Majesty in Canada: Essays on the Role of Royalty

By Colin M. Coates | Go to book overview

“All this Fuss and Feathers”:
Politicians, Plutocrats, and Changing
Canadian Attitudes to Honours

J. ANDREW ROSS

When a journalist has acquired a large fortune in this
Canadian commonwealth, if he tastes the wine of imperialism
and of jingoism, if perchance he goes across and meets
lords and dukes, he suddenly asks himself, “Why should I
not get a title?” That is a psychological moment when he
forgets his Canadian citizenship and adopts flunkeyism.
He then is ready to sacrifice the independence of his paper,
to sell his pen and that of his editors in order to parade as
Sir So-and-so, or Lord So-and-so.1

Rodolphe Lemieux

There are several candidates for the dubious recognition of being the target of this polemic levelled in the House of Commons in 1919 by Rodolphe Lemieux, Liberal Member of Parliament from Quebec and long-time lieutenant of the Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier, PC, GCMG. Of the five Canadians given peerages in the last century, four were (or became) prominent “journalists” more properly newspaper owners or, more pejoratively, plutocrats. From Sir Hugh Graham (made Lord Atholstan in 1917) and Sir Max Aitken (made Lord Beaverbrook in 1917) to Roy Thompson (made Lord Thompson of Fleet in 1963) and Conrad Black (made Lord Black of Crossharbour in 2001), the sovereign often favoured businessmen whose media interests made them political players of note. And these honours have often led to

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