Courtesy Reuters

A New Era in Canada

THE opening of a new era in the political life of Canada is virtually assured now that Mr. Mackenzie King, addressing the National Liberal Federation at its recent annual meeting, reiterated his desire to be relieved of the leadership of his party, which he has held since 1919. He advised the party to hold a national convention without undue delay. True, following his habitual practice, he hedged his pronouncement with some mystifying reservations which can be interpreted as indicating a willingness to be "drafted" by the convention for another spell of office; but his intimates insist that he has no real desire for a fresh mandate, and arrangements for holding the Liberal convention in the late summer are now being made.

It would be premature to attempt any final appraisal of the value of Mr. King's contributions to the fortunes of his country since he came to Ottawa as a civil servant in 1900. Some years must elapse before the full fruits of many of his actions and policies can be garnered and judged on their merits. But even his bitterest opponents will admit that with the possible exception of Lloyd George the British Commonwealth has not in this century produced his peer as a political technician. Only a supreme master of the arts of political legerdemain could have achieved the remarkable and paradoxical feat of securing, mainly by the support of Roman Catholic conservatives (as most of the voters of French Canada are), a prolonged ascendancy for Liberalism in an age when it had ceased to be an effective political force in other countries. Only a virtuoso endowed with superlative dexterity and tireless pertinacity in the craft of manipulating public opinion and suppressing unpleasant issues could have survived three grave political scandals which occurred while ministries led by Mr. King were in office: the customs scandal of 1925; the scandal of the so-called constitutional crisis of 1926; and, worst of all, the scandal of the Beauharnois power contracts, involving valuable power rights on the

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