March 18, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. B. NORTHRUP (East Hastings).

Without in any way endeavouring to controvert the proposition in law laid down by the mover of this motion, I may call attention to the fact that Bourinot evidently takes the same view as was held by the hon. gentlemen opposite some six or seven years ago. We recognize perfectly that while the statute does not say in so many words that the Lieutenant Governor is to he appointed for five years, yet on a fair construction of the language used in the British North America Act, we are led to the conclusion come to by the hon. gentlemen opposite in former days ; come to by Bourinot in his work, come to by the late Mr. McCarthy and other prominent parliamentarians : That when a term of office is expressed as it is in the British North America Act, that although nominally appointed during the pleasure of the Governor General, yet within the five years the Lieutenant Governor is practically irremovable, because unless good cause can he shown he cannot be removed. Therefore it is perfectly clear that at the expiration of the term, he stands on a different footing from the footing he held up to that time. The view that strikes me in connection with the matter is simply this : That while in one sense it might be an important matter in this present crisis to the province of Ontario, yet a higher and better view can be taken on the subject.
We are living at present in a time of change. We know that our institutions are as it were on trial, and we know that the permanence of our institutions must to a great extent depend on the manner in which they work out. Now, Sir, if the present Lieutenant Governor of Ontario were a man twenty years younger ; if having occupied the position which he has occupied in that province during all these years ; while admitting his ability and admitting his integrity as I will without the slightest hesitation-still any man in the province of Ontario who takes a dispassionate view would say, that it was unfortunate, that it was regrettable, that at such a peculiar crisis as this, the Lieutenant Governor Should have been one who had been so long and so intimately connected with the party in power in Ontario, and with the gentlemen who are now the leaders of that party.

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