations from the heads of several of the largest war industries in the United States asking if he would make a study of their industrial conditions with a view to advising them as to methods of forming joint boards of employers and employees, and thus aid in the prevention, or the settlement, of industrial differences.

When attacks on his war record were made after his selection as Leader of the Liberal party, Mr. King wrote to several of these industrial concerns asking if there was any objection to making reference in public to the nature of the work which he had been asked to perform. “I had felt,” said Mr. King, “that, having been retained as an industrial adviser, there was a certain obligation upon me to regard any service that I might have been able to render as confidential, and for that reason, as well as having no desire to traffic in patriotism for political ends, I had sought up to that time carefully to avoid any reference at all to work done during the period of the war.”

In a letter from Mr. E. G. Grace, President of the Bethlehem Steel Company of South Bethlehem, Pa., Mr. Grace points out that the Bethlehem supplies made for the British Ministry of Munitions were considered by Mr. Asquith to have been well delivered and proved of immense service to the Allied armies. “I think it is now well recognized,” continued Mr. Grace, “that if it had not been for the assistance our plants were privileged to give to the Allies previous to the entry of this Government in the war the result might have been different. In reflecting the credit for the achievements of this company, which is shared by every one of our employees who contributed to the result of the outcome, I cannot in this connection refrain from calling to mind with much appreciation the great work to which you gave your time and talent during the world’s crisis.

“At a crucial time, when we were contending with an unprecedented industrial unrest, your counsel and advice in the construction and development of a plan which, when installed, proved most conducive to promoting cordial relations with our employees during the emergency, resulting in the obtaining of the maximum efficiency in the production of war munitions, constituted, I felt, a real service, not only to this country, but to the Allies, during the war.”

During the war the General Electric Company of West Lynn, Massachusetts, was called upon to create and produce a number of devices which were largely used by the British and American navies, both in the waters directly around the United Kingdom and also in the Italian waters and off the American coast. These devices were in the nature of detectors, and they were found to be the most effective in combating submarine warfare because they enabled submarines in motion to be located thirty miles away, their course of motion plotted and intercepted. In this plant it was found necessary to establish a system of industrial relations giving employees a voice in the determination of working conditions and conditions of employment. Mr. King made a study of the situation, and his recommendations were adopted by the management. Other studies were made by Mr. King for Mr. Harold F. McCormick, President of the International Harvester Company, the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company, the Consolidation Coal Company, the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company of Youngstown, Ohio, as well as the Standard Oil Company of Indiana.

Mr. King has repeatedly pointed out that all of this work was in the nature of assisting in the formation of joint industrial councils similar to those recommended in the report of the Whitley Committee adopted in Great Britain, and which, at a conference held in the city of Ottawa in the summer of 1919, was endorsed by representative employers and employees as a method of procedure highly in the interests of both Capital and Labor. According to Mr. King his work of adjustment consisted in setting out known and orderly methods of procedure for the adjustment of industrial differences; in the providing of machinery for conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial controversies; in giving to Labor a voice in the determination of its own working and living conditions, and in the framing of joint agreements as to terms of employment, working and living conditions by which rights were specifically defined and to which reference could be made in case of dispute between employer and employees. In every instance there was a provision that nothing in the arrangements come to, or in the agreements made, should deprive any man of the right to belong to any legitimate union.

In a brief reference to certain personal factors entering into his war work Mr. King made the following declaration at the end of his speech in the House of Commons:

“I have nothing further to say in regard to the public reasons which actuated me in taking the course I did during the period of the war, and which I believe enabled me to perform a kind and measure of service greater than any I could have performed in any other way, had there been like opportunity to take any other course. I would ask the House to permit me to refrain from the spoken word, and to read in conclusion just a few words in reference to the personal reasons which were also a controlling factor in guiding me in my actions during the period of the war.

“There remains the statement that I was young, and a bachelor. I am now in my forty-sixth year. When the war commenced I was in my fortieth year. Shortly before that time my father, a barrister and solicitor, and one of the lecturers at the Law School in Toronto, was stricken with blindness, and obliged to give up the practice of law and lecturing at the Law School. He and my mother and unmarried sister lived together at our home in Toronto. My brother, who for a number of years was a practicing physician in this city, some little time prior to the war, after an attack of influenza complicated by double pneumonia, developed tuberculosis and was obliged to give up the practice of his profession and for the greater part of two years to spend his time in a sanatorium. Later, he and his wife and little children took up permanent residence in Colorado. There was no one left to share the responsibilities of our home under these sad and trying circumstances but my married sister and myself. My married sister had, as well, her own family to consider.

“On April 4th, 1915, within the first few months of the war, my unmarried sister died. That left my father and mother alone. On August 30th, 1916, my father died. After spending a few weeks with my invalid brother in Denver, and two or three months with my married sister, my mother came to reside with me at the Roxborough, here in Ottawa. My mother was critically ill most of the year she was with me, and on December 18th, 1917, she, too, died.

“As I look back upon those years of the war, so full of poignant suffering for the whole of mankind, I cannot but experience a sense of gratitude that in that world ordeal it was given to me to share in so intimate a way the sufferings of others, and, with it all, so large a measure of opportunity to do my duty, as God gave it to me to see my duty, at that time.”

Premier of Canada.

THE general election of December 6th, 1921, and the campaign which preceded it, will be remembered for a long time in Canada. For the first time in nearly twenty years there was a noticeable cleavage of political opinion throughout the Dominion, and until the last few weeks of the campaign it was difficult to determine how the battle of ballots would result.

As the campaign developed it was clearly seen that the divisions of political thought had become strikingly tripartite, and that the three divisions focalized in the Eastern provinces, in Ontario, and in the Western provinces. The farmers’ movement, fathered by the United Farmers’ and Grain Growers’ organizations, which had developed powerful political strength in the three prairie provinces and in Ontario, went to the polls under the name of the Progressive party, led by the Hon. T. A. Crerar. The Government forces, representing, for the most part, the Conservatives throughout the Dominion, and who drew most of their support from Ontario, were led by the Rt. Hon. Arthur Meighen, while the Liberals, for the first time reunited in ten years, were led by the Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King.

During the first few weeks of the campaign it looked as if the respective parties were so evenly matched that it would be impossible for any one of them to form a government. There was some doubt as to whether the Liberals or the Progressives would carry the most seats, but it was not considered likely that the Liberals would secure a decisive lead over their opponents. As the campaign warmed up during the last three weeks it was noticeable that the Liberals were making unexpected gains in constituencies which had been considered as Progressive and Conservative strongholds. One of the great factors in bringing this changed condition about was the energetic campaign of Mr. King throughout Ontario and the Eastern provinces. His speeches everywhere inspired confidence among his followers, and by the end of the campaign Liberals who had not taken part in political activities for over a decade were actively supporting the candidates of their new Leader. The result of the voting gave the Liberals 117 members, the Progressives 65, the Conservatives 50, and Labor 3.

The election was in many respects a remarkable one. It was the first Dominion election in which women had voted on equal terms with men, for franchise given to women in 1917 was only a partial one. It was certainly the first election in which any woman voted upon political issues other than those connected with a war. It was the first opportunity offered to many soldiers to cast their votes under normal conditions and in their own home surroundings. The previous peacetime election was held in 1911, and during the intervening period hundreds of thousands of boys grew up to manhood and voted for the first time at the general election.

It was the first election in which more than two parties seriously competed for political supremacy in the Dominion. The Conservatives, led by Mr. Meighen, did their utmost to make the issue one between Protection and Free Trade. But, while the tariff was undoubtedly an issue, the charges of Mackenzie King, that the Government had “left undone those things which they ought to have done, and done those things which they ought not to have done,” were listened to and acted upon by the electorate.

The Progressive party, led by Hon. T. A. Crerar, urged a considerable reduction in the tariff, and largely revived the agitation for a reciprocal trade agreement with the United States, similar to that advocated by the Liberal party since 1911. That their argument in favor of low tariff, or, as some of the Progressives urged, “absolute free trade,” appealed to the citizens of Western Canada is evidenced by the fact that not a solitary Conservative was elected in Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba.

When called upon by the Governor-General to form a Government Mr. King soon demonstrated his ability to select effective men. With Hon. W. S. Fielding, Sir Lomer Gouin, Hon. G. P. Graham and Ernest Lapointe—men with long and active political experience—the country was assured the Administration would be in safe hands. Within a few weeks after assuming office preparations were already under way for progressive legislation and reforms were introduced in nearly every department of the Government.

When Parliament opened for the first session under the new Administration Mr. King found that he would have to depend to a greater or less extent upon a number of honest Progressives who “earnestly desired good government and would support all worthy legislation.” At a banquet tendered to the Premier at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto, by Ontario Liberals on August 30th, 1922, Mr. King made the following interesting statement concerning his attitude toward the Progressive party:

“It is good-will, not ill-will, that is most needed if unity is to be achieved in the larger purposes of our national life; and good-will, let it never be forgotten, lies in the endeavor to understand, interpret, and respect the other man’s point of view—not in seeking to misconstrue or to arouse prejudice against it.

“We did not wait till Parliament assembled to seek to remove the causes of discord and the differences which have kept apart elements in our country which should have been working in common for the country’s good. The general elections having disclosed a Liberal East and a Progressive West, I made it known immediately that a united, not a divided, Canada would be the supreme aim of the new Administration, and I sought to effect this by an attitude of good-will toward those who had opposed us in the contest but, nevertheless, were one with us in the fundamental purpose of overthrowing autocracy and restoring representative and responsible government.

“In the formation of the Cabinet I was prepared to disregard differences that were not fundamental, and would gladly have taken into the Government members of the Progressive party possessing its confidence in largest measure, not only in order that this great body of political opinion might have its due influence in the shaping of policy at the Cabinet table, but that Western Canada might feel doubly assured that its needs and its problems would be certain of every consideration.

“For reasons of their own, our Progressive friends were not able to see their way at the time to take advantage of this opportunity, but they met us in the spirit in which they had been approached. They publicly announced that their attitude would be one, not of opposition to, but of support of, the Administration in the carrying out of Liberal and Progressive policies. And in Parliament they have acted in accordance with this profession.”

During his first session the Premier soon demonstrated that many of his opponents had greatly underestimated him. Except during the time when he was absent on the occasion of his brother’s death, Mr. King was in his place at every sitting, fought his own battles on the floor of the House, put through the required legislation, and by common consent has gained in Parliamentary strength. Even some of his strongest enemies will admit, sometimes grudgingly, that “he has done much better as Premier than as Leader of the Opposition.” His cool self-possession and even temper show to better advantage as Leader of the Government, and at Ottawa one now hears recalled the appraisal expressed by Sir Wilfrid Laurier: “My young friend, King, has the best brains in Canada.”

The opinion is gradually growing throughout the Dominion that Canada is very fortunate in having a man of Mr. King’s ability and character at the head of government during a time of adjustment and reconstruction. There are many signs that for some years to come industrial problems of a national and international character will be continually pressing for solution; and among the leaders of organized labor, as well as the financiers and managers of “big business,” there is a feeling of confidence that Mackenzie King will do the right thing.

In both Great Britain and the United States there is an ever-increasing appreciation of Mr. King and his policies. In a speech made last summer before the International Convention of Kiwanis Clubs, Hon. Albert J. Beveridge of Indianapolis declared that “Mackenzie King is the best type of public official—able, upright, courageous, broadly and accurately informed, and devoted to the well-being of his country.”

Summing up the result of his visit to Canada during the summer of 1922, Sir Campbell Stuart, Managing Director of The Times (London, England), published the following interesting opinion on Canadian affairs:

“I found a very different Canada from the one I had known. I found the young men were more interested in public affairs than before the war; I found the consciousness of nationhood more apparent; I found a greater realization of the fact that she needed all her brains, be they in the East or in the West, English or French, to guide her destinies at this critical hour in her history; I found a real desire to remain a nation in the British League of Nations, but at the same time a very proper wish to look after her own affairs.

“The important international question which interests Canada to-day is the appointment of a Canadian Minister to Washington. The Order-in-Council provided that in the absence of the British Ambassador he should be in charge of the Embassy. In my opinion the Minister will have enough to do to look after the affairs of Canada, to whom he is responsible, without embroiling her in world problems—and perhaps world quarrels. Could not the British Counsellor of Embassy become Charge d’Affaires in the ordinary way? That Canada should have a Minister there I have no doubt. Canada’s interests at Washington are enormous, and the man who is charged with them should understand in every detail the feelings and the wishes of the Canadian people.

“It was a great inspiration to see the grandson of the great Canadian reformer, William Lyon Mackenzie, directing the destinies of his country. He inherits a new Canada, sanctified by war, recognizing for the first time her own strength, respected by the whole world as a factor to be reckoned with, harassed by problems of transportation, possessed of illimitable resources. It is his great hour of opportunity.”

Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King and the members
of his Cabinet leaving the eastern block of the Parliament Buildings
at Ottawa, after having been sworn into office.

The Premier at Close Range.

MACKENZIE KING has made a number of new records since his accession to the Premiership. Not only is he the youngest man and the only bachelor ever elected to that high office, but, according to officials, newspaper-men, and political friends and foes, he is considered one of the most tireless workers who ever presided over a Cabinet. His work is well organized and this is evidenced by the fact that he gets through more work in one day than most business executives get through in a week.

When Parliament is in session appointments with the Premier are restricted as much as possible. No appointments are made until noon except for deputations and special interviews with members of the Cabinet. Mr. F. A. McGregor, his private secretary, told me the reason for this was the necessity for the Premier having some time for study and reflection. “The only time that seems possible is during the morning hours,” he declared.

When asked if the rule was usually adhered to, the Premier’s secretary told me that while there were rare occasions when an adjustment of the schedule was found necessary, few appointments of any kind were made before eleven o’clock. Many are made between noon and one-thirty, and between two and three o’clock in the afternoon. During the session, however, a certain amount of time adjustment is provided for at the noon hour.

When the Premier’s secretary was asked if the correspondence was heavy his eyes fairly twinkled. “We have found it to be quite heavy,” he replied, “although more so during the session. People write to the Premier as if they were writing to the general manager of a departmental store, and this is largely responsible for the great volume of mail. Letters that should have gone in the first place to various other departments of the Government often find their way to the Premier’s office.”

Immediately after being called to the Premiership Mr. King was deluged with letters of congratulation, and others on all kinds of subjects. Over fifteen thousand letters and cablegrams were received at this time, and mail bag after mail bag was brought to the Roxborough Apartments to be given his personal attention. “You never saw anything like it,” declared Mr. McGregor. “The letters came from all over the world and I think they embraced all countries. They came from schoolboy friends, university friends, family friends, newspaper friends, and political friends. All of these had to be answered, and answered, where possible, in reasonable time. We finally got caught up, or measurably so, but the deluge was one we will remember for a long time.”

From the time he rises in the morning, at eight o’clock, the Premier has every hour of his day planned. He breakfasts at nine o’clock, and from half-past nine until eleven or twelve gives most of his time to affairs requiring his direct attention. It is during these hours that many of his more important speeches and legislative documents are planned and correspondence reviewed. From twelve to one, and often until two during the session, his time is largely taken up with members of the Cabinet or with interviews and correspondence, and the appending of his signature to various documents which he is constantly called upon to sign in his capacity as head of the Government. At one o’clock he goes out to lunch, generally at the Rideau Club, and occasionally, when the House is in session, at the House of Commons restaurant.

When the House is sitting the Premier’s afternoons and evenings are mainly taken up with his official duties at the right of Mr. Speaker. Here, from three to six in the afternoon, and from eight o’clock, generally until the House adjourns, the Premier puts in long days. When the House is not in session the afternoons are devoted to interviews with Cabinet Ministers and numerous deputations and individual visitors. The constant Cabinet and caucus meetings during the session make large demands upon his time, and the arduous duties of leading the House as well as his party often prevent him from getting any rest until the early hours of the morning.

The question naturally arises: how does the Premier manage to bear up under the strain imposed by the responsibilities of his high office? The answer is to be found in the fact that scarcely a day goes by without some outdoor exercise. He is especially fond of horseback riding and long walks. At least three times a week during the session he will ride out to the Experimental Farm, and the Prince of Wales Falls, following the picturesque Capital Driveway both ways. On other days he will go for long walks around Sandy Hill or out to Rockcliffe Park and back to his apartment at the Roxborough.

He is not a pleasure motorist, but uses a motor car largely as a business necessity. When I visited him recently at Ottawa he assured me that he got more pleasure from riding a horse. “I keep at it most of the year, and couldn’t do without it,” he assured me. “You know, there is life to a horse, and a horse and a man can soon develop a common understanding. When I was in the Department of Labor I used to go in more for long walks, but two of my best walking companions—Bert Harper and Wilfred Campbell—are gone. I have found a life in the open the only one to renew one’s energy for the work one has to do.”

During the summer months, as opportunity presents, the Premier goes to his cottage at Kingsmere, Quebec, where he and his friend Harper spent so many happy days. Here he occupies his time in study and in enjoying exercise and recreation by clearing underbrush, chopping trees, and working in the woods which surround his country home. “I clear a little area around my cottage every year,” he told me, “and when I come back to Ottawa after this contact with nature and primitive life I always feel that I have had a worthwhile holiday.”

The Premier and his private secretary, Mr. McGregor, have great faith in each other. They have been together in the days of political adversity as well as in the days of success, and there is a closer fellowship between them than has been the case between most Prime Ministers and their secretaries. The Premier’s secretary possesses a happy faculty for getting things done at the right time, and thus has been able to render invaluable service.

How highly Mr. McGregor’s efficiency is valued, both by the Premier and by prominent members of the Liberal party, is indicated by the part he played just previous to the Liberal Convention which met on August 5th, 6th, and 7th, 1919. In the early part of July Mr. King and his secretary were in England in connection with industrial research work, and about the middle of the month passages were booked on the “Aquitania,” and on the “Adriatic.”

Mr. King preferred to remain a few days longer in England, but told his secretary to take whichever sailing he wished. The secretary took the “Aquitania,” which sailed on July 12th. The “Adriatic” left several days afterwards, and, owing to a strike which occurred on board, did not arrive at Halifax until the afternoon of August 7th, at the time the Liberal Convention was adjoining. If the Premier and his secretary had taken the second boat, the Convention would not have heard the thrilling appeal on behalf of industrial humanity which unified a party and gave Mr. King the leadership.


In this cottage at Kingsmere, Quebec, Mr. King rests and enjoys life in the open between sessions of the House of Commons.

An Advocate of International Good-Will.

ON July 12th, 1922, Mr. King, accompanied by Hon. George P. Graham, Minister of National Defense, visited Washington with a view to having the Rush-Bagot Agreement, limiting the naval forces of Great Britain and the United States on the Great Lakes, perpetuated in a new treaty between Canada and her southern neighbor.

Under the terms of the Rush-Bagot Agreement, armament on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River was restricted to four vessels of one hundred tons’ burden, each carrying not more than one eighteen-pound gun. The Premier’s idea, as submitted to Hon. Charles E. Hughes, Secretary of State, was to modernize the Rush-Bagot Agreement and embody the ideals of its framers into a new and formal treaty with the United States respecting the limitation of armaments on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

Mr. King found Mr. Hughes quite sympathetic to his proposal. Mr. Hughes later presented both visitors to President Harding, to whom the purpose of their mission was made known. Their call at the White House followed a luncheon given in their honor by Mr. Hughes at the Metropolitan Club, when they met Secretaries Mellon, Weeks, Hoover, and Wallace, of the American Cabinet, as well as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and Representative Porter of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives.

Mr. King, in a statement made at Washington, pointed out that, at the International Conference on the Limitation of Armament held at that city during the later weeks of 1921, no single aspect of international relations attracted more attention than the unfortified frontier of from three to four thousand miles between Canada and the United States.

“Over and over again,” he declared, “reference was made to the so-called Rush-Bagot Agreement of 1817, under which armament on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River was restricted to four vessels of one hundred tons’ burden, each carrying not more than one gun. The significance of this Agreement, providing, as it has, a means of escape from competitive arming, was dwelt upon not less from the point of view of what it has meant for more than a century in the saving of expenditure on armament by each of the two countries than what it has meant in the maintenance of friendship and good-will between the peoples of the respective countries, and as an object lesson to the continents of Europe and Asia of the New World methods for the maintenance of national peace.

“World disarmament having made the important strides it has, as a consequence of the recent Washington Conference, and the leadership given the movement by Secretary Hughes, it has seemed to the Canadian Government an opportune moment in which to approach the Government of the United States with a view to perpetuating the ideals which the framers of the Rush-Bagot Agreement had in mind, by having permanency given to the essential principles in a formal treaty between the two countries respecting the limitation of armament on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.” Commenting on his discussion with Mr. Hughes, Mr. King expressed his pleasure at the sympathetic manner in which the proposal had been received by the American Secretary of State.

The Agreement of 1817 was first established by an exchange of notes between Acting Secretary of State, William Rush, and the British Minister to the United States, Charles Bagot, during the Administration of President Monroe. The Agreement was later ratified by the United States, and proclaimed by President Monroe. While the pact has limited naval armament on the Great Lakes during the past 105 years, it is subject to cancellation on six months’ notice by either country. In view of the precedents established by the Washington Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Mr. King has urged the making of a new treaty as a step toward permanent peace and continued good-will between the two countries.

Speaking of the Premier’s visit to Washington, the New York Sun made the following editorial observation:

Mr. Mackenzie King’s negotiations are begun directly, not through the British Ambassador as heretofore. This is a significant incident in the newly acquired right of Canada, as well as the other British dominions, to exercise the primary decision in foreign affairs peculiarly affecting the Dominion. This new diplomatic relationship between Canada and the United States should be accompanied by a continuance of the success in adjusting interests of which the century of unfortified frontier may stand as a symbol.

On both sides of the boundary line the visit of Mr. King and Mr. Graham to Washington, and their proposal for a long-period treaty between Canada and the United States, has been heartily approved. It has been pointed out repeatedly that both peoples look back to the same origin; that the laws, customs, and literature come from a common experience; and that the language of both countries is identical.

Commenting on the visit of the Premier, Dr. S. Edward Young, pastor of the Bedford Presbyterian Church, of Brooklyn, New York, made the following statement: “Our soldiers fought side by side for the world’s freedom. We ought to face as one whatever tasks or perils confront North America. The last place for a warship, or a fort, or a cannon, is on our international boundary line. No doubt, detractors, narrow little folks, speaking the language of braggadocio, may be found in both countries, but they are the minority. Mankind, with all its discords, bewilderment, and dread, needs just now every possible exhibition of the fraternal spirit.”

The visit of Mr. King to Washington is in keeping with the policy of international affairs which he has advocated for a number of years. It is one more indication of his keen desire for peace and harmony in international, as well as in industrial and commercial relations. It gives further assurance that during his term of office he will establish a friendlier and a more permanent relationship between Canada and the other nations of the world. In doing so he will give a fuller meaning to Kipling’s words:

Daughter am I in my mother’s house,

But mistress in my own.


Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where multiple spellings occur, majority use has been employed.

Punctuation has been maintained except where obvious printer errors occur.

Some illustrations were moved to facilitate page layout.


[The end of The Making of a Premier, by Owen E. McGillicuddy.]