Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 92 pages of information about Laurier.
language which had little resemblance to the harangues which led to Tarte’s undoing six years later.  From this he went on to speak of Laurier’s qualities and the amazing ignorance of them shown even by his intimates of his own race.  There had been much speculation in Montreal as to who should be the new high commissioner for Canada in London.  Sir Donald A. Smith, who had been appointed in the last weeks of Conservative rule, would be, it was assumed, dismissed.  Tarte scouted the idea that Smith would be disturbed.  Laurier was not that kind of a man.  He would not dismiss Smith; he would make friends with him.  Sir Donald was a man of affairs, and so was Laurier; they would co-operate with one another.  “These people do not understand Laurier; he has a governing mind; he wants to do things; he has plans; he will walk the great way of life with anyone of good intention who will join him.”  With much more to the same effect.  To Tarte, who was his intimate, Laurier at this moment did not appear as one overcome with his destiny and drifting with the tide, but as the resolute captain of the ship, who knew where he wanted to go, had a fairly clear idea as to how to get there, and also knew whom he wanted with him on the voyage.  Later on Tarte forgot about this.


There was verification of Tarte’s estimate in the job of cabinet-making turned out by Laurier in July.  In building the government the lines of least resistance were not followed.  A dozen men who deemed themselves sure of cabinet rank found themselves overlooked; five of fifteen portfolios went to men imported from provincial arenas without Dominion parliamentary experience.  Laurier knew the kind of government he wanted and he provided himself with such a government by the direct method of getting the colleagues he desired wherever he could find them.  No doubt he found plenty of employment for his sunny ways in placating his disappointed colleagues.  In time there were consolation prizes for all, for this one a judgeship, for that one a lieutenant-governorship, for the next a life seat in the senate; the phalanx of fighting second-raters who had done valuable work in opposition, reinforcing and buttressing the work of the front benches disappeared gradually from parliament.  And with those he chose he too had his way, as witness the side-tracking of Sir Richard Cartwright to the dignified but at the time relatively unimportant department of trade and commerce.  Between Sir Richard and the Canadian manufacturers there was a blood feud.  It was not Sir Wilfrid’s intention to make the feud his own or even to agree to it being carried on by Sir Richard.  He took for minister of finance, W. S. Fielding, who justified his choice by successfully steering the budget bark between Scylla and Charybdis for fourteen years in succession before the whirlpool finally sucked him down.  Where Laurier went outside his following for colleagues he had equally definite ends to serve.

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Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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