Friday, 11 May 2012

Deja vu - 1926 and 2011?

Sometimes, the echoes from the past are eerie. Here I am today reading letters between Eugene Forsey (see my earlier post) and Roger Graham, historian and biographer of Arthur Meighen. The two men are talking about the King-Byng controversy back in 1926. King was leading a minority government that was in the process of being censured by parliament over a scandal. Roger Graham is noting how a later defender of King claimed that King was requesting to dissolve  parliament and have an election in 1926 (and not face the verdict of parliament) because he wanted a 'strong, stable government'.

Ring any bells? Replace King with Harper and change the years, and you this ought to sound familiar. Here is Graham on the issue:

'I'll wager King was not thinking of the need for a strong, stable Government when he asked Byng for a dissolution! Anyway what does "strong, stable Government" mean? I suppose that's for the P.M. of the moment to decide so that whenever the going gets rough in Parliament and "stability" is threatened he can hold out the threat of dissolution. Once "strength" and "stability" are achieved it is foolish, no doubt, to hold further elections because the stupid electorate might create weakness and instability.'

Graham was writing in 1962 about 1926. Surely, writes the historian of Mackenzie King, focusing on the numbers, those similar, similar numbers, that must be significant.

No comments:

Post a Comment