March 24, 1903

NEW MEMBER.

LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

X have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery a certificate of the election and return of George D. Grant, Esquire, for the electoral district of the North Riding of the county of Ontario.

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FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 25) respecting the Eastern Townships Bank.-Mr. McIntosh. Bill (No. 26) to incorporate the Winding Ledges Power and Boom Company.-Hon. Mr. Costigan. Bill (No. 27) respecting the Canada National Railway and Transport Company.- Mr. Campbell. Bill (No. 28) respecting the Atlantic, Quebec and Western Railway Company.-Mr. Lemieux. Bill (No. 29) respecting the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada.-Mr. Geof-frion. Bill (No. 30) to incorporate the Federal Oil Company.-Mr. Belcourt. Bill (No. 31) to amend the Act respecting the Canadian Order of the Woodmen of the World.-Mr. Calvert. Bill (No. 32) to incorporate the Dominion Institute of Amalgamated Engineering.-Mr. Morrison. Bill (No. 33) to incorporate the Kootenay, Cariboo and Pacific Railway Company.-Mr. Morrison.


PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE.

LIB

Duncan Cameron Fraser

Liberal

Mr. D. C. FRASER (Guysborough) moved :

That the public accounts of Canada for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1902, and the report of the Auditor General volume 1 and 2 for the same year, be referred to the Select Standing Committee on public accounts.

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Motion agreed to.


TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY - SIR WILLIAM MULOCK'S SPEECH.

CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. JOHN HAGGART (South Lanark).

Before the Orders of the Day are called, I wish to draw the attention of the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) at the head of the government to a despatch in the morning ' Citizen ' of to-day, purporting to give a report of a speech by Sir William Mulock at the banquet of the Young Men's Liberal Club in Toronto. The report reads, in part:

The event of to-night's banquet of the Young Liberal's Club was the speech of Sir Wm. Mulock pleading the justification of a bonus to | the Grand Trunk Pacific or any line of railway Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

projected to unite eastern and western Canada, running through the, as yet, unsettled 1,000 miles in northern Ontario. Any railway which traversed this unprofitable country was entitled to public aid, for it would be helping to build up Canada nationally by providing an allCanadian route for the output of the western provinces. The fact that a line from Winnipeg to Quebec would be so much shorter than to Boston or any other Atlantic port was emphasized and the need of dealing with this question before trade settled down into an American chanel was pointed out. The incapacity of the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian Northern Railway to handle even the present output was noted and the need to provide transportation facilities to keep pace with the advancing tide of immigration was taken as an axiom.

Evidently the government have some policy on this subject, as emphasized in the speech from the Throne. I wish to know from the right hon. gentleman what is the policy of the government-or is he prepared to state it at present ?-with reference to the transportation question and the assistance to be given to the Grand Trunk Railway or any other enterprise proposing to open up the north-west. I wish to know whether a part of that scheme is to build a road from Quebec to connect with the new line in the north-west.

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

I have not seen the report which my hon. friend (Mr. Haggart) refers to. Perhaps I had better wait until Sir William Mulock returns, when he can speak for himself. I do not know whether he has been accurately reported or not. As to the general question of the policy of the government, when the government has framed a policy it will be its duty to bring it down to parliament at once. But upon the general question of transportation, I think that it is of pressing need that we should have more means of communication between the east and the west.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

If you were to apply the same principle as you did in the ease of the ex-Minister of Public Works, he ought to get out.

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SUPPLY-EMBARGO ON CANADIAN CATTLE.


The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding) moved that the House go into Committee of Supply.


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Mr. A. C.@

BELL (Pictou) moved in amendment :

That all the words after ' that ' be struck out and the following substituted :

That in the opinion of this House there is no justification for the application of the Diseases of Animals Act of Great Britain to Canadian cattle.

That Canadian cattle at the time of the passing of said Act and ever since have been free from all contagious diseases.

This House is of opinion that the application of the said Act to Canadian cattle has an injurious effect upon the cattle trade of this country.

This House regrets that the representatives of Canada at the colonial conference utterly failed to obtain any redress or promise of redress for this grievance.

This House further regrets that this government has not succeeded by more vigorous protests, or by other effective steps, in finding means to obtain the removal of the existing unjust restrictions on the sale of Canadian cattle in Great Britain.

He said : It will be, Mr. Speaker, in the

recollection of hon. members that this matter was dealt with at the last session of this legislature by a motion made at the same stage of the proceedings, as the present. It has since engaged a great deal of attention among the agriculturists of the mother country and quite recently it was brought to the notice of the imperial parliament by an amendment to the address. Last session this House unanimously passed a resolution proposed by the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa), and the hope was! then expressed that this proceeding would strengthen the hands of our representatives at the colonial conference and enable them to secure some relaxation of the regulations which are so Injurious to the cattle trade of this country. No doubt the history of this question is familiar to every one, but it may nevertheless be well to recapitulate it. Canadian cattle were admitted to the markets of the mother country until 1892, under the careful supervision of the British Board of Agriculture. In 1892, owing to the suspicion that disease existed in one animal, which formed part of a cargo of Canadian cattle, the regulations were changed, Canadian cattle were required to be slaughtered at the port of entry, the ports to which Canadian cattle were admitted were limited to six in number, and all imported Canadian cattle had to be slaughtered within ten days from their arrival.

At the time when this suspected case of contagious pleuro-pneumonia was reported and declared to be that particular disease by the veterinary authorities of the Board of Agriculture, it was maintained by the authorities on this side and by some very eminent veterinary authorities in the mother country that the animal suspected of pleuropneumonia was infected only by the common catarrhal pneumonia, which is not at all contagious or dangerous. That view was presented to the British authorities by the Canadian government, and various arguments were urged to show that the cattle of Canada were "healthy and that really no cause existed for excluding them from the inland markets of the mother country. Lately the arable farmers of Scotland, who are intensely interested in this matter, have been agitating very! strongly for the repeal of the obnoxious legislation. They quote the authority of the gentleman who purchased the animal suspected of being diseased. He bought the cow in question in October, 1892. and shortly afterwards all the cattle upon two of his farms, on which this animal had been from time to time, were

slaughtered by order of the British authorities. But in not one of these animals so slaughtered was any trace of disease fouud. Furthermore a general order was passed requiring the slaughter of all the animals in the cargo of which that cow formed part, and in no case did any of these animals show any trace of pleuro-pneumonia. Nor was the slightest trace of the disease found in any of the animals with which the one suspected had come in contact. Prof. Williams, who is perhaps the most eminent authority in Great Britain on these matters, did not agree with the government experts. He held, and so did Mr. Clark, veterinary surgeon of the Perthshire county council, that there was no pleuro-pneumonia in existence among the animals imported and that none of the animals which had come in contact with the supposed diseased animal had given any evidence of the existence of pleuro-pneumonia. Furthermore I see, on the authority of the farmers who waited on Mr. Hanbury, president of the Board of Agriculture, that a portion of the lung of the suspected animal had been removed and is still in existence at Edinburgh, in the custody of the veterinary authorities there, which is in itself sufficient evidence to show that it was a mistaken diagnosis which led to the exclusion of Canadian cattle. Mr. Clark also says, speaking of disease among Canadian cattle :

I never met with a case of contagious or infectious disease in one single instance and this including that most prevalent disease, tuberculosis.

Now, Sir, the cattle of the mother country are not as free from disease as those of Canada. The statistics given as to the condition of the cattle slaughtered at Glasgow show that among 46,784 animals home bred cattle slaughtered at Glasgow, under inspection of the veterinary authorities, tuberculosis existed in 0.332 cases, making an average of 13 53 per cent of infected or diseased animals. At the same time among 49,881 Canadian and United States cattle which were slaughtered, there were found no cases of pleuro-pneumonia and but 00 cases of tubercular disease, or only 13-100 of 1 per cent. In addition to this corroborative and accumulative evidence showing that the cattle of Canada are and have been perfectly liealthv, Mr. Hanbury, president of the Board of Agriculture, himself admits that there is no disease existing among Canadian cattle. On the 9th of October, 1901, when receiving a delegation of agriculturists, in Edinburgh, he made the statement that in his opinion there was no disease in Canada. And on February 27th of this year, he declared in the House of Commonsi that he had admitted for months past that Canada was free from disease, but nevertheless lie was convinced that if the people of Great Britain were to keep out disease, the Act of 1896 must be maintained in all_ its completeness. Mr. Hanbury in a variety of ways and at a variety of times has tried

Now It is generally supposed that the plea which has been made that these cattle were shut out of Great Britain because disease existed in this country, has been abandoned. It has generally been supposed that was not the real reason which existed in the mind of Mr. Hanbury and which led him to persist in excluding Canadian cattle. It has been rather suspected that it was a measure of protection, that by excluding Canadian cattle on this plea he practically secures an advantage in the markets of the mother country for the breeders and feeders of the mother country. In reference to that matter, the experience of the feeders, those men who have arable farms in Scotland and buy store cattle and fatten them upon their own farms, shows that they do not agree with Mr. Hanbury. They seem to think they are being injured to quite as great an extent as the people of Canada by reason of the fact that they are prevented from buying store cattle from this country to feed upon their own farms. Latterly, I see that Mr. Hanbury, in speaking on this matter, practically maintains that if Canadian cattle are to be admitted into Great Britain, it is going to prejudice the position of the breeders of store cattle in Great Britain.

Now, if the mother country chooses frankly to adopt that as a measure of protection, I do not feel that we as a people who are disposed to shape our legislation so as to give our own producers an advantage in the market, would be in a very good position to find fault with. them. But that is not the ground upon which Mr. Hanbury based his case in the speech delivered by him in the Imperial House of Commons on the 27th of February last. From first to last he cast an aspersion upon the cattle of Canada, contending that if they were not now diseased they are liable to be diseased at any moment, and that it is imperative, if the people of Great Britain are going to preserve their herds from disease, that they must shut out the cattle of Canada. While Mr. Hanbury has abandoned the plea that Canadian cattle' are diseased we still find him appealing to the British House of Commons against the admission of Canadian cattle on the ground that it is impossible for English cattle to be kept free from disease if Canadian cattle are admitted. That seems a most absurd proposal by Mr. Hanbury, because the figures I have cited show, that whereas the cattle of Great Britain are largely diseased ; whereas they are admitting thousands of store cattle from Ireland a large percentage of which are diseased, on the other hand the cattle of Canada are absolutely free from disease. You will find in the reports of our Department of Agriculture, that Dr. McEachran our inspector reports on the cattle sent from Canada to England year after year, that no contagious disease exists among them. On two occasions Dr. McEachran reports that probably in no other country in the world is there such complete absence of disease

amongst cattle as there is in Canada. In face of that condition of affairs ; in face of the fact that cattle in Great Britain do show tuberculous disease ; in face of the fact that the cattle imported from Ireland are, on the evidence of these Scotch farmers, not healthy or vigorous or profitable ; in face of all that, Mr. Hanbury appeals to the British House of Commons to support the legislation now in existence, and he maintains that it is impossible to keep cattle disease out of Great Britain unless they debar Canadian cattle. It would be just as reasonable to argue that the clear pure water of a spring going into a river which was more or less polluted, would pollute that river, as to maintain that the admission of one hundred thousand healthy Canadian cattle to mix with the more or less diseased cattle in Great Britain was going to introduce disease amongst British herds. It is perfectly clear that the ground upon which so far the government of Great Britain, as represented by Mr. Hanbury, have rested their ease to keep our cattle at a disadvantage and to inflict a loss upon our shippers, is absolutely without foundation. Mr. Hanbury made the statement in the course of his speech : That it

is impossible to know whether there is disease or not in the countries whence these cattle have been sent to Great Britain. That statement is entirely at variance with the condition of affairs in Canada where the most careful inspection is made of every animal shipped, and where successive governments have asked the government of Great Britain to send their own veterinary inspector to Canada to satisfy themselves in the most absolute manner that no disease existed, if they are not content with the report of the Canadian inspector. In face of all these facts it seems to me that we in this House of Commons should express our entire dissatisfaction with the existing state of affairs. I find amongst these Scotch farmers a very general disposition to represent the case of Canada as one which deserves special consideration. Several of them referred to the great sacrifices made by Canada for the empire ; to the manner in which Canada has shown herself disposed to come to the assistance of the mother country and not to spare either blood or treasure in rendering that assistance. These men of our race in the motherland seem to think that it is only fair that Canada should receive some special consideration, or at least should not be unjustly discriminated against in this manner. In the light of this, and in view of the fact that we have an unassailable and impregnable case it seems to me that if there is an unanimous expression from this parliament that this obnoxious restriction should be removed, the government of Canada ought to be in a position to press this matter very forcibly upon the government of the mother country. Last year this House passed a resolution similar to this, and one hope expressed at that time was that the gentlemen representing Canada at the colo-

37S

nial conference would be enabled to gain something for the benefit of our country in regard to this matter. It was thought that when Canada gave that concession in tariff matters known as the British preference, that if we were going to make concessions to the manufacturers of the motherland, the government of Great Britain might be asked to make a concession to the agriculturists of Canada in conection with our cattle export trade. That was not done. I find that at the colonial conference this matter was referred to, but apparently received very little attention, and so far as we can learn it was relegated for settlement to Hr. Hanbury, the president of the Board of Trade; the very gentleman who told the Scotch farmers in Edinburgh that he had no power to deal with this question and that any action taken in connection with it must be with the sanction of Great Britain supported by the House of Commons. At page 41 of the report of the proceedings of the colonial conference this reference is made :

The representatives of Canada desired to bring before the conference the clauses of the law under which live cattle imported into this country from Canada are required to he slaughtered at the port of landing. It was considered, however, that the matter was not of sufficient general interest to he dealt with by the conference and arrangements were made for a discussion privately with the president of the Board of Agriculture.

Thus the matter was referred to that same Mr. Hanbury, who, at that time and more recently still, has said that it was utterly impossible to grant this request. No report, so far as I know, has come to this House as to what may have occurred in the course of the referred discussion which was to have taken place between the representatives of Canada and the President of the Board of Agriculture, and probably it will be to our advantage now to learn from the members of the government, to what extent this matter was discussed with Mr. Hanbury, and what the result of the discussion was. If I had known more exactly, before the notice of this motion was given, what had transpired at the colonial conference on this subject, it would probably have been better that a motion had been made for a report of the conference or what took place between the Canadian representatives and Mr. Hanbury. That information we may have from the members of the government present. On this explanation of the position in which the question stands at present, the attitude of Mr. Hanbury and the attitude of the government of Great Britain, so far as we can know from public information,

I will rest the case at this point, simply moving the motion of which I have given notice.

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The MINISTER OP FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding).

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that the time and the circumstances are at present favourable for the discussion of this Mr. BELL.

question ; and if my hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Bell) feels it his duty to press this amendment, I shall have to ask the House to reject it, for two reasons. The first reason is that the method and manner and terms of the resolution unmistakably mark it as a vote of non-confidence in the government. We accept it as such, and we ask those who are supporters of the government in the House to join us in taking that view. The second reason is that a motion passed this House within the last few days calling for the papers on this subject. My hon. friend, without waiting for the production of those papers, endeavours to precipitate a discussion to-day. I think, until those papers are brought down, the House is not in a position intelligently to discuss it. When they are brought down, if it be found that the government have not in every respect pressed this matter on the attention of the imperial authorities, then there may be need of some further action in the House. But, until that motion has been responded to, as it will be at an early day, by the production of the papers, I submit that the time is not favourable for a discussion of this question.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has given the very briefest, and it seems to me, the flimsiest reasons why this question should not be discussed to-day. What are they ? First, that the time and the circumstances are not appropriate, because of the absence of the papers. If we were living in an age of the world when we had not the public press, which dishes up everything fresh on our tables in the morning, that might be regarded as a sufficient reason ; but, in view of the fact that we are so well informed with regard to what takes place, not only on ' the continent of America, but in the mother country, it cannot be said that we are without sufficient information to enable us to deal with this question. Therefore the present time cannot be inappropriate. Then, the hon. minister regards this motion as one of non-confidence ; but when a similar motion was proposed by one of his own friends at the last session of parliament, it was considered quite appropriate then. If it was appropriate then, how can it be inappropriate now, when moved in exactly similar circumstances ? If the government accepted the motion then, without regarding it as a motion of want of confidence, they can accept this motion to-day. They have not the opportunity of putting up one of their own friends for the purpose of defending the government for delay ; but the hon. minister calls on his friends simply to vote down the motion as one of want of confidence. It seems to me that is about the very worst excuse the government could offer. The hon. Minister of Finance has not applied himself to the subject at all, but just calls upon his silent majority-

I will not call it as his friends used to do

on this side of the House, the brute majority-to vote it down. Now, this is a very important question, one in which the great agricultural class of our country especially have a great and direct interest. It is of sufficient importance to engage the most careful attention and the most active services of the government and their friends, whether they are at home or abroad. The history of the matter has been very well given by my hon. friend from Pictou (Mr. Bell). In 1892, it was said that two head of cattle reached England affected with pleuro-pneumonia. One was taken over on the ' Monkseton ' and the other on the ' Huronian.' The result was that the embargo was put on, and in 1S96 a Bill introduced and passed prohibiting the im-1 portation of Canadian cattle into England or Scotland, unless they were slaughtered at the port of debarkation within ten days after their arrival. The embargo was put on for the purpose of keeping out disease and maintaining the sanitary condition of cattle in that country. It was claimed in Canada, as well as in Scotland, that there were no justifiable reasons for putting on the embargo, as there were grave doubts whether the cases in question were cases of pleuro-pneumonia or not. Professor Williamson, of Edinburgh, one of the greatest authorities on the subject in the world, declared most positively and emphatically, after careful examination, that they were not cases of pleuro-pneumonia. At that time, the government of the day in Canada were attacked most fiercely for having failed to get that embargo raised. The contention of the opposition at that time was that it had been put on owing to the laxity of the Canadian government regarding the enforcement of the quarantine regulations between Canada and the United States. I remember very distinctly that the hon. Postmaster General (Sir Wm. Mulock) for a whole afternoon in this House arraigned the government in a most voluminous way, going over the whole history .of the case ; and several other hon. gentlemen opposite joined him in the most energetic and sarcastic fashion.

It was claimed that this great injustice was due to the failure of the late government to do its duty. Afterwards in 1896 a law was passed by the British parliament preventing the importation of Canadian cattle. Before that year there was only an Order in Council, but that Order in Council was afterwards converted into an Act of parliament. The government opposite came into office in 1896. Have these hon. gentlemen shown themselves sincere in the charges they made in 1892, that this embargo of our cattle was due to the lax quarantine regulations which were then in force between this country and the United States. Had they been sincere, they would have endeavoured to make these regulations more stringent and prevent the possibility of any disease

being imported from the United States or elsewhere and thus be in a position to appeal with greater force to the mother country to remove the embargo. Did they do that ? No, Mr. Speaker, they did exactly the reverse. And in what little they did, they have been entirely unsuccessful. It is true that at intermittent intervals they have written to Mr. Hanbury, president of the Board of Agriculture of England, asking that the embargo be taken off, and the invariable answer they have received is that their request will not be complied with. The plea given for this refusal is that the British government desire to keep the herds of English cattle free from disease, but we have at last the admission from Mr. Hanbury himself that he does not believe contagious disease exists among Canadian herds, so that the only plausible excuse for putting on the embargo and maintaining it has really no existence, according to Mr. Hanbury liimself. Why then is the embargo kept on ? Judging by the information we have, we can only come to one conclusion, and that is that this embargo is simply a measure of protection for the English and Scotch farmers who desire a better market for their own cattle, and is not intended to prevent the importation of disease at all. We are justified in coming to that conclusion by the reply given by the president of the Board of Agriculture to a deputation which waited on him in Edinburgh in 1902. He said that the Order in Council had been converted into a solemn statute passed unanimously by the House of Commons, but that the statute was passed at a time when a most vigorous agitation was kept up which led to the conclusion that there was real -danger to the herds of Britain in the importation of Canadian cattle and when that agitation was not met by the vigorous opposition that might have been expected. He then went on to say :

Therefore although Canada may be free at the present moment-and I honestly admit that I think it is-I told the Canadian minister so myself, and I am perfectly -willing to repeat It to this deputation-I think the United States are also free ; these are the two countries sending in their animals for slaughter, and no country which was not supposed to be free from disease would be allowed to do that. There is another reason in addition to disease, though connected with disease, which I am bound to say weighs with me, and it is this. Given the fact that, although a country may be free from disease, you can never guarantee the continuance of that freedom from disease, what would happen if the importation of store cattle, say from the two countries free from disease at the present moment-Canada and the United States-were to be allowed ? The first thing that would happen undoubtedly would be that the price of English stores would naturally fall to the price of the stores sent over from Canada and the United States.

Therefore the real object of Mr. Hanbury was to protect the English and Scotch farmer and not to keep out disease. What

effort has the present government made to have this embargo removed ? So far they have made very little effort indeed. True, from time to time, they have written some letters. From time to time the Minister of Agriculture has made some slight representations to Mr. Hanbury, but all they have done has resulted in nothing. We have very strong evidence that contagious disease does not exist in Canada among our cattle. We have the.evidence of veterinary surgeons who have been making reports from time to time, ever since 1892, to the government of this country that no contagious disease of any nature dangerous to cattle exists in Canada. We have the evidence disclosed by the slaughter of every animal of the herds of Canadian cattle, over 1,000,000 in all, in England and Scotland since 1892. In no one instance was there any trace of contagious disease. We are therefore right in assuming that there is no danger to be feared from the importation of Canadian cattle In the moth# country. We have the evidence of Mi. Hanbury himself who declared that he does not believe that the disease exists in Canada at present, nevertheless we have not yet had any relaxation of this embargo. When the present government took office they declared that the embargo was imposed because of) the carelessness of tlieir predecessors in not strictly enforcing the quarantine regulations between us and the United States. But what was the first thing done by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) ? The first thing he did was to relax those regulations. He did the very thing which he and his friends declared most emphatically should not be done. They had declared that instead of relaxing we should make these regulations more stringent and enforce them more strictly, yet no sooner did they take office than they did the very reverse. Will that convince the Canadian farmer that this government have his interests at heart ?

Before 1892 we had the present Minister of Agriculture declaring that anyhow the British market did not amount to very much, and I am bound to believe that he entertains the same opinion still, if we are to judge him and his friends by the half-hearted methods they have made to relieve this country of the embargo.

But who are aiding us in our efforts to get it removed ? Mr. Hanbury has stated that 95 per cent of the British people were opposed to it. In answer to that I point to the fact that petitions were presented to the British government, signed by people representing no less than 8,000,000 consumers and feeders and handlers of these cattle, who are interested in having this embargo removed. We have also, an ally in the Scotch farmers and feeders who are using every effort to convince the British government that their policy in this respect is a mistaken one

and they ask us to help them. They say to us : Our interests are identical in this

matter; make a greater effort in your country and we will in ours, in order to force conviction upon the British parliament that no necessity exists for this embargo and that it will be eminently in the interests, not only of the Canadian people but of the Scotch farmers and the Scotch and English butchers and the British consumer, to have this embargo raised. We have able allies; they are willingly joining us, they are energetically joining us, and they wish us to make a greater effort.

A short time ago we had the colonial conference, and the Prime Minister was there with many of his friends. I think the Minister of Finance was there, and the Minister of Agriculture also. One of the important subjects discussed was the trade relations between us and the mother country. And what representations did these lion, gentlemen make there with regard to this important question that showed a desire on their part to get the embargo raised ? I do not know that either the Prime Minister or the Minister of Agriculture broached the subject at all. So far as the papers informed us, we have no means of knowing that they said a word regarding it. Is that an evidence of their being alive to the interests of the Canadian farmers ? Here was a splendid opportunity to make such representations-and to back them up with facts that were within their reach-as might have enabled them to secure the raising of this embargo. But, so far as we know they did nothing. They treated the matter-I was going to say with silent contempt, but perhaps that would be going too far.

On another question, I wish to say a word. Why is not the Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Fisher) here to enlighten us on this question ? I have noticed a fashion which has obtained of late years in this House, which, I think, ought to be put a stop to as soon and as completely as possible. Whenever a session of parliament commences, two or three or more ministers at the head of important departments, who ought to be here to answer questions put to them, absent themselves. Our Minister of Agriculture is in Japan, I believe. Last session he was away somewhere else. I do not know what he may be doing. He may have gone upon a very important mission. But I think he could have taken some other time of the year to go rather than during a session of parliament. It is currently hinted, whether true or not, that ministers are conveniently absent to avoid troublesome questions which might be brought to the attention of parliament in which their departments and the government are vitally interested.

If that be the reason, we had better know it, and we had better change the system at once. It is a matter of great importance that, during the session of parliament, min-

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

isters should be here to answer questions put to them. At present, two important ministers are absent. The other is the Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton). It may be true that he is away on an important mission; but it seems to me that, either some abler man might have been sent in his place, or he might have chosen some other time to go, and take pains to attend during the session. We ought to break up this custom of ministers being absent when parliament is in session. They should be here to give us the information necessary to enable us to discuss intelligently questions which are brought before the House. But, when we ask questions, we are told : In the absence of the minister, the information cannot be given, but it will be given when the minister comes back. But by the time the minister gets back the session is over, and the opportunity to bring out the information for the benefit of the public is gone. For the reasons I have given, I think I am justified in supporting the motion of the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Bell). And I hold that the government should not put forward the pretext that this is a want of confidence motion. They could accept it if they liked. But this plea is only a pretext on the part of the government. When they have no other way of bringing their supporters solidly together they call upon them to vote the motion down on the ground that it is a want of confidence motion.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (East York).

This motion may be a want of confidence motion In the government; but what we have seen here to-day is certainly an exhibition of want of confidence on the part of the government in themselves. They are not prepared to justify their record in this matter and I do not believe they can do so, for their record is one of utter lack of vigour. They have said that they are in favour of an imperial preference. But, if we, as a country, expect preferential treatment from the motherland, we must ask for it. If we are to sing the song of imperialism, as we have heard it sung in this House by hon. gentlemen opposite, that song must be honest, it must be genuine. And hon. gentlemen opposite have not been genuine in their expression of imperial sentiment. They go to the colonial conference, being called there to discuss imperial questions and imperial trade; and when they reach there they declare that they have not a single suggestion to make. If they desire to attain anything, certainly that is not the way to attain it. If the government go there to discuss questions In which their country's interests are concerned, there must be some vigour in their presentation of their case. Is there any evidence of vigour in the statement of the case presented at that conference by hon. gentlemen opposite ? On the contrary they went there with nothing whatever to say. The people of Great Britain, if they are to give us a preference, expect us to ask for it and to make out a case. If we say we are imperialists and that we are prepared to feed the empire- and I believe Canada is prepared to feed the empire-we must say so; and, not only that, but we must say that we are willing to assume our responsibilities with respect to the maintenance of the integrity of the empire. I do not agree with the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa), who says that, in some ways we are British, but we must not say it-certainly we must not express it vigorously. We are British and our wish is to build up the empire and to trade with other portions of the empire. But when you say you wish to trade with the empire, you must also say that you are prepared to take part in vindicating the integrity of the empire.

But hon. gentlemen opposite have not taken that position; on the contrary, as was pointed out the other day and was stated by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) who has just sat down, they had not a thing to suggest at the imperial conference. I believe that a vote of thanks was the only proposal they had to make. What can the farmers of Canada expect to accomplish, if they send representatives to discuss matters in that fashion. As a party, hon. gentlemen opposite have never tried to promote the trade relations that might have been promoted. They profess to be free traders, and yet their energies, whether in opposition or in power, have been devoted to extending our trade relations with the protectionist United States. Of all people, hon. gentlemen opposite, the professed free traders, should have done all they could to build up trade relations with the mother country. But they have seen no salvation except in closer trade relations with the United States, a country antagonistic to us, a country that is trying to get into the British market ahead of us. Is it any wonder that when a proposal of this kind is brought forward, their only course is, not an attempt to justify their record but to plead : This is a vote of want of confidence in us. I hope to see the trade relations between Canada and the mother country largely extended. I believe that extension is coming. But, if it is to come, it can only be through our presenting a fair case and saying to the empire : Give us a preference in trade, and we will do our share in maintaining the integrity of the empire. That has never been said by hon. gentlemen opposite. But the people of Great Britain expect us to say i it. What was the burden of the discussion in England yesterday ? It was that the colonies should be prepared to do their share toward the defence of the empire. That is the sentiment that is ringing through England to-day. Iam sure that the British public are prepared to give up some of their free trade ideas if they can find that the colonies are prepared to join them in some kind of trade relations involving an inter-

imperial preference. It is to be had, it can be worked out, but it must be worked out vigorously, and by men who have confidence in the measure. Not only have we beard the confession made by the bon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) the other day, but we have heard the Prime Minister say in this House that he did not think it was worth while to go into the question of the inclusion of Newfoundland because of the tioublesome French shore question. Sir, statesmanship does not consist in avoiding questions because they are troublesome, statesmanship implies that you must approach a question with a vigorous determination to overcome difficulties, then you will accomplish something. But all the satisfaction we get to-day over this question is that we are told it is a vote of want of confidence in the government. Wait till the papers come down, and something will be done, sooner or later.

T know that the sentiment of the people of this country is that the empire must have inter-imperial trade between its different portions, concessions must be made by one portion in favour of another. Not only that, but the different members of the empire must be prepared to do something one for the other, and when we go to London in that frame of mind, when we say that we are of the empire and wish to trade with the empire, that we as Canadians can feed the empire, then I believe we will make great progress in attaining the end we have in view. As I said before, the people of the empire are beginning to realize more and more that the empire is a unit, and it must be independent of the outside world for its food supply. I believe the empire can be independent, and that she can rely on the colonies, and above all she can rely on Canada for her food supply, her animal food as well as the cereals she may require. She will ultimately look to this country for that supply, but she will never do so until the representatives of this country go to London with a clear policy and say to the mother country : We expect something from you ; we give you something, and we want something in return. One of the weakest confessions that was ever made was that trade preference which we have discussed so much in this House. Its weakness consisted in the fact that while you give something you say you do not want anything in return. I say the Canadian farmer does want something in return. He believes that if he gives he must get, on equal terms. When hon. gentlemen adopt that policy and show that they are in earnest in promoting trade within the empire, when they say to the home government: You are shutting' out our cattle to-day, and we ask you to take down the bars, especially as there is no reason for keeping the bars up. then I believe we will get something. But until there is a vigour in our policy, until it has a Canadian ring and spirit in it, and also an imperial ring and spirit in it, we shall make no head-Mr. MACLEAN.

way. I believe I speak for the Canadian farmers in saying that they are convinced this government have been negligent all through in dealing with these matters.

Topic:   SUPPLY-EMBARGO ON CANADIAN CATTLE.
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March 24, 1903