March 7, 1902

CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

And, he said that instead of supporting the Canadian view of the case the British authorities took a contrary attitude. That was the statement of the hon. member for Labelle, and that statement was not denied by the Prime Minister. The right hon. gentleman said that Canadian interests were not always safe in Im-

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

perial hands, that we had been treated badly in the past, and he hoped we would not be so treated in the future, and he left the inference that as in the past we had been badly treated in our dealings with the United States, there was very little prospect of our receiving better treatment in the future. He led us to believe that it was a question of such importance and that it had reached such a crisis that we had better wait for two or three years for the purpose of having our rights adjudicated upon unless we were disposed to go to war on the subject. He had the despatch of Lord Lansdowne stating : ' We will not consent to the abrogation of the Clayton-Bul-wer treaty unless you settle the claims of Canada in regard to the Alaskan boundary.' With that declaration before him, made publicly to the whole world in the despatch of Lord Lansdowne, the right hon. gentleman was silent. But the hon. member for Labelle has let the cat Out of the bag. I doubt very much if there was even a protest made. I do not know that our interests were at all represented or that any communication on the subject was sent to the British government; because, if it had been, in view of the remarks of Lord Salisbury and Lord Lansdowne, no government which would consent to the abrogation of that treaty without making some provision for the settlement for the claims of Canada could continue to exist in England. There may be something in the background-I hope there is. It may be that the Imperial government, notwithstanding their consent to the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, have had some understanding on the subject. We have no statement from hon. gentlemen opposite whether they made a representation on the subject or not. All we know is from the published statement of their late Minister of Justice in certain magazine articles, on which the London ' Times ' commented, commending the contention of the Minister of Justice. But I trust in the justice of the Imperial government. I have great belief in the power of the aegis which that mighty government flings over us, and it may be that they did not consent to the abrogation of such an important treaty as the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, in which we have such great interests involved, without having some understanding, perhaps not by treaty but onlv by word of mouth, for the settlement of these difficulties. At any rate, the public of Canada have a right to know our position in reference to these matters, and I hope we may be informed of it in a short time.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. JOHN CHARLTON (North Norfolk).

Mr. Speaker, I consider the discussion now before the House a proper time for maki ig a few remarks with regard to the conduct of the Imperial government towards Canada. The idea is liable to go forth that an impression prevails in this House on the

part of a considerable portion of its members, and also in this country, that Great Britain has been guilty of neglect of the interests of this Dominion, and has come short of her duty in regard to promoting and maintaining those interests. I consider, Mr. Speaker-and I think I am warranted in making my belief public at this time-that such a charge at this time against the British authorities is entirely unjust. There have been a great many criticisms indulged in, at present and in the past, with regard to England's failure to maintain our interests, and it has been asserted tiiat in many cases she has been outwitted by American diplomats. It is well to bear in mind that Great Britain has world-wide interests. It is a mighty empire with interests in every clime and every hemisphere ; and Great Britain is unable to take exclusive cognisance of the interests of one colony alone, but in the management of her policy must be governed by broad considerations. It may be necessary at times for her to take a course which would not be taken if the interests of one special corner of her dominions were alone to be considered. I believe that on the whole England's management of the affairs of Canada has been all that could be expected-has been all that she could maintain for us. I remember when a boy there was an old controversy about our northern boundary. The American contention was for a boundary line on the 54-40th line of latitude. I remember that one of the battle cries of the great presidential contest of 1840, when I was a mere boy, was, ' 54 -40 or fight! ' This was inscribed on political banners all over the United States. Well, I consider it a very great triumph of British diplomacy that the boundary was secured at the 49th parallel instead of at 54-40. If the American contention had prevailed at that time, the great Canadian North-west, which is the future hope of this Dominion, would have been worthless to us, because we would have lost nearly 400 miles in width from north to south of the southern portion of that territory. At a previous time we had the boundary line of Maine settled. It has always been asserted that we were beaten on that occasion. Well, the American contention was that they were entitled to the southern shore of the St. Lawrence as their boundary, and the selection of the line which was selected was a compromise. Whether we got all we were entitled to or not, I am quite sure that Lord Ashburton succeeded in getting all that 't was possible to get, and that the interests of Canada in that settlement were as fully cared for as possible.

In reference to this Clayton-Bulwer treaty, which has been the subject of discussion here, and about which my hon. friend the late Minister of Justice has furnished communications to British periodicals, that treaty has been abrogated. I believe that the consent of the British authorities to the abrogation

of that treaty was good policy. I do not believe it was necessary to keep open a source of irritation which was in danger of bringing the two nations to the verge of *war, and I am quite certain that the new treaty is one which in a broad sense is advantageous to British interests. I remember speaking to Lord Pauncefote at Washington the day after the treaty was signed, and that eminent diplomat stated to me that there was no incident in the course of his whole diplomatic life which had afforded him so much gratification as the fact that he had been instrumental in setting at rest difficulties between the two governments which had threatened to lead to the most serious consequences. It has been maintained that we should have special rights in this canal. We have rights which the British government have deemed sufficient for Great Britain. The American people are of course more intimately connected with and more intimately interested in that canal than any other people. It is practically an extension of their coast line from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We have not the same intimate interest in the canal which they have, but we have all the advantages which any neutral power has. I believe we are making an unnecessary amount of fuss about the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. I believe that the British government has in this matter been governed by broad and high considerations and did what was best under the circumstances. I have no sympathy with these criticisms of the British government. We have no ground for complaint against that government. We have had the protection of its army and navy, and the use of its consular and diplomatic corps without cost, ever since we have had existence as a Dominion. On every occasion the British authorities have shown the most friendly feeling and the most earnest desire to protect our interests, and while Great Britain may not have on all occasions done all that we desired, yet she has done all that it was possible to do in our interest.

So far as this Alaskan boundary question is concerned, it is unnecessary to say that our contentions are well founded and those of the Americans not tenable in our opinion. But that is a matter which is pending now. We cannot open this question. The government are not in a position to take the House and the country into its confidence. If it were to do so, that would have a most pernicious and prejudicial effect on the progress of the negotiations. I think that the position of the government is unassailable. It has pursued the proper policy, and the criticisms levied against it are not well founded.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I do not understand the contention to be that we are dissatisfied because England abrogated the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, but because it was abrogated without any settlement of the Alaskan boundary dispute. That was the contention put

forward by the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Bell), and not that he was dissatisfied with the abrogation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty. He said, what every one will admit, that we have as great interests both on the Atlantic and the Pacific as the United States, because our territory extends to both these oceans, and is quite as large as the United States. Therefore, anything that affects the interests of the one in this matter must also affect the other.

But what I rose to refer to more particularly is the keeping back of papers which ought to have been before us long ago.

The Joint High Commission was appointed in 1898. It carried on its operations from time to time, during six months, and practically, so far as we know-and we glean that information from the remarks of the hon. the First Minister last fall at Montreal-it will never meet again, We are further told by the secretary of that commission that he has long ceased to be its secretary. If the statement of the premier be accurate, then all these papers and correspondence should have been before this House long ago. Without these documents we are unable to judge of what has been done or criticise it intelligently, and yet, on one pretext or another, they are refused. In view of the announcement which was made by the First Minister, it seems to me that these papers should have been before us long ago. Until they are before us neither this House nor the people will be satisfied that Canada's interests have been defended as they should have been.

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Motion agreed to, and House went into committee. Dominion public building, Manitoba-Renewal improvements, repairs, &c., ?5,000.


CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

How much has been spent ?

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS (Hon. J. Israel Tarte).

Two thousand four hundred and fifty-eight dollars.

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. PUTTEE.

This is an exceedingly modest item for Manitoba, where there is great necessity for public buildings. The business of the city has increased so much that the public service is hampered through lack of accommodation. Our accommodation has not been increased for a good many years, and I am sure that the Minister of Customs and the Postmaster General will be able to show the Minister of Public Works that the business in their departments has been more than doubled in the last few years. The population of Winnipeg has practically doubled between the two censuses, and the last month's returns from the Customs Department are 30 per cent higher from those of February of last year. This matter has been brought to the attention of the hon. minister several times.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

My attention has been called by the board

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

of trade and other people to the position of affairs in Winnipeg. I quite appreciate what my hon. friend has said, but Winnipeg, like Montreal, Toronto and other places, has not so far been able to get all that it requires. We will have to grapple with the situation, which I admit requires a remedy.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

Does Winnipeg come into the category of those places not entitled to the favour of the government 1 That is to say, in regard to the representative of Winnipeg in this House, is he entitled to demand, if not favours, justice, in the way of the expenditure of public money ?

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

I have the greatest regard for the representative of Winnipeg (Mr. Puttee). He is one of the representatives of the labour element, and any representations he makes to me are received with the consideration that I always entertain towards the labour element. Now, my hon. friend (Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper) is altogether wrong in stating his views as mine. I am prepared to stand by what I have said, but I do not like to have him attribute to me things that I have never said and opinions that I do not entertain.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

The hon. minister is aware that many of those who sit in this House represent more working people, perhaps, than does the hon. member for Winnipeg. Is it a question of whether one represents working people or whether one supports or opposes the government ?

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

With me, there is no other question than justice and fairness.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

Then, the hon. gentleman has turned over a new leaf.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

The new leaf is not a bad one, neither was the old one.

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. PUTTEE.

I have placed the position of Winnipeg before the minister purely on the actual demands of the public service. As far as we in the west are concerned, we see that the time that has been talked of for years, the new time with us, is practically dawning. This year has shown that we are entering upon the .era of prosperity and incoming population that has been talked of. I am sure the hon. minister will understand that the public service in Winnipeg demands further accommodation in the matter of buildings. As to what the hon. gentleman (Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper) says concerning the support and non-support of the government, I believe he understands that, so far as I am concerned, these matters make no difference. I am prepared to deal with this government or any other government solely on their action and their merits.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

I understand that this item is to be expended on public buildings not merely in Winnipeg but in Brandon and other places. Is the hon. minister able to tell us what portion will be spent on the basis of day's labour and what on the basis of public tender and contract ?

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

It will be all by day's labour, as the amounts are very small.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

What is the largest amount the minister has in view ?

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March 7, 1902