March 31, 1903

LIB

John Costigan

Liberal

Hon. Mr. COSTIGAN.

that we were a portion of the British Empire and had been given the privilege of selfgovernment, and having had the experience of its happy operation and good effects in this country, we thought that we might very reasonably ask this House to express its opinion that what worked so well in this country might well be tried as an experiment in Ireland, and this House generously responded to the appeal. Parliament took that view-a very fair and moderate view- and so expressed itself on several occasions. I am simply asking the House to reiterate the expression of parliament on those occasions. With reference to the land question and the bright prospects of the settlement of that question, had I the eloquence of a Gratton or a McGee, I would use it to praise the generous spirit in which the British government have come forward to-dav to grapple with this problem and settle it. I have no desire to cavil or to minimize the liberality of the British government as shown in this broad measure which, as far as can be seen at present, involves $500,000,000 of its credit and $60,000,000 of a bonus to bring about a peaceful settlement of the land question in Ireland. I am moved by as deep gratitude to the government which has introduced that measure of reconciliation as any man in or out of this parliament.

Why should the mention of home rule be a bugbear ? Has it grown so obnoxious in this country or the motherland as to justify any hostility or opposition to the mention of or any reference to it here today ? Certainly not. Why, the question of home rule is to-day an imperial question. It has assumed broader proportions than ever before. The best English minds to-day are engaged on it. They say that they are not going to confine their attention to Ireland alone but will give home rule to Scotland, England and Wales as well, and I am proud to know that the experience of Canada is the great object lesson cited to show the desirability of granting local self government to the different portions of the United Kingdom. I shall quote in a few minutes the words of a prominent English statesman who is in favour of home rule all around. Our parliament, the British parliament, he says, ]s overburdened with legislation that should not belong to it. _ Its time is so much taken up with local affairs, that it is unable to properly deal with matters of imperial concern. What is the remedy ? There is but one and that will be found on Canadian lines. Just think of it, Mr. Speaker, the men in the empire to-day who are conducting the business of the United Kingdom, who are considering the changes that require to be made in the British government system- these men say you must provide for Scotch affairs being settled in Scotland by a local parliament, for Irish affairs being settled in Ireland by a local parliament, and English affairs by an English local parliament, and

Welsli business, if necessary, by a Welsh parliament, thus relieving the great Imperial parliament of those burdensome subjects which could be much better passed upon and disposed of by local bodies, thus enabling the great central body to deal with the problems that affect the empire at large. Just imagine in what a position this Dominion of Canada-a young giant, surprising the world by its rapid progress-would be if all our local legislatures were swept away and if all the local questions now dealt with by these bodies had to be settled by this parliament ? Why,, we would then And it impossible to deal with Dominion matters at all. If such a condition of things would be the result here, what must be the condition of that parliament -which has to regulate the affairs of the greatest empire in the world ? Det me just read a note which I received a few days ago and which justifies me in saying that the question of home rule is not a bugbear any longer either here or in; England, Ireland. Scotland or Wales.

I have a letter dated March 15, 1903, and written by the Hon. T. S. Brassey :

Dear Sir,-I observe in to-day's paper, the Daily ' Chronicle,' that you intend to raise the question of home rule in the Canadian parliament. You may, therefore, be interested to hear that there is a movement on this side going forward, the object of which is to educate public opinion to the view that the settlement of the great question of home rule is to be found on Canadian lines. I inclose a leaflet giving an article and speeches on the subject and an account of the work done.

Yours truly,

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T. S. BRASSEY.


What is the work done over there ? Let me quote from a sheet published by a regularly organized committee in England : At present the English, Irish and Welsh members have ail to be consulted on Scottish affairs, about which they know and care nothing. If Scotland wishes a reform of the land laws or the liquor laws, or any other laws, it must be submitted to the English voter, who knows 1 little and cares less about the people and condition of affairs about which he is voting. If Edinburgh wants to get a new water supply ; if Glasgow wants to license its newspaper boys ; if a little railway is going to be constructed in the Highlands, the matter cannot be settled in Scotland. It has to be decided on by the parliament in London, at tremendous cost of money and trouble to the Scottish people, and the frightful waste of time of parliament. There is so much to be done that very little is done. Many laws which every one agrees should be passed are not passed because there is no time to consider them. How can we get out of this mess ? There is only one way, and that is the way proposed by the Liberals : Scottish affairs should be managed in Scotland: English affairs should be managed in England; Irish affairs should be managed in Ireland ; Welsh affairs should be managed in Wales. I could give other quotations if I were not afraid of taking up too much of the time of the House, from the speeches of Mr. Brassey made at several meetings under the auspices of this committee, which was organized for the purpose of educating public opinion in the mother country in favour of the policy of giving home rule all around. And they pay us the compliment of saying that the system of government for the old country must be upon Canadian lines. I say that that is a great compliment to the Canadian people ; it is an acknowledgment of the freedom of Canada, than which no country in the world enjoys more. It is a justification of our pride in our system that the leading men of the imperial parliament from which we take example, declare : We have reached the stage when imperial legislation is blocked, when the hands of the British parliament are tied, when it is impossible to do justice to great questions of imperial policy, when a solution must be found and we believe that that solution lies in following the precedent set by Canada. I dare say it will be said by some : We all hold up our hands in favour of the settlement of the land question, but you should not couple home rule with that question. I believe that a time will come when the parliament of Great Britain will give its sanction to home rule. But even after home rule has become the law of the land, when it has been enacted by parliament and assented to by His Majesty, when it is put forward as the law of the empire, there will still be found croakers to question its expediency and justice. That is but natural. I have no fault to find with any gentleman who expresses an opinion simply because his opinion does not agree with mine. But, while I take that position, I believe that the arguments of those who hold views against home rule should not prevail against the reception of this resolution which I hold to be a very moderate one. It cannot be condemned on the ground that it calls upon the British parliament to suspend its action upon the Land Bill and press forward at once a home rule Bill. There is no such demand here. There is no command in this to the British parliament. There is simply a reiteration of the declaration made by this House in favour of home rule as approved by Canadian experience. I hope to see the laud question settled and settled this session. But Ireland, through its leading men, through its press, through its sons all over the world, is showing to-day its appreciation of the olive branch that is held out. The people of Ireland show their appreciation of the change of policy from coercion to conciliation. And we also delight in the changed attitude of the British government upon that subject. We believe-all free men believe- that legitimate conciliation is more powerful than coercion can be. Therefore, when I say that I rise in sympathy with the movement in favour of a measure of relief for Ireland and the settlement of the land question. I nm moved by the belief not only that that movement is best in the interest of Ireland.



72S but tliat it is best iu the interest of the empire. While we view with admiration the generosity, the wise generosity, of England towards the conquered people of South Africa in voting money and doing everything else to establish peace and harmony there, to reconcile those people to English rule and make them loyal citizens of the empire, do you think we can feel less sympathy for that generous policy when it is extended to the people of Ireland ? No people in the world can be more grateful than the Irish people can be, and will be for this new policy in Ireland ; but not even Ireland will reap more benefit from that conciliation than will the empire itself broadly considered. I do not minimize the importance of gaining the good will of the people of South Africa now that they have been conquered, but I do say-and I hope I am not saying too much or going too far-that to reconcile the Irish people and satisfy their reasonable aspirations is as greatly in the interest of the empire as is the conciliation of the people of South Africa. I do not criticise that liberal policy or haggle over its details as applied to any other country, when I say that I am delighted to see the extension of a liberal policy to the people of Ireland. I think I ought to mention here that, ns it has been known generally that I would move a resolution on this subject during this session, I have received communications from different parts of Canada all in favour of the attitude I have taken. Not one single letter, not one word of advice have I received to the contrary. I may be permitted to read the list of the most prominent bodies that have sent forward resolutions : No. 1 Division, A. O. H., Hochelaga. County Board, A. O. H., Hochelaga. County Board, A. O. H., Elgin County, Ont. Quebec Branch United Irish League, Quebec. Division No. 1, A. O. H., Quebec. Division No. 1, A. O. H., Ottawa. Division No. 6, A. O. H., Douglastown, N.B. Division No. 2, A. O. H., Carleton County, Ont. County Board, A. O. H., Carleton, Ont. Ottawa Branch United Irish League, Ottawa. No. 1 Division, A. 0. H., Toronto. Central Branch United Irish League, Montreal. St. Patrick's T. A. & B. Society, Montreal.


?

Arnprior Branch U. I. L.@

, Arnprior.

St. Bridget's Court, C. 0. F., Ottawa.

St. Patrick's Society, Montreal.

Young Irishmen's L. & B. Ass., Montreal.

There are many others, and I have also received letters innumerable upon this subject.

I hope that, in view of the fact that I seldom claim much of the time of the House, allowance will be made, even by those lion, gentlemen who do not feel as I do upon this subject, and that I shall be excused for taking up the time of the House upon this occasion. For. as one of the oldest members here. I think lion, members will bear me out in saying that I have not imposed myself unduly upon the attention of the House. I may add this too, as an old man, that if I have any feeling Hon. Mr. C08TIGAN.

of pride or consolation at this time of life, it is that I can look around upon both sides of the House and say to hon. _gentlemeu : Whatever our differences have been, can you point out a single instance when I intentionally showed discourtesy to any member of this House ? It is a great satisfaction to me that I can claim that position. I do not seek honour or promotion ; I am not so selfish as many people sometimes think I am. I have been accused a good deal in that way, but I think that I can satisfy any hon. gentleman who will sit down to a quiet conversation with me, that I am about as disinterested a person as can be found in this parliament. But I have pretty strong convictions, I am firm in my convictions ; still, I can appeal to the House whether I have ever been offensive in the proper discharge of my duties and the proper support of the principles in which I believe. I think I have always shown a readiness to meet my fellow members on equal terms, and accord them the same rights which I claim for myself.

We all know what the position of the poor Irish has been for years, indeed I may say for centuries, but to-day that term no longer applies. To-day, to repeat a saying which may sometimes be heard in convivial gatherings, ' there is nothing too good for the Irish.' I think that sentiment is becoming true. But that was not always the case, and I am sure that no one in this Chamber will regret that the contrary condition is passing away. It is a great gratification to every man of Irish origin that this great change has come about. We know that for a long time the prejudices of the whole world were against our race. The policy was to educate the world in prejudice against us. History slandered the Irish, the theatres slandered the Irish character. We know that It has always been admitted that the Irish excel in natural wit; but how often has that feature of the Irish character been misrepresented in vulgar and unworthy caricatures, instead of reproducing the genuine brilliant wit that every man admits is natural to the Irishman.

Ireland was never a land of ignorance. Ireland can claim a history in progress and civilization second to no other nation. Let me quote a few words on this point from the Honourable Colin Lindsay, a leading English historian, who, in well measured words, bears testimony to the high degree of civilization in Ireland. Speaking of the period when the Normans came there he said :

Before England was born into the family of nations, Ireland was an autonomy, recognized as such by contemporary races. When Albion was inhabited by a barbarous and savage people, Ireland was in the height of prosperity. When Anglo-Saxons were teariDg each other to pieces, Ireland was possessed of a settled government, and administered by wise laws, so ancient that no one knew precisely the period of their first promulgation. When this country

(England) was remarkable lor its ignorance, Ireland was celebrated lor her culture ami civilization. When St. Augustine was preaching to the heathen, when Ethelbert was receiving baptism, when Alfred was a wanderer, Ireland was sending forth her missionaries ali over the world, spreading everywhere the gospel and civilization. When the foundations .if the universities of Cambridge and Oxford were laid, the colleges of Ireland had long been flourishing seats of learning, imparting to all who came to her schools knowledge and truth. Ireland can assert what no other existing kingdom or state can say: That the history is lost in the mazes of antiquity and that her era of barbarism belongs to pre-historic times.

Therefore I say that we feel a great relief in viewing present conditions ; we have reason to feel a great deal of consolation in finding that public opinion, not only in Canada, but throughout the empire, has changed. We see to-day in that great parliament of Great Britain, men who, a few days ago, were sneered at, as some lion, gentlemen would sneer at me because of my sympathy with this question-we see the Irish parliamentary party, once represented as a set of demagogues living upon the charity and subscriptions of poor people, to-day taking their rightful place in the esteem and consideration of that great parliament. There is one thing that the Canadian people ought not to forget. They ought to all feel proud of the system of government established in this free country, they ought to feel proud that the doors of this parliament are open to any man who possesses the confidence of his fellow citizens, even though he has not a dollar in his pocket. The condition of things in the old country was different. On account of the great wealth of that country, the representation fell naturally into the hands of wealthy men who could afford to give their entire time without any remuneration to meet even their current expenses. It was felt that the men who were going there to fight the battles of their country ought to receive some aid to enable them to meet their expenses. The money they received for that purpose was a free donation. Well, I say these men were slandered. By whom? They were slandered the world over by those who did not agree with their views. What do we find to-day ? We find the government of Great Britain holding out the hand of conciliation, of peace and welcome to those very men who were formerly regarded with aversion. To-day we find the Irish parliamentary representatives treated as they ought to be treated, as men standing on an equal footing with every other member of that great parliament. This change shows the present tendency of public opinion in the empire towards that great reform which recognizes the people at their true worth, that reform which proposes to extend to the people the fullest measure of control of their own public affairs and their own destiny.

Mr. Speaker, I could quote other authorities besides the one I have given, besides that letter of Mr. Brassey and the extract from the historian Lindsay. Let me refer to a Canadian paper, the T. ronto ' News,' and in its issue of the 28th of March what does it say ? It does not seem to be scared about the bugbear of mentioning home rule. One would imagine that there had been a secret compact made some where that there has been some hole and corner understanding. If you Irish only keep quiet we are going to do a big thing with the land question, but you must keep quiet and not say a word about home rule at all. We will blind the other fellows and they will not know what is going on. If you do not say anything about home rule at all the other fellows will be willing to support the deal. I do not believe there is any such hole and corner business about the question at all. I thing this is a broad policy and that it should be treated in that light. This article, published in the Toronto ' News,' says :

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HOME RULE IS COMING.


The second and salient fact



In speaking about the Land Bill- -is that even Mr. Wyndham, though expressly declaring that he spoke only for himself, foreshadows Irish self-government, and sees the desirability of the creation of an Irish representative authority with real responsibility for and the permanent interest in a successful working of the measure.


CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

That is an Irish Committee for the administration of the land law.

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LIB

John Costigan

Liberal

Hon. Mr. COSTIGAN.

I do not differ with that at all. I do not think it is necessary to make any argument in favour of home rule. This is not the time. My argument has not been one in which I thought it necessary to establish the claim of the people of Ireland to home rule. I have been trying to give reasons why I was justified in bringing this resolution forward and congratulating the English people upon the evidence of progress towards the settlement of the land question, and still keeping consistent with our expressions of opinion heretofore in favour of a measure of home rule. We do not dictate that measure; we do not say what the extent of it shall be. That is a thing to be worked out practically by the people of England with the approval of the people of Ireland. The question of home rule is not dropped at all. As to the extent of the measure we do not attempt to decide that any more than we attempt to deal with the financial aspect of the land bill itself. They are dealing with that and we hope satisfactorily. The prospect looks bright and I am sure that every Canadian, whatever his feelings may be in regard to Ireland itself and home rule, will

rejoice at a settlement which will be in the interests of the empire. Now,' I will not trespass upon the time of the House any longer. There are other hon. gentlemen who will follow me on both sides. I would have expressed the hope that there might have been a unanimous vote upon this question but I may not be justified in anticipating that favourable result. However, I will conclude by asking the House to give this matter, fair, honest consideration, not to allow any side issues, not to allow any unreasonable arguments to sway hon. gentlemen in expressing their opinions upon this, what I call, reasonable proposition that they are asked to give their opinion on. Mr. Speaker, I leave the question in the hands of the House feeling confident that the Canadian parliament will not go back upon the record it made in 1882, in 1886 and in 1887.

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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. E. HACKETT (Prince West).

Mr. Speaker, about one hour ago I was told that I would be called upon to second the Tesolu-tion proposed by the hon. member for Victoria, N. B. (Hon. Mr. Costigan). I regret that I did not know this at an earlier date, in order that I might have been prepared to speak upon such an important question. However, I will do the best I possibly can under the circumstances. I am in favour of home rule for Ireland. I believe that constitutionally the parliament of Canada has the right to pass a resolution of this kind advising the imperial government as to the wishes of the people of Canada and thereby strengthening the hands of the statesmen in the mother country. Last year, in my opinion, a resolution of this kind should have been introduced into this House. The hon. gentleman who moved the resolution this evening informed me at an early period of last session that he intended to introduce a resolution similar to those he introduced in former years, but the session passed and nothing was done in that connection. I believe that last year, when the conference of the premiers Of the empire met in London to discuss matters affecting the different colonies, was the time when the right hon. leader of the government (Sir Wilfrid Lau-rier) should have had in his hands a resolution passed by this House In favour of home rule for Ireland, but the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Costigan) for some reason known to himself, did not think proper to bring forward this resolution. On this occasion he says that he brings it forward in no unfriendly spirit to the government. I say that is not the proper manner in which to approach an important question like this which affects the people of the whole empire. The question of home rule for Ireland is above all considerations of whether the government be friendly or unfriendly. If the government to-day desire to vote this resolution down let them vote it down; but Sir, I challenge the government to-day to vote against this resolution.

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LIB
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

lias it come to this point at last ; That this great question; this cause of home rule so dear to the hearts of Irishmen all over the world, is to be made a football to be kicked at by designing politicians for their own personal advantages and for party purposes. Sir, I have been a member of this House of Commons for a number of years. In 1882 when the homo rule resolution was introduced by the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Costigan) it received the support of the Liberal-Conservative party in the House, and the resolution was forwarded through the proper channels to the authorities in Great Britain. Again in 1884 I had the honour of voting for a similar resolution, and Sir John Macdonald, who was the highest constitutional authority, said that the parliament of Canada had a right to pass such a resolution and he again forwarded the resolution to England. In 1886 and 1887 the same thing was done. I am a Conservative now; I was a Conservative in 1882; I have not changed like some other people; I am a Conservative still and I stand here thankful to the old Conservative party that forwarded this resolution in favour of home rule for Ireland to England in 1882, 1S84, 1886 and 1887, and had it placed at the foot of the Throne.

Sir, this question is too dear to the hearts of the Irish people to be bandied about in any way. What does it mean ? It means autonomy for Ireland, and when in 1SS6 Mr. Gladstone received this resolution from the Canadian parliament, that great statesman declared in the imperial House of Commons :

The most important declaration, the most important message that ever crossed the Atlantic is the voice of the Canadian parliament in favour of home rule for Ireland.

Mr. Gladstone therefore constitutionally lavoured the passage of this resolution. Home rule means self-government for Ire-laud. H e in Canada who enjoy every freedom; we who have perfect autonomy in our government; we above all others should wish to see the same measure of liberty accorded to our fellow-citizens in that other portion of the British empire, which is the native land of the forefathers of many of us. Home rule means self-government; it means autonomy; it means a parliament selected by the Irish people sitting in Dublin to legislate on and administer Irish affairs. I claim, Sir, that we in this parliament have a right to pass this resolution in order to strengthen the hands of the men who are fighting the battle of home rule for Ireland. Now. Sir. there were three essential points in the Home Rule Bill introduced by Mr. Gladstone-there were five that he claimed to be essential, but there were three which I believe to be absolutely essential. The first was the unity of the empire. I believe, Sir, that the granting

of liome rule to Ireland would mean a closer union of the empire and greater unity and greater strength in the empire. We know that when any part of the empire sutlers under a grievance and is in distress and trouble, and is discontented with its political condition, there cannot be the same sympathy or the same support from that part of the empire as there would be if the people were happy and contented. As my hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Costigan) has said, the Irishman is denied that liberty at home which he enjoys in other parts of the empire. That seems illogical, but it is nevertheless the fact. We know, Sir, that the Irishman is always ready at the sound of the bugle to take up arms and fight valiantly under the old flag for the advancement of imperial interests. All over the world wherever the British flag waves may be found the bleached bones of Irishmen who died in defence of the British empire. To have a really united empire, and in order to have the sympathy and support of the people of Ireland, this measure of home rule is absolutely necessary. When home rule is conceded there will be added to the strength of Britain the noblest force that can be rallied to the support of any empire.

Another point that Mr. Gladstone spoke about was political equality, and he contended that if home rule were granted political equality would follow. That is a very important point. What is the meaning of political equality ? There is no man who can speak more feelingly on that question than an Irish Roman Catholic. It means that the Protestant of the North and the Catholic of the South shall have the same political rights under the constitution. For centuries the Catholics of Ireland were denied the right of the franchise. Through the efforts of Daniel O'Connell, ably supported by Canning, Wilberforce, Macaulay and other great statesmen of that date, the manacles were stricken from the wrists of the Catholics and to-day Catholics have the same franchise as their Protestant fellow-countrymen. That was the political equality for which O'Connell fought and won. Although it takes people of different classes and different religions to make up a great nation, we must remember that although we are Catholics and Protestants and do not kneel at the same altar, yet we adore the same God and we should have the same feelings of charity and respect for eacli other. Another point which Mr. Gladstone emphasized was that home rule would be a measure of protection for minorities. There is no doubt that some of our friends in this House, coming from the north of Ireland, do feel that the province of Ulster might not be properly protected under home rule. But let me point out to them that the Catho-lies of Ireland have never abused their pri- 1 vilege of equality of franchise and have never deprived their Protestant follow-citizens of one iota of the rights which they ' enjoyed before Catholic Emancipation. In 1

our discussion of Irish home rule lo-uuy we should not forget the important lanu measure recently introduced in the imperial House of Commons by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. For many centuries the Irish people have suffered from the oppression of absentee landlords and extortionate agents. To-day there is a measure before the imperial parliament with the object of doing justice to the tenantry, of Ireland. Coming as I do from a province of Canada where for a hundred years or more the people suffered as the Irish people did, from absentee landlords, I can speak feelingly on this question. At the time of confederation a measure was introduced in the Prince Edward Island legislature which afterwards received the assent of the Dominion government, allowing the tenantry of my province to buy from the landlords their right in the land. That measure proved to be a most successful one, and the men who fifty years ago were tenants in Prince Edward Island, are to-day enjoying the blessings of free men and are contented owners of their own holdings. When Mr. Gladstone was Prime Minister he sent to the government of Prince Edward Island for a copy of the Act passed at that time, and from what I can gather from recent despatches, it would seem that the land measure introduced by Mr. Wynd-liam is based on the lines of the Prince Edward Island Act. Well, Sir, if the Irish Land Bill is properly carried into effect, I believe that it will be as great a relief to the people of Ireland as our Laud Act was to the people of Prince Edward Island.

As I said at the outset, Sir, I was not prepared to make a speech on this occasion. These few ideas occurred to me as I went along. The hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Costigan) has gone so fully into the question, that it is unnecessary for me to take up further the time of the House. The descendant of an Irishman, as I am, who learned the traditions of the old land in my very youth, although I have never viewed her green fields or rippling streams, I still have a reverence and respect for that old laud; that land of heroes and martyrs; that land that has struggled so long for liberty. Her sons and daughters, the sturdy race of Erin, are scattered the world over like autumn leaves before the winter's blast; strangers in the land of their nativity but princes and lords in every other land where merit is the measure of the man. I hope, Sir, that this resolution will pass unanimously, or if not unanimously, as near to unanimity as is possible in a parliament constituted such as this is.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. JOHN CHARLTON (North Norfolk).

Mr. Speaker. I do not rise for the purpose of combatting the views presented by the hon. member for Victoria. N.B. (Hon. Mr. Costigan) in moving this motion or the views presented by the hon. member for West Prince, P.E.I. (Mr. Hackett) in seconding it. I can concur

most heartily with many of the statements made by both of these hon. gentlemen. I believe, and I have no doubt that belief is shared in by every member of this House, that the Irish people are a noble and a generous race. I believe there have been in Ireland in the past abuses which required to be remedied, that there have been grievances of which the Irish people had just cause to complain. I have the warmest feelings and the best good wishes towards the Irish people ; I wish them prosperity and the removal of all the grievances and burdens which rest upon them. But, Sir, I am impressed with the belief also that the removal of those grievances, so far as political action is concerned, must come from the government that exercises sway and control over Ireland. My hon. friend from Victoria, in the course of his speech, informed us that this is an imperial question. I quite concur with him in that statement ; and as it is an imperial question, it is not one in my opinion for colonial interference ; and for that reason, admitting all that may be claimed for home rule, admitting, as I do. that some system of home rule and local self-government for the four Kingdoms might be advantageous. I still take the position that this is a question with which we have nothing to do, and which this Canadian House of Commons ought not to pass upon. The resolution passed in 1882. to which my hon. friend from Victoria refers, was in due course transmitted to the imperial authorities. In due course also we received a reply to that address. It is unnecessary to recount the terms of that address, or to take up the time of the House by reading it. It was simply an expression of the opinion of the Canadian House of Commons that Ireland was entitled to a just measure of home rule. It passed the House on the 20th April, 1882. and was transmitted earlv in May to the imperial authorities. On the 12th of June of the same year the following reply was transmitted by the Earl of Kimberley to the Marquis of Borne, Governor General of Canada :

My Lord,-I have received and laid before the Queen the address to Her Majesty from th-Senate and House of Commons of Canada in parliament assembled, which was transmitted in your Lordship's dispatch of the 16th May. I am commanded by Her Majesty to request that you will convey to the Senate and House of Commons her appreciation of the renewed expression of their unswerving loyalty and devotion to Her Majesty's person and government. Her Majesty will always gladly receive the advice of the parliament of Canada on all matters relating to the Dominion and the administration of its affairs; but with respect to the question referred to in the address, Her Majesty will, in accordance with the constitution of this country, have regard to the advice of the imperial parliament and ministers, to whom all matters relating to the affairs of the United Kingdom exclusively appertain.

Now, this was an answer which we would be entitled to receive again if the resolu-

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

tiou which my hon. friend has tabled should pass this House. It was an answer amounting to an intimation to the parliament of Canada that we had been guilty of an impertinence and had meddled with matters that were not within our province, and did not belong to us to express an opinion upon in an official manner, that opinion being for transmission to the imperial government. A similar motion passed again in 1886, and again in 1887. The motion passed in 1S86 was transmitted in a somewhat different form from that passed in 1882. It was sent to the Canadian High Commissioner for the Information of the members of the British House of Commons. Whether the members of the British House of Commons profited materially from that source of information I have not been informed. In 1887 the Curran motion was passed. In 1889, Sir. Cook, then a member of this House, who had given notice of a motion upon going into Supply, on the 11th of April moved that motion, and it was lost. In 1892 we had a motion introduced by Mr. Devlin substantially on the lines of the present motion of my hon. friend. We had an amendment to that motion, moved by the hon. member for South Norfolk (Hon. I). Tisdale), the purport of which was that the motion was not called for. We had an amendment to the amendment, introduced by Sir. SIcCarthy, which asserted that the motion was undesirable, that the wisdom of our course in 1882 and in 188C was doubtful, and that the motion should not pass. A debate arose on these amendments ; the debate was adjourned ; it was never resumed ; and that closed the action of the House of Commons on the question of home rule up to the present date, from 1882 to 1903. Now, the renewal of the question after the lapse of eleven years I think it would be difficult to show cause for. In the meantime the condition of Ireland has improved ; great exertions have been made by the imperial government, not only to remove causes of complaint, but to go beyond that, and to deal with the utmost generosity with the Irish people. In the meantime, the sensitiveness of the British government about colonial interference has remained ; and while there is infinitely less cause for this expression of opinion on the part of this House of Commons to-day than there was in 1886, there is the same objection to impertinent interference 'with something that does not belong to us. Since then we had the Gladstone Bill, a Bill framed for the benefit of the tenant, a Bill which gave Ireland exceptional treatment, which gave its peasant class favours which were not enjoyed by that class in any other of the four Kingdoms. We have now pending the Wyndham Bill, a measure so comprehensive. so far-reaching, and involving such an extent of self-sacrifice on the part of the British taxpayer, that one stands astounded at the courage and the generosity of the ! government that has introduced it.

That Bill proposes to give a bonus of from 360,000,000, to $75,000,000 for the settlement of the land question, and admits to participation in the benefits which it will confer on the tenant class, even evicted tenants, comprising all who have been tenants in the past twenty-five years. It puts upon the British government the assumption of liabilities amounting to more than $500,000,000. All this is done to pacify Ireland by removing causes of complaint. All this is done in a spirit of the utmost generosity and good will. Under these circumstances, what reason exists for the introduction of this motion ? What reason exists for demanding in addition home rule for Ireland ? Are we convinced that home rule would be a blessing ? Is there any reason for giving to Ireland exceptional treatment as regards the institutions of the country ? Is Ireland entitled to home rule and Scotland, Wales and England not entitled to it 1 Is there any reason for presenting in this House a motion asking exceptional treatment for the one country and leaving out the three others from participation in any of the benefits to accrue from the adoption of the federal principle ? The time may come when home rule may be adopted in Great Britain. If thdt time ever does comes, it will be home rule, impartial in its application and applicable to the three other divisions, and not to Ireland alone.

Now, the home rule agitation has been looked upon, I apprehend, by the British authorities with some degree of suspicion. The agitators for home rule could witli difficulty, I believe, give conclusive proof of their entire loyalty and devotion to British institutions. The British authorities were justified in entertaining some doubt as to whether a portion of the kingdom, with an autonomy of its own, with power of its own, the leaders and population of which express disloyalty to the nation which granted these privileges, would not be a source of danger, and so naturally there was some hesitation, and Ireland has been herself to blame, to a large extent, perhaps for the withholding of some concessions which were demanded. But whether that were the case or not, and whether it was wise, whether it would be wise for England to give to Ireland the home rule demanded or not, is a question on which we can exercise our individual opinions, but on which we are not entitled to thrust our opinions, as a government or as a parliament. on the British government, because that is beyond our province. I have the same sympathy for Ireland that I have always had. and that is a warm active degree of sympathy. This degree of sympathy led me to vote for the Curran resolution in 18S7. Perhaps I had no reflection-I know I had not reflected at that time upon the constitutional significance of the Act-and I was governed by my feelings with regard to a

generous people who had my thorough and entire sympathy then as they have to-day. Anything that can be done for Ireland I am willing to do. Anything that lies within the control of this House to do, I hold up my hand for. But I cannot on this occasion repeat the mistake of 1887 and vote for a resolution which is beyond the province and powers of this parliament, which can do no good and which would be received by the imperial government as an impertinence. It is not proper to refer to a past debate, but I have the right to refer to past actions of the government, and I refer to its action yesterday which bears out my contention in this regard, when papers were refused upon a motion hy an hon. member of this House bearing upon imperial actions and interests, upon tlie ground that they concerned matters which were beyond the jurisdiction of this parliament. I think that the position taken was a correct one, and that the same position should debar us from accepting tbe motion of tbe hon. member for Victoria, N.B. (Hon. Mr. Costigan).

There are a good many phases to this Irish question. There is a large Irish population in this country and in the United States. In the United States, almost as long ago as I can remember, the prejudices of Irishmen against Great Britain were the stalking horse of unscrupulous politicians, and the Yankee demagogue twisted the tail of the British lion in order to secure the sympathy and support of Irish voters. In ninety-nine out of one hundred cases, the most effective of all appeals were these appeals concerning the wrongs which Ireland had suffered at the hands of the British government. I do not know whether the same spirit exists in Canada. I do not know whether the same methods and motives would have the same force here. I do not know whether appeals to tlie Irish vote may happen to he concealed beneath the assumed reasons which induced the hon. gentleman to take the course he has taken in introducing this resolution. Perhaps it may he possible that on rare occasions tlie idea may flash through his mind incidentally that there are a number of Irish voters in his riding and that he will stand better with them by taking this course. I do not know but that might be the case with myself. I have a good many Irish voters in my constituency-several hundred of them -but I think as a rule they are nien with sufficient degree of intelligence to accept the situation and to realize that the passing of this motion for home rule is an net which exceeds our power as a parliament, and is a course of conduct which is not advisable, and I am confident that it will not receive their sanction and support.

We have a good deal of business here to attend to and we do not need to attend to the business of our neighbours, especially when they inform us that they do not want us to attend to it and will resent our inter-

ference. We have half a continent to lick into shape. We have almost unmeasured resources which, when developed to their full capacity, will provide ample scope for a population of one hundred million souls. We have transportation to provide for the great region of the North-west-one of the most gigantic problems that ever confronted any government. We have a great immigration pouring into the country from the United States and from Europe. We have heard the low wash of the waves for years past, which will soon he followed by the rushing in of a vast human sea. All these problems have to be met, emergencies have to be provided against, the foundations of an empire have to be laid and the superstructure erected. This enormous task is on our hands, and we can afford to let Great Britain do her own business without our interference. If England chooses to give home rule to Ireland on to refuse to grant Ireland home rule, we are not in a position to discuss her policy. It is not our business to do so. Besides if we take the course which my hon. friend proposes, we shall establish a precedent that may re-act upon us. If we are entitled to formulate and solemnly pass a resolution advising and informing Great Britain wliat in certain cases and under certain circumstances she should do, what is there to prevent the parliament of Great Britain acting upon that precedent and passing resolutions informing us what we had better do ? What is to prevent the parliament of Great Britain acting upon the precedent that we have created passing resolutions informing us what we had better do ?-telling us that we had better get ready to come into an imperial federation, for instance, and have an organic union and a parliament at Westminster to control the affairs of the British colonies ? Such a resolution could be passed by the parliament of Great Britain with just as much propriety, with just as much reason, with just as good a foundation of sound constitutional principle as the motion proposed by my hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Costigan). Suppose that the British parliament should pass a resolution with regard to an imperial Zollverein, and inform us that, in their opinion the time had come for ns to fall into line and have universal free trade and a Zollverein for the British empire ? Suppose they should undertake to inform us of our duty in regard to an imperial preference, its limits and the scope of its operation ? Suppose they should inform us that they have taken care of us long enough, that we have profited by their generosity and fostering care, that they have given us naval protection and military protection. and that now we must become partners and participants in a scheme of imperial defence, paying our quota of taxation? Suppose they should take it into the'r heads, ns we are in danger of taking it into ours, that they could give advice out-Mr. CHARLTON.

side their sphere with regard to the political, social, and ethnic conditions in this country ? Suppose they should tell us : You

have had the dual language in your deliberations and in the publication of your laws about long enough; it is time that you had a more thorough system of assimilation, time that the French race was absorbed ? They have as much right to make that suggestion as we have to make suggestions about home rule for Ireland. And we would resent it in the same way that they will resent the suggestion that my hon. friend proposes to make. Suppose they should make a suggestion about any question of our domestic policy ? In these things we have, and expect to maintain, autonomy, as all the self-governing independent colonies do. We do not expect to permit any interference with that autonomy, and we will resent any such interference. That being so, we had better refrain from a precedent that may give colour to the assumption on the part of British statesmen that they have right to interfere with us.

I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that we must carefully preserve our autonomy. We are building up a nation, we have the material to build it with, and we must have a free hand in the job. And, as I said before, it is business enough for us, without attending to England's business in Ireland. We must scrupulously respect the rights of Great Britain to manage her imperial affairs in any of her colonies and in all the realms of Ireland. Scotland. England and Wales. This resolution enters upon a field of action where we have no place, -where we are interlopers, where we are not welcome and had better not intrude. As I have said, it would furnish a precedent for interference with us; and the prudent and proper course, I would say in conclusion, is to refuse our concurrence with this resolution.

At six o'clock, House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.

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IND

Jabel Robinson

Independent

Mr. JABEL ROBINSON (West Elgin).

Before recess I rose to say a few words on the motion now before the Chair. I understand that the question introduced by the hon. member for Victoria, N.B. (Hon. Mr. Costigan) is not new to this House, although it is new to me. I think it is to be regretted that every session of this parliament resolutions are introduced into this House that do not concern the people of Canada. It is my opinion that the people of Canada have enough trouble and difficulties of their own to settle, without dragging the affairs of Great Britain and Ireland into this House. The people of Ireland have less grievances than the people in many other places. The English church has been disestablished, courts of arbitration have been formed for the settlement of all disputes between land-

lords and tenants. Now a land purchase Bill is before the British parliament which, if it is carried, it is estimated will cost the British people over $400,000,000. Still, we have hon. gentlemen getting up in this House and saying that the British government is doing nothing for the Irish people, and asking this government to pass resolutions in their favour. Perhaps hon. gentlemen are not aware, when pressing these buncombe resolutions, how much they cost this country, or how much they cost the Dominion treasury. I do not think they realize, nor do their constituents realize, that every minute of time wasted in this House costs the country the sum of $2S. The hon. member for Victoria is not the only sinner in this respect. If I remember right, last session the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) introduced a resolution that the House took all day to discuss, and it was just about as relevant as the one we heard this afternoon ; consequently you see the sinners are not all on this side of the House. Now if it costs $28 a minute, some of you can reckon how much that resolution was worth. Now I have not one word to say against the Irish people, nor against what the English people are doing for the Irish. I know they are a warm-hearted, industrious people. Many of them are my neighbours, and there are no better people under heaven than some of the Irish people. At the same time, when they want to get justice they must go the right way about it ; and every Irishman in Canada will get justice, no doubt about that. I told a story once in this House, I do not know whether it would be advisable to tell one now or not.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Go on.

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IND

Jabel Robinson

Independent

Mr. ROBINSON (West Elgin).

Well, some months ago I happened to be in the neighbouring state of Maine. I went into a post office to buy some stamps and envelopes, as I wanted to send some letters and papers to Canada, and the young lady from whom I was purchasing was as handsome as any of the Canadian girls. I suppose she was an American. She was surprised when she learned that my letters and papers were going to Canada. She said ' Surely you are not a Canadian ? ' I said, ' Oui. mademoiselle.' and she rather doubted it then, she could not believe that I was a Canadian. She said, ' You don't speak like a Canadian.' ' Well,' I said, ' you must not say too much about the Canadian people, perhaps some of you young ladies will want to form alliances with the Canadian people.' ' Oh, for pity's sake don't say that, we don't want to marry any of those Canadians, we don't like them.' ' Why,' she says, ' I would rather a thousand times marry an Irishman.' * Well,' I said, ' I am not surprised at that.' ' You are not surprised at it ? ' ' No, indeed,' I said. ' You

remember Samuel Lover said that an Irishman is always in one of three things. He 24}

is always either in love, in liquor or in a row. But in this state of Maine it is not possible, under the law, for an Irishman to get liquor, and if he cannot get liquor he is not likely to get into a row ; consequently he must always be in love. So you young American ladies can never resist the advances made by a warm-hearted and enthusiastic Irishman.' So I come to the conclusion that is the reason why there are so many O'Donohue's and O'Elaherty's and so on in that country. You know statistics say that one half of the people of the state of Maine were born in Canada. Now, Sir, I just want to say that the Irish people can take care of themselves, I think, both in Ireland and in this country ; and I am sure that the English people are doing everything possible for them at the present time.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

Naturally, I had some curiosity before speaking to know what position the government would take on this question, because, it being an amendment to a motion to go into Supply, it would be regarded under ordinary circumstances as a motion of want of confidence. But the government have not given any intimation of what they are going to do about it. If it was a motion regarding the embargo on cattle, of course they would regard is as a motion of want of confidence as they did a day or two ago. Are they going to place the Irish in the same position ? So far they have not given us any intimation of what they will do. I do not propose to talk at great length on this question, because I imagine no good purpose would be served by so doing. I wish to say a few words with regard to the hon. member for Victoria (Hon. Mr. Costigan), who introduced this question. He told the House that twenty years ago he had introduced a similar resolution, and had supported such resolutions at various times since, and had not changed his mind. Well, evidently twenty year's experience in this House has taught him nothing with regard to the wisdom or unwisdom of frittering away the time of this House to no good purpose. The hon. member said, when some evidence of dissent was given regarding his resolution, that he recognized it came from both sides of the house, that he did not regard with favour such sneers against the Irish people. I was watching very attentively at the time, and that was not the interpretation that I put upon the dissent that was offered from both sides of the House regarding this motion. There was no intention to sneer at the Irish people, nor to offer any insult to them, but the dissent was rather an expression of opinion of the unwisdom of the hon. member in introducing such a resolution into this House. The hon. member stated that parliament had expressed itself on several occasions regarding this question. It did. that is true ; but not always in the same direction. The

history contained in the * Hansard ' shows that the question was before this House at different times, and was dealt with in various ways. It is true that the hon. member brought it up twenty years ago, and then, out of the generosity and kindness of heart of members on both sides of the House, they allowed the resolution to pass without much comment. At the same time many of them, doubting the wisdom of that action, came to the conclusion that if it did no good it would do no harm. But the reproof that was given to the Canadian parliament then, and which I will read later on, gave parliament a lesson which I am sure many of us have profited by ever since.

The hon. member went on to say : ' Has home rule become so unpopular in this House that the mention of it provokes dissent from the people ? ' It was not the question of home rule, or the wisdom or unwisdom of giving home rule to Ireland, that provoked dissent on the part of some members of this House ; it was rather the unwisdom of introducing such a question into the Canadian parliament. The hon. member said later on : ' Gladstone said

that the most important message that ever crossed the Atlantic was the resolution of the Canadian parliament regarding home rule.' I thought at the time it would be interesting if the hon. gentleman had read the reply given by one of Mr. Gladstone's colleagues in the cabinet, Earl Kimberly to the resolutions sent home in 1882, and if he had done so, it would have been a fitting answer to the allegations that the hon. gentleman made.

I have only to say that home rule, and analagous questions have been introduced into this House at various times and they have been discussed-I think unwisely introduced and unwisely discussed, because I have always regarded it as entirely out of the line of our duty, or of our right, or even of the part of wisdom that we should introduce and discuss these questions. It is neither our duty nor our right to advise the imperial parliament regarding the government of any portion of Great Britain or Ireland. That is the duty of the imperial parliament. We are not charged with that responsibility, we are not charged wifh that duty ; we are here to legislate for the peace, order and good government of Canada and not for Ireland, and therefore I have always regarded it as very much out of place that we should deal with such questions here. I have a high authority, the authority of a very eminent man in England for saying so. I have the authority of the Earl of Kimberley for saying so in the answer which he gave to the resolutions which were sent home in 1882. But, before dealing with that I want to speak of other questions, because I put all of these vexed questions on a par, all these analogous resolutions which are of an inflam-atory character and which tend to arouse Mr. SPROULE.

animosity and discord between two classes of people in this country, between Homan Catholics and Protestants. What is the history of these resolutions ? Let me refer to them for a short time. In 1869 the first resolution introduced into the Canadian parliament was in regard to the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish church. That was a question which, like the home rule question belonged only to the imperial parliament and the imperial parliament was charged with the responsibility and duty of settling it and was endeavouring to settle it at that time. I notice that some of the present hon. members of this House took part in that debate. Looking back over ' Hansard ' I see that some very pertinent remarks were made in reference to that discussion which I intend to refer to very briefly. I shall take those of the late Sir John Macdonald who was a very high authority. Pie went on to say that it was imprudent to introduce these questions and that it was wrong and proceeded :

Now, surely, it was an extraordinary course on the part of the hon. member who had introduced the resolution

That was the Hon. Mr. Holton who had introduced the resolution.

-to ask the House to deal with a matter with which it had no concern, and render itself amenable to the answer that ' It should mind its own business.' The hon. member acknowledged that our parliament should not deal with such a matter, except in a case of supreme necessity.

And Sir John Macdonald said :

There was no supreme necessity for the motion.

Then we have a statement by the Hon. Joseph Howe, a statesman whom I have always regarded as one of the very ablest men that Canada has produced. I shall read his remarks. He said :

This House had lately been increasing its sphere of labours enormously, and its responsibility was now greater than ever rested upon any other one hundred and eighty men since representative institutions began to exist. When he looked at the work before them, at the responsibility they were about to assume he thought that if they did not want to make themselves a laughing stock before the world they should at least mind their own business. He did not hesitate to say that as an individual he favoured the measure now before the imperial parliament

Tlmt was the measure for the disestablishment of the Irish church.

-and in his own province he had always stood up for equal rights to all sects and all nationalities. If they, with all the responsibility resting upon them, with all the work before them, were to meddle with affairs across the Atlantic, they would exhibit a spectacle to the world that he would be very sorry to see. He did not doubt that the hon. gentleman from Chat-eauguay was actuated with a good motive in offering this resolution, but he believed the effect of the motion would be bad. He found

in this country Protestants and Catholics dwelling together in accord, and he believed this motion was calculated to cast a fire brand among them.

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Subtopic:   HOME RULE IS COMING.
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March 31, 1903