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The parliamentary career of Nicholas Flood Davin 1887-1900



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When Davin entered the House of Commons for the first time as a member in 1887 he made no pretense about his party allegiance or his attitude to the constituency he represented: he was listed in the Parliamentary Companion as "A Conservative, [who] favours a broad and generous policy for developing and peopling the North-West." 2 This description he proceeded to justify by word and deed, and in the four sessions of the Sixth Parliament from 1887 to 1890 he concerned himself with the problems of the individual settler as well as the broader issues affecting the Dominion and the Empire. Hansard records Davin discussing the question of the half-breed claims on one occasion, and Irish Home Rule on another; he is further recorded instructing the House on the justice of public expenditures to the Territories and again on the history of the Society of Jesus; or he is found advocating the publication of agricultural bulletins in German, or the maintenance of the Imperial connection. thus, while one opposition member could refer to Davin as "the incarnation of Banff Springs, namely, gush and gas,"3 and another could call him "the blatherskite from West Assiniboia,"4 still another could inform the House that "[Davin] is a man I admire very much. I admire his ability and his eloquence...."5 Davin, somewhat in the tradition of Cyrano de Bergerac, had about him a panache which his contemporaries could either value or scorn, but could not ignore. 2. The Canadian Parliamentary Companion, 1887, J. A. Gemmill, Editor, Ottawa, 1887, p. 111. 3. H.C.D., May 3, 1887, Col. I, p. 237. 4. Ibid., May 7, 1890, Vol. II, c. 4538. This expression, being unparliamentary, was withdrawn with the explanation that it had been used inadvertently: "...I thought he was outside, when an unpalatable truth might be stated," said the offending member, Mr. Charlton. 5. Ibid., Apr. 28, 1890, Vol. II, c. 4057. Excerpt from pages 72-73.





Master of Arts (M.A.)





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