W-MCP7-1.150 Letter of resignation to George Drew from T.B. McQuesten.
May 20 1944
To: George A. Drew, Premier of Ontario. Parliament Buildings, Toronto, Ontario.
From: T.B. McQuesten, Chairman of Niagara Parks Commission. May 20th, 1944.
Dear Colonel Drew:
Your letter of May 4th was read to the Commission today at its regular meeting. I resign herewith as Chairman and member of the Commission. I understand the other members prefer to write you direct.
Colonel George A Drew
Prime Minister for the Province of Ontario
1 In George Drew's letter of May 4th (W-MCP7-1.148) he writes that the Chairman of the Niagara Parks Board should be "a member of the Government," which at that time was lead by the Conservatives. Thomas was a Liberal. After accepting this resignation, Drew remarked that they would still appreciate Thomas' opinions even though he was no longer "officially connected" to the board and this may have been a jab rather than a sincere invitiation (W-MCP7-1.151).
This letter is best understood within the context of several other documents and letters and within the context of the political climate of the time which led to Chairman, T.B. McQuesten's, resignation from the Niagara Parks Commission: McQuesten was a Liberal and George Drew was the newly elected Progressive Conservative Premier of Ontario.
Nov 5 1943,W-MCP7-1.146, George Drew, attempts to force T.B. McQuesten to resign as Chairman of the Parks Commission with various threats, one of which criticizes T.B. for the handling of the work at Niagara without considering the labour that will be needed in the post war era. He also threatens an audit of all of the Commissioners.
Feb 19 1944, W-MCP7-1.170 Two months later, a report on Post War Work is drawn up by Maxim Gray, General Manager It is a very thorough document about the work being planned for post war work at Niagara. It appears to have been compiled combining the details of several discussions underway at the Niagara Parks Commission. Its presentation at this time and its thoroughness may have been prompted by George Drew's letter to T.B. McQuesten questioning his handling of the work at Niagara on several counts and in view of consideration of the post war work that will be necessary. The report also notes in several places that these items have been under discussion for some time which suggests that T.B. McQuesten has already planned for this problem.
May 4 1944, W-MCP7-1.148. Drew asks for the resignation of the Chairman and the Commissioners because they are not members of the govt.
May 20 1944, W-MCP7-1.150, T.B. McQuesten resigns as Chairman of the Niagara Parks Commission.
Aug 11 1944, W-MCP7-1.151. Drew accepts McQuesten's resignation but also suggests that T.B. might be willing to share his experience with the new commission.
For more about T.B. McQuesten's issues with the politics of the day, search on the "Carillon Controversy" in which W.L.Mackenzie King becomes angry because McQuesten refuses to obliterate the names of Churchill and Roosevelt on the largest bell and replace them with William Lyon Mackenzie King's name. They also had a falling out over the emblems on the arch which commemorated the Rebellion of 1837 and W.L. Mackenzie King's father, W.L. Mackenzie. McQuesten did work to preserve W.L. Mackenzie's house and printing press at Niagara-on-the-Lake. When the arch was demolished McQuesten arranged to have some of the art work and emblems removed to Toronto. He and Mackenzie King did not agree on these emblems and it caused a rift between them. (see W-MCP7-1.150; W-MCP7-1.264; W8261)