Looking for the Reason

Looking for the Reason


Some almost unbelievable things have taken place in our Province in the course of the past few weeks. A year ago it would have taken a pretty hardy prophet to have faced the ridicule he would have brought on himself by predicting a “Farmer’s” Government in Ontario. It has all come so suddenly and unexpectedly, at least to the majority of us, that we are still wondering how it was done.

As in the case of other noteworthy accomplishment there has been, we know, forces quietly at work behind the scenes that are responsible, but the final act has been staged in a way that would do credit to the most experienced of professionals.

To the most of us the outstanding fact that the farmers have accomplished what so many have declared impossible, that is, to stick together at election time, is the one thing of important. How we came to do it is a secondary matter. At the same time it is of interest to the man of the inquiring turn of mind to go a little further and ascertain what forces have been at work, or what principles have been brought to bear to bring about the present, apparently satisfactory, political situation.

If the U.F.O. had any one guiding principle, what was it?

We are inclined to think that it must have been the same as that of Danton, the French revolutionist. When addressing the people he said: “In order to defeat the enemies of this country we need audacity, and still more audacity, and always audacity!”

The “Farmers” must have taken their “cue” from that. No doubt the two old political parties think so, anyway. Probably they will call it “cheek.” And it must be admitted that the whole accomplishment has called for the exercise of considerable nerve on the part of somebody. From the times of the first proposal to run independent candidates in practically every county in the Province until the final formation of the Government was announced, no one could, very justly, accuse “Farmers” of any great lack of “audacity.” And I, for one, wouldn’t want to say a word against this quality in a man, or a party, as a help to the attainment of success. “Nothing venture, nothing win,” and there are a good many other time-tried proverbs along the same line that justify us in using a certain amount of “push” upon occasion, even if it should be characterized as almost rudeness by those who feel the full effect of it. The meek may “inherit the earth” but it’s very doubtful if they will ever get control of the Government. It’s remarkable how often success is a case of self-assertion. If we wanted an example, we could find it in the case of the late ex-President Roosevelt. And if we take a look at the down-trodden peasant class of Russia we will get something of an idea of the result of lack of self-assertion.

It would have been a long time before the farmers of Ontario would have been invited into Toronto’s legislative halls in sufficient numbers to give them a controlling voice in the Assembly. And the day is past when a man’s trade or profession will keep him out of positions of trust and responsibility, such as the members of our Parliament hold. A fair share of intellect is one thing required of him. This is of even more importance, probably, than audacity. But the two shouldn’t interfere with one another in any way when combined in the one individual - or the one government.

Now it may be that there are some among us who think they know of particular and individual cases that are an exception to at least one of the rules we have laid down. Some men cannot be said to be very self-assertive, and still they seem to have been able to get pretty nearly to the top of the ladder of success. It has been said that not one of our Provincial Cabinet Ministers made any move towards securing for himself a seat in the Government. They all had to be asked and some of them asked repeatedly. Not much self-assertion here. One of the ministers, speaking to some of his friends shortly after his appointment, said: “I have to pinch myself once in a while to make sure that I’m not dreaming. Six weeks ago I was in overalls doing the work around the farm, and now it appears I’m a Cabinet Minister.” Apparently this man hadn’t had the “audacity” to think of such a thing as an all-the-year-round Government job for himself. There must be some other qualifications for success.

And there is. It isn’t necessary to go back on the worth of self-assertion to admit that. A good many factors go to the making up of anything, whether it be a good sermon or a successful man. And the one thing above all others that is required in the latter case is preparation. It isn’t necessary to go into an argument on that point. We will all admit it when it is brought to our attention. The thing is that a great many men are forgetting this fact or are overlooking it. They seem to be depending on luck to get them some easy berth, sooner or later. They don’t take kindly to the idea of fitting themselves for the job they would like to hold.

Even without a personal acquaintance with the members of our new Government we’re not afraid to make the assertion that every one of them, from Premier down, has been preparing, practically all his life, for the position and work that has now been given him. They may not have been conscious of it, but they were getting ready just the same. Every one of them. That was why Opportunity stopped off long enough to knock at their doors as She passed through. She isn’t very apt to disturb the man who has been asleep on the job. Some say that all men are born equal, but if one man makes a habit of getting up at five o’clock in the morning and the other never gets up until nine, the equilibrium is soon upset. As little as that may make all the difference between success and failure. One man is making the preparation for a future opportunity, the other is just waiting for it.

And so, in summing the matter up, we can only say that if we find that our audacity, or self-assertiveness hasn’t done all it should have done for us, or if our natural intellect was not the key to unlock the door to Opportunity, then let us get down to work and give our job, whatever it is, our undivided attention until, in the natural course of events, it is proved we are ready for something better.

This may not be much of a prospect for some of us third raters, but it’s the only way out of the woods. We’ll get lost on the short-cuts.

By Allan McDiarmid


Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture