Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).
Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
proceeded with, I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question. In a notable speech made a day or two ago by the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, the following appears, according to a despatch in the Ottawa ' Citizen ' :
The colonial secretary proceeded strongly to urge the necessity in order to preserve the great empire that the trade of the colonies should be secured. Canada had offered exceptional advantages, he said, which Great Britain did not dare accept because of the narrow interpretation of the doctrine of free trade, the policy of dictation, and interference by foreign powers, Mr. Chamberlain said he was Justified by the belief that Great Britain was so wedded to its fiscal system that it could not defend its colonies. This was a position not intended by the pioneers of free trade who, if they were alive to-day would agree to a treaty of preference and reciprocity with the empire's children. The speaker said he believed that an entirely wrong interpretation had been placed upon the doctrine of free trade but that the_country ought not to be bound by this and it should not hesitate to resort to retaliation if necessary wherever the interests between colonies and the home country were threatened.
The Right Hon. Mr. Chamberlain refers to two things : first, that Canada had made very exceptional offers to England in regard to a mutual preferential trade ; the other is that England desires to defend her colonies in case of their being attacked commercially by foreign countries. I wish to ask the government if they are prepared to lay a memorandum of these offers on the Table of the House or to take the Canadian parliament into their confidence, and give us information as to what these offers were? That I think we are entitled to. I also wish to ask whether any correspondence is being carried on with the imperial government with regard to the threatened action of Germany ; and, if so, are the government prepared to give this House any information regarding it ?