“North Ontario Election” The Globe (11 July 1864)

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Date: 1864-07-11
By: The Globe
Citation: “North Ontario Election”, The Globe [Toronto] (11 July 1864).
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We find the following in the Kingston Whig:—

“We cannot see that THE GLOBE and minor Grit sheets are doing right in denouncing the Hon. John A MacDonald and the Conservative party, because Mr. M. C. Cameron intends to oppose the re-election of Mr. McDougall. How can they possibly prevent it? Mr. M. C. Cameron represented this constituency in the last Parliament, and Mr. McDougall put him out by a very small majority. Mr. M. C. Cameron has been flattering himself during the last few months that now he can put out Mr. McDougall, and if he thinks so, why should he abstain from trying his luck? We think and hope that he will be defeated, for Mr. McDougall will make an excellent Minister, but what has Mr. M. C. Cameron to do with that? He wants his seat.”

The Whig is entirely mistaken. We have never said anything of the kind which he at tributes to us. On the contrary, we have all along given the Attorney General West the fullest credit for acting most honourably in reference to the contest in North Ontario. For the satisfaction of our friends throughout the country, and of all who may feel in any way concerned, we may now state that the Conservative members of the Government are acting in this matter—as they have acted since the commencement of the negotiations with Mr. Brown last month—with the utmost good faith and fairness. They are unreservedly giving Mr. McDougall the full benefit of their personal and political influence in his contest with Mr. Cameron, and we can assure our readers that in this matter the Provincial Secretary and the Liberal party have nothing whatever to complain of as far as the Attorney General West and his colleagues are concerned. We make this statement, not that anything else could have been expected, but because the point having been raised by the Whig and other papers, it is well that the fact should be made known. We are further happy to say that the leading Conservatives of this city and throughout the country are generally, so far as we hear, clear and decided in their opinion of the impropriety of Mr. Cameron’s course. They think him entirely wrong in taking a step calculated not only to embarrass the Government, but also seriously to endanger the success of the great purpose which called the Government into existence—the more especially as not only he, but nearly all of those who are urging him on, distinctly decline to take any objection whatever to the policy of the Administration.

What we have objected today that those who have always professed and still profess to be supporters of the Attorney General West—who even commend him for his course in the recent crisis—should upon some paltry personal excuse or a profession of such, single out one member of the Government for abuse and opposition. It is nothing to these persons that the purpose of which the existing Coalition has been formed is one of the utmost importance to the peace and prosperity of the country—that the sole purpose for which a suspension of party warfare is asked is the satisfactory and permanent settlement of a question threatening the greatest danger to our country—a question, moreover, which all other means had failed to settle. It is nothing to them that both political parties, as represented in Parliament, had with a gratifying approach to unanimity sanctioned the arrangement which led to the formation of the present Government. It is nothing that for the purpose which the Government has in hand—the maturing of a scheme of constitutional reform—Mr. McDougall’s presence in the Cabinet will be most valuable. It is nothing to them, coming more nearly to the personal question—that Mr. McDougall, as the Whig says, “will make an excellent Minister.” They admit the gravity of the crisis which had been reached in the affairs of the country. They do not pretend that any other course than the one taken would have offered the prospect of a just or a reasonable solution of the difficulty. They make no objection to the basis upon which Ministers propose to mature the much-desired measure of constitutional reform. All that, in ordinary circumstances, would be deemed necessary to make out the strongest claim for party support to a Government is fully admitted. Yet, in this case—one in which the Administration, by reason of the great difficulties which surrounded its task, has unusual claims upon the forbearance of the country—we find persons who profess to admit all that is claimed on behalf of the Government, insisting upon doing that which is calculated most seriously to embarrass Ministers at the very outset. Of this we conceive that we have every right to complain.

We could understand those who would say that the recent agreement was wrong—that its purpose was not a desirable one—and that, on that account, Mr. McDougall should not be re-elected. We could understand the man who would say that the attainment of constitutional reform is not an object of sufficient importance to render this effort for it justifiable; and that, therefore, Mr. McDougall and his colleagues should not be sustained. But we could not understand how such a man should find a representative of his views in Mr. M. C. Cameron, so long one of the most vehement advocates of justice to Upper Canada. But we do not understand how many who appreciates the circumstances which called the Coalition together—who for a moment thinks that these circumstances justified the laying aside of partisan distinctions—can at the same time exaggerate his personal dislike for Mr. McDougall into an excuse for embarrassing the Government. If the “personal” issue, and the party issue as well, were not utterly insignificant by the side of the public one, then would the Coalition be utterly indefensible. If it is a fair point against the Government, that a certain Conservative has personal objections to Mr. McDougall—then it must be equally fair to consider the personal objections which other people have against Mr. Brown, Mr. John A. Macdonald, Col. Tache, Mr. Cartier, Mr. Galt, or any member of the Government, and the consideration of the personal objections to all these gentlemen would upset the compact in twenty-four hours’ time. The only possible way in which the Ministry can be kept together, or its great purpose carried to a successful issue, is by keeping the personal question entirely out of sight, or by refusing to consider it all, whether it regards Mr. McDougall or any other member of the Government.

We regret to hear that Mr. Cameron is still persisting in his contest, and that a section of his party in the riding are supporting him. This regret does not arise from any fears that Mr. McDougall will be defeated. Our information from the locality quite confirms the opinion favourable to the Provincial Secretary’s success which the circumstances of the contest would naturally suggest. A year ago, when Mr. Cameron was the candidate of the whole Conservative party, he failed to beat Mr. McDougall was then no better man than he is now. He was then a Minister of the Crown in a party Government—now he is a member of the Government which has the support of both parties. He was then a Minister of the Crown in a party Government—now he is a member of the Government which has the support of both parties. He was then a member of the Cabinet which left the question of constitutional reform an open one—now he is a member of a Government formed for the purpose of endeavouring, if possible, to effect a satisfactory settlement of that question. In every respect, Mr. McDougall is much better circumstanced now than he was when he last appealed to North Ontario. Our regrets at the contest, therefore, do not arise from any fears of the result of the voting. We do fear, however, an ill effect from the feelings of distrust which that contest must tend to arouse. The compact between the leaders of the two parties, for the purpose of settling our constitutional difficulties, depends for its success upon the cordiality with which the two parties can work together, and upon the confidence which they can have in the sincerity of each other. That is true, not simply as regards the leaders in the matter, but as regards their supporters as well. Anything that tends to arouse feelings of distrust and jealousy between the supporters of the two sections of the Government tends to weaken the alliance and to diminish its power for good. There is to be occasion for much deliberation and much debate, not only in the Cabinet, but also in Parliament and throughout the country; and its is most essential to success, and to the securing of a result which shall be satisfactory, that all these discussions shall be conducted in a spirit of the fullest reliance upon the good faith and sincerity of both parties. The chance of maintaining such an understanding must unavoidably be seriously injured by the occurrence of such a contest as that now going on in North Ontario. It is on that account that we regret that Mr. Cameron does not make his personal feelings in reference to Mr. McDougall, and his ambition to sit in Parliament, subordinate to the greater consideration of what is due to his country. We trust that the result will prove that so large a majority of the Conservatives are prepared to act honourably and in good faith in this matter, that the error of Mr. Cameron will not do the amount of injury to the cause of constitutional reform which it inevitably would were a large section of his party to go with him in his mistaken crusade against the Provincial Secretary.

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