January 25, 1909


Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.

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Mr. A. H.@

CLARKE (South Essex) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 7) to amend the Railway Act. He said: The object of the Bill is to remove an anomaly in the present Railway Act as to the liability of railway companies for fires caused by defective locomotives. The Bill was introduced last year by Mr. Kennedy, then representing New Westminster. I think it passed the Railway Committee, but did not become law. But as I believe it to be a Bill that ought to become law, I ask leave to introduce it now.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.


Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 8) to amend the Dominion Lands Act. He said. The Bill is to correct a displacement of some three or four paragraphs which was inadvertently made in the passage of the Bill through the House or in the printing of it. There is no proposition in any way to effectively amend or change the provisions of the Act. Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


VACANCY OF CARLETON.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

Before the orders of the day are called, I desire to say that I have had the honour of being returned for two constituencies, namely the electoral division of Halifax and the electoral division of Carleton (Ont.). It becomes necessary that I should elect for which of these two constituencies I sit; and I accordingly now declare my election to sit for the electoral division of Halifax, and, for that reason, I resign my seat as member for the electoral division of Carleton.

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ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.


The House resumed adjourned debate on the motion of Mr. Todd for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session.


LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH (Nanaimo).

Mr. Speaker, it was not my intention to have a word to say on the resolution before the House. After a long, hard, and tedious campaign in British Columbia, and after having been in the House seven or eight sessions, and having some good friends who

should have their initiation in parliamentary work, I had made up my mind to sit quiet awaiting a later occasion to say or do something. However, matters appertaining to important interests of British Columbia have been involved in the discussion of this subject, and some of my friends from British Columbia have thought fit,-very properly-to take this opportunity to make some explanation with regard to^ matters affecting the representation in this parliament as compared with the last. The Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) took advantage of the occasion to give some explanation with regard to matters connected with the campaign in British Columbia, and tried to account for a very radical change made in the representation of that province, and my hon. friend from Vancouver (Mr. Cowan), and especially my hon. friend from Yale-Cariboo (Mr. Burrell), and, to some extent, the hon. gentleman for Victoria City (Mr. Barnard), sought to present what they thought to give to the House the impression that the reasons given by the Prime Minister for the change in British Columbia were not the good reasons and sought to present what they thought were the good reasons for that change. The two great issues they represented to this House as being the cause of the change in British Columbia, were better terms and oriental immigration. My hon. friend from Vancouver (Mr. Cowan) sought to impress the people in the province with the belief that the salvation of British Columbia rendered it absolutely necessary that it should be represented by Conservatives instead of Liberals in this House. I do not intend to follow that argument at great length, because my hon. friends have intimated that they intend to bring up these questions in another form, at a future time. But it is my conviction that, whilst my hon. friends have been sent to this House to seek to promote legislation that will settle these two great issues satisfactorily to British Columbia, at the same time those issues were not presented fairly and justly to the people of British Columbia by my hon. friends. That is my conviction, and I am going to try and show that it is well founded.

What are the processes through which the issue of better terms has gone ? How has it been considered and represented ? How was it considered and represented to the electorate of British Columbia ? The issue of better terms, in point of fact, was absolutely settled by the united provincial conference. The provinces, and especially British Columbia, had been agitating this question for a considerable time, and they appealed to the Premier of the Dominion to call a conference of the provinces to take into consideration the question of a readjustment of the terms of union between the provinces and the Dominion. The whole Mr. RALPH SMITH.

question of better terms, so far as British Columbia is concerned, was presented and finally determined by a tribunal comprised of the representatives of all the provinces. Sir Wilfrid Laurier asked this parliament to consent, not to what his government thought was right or reasonable, but what these several provincial premiers at that conference had decided was the proper thing. That, Sir, was the foundation of the case. Whatever be its merits or demerits whether the conclusions reached were reasonable or not, the one thing certain is that the conclusions were reached by the unanimous opinion of the several representatives of the provinces. My hon. friend from Vancouver shakes his head. Does he dispute the fact that the documents are on record ? Does he dispute the fact that a request was made to the Premier of Canada to call a conference ? Does he dispute the fact that the Premier of British Columbia accepted the proposal to represent the province in that conference ? Does he dispute the fact that the representatives at that conference stated what they thought was right and reasonable for British Columbia ?

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CON

George Henry Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN.

British Columbia was not a consenting party to that proceeding.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

was a good vote catcher. He said to the people of British Columbia: You have

nothing to lose; the expenses of the inquiry-will be met for you, and if you do not like the result, you do not need to take it, for somebody else will pay the cost.' I do not think that is a position that any responsible diplomatic influence of this country would endorse. Neither do I think that any leader of any great party in this country would get the endorsation of the representatives of the various provinces of this Dominion to a proposition of that kind. The question went to the conference of provincial premiers, and if there is to be special consideration by this absolutely independent tribunal, that independent tribunal itself must be created by the representatives of the provinces themselves ; and if they are not going to stand by the decision of that absolutely independent tribunal, then I want my hon. friend to say what will be the next tribunal to which he will refer the case, if the people of British Columbia refused to agree to their recommendations.

Now, as I have said, I believe there is need of consideration in changing the terms of union with British Columbia. It is a question that must be settled with the agreement of the different provincial factors of this Dominion. The Premier of the Dominion said to the provinces: 'Decide what you think is right and reasonable and whatever you decide I will bring before parliament and seek to have put into operation in your interests.' I submit, Sir, that that position was never put before the people of British Columbia. The whole contention was : You need not look for the adjustment of your rights to the representatives of eastern Canada. Our friends opposite sought by innuendo and insinuation, to convey the impression that the representatives of the interests of British Columbia were not to be found in eastern Canada-an impression that in my opinion is disloyal to the interests of British Columbia, and an impression which, after the people of British Columbia have time to think, will not redound to the security of our hon. friends in the position they occupy to-day. The people of British Columbia are suffering a kind of temporary inactivity in the consideration of political questions, and they accepted the statements of our hon. friends on that question without proof. The question has to come up for consideration later on, when I shall have an opportunity, as the one member from British Columbia on this side of the House, to discuss it further.

Now, I want to deal with the oriental question. The Conservative representatives from British Columbia have been sent to this House to save the province from an influx of hordes of orientals. I consider that the facte connected with the legislation on that question give to the people of British Columbia no Mr. RALPH SMITH.

reason for looking to their Conservative representatives in this House for the settlement of the question. In order to prove my case it is necessary for me to look a little at the history of this question. Let me ask, who created the oriental question in British Columbia ? Was it the Liberal party or the Tory party ? The oriental question in British Columbia was created twenty-five or thirty-five years ago, when the Conservative government of that day appointed their own commission, and their own commission reported that oriental labour in British Columbia was a necessity to the development of that province.

Mr. Speaker, the real evil of orientalism in British Columbia to-day is not, as our friends opposite would try to make it out, the recent influx of certain classes of orientals ; the foundation of the oriental evil in British Columbia was laid by the Conservative government 25 years ago when, instead of inaugurating a system of white immigration into British Columbia, they adopted the report of their own commission which said that oriental immigration was absolutely necessary to develop the resources of that province. But the gentlemen opposite never tell the people of British Columbia anything about that; they consider the whole question at the present day in connection with the Japanese immigration. For 15, and 16, and 17 years after that date representations were constantly made by the people of that province to the Conservative party in power to redress the wrongs which they had inflicted on the province in connection with their immigration policy. Let us look for a minute on the other side of the picture, and, Sir, I placed these facts before my constituents just as I am placing them before this House now. I had not the honour or the privilege of submitting my views to the good people of Vancouver, but I think the hon. gentleman (Mr. Cowan) who represents that constituency will not gainsay the facts as I now state them. The Liberal party came into power in 1896 and the first parliament thereafter the tax was increased to $100. The commission which had been demanded by the people of British Columbia was granted by the Liberal government, and two and a half years from the date of the report of that commission everything that British Columbia had ever asked in regard to the regulation of orientalism in British Columbia was passed into law. Let hon. gentlemen look back at the petitions and the resolutions presented by the different organizations in that province and they will find that the demand prior to that time always was that there should be a tax of $500 upon the Chinese, There was no Hindu question then and practically there was no Japanese question. True, the Japanese question came for consideration before that commission,

and the commission reported to parliament that at that time it was not a serious matter and that it would be unwise to pass restrictive legislation since the representatives of Japan had promised that it was not their desire or intention to send Japanese immigrants into Canada. And from the year 1903 up to the time these special contracts were made to bring in this large number of Japanese there was no intelligent agitation, and no representations made to this parliament by petition or otherwise in any strong way whatever, in favour of special restrictive legislation against the Japanese. It is important that the members of this House should not forget that the legislation which the people of British Columbia had been demanding for 16 years prior to 1896 had been entirely refused by the Conservative government. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that all the legislation asked for by the people of British Columbia was conceded absolutely, within five or six years of the advent of the Liberal party to power.

Now Sir, I come to the question of the Japanese treaty, and I shall consider what our friends opposite say as to the effect of passing that treaty-or rather of our agreeing to the British treaty-on the interests of British Columbia and of Canada. Unfortunately, after the passing of this treaty certain employers of labour in British Columbia organized to bring in large numbers of Japanese. Let me first remind this House that whatever responsibility there is associated with the concluding of this treaty, it is a responsibility which is equally shared in by every member of this House on both sides. I want to say also that my hon. friends opposite had absolutely no authority-according to the statement made by the leader of the opposition himself the other day-they had absolutely no authority to state to the electors of British Columbia that if the Conservative party were put in power the Conservative party would do more than had been done by the Liberal government. All through the campaign in British Columbia the one impression sought to be made was that there would be an absolute guarantee that the Conservative party would readjust the oriental question and would do more than the Liberal government had ever done in that direction.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

I am very glad to hear my hon. friends opposite endorse that statement, but I would like to ask any one of these gentlemen from British Columbia what evidence he has that the leader of the Conservative party would, if he had the power, do more for British Columbia in connection with the oriental question than the Liberal government has done 41

up to the present time. The forged telegram which was read in the city of Victoria purported to be a declaration of the leader of the opposition that he would stand for absolute and entire exclusion, but when that telegram was forced on the attention of the leader of the opposition in this House the other day he renounced any responsibility for it. Can any of these gentlemen opposite give any tangible evidence ? Can they quote from a statement made by any of the leaders of the Conservative party at any time, that more would be done by them in the settlement of the existing difficulty than has been done by the Liberal government ? _ _

Now, Sir, what is the present condition of the oriental question in British Columbia ? Perhaps hon. gentlemen opposite have not looked carefully into that matter. True, they depreciate the importance of the Lemieux settlement, but I have looked up the record and I have official figures in my possession which I think will surprise many hon. gentlemen in this House. _ I make the statement on my responsibility as a member of this House, that whatever could have been accomplished by inserting in that treaty restrictive powers, has been accomplished by the settlement made between the Postmaster General and the Japanese authorities. That arrangement has been honourably carried out to the letter.

I will concede that however important and satisfactory that settlement may be, the people of British'Columbia have not confidence that the Japanese authorities will carry it out. I will make that admission frankly. The complaint in British Columbia was not against the settlement itself, but it originated in the lack of confidence which the people had in the integrity of the Japanese authorities to carry the settlement out in the spirit in which it was made. However that may be, we have to take things as we find them and when the practical people of British Columbia realize that the Japanese are not coming into that province since the date of the settlement, they will, I believe, admit that it has been effective. The direct effect of that settlement came into operation in June, 1908, and I must confess that I was myself surprised at what the public records show since then. I believe in having the facts as they are whether they are for us or whether they are against us. If this question is to be settled it must be settled on the facts and not on any political feelings which may be introduced, and I have every confidence in the intelligence and judgment of the people of British Columbia that when the facts are made known to them they will gladly admit that the settlement has been effective. As I have said, the practical effect of that settlement came into operation in June, 1908. Only 51 Japanese came into British Columbia in June,

1908. Of these 51, 22 were women and children, so that as a matter of fact only 29 Japanese labourers entered British Columbia in June, 1908. In July, 1908, 39 Japanese entered British Columbia, and of that number 16 were women and children, leaving only 23 Japanese labourers coming into the province in the second month after the settlement. In August, 1908, only 27 Japanese entered that province, and of this number 19 were women and children, leaving only eight Japanese labourers. In September, 1908, only 21 Japanese entered the province and of these seven were women and children, leaving 14 Japanese labourers entering in September. In October, 31 Japanese came to British Columbia, and of these 'eight were women and children, leaving 23 labourers entering the province in October, 1908. In November, only 12 Japanese came into British Columbia, and in December only 16. Thus in the whole period of six months since the settlement, only 198 Japanese have come into the province of British Columbia.

Let me remind my hon. friends from British Columbia of another thing. During the same period of six months the immigration of Chinese was extraordinary. In June, against 51 Japanese, there were 154 Chinese; in July, against 39 Japanese, there were 418 Chinese. What is the conclusion? That the successful enforcement of the Lemieux settlement drove the employers of British Columbia who always want orientals, to pay the $500 head tax on every oriental labourer coming into British Columbia. Thus it seems to me that the settlement of the question of Japanese immigration has been very successful in attaining the object which the people desire, that is that the Japanese should be kept out. If they are kept out by the settlement of my hon. friend the Postmaster General (Mr. Lemieux) there can be no complaint. Our hon. friends received the political advantage of the suspicion of the people of British Columbia that the Japanese would not adhere to their contract, but these figures demonstrate clearly that the Japanese government have lived up to their contract. What are the conditions of that contract? There are two or three important conditions that perhaps may not be known to all the members of this House. One is that Japanese coming into Canada must come directly with passports from Japan, cutting off absolutely the immigration from the American islands where the principal immigration used to come from. The next is the definite provision that no contract Japanese labour may be brought into British Columbia without the consent of this government. I cannot imagine that any restrictive legislation connected with the treaty itself could accomplish that purpose in a more direct and practical way than it has been accomplished by the settlement Mr. RALPH SMITH.

of my hon. friend (Mr. Lemieux). As I say it is what the people want, they want to keep the Japanese out and the " settlement has kept them out successfully.

Is there any evidence of the operation of that provision? Yes. The Canadian Pacific .Railway Company some time ago wanted to put 300 Japanese on their irrigated lands in the district of Calgary. The company made an application to this government to suspend the provisions of that agreement and let them bring these men in under contract, but the government refused to do so and the 300 Japanese labourers could not be brought in and placed upon the irrigated lands, contrary to the terms of that agreement. Thus the agreement has been successful and that is exactly what the people want. I think I am right in the statement that that agreement, that is the treaty between Britain and Japan, expires about 1911. My opinion is, and I say it boldly, that if the present condition of Japanese immigration can be strongly maintained for the next two years, by the operation of the settlement which the government has with Japan, then in the renewal of the treaty necessary to meet the sentiment of British Columbia absolutely, may be inserted and that will give absolute satisfaction to the people of British Columbia.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

never distributed or printed, or read in the constituency of Victoria. I never heard of that telegram until Friday afternoon last in this House.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. SMITH.

My hon. friend is committing himself to an enormous responsibility when he says that telegram was not distributed or read in the constituency of Vancouver. Do the electors of Vancouver not 2read the ' Daily Colonist' ? Is that newspaper not sent over by the steamer on Sunday morning ?

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CON

George Henry Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN.

The hon. gentleman knows '*'well that the 'Victoria Colonist' does not get distribution in the city of Vancouver. iHe knows perfectly well that the statement 1 have made is correct. That telegram was not printed in Vancouver, it was never read by me in Vancouver, it was never heard of by me until I came to this House.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

I accept of course my hon. friend's present statement, but that statement rather intensifies the responsibility taken by the friends of the leader of the opposition in Victoria. My hon. friend says that the people of Vancouver did not read the telegram, but the people of Vancouver read the 'Daily Colonist', and in the 'Daily Colonist' you have what purports to be an exact copy of a telegram from the leader of the. opposition in Halifax, and that was distributed in every coast city the day before the elections. A special sheet was distributed in Nanaimo on the day of the election stating ' For White, British Columbia'. My leader, said the Conservative candidate on the day of the election, stands for the entire exclusion of Asiatics, and this information was sent broadcast throughout British Columbia, because everybody in British Columbia reads the ' Daily Colonist-.' My hon. friend himself must be affected by the rivalry which Vancouver has against Victoria if he refuses even to read the newspaper of the latter city. But that does not exonerate my hon. friend from the responsibility for this telegram. The point I make is this, here is a telegram signed by the leader of the Conservative party which promised the people of British Columbia what they wanted on this question.

This telegram had its influence. It was distributed widely. I met it on the platform in the Kootenay district, as I have stated. And to my hon. friend who is to follow me, I may say for his information, that on the platform I gave the leader of the Conservative opposition credit by saying that I did not believe he had said such a thing. But the fact remains that a principle materially affecting the interests of British Columbia was announced over the signature of the leader of the Conservative party, that he himself, since the gathering of this House, has declared was absolutely Mr. COWAN.

untrue, but which, in my opinion, affected very materially the result of our elections. And the last man I would have credited with this was the hon member who got a dozen majority in the city of Victoria, and that same hon. gentleman read this telegram, not as it was sent by the leader of the opposition, but as it is found in the ' Colonist' to-day, and as it was distributed throughout the province of British Columbia. The hon. gentleman said on Friday last that it was an emissary of the 'Colonist' office who brought the telegram to him. But he will not say that it was not a political adversary who brought him that telegram. He knew that the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Cowan), just a few weeks before, had taken a mandate from the leader of the opposition on this question. That hon. gentleman announced plainly in the press of Vancouver that the leader of the opposition and the Conservative party were prepared to abrogate the treaty with Japan if the conditions of the new settlement were not adhered to. I am sure that my hon. friend from Vancouver will endorse my statement. The hon. member for Victoria, when he read the forged telegram in Victoria, had read repeatedly the mandate stated by the hon. member for Vancouver on an entirely contrary principle. I say that my hon. friend is not absolutely free from the responsibility for reading that telegram. .

There are two ways of settling this oriental question in British Columbia. I will join my friends opposite in any reasonable method of settlement; but it can never be settled by forging telegrams; it can never be settled by approaching the question exclusively from a partisan point of view. The attitude of the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Cowan) in this debate was absolutely a partisan position. Sir Wilfrid Laurier was his great cause of complaint.

' I wish,' he said, ' that I had never heard his speech.' Well, after we got the information about the forged telegram, we were not surprised that he wished he had never heard that speech. For more reasons than one, we shared the hon. gentleman's wish. I have said that there are two ways of settling this oriental question. One way is for employers of labour in British Columbia not to employ orientals. The second way is by reasonable legislation. I am not sure that any one of the hon. gentlemen I have referred to can subscribe to the first principle. They stand for a * white Canada.' Their whole programme was for a ' white Canada.' But I question whether one of the five men can stand up in this House and say that he never employed an oriental in British Columbia. ' He 'that is without sin, let him cast the first stone.' Don't all speak at once. We stand for a white Canada for everybody in British Columbia, but the five Tory representatives.

My hon. friend from Yale-Cariboo (Mr. Burrell) stated the other night that he appreciated the settlement of the Hindu part of this question by the Dominion government. There are two things I appreciated in my hon. friend's statement. I appreciate very highly his generosity in admitting that that question had been settled in a broad and statesman-like way, and I appreciate his kindness as an employer to his own workmen.

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January 25, 1909