If Canada, a self-governing nation, as part of the British Empire, but free and independent, should be attacked, what would Great Britain do? Every one knows she would fly to our assistance with all her forces. Canada will not do less. Every Canadian should be prepared, and I believe is prepared, to stand shoulder to shoulder for the unity of the Empire.
(McLean to Montreal Daily Star, 3 Aug 1914)
In anticipation of war with Germany, Daniel McLean, commanding officer of the 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry transmitted the above message vowing to support the Empire. McLean was a Winnipeg city councillor and Conservative member of the Manitoba legislature (1914—1915). Born on 4 January 1868 in Scotch Block, Ontario, he had moved to Winnipeg in 1893 and organized the 106th in 1912.
In August 1914, he brought volunteers to Valcartier but was his ambitions were frustrated by Sam Hughes. He complained to Prime Minister Borden:
I beg attention to the fact that contrary to the given word and documented confirmation of the Minister of Militia, my regiment, brought here on the definite understanding that it should not be broken up is being broken to the four winds.
McLean did not stand for re-election in the August 1915 election which saw the Conservatives lose in a landslide. Meanwhile McLean raised the 61st Battalion as the second in command until receiving an appointment to command the 101st Battalion.
While awaiting departure overseas, McLean often arranged for friendly games of baseball, football and hockey for his men to compete against the other Manitoba battalions. In June, the 101st sailed for England where it was broken up. McLean returned to Canada in 1918 in order take a position with the Headquarters Staff of Military Division No.10.
Returning to civilian politics after the war, McLean won the November 1927 Winnipeg mayoral election on a nonpartisan, Liberal-Conservative fusion ticket against Labour candidate John Queen. He succeeded fellow CEF colonel Ralph Webb, the one-legged former commander of the 47th Battalion. Two years later, Webb returned to defeat Mclean for re-election. McLean remained involved in municipal politics as a city councillor (1921—1927, 1931—1933 and 1935—1942).
He died in 1950.