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Dawn Fraser: Echoes From Labor's War

To Forman Waye

During the dull period this winter, the months particularly of January and February, one entertaining way of passing the time was to get the daily press and read reports from the House of Assembly then in session. Labor was represented by Messrs. Waye, Morrison and Steele, and these three men, true to their pre-election pledges, utilized every opportunity to bring the cause of Labor to the fore and to discredit the government, their recognized enemy It would be silly to expect that these three men in a hopeless minority could introduce or carry any legislation favourable to their cause.

The eloquent and brilliant speech of Forman Waye when he attacked the Attorney-General will be long remembered by all parties. In the course of this address Waye congratulated Mr. O'Hearn on the telegram that he (O'Hearn) received from Roy Wolvin after McLachlan's conviction. This telegram suggested where the Attorney-General was taking his instructions from. Referring to the provincial police and discussing the charge that they were drunk when they rode down the citizens of Sydney Waye said that "it would indeed be in keeping with the training of a dashing captain of infantry to give his men a stiff shot of rum before leading them to the attack." He considered it probable that they were drunk on that occasion. Dealing with a traitor, one Richardson from Sydney Waye referred to him as "A Farmer member from a Labor constituency supporting a Liberal government."

Perhaps the writer will be permitted to introduce here a rhyme he wrote during the period referred to, which is in appreciation of Forman Waye and his work. It is not my habit to write personal poems, and I am not much given over to hero worship as was proven on one occasion when I was asked to write some complimentary junk about a certain Prince. I told the newspaper people on that occasion that my poems were not for sale by the yard, that silly demonstrations did not impress me, and that when I was not impressed I could not write, whether I had the inclination or otherwise. This was further proved on that occasion. I was impressed by the honest efforts of Forman Waye and I felt that if my humble efforts would tend to show appreciation, they were at his disposal.

Let old Cape Breton stand today
And cheer her champion, Forman Waye,
Who bravely stood, hemmed in by foes,
Who all undaunted nobly rose
And hurled his challenge, hissing hot,
And for two hours steady fought,
Who voiced the ringing charge we sent
Against a rotten government.

God bless your red head, Forman Waye,
You spoke your piece, you had your say;
I doubt if I could do as well,
You told them just what I would tell.
If you ever need a vote or two,
Waye, I'll stump the mines for you.
Lord, I'm a happy child today
You took their trenches, Forman Waye.

We have always found whoe'er we sent
To serve us in the government,
Before he went had much to say,
But lost his message on the way,
And when the hour came to strike,
Was mild, polite and humble like,
And long before the session's end,
Our enemy would be his friend.

But Forman Waye, now you're a boy
To fill a voter's heart with joy;
You don't forget whose cause you serve,
You've honesty and brains and nerve;
They can't use you to serve their ends,
You don't forget your working friends,
You take the message straight and true;
Forman Waye, we're proud of you.

Tell me, Forman, one thing more
Was O'Hearn very sore,
When you cracked the whip at him?
Did this enemy of Jim
Did he crouch, and crawl and whine?
Did he? Honest, that was fine!
McLachlan is avenged, I'll swear,
Gosh, I'd like to have been there!

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