100th Anniversary Celebrations

December 15th, 2019

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) was founded in 1917, so naturally they’ve been celebrating their 100th anniversary throughout 2019. 

We’ve covered this, and mocked this, repeatedly.  The CSA was founded in 1917, not 1919, though CSA claims, to all within earshot, that it didn’t exist until 1919.  Why so?  Well, we’ve covered that too.

If CSA were founded in 1917, they’re clearly part of Government and always have been.  On the other hand, if the Charter they were granted in 1919 is their founding, then they’ve got at least one argument that they’re private.  They’d need more than that, but they don’t even have that much.

Evidence for the existence of CSA before 1919 is voluminous.  Since CSA can’t possibly refute all that documentation, they rely on a standard ploy, used by lawyers when their clients are obviously guilty as all get-out and they’ve got absolutely nothing left to lose; They do the big lie.

Total denial.  That’s the CSA game plan.  Witness their 100th Anniversary Book, a lovely booklet bought with taxpayer money to celebrate this year the CSA’s centennial two years ago.

Sayeth the Anniversary Book, the CSA is “celebrating a century of higher standards.”  Stop laughing.  “Through the standards developed …we have been there for 100 years to provide guidance, knowledge, and peace of mind, helping to ensure that safety always accompanies innovation.”  It’s been this way, apparently, “since our founding in 1919.”

And there it is, the false date again.  So how does CSA get around the evidence of its 1917 founding, and of RestoreCSA’s extensive reporting on the matter? 

“In 1917, World War I had entered its third year.”  Ah, so they start by acknowledging the year. 

“Great Britain turned to Canada with an urgent request: Create standards that would unify the nations’ resources, help bolster the war effort, and ultimately save lives.”

Oh boy, where to begin?  First, “Great Britain” did not request anything from Canada in 1917.  The term “Great Britain” is a geographical reference to the island of England, Scotland and Wales, and politically refers to Government actions internal to these jurisdictions.  As 1917 was in the Imperial Period, an intragovernmental request of the Dominion of Canada would flow through the Colonial Office, or the Foreign Office in a pinch, either of these dealing with matters external to anything within Great Britain.

But for all that, the impetus to create CSA came from the War Office and was routed, for funding and reporting, through the Privy Counsel Office [PCO], and all of this internal to the British Government without any request made to their Canadian counterparts.  In this, the CSA is unambiguously a Crown Agency. 

Still, the CSA’s propagandizing continues; The great and heroic persons who founded CSA, stupendous specimens of peoplekind, “committed to a mission of moving Canada forward as an industrialized nation, which they knew would require an independent standards organization.” 

None of that is true.

“Pledging to ‘introduce order in industrial work,’ the Canadian Engineering Standards Association [later renamed CSA] was born in 1919.”

That’s not true either.

Let’s take a walk through some archives together.  We’ve done this before of course, but as there’s no shortage of archive on the matter I’ll try to use stuff not quoted here before.  Here we go…

In a lecture in 1917, as printed in the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers (vol. 204), the Imperial Government noted that “the Government Committee on Engineering Industries […] met in the summer of 1916.  Sir John Wolfe Barry attended and remarked that local committees of engineers and traders ‘in close touch with the main Committee in London should be formed at about twelve important trading centres, for example in the Argentine [sic], Brazil, Canada…’”

So it was the British Imperial Government, at an internal Government Committee meeting, that first proposed to create CSA.  And though it seems self-evident, was this Government creation to be anything other than government?

“These local committees to be chaired by the British Consul or other government representatives.”

Ah, apparently not.

Governments aren’t short of committees, and one such committee of the Imperial Government, the Hyde Committee, “concurred with these suggestions and referred the matter to the Committee on Commercial and Industry” as then chaired by Lord Balfour of Burleigh.  As the Hyde Committee noted; “the local committees [like CSA] were to consist of representatives of relevant trades and official classes; the intended functions were to keep copies of British specifications and reports and publicize them, and to keep abreast of standards developments and promote the adoption of British standards.”

Recall CSA’s claim that they were created as “an independent standards organization.”  But the official record of their creation doesn’t show much independence at all, does it?

Indeed, in 1924 in an address to the Czechoslovakian Engineering Standards Committee, the British Government defined the purpose of entities like CSA as entirely to support the priorities and standards of the British Government.  The CSA was a sort of branch office to the British Government, like a consular bureau.

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers holds a record from 9 November 1932 which states the rationale for the creation of Governmental subcommittees such as CSA.  Specifically, it notes that “a change in the Trade Marks Act” required the shunting of standards regulation from legislative committee to Crown Agency.  It also notes the new body’s “chief goals” included the “establishment in foreign countries and the British Dominions overseas, local committees to further the objects of” the British Government.  Further, “at an early stage in the development of the work of the industrial standardization in this country, [the PCO] was instrumental in getting parallel organizations established in the Dominions.”

In interwar testimony to the Royal Commission on the Coal Industry, Sir Archibald Denny confirmed that the British Government created CSA, and only patriated CSA to Ottawa after WWI had ended.  “We also had local committees in the Dominions,” he said, and “Two of our Dominion committees, the Canadian and Australian, are now independent and yet allied with us.”  That testimony was in 1925, so the British Government founded CSA as a Crown Agency but by 1925 the CSA had become independent of direct British Governmental control.  That independence from London was the patriation of CSA from British Governmental control to Canadian Governmental control in 1919. 

So, CSA was founded as a Crown Agency, had no independence, and was only patriated -not founded- in 1919.  Indeed, the CSA’s activities as a Dominion Agency of the British Government are well documented during the period 1917 – 1919, or roughly two years before CSA claims it existed.

From the private papers of Charles Le Maistre, his notes to a speech include the following nugget; “Some of the members will recollect that a meeting was held in London in October 1918, under the Chairmanship of Sir Arthur Duckham, K.C.B., at that time Director of Aircraft Production in the British Air Ministry, at which accredited representatives were present from Canada, France, [etc.]”

We’ve noted this item before.  The CSA was accredited as a Government representative at a series of munitions conferences during WWI, up to two full years before CSA claims it existed, including attendance at the above noted aircraft conference.

The concluding lines from the British Engineering Standards Committee [ESC] 1901 – 1919 Report read as follows;  “It would appear that concerted efforts by the ESC to create equivalent overseas committees stem from the period 1916–17, and were mainly the work of Sir John Wolfe Barry in concert with various government departmental committees.”

One could go on at length with this but you likely get the idea.  Proving that CSA was created as a Crown Agency of the British Imperial Government is easy.  Proving that their history since patriation is still government is easy, and we’ve been thorough about that too.  Proving that CSA was founded in 1917 is easy.  The evidence here folks, is overwhelming.  It’s like proving that the Department of Industry is part of the Government of Canada.  It’s that easy. 

Yet, as CSA put it in their 2019 anniversary book, “CSA Group has always seen things differently.” 

That which they see, they don’t see clearly.  Said Verlaine; “Les sanglots longs, Des violons, De l’automne.”