W-MCP7-1.148 TO THOMAS MCQUESTEN from George Drew
May 4 1944
To: T.B. McQuesten, 41 Jackson Street, Hamilton, Ontario.
From: George Drew, Premier of Ontario.
[ONTARIO COAT OF ARMS]
The Prime Minister & President of the Council
May 4th, 1944
Honorable T.B. McQuesten, K.C.
Chairman, Niagara Falls Parks Commission
41 Jackson Street
My Dear Mr. McQuesten:
The Government has become impressed with the necessity for a continuous and direct contact with the Niagara Parks Commission, and has come to the conclusion that it is desirable that the Chairman of the Parks Commission become a member of the Government.
I wish to assure you that we appreciate the long years of service you have given to this work, and have been impressed with the desire you have indicated to co-operate in every way1, but so many of the activities of the Commission are inseparably associated with the daily business of the Hydro Electric Power Commission and the Department of Highways that we believe you will recognize the advantage of having the Chairman sitting with us at our regular meetings.
For that reason I must suggest that the present members of the Board make it possible for us to carry out the reorganization which we believe to be necessary for the purpose of achieving closer collaboration between the various departments concerned. Again assuring you of our appreciation of your work and the desire you have shown to be of assistance, believe me,
George A. Drew
1 This letter implies that Thomas was unwelcome because he was a member of the Liberal Party rather than the governing Conservatives, prompting his resignation and Drew's "gracious" acceptance thereof (W-MCP7-1.150, W-MCP7-1.151).
For information on Tom's achievements during his tenure as Chairman, see Box 14-120, Box 14-129 and Tom's biography.
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 politics, search on the "Carillon Controversy