February 19, 1902

LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

Will the right hon. gentleman be in a position to make another statement about this question before long, or, at least, before the present session is over?

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The PRIME MINISTER.

That depends on what turn the negotiations with regard to the boundary may take. If the negotiations are not complete I shall feel it my duty to resist any motion for papers. If the correspondence is brought to a close and if the negotiations are ended, there will be no difficulty about bringing down the papers. In the meantime I am obliged to ask that the motion be withdrawn, or, if not, I shall feel it my duty to ask the House to negative it.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

Of course, I quite understand that if the government have made up their minds-and I do not say they are wrong-it is useless for me to insist. For in moving for this correspondence, it is useless for me to hope to secure a majority of the House to support me. However, I will not withdraw the motion before I take occasion to state again that the country expects something-not so much concerning a settlement of the Alaska boundary question very soon, because I think our chances of securing a settlement of that question are further off than ever-but of knowing for what reason the British government have consented to the repeal of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty apparently without the slightest effort having been made to secure Mr. SPROULE.

for Canada a settlement of the Alaskan question. I will not say a final settlement by treaty, for we never asked for such a settlement by a treaty. We have only requested that the treaty which was made between England and Russia and which created the difficulties between England and the United States, after the United States bought the rights of Russia, should be submitted to arbitration. The only thing which the Canadian government, in the name of the Canadian people, asked from the United States government was a consent that this question should be treated exactly according to the same procedure as that followed in the settlement of the Venezuelan question. Certainly this request was in itself a most reasonable one. Not only have the efforts of the International commission been brought to a standstill, but here we had a most favourable occasion, the last of its kind, to ask the United States to consent to the reconsideration of one treaty by England sacrificing some of her conceded rights in another treaty; but Great Britain sacrificed her acknowledged rights, rights given to her by the letter of the treaty, and did not secure for her colonial kinsmen of Canada some consideration, for those rights which she abandoned to the United States, in the form of a consent to an interpretation of the existing treaty by a judicial tribunal. I say the position is most unfair to Canada.

I am not one of those who ask favours from Great Britain. I am not one of those who are in favour of Canada taking risks and entangling herself in British difficulties, and I do not ask Great Britain to be entangled in Canada's difficulties. But surely, under a British government which proclaims that for the love of her colonies, Great Britain is ready to any sacrifice, and under a Canadian government which proclaims that for the love of Great Britain, Canada is willing to make any sacrifice, when it is only a question of obtaining that our rights should be submitted to a judicial arbitration, I think the least we could expect is to be treated as any foreign country would expect to be treated by Great Britain. Have we come to that point that Great Britain can count upon our devotion to such an extent that, even where we had acknowledged rights, she will not make the slightest efforts to have those rights acknowledged ? Sir, it would be most regrettable that) this session should end, and that the Prime Minister and his colleagues should go to the foot of the Throne without the Canadian people knowing whether in fact they have been sacrificed by the British government in this matter.

I do not wish to refer to a past debate, but I have already stated that it was published time and again in the American papers that the only obstacle to the repeal of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty for the past few years, was the refusal of the Canadian

government to consent to that repeal unless the Alaska boundary question was submitted to arbitration. Well, Sir, where are we ? Has the Canadiah government consented to the repeal of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty without the Alaska boundary question being-I will not say settled-but at least considered ? Or is it a fact that the British government has consented to the repeal of that treaty without even consulting the Canadian government ? I think we should know what has taken place.

For six months the Anglo-American commission sat in Quebec and Washington. We had there four representatives of the Canadian government, most able representatives who certainly did their duty to Canada ou that occasion. I may remark that I was a personal witness to the efforts and to the intelligence displayed by the Canadian representatives on the Anglo-American commission. Moreover, we had there a representative of the British government appointed for the especial purpose of aiding the Canadian delegates with the influence and strength of the British government so as to secure a fair treatment of the question with the American representatives. I am not at liberty to say to what degree the Anglo-American commission had progressed in their work; but this X am at liberty to state, that after they had sat for six months

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CON
LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

No, hon. gentlemen opposite must acknowledge that I am pretty free in my talk with the government, as a rule, especially for the last two years. Therefore in saying this it is not at all with the intention of flattering the government. Hon. gentlemen can easily understand that when thirteen or fifteen subjects, which were afterwards swelled to some seventeen subjects, were submitted to the commission, it was at least possible that an understanding could have been reached on ten or twelve of those subjects, without an understanding being arrived ou the two or three last ones. Therefore it is very possible that, though the apparent result of the commission has been nil, a good deal of work was done nevertheless. In fact I may repeat after what the Prime Minister told us the next year after the adjournment of the commission, that a good deal of work had been done, that the negotiations had been fruitfully conducted until the Alaska boundary question came up and proved the stumbling block which interrupted the work of the commission.

But what happened after that ? One of the Canadian ministers, who was on that occasion one of the British plenipotentiaries, the late Minister of Marine and Fisheries, Sir Louis Davies, went to London and passed three months there. For what purpose V He was candid enough to tell us

when he came back from England that after the Anglo-American commission had sat for six months, after they were supposed to have had at their back the influence of the British government, he, Sir Louis Davies, was obliged to pass three months in London to convince Mr. Chamberlain's officials that they should not side with the American government, but with us. Sir, I think that was a most unfortunate statement, but X think it was just as well that it should have been made. It is true that it made known to the public of the United States that in dealing with the government of Canada they were not dealing with the British authorities. But it is just as well that the public of the United States and the public of Canada should know that while profuse compliments were being paid to us in the newspapers of Great Britain, and by the speeches of public men in the British parliament, still, when it came to the point of helping the Canadian cause, the British officials sided with a foreign government. It is just as well we should know this, and that we should have it from a high authority, because if you only learned it from myself, no doubt the very loyal gentlemen who are representing here the most loyal element of our population, would say; ' Oh, this is only the Fenian talk of Bourassa ! ' But we know it from a gentleman who was a representative of the British government, and a representative of the Canadian government; and we have it now confirmed by the further fact that the British government has sacrificed us in the Clayton-Bulwer treaty.

Another member of the Canadian government, the late Minister of Justice, Hon. David Mills, published in the British press two very valuable articles stating that in the Clayton-Bulwer treaty Great Britain had acknowledged and secured rights on the continent of America, that those rights she could not sacrifice for the sake of her own honour ; and more than that, if she had any consideration whatever for her Canadian subjects she had no right to abandon one iota of that treaty without at least securing to the Canadian people the acknowledgement of their rights in the Alaska boundary. Great compliments were paid to those articles. The London * Times ' and the whole of the British press, I may: say, thought Mr. Mills's statement of the case was a most .excellent one, but, again, as on the embargo question, as on the question of immigration, and I may say, as upon every question with which we have had to deal where Great Britain had to side either for or against us. we were given compliments but no acts. Compliments were paid to the articles of Mr. David Mills, but eight days afterwards the rights of Great Britain were sacrificed and the rights of Canada were not given any consideration. I do not blame the government for not bringing the corres-

pondence before the House and the country. No doubt as long as the question Is a question we cannot have the correspondence, but when will the question be closed? Are we going to be told year after year that negotiations are still going on ? Negotiations may go on for a long while. The American government have no interest in settling negotiations. They hold Canadian territory. They have everything they want. It is not the interest of the American government to close negotiations or bring them to a satisfactory termination. It is not for the interest of the British government because, in this case as in the case of the Alabama claims and in the Trent affair, in this case as in all past cases, the British government will side like providence with the big battalions. Unless the influence of the British government is exerted to protect Canada we may be sure that we will never see that correspondence. I am ready to withdraw my motion, but I would not have withdrawn it without speaking my mind clearly upon the matter. In this matter I am not expressing only my own mind, or only the minds of those who may be opposed to the British government or to Canadian policy towards the British government, but I may say that the Ottawa ' Citizen,' the leading organ of the Tory party in the capital of Canada, published one of the strongest articles possible when it was announced that the Clayton-Bulwer treaty had been repealed. It said that when the American nation was a small growing nation the British press and public were always talking of it in a paternal, supercilious way, but the moment the American nation became a big nation. Great Britain was grovelling and humiliating herself and trying to do everything at the expense of Canada for that country. The next day another article was published in the same newspaper saying that since 1813 there was not one case in which the British government had not sacrificed Canadian interests in favour of American interests. I leave it to gentle-, men who think we should do so much to prove our love for the British empire to say whether it is not about time that we should have other evidence besides that of the love of the British newspapers, and British speeches,-whether we should not have a little practical love and be considered as having rights that should not be sacrificed on every occasion for the benefit of the United States.

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

I would not be drawn into a discussion, at this moment, of the question that is involved, not in the motion, but in the speech of the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa). If he Is not satisfied with the condition of the negotiations which have not resulted in a treaty in regard to the Alaskan boundary and which have resulted in an arrangement in regard to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, he is quite Mr. BOURASSA.

within his rights in bringing in any motion he pleases of censure on the British or Canadian government, but, on the question of the production df papers, what I have told him about the papers I repeat, that the papers cannot be brought down for the simple and obvious reason that the negotiations are still pending. The speech of the hon. gentleman is, to say the least, out of place. I am not, more than the hon. gentleman, an admirer of British policy on the continent of America. We have heard it before and for my part I am sorry to say that in many cases Canadians have believed that they have not got their fair due in the past perhaps, but while I make no bones at all about this question and while I am quite free to give my own opinion on this question, I hope we have not come to this that we want Great Britain to go to war with the United States, if, may be, negotiations are continued a little longer than we wish them to be on a matter of long-pending difficulty. We want to preserve good relations with our friends and neighbours to the south of us even though on some occasions our patience is sorely tried. I am sure that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bourassa) would be the last man to suggest that the British government should act like Mr. Kruger and send an ultimatum to the United States. We want to exhaust all means of finding a solution of our difficulties and we do not want to have difficulties with our neighbours. I believe the House will agree with me that we will do better to wait for a few months, or if need be one or two years and try to secure a peaceable settlement of that long-pending question. I am sorry that matters have been so long delayed as they have been, but at all events, it is preferable, and I think I am speaking the sense of the House when I say that we should endeavour to have a practical and peaceable solution of this difficulty. The negotiations are still pending. I hope that before the House prorogues I may perhaps, make a statement to the House on the question because I may say that the question has been engaging the attention of the British government and of the Canadian government as well.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

So far as it is necessary to preserve friendly relations with the United States no one has any fault to find with what the right hon. the leader of the government (Rt. Hon Sir Wilfrid Laurier) has said, but there is this to be observed that the settlement of the Alaskan boundary may be postponed for an indefinite period. The government has been dealing with this question for some three or four years now and since this time Inst year the right hon. gentleman informs us that not the slightest progress has been made. That position of affairs may continue for ten, fifteen or twenty years. During the whole of that time as has been pointed out, the people of the United States are in occu-

pation of territory which we think belongs to Canada and the simple question is whether or not, during all the time that this matter may remain unsettled without negotiations really being continued at all, we are to be kept out of possession of the papers relating to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. My right hon. friend will see that this is an extraordinary condition of affairs. I do not fully sympathize with everything that the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bou-rassa) has said, here, to-day, but I do see a great deal of force in the suggestion which he has made. Suppose that negotiations are nominally continued but nothing is done from year to year. My right hon. friend, or whoever happens to be the leader of the government comes down and says : Nothing has been done ; we cannot get anything done. The government of the United States refuses to submit this question to arbitration and so long as it refuses to do that there would be a dead lock in regard to it. During all this doubtful future period are we to be kept out of the papers relating to a treaty which has been abrogated and relating to a transaction which has been closed ? I can recognize the difficulty which the right hon. gentleman has mentioned that possibly the correspondence which has taken place in regard to this matter may include references to the settlement of the Alaskan boundary, but I do not see any difficulties in eliminating from the correspondence that portion which relates to the Alaskan boundary and laying before the House the portion which relates solely and exclusively to the Clayton-Bul-wer treaty.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. P. D. MONK (Jacques-Cartier).

Mr. Speaker, I venture to suggest to the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa), if he deems it necessary, to withdraw the latter part of his motion in regard to the settlement of the Alaskan boundary. We have, in the statement of the hon. gentleman, some very important admissions. We have the admission that the commission, if I understand him rightly, endeavoured vainly to have the matter of the Alaskan boundary referred to some outside authority for decision.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Order, order.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

We have that admission, and under these circumstances, the commission having failed to obtain that reference, I do not see why the hon. gentleman has not the right to insist upon the correspondence which has passed between the two governments after the commission had ceased to sit, being brought down. It seems to me a logical and proper demand to make. If after that time, correspondence took place between the governments, surely we are entitled to have this correspondence. We should have it. Having that admission from my hon. friend (Mr. Bourassa)

it seems to me that we are clearly entitled to have the correspondence which had reference to the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. That is a settled matter; it is a finished matter. I have no doubt that in the British House of Commons that correspondence will be obtained without any difficulty whatever. If the hon. gentleman wishes to withdraw a portion of his motion, I beg of him to leave in that part whicli calls for the correspondence referring to the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. I, for one, wish to see that correspondence, and I do not think that the motion referring to it should be abandoned upon such illogical grounds.

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CON

Seymour Eugene Gourley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. S. E. GOURLEY (Colchester).

Mr. Speaker. I have never agreed with a single word that the hon. member for Labelle (Sir. Bourassa) has uttered in this House either last year or this, until to-day. In fact he has stabbed me to the heart on many occasions as he has stabbed every right thinking loyal British subject in this country. Perhaps my language is strong, but at all events I wanted to make this statement on several occasions last session. I wish to say now, that this subject must be treated during this session in a more substantial manner. It is the most important subject that is to-day before the! people of Canada. I was glad to hear the Prime Minister criticise the course of the English government. I am an Imperialist after the strictest sect of the Imperialists, but I want to disassociate the conduct of the Imperial government for sixty years from the conduct of the people of the empire, who would always have defended the government in maintaining their rights even at the expense of war. There is enough loyalty and national feeling in this country to have carried us safely over those disastrous negotiations which we have always had with the United States. But we have always found ourselves in the position that the British government has sold out the interests of the people of Canada, for what they supposed to be Imperial interests. 1 say that it would have paid the empire a thousand times, to have fought the question out, and I say that as a Canadian, knowing well that the field of battle would be on Canadian soil. But, Sir, I will go into the trenches and take my wife and family with me and stay there for two years if need be to fight for the rights of Canada. I will stay in the trenches to fight the men who refuse to treat the people of Canada honestly. The day has gone by I hope when there is a cowardly Canadian on the soil of this country. The older men of this House may fear war, but I think that the younger generation of this country are not frightened of war. I will face the problem of war to-morrow rather than feel my spirits crushed by cowardly concessions. The spirit of manhood is more to me than cowardly concessions for the sake of peace.

From 1830 to the day of the Fashoda, we had nothing all over the world but a series of the most disastrous humiliations, and it got so that no true Englishman would dare take up his paper at the breakfast table, without fearing to read of a cowardly concession in some quarter of the world that would make him blush. Old Gladstone gave away the whole empire of Africa. We would have had every square mile of Africa if the English government had not been cowardly. It is time for this House of Commons of Canada to speak out. I claim that hereafter, we in Canada will have as much right to discuss the foreign policy of England as have the men gathered in the House of Commons of England. What right have these people gathered around the steps of the Throne to have any more say than we have here in the discussion of the foreign policy of England. I trust that in ten years the House of Commons of Africa, which I hope to see established, and the House of Commons of Australia, and the House of Commons of Canada; the three speaking together will control the little blockheads that sit in the great hall of St. Stephens when they go wrong. I heard a story a few days ago explaining why it was we had such stupidity in the Commons of England. They say men are examined before they are nominated to a seat in the English House of Commons to see that incipient imbecility is thoroughly well established, and unless it is, they cannot be elected. I claim for the House of Commons of Canada a more intelligent grip of foreign affairs affecting the empire than they have in England to-day.

What we want now is a full discussion in this House so that this ministry will know that the time has come when if they sacrifice one foot of Canada soil we will hang them as high as Haman. If it is necessary to fight the Yankees we will fight them within twenty-four hours, and after six months we will capture their capital and annex their country to Canada.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

I have a slight correction to make in what was said by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I do not think the hon. member has a right to speak. He has already spoken twice on the question.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

It is just a personal explanation.

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

The hon. gentleman has the right to make a personal explanation, but he just stated that he wished to make a correction.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

It is an explanation. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) said that I admitted that the commission had not secured the submission of the Alaskan boundary question. I would remind the hon. gentleman that the Prime Minister said Mr. GOURLEY.

that two years ago. I cannot consent to separate the motion in the manner suggested by the hon. gentleman, because I am sure of one thing, and that is that if there is correspondence relating to the repeal of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, it cannot be only in connection with the Alaskan boundary. It may be that I will bring up the matter in another form before the session ends.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. JOHN HAGGART (South Lanark).

The remarks of my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier are perfectly proper. This treaty has been abrogated for some time past. We have had the opinion of the late Minister of Justice published in the newspapers, and spoken of in the highest terms by the [DOT] London Times ' and other papers in the centre of the empire, in which he states that this treaty should not be abrogated until there was a settlement of all the questions pending between the United States and Great Britain, and especially this very question affecting Canada. Surely we have the right to see that our representations on that question were properly put before the Imperial authorities, before this treaty was abrogated, especially when we have the statements of the member for Labelle, who is the secretary of that commission, appointed by the Imperial authorities with the consent of the government of Canada, that (ireat Britain opposed our efforts to have the settlement of the Alaskan boundary question placed before that commission. This is the astounding statement made in this House of Commons, and yet it is made on the authority of the secretary of that commission.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

The statement was made by Sir Louis Davies, one of the plenipotentiaries.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

The statement is made on the floor of this House to-day by the secretary of the commission, who has an Imperial appointment in his pocket. We have at least the right to get a statement from the government of this country and from the right hon. Prime Minister, as to whether there is any truth in such an extraordinary statement as that. It is at all events a very sound reason why we should have all the correspondence in reference to this question, and every document in connection with it placed before the people of this country, so that we may not be forced to depend on ex parte statements. We should at all events have a denial, or if necessary an affirmation of the statement made here, with reference to the conduct of the Imperial authorities in this matter.

Motion (Mr. Bourassa) withdrawn.

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THE CENTRAL EXPERIMENTAL FARM.

February 19, 1902