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Was Charlotte Whitton Anti-Semitic?

Recently a controversy has come up around the naming of the new City of Ottawa Archives Building. In a nutshell, Mayor Jim Watson proposed naming the building after former Mayor Charlotte Whitton.  That started a verbal war with the Canadian Jewish Congress.  They brought out old arguments saying that Charlotte Whitton was anti-Semitic. In this article I want the other side of the story told.

Before we can defend Whitton, it is important that we understand the situation as it existed in 1939.

The accusations of anti-Semitism are centered, but not exclusively, around her actions with respect to the incident of the SS St. Louis. I write extensively about Canadian history and counsel those who challenge my views to project themselves into the time period and place of the history.  Try to understand what was going on around the act. In the case of Charlotte Whitton and the St Louis the facts were:

1. In May 1939, a ship with 930 Jews and 7 non-Jews aboard left Hamburg bound for Havana. The passengers were fleeing persecution by the Nazis. The cost of the voyage was quite steep so those aboard, while in three different classes, were relatively well off.  Each refugee held a visa issued by Cuba. When they reached Havana the refugees were told that their visas were not valid. In fact a combination of actions conspired against the refugees. The most important of which was a change of government in Cuba.

2. The ship stayed in Havana harbor for 7 days during which 26 refugees were allowed to land and the captain of the ship tried to negotiate land rights in neighboring countries. No Caribbean country would accept the refugees.

3. The ship sailed to Florida where it was shadowed by the Coast Guard (and allegedly fired upon) and finally refused entry to the US.

4. In Canada a group of academics and clergy were trying to persuade PM Mackenzie King to accept the ship. According to King’s diary, on page 338, he states that the decision to not accept the St Louis was based on his fear that, nothing is to be gained by creating an internal problem in an effort to meet an international one. He went on to state, I fear we would have riots if we agreed to a policy that admitted numbers of Jews.

Indeed his comments were applied to all refugees.

It is clear from these points that there was anti-Semitism raging in the world during the time of Charolette Whitton. She was a reflection of her time. As has been pointed out by others she went on to a sterling career in politics and was awarded the CBE by England and had her work recognized by such organizations as the B’nai Brith. She was also the first to sign the nomination papers for Larry Greenburg, Ottawa’s first Jewish mayor.

The National Library and Archives has the minutes of an 1938 conference concerning the rescue of minorities from the growing Nazi threat. This meeting has been used by anti-Whitton groups to charge her with anti-Semitism. The minutes clearly show that Whitton was not opposed to refugee immigration (be they Jewish, Polish or anyone else); she was counselling that the process must go slow.

For anyone in Ottawa born after the war it is hard to understand what Canada was like in the 1930s. It was the time of the depression and of looming war, yet again, in Europe. While I do not condone the attitudes of the time, I do understand them and do not hold it against Whitton anymore that I hold it against my own grandparents who were a product of the same generation.

Click here for our original Charlotte Whitton story.

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The Canadian Wheat Board

In light of the recent continuing series of events that highlight the openness of Canada’s New Government to the dismantling of Canadian institutions and giving it to foreigners, I thought it was time to let you in on the not-so-secret war on the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).First, the history of the Canadian Wheat Board:

Prior to 1912, the grain growers of western Canada were strapped by geography and transportation.  Being that they were, for the most part, located in central western Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta), they had no economical way to move their crop to market.  They were captive to the middlemen – the elevator companies who bought and prepared the grain for shipment, the railways who moved the grain to export ports and Winnipeg Grain Exchange who set the quality standards and price that was to be paid to the farmers.  Everyone had a piece of the pie but the smallest piece when to the farmers.The First World War was a watershed for the grain industry.  The Canadian government, during this time of war, establish the Board of Grain Supervisors (BGS) for the crop years of  1917 and 1918.  After the war the BGS became the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).  The CWB’s mandate was to sell the producers’ grain, in the domestic and export markets, at world prices.  The major value of the CWB over any other marketing program was that the CWB guaranteed the base selling price of the crop to the farmers.  In other words, if the selling price of the crop went up from the base established by the CWB the farmers would receive more money.  But if the price dropped as it did in 1929, the government would absorb the losses.For most of its history the CWB sold grain products through private enterprise agents but in the 1960’s they began to deal directly with buyers.

The representation of producers on the Board of Directors has grown from almost none to the current program wherein ten of the fifteen members are elected by growers.  The CEO and the other five members are appointed by the government.

With this brief history (you can find more details at in place let’s try to understand what all this means in 2007 terms.

First the grain growers, the farmers, of western Canada get guaranteed prices and payments for their crops.  They also have the majority of seats on the Board of Directors of the CWB, who guarantees their payments.  The existence and mandate of the CWB means that individual farmers do not have to compete against the big foreign consortiums and companies that market grain around the world.  Guaranteed prices, payments and reduced risk.  Sounds like a good deal – no?

In the mid 1990’s, the CWB was besieged with complaints and law suits over what was perceived as unfair business practices by everyone from corporate interests in Europe and the US to the Reform Party (later to become the Canadian Alliance Party, then the CRAPP, then the New Conservative Party, then Canada’s New Government, then just plain Boring) here in Canada.    Even though the CWB was majority farmer controlled, the American corporation launched 14 separate actions in 1997 alleging that the CWB is an unfair trader.  Trade tribunals ruled in the Board’s favour every time.

In 1997, with their new leader, Steven Harper, the National Citizens Coalition described the CWB as a “draconian wheat monopoly that for years has relied on force and fear to exist.”  The NCC tried, through third party attack ads on the CWB, to affect the elections of Directors.  They failed and the Board was formed by a majority vote in favor of the Boards mandate.

That did not stop Mr. Harper though.  His could be described as a quest to destroy the CWB regardless of the will of the farmers.  In 2007, Canada’s New Government, with Harper as PM, decreed that the CWB will no longer sell barley on behalf of, primarily, Alberta farmers and that the “monopoly” of the CWB to sell Canadian wheat abroad will be curtailed.  The losers in this deal are the producers who are 90%  against the deal.  The winners?  Listened to the words of the former president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, an American group:

“US wheat would be more competitive in markets such as Asia, the Middle East and Central America, where the two countries go head to head.”

Hunger Canadian Wheat

The value to the Canadian farmers is that the Americans and Europeans can be more competitive to the Canadians.  Sound about right?  That will drive up the world price for wheat and other grains to including third world countries who are starving to death.


But I wonder how long that will last.  In an open market, Canadian farmers will sell their grain to whomever will buy it.  The name Cargill, a giant American elevator and marketing company, comes to mind.  What will happen when Canadian grain floods the US market.  Grain prices will drop and the US growers will blame it on Canadians.  They will try to cut off the American market to the Canadian growers who will then have to turn to Cargill to market their grain.  Does the term “hostage taking” ring a familiar note?  In the early 1900’s, before the creation of the CWB (and it predecessor the BGS), western farmers felt that a gun was being held to their heads by the elevator companies and the railways.  Here we are less than one hundred years later and it’s happening all over again.

There is a battle brewing over the CWB issue.  The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board are preparing to do battle with their own government on behalf of the majority of farmers that are affected by the callous nature of Canada’s New Government.  For more information on this subject check out:

So what’s next for Canada’s New Government in their quest to dismantle supply side management.  Want to bet they won’t go after the Milk Marketing Board or the Canadian Dairy Commission?  Why not?  They do the same job as the CWB.  But there are centred primarily in Quebec. 

UPDATE:   This press release was issued by the National Farm Union on August 3, 2007

“Farmers went to court to protect our right to collectively, democratically, and properly determine how we market grain. We won,” said NFU President Stewart Wells, one of the 12 Applicants that brought the case to the Federal Court.

“The judge ruled that the government of Canada — whether Conservative, Liberal, NDP, or another party — must follow the law. The law dictates clear procedures for changing the CWB’s mandate: a fair plebiscite on a clear question, good-faith consultation with CWB Directors, and legislation democratically passed in the House of Commons by elected MPs. This law is there to ensure that farmers maintain democratic control over their marketing agency.”

Democracy prevails but is the story over????

Federal Transfers to the Provinces

(How equalization actually works)
One of the least understood features of our Confederation is the term ” Equalization Payments”. In the abstract it is not difficult to explain.  Essentially the federal government has a pool of cash that it distributes amongst the provinces, based on each province’s economic capacity, reflected in their ability to charge taxes.  These payments intend to enable less prosperous provincial governments to give their residents with public services that are, with reason, comparable to those in other provinces, at reasonably comparable levels of taxation. Sounds good so far?

In 2004, Federal Transfers to Provinces totalled $10,774,000,000.

The formula used to calculate these payments was to take the mean fiscal capacity average between the “median” 5 provinces – Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.  With this average then calculate what it will take to bring all provinces up to that level.  For example, in 2004, transfers to provinces, based on the formula were as follows (in millions of dollars):

  • PEI –   277
  • NB – 1,326
  • NL –    762
  • NS – 1,313 
  • MB – 1,607
  • QC – 4,155
  • SK –    652
  • BC –    682

There was flexibility in the formula to take into account the revolving prosperity of some provinces.  For example, during the period from 1993 to 1999, BC received no payment.  They were considered a “Have” province.  In 2000 they received $125 million and by 2004 they received $682 million.  Saskatchewan, which was traditionally an “Have-not” province, had a blip in its economy in 2003 when payment fell to $0.  But they ballooned in 2004 to $652 million.

Ontario and Alberta have been the only consistent “Have” provinces.

In 2005/06 the Transfer formula is being changed to make budgeting easier for the provinces.  There are still 8 out of 10 “Have-not” provinces.  The major change will be that a floor chunk of change will be established the program.  In 2005/06 the floor will be $10.9 billion.  Thereafter it grows by 3.5% per year.

The Transfer payments are not tagged with any guidance for their use.  The provinces can put them into general revenue and spend them on anything.

The Province of Alberta, with their immense natural resource wealth, creates a distortion in the average capacity. The chart above (from Canada Dept of Finance) shows the level of distortion.

Proportional Representation

The Wikipedia dictionary states:Proportional Representation (PR) describes various multi-winner electoral systems which try to ensure that the proportional support gained by different groups is accurately reflected in the election result. Proportional representation is also used to describe this (intended) effect.

A study into PR is a look into confusion.  It tries to “level the playing field” by providing fair representation for fair elections.  But the truth is that it plays into the hands of political parties and can easily subvert democracy.

There are a number of methods for Proportional Representation including:

Closed Party List voting wherein you vote for a party rather than an individual.  For example, in Ontario, with its 106 ridings, a single ballot would be printed for all voters.  The ballot would list all candidates by party.  Independents would be listed as if they are a party.  What could be simpler?  Just check off a party and the bureaucrats at Elections Canada would assign the seats according to the percentage of the vote.  For example, if the Liberals got 25% of the vote they would get 25% or 26.5 seats.  If the Communists got 0.9% they would get 0.954 seats.  Because no one votes for a candidate, however, the MPs are selected by the party.

Open Party List voting would list all the candidates running for all the parties and independents in all the 106 ridings in Ontario.(The ballot would have to be 10-15 pages long.) You would select the lad or lady you prefer by checking their name – if you can find it.  The result would be determined according to a simple calculation of how many people voted for which candidate and to which party  the candidate is affiliated.  For example, if there are 1,000,000 votes cast and the Conservatives get 250,000 of the total votes they get 25% (26.5 of the total number of seats) but – unlike the Closed Party List, the candidates with the highest number of votes in the party list become the MPs, regardless of the number of votes they received personally.

Mixed Member Proportional Representation is a real simple one to understand. (This is the scheme that is most talked about as being used in New Zealand.) In this election you cast two votes.  In Ontario to cast a vote for your favorite local candidate and then you also cast a ballot for a party.  In this case Independents are not classified as a party.  Your MPS are selected as follows:

  • the person who garners the most votes (sound a bit like “first past the finish line” just like the system we want to eliminate?) on the first ballot in a riding gets a seat.
  • but because many of the seats in Ontario have been set aside for the winning parties in the second ballot, there will be a huge number of winners who could in fact be losers.

Single Transferable Vote is the final contender for democracy-at-work.  This system is being used in Australia where it is called the Hare-Clark system.  This system is apparently very democratic if you could only figure out how it works.  Under this system you vote for a series of candidates according to whom you like best.  It is a bit like those multiple choice rating questionnaires that ask you to rate the smell of sour milk according to the scale 1-10 (where 1 = I love it and 10 = It makes me gag.)  The guys who invented Hare-Clark are not around to explain it as the scheme was invented in 1856.  It was introduced in Tasmania in 1896 and was even updated in 1979 by inclusion of the Robson Rotation (I kid you not!)

I will not even attempt to explain this one.  Let me rather draw on the Government of Tasmania electoral web site at:

How do you cast a vote The ballot paper directs the voter to- place the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and so on as the case requires, beside the names of the candidates in the order of his/her preference. To be formal, a ballot paper must have at least the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 with no repetitions or omissions. How is a candidate elected?

A candidate is elected when his/her total number of votes equals or exceeds the quota.

What is the quota?

The quota is the lowest number of votes a candidate needs to be certain of election.

To calculate the quota, the number of formal votes is divided by one more than the number of candidates to be elected (rounded up to the next whole number). For the House of Assembly, which elects five members per electorate, the quota is one sixth or 16.7% of the formal votes.

If five candidates each receive a quota (just over one sixth of the formal vote) then less than one quota of the votes remain.

Representation in the Parliament

Under Hare-Clark, parties, groups and independents are elected to the House of Assembly in proportion to their support in the electorate. The composition of the House closely reflects the proportion of primary votes on a State-wide basis.


When a vacancy occurs a new member is elected by a recount process based on votes cast at the previous general election. Only unsuccessful candidates at the general election are eligible to contest the recount.

Only the ballot papers which were used to elect the vacating member are distributed in the recount. These votes are distributed to contesting candidates. The candidates receiving the least votes are excluded until a candidate receives a majority (50% + 1).

Need for parties to stand extra candidates

Parties and groups usually nominate more candidates than they expect to be elected, in order to provide a pool of candidates to contest any recount to fill a vacancy.

As a result, the voters are provided with a choice of candidates within each party, as well as a choice of candidates across parties, groups and independents.

Is Hare-Clark the same in Local Government elections?

There are two small differences. For Tasmanian Local Government elections, the number to be elected varies (depending on the election) and the initial transfer value is 100 votes rather than one vote.

Hare-Clark – a broad description of How votes are counted

The first step is to distribute all ballot papers to the candidates according to each ballot paper’s first preference. The quota is then calculated from the total formal vote.

If any candidate(s) receives more votes than the quota, he/she are declared elected, and the excess votes (surplus) are passed on to continuing candidates. Following the distribution of each surplus, any candidate(s) who has reached the quota is declared elected; and any resulting surplus again passed on.

Once all surplus votes have been distributed the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded and all of their votes passed on to continuing candidates. Further candidates are excluded until another candidate reaches the quota.

The process of distributing surplus votes and excluding candidates continues until five candidates reach the quota. In some cases the final candidate(s) will be elected without reaching the quota as all other candidates have been either elected or excluded.

Do you always need a quota to get elected?

In House of Assembly elections, it is common that the last elected member in a division is elected without obtaining a quota. In some cases the last two elected members in a division are elected without each obtaining a quota.

During the distribution of preferences, some votes are “lost” from the count. A small number are lost due to rounding of fractional numbers. A more significant number of votes are “exhausted” toward the end of the count, as many ballot papers do not show a preference for any remaining candidate.

Where the contest for the last seat is close, it is common for the remaining two candidates to both have less than a quota. The candidate with the least votes is excluded, and the other candidate elected without reaching the quota. The more votes that are lost during the scrutiny, the more likely that not all elected members will obtain the quota.

A less common situation occurs where remaining three candidates are contesting the last two seats. In this case, the candidate with the least votes is excluded, and the other two candidates elected without either reaching the quota.

The Hare-Clark scrutiny (counting) process

To be elected, a candidate must obtain a quota of votes.

First Preferences (Count One)

The first step in the Hare-Clark scrutiny is to count the number of first preference (“1”) votes for each candidate. Ticks and crosses are invalid.

After all valid first preference votes are counted, the quota is calculated.

The quota is the lowest number of votes a candidate needs to be certain of election. Any candidate with votes equal to or greater than the quota will be elected. The quota is calculated by using the ‘Droop’ formula:

(Total Formal Vote (TFV)/Number to be elected+1)+1 = (TFV/6)+1 ~16/7% (ignore any remainder)

For House of Assembly elections, the quota is the minimum number of votes a candidate requires to guarantee he/she is one of the highest five candidates.

If a candidate has more first preference votes than the quota, he/she is declared elected, withdrawn from the scrutiny and his/her surplus votes are distributed to the continuing candidates (as count 2) according to the preferences indicated on each ballot paper.

Surplus = Vote Total – Quota

Count 2

Only the parcel of ballot papers received by the elected candidate at the last count (last parcel of ballot papers) are used to redistribute the surplus votes. Only in the case where a candidate is elected on first preferences, are all his/her ballot papers redistributed.

If more than one candidate has reached the quota with first preferences votes, these candidates are also declared elected after ‘count 1’ and withdrawn from the scrutiny before ‘count 2’ commences.

Transfer Values

Ballot papers and votes are different.

Ballot papers are the medium from which candidates receive votes. The original value of a ballot paper is 1 vote, however, this can change during a scrutiny.

To distribute surplus votes the last parcel of ballot papers must have a new (reduced) transfer value. This fractional transfer value is calculated as follows:

Transfer Value = Surplus votes/Number of ballot papers in the last parcel }truncate to four decimal place}

After each count, the total number of votes counted to each continuing candidate is recalculated. Any continuing candidate who has reached the quota is declared elected and does not continue in the scrutiny.

The next count

When more than one candidate is elected with a surplus, each surplus is redistributed in order of election as separate counts.

Once all surpluses have been distributed, the candidate with the fewest total votes is declared excluded, withdrawn from the scrutiny and all of his/her ballot papers are redistributed to continuing candidates.

Excluded candidates

The exclusion of a candidate can take many counts to complete.

When a candidate is excluded, ballot papers are redistributed in the order, and at the same transfer value, they were received by the excluded candidate. Each parcel of ballot papers is distributed as a new count.

After each count, each continuing candidate’s total number of votes is recalculated. Where a continuing candidate reaches the quota, he/she is declared elected and withdrawn from the scrutiny before the next count commences.

Once the exclusion is complete, distribute the surplus of any candidate(s) elected during the exclusion (in order of election). Otherwise exclude the continuing candidate with the fewest total number of votes.

When does a Hare-Clark scrutiny stop?

The process of distributing surplus votes from elected candidates and excluding the candidate with the fewest votes continues until all vacancies are filled.

In the case of the Tasmanian House of Assembly, the scrutiny stops as soon as five candidates are declared elected.

What is the bottom line here?

With all it’s blemishes “First Past the Post” works better in a true democracy than any or all of the Proportional Representation regimes.  At least in our current program you get a partial say in electing your MP.

Under the Closed Party List program you vote only for a party, except for an Independent (unless there is more than one independent running in which case the independents become a party).  The party then “assigns” you an MP.

Under the Open Party List you vote for a candidate but he or she may not be elected even if they have the highest number of vote because their party may have less overall votes in the Province.  In that case you end up with the second or third place loser for an MP.  A candidate who got 51% of the votes in the riding could be “democratically” deprived of his/her seat and replaced by some schmuck who got 10% support in the riding because his/her  party did not do well in the Province. (So much for the Liberals in Alberta and the Conservatives in Quebec.)

The Mixed Member Proportional Vote system, the New Zealand system, tossed around as nirvana in our 2004 election, is simple, unless you are in a riding wherein your MP is the one selected by the party based on the Proportional Vote and not on the local vote.  In the MMPR, you get more politicians making more money and some of them do not have a “real” constituency to represent.  Will elected MP want more money and bigger budgets than selected MPs?  You bet your ass they will.  There is a coalition coming together to educate electors on MMPR prior to the fall referendum in Ontario.

The Single Transferable Vote with the Robson Rotation sounds like it should have a version number like Windows or, at least, an Earned Run Average (ERA) ascribed to it.  You get it, don’t you?  It’s very simple.  The “(Total Formal Vote (TFV)/Number to be elected+1)+1 = (TFV/6)+1 ~16/7% (ignore any remainder)” where “Surplus = Vote Total – Quota” in Ballot one.  Then it’s anyone’s guess.

Luckily they give us a flow diagram:

To their credit, however, the Government in Tasmania does indicate that all you have to do is vote for a candidate and then the guys with the statistics and accounting degrees (the same one’s who can’t seem to get corporate earnings right the first time) take over – so not to worry!

In the end, one thing that all these schemes have in common (except potentially the Closed Party List) is that they discriminate against Independents.

One of the buzz terms in 2004 was “Democratic Deficit“.  Paul Martin was condemned for choosing some of the Liberal Candidates (while Jack Layton, I guess, democratically “recruited” Ed Broadbent and Monia Mazigh over other NDPers who wished to run in Ottawa Centre and Ottawa South).

Under the conditions of Proportional Representation, the geniuses of Canadian politics (including the NDP and the Conservatives) want us to move to a system wherein they can democratically selectwho represents you and me in parliament.

Doesn’t sound like democracy to me!

William Lyon Mackenzie King – The King Byng Affair

There are many lessons learned in the earlier days of Canada’s history that are totally lost on Canadians today. For example, the other day (during the 2004 election campaign) I mentioned to someone that the Liberals could be asked to form a government even if the new Conservative Party won more seats (assuming a minority of seats for each).  It was impossible for this person to comprehend how this could happen, so I have decided to write it down. The Liberal government of William Lyon Mackenzie King was elected in 1921 with a minority of seats in the Commons (Liberal (116); Progressive (50); Conservative (63); Labor (3); and Other (3).  Under the rules of Parliament the Liberals were asked to form the government because they were able to pull together support from the Progressives.  In 1925, he asked the Governor General, Lord Byng, to dissolve parliament so that an election might return a majority government to the House. The election of 1925 did not give William Lyon Mackenzie King the result he was after.  In fact the reverse was true.  The Conservative, under Arthur Meighan, won the day (Conservative (114); Liberal (102); Progressive (24); Labour (2); and Other (3) but not the government. But Byng asked King and not Meighan to form the government. How was it possible?

Following the election both Arthur Meighan and William Lyon Mackenzie King tried to woo the support of members of the Progressive party. William Lyon Mackenzie King succeeded to get enough support that his “seat total” then surpassed Meighan’s.  King got the go-ahead.

Following this 2004 election the same situation could happen.  The Conservatives could win more seats than the Liberals but if the Liberals can win more support from the Bloc or NDP (enough to form a “majority” government) they can be asked to form the government over the Conservatives.

The King-Byng affair in 1925 demonstrated how the political system in Canada works when minority governments are elected.  However the King-Byng affair also set another precedent.

In 1926, King’s minority government became embroiled in a Customs scandal  (See.. so called “Adscam’s” are not something new!).  King asked the Gov Gen to dissolve parliament.  The tradition up to that point was that the Gov Gen did whatever the PM told him to do, when it came to Parliament.  However this time Byng answered with a resounding – No.  In a heated exchange of telegrams both parties set their ground.

Letter from William Lyon Mackenzie King to Governor General Byng, 28 June 1926:

 Your Excellency having declined to accept my advice to place your signature to the Order-in-Council with reference to a dissolution of parliament, which I have placed before you to-day, I hereby tender to Your Excellency my resignation as Prime Minister of Canada. Your Excellency will recall that in our recent conversations relative to dissolution I have on each occasion suggested to Your  Excellency, as I have again urged this morning, that having regard to the possible very serious consequences of a refusal of the advice of your First Minister to dissolve parliament you should, before definitely deciding on this step, cable the Secretary of State for the Dominions asking the British Government, from whom you have come to Canada under instructions, what, in the opinion of the Secretary of State for the Dominions, your course should be in the event of the Prime Minister presenting you with an Order-in-Council having reference to dissolution. As a refusal by a Governor-General to accept the advice of a Prime Minister is a serious step at any time, and most serious under existing conditions in all parts of the British Empire to-day, there will be raised, I fear, by the refusal on Your Excellency’s part to accept the advice tendered a grave constitutional question without precedent in the history of Great Britain for a century, and in the history of Canada since Confederation. If there is anything which, having regard to my responsibilities as Prime Minister, I can even yet do to avert such a deplorable and, possibly, far-reaching crisis, I shall be glad to do so, and shall be pleased to have my resignation withheld at Your Excellency’s request pending the time it may be necessary for Your Excellency to communicate with the Secretary of State for the Dominions.

Source: Public Archives of Canada, King Papers, Letter from William Lyon Mackenzie King to Governor General Byng, 28 June 1926.

Letter from Governor-General Byng to William Lyon Mackenzie King, 10 29 June 1926:

I must acknowledge on paper, with many thanks, the receipt of your letter handed to me at our meeting yesterday. In trying to condense all that has passed between us during the past week, it seems to my mind that there is really only one point at issue. You advise me “that as, in your opinion, Mr. Meighen is unable to govern the country, there should be another election with the present machinery to enable the people to decide”. My contention is that Mr. Meighen has not been given a chance of trying to govern, or saying that he cannot do so, and that all reasonable expedients should be tried before resorting to another Election. Permit me to say once more that, before deciding on my  constitutional course on this matter, I gave the subject the most  fair-minded and painstaking consideration which it was in my  power to apply.

I can only add how sincerely I regret the severance of our official companionship, and how gratefully I acknowledge the help of your counsel and co-operation.

Source: Public Archives of Canada, King Papers, Governor General Byng to William Lyon Mackenzie, 29 June 1926.

The final letter was sent by Byng to his Boss in London:

Letter from Governor General Byng to Mr. L. S. Amery, The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, 30 June 1926.

As already telegraphed, Mr. Mackenzie King asked me to grant him dissolution. I refused. Thereupon he resigned and I asked Mr. Meighen to form a Government, which has been done. Now this constitutional or unconstitutional act of mine seems to resolve itself into these salient features. A Governor General has the absolute right of granting dissolution or refusing it. The refusal is a very dangerous decision, it embodies the rejection of the advice of the accredited Minister, which is the bed-rock of Constitutional Government. Therefore nine times out of ten a Governor General should take the Prime Minister’s advice on this as on other matters. But if the advice offered is considered by the Governor General to be wrong and unfair, and not for the welfare of the people, it behooves him to act in what he considers the best interests of the country. This is naturally the point of view I have taken and expressed it in my reply to Mr. King (text of which is being telegraphed later).

You will notice that the letter in question is an  acknowledgement of a letter from Mr. King (text of which is also being telegraphed later) appealing that I should consult the Government in London. While recognizing to the full help that this might afford me, I flatly refused, telling Mr. King that to ask advice from London, where the conditions of Canada were not as well known as they were to me, was to put the British Government in the unfortunate position of having to offer solution which might give people out here the feeling of a participation in their politics, which is to be strongly deprecated.

There seemed to me to be one person, and one alone, who was  responsible for the decision and that was myself. I should feel that the relationship of the Dominion to the Old Country would be liable to be seriously jeopardized by involving the Home Government; whereas the incompetent and unwise action of a Governor General can only involve himself.

I am glad to say that to the end I was able to maintain a friendly feeling with my late Prime Minister. Had it been otherwise, I should have offered my resignation at once. This point of view has been uppermost in my mind ever since he determined on retaining the reins of office (against my private advice) last November. It has not been always easy but it was imperative that a Governor General and a Prime Minister could not allow a divergent view-point to wreck their relationship without the greatest detriment to the country.

Mr. King, whose bitterness was very marked Monday, will probably take a very vitriolic line against myself — that seems only natural. But I have to wait the verdict of history to prove my having adopted a wrong course and this I do with an easy conscience that, right or wrong, I have acted in the interests of Canada, and have implicated no one else in my decision.

I would only add that at our last three interviews I appealed to Mr. King not to put the Governor General in the position of having to make a controversial decision. He refused and it appeared that I could do no more.

Source: Public Archives of Canada, Byng Papers, Letter from Governor General Byng to The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, 30 June 1926.

Did Byng do the right thing by refusing King’s request for a new election?  Other historians may disagree but I believe that that he did right.  If a single independent MP, duly elected in Canada, can garner enough support within a minority situation then that person should be called on to form a government.

It is unlikely to happen… but then…?  That’s why it is a Mystery of Canada!

Canadian Political System – Part 4

Power Sharing in a New Country

When the Fathers crafted the BNA Act they decided amongst themselves that, for the most efficient running of the Dominion, that certain powers should be distributed between Canada and the provinces.To the Government of Canada they gave responsibility for:

  1. The Public Debt and Property.
  2. The Regulation of Trade and Commerce.
  3. The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation.
  4. The borrowing of Money on the Public Credit.
  5. Postal Service.
  6. The Census and Statistics.
  7. Militia, Military and Naval Service, and Defense.
  8. The fixing of and providing for the Salaries and Allowances of Civil and other Officers of the Government of Canada.
  9. Beacons, Buoys, Lighthouses, and Sable Island.
  10. Navigation and Shipping.
  11. Quarantine and the Establishment and Maintenance of Marine Hospitals.
  12. Sea Coast and Inland Fisheries.
  13. Ferries between a Province and any British or Foreign Country or between Two Provinces.
  14. Currency and Coinage.
  15. Banking, Incorporation of Banks, and the Issue of Paper Money.
  16. Savings Banks.
  17. Weights and Measures.
  18. Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes.
  19. Interest.
  20. Legal Tender.
  21. Bankruptcy and Insolvency.
  22. Patents of Invention and Discovery.
  23. Copyrights.
  24. Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians.
  25. Naturalization and Aliens.
  26. Marriage and Divorce.
  27. The Criminal Law, except the Constitution of Courts of Criminal Jurisdiction, but including the Procedure in Criminal Matters.
  28. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Penitentiaries.
  29. Such Classes of Subjects as are expressly excepted in the Enumeration of the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces.
  30. To the Provinces they bestowed the responsibilities of:

    1. The Amendment from Time to Time, notwithstanding anything in this Act, of the Constitution of the Province, except as regards the Office of Lieutenant Governor.
    2. Direct Taxation within the Province in order to the raising of a Revenue for Provincial Purposes.
    3. The borrowing of Money on the sole Credit of the Province.
    4. The Establishment and Tenure of Provincial Offices and the Appointment and Payment of Provincial Officers.
    5. The Management and Sale of the Public Lands belonging to the Province and of the Timber and Wood thereon.
    6. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Public and Reformatory Prisons in and for the Province.
    7. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Hospitals, Asylums, Charities, and Eleemosynary Institutions in and for the Province, other than Marine Hospitals.
    8. Municipal Institutions in the Province.
    9. Shop, Saloon, Tavern, Auctioneer, and other Licenses in order to the raising of a Revenue for Provincial, Local, or Municipal Purposes.
    10. Local Works and Undertakings other than such as are of the following Classes,–a. Lines of Steam or other Ships, Railways, Canals, Telegraphs, and other works and undertakings connecting the Province with any other or others of the Provinces, or extending beyond the Limits of the Province:
      b. Lines of Steam Ships between the Province and any British or Foreign Country:
      c. Such Works as, although wholly situate within the Province, are before or after their Execution declared by the Parliament of Canada to be for the general Advantage of Canada or for the Advantage of Two or more of the Provinces.
    11. The Incorporation of Companies with Provincial Objects.

    12. The Solemnization of Marriage in the Province.

    13. Property and Civil Rights in the Province.

    14. The Administration of Justice in the Province, including the Constitution, Maintenance, and Organization of Provincial Courts, both of Civil and of Criminal Jurisdiction, and including Procedure in Civil Matters in those Courts.

    15. The Imposition of Punishment by Fine, Penalty, or Imprisonment for enforcing any Law of the Province made in relation to any Matter coming within any of the Classes of Subjects enumerated in this Section.

    16. Generally all Matters of a merely local or private Nature in the Province.

It is interesting that the Fathers considered that Education and Agriculture required their own separate mention within the Act:

93. In and for each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to Education, subject and according to the following Provisions: —
(1.) Nothing in any such Law shall prejudicially affect any Right or Privilege with respect to Denominational Schools which any Class of Persons have by Law in the Province at the Union:
(2.) All the Powers, Privileges, and Duties at the Union by Law conferred and imposed in Upper Canada on the Separate Schools and School Trustees of the Queen’s Roman Catholic Subjects shall be and the same are hereby extended to the Dissentient Schools of the Queen’s Protestant and Roman Catholic Subjects in Quebec:
(3.) Where in any Province a System of Separate or Dissentient Schools exists by Law at the Union or is thereafter established by the Legislature of the Province, an Appeal shall lie to the Governor General in Council from any Act or Decision of any Provincial Authority affecting any Right or Privilege of the Protestant or Roman Catholic Minority of the Queen’s Subjects in relation to Education:
(4.) In case any such Provincial Law as from Time to Time seems to the Governor General in Council requisite for the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section is not made, or in case any Decision of the Governor General in Council on any Appeal under this Section is not duly executed by the proper Provincial Authority in that Behalf, then and in every such Case, and as far only as the Circumstances of each Case require, the Parliament of Canada may make remedial Laws for the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section and of any Decision of the Governor General in Council under this Section.95. In each Province the Legislature may make Laws in relation to Agriculture in the Province, and to Immigration into the Province; and it is hereby declared that the Parliament of Canada may from Time to Time make Laws in relation to Agriculture in all or any of the Provinces, and to Immigration into all or any of the Provinces; and any Law of the Legislature of a Province relative to Agriculture or to Immigration shall have effect in and for the Province as long and as far only as it is not repugnant to any Act of the Parliament of Canada.

So there you have it.  The central government is responsible for everything affecting the country as a whole including trade, immigration and defense.  The provincial government have jurisdiction over those things that affected the day-to-day lives of their citizens.

So where did it all go wrong?

If you go back to the first installment of this series you will remember that I referred to a recent First Ministers Conference.  At that conference the following demands of the provinces are on the table:

  • The Province of Quebec wants more control over Immigration to Quebec (see section 25 under the federal government responsibilities as listed above).

  • The Province of Alberta will not let Canada  restrict the flow of energy to the US in retaliation for the US punitive stance on soft wood lumber which affects BC and Ontario (see section 2 under the federal government responsibilities as listed above).

  • The Province of Nova Scotia wants authority over the energy under Sable Island (see section 9 under the federal government responsibilities as listed above).

  • The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador demands that quota for “their shrimp” not be allocated to PEI shrimp fishers (see section 12 under the federal government responsibilities as listed above), and

  • The West is demanding an elected Senate so that it may ride roughshod over the Commons under the guise of protecting the rights of Westerners.

The Fathers of Confederation, who represented not the federal government but rather the provinces at the Charlottetown and Quebec Conference, foresaw this day in Canada’s history.  They crafted the British North America Act to avert the types of problems we are experiencing today.

Maybe it is time for Canadians to revisit the past so that we might make the changes to our present to ensure our future.

Canadian Political System – Part 3

The Prime Minister and Premiers Who Aren’t

The British North America Act (BNA) was enacted to be the guidelines of a newly created Canada.  As with most legislation it reflected the times in which it was written. The BNA had no provision for a Prime Minister, Provincial premiers or political parties.  So what went wrong and why?At the time of the BNA Act Canada was a colony of Imperial Britain.  The head of Canada was the Governor General appointed by the Crown.

When the Act was declared it created the Dominion of Canada with four provinces; Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.

Section III of the Act entitled Executive Powers set the stage for who was the boss;

9. The Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.

10. The Provisions of this Act referring to the Governor General extend and apply to the Governor General for the Time being of Canada, or other the Chief Executive Officer or Administrator for the Time being carrying on the Government of Canada on behalf and in the Name of the Queen, by whatever Title he is designated.

11. There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of Canada, to be styled the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada; and the Persons who are to be Members of that Council shall be from Time to Time chosen and summoned by the Governor General and sworn in as Privy Councillors, and Members thereof may be from Time to Time removed by the Governor General.

12. All Powers, Authorities, and Functions which under any Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or of the Legislature of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Canada, Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick, are at the Union vested in or exerciseable by the respective Governors or Lieutenant Governors of those Provinces, with the Advice, or with the Advice and Consent, of the respective Executive Councils thereof, or in conjunction with those Councils, or with any Number of Members thereof, or by those Governors or Lieutenant Governors individually, shall, as far as the same continue in existence and capable of being exercised after the Union in relation to the Government of Canada, be vested in and exerciseable by the Governor General, with the Advice or with the Advice and Consent of or in conjunction with the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, or any Members thereof, or by the Governor General individually, as the Case requires, subject nevertheless (except with respect to such as exist under Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) to be abolished or altered by the Parliament of Canada.

Let us understand what the Act is saying.  In Section 9, the Queen is Chairman of the Board.  In Section 10, she assigns a Governor General as her CEO.  In Section 11, she sets up a council of elected Canadians (members to be elected by the people) and allows the GG to appoint whomever he wishes to the Queen’s Privy Council (analogue to what is now the Cabinet).  In Section 12, she vests all the power into the hands of the GG and his Lieutenants in the Provinces.

Just in case any body does not get the point from the above, Section 15 will crystallize it for you;

15. The Command-in-Chief of the Land and Naval Militia, and of all Naval and Military Forces, of and in Canada, is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.

The Act then goes on the set up the structures of power. The Parliament of Canada is to have an Upper House, the Senate, and a House of Commons.

The 96 member Senate is populated with appointees of the GG. They number 24 from Ontario, 24 from Quebec, 12 from New Brunswick and 12 from Nova Scotia.

The first House of Commons consisted of One hundred and eighty-one Members, of whom Eighty-two were elected for Ontario, Sixty-five for Quebec, Nineteen for Nova Scotia, and Fifteen for New Brunswick.

The manager of the House of Commons was to be a Speaker elected by the Members.

Nowhere in the BNA Act is a Prime Minster or a Provincial Premier even mentioned or hinted at!  Neither was there any mention of political parties.

In our next segment we shall discuss how power and responsibilities were shared by the federal and provincial governments.

Canadian Political System – Part 2

Political Canada in 1867

Just recently (August 2001), the Premiers of the provinces in Canada got together to formulate demands that the Federal Government hand to them over money and power.  The argument for this is rooted in their belief that the federal government is too strong, the country is too centralized.Would it surprise you to learn that the Fathers of our Confederation were very concerned that the Provinces might get a little too uppity like this?  In fact the political system in Canada was constructed with a strong central government, for the benefit of all Canadians.In 1864 during debates on Confederation, John A. MacDonald gave us a very clear picture of the motives which formed the basis of our federal system as outlined in the British North America Act.  In part he said;

“…The Conference having come to the conclusion that a legislative union, pure and simple, was impracticable, our next attempt was to form a government upon federal principles, which would give to the General Government the strength of a legislative and administrative union, while at the same time it preserved that liberty of action for the different sections which is allowed by a Federal Union. And I am strong in the belief — that we have hit upon the happy medium in those resolutions, and that we have formed a scheme of government which unites the advantages of both, giving us the strength of a legislative union and the sectional freedom of a federal union, with protection to local interests. In doing so we had the advantage of the experience of the United States….”

What experience in the US was he talking about?  MacDonald continues;

“Ever since the union was formed the difficulty of what is called “State Rights” has existed, and this had much to do in bringing on the present unhappy war in the United States. They commenced, in fact, at the wrong end. They declared by their Constitution that each state was a sovereignty in itself, and that all the powers incident to a sovereignty belonged to each state, except those powers which, by the Constitution, were conferred upon the General Government and Congress.”

Think about it.  The fundamental basis of the American civil was not slavery, as is the popular belief..  It was, rather, the belief that the central government did not have the right to tell the southern states how to run their lives.  The US constitution was constructed to allow for sovereign states and the war was fought over the belief that slavery was an inalienable right of the southern states  (I wonder if there will be a war over the inalienable right to bear arms?).

John A MacDonald, and others in the Constitution Debate believed that a strong central government was crucial in the Canadian make-up.  He said;

“Here we have adopted a different system. We have strengthened the General Government. We have given the General Legislature all the great subjects of legislation. We have conferred on them, not only specifically and in detail, all the powers which are incident to sovereignty, but we have expressly declared that all subjects of general interest not distinctly and exclusively conferred upon the local governments and local legislatures, shall be conferred upon the General Government and Legislature. — We have thus avoided that great source of weakness which has been the cause of the disruption of the United States. We have avoided all conflict of jurisdiction and authority, and if this Constitution is carried out,…we will have in fact, as I said before, all the advantages of a legislative union under one administration, with, at the same time, the guarantees for local institutions and for local laws, which are insisted upon by so many in the provinces now, I hope, to be united….”

When you take a look at the dis-harmony in Canada in 2001, maybe our politicians should read a little more about the reasons why this country is better off with a strong central government.

At the recent meeting of Provincial Premiers, they spent a great deal of time sniping at the Prime Minister of Canada and the federal Liberal party.  Would it surprise you to know that the BNA Act did not even mention the position of a Prime Minister or of political parties, let alone Premiers?  In our next segment entitled The Prime Minister and Premiers who aren’t, we will discuss this situation.

Canadian Political System – Part 1

At this time when the governments of the Canadian Provinces are demanding money and power from the Federal Government, when the political right is demanding less centralized government in Ottawa and the pressure to merge Canada with the USA (currency, trade and politics) is at a zenith, it may be a good exercise to look back at the history of Canada to understand what we are potentially “giving up”.When we talk about the birth of Canada, what do you think of as the pivotal events?  The Plains of Abraham?  The British North America Act? What if I told you that the birth of Canada was the result of fear of invasion and/or annexation by the Americans?

For example, the first border between Canada and the US was negotiated as part of the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.  The Treaty of Versailles was the treaty which acknowledged the independence of the US from Britain.  The boundary between the United States and British North America was to run, following various rivers, lakes and latitude 45°, west to the Lake of the Woods and then to the Mississippi.

In 1791 the Constitutional Act  divided the province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada.  This was done because after the American Revolution many United Empire Loyalists left the United States and emigrated north.  The division into Upper and Lower Canada gave the Loyalists who settled west of the Ottawa River the chance to organize and develop along their own lines.

In 1818 the line between Canada and the US stopped at the Ontario border.  In order to protect its sovereignty the Treaty of 1818 extended the international border from the northwest corner of the Lake of the Woods due south to the 49th parallel and along it to the Rocky Mountains.  This was done even though neither Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta were part of Canada.

Finally in a treaty of 1846  The 49th parallel was established as a border all the way to the Pacific.

In 1867 the British North America Act finally established the terms of Canada.  The most common view of Confederation under this Act is a bunch of guys around a table waxing poetically on Canada as a nation.  But was that the reason they met to do the deed?

For years the US had tried to talk the British and the Canadians into joining them.  The Americans were convinced that Canada could not make it on their own.  Since 1850, William Seward, the American Secretary of State during the Civil War, had been an annexationists who felt that British North America (Canada) was destined to become part of the United States. As it became obvious that the North would emerge victorious from the War, there was a fear that American expansionism would rear its head and turn its eyes to the north.

In Canada and the Maritime many thought that invading BNA would give the victorious Union army something to do.  The possibility of annexation was even more real in the northwest of what is now Canada.  In 1860 Seward praised the people of Rupert’s Land for conquering the wilderness and creating a great state for the American Union.

In the election of 1864 the Republican Party used annexation to gain support from Irish Americans and the land-hungry.  A Bill to Annex Canada into the United States, introduced by General Banks, was passed in the United States House of Representatives in July of 1866. It intended that the United States acquire all of what is now Canada.

Whether based in reality or not, the fear of annexation played a definite role in the achievement of Canadian Confederation and in shaping its constitution. Seeing the horror of war that resulted from the divisiveness of American federalism, the Fathers of Confederation decided that Canada should have a stronger federal government.  Stronger than the one south of the border in the United States.   Sir Etienne-Paschal Tache, Premier of Lower Canada,  said it best in 1866:

“If the opportunity [for Confederation] which now presented itself were allowed to pass by unimproved, whether we would or would not, we would be forced into the American Union by violence, and if not by violence, would be placed upon an inclined plane which would carry us there insensibly.”

In 1867 the British North America Act brought together the provinces of Canada, divided into Ontario and Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, to form the Dominion of Canada.  In 1869, having acquired the rights from the Hudson’s Bay Company, the Dominion of Canada transformed the former Rupert’s Land and the area beyond the Rocky Mountains into the North West Territories.  In 1870, the old Red River settlement joined the Dominion as the province of Manitoba.  In 1871 British Columbia joined the union.  In 1873 Prince Edward Island joined Confederation.

In 1905 Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces.  Finally in 1949 Newfoundland made up the last piece of the provincial puzzle.

You should now know how The Nation of Canada was born.  In Part 2 of 4 on The History of the Canadian Political System we look at what it looked like politically in 1867.

Auld Lang Syne – Story and Lyrics

Auld Lang Syne (Modern Lyrics Below) is a song most frequently heard around New Years Eve, in celebrating the passing of the old year and welcoming in the new year.  This song is heard not only in English speaking countries but also in most Asian countries. We just said farewell to 2010, the year marked by many crisis of wars around the world: hurricane, flooding, earthquakes, epidemics, famine and other calamities; and lately the downward turn of the economy resulting in turbulence in many parts of the world.   We should be glad that year has passed and hope the new year will bring peace, happiness and prosperity to all.

Auld Lang Syne means a lot to me.  It always brings back the memories of the struggle we went through during the World War II.  I first heard of this song as a 9 years old boy being sung by a Japanese soldier during their occupation of the Philippines.  The conquering Japanese soldiers were known for their cruelty to the population.  They controlled the country through the reign of terror, bringing untold suffering and misery to all of us, many of us losing lives.  It is hard to imagine how human beings can be so cruel to fellow human beings.  War brings cruelty to people. In some quiet moments, I heard, for the first time, a Japanese soldier sing Auld Lang Syne in Japanese.

Auld Lang Syne seems to have left a deep imprint on my mind.  At that very moment, revealing the humanity of this soldier, he was likely thinking of his love ones back in Japan.  This scene was very touching.  After all, he was still part of our human race.  As situation settled down, we were compelled to attend Japanese school.  One of the songs that were taught to us as children was the Auld Lang Syne in Japanese. After the war, we moved to the city from a very small town.  I enrolled in a Chinese English school and this time, this song was taught to us in Chinese. As I advanced in my schooling, I came to learn this song in English and realized that this was not an original Japanese song. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne?” These are questions that we asked ourselves as we pass the old year and welcome the New Year.  Is it appropriate to forget the “old times, old friendships, and old places?”  No! No!  This is the time to remember the past including the old acquaintances, and not just the immediate friends and families. “We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne” is the appropriate answer. Hearing this sentimental song at times bring tears to my eyes and remind me of the lonely Japanese soldier and the hard time we went through during the second world war.

Dr. Antonio Tan

Editors Note: Over the years I have had the honour of meeting and interviewing many people from a variety of backgrounds.  They have included scientists, aboriginal story tellers, explorers, pilots and just plain folk.  They all have had one thing in common – they grew as Canadians for the benefit of Canadians.  Their stories have been as diverse as this country and are proof that Canada and Canadians deserve the respect they garner around the world.I have met Dr. Antonio Tan on a number of occasions (The first time was in a small resort in Costa Rica!).  I have grown to respect his contribution to Canada as a Filipino immigrant, a physician and the patriarch of a very successful family.  Tony was a child in the Philippines during the second world war.  In this entry, Auld Lang Syne, he recalls, poignantly, a memory of a silver lining found in a dark cloud.  There will be more about this remarkable man and his family to come.

Modern English Translation Lyrics Auld Lang Syne (Times Gone By)

Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And days of long ago!

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the daisies fine,
But we have wandered many a weary foot
For times gone by.

We two have paddled (waded) in the stream
From noon until dinner time,
But seas between us broad have roared
Since times gone by.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
And give us a hand of yours,
And we will take a goodwill drink (of ale)
For times gone by!

And surely you will pay for your pint,
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by!

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