March 31, 1903

CON

Edwin Tolton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HOLTON.

Explain why ; I deny that.

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LIB
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

That was in 1869. These words of wisdom are from one of the ablest men, I think, who ever occupied a seat in the Canadian parliament.

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LIB
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

In view of that and in view of the answer that we got to our resolution in 1882, I am inclined to the opinion that we do an improper thing to introduce these questions. When the hon. member for Victoria, N.B. (Hon. Mr. Costigan) made a statement that Mr. Gladstone said the most important question that had ever crossed the Atlantic was the Canadian home rule resolution, I said I would like then to have the reply of Mr. Gladstone's minister-no doubt concurred in by Mr. Gladstone himself-to the resolution moved by the hon. member for Victoria in 1882 when the House was-I was almost going to say-cajoled into passing it almost unanimously out of good nature so that it might not become a political question. In 1882 the reply sent to the Marquis of Lome, the Governor General of that day, by the Earl of Kimberley reads as follows :-

My Lord,-I received and laid before the Queen the address to Her Majesty from the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, in parliament assembled, which was transmitted in your lordship's despatch of the 16th of May.

I am commanded by Her Majesty to request that you will convey to the Senate and the House of Commons, Her appreciation of the renewed expressions 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 in all matters relating to the Dominion, and the administration of its affairs, but with respect to the questions 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 which all matters relating to the affairs of the United Kingdom exclusively appertain.

These questions exclusively appertain to the imperial parliament and we are numbered amongst those who are excluded from dealing with them. That was the answer that came from Mr. Gladstone's cabinet to the resolutions that were sent home in 1882. Ever since that I regarded the rebuff which we got as well merited and I have ever since that opposed the introduction of such questions into the House of Commons because I thought that-

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LIB

Mahlon K. Cowan

Liberal

Mr. COWAN.

Where could that statement be found ?

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

That can be found in [DOT]'Hansard' in the debate on the home rule

resolution iu 1880. The impropriety of this will be apparent if we think for a moment that England ought to have as good a right, yes, even a better right, to^ give advice to us than we have to give advice to her. Let us suppose that England was, to interfere in our business with her advice. There are a number of people in "the province of Quebec, and outside of it tco, who think that there are existing conditions in that province which do not tend for the welfare of the country. Suppose the English parliament should say : We think in the

interest of the country that you should amend your system of government in Quebec. Let that advice from England refer to the church, and I merely mention this by way of illustration. I understand that there is a great deal of land and property belonging to the church in Quebec-I speak of the Roman Catholic Church and with no disrespect to it-that church has the right to take a tithe out of its own people and apply it to the wants of the church, and iu other ways they have control over the people which a great many think is not for the best interest of the people of the province. Suppose that the imperial parliament should ask the Canadian parliament to amend that condition of things! by legislation, how would the people of Quebec like it, or for that matter how would the people of Ontario like it. Would we not regard it as an unreasonable interference with the rights of the Canadian parliament ? I might quote other examples but that will suffice. If we have a right to advise England with regard to what legislation she shall pass on Irish affairs and as to what form of government she should have, then I say/ that England has as good a right to advise us as to what particular form of government we should have in the province of Quebec, the province of Ontario, or any other province of the Dominion. Let us apply the same rule to England that we wouid like England to apply to Canada. And, could we not with equal propriety advise the government of Great Britain as to what form of government she should establish in the South African colonies. We do not interfere in that case because wo know that it is the right of the imperial parliament and of the imperial parliament alone to be charged with that responsibility. So it is in the case of the government of Ireland. If we have the right to advise England as to her policy, then we have equally the right to advise the government of any other British colony as to what they should do, and I suppose that no one in this House would think it the part of wisdom to interfere in such a direction. I have always held the belief that we in this Canadian parliament should address ourselves to the duties for which we were elected, and which appertain to the government of the Canadian people. On different occasions this parliament has wasted its time

debating questions analogous to the one before us. In 1869 Mr. Holton introduced a motion here with regard to the disestablishment and disendownment of the Irish church. That was to no good purpose for the imperial parliament dealt with the question and dealt with it satisfactorily quite regardless of anything which we did in the Canadian parliament. The wisest of our statesmen thought in 1809 that it was an impropriety for Mr. Holton to introduce that question here. In 1882 we had a home rule resolution introduced by the Hon. John Costignn and it was debated at great length. In the generosity of our hearts we allowed him to carry that resolution, and I am sorry to believe that it created the false impression on the mind of the imperial parliament that the Canadian parliament was unanimous on the question. 1 know1 as a fact that it was no such a thing, but out of generosity for the Irish people and the hon. member, and so as to prevent it being made a political question the motion was allowed to be carried almost unanimously. I do not regard this as a political question, Sir;

I never did, never shall or never will. In 1884 another home rule resolution was introduced. In 1886 a similar resolution was introduced by the Hon. Edward Blake. I was glad to know that Mr. Blake has gone to that arena where his great powers and his great ability might be used to better purpose in advocating Ireland's wants than in the Canadian parliament, but I noticed that he has made few of the long speeches over there on that question that he treated us to in the Canadian parliament. There are some people who are uncharitable enough to suggest that at times this question has been introduced in the Canadian parliament for political purposes. I will not say that is the case, but I will say that it is most unfortunate that for that or some other reason it is constantly cropping up here. Again in 1887 we had a home rule motion introduced by the Hon. Mr. Curran who is now a respected judge. It was debated by the hon. member for Victoria, N.B. (Hon. Mr. Costigan) and there was a vote on it. After 1882 when we got that reply from Mr. Gladstone's cabinet there was always a dissent in this House to the discussion of such a question, and so in 1887, forty-seven members voted against it, and a great many more would have voted against it but for the fact that they thought a wrong construction might have been put upon their vote. This resolution in 1887 was sent to the High Commissioner in London, but whether it ever got to the imperial government we do not know, because it has never been resurrected out of the archives since. In 1889 the home rule question was introduced and debated here. The motion was defeated by an amendment, and it was not carried. In 1891 we had another proposal 1 to debate such a resolution in this House, 1 but accidently or for some unknown reason 1 Mr. SPROULE.

it was dropped, and very suddenly dropped at the time. That motion was introduced by Mr. Cook. Now for the sixth time we have it introduced again. Surely in the light of the experience of the past, we have reached that period in the history of the Canadian parliament when we should keep such questions out of the arena of this House. The rule was laid down in 1869 by Sir John Macdonald and by the Hon. Mr. Howe, that such questions as this ought never be imported into the House of Commons of Canada except on two grounds. One of these was, the supreme necessity at the time being, and as he declared there was no supreme necessity for it then. The other ground was the question of supreme importance to the empire, and in his judgment he thought it came within neither of these justifiable reasons. It was neither of supreme necessity nor of supreme importance.

In my judgment, such a resolution'is especially inopportune just now, and why ? Because at the present time the imperial parliament is dealing with the Irish question in a way that is commanding the respect and admiration of the world. The imperial parliament is prepared, in order to relieve Ireland of her embarrassment and settle her troubles, to grant $60,000,000 as a free gift to help one class of the Irish tenantry, and in addition to that is prepared to pledge the credit of Great Britain to the extent of $750,000,000 as an evidence of her good will and her desire to settle this vexed question in a way to make Ireland contented, loyal and happy. Great Britain is doing this at the expense of the British taxpayer, and she is doing it of her own free will and accord, without any pressure being brought to bear upon her from any quarter of the world. In view of that fact, am I not justified in saying that the hon. member for Victoria might well have let this question rest at the present time, and have waited to see whether this great measure which Great Britain is adopting would not result in satisfying the Irish people and making them loyal, contented, peaceable and happy, as she desires to have all her subjects in every part of the world.

I do not propose to enter into a discussion of the question whether or not home rule would be a blessing or otherwise for Ireland. I do not think it is germane to the purpose of this resolution. I am not here to debate that question. But I may say, in passing, that it is a debateable question; and the very fact that there are two sections of the community who hold views diametrically opposed to each other witli regard to that question, ought to be sufficient to restrain this House from adopting any resolution of this kind. While one portion of the people of Ireland think home rule would be a blessing-and I am free to say that I think they are the majority-still I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that a very large and respectable minority hold that it

would not be a blessing for Ireland to have home rule and prefer that it should be governed from Downing street. While a majority may say yes, a large and respectable minority will undoubtedly say no, and they hold this view because of what past history has taught them. Whether they are right or wrong, their conviction in this respect is very strong, and we ought to respect their conviction. The injustices which they claim were done to them when Ireland had home rule were such as to make them look with disfavour on a renewal of the conditions which then existed. They dread the return of those conditions, and can you blame them ? I say we cannot. Each of these divisions of the Irish people have their adherents and sympathizers in this country. If I hold the view that home rule would not be in the best interest of Ireland, that is my right. If, on the other hand, my Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen hold that home rule would be in the best interest of Ireland, that is their right. I have no quarrel with them. But so long as these divergent views are held, and we are not charged with the duty of settling this troublesome question, we should not allow it to interfere with our work here. It is said that the minority are so small in numbers that their views should not be taken into account. What is the relative strength of these two sections of the people of Ireland ? According to the returns of the last election, they are about G5 per cent to 35 per cent. About 05 per cent hold that home rule would be good for Ireland, and about 35 per cent hold that it would not, and these people have sent members to the imperial parliament to represent their respective views. It is not my purpose to inquire whether, in view of the seditious and disloyal utterances of many advocates of home rule, it would be right to entrust to them the power of governing Ireland. I refer to such men as Dillon, Redmond, O'Brien and Devlin. I do not refer to the Devlin who was once a member of the Canadian parliament, because I am bound to say that I never heard very much from him along that line; but I refer to the disloyal and seditious utterances of these other men when travelling in the United States. Whether it would be right to permit a class of men holding such seditious and disloyal views to govern Ireland, I am not going to say. but it is the view of some that it would not be right.

I say it is not the part of wisdom to import questions of this kind into this parliament. On the contrary, I hold that it would be the part of unwisdom, because they are disturbing questions which tend to divide the people instead of helping them to live in peace and harmony together. We desire to live in peace and harmony with our Roman Catholic fellow-citizens, and to see them work out the problems of life with their families in happiness and prosperity. We wish them success in all the pursuits of life; but it does not tend to promote that

feeling of amity, friendship and goodwill between the two creeds in this country to be constantly introducing these vexed questions. Suppose that a member of this House were to be constantly introducing here certain questions in the iuterest of his friends in Ireland that were not agreeable to the Roman Catholics in Ireland or in Canada, what would our Roman Catholic friends say ? They would say he was doing a very improper thing, and I am bound to say that their conclusion would be correct. Then, I ask them to apply the same rule to themselves that they apply to me. I say that if any Protestant in this House were disposed to introduce such a question, I would be inclined to tell him at once that he was doing a very improper and unwise thing. As far as my influence would go, I would endeavour to prevent his doing it, because I do not think it would tend to increase the harmony and good will which ought to exist between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Holding that belief, I am justified in condemning any man who is constantly importing these troublesome and vexatious questions into the House of Commons, questions which tend to excite acrimonious debate and weaken those feelings of amity and love which we are all anxious to see prevail. There are many people in* Canada who share these views with me. I shall not say that the hon. member who introduced this motion was actuated by any political motive, because the rules of the House do not allow us to impute motives, but there are many people in Canada who, when they consider the circumstances and the manner in which this agitation is introduced from time to time, will be uncharitable enough to believe that there are political motives behind it, and will have consequently the less respect for the party who introduces such resolutions, no matter to what side of the House he may belong.

Some hon. members may ask me what does the minority see in home rule to be afraid of ? I have already given my opinion on that point. They are afraid that it would not be home rule they would have to contend with, but rule from some other quarter of the world, which would not be the best kind of rule for the people of Ireland. Our desire is to live in peace and harmony with our Roman Catholic fellow-citizens and to see them enjoy to the fullest extent the blessings of a free country and a responsible government. May we not hope that they will join us in that ambition ? We ought to have good ground for the hope, but I regret to say that all do not share with us in those opinions, and among them is the hon. gentleman who introduced the resolution. I am opposed to this resolution, and shall vote against it, and I ask those who oppose it for the same reasons that I do to give expression to their dissent. I am not asking any man to give a vote on the merits or demerits of home rule, but on the unwisdom of bringing that question into the House of

Commons. If the imperial parliament should see fit to give home rule, that is their concern, and we have no complaint to make or advice to give, but I am opposed to this resolution because the introduction into this House of such vexed questions, with which we have nothing to do, disturbs the harmony and good fellowship which would otherwise exist between Protestants and Roman Catholics. I am opposed to this resolution because it is no part of our duty to advise the mother country as to what kind of government she should give Ireland or any other portion of the empire, nor have we any mandate from our constituents to fritter away the time of this House and spend the money of the country discussing such questions, with which practically we have no concern.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. CHARLES MARCIL (Bonaventure).

I quite agree, Mr. Speaker, with the last speaker (Mr. Sproule) in his remark that he would regret the introduction into this House of any question which would be of a nature to disturb the good feelings and relations that exist between Protestants and Roman Catholics in this country. Far be it from my intention now, in speaking in support of this resolution, to say one word which would tend to creating ill-feeling between the various elements of this country. The hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) seems to fear that because England has at last undertaken to mete out a measure of justice to one of the three countries constituting the union, there is danger that the good feeling which exists in this country among its various communities may be disturbed. I have no such fear, Mr. Speaker. The last census of Canada shows that there are in the Dominion at present 998,000 people of Irish origin, close upon one million, constituting almost one-quarter of our population. There is not a county, there is hardly a village in this Dominion in which you will not find citizens hailing from the old country or whose fathers came from Ireland. Our Canadian parliament represents that million of people. I have the honour in my own constituency of having 1,500 people who look to Ireland as their mother country, and in their name I know that I am fulfilling my duty when I raise my humble voice in support of this motion, and to congratulate the statesmen of the British empire on their having undertaken at last to carry out a measure of justice and fair play to the Irish race. Canada, Sir, owes a great deal to Ireland. It owes a great deal to the hundreds of thousands of Irish .immigrants who came to this country. This confederation was largely brought about by the efforts of one of the greatest men Ireland ever sent to Canada, if our Canadian provinces are represented here to-night, we all know that that is largely due to the labours of the late Hon. Thomas D'Arcy McGee, who devoted his Mr. SPROULE.

powerful and eloquent influence, energy and ability to bringing about union on this side of the water, and that union which exists in Canada we, as citizens of the British empire, wish to see established on the other side. We are, Sir, loyal subjects, we are loyal to the empire, we are interested in its progress and prosperity, matters are daily brought before us which tend to increase the prosperity and the strength of the empire. We have voted money in this House to send troops to South Africa in order to maintain the integrity of the empire. We have voted money to lay cables beneath the Pacific Ocean and are subsidizing steamers on the Atlantic-all for the purpose of strengthening and consolidating the empire. I claim that we have equally the right at this moment to congratulate the government of His Majesty King Edward VII. upon the measure of justice which that government has now submitted to the British parliament, and which has certainly commanded the approval of the whole civilized world. We are told that in 1882 the Earl of Kimberley informed the Canadian parliament that home rule was not a matter of our concern. Well, those views may have prevailed in England at that time, but twenty years have since elapsed. Barely three years after the Earl of Kimberley had written this famous despatch, the Right Hon. William Ewart Gladstone rose in the House of Commons to propose home rule for Ireland. And upon what did he rest his chief argument ? Upon file resolution adopted in this House. Twenty years have passed since then, and in that time we have heard often in this House- I think I have heard it myself-that it is the admitted right of the colonj to give an opinion upon any question which concerns the interests of the empire at large. And surely this question of the settlement of Irish grievances concerns the empire, concerns every subject of the King who takes an interest in the empire's welfare. Surely, this question which has been discussed for the last one hundred years should now be settled. And, if any action we can take can bring about a settlement, I believe there is no man in this House who will regret that he has done something toward so desirable an end. Events have advanced mpidly during the last two or three years. During the last two months we have seen taking place events undreamed of but a few years ago. The land conference which met in Dublin in December last was composed of landlords and of representatives of the Irish tenants. Such a conference would have seemed almost impossible twenty years ago. These men met, they discussed the land question and they arrived at a conclusion. That conclusion is known to the world to-day. Allow me to read a few words concluding the report, showing how a settlement of the land question can be brought about:-

We wish to place on record our belief that an unexampled opportunity is at the present moment afforded His Majesty's government of effecting a reconciliation of all classes in Ireland upon terms which, as we believe, involve no permament increase of imperial expenditure in Ireland; and that there will be found on all sides an earnest desire to co-operate with the government in securing the success of a Land Purchase Bill, which, by rapidly and effectively carrying out the principles above indicated, would bring peace and prosperity to the country.

Hr. Speaker, we as British subjects cooperate with the efforts the British government is making to bring about an amicable settlement of this question. We believe that this land question in Ireland once settled, the granting of local autonomy, as we have it in our own provinces, would follow as a matter of course. Canada has often been quoted as an example for British statesmen to imitiate in their dealings to Ireland. We had, in former years, a land question in the old Seigniorial Tenure. Fifty or sixty years ago that was settled very easily by a tribunal, much more easily than the Irish land question can be settled. The autonomy which was granted to us has certainly proved the wisdom of the British statesmen who granted it. So long as England follows towards her colonies the broad-minded policy she has followed towards Canada, she will have no reason to regret it. But danger will come if British statesmen revert to the policy which brought about the loss of the thirteen colonies to the south of us. So long as the broad-minded policy adopted toward Canada is carried out toward tlie Irisli people, I am satisfied that tlie reign of King Edward VII. will be quoted in history as having brought about a consolidation of the empire which will add glory to his reign for all time to come.

Mr. Speaker, this question is now before tlie parliament of Great Britain. The Irish people have honoured us by electing seme of our own men as some of their representatives. Tlie former leader of tlie Liberal party now occupies a distinguished place in tlie ranks of the borne rule party ; and tlie late member for Ottawa lias been elected for Galway, being truly ' The man for Galway.' This is an honour that is done to the people of Canada, and I am sure that the majority of tlie Canadian people would be both satisfied and delighted if this question should lie at last settled. I have no intention of entering into tlie merits of the case more than to state that a settlement of tlie land question would probably bring about the settlement of the political question by the granting to Ireland of a provincial parliament, and then the work which has been done during the last few years will have brought forth fruit, for Ireland will occupy in tlie empire tlie place to which she is entitled. I ask to be allowed to quote the last words of Right Hon. Mr. Gladstone in introducing his Home Rule Bill barely sixteen years ago, to show how prophetic that grand old man was when he took the stand he took in asking for Ireland the autonomy to which she is entitled :-

You have power, you have wealth, you have rank, you have station, you have organization. What have we ? We think that we have the people's heart: we believe and we know wo

have the promise of the harvest of the future. The ebbing tide is with you, the flowing tide is with us. Ireland stands at your bar, expectant, hopeful, almost suppliant. Her words are the words of truth and soberness. She asks a blessed oblivion of the past and in that oblivion our interest is deeper than even hers. We are asked to abide by the traditions of which we are the heirs. What traditions ? Why the Irish traditions ? Go into the length and breadth of the world, ransack the literature of all countries, find, if you can. a single voice, a single book-find, I would almost sav, as much as a single newspaper article, unless the product of the day, in which the conduct of England towards Ireland is auywhere treated except v'ith profound and bitter condemnation. Are these the traditions by which we are exhorted t,o stand ? No, they are a sad exception to the glory of our country. They are a broad and black blot upon the pages of its history : and what we want to do is to stand by the relations with Ireland, and make our relations with Ireland to conform to the other traditions of our country. So we treat our traditions-so we hail the demand of Ireland for what I called a blessed oblivion of the phst. She asks also a boon for the future; and that boon for the future, unless we are much mistaken, will he a boon to us, in respect of honour, no less than a boon to her in respect of happiness, prosperity and peace. Such, Si", is her prayer.

That, I believe. Mr. Speaker, is also the prayer of the majority of the people of this country. We ask for no disturbing scheme ; we ask only for justice for our fellow citizens. We remember what the generous Irish nation has done for the empire at large. We remember what she has done for Canada. to whom she has sent illustrious Governor Generals, great statesmen, men eminent in all ranks and walks of life ; and we hope that, at last, the boon which lias been given to Canada will be extended to her, and that Irishmen, who have been so Illustrious in tlie Senate, at the bar. and in the liberal professions, who have fought in the armies of Great Britain and have led her soldiers to victory in the dark days of triai, will at last attain the share of justice for which they have so long, so consistently and so patriotically laboured.

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CON

Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ANDREW BRODER (Dundas).

Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to detain the House long upon this question. I think the present is rather a time for moderation than for agitation on the Irish question. In reviewing the past, in looking over the debate of 1882, I find that the Hon. Edward Blake, for instance, who made one of the strongest appeals in this House on the subject of home rule for Ireland, based his main argument in favour of home rule on the idea

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LIB

Napoléon Antoine Belcourt

Liberal

Mr. N. A. BELCOURT (Ottawa).

Mr. Speaker, a few years ago the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, discussing the Land Purchase Bill which then engaged the attention of the British House of Commons and of the British people, expressed himself in these words :

Perhaps I may he allowed to add a word or two as to my present position. I am afraid that the opposition which I feel to the proposals contained in the Land Purchase Bill cannot be met. X think the Bill is a bad one. I would sooner go out of politics altogether than give my vote to pledge the capital of the country, and the future earnings of every man and women in the United Kingdom, in order to modify the opposition of a small class of Irish proprietors to a scheme which, if it remains in its present form, will, I believe, infallibly lead to the separation of Ireland from England. I ob.iect in this case to the risk which we are asked to incur. I object also to the object for which we are asked to incur that risk. But as regards the Home Rule Bill, the Bill for the better government of Ireland, my opposition is only conditional.

Such was, a few years ago, the language of the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, who, to-day, is probably the most prominent and most aggressive member of the Unionist government which has introduced into the imperial parliament the Land Bill and of the government, which, I have no doubt, will secure its adoption. The Land Purchase Bill which was the subject of discussion in the words I have quoted was a Bill in many respects similar to the present Land Bill. It was dissimilar in this that it did not afford anything like the large measure of relief

that the Land Bill now proposes to accord to the Irish tenant. The change of opinion on the part of the right hon. gentleman, is indicative of the change of opinion that has taken place on this question throughout the whole of the British empire. No wonder then that the cherished hopes and legitimate aspirations of the Irish people have been revived and stimulated, and that those who for such a long time have so energetically, so heroically continued the struggle, begun shortly after the abolition of the Irish parliament in 1880, have seen their hopes renewed, and when this long cherished aim of the champions of home rule for Ireland shall have been accomplished, it will be found that outside of the granting of household suffrage to the inhabitants of the green isle, nothing will have contributed so much to its accomplishment as the present Land Bill, the adoption of which now seems very close at hand. The granting of the household suffrage, the recognition and sanction of the principle by which, to use the apt and expressive language of the Irish tenantry, a vote was conferred ' on every smoke ' which has rendered the people supreme in parliament, and in the country alone has rendered permissible and possible the long continuous constitutional agitation, perhaps at times violent and offensive, but on the whole brilliant and legitimate, which has brought about the introduction of the Land Bill and which makes possible at a future date the settlement of the question of autonomy for Ireland. This constitutional agitation renders possible the settlement of the land question, which as I have said, is so close at hand and it will pave the way for a permanent and satisfactory measure of self-government for Ireland. The settlement of the agrarian question on the broad, just, humane and generous basis by the Land Bill which is now engaging the attention of the British House of Commons, will I am sure, produce the complete regeneration of Ireland. It will replace the unwholesome and unsound system of dual ownership by a just and true system of private ownership ; it will inspire thrift, it will promote a spirit of individual enterprise, it will stimulate improvement and produce contentment and prosperity, but most important of all, it will restore peace and harmony among all classes in Ireland. Distrust and hatred will give place to mutual confidence and a spirit of common pride and common interest in all that concerns the Irish people. Factions, feuds, the dissen-tions of centuries shall disappear and we shall see inaugurated in Ireland a reign of peace, contentment and prosperity. To some this may seem to be altogether too optimistic a view to take of the future, and it may be that I shall be taxed in some quarters with exaggeration. But, have we not in our own country the most conclusive proof that such" will and must h" the result of the settlement of these

two great questions. Fifty years ago Canada was disrupted with racial dissensions; her people were discontented, disloyal, and in fact in open rebellion. To-day, Canada is contented, her people happy and prosperous from ocean to ocean. And why this change ? It is simply because the people of the Dominion of Canada and the provinces which compose it, have been granted that measure of home rule which has been so long, and so heroically demanded by the Irish people. What an encouragement, what a lesson, what an inspiration does not the introduction of this measure of justice and of generosity afford to the world, and more particularly to those who have practised and preached the principles of constitutional democracy, that to-day we see introduced into the English parliament a Land Bill which gives to the industrious peasantry Who till the soil, the right to reap the full fruit of their labours. To the Liberal party of Canada this spectacle is especially gratifying, and does it offer an inspiration and an encouragement, because it has ever believed in, ever practiced and ever preached the efficacy, the virtue, the eternal right of self-government, and the encouragement of national sentiment and solidarity. For no pinciple has the Liberal struggled more resolutely and more constantly than for the recognition of the popular will constitutionally expressed and urged. No class of His Majesty's subjects will rejoice more sincerely and more thoroughly, Mr. Speaker, than the gentlemen who sit to your right, and with them the whole Liberal party of Canada ; that the day has at last come, when with the settlement of the agricultural question in Ireland, we soon shall see adopted a measure of self-government in respect to all manors of special concern to the Irish people. I have ventured into this debate, not with the delusion that I could add anything of value to what has been said in support of the resolution, but merely for the purpose of affirming and of emphasizing the incontrovertible truth, that the introduction of the Irish Land Bill and the hope of its speedy adoption, is the immediate result of Liberal policy. Although that measure has been introduced by a Liberal-Unionist government composed largely of Conservatives, yet Sir, the credit for the changed opinion of British statesmen and the British public, is due first and above all to the greatest of great Liberals, the illustrious Gladstone.

Topic:   SUPPLY-HOME RULE FOR IRELAND.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Napoléon Antoine Belcourt

Liberal

Mr. BELCOURT.

What a pity that Gladstone is not to-day alive to witness the triumph of the cause which he so courageously espoused and which he so brilliantly and so enthusiastically advocated and defended on every occasion. What a pity that Gladstone is not alive to see the Liberal vindication and triumph of the great Liberal policy which he enunciated on these

Topic:   SUPPLY-HOME RULE FOR IRELAND.
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LIB

Napoléon Antoine Belcourt

Liberal

Mr. BELCOURT.

question^. But, Sir, I have no tear that history, which is not always just, will do full justice to that great statesman. But while we claim that the greatest share ol' praise is due to Mr. Gladstone and his followers for what we now see, yet we on this side of the House do not for a moment wish to minimise or to withhold from His Majesty's present advisers that share of credit to which they are entitled. We all recognize the spirit of generosity which has inspired the Land Bill, and the courage which was required on the part of the British cabinet to submit it to the imperial parliament. We accord to them full praise for this very wise, this very humane, this very just and very generous measure, and I take it, that is, the object, the very raison d'etre of the resolution now before us. This resolution is not a resolution of demand ; it is not even a resolution of advice, but it is a resolution of hearty congratulation and thankfulness that ^ at last some measure of justice to the Irish people has been submitted for the approval of the British parliament. We express the hope that such a measure will be followed by one granting self-government to Ireland in all matters of special concern to the Irish people, and, Sir, our experience in Canada teaches us that such a measure will not only tend to the prosperity and contentment of the Irish people themselves, tout that it will add to the peace and happiness of His Majesty's subjects throughout his wide Dominions.

Nor must it be assumed, Sir, that we on this side of the House are unaware or oblivious of the share of credit which it is generally believed is due to His Gracious Majesty personally. We on this side, by supporting the resolution, extend our congratulations to His Majesty's advisers, and while doing that, if it is permitted to do so, we also extend to the person of His Majesty humble and respectful thanks and congratulations that he has taken such a personal interest in the preparation and promotion of this great and generous measure of relief to the Irish people.

Such being my view of this resolution, and since we have on a recent and solemn occasion created a clear precedent for such an expression of opinion on the part of this parliament, I shall give it my cordial support.

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Matthew Kendal Richardson

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. M. K. RICHARDSON (South Grey).

If the resolution were such as has been described by the last speaker, namely, to tender the congratulations of this House to the British government for introducing a measure with the object of allaying all disaffection in Ireland, I would have found myself in the fullest accord with it. I approve of some of the sentiments expressed in the resolution, but inasmuch as it affirms and endorses the language of former resolutions, from which I dissent, I cannot support the resolution now before the House. Much time has been spent to-night in expressing the pleasure which I believe is general throughout the House, that the Irish Land Bill has been submitted to the British parliament. I am sure that every lover of Ireland rejoices that such a generous and magnanimous step has been taken with a view of removing the disabilities which may exist in Ireland. We congratulate our brethren across the Atlantic that they have met this issue in such a noble spirit, but we naturally asked ourselves, what is the object of this resolution ? Can it in any way facilitate the legislation which is now before the British House. Can it in any way strengthen the hands of the true friends of Ireland in the imperial parliament. From our experience of resolutions of this kind in the past, I am of opinion that it is mischievous in its character, and that it may come hack to us with a rebound as it did before. I yield to no one in this House in my admiration and appreciation of all that is great and noble and brave and chivalrous in the Irish character. We have seen it not only in Great Britain and in Canada, but all the world over ; we have seen Irishmen attain for themselves a name for everything that is great and noble. It is a pitiful thing that in the home of Irishmen, a land so dear to Irishmen and to others that are not Irishmen, things have been in such an unhappy condition in the past. But, Sir,

1 hold that the worst enemies of Ireland have been those of her own household. An unfortunate reference was made to that grand patriot, D'Arcy McGee, a Canadian Irishman.

When mention is made of his name, we naturally ask how did D'Arcy McGee meet with his tragic end ? From what source did it come, by what means, and through what organization ? I will not refer to that further than to say that it was an unfortunate reference. We have seen the sad spectacle in years past of men revelling in luxury at the expense of the peace and happiness and prosperity of Ireland. Not many years ago. when the Fenian organization was strong in the old country, I recollect a man of the name of Stephens, called the Head Centre Stephens, being sent over to this country. When lie landed in New York, a reporter of one of the city dailies had an interview with him which went somewhat as follows : 1 We found Head Centre Stephens at Delmonico's fashionable restaurant suffering the wrongs of Ireland on canvas-back duck and other delicacies. It is sad to think that there have been too many of that class of men, not caring much for Ireland, the happiness of Ireland, the peace of Ireland or the prosperity of Ireland. but simply exploiting all these things for their own personal benefit and luxury. I will not impute a ny sinister motives to the bon. gentleman who has introduced this motion in the House to-day. I am bound

to believe that it is 1iit result of an exuberance of love to Iceland, for Irishmen and the Irish institutions. But I am also bound to say that the hon. gentleman has not a monopoly of that. Many of us who will be compelled to vote against his resolution have as much love for Irishmen and Ireland as he has, and we feel that the spectacle which is presented in the old country to-day is one of the most magnificent that has ever been presented in any British parliament anywhere in the world. We find our brethren across the sea, with all the heavy burdens resting upon them, with the enormous debt left by the South African war, facing this great problem, not in any niggardly spirit, or in fear or truculeney, but boldly and generously, in the face of British securities dropping down from day to day. Under these circumstances, far from our taking any action in this parliament that will tend in the least to embarrass the mother country in the step she has taken, we should stand aside, and let her manage her own affairs in her own way as she is well capable of doing. I do not intend to occupy the time of this House at any length; but I will say that we find Englishmen everywhere turning to Irishmen and reaching out their fraternal hand and saying : ' We are your brothers, and there is not a cause of dissatisfaction, real or imaginary, in Ireland to-day that we are not prepared to meet in a generous, kind, and brotherly spirit ' ; and in the face of that, we in this parliament of Canada would stultify ourselves if we were to send across to the British parliament such a resolution as that which has been proposed. I hope the resolution will not be adopted, but will receive the fate it deserves at the hands of this parliament.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. HENRI BOURASSA (Labelle).

Mr. Speaker, I had no intention of taking part in this debate; but I feel that it is the duty of other representatives of the French Canadian element to express their views on this question, and their thorough sympathy with the motion that has been introduced by the hon. member for Victoria, N.B. (Hon. Mr. Cos-tigan). If there is an element in the British empire which is especially entitled to speak in favour of self-government, which is able to present examples taken from its own history of the benefits of self-government and to prove what it is for a free people in the British empire. I think the French Canadian element is especially entitled to do so. Throughout the British empire there were, so to speak, three alien groups : the French Canadian element, the Boer element in South Africa, and the Irish element in the United Kingdom ; and what is the common history of these three elements ? Taking first French Canada, we find that the principles which have unfortunately obtained for too many years in Ireland obtained also in Canada and what was the result ? As my hon.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. II KEMP (East Toronto).

I shall take up but very few minutes, Mr. Speaker, in continuing this debate. The hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) referred to the fact that according to the recent census there appeared to be about one million of Irish in this Dominion, and that suggested to me the. conclusion that our census returns seem to have been taken from a very wrong standpoint in this respect. I cannot understand how in this country there can be one million of Irish people. If there be, there must also be a considerable number of English and Scotch. Where are the Canadians to come in ? It seems to me that the time has come when we should call ourselves Canadians and be prepared to be considered as such and not as Irish, Scotch, English, French or anything else. The hon. member for Labelle who has just taken his seat made a reference which I very much regretted. He referred to alien elements- the French Canadians in Canada, the Boers in South Africa and the Irish in the United Kingdom. I wish to resent that sentiment on behalf of my French Canadian fellow countrymen of English (rigin.

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LIB

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Liberal

Mr. BOURASSA.

The hon. gentleman has misunderstood me. When I spoke of alien elements I meant that at the time of their original entrance they were certainly aliens.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KEMP.

I must have misunderstood the hon. gentleman and accept liis explanation. At any rate I consider my countrymen of French origin just as much Canadians and just as much on a level with me and other Canadians as I do my fellow countrymen of English or any other origin.

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LIB

March 31, 1903