March 18, 1903

LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

I understood at a glance what was going on and I resolved to withdraw from the government at that very time, not because I had differed in the past in many points with the government policy, but, because I felt then and I feel now that when things have come to such a pass that members of the same administration are assailing each other, either in the newspapers, or elsewhere, they must part. It is better for all concerned. I then fully resolved to withdraw from the government, and it will be within the remembrance of some of my former colleagues that at an Informal meeting of the cabinet, presided over by Hon. Mr. Scott, the Secretary of State, I told my colleagues of my determination. I consulted some friends who were good enough to take some interest in me. They represented to me that it was better that

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LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

I should wait the return of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister. I waited. I have explained the circumstances under which my resignation was placed in his hands. My right hon. friend states in his letter that after having met me at my house on Sunday and on Monday in his office he thought it was his duty to proceed to His Excellency and inform him that he had to ask for my portfolio. Sir, I handed my resignation to my right hon. friend both on Saturday and Monday morning. He asked me to delay, to leave things in abeyance till I would be back from Toronto. I ask him now, would it not have been fair on his part to state at least to His Excellency that if he thought my resignation should be handed to him, that I had handed such resignation to him. It may not have a material effect on the question, but I state the facts as my right hon. friend knows they are.

I said a minute ago that my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton) had talked of the tariff. A good deal of freedom has been used perhaps by members of the administration. My hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) has been rather free upon pretty broad questions. Not very long ago he made a speech on the railway policy of the government. When I left the cabinet, the government had not decided to build out of the public exchequer a trans-continental railway. The Minister of Railways and Canals speaking on the 2nd of November, to a reporter of the Sunday 'Sun,' of Montreal in his own house in Ottawa, said this-

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS (Hon. A. G. Blair).

Perhaps the hon. gentleman will allow me. I never had any interview with that gentleman, and never authorized the publication of such an interview. I was amazed later when I heard that such an interview had been published. I paid no attention to it, but I certainly did not have the interview.

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LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

Well, I am amazed at thd amazement of the Minister of Railways and Canals. The hon. gentleman never took care to state that he never had that interview which was of a grave nature and which has been discussed generally in the press. Of course I accept the statement but I will read the interview just the same.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hern* hear.

Hon. Mr. TxYRTE. If I had chosen to do so, it would have been most convenient for me to deny the reports ofi my speeches on the fiscal question. Of course I will accept the statement of the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Blair), but I will read the interview for the information of the House.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I do not object to my hon. friend reading it. but I say that I had no interview with any gentleman at all representing1 the Montreal ' Sun ' in my life.

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LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

The Montreal ' Sunday Sun,' however, published a long interview which took place after a speech which was delivered by the Minister of Railways and Canals at Vancouver on the same lines. I read the speech as I read the interview, and the speech and the interview are built out of the same material.

I will perhaps quote the speech later on, but here is the interview :

One of the things that pleased me most of all was that everywhere an almost general, if not, in fact, a general opinion was to he found in favour of a government railway right through to the Pacific coast. The people want such a railway because they are convinced that it is the one great thing that w'ill bring about the equalizing of rates, that will prevent the farmers from continually being at the mercy of the railways. They even claim it as their right to have one, and after seeing what I have of the country I agree with them. There cannot any longer be any doubt that there is a great future before a government railway in that country. As a result of my visit, I hope, as Minister of Railways, to show parliament the necessity for a government railway through the west, for there cannot any longer be any doubt that the future of the Dominion lies greatly in the districts beyond the great lakes.

I say again that this interview is but a repetition of the speech that the hon. gentleman delivered in Vancouver. However he states that he did not have that interview, and I accept the statement.

I fully grant, Sir, that the members of an administration must be agreed on their policy. Now, in the speeches which I have delivered, have I disagreed with the policy for which the Liberal party as constituted to-day is responsible. The right hon. the Prime Minister said on another occasion that the policy of the present administration has been laid down and propounded in the tariff of 1897. I grant that. The Liberal party-the ministerial party as constituted to-day is not responsible for the utterances that may have been made previous to the adoption of the fiscal policy of 1897. But the fiscal policy of 1897 has been supplemented by the statement of the Minister of Finance in 1902, which was, which is for all men of good faith; for the business community who read it, a promise to revise the tariff and to increase the tariff on many lines. That was the promise; the country took it as a promise; I did not advocate anything else. I have advocated a policy for which I am responsible; that is to say the tariff of 1897 supplemented by the statement of my hon. friend the Minister of Finance last year.

I ask : Are then the statements of my

right lion, friend's letter fair to me ? I speak here with no spirit of regret or rancour, but simply to put my position right as it is my duty to do. The right hon. gentleman has reproached me for advocating what he styled in his letter, a new policy. I am within the judgment of the House, within the judgment of the country,

14S

and within the judgment of history when I say: That I had advocated years and

years before to his knowledge the same policy that I have advocated in his absence. Then, Sir, he says in his letter, and he has repeated it on the floor of the House today, that he had informed His Excellency that he had asked for my resignation. I say again that my resignation was iu his hands. He had it, but he thought fit to leave the matter in abeyance. Again I ask him whether he has been fair to me. I am, I repeat, within the judgment of the country and of history on these two points.

Sir, I have quitted office without regret. I know that as long as I occupied the important position of Minister of Public Works I endeavoured to the best of my limited ability to do my duty towards my country and my duty towards the party with which I have been connected. My aim has been to promote and complete a system of transportation which would make this country independent of the United States. My aim has been, through a strong Canadian policy, and through the best possible means of transportation, to unite more and more the different parts of this Dominion, and the Dominion with the British empire. I do not say that I have always fulfilled the expectations of some of my opponents in the Liberal party; but I believe that I have left the treasury benches with an honest record. My department has been administered honestly and squarely. I am able to say, without any fear or hesitation, that to my knowledge not one single dishonest act was committed while I was at the head of that important department.

Before taking my seat I wish to thank on the floor of parliament, as I have done elsewhere, the right hon. gentleman for the great honour that he did me when he chose me as one of his colleagues. We are all glad to see him restored to health. So far as I am concerned, whatever the differences of the past have been, whatever the differences of the future may be, I will keep an affectionate souvenir of my relations with him and with most of my colleagues. Let me also thank the members of the House on both sides for the support that I have received at their hands on all the important questions with which my department was connected. I have left in the hands of the right hon. gentleman a report in which I have mapped out a plan of improvements which I had made up my mind to try to persuade parliament to proceed with. That document is a public document. I hope that my former colleagues will take up the various important questions with which X have dealt in that document. I am sure that my successor at the head of the Department of Fublic Works will give to the transportation question the earnest attention that I have always tried to give to that important national matter.

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The Hon. J. I.@

Mr. Speaker, my right hon. friend who leads the government sometimes expresses surprise because we on this side of the House do not understand what the fiscal policy of the Liberal party is. Slay I be permitted to draw to his attention a circumstance that occurred during the recent visit to England of himself and some of his colleagues V One of the admittedly ablest men in the cabinet made an absolute and utter mistake as to what the fiscal policy of the Liberal party was; and I suppose, after that somewhat singular circumstance, we shall not in the future have from my right hon. friend any expression of surprise that we on this side of the House are not able fully to understand what the fiscal policy of the Liberal party is at the present time.

It was well known, Sir, that the Minister of Finance made an important announcement in his budget speech of last year. The hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver) arose in his seat during the budget debate and stated that he understood that announcement to be that the tariff would be revised this session, and would be revised along the line of higher duties; and although members of the cabinet were sitting in the House at the time, not one of them ventured to put aside the interpretation placed upon the remarks of the hon. Minister of Finance by the hon. member for Alberta. I can bear testimony to the accuracy of at least one portion of the remarks of my hon. friend who has just taken his seat (Hon. Mr. Tarte), because I myself had the pleasure of being present at that banquet in the city of Montreal to which he has referred, and of saying a few words on that occasion. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister and I responded to a certain toast. The toast, I think, was the toast of Canada; but my right hon. friend's remarks were directed altogether to the question of the tariff, on which he made an exceedingly non-committal speech. It is true, he did venture to suggest to the manufacturers there assembled that the tariff was almost perfect, having regard to the present condition of the country. That remark was met with vigorous cries of dissent, whereupon my right hon. friend, with that readiness which has always characterized him, remarked that there were even spots on the sun, and, therefore there was no occasion for surprise that some gentlemen in Canada might find fault even with the tariff. My hon. friend the Minister of Finance spoke afterwards in response to another toast, and his speech was equally non-committal. He wanted the tariff taken altogether out of politics, and he wanted to have it understood that the tariff as it then existed was as good a tariff as could be had for Canada. His remarks did not find much favour. Then my hon. friend who has just spoken rose and made in the presence of his leader and in the pre-

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LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

sence of the Minister of Finance, one of the strongest protectionist speeches I have ever heard in my life. My right hon. friend has sought to shake the force of that circumstance by saying that an isolated remark does not call for action by a leader of a government, but that a campaign is necessary. What does my right hon. friend think constitutes a campaign ? Is it not enough that a member of his cabinet in his presence makes a speech which, as distinctly as words could do so, advocated a very great increase in the customs duties of this country ? Was it necessary to make that speech twice or three times in order that the right hon. gentleman who leads the government might be made acquainted with the opinions and the policy of a member of his cabinet'! What does my right hon. friend mean by a campaign ? If he wanted any campaign does he not know that even before he went to the mother country, the hon. member for St. Mary's division (Hon. Mr. Tarte) again spoke in Montreal and used language, as reported in one of the Montreal papers, as follows :

Our American friends are making tremendous efforts to crush this country. We who are in office know that they are leaving no stone unturned to crush this Dominion, both industrially and commercially.

I have been accused of talking too much, but I may tell you that it is never a crime to speak the truth, and I do not believe in secrecy in public affairs.

There is a crisis at hand. Our American friends are endeavouring to make a slaughter market of this country. In consequence of this attempt let us have a tariff that will protect our natural industries and waterways, that will protect our national trade.

Language could not be very much more explicit. Yet my right hou. friend says that a campaign is necessary. But the position which the right hon. gentleman takes is really the result of an attempt on his part to bind together in the one cabinet men of exactly opposite opinions with regard to the fiscal affairs of this country. My right hon. friend seems to think that such is the highest aim of statesmanship. He seems to think that the ideal cabinet is that which has been described by Mr. Burke in a famous speech -

He made an administration so checkered and speckled; he put together a piece of joinery so crossly indented and whimsically dovetailed; a cabinet so variously inlaid; such a piece of diversified mosaic, such a tesselated pavement without cement; here a bit of black stone, and there a bit of white; patriots and courtiers, King's friends and republicans, Whigs and Tories, treacherous friends and open enemies, that it was indeed a very curious show, hut utterly unsafe to touch and unsure to stand on.

Is 'that the sort of ideal cabinet which the right hon. gentleman has endeavoured to create, because some of the characteristics described by Mr. Burke are not wanting in the present cabinet, if we are to believe

my hon. friend from St. Mary's division (Hon. Mr. Tarte). Has not my hon. friend, in an article replying to a letter addressed to him, and published in the newspaper which he controls, called attention to the cabals and conspiracies against him which had been going on in the Liberal party many years ? Did not the hon. gentleman, in an editorial in his own paper, signed by his own hand, call attention to the fact that one of his own colleagues in the cabinet had paid the rent of a hall where a club met weekly for the purpose of heaping abuse on him ? Does my right hon. friend know any circumstance of that kind ? Is he able to indicate the member of his cabinet to whom my hon. friend has referred ? The country would like some information on that point. My right hon. friend is not able to furnish it, but surely the colleague who took that somewhat extraordinary course might have the manliness to stand up and say that he is the person who did that important work on behalf of a certain section of the cabinet and party.

It is quite evident that the attention of my right hon. friend has not been directed to the utterances of two members of his cabinet, which have been referred to by the hon. member for St. Mary's division this afternoon. We can well understand that on account of the right hon. gentleman's absence, and on account of the enormous number of newspapers he had to peruse when crossing the Atlantic, and by reason of the fact that his attention was mainly directed to the utterances of the hon. member for St. Mary's division, he has not, up to the present, become aware of the utterances of the hon. the Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton). Has the cabinet decided that there shall be no increase of duty on woollen goods or lumber or agricultural implements ? Will my right hon. friend now stand up and say that such a policy has been decided on by the government ? If so, I shall sit down and give him an opportunity to do so. My right hon. friend does not avail himself of the opportunity. It necessarily follows, if his reason for the dismissal of the hon. member for St. Mary's division be correct, that he should, on the adjournment of the House this afternoon, instantly call upon the hon. Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton) for his resignation. It is a mere matter of forgetfulness that he has not done so already, and I know that my right hon. friend, with that high regard for constitutional principles which he so well expressed in his letter to the hon. member for St. Mary's division, will not lose a moment after the House adjourns in calling on His Excellency and informing him that he cannot any longer conscientiously avail himself of the services of the Minister of the Interior.

And what of my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair),

who thought, as he said to the people of New Brunswick not long ago, that the resignation of my hon. friend from St. Mary's division would not create even a ripple. Well, did it not create something more than a ripple on the part of my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals, this afternoon. And what of the very important project which he has launched on the country ? I would like to ask my right lion, friend whether or not the cabinet has decided to build, as a government railway, a transcontinental line across this continent ? Will he get up and declare that any such policy has been decided on ? Again I give my right hon. friend the opportunity to rise in his place and make that declaration if he sees fit. Again he does not avail himself of the opportunity I give him, and therefore there exists every ground for the immediate dismissal of the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals, who has committed this cabinet to the project of building out of the moneys of this country a transcontinental line across this continent. Not only that, Sir, but it was announced by every Liberal paper in the west that that railway was to be built by this government for the purpose of keeping down rates on other transcontinental railways, and the admiration of Liberals was called up in all our western country because of the magnificent, bold and patriotic course which the Minister of Railways and Canals had announced on behalf of his government. Is there any reason why the right hon. gentleman who leads this government should not immediately proceed to His Excellency and inform him, that having been made aware this afternoon, for the first time, of the fact that one of his colleagues had laid down a policy in so important a matter, which, to use the right hon. gentleman's words, has not yet been adopted by the government, he deems it right that he should no longer avail himself of the services of the Minister of Railways and Canals. If my hon. friend is to be consistent, surely he must deal out the same justice to the Minister of Railways and Canals which he has already meted out to his long, tried friend the hon. member for St. Mary's division in Montreal.

But there are somewhat curious circumstances in connection with the incident which occurred this afternoon. We all know that my right hon. friend who leads the government began his career in public life as a protectionist. He has not, I think, been remarkable for his consistency in public life with regard to trade questions. But he seems to have developed, during the past few weeks, a great love for consistency on the part of public men. His first utterance in public life on fiscal questions in this country was this :-

What my hon. friend has said as to my protective proclivities is perfectly true, and I do not deny that I have been a protectionist.

His next was :

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

We have within ourselves the ability to create an industry. If it he shown that we cannot maintain it, unless by legislation either in the way of premium or prohibitory tariff, then I should be prepared to take that into consideration.

And again later on :

Although nature has been marvellously prodigal in her gifts and has done so much to make this a manufacturing country, we are yet dependent on foreign countries. It is our duty to foster our national industries.

And then in his letter to the late Mr. Bertram in 1896. he said :

Whether a policy of absolute freedom of trade would or would not be injurious to the manufacturing industries 'of this country is a question which I will not stop to discuss here. There is no occasion for such a discussion as the intention of the Liberal party is not and never was to establish free trade in this country. ***** j SUbmit also that, apart

from the community as a whole, the manufacturers have not only not to suffer, but much to gain from the substitution of a revenue tariff for the present system.

And his last utterance, conveyed to this country by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Hon. Mr. Prefontaine) was this :

I am, as I always have been, in favour of legitimate protection to our national industries and like my leader Sir Wilfrid Laurier I will ask and require protection for the interests of the different classes of the population.

I have in my hand a number of utterances of exactly opposite tenor given by my right hon. friend during his political life, and a few of them at least I think it is well to bring to the attention of the right hon. gentleman and the country. At the Liberal convention at Ottawa in 1893, he said :

Let it be well understood then that from this moment we have a distinct issue with the party in power. Their ideal is protection; our ideal is free trade. Their immediate object is protection, ours tariff for revenue and for revenue only. Upon this issue we engage in battle.

Brantford, in 1894, he said :

I propose that we should follow England's example and open our ports to the products of the world.

And at Quebec, on the 20th January, 1894, he said :

Gentlemen, the only way in which Quebec can recover its old time prosperity as a maritime city is by adopting the policy of freedom of trade as it exists in the mother country, Old England ***** The system of protection has been the bane and curse of Canada ***** The Liberal party believe in free trade on the broad lines such as exist in Great Britain.

But he spoke also in the cities of the west. At Winnipeg for example, he said :

I come before you to-night to preach to you this new gospel of freedom of trade, new- yes-new to this country. New on this continent, new on the other side of the line-the American republic, but not new on the other side of the water, in the Old Country

In

the American republic you have the line of cleavage which exists between the Liberal party and the Conservative party-the question of free trade.' We stand for freedom. I denounce to you the policy of protection, as bondage-yes bondage, and I refer to bondage in the same manner in which the American slavery was bondage

* You have to toil and sweat for the privileged masters ; you have to toil for those who use protection which I claim is bondage * * I protest against this policy of protection-protection cannot be attained on any fair principle. What has protection done for your own Manitoba ? Manitoba is a young giant manacled

Can you expect reform from those who do not believe in reform ? Can you expect reduction of taxes from those who have always told you that taxation makes a country prosperous ?

I would invite my right lion, friend's attention especially to these words of his uttered two years before he came into power :

Although it will be a hard fight we shall not give in one inch or retrace one step until we have reached the goal and that goal is the same policy of free trade as exists in England to-day.

Now, X mention this to my right hon. friend because I think his memory is bad. He sometimes has cast the reproach upon me across the floor of this House that my memory is not very good. I think from some recent utterances of his that the right hon. gentleman's own memory has become very bad indeed. And, as touching the question of consistency, I would like to call his attention to the fact that, in 1894, he told the people of this country by his speech in Winnipeg that free trade was the goal which the Liberal party was looking forward to, and within eighteen months after that he had written to Mr. Bertram, of Toronto, and told him that no party in the country had the slightest idea that there could be any such thing as free trade for Canada. Does not my right hon. friend think that is a delightful exhibition of consistency ? X have some more of his record here, but I do not think it necessary to use it. Perhaps, if his memory proves bad, I may use it on some future occasion ; but I may tell him that it exhibits as distinctly contradictory statements on important public questions as these utterances which I have just read.

Here we have six utterances, every one of them a strong pronouncement in favour of free trade; here we have six other utterances, every one of them a strong prononuneement in favour of protection. To use the common phrase : You pay your money and you

take your choice. Some of these

utterances are available for one part of the country, and some for another part of the country. And it is upon principles of this kind that the right hon. gentleman has seen fit to build up his cabinet. He seems to regard it as a great act of statemanship that he has brought within that cabinet men who possess such absolutely different

opinions upon vital public questions. Sir, I do not consider the creation of a cabinet on such lines a very high achievement in statecraft. It seems to me rather that the cabinet should contain men who, on all important; questions-on all questions of principle at least-have the same ideas and follow the same ideals. I do not think, for example, it a great act of statesmanship, after my hon. friend the Postmaster General (Hon. Sir William Mulock) had proclaimed, in 1896, on the floor of this House, that the independence of parliament was being sacrificed by reason of the appointment of members of this House to offices of emolument under the Crown, after he had pledged his faith to this principle and had staked his reputation as a public man upon it, that my right hon. friend should succeed in inducing the Postmaster General to remain in a cabinet, which, from 1896 down to the present time, has appointed to offices of emolument under the Crown no less than twenty-one members of this House of Commons. Does not my right hon. friend think that it would be better that the Postmaster General, in this House or elsewhere, should take an early opportunity of stating whether or not he was sincere when he professed these principles in the House and introduced a bill for the purpose of remedying the evil he complained of ? We have a right to believe he was sincere. If he was sincere then, does he adhere to the same principles at the present time 1 If not, when did he change, and what was the occasion of that change ? I do not think I am exceeding my duty in bringing to the attention of the House and of the country this instance as an illustration of the wonders which the right hon. gentleman thinks he has accomplished by bringing into his cabinet men of so diverse ideas on great public questions.

Now, the hon. member for St. Mary's division (Hon. Mr. Tarte) has told us that the announcement made last session by the hon. Minister of Finance was properly understood by the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver). It was intended by the cabinet as an announcement to the country that the tariff would be revised, and that it would be revised along the line of higher duties. Well, Sir, what then was the meaning of the speech of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright) last year ? In replying to me he called the attention of my right hon. friend (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) to his speech in Winnipeg from which I have just quoted. He said that those words when uttered by the right hon. gentleman were true and just words that he believed them to be true and just words still. Does this mean that at the present time the Minister of Trade and Commerce still retains the enmity which he expressed for eighteen years against anything in the nature of protection ? Take

every one of his free trade speeches of days gone by, and you will not find in them anything stronger than the pronouncement against protection which was made on that occasion by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, a member of the cabinet in this very House. He told this House that protection was inseperable from corruption, inseparable at least under existing conditions in this country. We have the statement on former occasions of my hon. friend who has just sat down (Hon. Mr. Tarte), we have the statement of the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton)* we have statements from other members of the Liberal party, that the present tariff is a protective tariff, and every one knows that it isl so. So we have in the remarks of the Minister of Trade and Commerce another illustration of the kind of policy which this party has pursued on the fiscal question.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that it is a good thing for this country to have a ministry which either has no policy on fiscal questions, or which is afraid to announce that policy openly and fearlessly to the people of this country. As for the Conservative party, we have announced our policy on the floor of this House over and over again, and I have already pointed out that my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Hon. Mr. I'refontaine) has made a declaration in a manufacturing constituency during his recent election which brings both himself and my right hon. friend who leads the government into the Conservative ranks on that important question. I have under my hand the utterances of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries in whict he told the people that he like his leader (Rt Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) was in favour of legitimate protection to Canadian industries. And almost while he was uttering these words, my hon. friend the Minister of Finance was telling the electors of Yarmouth that the sole difference between the two parties in Canada was that the Conservative party advocated a higher tariff, while the Liberal party advocated a low tariff. My right hon. friend is not correct in stating that the announcement last session was the latest announcement by the Minister of Finance, because the Minister of L'inance has made the later announcement to which I have referred in the county of Yarmouth, in at recent by-election. Now, we have the present attitude of the right hon. gentleman as defined by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries during the recent election, namely, that the right* hon. gentleman is in favour of legitimate protection to the industries of Canada. Does my right hon. friend hold to that doctrine to-day ? That statement was made two months and a half ago, I do not know whether he entertains the same opinion still, but if he does, it is in striking contrast to that which is entertained by his Minister of Finance who, on questions of this kind, as my right hon. friend has pro-Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

perly said, speaks for the government at all times and on all occasions.

Now, I will not take up further the time of the House with regard to this incident, but I will close by reading to the House an extract from the words of a great Englishman of 50 years ago, with regard to an administration then carrying on public affairs in England ; and I would ask my right hon. friend to consider whether these words have or have not an application to the administration which has conducted the affairs of this country from 1896 down to the present time :

It is an administration totally without principle, refusing to put in practice what it pretends to support in theory, bound together and bound to office only by the vulgarest and lowest motives-the love of place, or of patronage, or of money. If a party be allowed to remain in power without any policy, or, if it have a policy, without attempting to act on it, to ask for support in one place as the friends of protection and to disarm opposition in another by treating free trade as a fait accompli, the people of England will become as indifferent to parliamentary government-at least to parliamentary government on the existing system-as those of France were.

With regard to the attitude of this government on fiscal questions at the present time, those words seem almost prophetic. We have seen Ministers of the Crown, as I have pointed out, within the last two or three months going to different constituencies in this country and advocating different policies. In this constituency of Argenteuil the Minister of Customs and the Minister of Agriculture told the people that this was a free trade government, and if I am correctly informed, they carried on a free trade campaign. My hon. friend for St. Mary's division, Montreal, says, I know not with what truth, that my hon. friend, the Minister of Customs is a protectionist at heart. I do not know whether that is the case, I do not know whether he is one of those who have fallen under the malign influence of my right hon. friend who leads the government and whether he has therefore abandoned the principles which he has at heart. I understand that at least with regard to some articles in the tariff, he did not shed any tears when the duties were maintained, and when the duty was on one article increased. But these gentlemen have gone into Argenteuil and carried on a free trade campaign. They have carried on a free trade campaign in the county of Yarmouth. My hon. friend the Minister of Finance summoned to his assistance the member for Guysborough (Mr. Fraser), and the member for Guysborough conducted a thoroughly free trade campaign, and my hon. friend the Minister of Finance was not far behind him. Then, in the constituency of Maisonneuve, my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries conducts an exactly opposite campaign, and tells the people of that constituency that

157 MARCH 18, 1903 153

both himself and the right hon. gentleman who leads the government are in favour of protection. Now, which of these gentlemen are we to believe ? My hon. friend the Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton) has also conducted a free trade campaign in the west, although I believe his ardour in favour of free trade is not as" great as it was in 1896. In 1896 my hon. friend conducted a campaign for the late Dalton McCarthy, in Brandon, I believe, and he had posters up all over the town : ' Vote for McCarthy and free agricultural implements.' Lately, however, he has been explaining to the people of that part of the country that really it will not do to take the duty off agricultural implements because to do so would close up certain important Canadian industries. My hon. friend seems to have become confused. He wants the woollen industries closed up unless they can exist under 23J per cent of protection, but he seems to place the agricultural implement industry on a somewhat different basis. My hon. friend some years ago in the House used a well known expression which he will pardon me if I apply, to him to-day. He said, referring to some gentlemen on this side of the House, that he appealed from Philip drunk to Philip sober. Now I appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober, I appeal from the hon. gentleman in 1902 to the hon. gentleman in 1896 ; and I trust that some time during the progress of this session he will be willing to make known to the people of this country whether he is in favour of removing the duty from agricultural implements or whether he thinks that duty should remain ; whether he believes it should be increased, if necessary, to protect those industries, and whether he is in favour of the announcement made by the Minister of Finance last year that there should be at an early date a revision of the tariff in Canada along increased protection lines.

Mr. Speaker, I will close with one more remark. What are the facts ? A Minister of the Crown has been removed, according to my right hon. friend, or has resigned, according to my hon. friend from St. Mary's division. At all events, a vacancy has been created in the cabinet. For what alleged reason ?-for the reason that the policy which my hon. friend from St. Mary's division (Montreal) has been advocating for four or five years at least, a policy which I believe he always advocated, had been announced by him in the absence of the right hon. leader of the government during the past summer. AVell. under these circumstances another gentleman is appointed to take his place, and the hon. gentleman who takes his place announces to the people of this country practically the same policy as that which my hon. friend from St. Mary's division announced. The Hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Hon. Mr. PrSfontaine) shakes his head. Does he say that he did not advocate, in the constituency of Maisonneuve, such

adequate or legitimate, protection as would be sufficient to maintain and preserve Canadian industries ? Will he deny that ? No, he will not deny it. Did my hon. friend the hon. member for St. Mary's division go farther ? His position, as I understood it, was this : At the present time we have

American manufactured goods coming into this country to the extent of $65,000,000. I think the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) is correct in that estimate. The hon. member for St. Mary's took the position which I have taken myself on more than one occasion in this House, that when the inevitable time of depression comes, when prices are lower, when the protection for that reason will be decreased, when the Americans will be slaughtering their goods in Canada, we will stand a very good chance indeed of having a number of our industries crushed out, and for that reason he urged that the immediate revision of the tariff was necessary, because, not only he, but his late colleagues in the government, have been telling the people in this country that they must expect a period of depression at an early day. Then, where is the difference between my hon. friend from St. Mary's division and the Hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries ? The hon. minister seems to think there is a difference. Will he be good enough-I will move the adjournment of the House if necessary-to stand up in this House and tell us in what respect the policy which he advocated in Maisonneuve during his recent election differs from the policy which my hon. friend from St. Mary's division advocated ? I am not very much in the habit of throwing challenges across the floor of the House, but I do almost feel inclined on this occasion to send a little challenge to the Hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries n regard to that matter. I do not think that he will accept, and I am certain that if he does accept he will find himself in very great difliculty indeed and that he will sit down without enlightening the House very much as to what the actual difference is. I think when we have this extraordinary state of affairs existing under which one minister of the Crown is, according to the word of my right hon. friend who leads the government, dismissed from his position as a cabinet minister and another hon. gentleman takes his place avowing what I consider exactly the same principles that an occasion of that kind surely would justify an appeal to my right hon. friend to state fully and frankly to the House what the policy of the government is on fiscal matters provided it has any policy. I admit that if it has no policy my right hon. friend is in a hopeless difliculty. I believe he is in that difficulty to-day because I do not think, judging by the course of his party from 1896 down to the present time, that it has any policy at all in regard to the fiscal matters of this country except such a policy

1S9

as it thinks from time to time will give it a longer lease of power. It is willing to appeal for support to free traders, it is willing to appeal for support to protectionists, and any policy which for the time being will tend to serve its political fortunes, any policy which will give it a longer term of office is the policy and the only policy it is prepared to adopt on any particular occasion. I do not believe, notwithstanding the lessons which my right hon. friend has given us in regard to the best method of forming a government, that this a right state of affairs. The question of the tariff is a great question in this country. Situated as we are alongside the United States of America, situated as we are with enormous resources of our own we are surely entitled to have the government of the day inform the people whether or not they propose to adopt the policy which will give our industries a fighting chance for existence and which will enable the people to develop the resources of this country as they ought to be developed. Not one word has fallen from my right hon. friend with regard to that matter to-day. He says his policy is embalmed in the tariff; therefore, he never can alter an item of that tariff without changing his policy. Surely my right hon. friend will draw some distinction between a policy and the result of a policy as exemplified in the tariff. Is there no such thing as principle which is to be acted upon in fiscal matters ? Is there no such thing as a tariff which is adopted because it is a fair result of the working out of a broad principle ? My hon. friend the leader of the government has not given the country one ray of light on the policy of the government, he has not given the country one ray of light as to what we may expect in the future. Last year we were to expect a revision of the tariff at the present session. This year we do not know what we are to expect for the present. I conclude by expressing for the future my very great regret that under the very peculiar circumstances which have been disclosed in the remarks of my right hon. friend the leader of the government and my hon. friend the member for St. Mary's division, and which have been accentuated by the avowed policy of the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries, we have not had a single word from the right hon. gentleman which would give to this House or the country the slightest light as to what the fiscal policy of the government party really is.

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

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend (Mr. Borden, Halifax) who has just taken his seat has spoken upon almost every conceivable subject except one and that is the subject at issue. The hon. gentleman has travelled the old record, has gone back almost as far as the deluge, in order to discuss questions which are not to-day before Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

the House. The last words spoken by my hon. friend are to the effect, forsooth, chat I have not declared what is the fiscal policy of I he government. Certainly not 1 I have done nothing of the kind, and if it be a crime on my part on sucli an occasion as this not to have given to the country what is the fiscal policy of the government I am guilty to the hilt. But, I ask my hon. friend is it his conception of parliamentary government, is it his conception of the duties of the leader of a great party that when I rise to make the usual ministerial explanation as to the crisis which took place some time ago I must launch into the fiscal policy of the country ? My hon. friend knows that there is no sense in that and I mxxst express to him my surprise because his mind is usually logical. How can we expect, on this occasion, when the object of the present debate is simply to make the ministerial explanation as to the reasons why there were changes in the government, that I should make a statement as to the fiscal policy of the government ? Yet, at the last moment, my hon. fi'iend makes it a matter of reproach "to me that, forsooth, I did not tell him what would be the policy of the government. Let me tell him once and for all to satisfy his fastidious curiosity that the policy of the government is to-day what it was last year when announced by my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding). Such it was on the 17th of March, 1902, and such it is on the 18th of March, 1903, and there has been no discrepancy since that time. But, my hon. friend, in the course of his remarks, after having dilated upon diverse subjects which had no more connection with the question at issue than with the man in the moon, made a long speech on what he calls my inconsistency. I must admit to my hon. friend that I have sometimes been inconsistent in my career, and I may tell him that to-day after having had a good deal of experience of life I have not the same ideas which I had when I was a green young boy. In my young and verdant days I was a protectionist as he is to-day, but I have learned since that time.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I have learned; I have grown old, and I hope my experience is not in vain. In those days of my youth I held the same heresy that my hon. friend holds to-day, but as I say, I have learned. Sir, am I the only man in this House who has changed his views upon fiscal questions? I know that in other countries precedents may be found. Sir Robert Peel grew from a px'otectionist to a free trader; not a mean authority. Mr. Gladstone grew up to be a free trader from being a protectionist; not a mean authority either. For my part I rather admire the man who has the courage to grow into better ways of aetioix and better ways of thought. But

MAE Oil 18, 1903

what shall I say of the man who falls from grace ? What shall I say of the man who was once a Liberal and who becomes a Conservative ? What shall I say of a man who was once a free trader and becomes a protectionist ? These things will happen, but it is not for the man who is inconsistent himself to tax me with being inconsistent. I will not be wanting in courtesy; I will not say who that man is, but my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax), who has spoken of inconsistency, can perhaps point the moral of the tale.

But, Sir, all this is not relevant to the question; I care not to go any more into it, and I shall come at once to the speech of my hon. friend the ex-Minister of Public Works. There is some discrepancy between the versions of what took place between him and me when I came back from Europe. I care not to enter iuto a controversy as to that, but I will come at once to the defence which my hon. friend made, and it consisted simply in this : That he had not in my absence advocated anything else than he had been advocating all through; that in my absence my hon. friend had stated what he had stated before me publicly on several occasions and in numerous private conversations. As to the private conversations, I will not mention what took place. As to what took place publicly that is a fair ground for discussion. I do not remember that my bon. friend (Mr. Tarte) upon numerous occasions took the same line of argument which he did in my absence, although I will do him the credit of saying that on one occasion he took exactly the same line. At the Manufacturers' Association banquet in November, 1901, my hon. friend made a speech which he quoted from to-day, advocating a higher tariff and a higher protection. That was in the month of November, 1901. Sir, I cannot go into cabinet secrets, but the result of what took place in the cabinet was laid before the House. On the 17tli of March, 1902, the Minister of Finance made a declaration upon this question, and he stated in this House that there would be no change in the tariff. This was three or four months after my hon. friend (Mr. Tarte) had spoken; and now I ask my hon. friend, when having spoken two or three months before and having given his views in favour of higher tariff, and the government having by the mouth of the Minister of Finance declared that there would be no increase in the tariff, was it justifiable

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Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

The Minister of Finance said ' this session.'

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The PRIME MINISTER.

Was it justifiable-

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The PRIME MINISTER.

Was it justifiable on his part to take the attitude of advocating a higher tariff ? Sir, it was the 6

duty of every member of the administration, so long as he remained a member of the administration, to remain firm by what had been said by the Minister of Finance and to advocate the policy which had been advocated by him. Why, Sir, where would we be and what would become of parliamentary government, if after the policy of the government has been declared, solemnly declared by the minister who has authority to do so, what would become of our institutions if it were allowable for every member of the cabinet to then advocate any policy which he thought would be wiser than the policy which had been resolved upon by the government. There could be no such thing as parliamentary government under such circumstances. But, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Tarte) said 'this session.' If it were to be ' this session,' then my answer to the hon. gentleman is simply this : He should wait. It was not to be ' this session,' and he should have waited until the time came for the Finance Minister to make a declaration of the policy of the government. As to the words of the statement of the Minister of Finance upon that occasion, which in the judgment of my hon. friend (Mr. Tarte) implied or meant that it was a promise of a tariff revision this year, it is more than I can understand how he draws that conclusion. If the language has any meaning at all, there is no meaning to it but that the government was not prepared to go into a policy of revision then, and that this policy of revision would be taken at the proper time as soon as the circumstances would warrant. The Finance Minister said-and I quote his words again :

We postpone for the present the question ot tariff revision. When the moment for revision arrives, the public of Canada may rest assured that the government will undertake the work in the spirit of moderation and caution that has prevailed in their past actions in tariff affairs, avoiding the extremes which almost always find advocates, and having regard to what is best, not for particular industries or particular sections of the country, but for the interests of the people of the whole Dominion.

Sir, if my hon. friend was not satisfied with this decision-this is my last word to him upon that question; I appreciate the manner in which he has spoken this afternoon, for notwithstanding the differences we have had we have remained personal friends.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I appreciate all that, but let me tell the hon. gentleman this as a friend : That if he was not satisfied at the position then taken by the government; if, as he says, at a certain moment he had made up his mind to resign from the cabinet, and if as he stated-though I am sorry to say I cannot follow him upon this ground-he had made a statement to members of the cabinet when I was in Europe (first of all I do not conceive how he can mention here what passed in the cabinet)

but if my hon. friend bad made up his mind to resign, if he thought that the policy which we were pursuing was not consistent with the best interest of the country, then he lost a good opportunity to resign when the Finance Minister delivered his budget speech last session. That would have been the time and the occasion for my hon. friend to have carried out his views. However, the hon. gentleman thought well to act differently. I shall not question his conduct any further. It was with regret I had to take the position which I did take, but I have to say that in my interpretation of the parliamentary system of government under which it is our privilege to live, there was no other course for me to take than the course I did take; and since my hon. friend thought we were not acting wisely to let him have all the opportunity he wanted of advocating the interests of the country as he thought best. But so long as he was in the cabinet, so long as it was his decision to remain as an adviser of the Crown, lie could have no other views and no other words than the views announced in the words which had been spoken by the Finance Minister, speaking in the full sense of his duty.

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Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

Mr. Speaker, I rise, with the indulgence of the House, to make a few words of personal explanation. The point I want to make clear is : That I never intended to advocate a policy which I did not think was the policy of the government as announced during last session of parliament. My hon. friend the Finance Minister then said to the House, to the country, to the business men, to the manufacturing community of Canada, that there would be uo revision of the tariff during ' this session,' meaning of course last session of parliament. If it meant anything, it meant that during the next session a revision of the tariff would take place. I know large interests which took great risks after having read that declaration. They were losing money and went on losing money with the expectation, or rather the certainty, that a revision of the tariff would take place. And not one of my former colleagues who followed the deliberations closely will rise in the House and on his honour state that it was not understood that we should have a revision of the tariff in that way. It was understood in that way, and, as I honestly believed it, I went on advocating the policy which I had advocated with the knowledge of the Prime Minister.

Now, my right hon. friend says, and very rightly, that we have remained personal friends. The friendship of long days, of young days, cannot be broken by political differences, I hope. He has said that I have been of some service to him. I endeavoured to be so at any rate. When he read my utterances on the other side of the Atlantic, why did he not cable to me that Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I was wrong ? If he had done so, I would immediately have stopped talking or would have resigned. Why did not the acting Prime Minister, Sir Richard Cartwright, tell me that I was wrong ? If I was wrong,

I say it again, why did not the Liberal members who invited me to their ridings and who listened to my speeches, tell me so ? Why did the Prime Minister of Ontario welcome me to his own riding ? Because they thought, as I think now, that I was advocating the policy of the Liberal party.

Now, I may be wrong, but I think I am right. The government will carry out the revision of the tariff in the way I have said-not because I have said it, not by any means ; I am only a very feeble factor in 'the political arena of this country ; but because they know that it is the right policy. My speeches will be scrutinized. I ask my right hon. friend, now that he has been restored to health, to scrutinize my speeches, not as they may perhaps have been reported to him privately, but as I have pronounced them. I have not said one word more than I would have said on the floor of parliament after the statement of the Minister of Finance last year. If I was trespassing on the proprieties of parliamentary or ministerial life, how is it that he, an old friend of mine, did not warn me ? How is it that he only found that I was trespassing on the constitution when he was on the soil of Canada ?

Sir, I hope that this incident is closed. I have acted in good faith. I do not ask anything else from my political friends than to believe that I have been in good faith. If I have made a mistake, so much the worse for me from a certain standpoint. I am out of ministerial life. I am a private member of parliament. In that capacity I will go on advocating the policy which I think is best for this country. My friends on the treasury benches having the responsibility of being at the head of affairs, I will give them credit for their good faith, as I ask them to give me credit for my good faith.

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March 18, 1903