February 19, 1902


Mr. HENRI BOURASSA (Labelle) (Translation) moved for : Copy of all papers and correspondence exchanged between His Excellency the Governor General, the Canadian government, or any of its members or departments, the officer commanding the Canadian militia, and the British authorities, in relation to the South African war, its conduct and its .settlement ; and the sending or recruiting of Canadian troops to South Africa,-for the three last years. Mr. Speaker, I must say that some of these documents were brought down during the first session following the sending of the troops to Africa. I make this a general question, in order to cover all documents exchanged between His Excellency the Governor General, the Canadian government and the British authorities, in relation to the sending of the first and second contingent of the South African police force, and of the last contingent; including the correspondence exchanged between the Imperial authorities, the Canadian government and the South African authorities. In short, I ask that all matters concerning the South African question, and relating to Canada directly or indirectly, should be deposited before the House. I make this motion, seconded by Mr. Monet (Laprairie-Napierville). Motion carried.


DISALLOWANCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA LEGISLATION.

LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. HENRI BOURASSA (Labelle) moved:

Copy of all papers and correspondence relating to the disallowance of chapters 11 and 14 of the statutes of 1900, province of British Columbia, viz.: ' An Act to regulate immigration into British Columbia,' and ' An Act relating to the employment on works carried on under franchises granted by Private Acts.'

He said : I may say that the papers which I wish specially to have laid before parliament are those relating to the request that has been made by the British authorities to the Canadian government to disallow this legislation. Of course, the papers should include all the correspondence that has taken place between the British government and the Canadian government and all the correspondence that has taken place between the Canadian government and the government of British Columbia ; so that we may know exactly where each of these

three governments stands upon the question of disallowance of provincial laws.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH (Vancouver).

I desire to second the motion before the House, because the information asked for is of very great importance, as it relates to the question of Chinese and Japanese labour in British Columbia. I would like to take this opportunity of asking the government when they will be prepared to bring down the report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into this question, which report, I presume, is already in their hands.

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The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

So far as I know, the report of the Royal Commission has not yet been handed over to the government. It will be presented to the House as soon as it is received.

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Motion agreed to.


EMBARGO IMPOSED BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT ON CANADIAN CATTLE.


Mr. HENRI BOURASSA (Labelle) (Translation) moved, seconded by Mr. Monet (Laprairie-Napierville) for : Copy of all papers and correspondence exchanged between Canadian and British authorities, with reference to the embargo imposed by the British government on Canadian cattle. I wish to draw the attention of the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) for a moment, while making this motion, Mr. Speaker, and before going any further, I must declare at once, that all correspondence exchanged in the matter, if any, should be deposited before this House ; but if the hon. minister tells me that there exists no corespondence in the matter, then I will let my motion drop.


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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE (Hon. Sydney A. Fisher).

There is very little correspondence on this subject in the department. I might, however, take the opportunity of saying to the hon. gentleman and to the House that when I was in England last summer I had a number of personal communications on this subject with the hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Minister of Agriculture there. I laid before them with all the force of which I was capable the facts of the case and the reasons which led me to believe that the occasion was opportune for a different treatment of Canadian cattle in the home market from what has been accorded to our animals lately. I was met with the reply that the question was now a question of statute or law, and not in the power of the government or the department to regulate it by order in council or by departmental action. The gentlemen whom I met informed me that they did not believe it was possible to amend the law in such a way as to enable Canadian cattle to enter

freely beyond the ports of debarkation. I pointed out-and I am glad to say that what I said was not in any way controverted- that the cattle in Canada to-day are remarkably free from any disease-that our Canadian cattle to-day enjoy a reputation for health certainly inferior to none in the world, and superior, 1 believe, to those of most other countries. The point was raised, however, that this was not the real objection at the present moment. Hon. Mr. Han-bury said that while he was quite ready to admit that Canadian cattle were perfectly healthy, disease might break out among them at any moment, and in such case the re-imposition of the old embargo would be a difficult matter, as it would cause greater disturbance in the trade and make the condition of affairs worse than if a settled policy were followed. In that view I did not agree, but I was perfectly powerless to influence the decision of the Imperial government. While I was in England many of those interested in the removal of the embargo communicated with me and pointed out that large interests in the old country desired the freer entry of Canadian cattle and the abrogation of the law compelling their slaughter at the port of debarkation within ten days of their arrival. I replied to these gentlemen that while I and my colleagues took every opportunity of urging our views on the government, nothing we could do would be nearly as effective as the efforts of the British people and their representatives themselves. The British people particularly interested did bestir themselves and a number of meetings were held. I had the opportunity of meeting the Board of Trade in Glasgow' and also a deputation from the Board of Trade in Aberdeen, and a number of other associations communicated with me either personally or by letter. This agitation culminated, shortly after I left England, in a meeting between Mr. Hanbury, Minister of Agriculture, and a large gathering called by the Board of Agriculture in Scotland. The meeting took place in Edinburgh, and the views of those who desired the embargo removed were laid before the Minister of Agriculture. But his reply was entirely unsatisfactory. Mr. Hanbury said that so long as he remained Minister of Agriculture, he would neither make nor advise any change in the law. And while the view's he put forward and the arguments he used did not appeal to me as at all sufficient, at the same time they showed tlie evident determination of the British government to maintain the status quo, and as the present British government is likely to remain in office some time longer, we may dismiss the idea of getting any concessions in the immediate future.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Does the embargo apply to cattle from all countries ?

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The MINISTER OP AGRICULTURE.

Yes, it applies to all cattle coming into the Hon. Mr. FISHER.

United ivingnom from all countries. The argument was made that Canada was treated just the same as any other country, but Canada was not so treated in the past. In the past Canada enjoyed a privilege which the others did not. That was withdrawn, in the first instance, by the scheduling of our cattle in 1892, and afterwards the law was changed so that all cattle from foreign countries must be slaughtered in the port of debarkation, and Canada and the other colonies were included in the term ' foreign countries.' We are to-day in exactly the same position as all other countries, but previous to 1892 we were in a better position.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

I understood the hon. minister to say that there is some correspondence, and as I intend bringing the matter up again before the House. I shall not go further into details. I wish, however, to take objection to the remark of the hon. gentleman that w'e should leave this thing at a standstill. I wms in England at the time the hon. gentleman speaks of, and I know' w'liat he did, I know the lectures he delivered and the efforts he made to have the embargo raised, and I know also how these efforts were seconded by some of the stock raisers in Scotland. Surely at a time when we are told that the attention of the British government and public is so much given to Canadian affairs, wre should not submit to this injustice without making the strongest protest. The reason given by Mr. Hanbury is not the real one, but of course it would not do for him to give expression to the actual reason why this embargo is imposed. A government wedded to free trade would hardly be expected to declare that the reason w'liieh is at the bottom of this restriction is that some wealthy stock raisers in England do not want Canadian competition. Yet, really it is nothing else than a measure of protection against Canadian competition. A few cases of pleuro-pneumonia from Canada, or rather from the United States, furnished a pretense for adopting it. But the disease was stamped out in this country, and there was no further reason of continuing the embargo. Nevertheless the British government passed a statute and branded our cattle as being infected with the disease, although as a matter of fact that disease is much more prevalent among the British stock. And were it not for this statute, w'liieh was passed in order to protect the big stock raisers in England. Britisli stock raisers would take Canadian cattle to improve their stock. If the British stock raisers want protection against Canada, let them frankly say so and not brand our cattle as being diseased and poisoned, while at the same time they are much sounder than the British stock. Returning this summer, I came across with an English stock raiser, and a wealthy English merchant from Birmingham. We talked about this matter.

Tlie merchant said to me : ' Of course, the statute as it exists, is a fine thing for my friend-referring to the stock raiser-it is a great thing for him and for others engaged in the same line of business. But, he added, whenever I want to be sure that I am not going to be poisoned, I do not buy the beef raised by my friend, but make a point of asking for Canadian beef.' I said to him :

' If you are so sure that our beef is better than yours, how is it that you leave your government and the protectors of your stock raisers to brand our cattle-and to announce it to the empire and the world-as being poisoned with pleuro-pneumonia.' I hold, Mr. Speaker, that we ought not to allow this session to pass without protesting by resolution, and without appealing to the British government which is supposed to love us so much, to do something to remove this crying injustice.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DAVID HENDERSON (Halton).

This is a vital question to the farmers of Canada. But, possibly, it can be discussed to greater advantage after the papers are brought down in response to the hon. gentleman's (Mr. Bourassa's) motion. I desire to say, however, that I am informed and believe that the lion. Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Fisher) when in England during the past year, made a very broad statement to the effect that Canada did not ask any preference in the markets of Great Britain, that what we had done in the way of giving a preference to Great Britain was a free gift-we asked nothing in return. Now, if that is the hon. gentleman's view, I think that the appeal of the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bour-assa) to the Minister of Agriculture to secure the removal of this embargo will not avail very much. I think that some person who holds a different opinion from that attributed to the Minister of Agriculture will have to be appealed to if Canada is to obtain any advantage in the British market

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROTJLE (East Grey).

It is somewhat refreshing to hear the explanation given by the Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Fisher) to account for the refusal of the Imperial government to remove this embargo-it is especially refreshing to one who has been in this House for any length of time, and remembers the attacks that were made on the late government when the embargo was put on. The contention of lion, gentlemen opposite who were then on tills side was that the embargo was due to the fact that the government of that day were too lax in their quarantine regulations governing cattle from the United States, that there was a danger of importing contagious disease with the cattle from the United States, and so we might naturally expect such an embargo to be placed on our cattle going to Great Britain. It was stated that if the government did their duty and exercised a little of the sunny ways for which

hon. gentlemen then on this side were peculiarly noted, there would be no difficulty in getting the embargo removed. They said, in other words, that if able men occupied the treasury benches and made proper representation to the Imperial government, and also improved the quarantine regulation on cattle coming in from the United States, there would be no difficulty in having the embargo removed. The revolutions of time have led to these hon. gentlemen being charged with the duties of looking after this matter. They have, as they say, improved the quarantine regulations between Canada and the United States. And the hon. Minister of Agriculture goes over to Great Britain and asks the Imperial government to remove the embargo. The answer is, practically : We will not do it. Why ? The hon. minister gives various reasons; but, in my judgment, considering the information as it appeared in the press at the time of the hon. minister's visit, the reason for the nonremoval of the embargo was that it was a protection to the agriculturists in Eng-Iand and Scotland. Of course, the representatives of the Imperial government did not state that exactly. But they admitted that there was no disease among Canadian cattle. That being so, there was no object in keeping on an embargo intended to exclude diseased cattle from Canada. But notwithstanding this, the embargo is not removed. The hon. minister tells us that it is embodied in the statute, and the statute cannot be changed. Why cannot it be changed ? We change statutes every year of our lives, and the Imperial parliament does the same. I think there is a great deal in what the hon. member for Halton (Mr. Henderson) has said. I read in a British paper sent to me, I presume by the hon. minister himself, that the hon. minister stated to the English people : The preference we have given you in our markets we have given you freely, and we want nothing in return-we do not ask to be placed in a better position in your markets than outsiders are. And this he stated at the very time he was there asking for concessions and consideration. I do not think there is much Imperial policy in that. I do not think the expression of such an opinion will help to build up the inter-Imperial relations that we should like to see exist between the colonies and the mother country. In fact, the hon. minister went over to ask a concession, and when there, declared that he did not want concessions. It seemed to me more like child's play than what might be expected from an intelligent statesman. I do not wonder that the British government did not remove the embargo, particularly when the quarantine regulations which were said to be too lax in 1890 and 1891, are very much more lax to-day. British statesmen are aware of that as well as the Minister of Agriculture. The hon. gentleman, there-

fore, went over to Britain without being fortified as he should have been had lie desired to accomplish anything.

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Motion agreed to.


CLAYTON-BULWER TREATY AND ALASKAN BOUNDARY.


Mr. HENRI BOURASSA (Labelle) moved for : Copy of all papers and correspondence exchanged between Canadian and British authorities In relation to the repeal of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, and the settlement of the Alaskan boundary.


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The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

I shall be obliged to ask my hon. friend not to press this motion. As he is aware, the negotiations regarding the Alaskan boundary are still going on. The correspondence is not complete and is not in form to be brought down. Perhaps the hon. gentleman will withdraw his motion.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

Can the right hon. gentleman (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) say if it will be possible to bring down the correspondence relating to the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty ?

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I am afraid that the two eaunot be separated.

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February 19, 1902