“The Ontario Election” The Globe (6 July 1864)

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Date: 1864-06-06
By: The Globe
Citation: “The Ontario Election”, The Globe [Toronto] (6 July 1864).
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We regret exceedingly to hear that Mr. Mathew C. Cameron has resolved to contest the North Riding of Ontario with Mr. McDougall. We regret it, not because we hear Mr. McDougall’s defeat, but because of the effect that an act so hostile from the Conservative camp, ma have on the combination that has just been formed, for a great public purpose. The leaders of the Conservative party invited three members of the Liberal party to enter the Cabinet for the purpose of settling a question that neither party was capable…. both parties are alike desirous of seeing settled. The Conservative members of Parliament formally ratified the invitation—the Liberal members of the Assembly as formally accepted it— and Messrs. Brown, Mowat, and McDougall most reluctantly, but in full reliance on the good faith of the Conservative party, acceded to the request, and accepted seats in the Cabinet. But no sooner is the compact sealed than a Conservative candidate is started full tilt against one of the three gentlemen who placed reliance on their honour with the … of defeating his election…

We know that Mr. Mathew Cameron was not an original party to the compact. We know that he was neither a member of the Conservative Government … caucus that endorsed the tender; —but we also know that Mr. Cameron is a prominent member of the Conservative party that acknowledges Mr. John A. Macdonald as its leader; we know that Mr. Cameron looks to that party for what support he may receive at the polls; and we do say that the honour of the whole Conservative party is directly at stake in this matter.

We are all aware that Mr. John A. Macdonald and his Conservative colleagues in the Government have no part whatever in Mr. Cameron’s act. We know that they heartily desire Mr. McDougall’s success. But who will acquit those of dishonor who one hour endorse the solemn compact made by their leader, and the very next hour trample it under foot?

Let there be no mistake about this: that Mr. McDougall’s defeat would be a defeat of the Government, and would seriously affect the success of the great purpose for which the Government has just been formed.

We are told that Mr. Cameron disavows hostility to the Coalition Government, and that he places his objections to Mr. McDougall entirely on personal grounds. But is such a position tenable? If mere personal considerations form a just objection to any one member of the Coalition, the objection is good against all the members of it. The Coalition is either formed for purposes so important and justified by an exigency so urgent, as to banish all personal considerations—or it ought not to have been formed at all. The compact is avowedly based on the absolute necessity of the case—it is only to be justified on the ground that by no means short of bringing the most hostile elements together could the great public wrong sought to be redressed be satisfactorily accomplished. There is not a man in the Government against whom strong objections could not be raised, were personal hostilities to be entertained. But the very essence of the compact is the waiving of all personal considerations to secure a union acknowledged by all to be absolutely necessary.

The Liberal party offered not the slightest objection to the personnel of the Conservative section of the Cabinet—and if the compact is to be successful, their opponents will be equally considerate. Mr. McDougall is a man of much ability, his assistance in the special work to be done will be invaluable, he has the hearty confidence of a section of the Liberal party—he has gone into the Cabinet as a Representative man—and assuredly there is not a member of the Liberal party who will not resent a breach of good faith to Mr. McDougall as an insult and injustice himself.

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