February 22, 1909


I'or a return showing how many heads of stock there are on the respective experimental farms, and what they consist of; the estimated value of the different kinds, and for what purposes they are utilized; how many acres there are in each experimental farm; how many acres there are under cultivation on each farm.-Mr. Staples. For a copy of all papers, letters, telegrams, and communications, with reference to the complaint against and conviction and fine of F. Macdonald Jacobs, of Caughnawaga reserve, for cutting cordwood upon territory occupied by him on the reserve and to have refund of dues or fine.-Mr. Boyce. 1. For a return showing the approximate area of coal and timber lands, respectively, in each of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, (a) owned by private individuals or companies, (b) leased by the government to private individuals or companies; and the approximate area in each province on which mining or lumbering operations are actually being carried on. 2. The approximate amount of revenue collected by the government between 1st of January, 1906, and the 31st of December, 1908, on account of (a) payments for coal lands; (b) coal royalties, (c) bonuses and rentals on timber lands; (d) timber dues; (e) hay lands; (f) "grazing lands, and (g) irrigation areas within each of the above provinces.-Mr. Lake. For a return showing the final estimates on the contract entered into on August 22, 1906, between J. D. McArthur and Smith & Pren- dible on the National Transcontinental Railway, for work from station 9370 to station 9480; and the contract entered into on November 21, 1908, between the same parties on the same railway for work from (station 9260 to station 9370.-Mr. Alexander Haggart. For a copy of all evidence, reports', correspondence, writings, papers, and documents in possession or control of the Department of Inland Revenue, including all correspondence and written statements between the department or its officials or agents, and the government of Manitoba, or the Attorney General or other officials or agents of that province, in reference to the quality of coal oil sold in Manitoba, and accidents caused by coal oil there during the year 1908, and connected with recent investigations into the cause of these disasters.-Mr. Schaffner. For a copy of the treaty between St. Peters' Indians and the government; and of all correspondence, papers, instructions, and documents relating to the aforesaid treaty.-Mr. Bradbury. For a return showing how many acres have already been taken up in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, respectively, by homestead and pre-emption, by railway lands, by Hudson Bay lands; by other corporations or persons; by waste, swamps or mountainous land unfit for tilling; by lake areas, including Winnipeg, Winnipegosis, Manitoba, Big Quill, Birch and Beaver; and the area in square miles of each province above named. -Mr. Hughes. For a copy of all correspondence, documents or other communications whatsoever, since the 28th of January, 1908, between the government or its representatives, and the railway, telephone and telegraph companies or their representatives, respecting the use of French equally with English in the province of Quebec, for services of public utility, under the supervision, direct or indirect of the government.-Mr. Paquet.



Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. A. LANCASTER (Lincoln and Niagara) moved:

That a humble address be presented to His Most Gracious Majesty the King, as follows: Most Gracious M ajesty :

We, your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Canada in parliament assembled, beg leave most respectfully to represent-

That in the year 1867 by Act of your Imperial parliament commonly known as the British North America Act, the then existing provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were federally united and formed into one Dominion under the name of Canada, and the constitution of the legislative authority of such Dominion provided for and the nature of its executive government declared, and since the said Act other provinces in British North America have also been federally united to the said Dominion and now form part thereof, with representation in this House of Commons, pursuant to the provisions providing therefor in the said British North America Act and amending, and other, Acts subsequently enacted;

That by the_ said British North America Act the executive government and authority

of and over Canada is declared to continue and be vested in Your Majesty and Your Heirs and Successors, Kings and Queens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Your Majesty is represented in Canada by a Governor General;

That by the said British North America Act there is also a council to aid and advise Your Majesty, styled the King's Privy Council for Canada, the members of which council are from time to time chosen and summoned by Your Majesty's said Governor General and may be from time to time removed by the said Governor General;

That by the said British North America Act the Parliament of Canada consists of Your Majesty, and upper House styled the Senate and the House of Commons, but with powers not to exceed those at the passing of the said Act held and exercised by the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland;

That by the said British North America Act it is also provided that Bills for appropriating any jiart of the public revenue or for imposing any tax or impost shall originate in the House of Commons and that no such Bill or vote, resolution or address for such appropriation or tax or impost shall be adopted or passed that has not been first recommended to that House by message of Your Majesty's said Governor General in the session in which such Bill, vote, resolution or address is proposed;

That by the said British North America Act it is also provided that where any Bill passed by the House of Parliament is presented to Your Majesty's said Governor General for Your Majesty's assent he shall declare according to his discretion but subject to the provisions of the said Act and to Your Majesty's instructions, either that he assents thereto in Your Majesty's name, or that he withholds Your Maj esty's. assent, _ or that he reserves the Bill for the signification of Your Majesty's pleasure, and that where lie assents to a Bill in Your Majesty's name if Your Majesty in Council within two years after receipt thereof by the Secretary of State thinks fit to disallow the Act such disallowance shall annul the Act, and that a Bill reserved for the signification of Your Majesty's pleasure shall not have any force unless and until within two years from the day on which it was presented to Your Majesty's said Governor General for Your Majesty's assent he signifies to the Houses of parliament or by proclamation that he has received the assent of Your Majesty in Council;

That by the said British North America Act legislatures for the various provinces constituting the said Dominion of Canada are also established, each governed by a lieutenant governor appointed by Your Majesty's said Governor General in Council for five years, and whose salaries are required to be fixed and provided by the parliament of the Dominion of Canada and such provincial legislatures are empowered exclusively to make laws in relation to a large number of matters and subjects of great importance, subject to disallowance by Your Majesty's said Governor General in Council within one year, but not in any way subject to consent also by the said Senate;

That in regard to all matters and subjects not within the said exclusive power of the

said provincial legislatures it is provided by the said British North America Act that all laws to be made by the said parliament of Canada mnst be consented to and passed by both the Senate and the House of Commons, before beinw presented to Tour Majesty's said Governor General for assent and the members constituting the said Senate are appointed for life and not subject to election or rejection by the people, and the members of the House of Commons are elected by the people every five years or at any less period at which Your Majesty's said Governor General may dissolve the parliament;

That during the forty years since the said British North America Act has been in force much dissatisfaction has been caused from time to time to Your Majesty's loyal subjects in Canada by the actions of the Senate in regard to matters dealt with by the House of Commons and the rejection of laws sought to be made by the jjeojile through their representatives in the House of Commons and passed by the House, and by reason of the heavy expense and burden of taxation placed upon the people to provide the maintenance of that two-fold system of dealing with the making of laws by the parliament of Canada;

That in view of the many other provisions heretofore referred to for guarding against and disallowing any ill-advised or improper legislation which might by any possibility pass the said House of Commons, and of the aforesaid dissatisfaction of the people and heavy burden of expense involved and of the great advance made in education by the whole people of Canada since the passing of the said British North America Act, this House is of the opinion that the Senate is no longer required or advisable for the properly carrying on of resjionsible government in Canada, or safeguarding of Your Majesty's full rights and prerogatives; and that the abolition of the said Senate would greatly conduce to the welfare of the Dominion of Canada and promote the interests of the British Empire.

We therefore respectfully pray that the said British North America Act be so amended as to provide for the abolition of the said Senate.

He said: Although the form of the motion is new, the subject dealt with by the motion cannot in any sense be said to be new. At the outset, let me say that my object in making this motion is that the matter may be discussed freely, fully, and in a way entirely untrammelled by considerations of party politics. There is no reason why this should be dealt with as a party question; there is every reason why it should be dealt with in the very opposite way. It is a matter in which the interest of all Canada is involved; it is a matter upon which the leaders of all political parties ought to try to agree. Even the most humble member of this House should try to find a solution of what is known to be a serious difficulty and great embarrassment in this country. Therefore, I ask every hon. member who is in the habit of voting with me on party questions not to feel bound to do so on this question, but, if he speaks upon it, to declare what he freely thinks the best interest Mr. LANCASTER. ,

of the country demands. Likewise, I ask my hon. friends on the other side-who are in the habit of thinking, more or less, that the proposals that I bring forward are suspicious or not to be adopted by the party now in power-to forget that to-day, and if they are really in favour of this resolution, not to be afraid to say so, so that the matter can be dealt with in a manner entirely free from party politics.

Now, Sir, dissatisfaction with regard to the other Chamber ns no new thing in Canada. I will briefly mention some of the evidence of dissatisfaction. Fifteen years ago this dissatisfaction had reached such a point that one of the political parties in this country, the one now in power, put into their platform, upon which they appealed to the country, a demand for the reform of the Senate. That party attained power, and from time to time public men on both sides of the House have raised the question of reforming the Senate. We were very much indebted to a supporter of the government, in the year 1906-I refer to the present Deputy Speaker of this House, the member for South Perth (Mr. McIntyre)- for a very able address and the discussion which followed his address, calling for a reform of the Upper Chamber. Again last session we were treated to discussions of this kind by other members of this House. The member for South Perth brought in a measure for the reform of the Senate, the hon. member for South Grey (Mr. Miller) also brought in a motion, which practically agreed with the motion I am about to make.

The hon. member for West Huron (Mr. Lewis) also brought in a motion having the same object in view, but in a manner less direct than my motion. All these gentlemen brought forward much useful information, they^showed a lot of research and care in endeavouring to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion in regard to the matter. But their motions and addresses all ended in nothing, that is to say, they were followed by no concrete action on the part of this House. In this respect my motion differs from all others that have been brought forward. My motion is a practical motion, and leads to some action if adopted. The other motions, if I may bej allowed to say so without offence, were merely academic, they were merely discussions of the ques tion, and accomplished nothing. Even it they had been adopted, they would have not brought us any further on our way to wards the desired goal. Therefore I have had the temerity, in drawing this motion, to ask this House to vote for a practical resolution, a matter of concrete action, that goes right to the foot of the Throne with a petition to the King, asking that the British North America Act be amended by the Imperial parliament so that the Chamber known as the Senate of Canada may be abolished. Of course if we are ever to have

an abolition of the Senate, this is the only course that we can take. We must apply for an amendment of the British North American Act, which Act constituted the Senate as it now exists. If any of these preceding motions had been carried, or if we could agree upon a measure of reform, even then we must have an Imperial Act of parliament passed to change our constitution. So it is absolutely necessary to approach the Imperial parliament, and I know of no better way of doing so than to petition the King in the words of this motion.

Now in the course of these discussions that have taken place I have noticed the absence of one very important point, which has never been mentioned so far as I know. Hon. gentlemen who have discussed this question have all assumed that the Senate of this country bears the same relation to our House of Commons that the House of Lords bears to the House of Commons of Great Britain. I cannot see the matter in that way. Hon. gentlemen seem to have forgotten that the constitution of this country provides for a veto power ultimately vested in the King in Council, whether you have a Senate in this country or not. It is generally assumed that we have the same safeguard in this country against hasty legislation by the Commons, as there is in Great Britain against hasty legislation by the Commons there. But there' is a considerable difference. If the Lords and Commons of Great Britain agree on any legislation, it seems to me that His Majesty the King would find himself in a serious constitutional difficulty if he did not assent to that legislation. That is not so here. If the House of Commons', and the Senate of Canada, or if the House of Commons alone, assuming we had no Senate, pass a legislative measure, and that measure receives the assent of His Excellency the Governor General, even then the measure may not finally become law, because it is subject to the veto power of His Majesty in Council, who may disallow any Act of the Canadian parliament. So that we have a veto power that may be exercised by the King in Council, even though we had no Senate in this country. For instance, supposing the Senate were abolished, that we had no second Chamber to pass upon our legislation, and supposing a piece of legislation was passed in this House which a large body of people in this country, or very important interests in this country, contended was injurious to them, they would not be without a remedy, even if we had no Senate, because they could appeal to the King in Council and ask that that legislation be disallowed. They would be doing no strange thing, they would be simply acting within the provisions of the British North America Act. There is therefore in the British North America Act a distinct limitation, that after

His Excellency has agreed to any measure passed by the parliament of Canada, still it does not become binding if the King in Council chooses to disallow it within two years. So I say that if any interest in this country or any portion of our people felt aggrieved at legislation passed by this parliament, they would still have no need to bemoan the! absence of a second Chamber, supposing we decided to abolish it; they would not be remediless, for they could approach His Majesty in Council by petition and might be able to get a disallowance of the Act. This, at least, is my opinion, and before this debate closes hon. gentle men will perhaps discuss that particular point and enlighten me with tfieir views upon it, if they do not agree with what I am saying, namely, that the Senate in this country does not exist as the sole necessary check on hasty legislation, and is not, in the last resort, a protection of minorities or any other interest that may feel aggrieved, because such minority or such interest will have a remedy by appeal to Great Britain within two years, and there would be no wrench of the constitution given us by the British North America Act.

Some people say that it is all very well to be wise after the event, but I ask every hon. gentleman in this House, in discussing this matter, or before he votes for or against this resolution of mine, to seriously ask himself the question if he were one of the fathers of confederation, or if he were making suggestions to Great Britain for the re-drawing of that Act, if he would seriously say that a second chamber was necessary. I do not wish to be understood as saying that if, forty years ago, I had been assisting to make that constitution, I would not have made it as it was, and I am not saying that our forefathers did not do what they thought best in the interests of the country. They had no experience! in Canada to guide them. They naturally would look at other constitutions and it probably occurred to them at once that as there was a House of Lords in England over the Commoners to check their legislation, it would be a good thing to have a similar body in Canada. But while I might at that time have thought that, if those very able politicians and public men who had a lot to do with the formation of the constitution, who were known as the fathers of confederation, and who were doing the best they could for the future of the country, had had forty years of experience in the government of this country and could have known then all that we know now, I believe that in view of the great safeguard I have mentioned-the veto power of the King in Council-against any hasty legislation, they would have said that in the beginning of the twentieth century it was not necessary to have a second chamber. There are great differences be-

tween the country as it was, then and as it is now. Take, for instance, the question of education. Would any one seriously say that the commoners elected in this country are not now as well educated as the senators are? Would any one seriously say that any constituency does not produce and does not insist upon electing the highest types of men obtainable in the country? Forty years ago education was sparse, so to speak in this country. The fathers of confederation, forty years ago, might very well entertain the thought that they could not always be sure that the House of Commons would contain a majority of members sufficiently well educated 'to conduct the affairs of the country properly without any check upon them at all. They might have been afraid that some matter of emotion or some radical movement might arise in the country and that from want of a higher standard of education, such as exists to-day, they would not be safe in entrusting this work to an elective body at the mercy of the great body of voters throughout the country. Am I not justified too m saying that the education of the people of the country to-day is of itself a safeguard against improper legislation by this House? What would happen if any solid interests in this country were affected by legislation passed in this chamber, assuming that there was no Senate? Has it not happened here over and over again, within the memory of every one who sits in this House, as it has happened during the last eight years to my own personal knowledge, that business men would come down to Ottawa, that those interested would send delegations here, that representations would be made, that the case would be presented in the ablest manner possible, and has it not occurred that legislation proposed in this House has been amended because of the representations coming from various intelligent interests in the country? Is any commoner going to be returned when he goes back for re-election if he has been merely sitting here and has not been attending to the interests of the country? If he takes an extreme position upon any question, if he becomes unreasonable and if he does not protect the interests^ of the country and of his constituency, is he not at once set aside by the electors as being unfit to represent that particular constituency because he is not broad or big enough 'for the job? In my humble opinion if the standard of education as we have it to-day had been equally as high forty years ago, I do not think that the fathers of confederation would have thought it necessary to have a second chamber, call it a Senate, or anything you like. That, of course, is only my town opinion and I submit it to the House for what it is worth.

The next matter I would point out is Mr. LANCASTER.

this: Supposing the commoners are hasty, supposing that they make mistakes, supposing that their judgment is poor, supposing, in other words, that they are not up to the mark demanded by the intelligent electorate, the electors may punish them when they return for re-election inside of five years. If they have been unreasonable in their conduct or judgment they are at the mercy of the electors every five years or less. But, supposing the Senate makes a mistake. Supposing the Senate refuses to consent to a Bill which is manifestly in the interests of the country, what happens? They block legislation. Can anybody reach them? There are no electors, there is no power that can punish them or that can make them account for their wrong-doing, or exercise any discipline over them. So that we have this position that an elective body representing the people to whom the government itself are responsible, can have their will thwarted by the Senate and the Senate need not care whether they are on the popular side of the question or not. The right hon. gentleman leading this House (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) last session, when the motion of the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. McIntyre) for the reformation of the Senate was being discussed, pointed out, in line with what I am saying, a very serious trouble as the matter stands, or a trouble that might arise at any time. The right hon. gentleman pointed out that if the Senate refuses to pass a supply bill which the commoners have introduced there may be a deadlock in the country and there is no remedy under our constitution for it. I agree with him and what the right hon. gentleman said is in itself ai strong argument in favour of my motion. But, I say that that very matter standing alone ought to be some reason, at all events, for some amendment to the constitution and, in the absence of a better one, for the abolition of a body that can cause such havoc in the country. A supply bill cannot be introduced anywhere but in this chamber. I am not saying that the right hon. gentleman said that last session or not, but I apprehend that he will not dispute that that is so. What the hon. gentleman pointed out was that if there wa3 a deadlock in regard to the supply bill there is no remedy under our constitution for it. Although the British North America Act puts it out of the power of the Senate to introduce such a bill, although it is a bill that must emanate from the Commons, yet, if they refuse to pass it, they can prevent all business being carried on, and there is no remedy under our constitution for that state of affairs.

Manifestly then something must be done; manifestly if we could agree upon some measure of reform which we could submit to the Imperial authorities as an amendment to the British North America Act,

we ought to agree upon it. For forty years and more, particularly the last few years, the people of Canada have shown that they are opposed to the Senate as it is now constituted, and we are in the peculiar position that there are probably not two public men in the country who agree upon any remedy as -suggested. If the people all insist that the Senate is defective and is not working properly, while public men all admit that this is so, then if we cannot agree on a proper remedy the next best thing would be to have it abolished, because if an institution is defective and we cannot devise and agree upon a remedy, surely it would be best for the country to abolish it. The Senate themselves of late years have realized and admitted that their House is not what it ought to be and stands in need of reform. We know from the newspaper reports that the ex-Secretary of State, the Hon. R. W. Scott, has publicly stated what he believes to be the proper remedy for the existing unsatisfactory conditions. His opinion cannot be regarded as extreme; it is the admission of a senator of many years' standing, of a cabinet minister and a student of constitutional matters. Whatever reform is agreed upon an amendment to the constitution must be made, some petition must go to the Throne in Great Britain. If we cannot agree as to the proper remedy to apply, but admit that a remedy is necessary, we ought at least to petition the imperial authorities to inquire into the matter and pass such an amendment as they in their opinion, assisted by our advice, think would be best for Canada.

Personally, I believe there is no longer need of the Senate in this country. There may have been a need for it thirty or forty years ago, but there is not to-day, and I believe the majority of the Canadian people are of the same opinion.

The Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) in a very instructive speech last session upon the motion made by the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. G. McIntyre) told us his views. He said that the only remedial measures he would suggest were the reduction of the number of senators and the term of their tenure. What good will it do to reduce the number and to place the veto power over the acts of 220 commoners elected by the people and in close touch with them in the hands of fewer men than it is now? The commoners come in close touch with the people who are developing the country; during their elections they hear the grievances and the ideas of all classes and all sections, and I would think, with all humility, that the argument in favour of reducing the number of those who hold the veto power would logically lead to the abolition of the Senate.

The Prime Minister also contended last session, and in this I agree with him, that

it would not be wise to have senators appointed by the legislators in the same manner as the American Senate is chosen. The hon. member for St. John city (Mr. Daniel), who also spoke last session, took the same view, and I quite agree with both of them. From the nature of our constitution the question of provincial as opposed to federal rights must always be a delicate and difficult one. If we should have our senators appointed by the provinces, and the House of Commons of Canada felt obliged, in carrying on the affairs of this country, to insist on federal rights contrary to the wishes of some provinces, then the Senate could be used by the provinces to completely override the will of this House on federal matters. This would^ be a most dangerous, improper and unfair condition.

I would refer also to a speech of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir Richard Cartwright) in 1896, just before the Liberal government came in power. He then declared in Toronto that the Senate, in his opinion, was a millstone around the neck of the Canadian people and he prayed Providence to remove it soon. He maintained that the Senate was so mendacious and contrary to the interests of the people that he prayed for its removal. The hon. gentleman I believe is still of the same _ opinion. I understand he has lately admitted that he does not think the Senate is what it ought to be, and that he more or less sympathizes with my motion to have it abolished.


Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)



More or less.


Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)


Or less or more. However, the Minister of Trade and Commerce is an eloquent and able man whose knowledge of Canadian history and affairs is not excelled, and we have that hon. gentleman saying lately that the Senate was still liable to great danger and capable of great harm, and he a member of the Senate for several years.

One more witness I will call, and then I will sum up upon that evidence. The late much-respected Sir Oliver Mowat in 1903 said:

We are agreed as to the necessity of fundamental reform of the Senate, if for any reason it must or should be retained.

He qualified his opinion that the Senate should be reformed by saying that that was always on the assumption that it must or should be retained. If you want an argument or an opinion in favor of abolition expressed in plain and simple terms, you have it there. I agree with that statement of Sir Oliver Mowat-the first thing we should ask ourselves before we trouble ourselves about the way we should reform it, is: Is it necessary to have the institution at all? With that mass of testimony, with expressions of this kind from that array of public-men, with the fact that one of the two great

political parties, representing about one-half of the people of the country, in going before the people and asking them to put them in power to carry on the affairs of the country, pronounced in favour of the reform of the Senate fifteen years ago, with these various opinions in the same direction expressed since that time, with nc measure of reform brought forward in the meantime, with no petition sent to the British government to ask for any particular measure of reform, and with no evidence of the institution having worked properly in the meantime, what might we as practical ment be expected to do, except to petition the King to abolish the institution as not being necessary? I put the question to any man of common sense in any walk of life. If he were a manufacturer' and had some expensive machine in his factory which was not working well, and which no inventor or patentee could improve upon but which all admitted was deteriorating the quality of the goods sent out, what would he do? The answer is obvious: he would put the machine out of the building use it no more. If there were any possibility of improving the institution and making it useful by reform, I would agree to it; but as we cannot find any measure for reforming the Senate that can be agreed upon by thoughtful men in this country, we ought certainly to ask the home authorities to amend the British North America Act, and have it removed The hon. member for South Perth (Mr. G. H McIntyre), the present deputy Speaker of this House, in discussing this question last session, made use of an expression that caught my attention. I took no part in the debate of last year, nor did I in the debate of 1906, and I do not mind telling the House the reason. I had pretty strong opinions on this question, but I did not want to declare them until I felt sure that I was right.

I wanted to feel absolutely certain in my own mind that abolition was the proper thing before I expressed myself upon it in this House. Therefore, I sat still for instruction, and I was instructed. I obtained a lot of information from the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. G. H. McIntyre), the hon. member for South Grey (Mr. H. H. Miller), and the hon. member for West Huron (Mr. E. N. I,e,wis), for which I thank them; and having listened to the speeches of these hon. gentlemen and others, and having cogitated upon them, I was confirmed in my opinion that the only practical remedy which can benefit the country and the remedy that the country wants is abolition. The hon. gentleman for South Perth (Mr. G. H. McIntyre) used the expression that the Senate must be either amended or ended. No practical suggestion has been made for mending it; and although the hon. gentleman himself, as he told us, was not in favour of abolition, he gave no good reasons Mr. LANCASTER.

in support of his view that abolition was not the proper remedy. At the same time, he did say, you must either mend it or end it. Now, no step has been made to mend the Senate; and, applying the alternative of the hon. member for South Perth, are we not in a position to-day to petition the home authorities to end it, instead of indulging in merely academic discussions as to the proper form of mending it, when no two men can agree as to what that proper form should be? The hon. member for South Grey, I have no doubt, will vote for this motion Last session he expressed his opinion that abolition was the proper remedy, and he, more than any one else in the House, convinced me of that. It is true, I was willing to be convinced; but the hon. member for South Grev advanced so many sound reasons that he confirmed my opinion that abolition was the proper remedy. The hon. member for West Huron, however, came the nearest of any to a practical result. His motion was for a plebiscite. The other motions made heretofore have only been academic. They have only been motions brought forward for the purpose of discussion, and, even if carried unanimously, would lead to nothing. They would only express the opinion of the House, and bring no concrete result. But the motion of the hon. member for West Huron was that a plebiscite should be taken, and that the people should be asked to vote on two questions-whether they were in favour of or against abolition, and whether they were in favour of or against reform. His motion was not voted upon, the debate having been adjourned. The motion of the hon. member for West Huron sruck me as being the only practical resolution of those three, because he was advancing a step towards attaining some result. If he had got a plebiscite, it would have been a long step towards getting the government in power to approach the Imperial Parliament to get the will of the people as expressed in that plebiscite carried out. Of course, a plebiscite can be of no good unless the government in power is sympathetic with it. If the government would put a question before the people in the form of a plebiscite, that might be taken as an evidence that they were sympathetic with it, and to carry out the 'will of the people as so expressed. We had a plebiscite once before, and the government, for reasons satisfactor-"- to themselves, saw fit not to carry out the vote of the people. But if there was a strong pronouncement on the part of the people in favour of the abolition of the Senate, we would naturallv expect that the government in power, whatever government it might be would carry if out.

Before we can do anything with a plebiscite, we must have the sympathy of the government in favour of what the people would happen to vote for. Unless the gov-

eminent declared itself in favour of that it is useless to talk about a plebiscite. But the House of Commons as a body, apart from party, entirely untrammelled by any question of party loyalty or disloyalty, has the right to petition the King. It has that right as a concrete body, and the members of that body also have it as individual members, and the essential thing to do is to petition the King to amend the British North America Act by abolishing the Senate, because, after all, as far as plebiscites go, that in itself would be a pretty good plebiscite. Nothing could be done at once. Every one knows that even if such a petition were voted by a large majority of this House or even unanimously, it would not be acted on hurriedly. Other representations would probably be made, but sooner or later, probably in a few years, the petition would come to a concrete result. No decision would be come to hastily, and the members of this House would find out very quickly, if they voted in favour of this motion of mine, whether they had made a mistake and had not thereby properly represented public opinion in their constituencies. I am not posing as an authority on that point.

_ I do not profess to know the popular opinion of one-half of the country; but so far as I can understand the will of the people, so far as I have had communication with them, so far as I have come in contact with them in travelling through the country-I am not now speaking of my own constituency of the public opinion in which I claim to be a fairly good judge-my impression is that the vast majority of Canadians are in favour of the abolition of the Senate. However that is something which we would soon find out by voting on this resolution. If any one should vote to petition the King to have the Senate abolished and if in so doing he did not carry out the opinion of the majority of his constituency, they would soon make him aware of that after this session is over. So that practically, we would in course of a year or two have in this way the equivalent of a plebiscite. The question is one of such significance in some parts of the country and of such interest all over the country that every constituency would take care! to tell its representative in this House whether he had voted as the majority desired he should. In that way therefore we would practically anticipate a plebiscite, and would know, before any action were taken in Great Britain, whether the course we adopted had the support of our people or not. But it might be said, suppose we voted for this resolution and then found out on our return home, that our constituents expected us to vote differently. Well, that is not at all likely to happen. Members on both sides know pretty well what their constituents want in this matter, and there is a very

small portion of the electors in any constituency who would be at all likely to find fault with the vote their representative would give. There has been so) much discussion on this question during the last eight or ten years in this country that the people have practically told all of us what they think about it, and* but a very small proportion of the members of this House run any risk whatever of voting differently from what their, constituents want, if they apply their own judgment and common sense to the matter.

There is another argument in favour of abolition, which I have not heard discussed in this House. Possibly that was due to my not having noticed any such argument, but certainly, I have not heard it advanced. It is this one. Under our constitution our government is responsible to parliament. Nevertheless it had the appointment of the whole of one branch of parliament. That certainly is not responsible government. The people elect the members of the House of Commons and the government i3 responsible both to the House of Commons and the Senate; but the government which has a majority in the House of Commons ratifying what it does, knows that it is doing right. The people, who express their will through the House of Commons, are thus supporting the government. Then the government needs fear no trouble in the Senate, because that body is appointed by them. But suppose the representatives of the people in the House of Commons reject any measure of the government. They have as much right to reject it as to approve; and should they reject, the government are bound to carry out the will of the people as expressed by parliament and change their policy, but the Senate, composed of men who are the appointees of the government, might veto that change. They might refuse to vote for the change called for by the House of Commons. What a ridiculous state of affairs ! It is on a par with that condition of which the right hon. the leader of the House spoke last session when he Pointed out that it was quite possible for the Senate to throw out the Supply Bill and starve the country, and thereby force the Lower Chamber to do something to which it was opposed although, being the creature of the people, it knew that the action of the Senate did not meet with the popular approval.

Let me now point out that, as a matter oi practical result, the Senate does not orig* mate legislation. We find that body every session adjourning from time to time, for a month or so, and the reason given is that it is waiting business from the House of Commons. The only legislation practically which it initiates is the divorce Bills, and that could be done by the Commons if necessary. And I notice, by the way, that my hon. friend

from West Hastings (Mr. Porter) has upon the notice paper a resolution asking this parliament to pass upon the question of establishing a divorce court. Personally I am opposed to divorce; hut if we are to recognize it at all, much better have divorces granted by the courts in a proper and regular way than by any legislative body. However that is not the issue to-day, but I simply wish to point out that on the Order Paper there is notice of a motion which, if adopted, would take from the Senate the only legislation they really initiate.

The question of protecting minorities is the only one which has given me any trouble in this matter. The argument is frequently made that a Senate is needed for that. Everybody admits that the Senate must be reformed, and the only difficulty is whether you need it for the protection of a minority. Well, I have looked back into history and I cannot find that the Senate has ever given any protection to minorities in the last forty years. You may perhaps say that that is no argument because it might be called upon to do so at any moment. But how could there be any protection to a minority if the majority insisted on carrying out something to the disadvantage of that minority. The strongest argument ever made in that connection is that some little province, having its representation in this House decreased according as population increased in the other provinces, would need some counterbalancing representation in the Senate which would give force to their argument and protection to their rights. But practically what could the Senate do? The smallest province would have the smallest number of senators. The other senators would come from the other provinces and, applying all the, rules of human nature, would not be likely to support the smallest province against what they considered was for the general good of the country. Would they not represent the territory from which they come? Would there not be the same tendency of senators to vote against the senators from the small provinces? And would not that merely mean that the appeal of the small provinces would be beaten in two Houses instead of in one? The argument that the Senate is needed for the protection of small provinces seems to me to be one quite without foundation. The real protection, as I have said, is in the power given by the British North America Act to go to the King in Council in Great Britain for a veto of the legislation complained of. Those who complain of injustice can thus go to the very fountain-head of justice for the empire and plead the merits of their case. And all this can be done without any need for amending the British North America Act as it now is. I contend, therefore, that the abolition of the Senate would bring Mr. LANCASTER.

about the very strongest protection of minority, a much more effective protection than that which can be afforded by any second Chamber.

Now, I desire to make one newspaper quotation-from the ' Daily Star' of Toronto. That newspaper, to use the ordinary expression, has not much use for me as a politician, but it has made a nice argument in favour of my motion, and I am going to quote it. On January 23, 1909, the ' Star ' said:

Lancaster, M.P., would abolish the Senate. And this is all the stranger because in ten years Mr. Lancaster may be wanting to go to sleep himself.

The ' Star ' evidently thinks that the Senate is not a place to work in, but a place to go to sleep in. It seems to me that is the strongest argument in favour of my resolution. I must say that it seems to me the ' Star ' might have given me more credit for sincerity than it has given. At least it might have assumed that if I could not provide for myself, or if my children could not provide for me, a nice place to go to sleep in, the good people of Lincoln would provide such a place for me without making it necessary for me to seek a place in the Senate for whose abolition I move in this year of grace 1909. While the ' Star' evidently wants to have a little fun at the expense of the member for Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster) it still, consciously or unconsciously, presents the very strongest argument in favour of the abolition of the Senate. On February 14 the ' Star ' followed up its first utterances. We all know that the ' Star ' is not capable of being hasty and that it supports the government loyally and is not politically friendly to me. This is what it said:

As the matter now stands, the Senate is simply an addition to the patronage in the hands of the government. Patronage in the Civil Service we have learned to endure through custom, but surely it is unwise to extend the system of patronage to the appointment of those who make the laws of the land. Responsible government means the responsibility of the government to parliament, but who can speak seriously of the responsibility of a government to a portion of parliament appointed by the government itself?

The plan laid before the Senate by the Hon.. R. W. Scott is good in so far as it proposes to substitute election for appointment. An elected Senate dealing independently with the measures sent up by the House of Commons, including government measures, might occasionally serve a good purpose. It is doubtful whether such a body could work in harmony with a system which requires that the government of the day should have a parliamentary majority for the support of its measures, but if it were found unworkable it would probably be a half-way house on the road to abolition, which, to many, seems to be the logical solution of the problem.

I commend that to the gentlemen who

are in the habit of reading what they think are words of wisdom in the Toronto 'Star.' [DOT]No\v\ this institution, the Senate, costs something. The cost of maintaining the Senate would be no reason for the abolition oi that body if it were doing good work, and would not then be an argument even though it cost ten times as much as it does. But when we find that it is very doubtful that the senate is needed in the present state of things, the question of what it costs is one to be considered in the public interest. I find by the Auditor General's Report for the last year that the indemnity and transportation of members of the Senate cost $209,000, and salaries and contingencies, $94,000; Speaker, $4,000. This makes a total of over $300,000. This amount does not represent all that the Senate might have cost, or even all that it probably will cost this year. There were twenty-six senators who were absent for more than fifteen days. Had they been present the expenditure on indemnities would have been increased by $9,000; making a total of $317,000. Thus we see that in ten years the Senate will have cost practically three and a quarter millions of dollars. That would do a lot toward providing a better postal service. It would do a great deal towards nationalizing and improving the telephone and telegraph service. And, last but not least, it would pay a pretty good share to help the railways to_ abolish the deadly level crossings that kill so many people in this country. I put the question squarely to this House: Here is an institution that costs

this much money, and here are these other matters, which, it is admitted, are of importance to the people; it is doubtful if the taxpayer can easily find at present all the money to cover these expenses. Not for a minute would I say that if the institution cost even ten or twenty times as much as it does that alone would be sufficient reason for abolishing it. But when we know what can be done with that money, we ought to consider seriously whether the expenditure upon this institution should be continued. An hon. friend near me points out that there is expense for printing and other matters which I have not included. Of course, there is much of this that would not be saved even if the Senate were abolished, because the printing would still have to be done and the clerks would have to be hired. The amount to be saved in that way may be open to argument. I have given a minimum.

Now, Mr. Sneaker, I have spoken longer than I generally do upon any matter in this House. My apology for "doing so is the importance of the matter as it appears to me, and has appeared during the last five or six years, and my desire to do my duty as a representative of the people.


Edward Walter Nesbitt


Mr. E. W. NESBITT (North Oxford).

In considering the resolution moved by the

hon. member for Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster) I desire to consider for a moment the necessity of a second chamber in this country. We know that frequently agitations arise in the country and are carried on, both by newspapers and by the people, that are of sufficient weight to influence members of this House, and to be embodied in legislation. There is therefore the possibility of hasty legislation, and that is I presume, why the fathers of confederation provided for a second chamber. I have carefully searched to see whether there is any instance, either under a constitutional monarehial or a republican form of government, where a second chamber does not exist, and I have failed to find any such instance. Now, the first question we have to decide is whether we require a second chamber or not. These popular agitations I have spoken of are usually not carefully thought out, thev are often found to have no sound foundation, and if it were not for a second chamber the probabilities are that the members of this House might pass a measure in obedience to a spasmodic agitation that would not really be in the public interest. Of course we do the best we can, but we are all liable to be swayed by the popular opinion of the moment In the comments I propose to make i.WT-Sk say nothing in disparagement of the House of which I am a humble member. At the same time, we must not pride ourselves on knowing everything, we must not be too sure that we are the only people that are_ capable of passing wise and proper legislation.

The hon. member for Lincoln has told us that even if we did abolish the second chamber, that is the Senate, the people would _ still have recourse to the King in Council. Now I am not much of a lawyer, in fact none at all; but at the same time, does not the King in Council perform the same functions as our Governor General in Council? After all, is the King in Council not the Imperial Cabinet, like our Governor in Council ? I think it was Chief Justice Marshall of the United States supreme court, who, in comparing the British constitution with the constitution of the United States, said that the reason why the United States constitution would last longer than the English constitution was that under the United States constitution every person was protected bv law, that no person or corporation could be interfered with except by due process of law, and due compensation whereas under the British constitution parliament was supreme, and could do anything. That want of protection that the United States constitution has, as against our constitution, is a very serious fact. If parliament is supreme then it is all the more necessary that we should have a second chamber for the protection of the individual or corporation. The hon. mem-

ber who just sat down said that we had recourse to the King in Council, but, even if it were not true that parliament is supreme, how long would we, as Canadians, submit to our legislation being interfered with by the King in Council ? Would not that raise a very dangerous question in this country ? I do not think that we can consider that because it would be too dangerous an expedient to try.

Why is this cry raised against the Senate? I think that nearly all those sayings we hear against the Senate are largely thoughtless. People do not consider after all of whom the Senate is composed and what the Senators do. You remember that all sorts of quips and quibbles are indulged in with respect to the mother-in-law, and likewise, all the quips and_ quibbles are in order as far as the Senate is concerned. I, myself, when I came here, was prejudiced against the Senate because I had always heard that it was no good, that it was useless. Some people call the senators old ladies. If they were supposed to be good old ladies I do not know of anything that could illustrate their perfection of character more than to make use of that term with regard to them, because, if there is any one who represents all that is desirable in humanity it is a good old lady. But some people may say that they are not good old ladies. I remember very well the story of the Yankee who came over here to visit a friend belonging to the House of Commons. The friend was showing him the curiosities of this Ottawa of ours, and he said: Now, I will show you our great system of wax works, and he showed him the Senate. He said: This is the most wonderful thing you ever saw: vou would actually think they were alive. The Yankee stood looking at them for a while_ and then said: Upon my word, you are right; they are wonderful; I would have thought they were alive. I came here imbued with just such thoughts as I have referred to, but as I met members of the Senate singly and collectively I began to ponder over the question as to whether there was any basis of truth in the criticism of the Senate. When you come to consider the personnel of the Senate what do you find? Somd .people say, again reverting to the old lady story, that they are too old. I am one of those who have always had a profound respect for men of older age than myself. I have got to an age when I consider how little I know and how much less I knew twenty-five years ago. I have great respect indeed for men of older age. What is the use of growing old inyears if we do not grow old in

knowledge? I do not wish to make distinction as between members of the Senate, but, for the purpose of showing you the kind of men who belong to the Senate I propose to name a few of them. Take Mr. NESBITT.

Senator Cox, Senator Ross, Senator Dan-durand, Senator Jones, Senator McKay of Montreal, Senator Wm. Gibson, Senator Kerr, Senator Edwards, Senator Jaffrey and Senator Cartwright as illustrations. Could we pick out in this House, which wants to rule everything, names as honoured in this country as are those which I have mentioned? I think not. Supposing that one of us desired to organize a great corporation and wanted to select directors for the same; do you think that we would go to any other place in Canada, or do you think we would come to this House for our directors? Do you think we would go anywhere in Canada and find a board of directors as capable as could be taken from that Senate of ours? When you talk about abolishing the Senate remember what it is composed ef. I have great respect for men of older age, but in addition to that these are men who have had experience. The mere fact of introducing this resoluj tion is a reflection upon this House itself for the simple reason that a great many members of the Senate were educated m this House and they are men who grew old in experience in this House. It is a reflection upon the House itself to say that men could grow old in experience here and still know more than when they entered it. I hope that in a year or two from now I will know more than I do to-day, because I realize how little I know now. As to appointments to the Senate, I have no quarrel with the present system. I do not want to reform the appointments to the Senate particularly. It is said that it is politically appointed. Why should it not be.

I ask you in all fairness, why should it not be? When you say it is politically appointed, and you mean that the par y in power appoint its members from their political followers, why should they not? When you come to look over the field you want a man who is capable, a man who has merit. Do you not _ suppose you could find a man who is qualified and a man who has merit in the Liberal ranks as well as in the Conservative ranks? Supposing the situation were changed and our hon. friends on the other side of the House were in power; do you mean to tell me that they could not find just as well qualified men in the Conservative ranks as in the Liberal ranks? I think they could. There is no great difference after all between the abilities of men in - either party. I do quarrel with the appointments to the Senate for purely political rewards. That is a political exchange, as it were, for party service rendered without regard to the qualification and merit of the individual. I do quarrel with that type of appointment, but that is not what I call a political appointment because the political appointments I mean are those that I have just described. I do

not see why we should change the source of appointment.

As to the Senate itself I quite agree with the hon. member for Lincoln when he says that they should not take these long adjournments. I quite agree that they should attend to their duties. I think also_ there are many things they could initiate in the Senate. They could initiate one Bill, for instance, that we want very badly in this country, and it is a general corporation Act, a general company Act, and where could it be better initiated than in thel Senate composed of men such as I have named? They could also, I think, initiate a general bankruptcy Act for which there is great need in Canada. They could devote a great deal of time to work of that kind in place of taking a holiday during the time they are not engaged with bush ness sent to them by this House.

But I think this House could take an example from the Senate with great advantage. This Senate of ours, which we are so fond of abolishing, would go through more work in a day than we would in a week. They would revise the work we do in a week in a day or half a day. Why is that ? Because of the irrelevant questions and discussions in this House and its committees, because of the practice of talking to constituencies and to the newspapers in this House. That the senators do not require to do and that fact strengthens my objection to an elected Senate. An elected Senate would be no better than ourselves in this respect, and surely there is a great deal of talk here that we could do without and still obtain just as good results. The Senate take up a question as the board of directors of a business corporation would. How lone would it take us to pass much of our legislation if we went at it like business men, like a board of directors worthy of the name ? We would find out weaknesses in any proposed legislation and strike them out in a moment.

Another reason why I oppose the abolition of the Senate is that I believe _ it to be a protection not only of the minority in this country but sometimes the majority from themselves. There is always a danger of sensational legislation being_ rushed through this House. I do not claim to be any better than any one else, but I believe that measures are adopted by the Commons that might be very wisely opposed by the Senate. There has been no serious complaint against the Senate for blocking legislation that has passed through this House. I do not think that they have done any harm in forty years of our national existence, but I believe they have done a great deal of good. The Senate is composed of very capable men, and I believe they should reform themselves to the extent of doing more work which they could probably do more capably than we could in this House.

I think the abolition of the Senate would he a national calamity and I for one will not vote for it. If any little reforms are required in the Senate, such as a change in the method of appointment, we have in our beloved leader the Prime Minister (Rt. hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) a man strong enough, capable enough and courageous enough to bring them about.

Mr. 0. TURGEON (Gloucester). Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to follow the hon. gentleman from Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster) in the arguments which he has advanced in support of his motion for the abolition of the Senate. I have admired the language and the tone of his address and would have expected, knowing as I know the strong convictions which the hon. gentleman always displays in this House, that he would have made perhaps stronger arguments or used stronger language in his endeavour to abolish one part of the representation of the Canadian people in the Canadian parliament. I was surprised that he did not dwell more strongly upon the usefulness of the Senate as a protection for the smaller provinces and for minorities in this country. I lay stress upon this point to show my people and this House my consistency to the expressions I have already uttered in reference to the British North American Act. Last session I expressed my profound admiration for our constitution, and I uttered the hope that its fundamental principles would never be altered, more particularly in reference to representation in this parliament which I believe to be the base upon which this parliament has been erected and without which there would have been no confederation. When I consider the position of the Senate in reference to the protection of minorities and of smaller bodies in the Dominion of Canada I realize that it has mad.e possible the confederation of which we are so proud, and the parliament of Canada, both House of Commons and Senate, of which every Canadian is proud. If we -were to abolish the Senate to-day the people of the smaller provinces as well as the minorities would not have the representation in parliament to which they have been given the right by the fact of their coming into federation. If it had been proposed that the parliament of Canada should consist of the House of Commons alone with representation by population, confederation could never have been brought about. The representatives of the smaller provinces of the east, the maritime provinces, would never have consented to the framing of the constitution upon such a principle. They would not have found in one House with representation by population, the protection to which they are entitled, owing to the preponderance of the west, of which they were as sure then as we are now and therefore we must retain, for the protection


of the smaller provinces, smaller bodies and minorities, the Senate which to a great extent has been created for that purpose, or at least so framed as to meet that particular purpose with others.

I do not say it has been created simply and solely for the minorities, but I do say that the constitution of the House of Commons, such as it is to-day, would not have been accepted by the people of the smaller provinces had not the fathers of confederation given them protection in the Senate, against the dangers by which they would be faced in the future in the House of Commons, and a guarantee of permanency of this constitution in the future. The representation of the Canadian people is not solely representation in the House of Commons or in the Senate, it is a dual representation connected together by the terms of confederation in which the minorities or bodies not able to get the necessary protection in this House have been shown and told they would get it in the Senate. The fathers of confederation, Sir Leonard Tilley himself, who represented New Brunswick and brought it into confederation on the condition that the Intercolonial Bailway was built, would have come back from Quebec and London without the Intercolonial Eailway if representation by population had not been qualified by equal representation in the Senate.

My hon. friend from Lincoln says that we are not better represented in the Senate than we are in the House of Commons, but it is a fact that the smaller provinces have to-day as much representation in the Senate as the larger provinces. The fathers of confederation gave the maritime provinces twenty-four senators, the same number that they gave to the large province of Ontario and to the province of Quebec; and if you abolished the Senate you would deprive the smaller provinces and the minorities in this country of that representation and protection. For that reason, and that reason alone, I would stand firm for the retention of the Senate. I would not say that some reform of the Senate may not be necessary, but the reforms that are generally proposed by the newspapers and by a certain section of public opinion do not commend themselves to my mind. It has been proposed that the Senate should be made elective rather than appointive. I believe the appointive system is the only system which can properly and judicially express the desires and sentiments of the fathers of confederation. It is the only system to ensure having in the Senate a body of men in whom sentiments of wisdom and charity can be found combined. Make the Senate elective and you will cal] upon the people to have elections every two or three years instead of every three or four years as at present. The views of the Senate would then be subject to the Mr. TURGEON.

opinions and sentiments of their electors as well as the views of the House of Commons. We could not then expect from the-senators the same wisdom and mature judgment that we can from men who are not subject to the sentiments of their constituents. My hon. friend seems to have sufficient confidence in his own judgment to propose a radical change in our constitution, but I consider, Mr. Speaker, that the constitution that governs the Canadian people to-day is the result of greater wisdom than the constitutions of many nations with much greater population, and I say again that if you make the Senate elective you do not meet the wishes nor the designs of the fathers of confederation, nor do you meet the requirements of the country for the future.

Again, in making the Senate elective, you do away with the very object the fathers of confederation had in view in establishing the Senate, namely, the protection of minorities and of the smaller provinces. It would be difficult, in an elective Senate, to obtain representation of the rights of minorities by the very men who could best represent those rights; whereas under the present system that power and responsibility rests upon the government. It seems to me that it is better to leave that burden upon the government of the day than it would be to place it upon the people, and thus avoid cause for the discussion of questions of race and religion during the elections when the people should be called upon to elect the best men as their representatives without consideration of such questions. It would perhaps be impossible under the elective system to secure a Senate in that happy position with reference to the representation of minorities that our present Senate has reached. I remember some years ago reading a very happy speech of Sir Eichard Cartwright, Minister of Trade and Commerce, in which he spoke of the representation of minorities, and explained that up to that moment the province of Ontario, with a large Catholic minority, had never been able to send to the House of Commons a sufficient number of members to represent that minority with dignity and justice, but that the government, "by means of their appointive power, had been able to give the Catholic minority of the province of Ontario that representation, and, therefore, that protection to which they were entitled in the Senate. If you made the Senate elective, the minority in Ontario and the minorities in other provinces, as well as the smaller provinces of the Dominion, would be deprived of the representation and the protection which we are now striving to maintain. I do not wish to occupy the time of this House further than simply to make that point, that if only for the protection of the smaller provinces and the minorities in this

country, I shall certainly have to vote against the resolution of my hon. friend.


Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

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

Mr. Speaker, I propose to make only a very few remarks upon this question. I do not intend to argue either for or against the resolution to any great extent, beyond expressing my own personal views after an experience of some years in parliamentary life. The question which we have before the House to-day is one which has been discussed more than once in this chamber, but I have always noticed that the princi-al speakers who take part in the discussion ave been the younger members of the House. The question of the reformation of the Senate has been discussed in the Senate more than once, and a great deal of valuable information has been collected and put on record there, which I think might be read with interest by the members of the Commons and by the people of the country as well.

The hon. gentleman said that his resolution led to something. No doubt it does. It leads to death, to extinction, to abolition, to annihilation. But we all learn by the experience of the past; and if history has taught us anything in the last two or three centuries, it has taught us that every intelligent, civilized country in the world, which enjoys constitutional government in any form has two legislative bodies. That, to my mind, is a very strong argument. At the time of confederation, even in my early youth, I regarded the institution of the Senate as one of the best features of our Confederation Act. Take up any of the treaties on this question and what is the information you will there find? Take the list of those countries which have two Chambers. We have first Austro-Hungary, undoubtedly a great country. Then we have Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the principal states of the German empire. Then we have Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Roumania, Spain, Sweden and Norway, Switzerland, France-that ancient and chivalrous country-the United States and practically the British empire, including the Dominion of Canada. Of the countries which are an example to the contrary, there are only one or two. Surely such an array of leading countries, with the wisdom of centuries crystallized in parliamentary government, ought to have some weight. Surely their example ought to appeal to us with some force as an argument in favour of a form of government such as the one we have adopted, and which during the past forty years has been apparently a great success. It has been said, and correctly said, that our Senate has not fulfilled all that we expected of it. But that, to my mind, is not an argument for its abolition. Many of the best laws on our statutes have not accomplished the objects for which they were enacted. But would 464

that be a reason for abolishing them? Not at all. It is a reason for amending them and making them adequate to meet the situation, and that is the course we should follow in this instance. Why not do the same with the Senate? Why not reform the Senate and bring it in conformity with the spirit of the age and the sentiment of the country? Let us apply ourselves to the amending rather than the abolishing of the Senate. The hon. gentleman said he was rather attracted by the trite saying given utterance to in the Toronto ' Star ': ' Either mend or end.'


Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)


I did not take it from the ' Star.' It was said by the hon. member from South Huron.


Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)


Well, that has rather a uphonious sounding poetical rhythm, and appeals to us as does an attractive musical symphony, but it certainly cannot appeal to any one's sound judgment. My hon. friend is in favour of a plebiscite. To my mind, a plebiscite is contrary to the very spirit of the British constitution. The plebiscite supposes that the parliament does not represent the people, but that there is outside of parliament a people which is hostile to it and which may be appealed to on every act parliament does at any moment during the parliamentary term. To my mind that is a reversal of the principle of constitutional government. We in parliament represent the people during the term for which we are elected, and no one has any right, outside the constitutional limits, to set parliament aside and appeal directly to the people on any issue. The principle of plebiscite has never been recognized in the British form or monarch-ial form of government. Once the people send their representatives to parliament, then it is the duty of the government to submit its policy to the renresentatives of the people in parliament, and the decision of parliament is that of the people, who have given them their mandate, and there can be no appeal to the general body of the electors, except as provided by the constitution.

We are told that the sentiment of the country is opposed to the Senate. Well, the Hon. Mr. Blake said once in this House that a plebiscite would amount to very little unless it were accompanied by such arguments, information and collection of data as would enable the electors to pronounce a reasoned judgment on the question at issue. But what have we from the country to-day? We have not a reasoned judgment, we have but the accidental expression of opinion due to one incident or another, and not a matured judgment following out a well understood line of reasoning. The more I see of the conduct of the Senate, the more I am convinced that what is required is not abolition but reformation in order to bring it into harmony

with present conditions and the needs of the situation to-day. What has been the greatest objection to the Senate from its inception? It has been its tendency to yield to the exercise of party influence, to be a political rather than an independent body. The Senate is valuable in proportion as it leaves politics out and gives its impartial judgment, regardless of political leanings or feelings. And to the extent that it fails to do this, its usefulness is destroyed. When the senators take part in party caucuses, when they unite with their political friends in this House in devising ways and means to defeat the other party, they are helping on their own destruction. We should keep the Senate entirely distinct and separate. from any party affiliations with this House. As soon as a member of this House or a gentleman in any walk of life has been called to the Senate, he should cast aside his party politics and exercise his best judgment to work out the problems of state, without regard to the political party to which, he was formerly allied. Hon. gentlemen who to day represent the government, were wont to declare years ago that the Senate was a useless body and that when they got into office, they would either reform or abolish it. Surely the right hon. the leader of the government is strong enough and capable enough and sufficiently resourceful to amend the Senate so as to make it useful. I can only say that, while he told the people twelve years ago that he would do that, he is very slow in proposing his remedy, especially considering that he has shown the absolute need of it and is declared to be so able and so resourceful. It is no wonder that there is a clamour among the people for the abolition of the Senate, when they find that the great man, with all his satellites around him, is unable to propose an adequate remedy for existing evils. These hon. gentlemen themselves are responsible for the present position of the Senate in public esteem. They have appointed only politicians to the Senate, and very poor ones at that. As soon as politicians on that side have been discarded by the people, as soon as they have been declared unworthy to represent the people in this chamber, they are thrust into our Canadian House of Lords. And this hon. gentlemen opposite call 'reforming the Senate.' If we can find no better use for the Senate than to make it a refuge for politicians discarded by the people, it would be better to abolish it altogether. But I am very far from accepting this view : I believe that we can reform the Senate and make it a useful and a popular body. After watching the Senate carefully for thirty-one years from a place in this House, my strong conviction is that it would be an unfortunate day for Canada when the Senate was abolished. What we need is to reform the Senate so as to bring it into Mr. SPROULE.

harmony with public sentiment and fit it to meet the needs of the country. When this is done, there will be no more clamour for the abolition, of the Senate.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.


Thomas Hay

Mr. H. H.

MILLER (South Grey.) A little over a year ago, in this House, I placed upon the Order Paper a resolution in favour of the abolition of the Senate, and spoke to that resolution. When I thus spoke I did not do so thoughtlessly, but after having given to the matter a great deal of careful consideration. I had listened attentively to every argument and expression of opinion that I had been able to hear, either within this House or without from men of great experience, from wise men, and from men with perhaps less experience and men not so wise; I had read everything easily obtainable in the newspapers or in books bearing on the subject, and weighing carefully all the arguments pro and con, I concluded that it would be to the profit, to the advantage of the people of Canada to do away with our second chamber. Naturally a subject in which I took so much interest at that time has not been absent from my mind in the year that has intervened. I have thought of it considerably since then, and I am to-day of the opinion, as I was a year ago, that it would be to our advantage to do away with the Canadian Senate. My hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) speaking to-night, said that with his long parliamentary experience he had observed that the members of parliament who from time to time have advocated either some reform of the Senate or its abolition, have been among the younger members of the House of Commons. That may be true, yet I call the attention of that hon. gentleman and of the members of this House generally, to the fact that the Hon. John Bright, in Birmingham in 1884 speaking upon this matter, said:

When I was young I read books on this question and was strongly in favour of two Houses. I confess that without now having a very strong opinion one way or the other, I am not so hound up with the belief in the necessity of two Houses.

There we have at least one illustrious exception to the rule that it is the_ younger and inexperienced men who are in doubt as to the necessity of a second chamber. I think it will be generally admitted that we are not in favour of the Senate as we have had it since confederation, and as we have it to-day; I think it is the general opinion of the Canadian people that the Senate ought to be amended, if not abolished. But is it not somewhat significant that no two persons seem to agree to-day upon

the method that should be employed in amending the Senate? They may agree that there ought to be an amendment, that there ought to be some change, but no two persons seem able to agree upon what change should be made. Nay, I can go further than that, I think that no one person appears to advocate any method of reforming the Senate with any degree of assurance and confidence. Falteringly, hesitatingly, men will come forward and suggest some amendment, not guaranteeing, in so far as men can guarantee, any thing of the kind, that it will be satisfactory, but suggesting it as something that may perhaps be better than that which we have. Men seem to go rather upon the principle that we ought to choose the lesser of two evils, and that possibly what they suggest may prove to be better than that which we have.

It may be said, it has I think been said to-night, that the Senate is all right constituted as it is, if those who have the making of the appointments would be more careful than they are in their choice. I will admit that perhaps appointments to the Senate are not always the best that could be made. I am willing to admit that sometimes perhaps men are appointed to the Senate under the present system that are not the best available men. I am not here to-night to show any feeling of animosity either towards the Senate or the senators, and I am not here to say that any large number of the senators are incapable men, or men that ought not to occupy places in that House, if there is to be a second chamber. I was very glad to listen not long ago to a speech from the hon. the leader of the opposition in which that gentleman, while finding fault with some of the appointments that have been made under the present government and the present administration, agreed that the large number of appointments had been of gentlemen eminently well qualified to fill the positions to which they were called; in fact, I think he said that he agreed that the majority of the appointments that had been made had been good appointments. I think that if the Senate is objected to today, it is not largely, or in the main, because of the character or qualifications, or lack of qualifications, of the persons appointed.

If we to-day are not satisfied with the Senate as we have it, it is equally obvious that in Great Britain they are dissatisfied, and have long been dissatisfied, with the second chamber they have. It may be said that we ought not to act rashly, hastily, in this matter, that we have only had a Senate for some 42 years, and that 42 years is after all a short time in the life of a nation. That is true. Yet having had a Senate for that length of time, having been able to watch them at work, having been able to weigh their acts, we ought surely

to be able intelligently and in a sane way to come to a reasonable conclusion as to', whether the Senate has been to us an advantage or a disadvantage, whether it has been to us a profit or a loss. As I have remarked, if we are dissatisfied with our second chamber as we have it, in Great [DOT] Britain they are equally dissatisfied, and have been for many centuries, with the upper chamber they have had. I noticed two or three days ago a despatch in our Canadian newspapers under the heading,

' To abolish the Lords,' and it reads:

Plymouth, Feb. 13.-,Mr. Pease, Chief Liberal Whip in the House of Commons, in a speech here last night announced that the government would appeal to the country before many months for a mandate to abolish the veto of the House of Lords.

It goes without saying that if in Great Britain they abolish the veto of the House of Lords, they abolish the House of Lords itself, in so far as it is or can be a factor in the government of the country. I think it means much that the chief whip of the Liberal party of Great Britain announces in a public speech that the great party to which he belongs, the party entrusted foij the time being with the government of the country, is contemplating an appeal to the people by whose votes they are in power, for a mandate to abolish and do away with the House of Lords.

But I am told that the second chamber in Great Britain, the House of Lords, is, very different from our Canadian Senate.

It is true, there are some points of difference. Yet I contend to-night, and I think I am right in saying, that the points of similarity between our second chamber and the second chamber of Great Britain are much more striking than the points of difference. The hon. gentleman for Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster) speaking to his resolution to-day, pointed out one difference. He said that if we should do away with our second chamber there is still a check upon the House of Commons, that there remains the veto power in the King in Council in; Great Britain. I do not attach very much, weight or very much importance to that argument, while I agree in the main with the hon. member for Lincoln. It is true that theoretically and upon paper there is the veto power existing in the Sovereign of Britain.

But that veto power has not been exercised in the past to any extent and it would be better, safer and wiser that it should not be very much in evidence in time to come. I point out, however, that there is another difference between our second chamber and the House of Lords in Britain, as I pointed out in a speech on this subject that I delivered a year ago. There is more elasticity in the House of Lords than there is in our Canadian Senate. If a measure pass the House of Commons

in Britain it may be possible for the House of Lords to thwart the will of the people

and check the legislation of the House of Commons, as it is possible with our Senate to do the same thing in Canada, only that in Britain they have this source of relief that they can increase and add to the number of their peers in order practically to make them carry out the will of the people and concur in whatever is done in the lower House. I cited an instance when I spoke on the subject before. Let me cite it again. In 1832, when the Reform Bill was before the British House of Commons, Earl Grey, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, refused to assume the leadership of the party to which he belonged and to take control of the Commons until the sovereign, His Majesty the King, then reigning in Britain, had given him the assurance that he would, if necessary, give his consent to the addition to the number of peers until the House of Lords would concur in whatever the House of Commons would do in the matter.

I have said that the points of similarity as between the Upper Chamber here and the Upper Chamber in Britain are greater than the points of difference. Mr. Charles G. D. Roberts, in his history of Canada, says:

In the constitution of the Senate it was sought to make it correspond with the House of Lords as far as was possible in a purely democratic country like Canada.

I have no doubt, in fact, I think it is conceded, that the fathers of confederation tried to give us a Canadian Senate as nearly as possible the counterpart of the British House of Lords.

If then, there is a general discontent and dissatisfaction with the Senate as we have it, what shall we do? Obviously we can do one of three things. We must retain our Senate as we have it, or we must seek to reform it if we can and if it is impossible to reform it the only thing remaining for us to do is to do away with it altogether.

We, as sensible, progressive men, having the interests of the country at heart, if we conclude that the Senate as it is is not as it ought to be, will seek to end it or mend it. Shall we end it? Shall we do away with the Senate? If the decision of the matter were left to the vote of the people unquestionably the people would vote for the abolition of the Canadian Senate; but again I agree with my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) that unless we have an educational campaign in which this whole question would be argued before the people they would not be in a position to intelligently vote upon the question. T anticipate that a majority of the members of this House will not to-day vote, if we are to have a vote, in favour of putting an end to the Senate. I believe that the vote Mr. MILLER.

to-day will be in favour of retaining the Senate; and why? I spoke a few days ago to one of the most experienced, to one of the most intelligent and to one of the most honest members of this House, if there be any degree of honesty among members of the House of Commons, and he said to me: I must admit that I am too much of an old Tory to advocate the abolition of the Senate. I spoke to another member of this House, not of quite such great experience, but a man of just as great intelligence, a man of just as great honesty, and he said: I am not radical enough to vote _ for the abolition of the Senate. Now, Sir, is it not true that whether we call ourselves Grits or Tories, Conservatives or Liberals, the real reason why so many of us will vote against the abolition of the Senate is that old feeling of Toryism, whether we placard ourselves as belonging to one party or the other, that old feeling of conservatism, that dread of letting go the things we have had and of replacing them by things that we have not tried? If we amend the Senate, how will we seek to amend it? Will we seek to amend the Senate by making it less active than it is; surely not. I do not agree with those people, with those newspapers that say that the Senate is a place m which people may comfortably go to sleep. I do not believe in the remark which, I think, is, may I say, a silly remark, that the Senate is composed of a lot of old women. I think that is not an argument, that these are not expressions that the facts warrant. Yet, I think, that no one will argue that there should be less of activity and more of lethargy than there is in our present chamber. If we then will not seek to amend the Senate by making it less active shall we seek to amend it by making it more active, by giving to it more life, more energy, more vim and vigour and shall _we undertake to amend the Senate by giving to it a greater consciousness of the power it possesses or greater power to be conscious of? I hope that no rearrangement or reform of the Senate will be a reform along that line. Let me quote the opinion of the late Hon. Lord Salisbury in that connection. Lord Salisbury said:

It is because most of those who sit in the House of Lords do not themselves select the profession of politics as a thing which they love hut come to it by the operation of ^ external causes, that we have a body that bring* to the consideration of political matters a feeling which is described as one of languor, but which I would describe as one of good nature and easy-going tolerance, which enables them to accommodate themselves to the difficult part of playing second to the House of Commons.

As I have said before, it may be contended that the House of Lords in Great Britain differs considerably from our Canadian Senate, but that does not make any


difference to the argument. The state of affairs in one chamber is exactly similar to the state of affairs in the other; that is, there is in each one of these second chambers that feeling of languor, described by Lord Salisbury as a feeling of good nature and easy going tolerance that enables the Upper Chamber in either case to play second to the House of Commons. Realizing that to be the case, what did Lord Salisbury advocate? Did he advocate a reform by which there should be an Upper Chamber, the members of which Upper Chamber should be imbued with greater life, greater energy and greater activity? No, on the contrary, he deprecated any such change and advocated a continuance of things as they were. Listen again to his words when he said: 1 i I >[DOT]*!*

Depend upon it, if you ever succeed in so altering the character of this house that it consists of determined politicians, who always attend all debates and attach the same weight and importance that are attached to their opinions by those who sit in the House of Commons, you will have pronouced the doom of our present system of government, you will be imposing upon the House ol Lords a place in the constitution which will be fatal to the constitution as it exists.

I beg humbly to concur in this opinion expressed by so experienced, so able a parliamentarian as the late Lord Salisbury. I say that if you amend the Senate to give to it a greater degree of energy, of vigour and of life you create a second chamber that is not enabled longer either by good nature or otherwise to play second to the House of Commons and you will then have two chambers that will be actuated by a feeling of rivalry, a feeling of jealousy, each one endeavouring to take precedence over the other and you will have them as combatants.

But, it is said: We will reform the

Senate by electing the senators rather than by appointing them for life.

The fathers of confederation have been spoken of to-night. As we review the history of the past forty-two years we cannot but admire the sagacity, the intelligence, the forethought, the wisdom, the political ability of the fathers of confederation. How little there is in all the great work they did which we can adversely criticise? The constitution of our Canadian Senate was considered by them with great attention. It is true that some of the fathers of confederation, notably Hon. Edward Blake, were opposed to life appointments, and yet, after giving grave and careful thought and attention to the whole question, the fathers of confederation decided that we would have the best possible upper chamber if its members were appointed rather than elected and the appointments were for life. It is now sought to have this House declare that the framers of our constitution

were wrong in this conclusion, and that it would have been better to elect than to appoint members of the Senate. Let us consider well before making such a change. What benefit will we achieve by it ? You tell me it will be better to elect than to appoint our senators because then they will be responsible to the people. But, Sir, I believe the idea of the fathers of confederation was to create a Senate that would not be responsible to the people, and I believe that one and the main thing that has led the people of Canada to look with whatever degree of favour they have looked on the Canadian Senate was the very fact that the Senate was independent of the people, and they have been happy to believe and to think that, we have in the Canadian Senate a body of men not responsible to the people but independent of them and that if any sudden gust of popular passion, any great and sudden wave of public feeling should precipitate legislation that might perhaps afterwards turn out to be rash and unprofitable, we would have this great independent body between the public and ourselves, legislating for that which would perhaps not be acceptable for the moment but would be best for Canada in the long run. Elect your Senate and you take away that last remaining vestige of strength, that last remaining virtue in the upper chamber as a part of our constitutional system. Again you elect your Senate and your House of Commons; you have one body sitting in one chamber and another in a separate chamber and these two elected bodies are to make our laws. They are elected by the same people, why then place a partition between them ? Why not put them in the same chamber ? They have power and position from the same source, it seems a strange inconsistency to maintain the two chambers similarly situated and deriving their being from the same source of life. But you say we will elect the senators not for four or five or even ten years but for fifteen years and from larger constituencies. If it be better to elect members of your Senate for ten or fifteen years, whv would it not be better to elect the members of the House of Commons for a longer term, for ten or fifteen years. But then you say we will elect them for larger constituencies. Again I ask what benefit will result from that ? And of neces sity, if you are to elect your senators, you must elect them from larger constituencies or you will have the same number of senators as members of the House of Commons. which would not be tolerated. It is said that there is a great deal of corruption attending the election of members to the House of Commons. I refuse to believe, I do not believe that there is anything like the amount of bribery and corruption in our elections that we are sometimes told and that many people believe. I believe that by far the larger number of

and stand impervious to momentary gusts of popular passion, and tiiat all enduring achievement must he based in the reason rather than in the emotions of the people/

I submit that a leader of the government, having his characteristic moderation, his fairness, his force of character, enabling him _ to resist any sudden gust of popular passion and clamour, is a greater protection against hasty, rash and unwise legislation than we can possibly find in a second chamber; and I trust that whatever party may be in power, it will be the good fortune of Canada to have a) man of these characteristics, this ability and strength of character, to lead the government. But the strongest check we can possibly have upon hasty legislation in this House must be the strong check of public opinion. And that is more potent against hasty, rash and unwise legislation to-day than it ever has been at any previous time. Public opinion will be a more potent check a year hence than it is at present, just as it is more potent to-day than it was a year ago. Why is it a more effective check to-day than it was in years gone by? First, because of the superior education of the people, because of the better system of public schools, because our people are growing more prosperous and financially stronger, because the fathers and mothers of the boys and girls of Canada to-day are able to send their children to school more regularly and for a longer time than in previous years. We have to-day not only our young men and women better educated than were their fathers and mothers, but we have public libraries in every large centre and circulating libraries in almost every neighbourhood and in connection with almost every public school. With a better education of the people, with a ready access to printed books and newspapers more widely read than ever before, cheaper in their subscription price and more common in their distribution ; with greater transportation facilities and a better mail service, what happens in the House of Commons to-day is known and discussed by the people at their breakfast table to-morrow morning. All these things tend to arrest public attention and to create public opinion and make it the most healthy and potent check we can possibly have on hasty and unwise legislation.

I am not going to say that the Senate has never accomplished anything for good, that it has never done anything for the weal of the Canadian people. It would be an unwise and untenable position to take, to say that a Senate composed of some eighty or ninety men of education, experience and ability, and enjoying all the power they do, can have accomplished nothing for the good of the people. That is not a contention I would make, but what I simply say is this, that the benefits we have obtained from our Senate have not corresponded with Mr. MILLER.

the cost and disadvantage of maintaining it. Let me not be taken to mean that I am putting the financial cost of maintaining that body against the good we have received from it. I do not take that ground, because if, as a result of the existence of a second chamber, it can be clearly and unmistakably proven that we have better laws on our statute-books for the protection of the rights, liberties and privileges of people, the better guarding of life and better protection of property, the question of cost is one comparatively insignificant. When you tell me that we have better laws but that it has cost us so much to make them better, and then ask me to point out what is the profit or loss balance, I say that is too difficult a, problem for any one to undertake. If you prove that, aside from its financial cost, the Senate has been a benefit to the country I have nothing more to say, but when we show that it has not been of any advantage, then we have the right to consider the matter of its financial cost.

In the arguments to which I have listened in favour of a second chamber, I have heard no one say: Look at what the Senate has acomplished; look at what it will do. The arguments in its behalf consist mostly of this: Think of what might have taken place if we had not had a Senate, and think of what may possibly take place in the future if we do away with it. These people appear like a cowardly man, afraid to take a journey in the dark lest something evil might cross his pathway. He knows of no such evil. He knows of ho enemy whom he is likely to meet, but he hesitates lest some misfortune might overtake him, without having the slightest idea whence or how it might come. It seems to me that such is the position we take when we fear to abolish our Canadian Senate. I suggested, when I spoke on this question twelve months ago that we do not abolish our Senate by one fell swoop, but that we make no further appointments until the number of senators decreases by death or resignation or otherwise until the number should be reduced to say fifty. Then abolish that body completely and allow the remaining senators to retain their title for life with an annuity of say $2,000. That, however, is a mere question of detail. It seems to me that we are in the position of a boy on the brink of a stream. He hesitates to take the plunge. He knows the exhilirating, wholesome influences that will follow, but rather than take the plunge he stands shivering and faltering on the bank. In like manner we suffer injury while we stand halting and shivering instead of taking the plunge which will be to the people of Canada a decided benefit.

There are certain arguments which appeal to me in favour of continuing the Senate. They are the pleasant faces and the fine characters of some of mv friends

on this side of the House and on the other, some of whom I would like to see enjoying the honours and privileges of a seat in that body. These sentiments appeal to me, not because of mv friends on both sides of the House but because of many men outside who have fought the battles of their country, who have suffered, it may be, for their country's sake, who have lost their business connections and made great sacrifices for their country. Such men as these I would like to see enjoying the honours, profits and privileges of a place in the Canadian Senate, but to harbour such thoughts and be influenced by them, I would be allowing my feelings and sentiments to get the better of my judgment ; and considering the matter carefully, weighing all the arguments pro and con, I am strongly and decidedly in favour of the resolution for the abolition of our second chamber.


John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN BARR (Dufferin).

Mr. Speaker, the question now under discussion is one which has attracted the attention of parliament almost since the time of confederation. There have been times when it seemed that it would be possible for us to accomplish something in relation to this matter, but at other times there has been little prospect of accomplishing anything. But, as we had this agitation in the last parliament, _ and as it seems probable that ^ will continue in the present parliament, I think it is the duty of the representatives of the people to place themselves on record that their constituents may know where they stand. I venture to say that no question to come before the House during the present session will attract more attention than the one which we now have under discussion. This question was agitated not only during last parliament, but during the recent election, and it is the subject of general discussion in the country at the present time. The people believe that the Senate has not accomplished the work that was expected of it at the time of confederation. Holding that view, a view I have held for a long time, I am entirely in accord with the mover of this resolution. I hope the hon. gentleman will stand to his guns and that all hon. members will be ready to declare their position, if not by voice, then by vote, that the electors may see their record and know what position they hold on this question.

The fathers of confederation showed gTeat wisdom in handling the problems with which they had to deal. This is proven by the fact that only in two or three respects would we alter the British North America Act, even if the duty were committed to us of enacting it again at this time. I believe that it should be provided that parliament should run for five years, thus depriving the government of the power

to bring a parliament to an end at a time to suit their own interests regardless of the interest of the country. Of course, safeguards would be required in case of a government not being able to carry on the administration of public affairs for the full term of parliament. In such a case the Governor General should have power to dissolve the House. I believe that this could be done without danger to the public interest. Our political experience shows that it is not the strong Liberal or the strong Tory, the man who votes according to his party, whose influence dissolves the House; it is the independent voter whose influence decides these matters. Therefore, I believe it would be better that we should petition the Imperial parliament to so amend the British North America Act as to provide for a full five-years' term for parliament. Another change required is in respect of our second chamber. At the time of confederation the great statesmen who prepared our present constitution-and I think we may safely say they were all great statesmen-differed widely in their viewB on this question of a second chamber. George Brown, the advanced reformer, believed strongly in an appointive Senate. Mr. Blake and many other reformers held different views. The Conservatives also were much divided on this question. After much deliberation a decision was reached in favour of an appointive Senate. I believe that, if we review the record of the Senate, we can come to no conclusion but that that body has not met the requirements of the situation or come up to the expectations formed by the people of the Dominion. I believe that if the work were to be done over again, opinion would be overwhelmingly in favour of trusting our affairs to one chamber composed of men elected by and responsible to the people. I believe that the people to-day regard the decision reached by the fathers of confederation in relation to the Senate to have been a mistake. We are told that practically every civilized nation has a second chamber. I can well believe that; in the older countries of Europe it was thought wise to have a chamber whose members could be trusted to be true to the Throne and which would be less easily moved than the majority of the people. I can imagine that even in Canada, nearly half a century ago, a second chamber might have seemed necessary. But I believe that the people as a whole are quite satisfied to-day that the affairs of the country would be safe in the hands of a legislature composed of only one chamber. They believe that if the people were left to elect their representatives they would be more careful, and, as a result, we should have better legislation, legislation better fitted to meet the requirements of the mass of the people than we have to-

day. If we look at the history of the Houses of Lords in England we find that reforms have in many cases been wrung out of that second chamber by the representatives of the people. We find that many measures which were opposed at the time by the Lords are to-day the laws of the land, proving beyond a doubt that the people can be trusted. So I say that to-day it would be an evil if the Senate of Canada were to be in a position to make laws to govern this country, and if the Senate could not with advantage rule the country, then they are not necessary, and should be done away with

Looking back over the history of our country since confederation we find the political parties changing their position with regard to the Senate. There was a time when the Liberal party at present in power were very much opposed to the Senate, there was a time when one of the chief planks in their platform was the abolition of the Senate. Some years ago when I had the honour of a seat in the provincial house, and when I took part in elections, I found that the representatives of the Liberal party at that time made the abolition of the Senate almost their entire stock in trade. In every county they denounced the Senate as unnecessary, as something that was out of date, as one of the mistakes of the fathers of confederation. But a great change came over that party when they reached power, and to-night we have heard that the Senate might be a very good thing, that it might be a great advantage to the country if we could only eliminate politics from the appointments. But I want to say that if political influence is ever eliminated from the appointments it will be in the dim and distant future. We have been told to-night that it was forty-two years since the Senate came into existence. Has there been any progress in eliminating polities from appointments to the Senate ? Decidedly not. When Sir John Macdonald was in power I think he did appoint one Senator that was not a Conservative, a Mr. McDonald, of Toronto. Since the present government came into power they have appointed a large number of Senators, and not one of them has been a Conservative.

Now I ask the question, what will the result be in a short time ? When the present government came into power the Senate was largely Conservative, and there was a conflict. There is danger of a conflict at any time. When the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie ruled the destinies of Canada there was a conflict between the Senate and the House of Commons. The Senate vetoed a Bill passed by the Commons in connection with a railroad in British Columbia. The proposition was made by Mr. Mackenzie to increase the number of senators in order that he might appoint a number of Reformers and thereby get a majority in that body.


John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)


That proposition however was not carried out, fortunately I think for the country. Now here is the position we stand in to-day. We find to-day a very small number of Conservatives in the Senate. It is very unlikely that this government will remain in power after the next election; all signs point to their defeat when the people have another opportunity of pronouncing their opinion. Now when a Conservative government comes into power and finds an enormous Liberal majority in the Senate, is there not great danger of a conflict ? The Senate will then stand as a menace and a danger to the country. The result would be that Bills passed by the popular chamber would be rejected by the Senate, and consequently an agitation would spring up throughout the country in favour of a drastic reform of the Senate, or its abolition. Under these circumstances, therefore, I think it would be wise on the part of this government to take some steps to redeem the pledge they made when in opposition to reform or abolish the Senate. They have redeemed one of the pledges of their famous platform in connection with the voters' lists, and I think they might now well redeem their pledge regarding the Senate.

Now the question arises, shall we amend or end the Senate ? As I have already said, every decade the Senate costs this country over $4,000,000, and I believe the country is of the opinion that we receive no value for the money. It has been suggested that we give the people an opportunity to express their opinion on this question, and I think that is the proper thing to do. Let the people be asked, first: Do you approve of the Senate? Second: Would you abolish the Senate? and thirdly: Do you desire a reform of the Senate ? I believe that scarcely a corporal's guard would vote to retain the Senate; I am of the opinion that a vast majority of the people would vote to abolish it altogether.

We will not only have the saving, but if we do not feel that we are properly represented we can increase the number of representatives as we have done in the past and as we will be forced to do whether we keep the Senate in operation or not. I am aware that probably the eastern provinces will oppose the abolition of the Senate, because, under the agreement by which the representation in the various provinces in this House is fixed, the basis being sixty-five, representatives for Quebec and the other, provinces being represented proportionately, the lower provinces find that their representatives have been decreasing every decade and they feel that they have not been receiving justice. The Senate remains the same and some of these little provinces have as many representatives in the Senate as they have in this House. They may be, afraid that with the abolition of the Senate they may not receive justice at the hands.


of parliament. But, we might ask the representatives of these provinces what the Senate has done for them? The people of Prince Edward Island claim that, according to the British North America Act, they are entitled to the construction of a tunnel connecting with the mainland, and I believe they are if it can be built for any reasonable amount of money. But, what have the four senators from Prince Edward Island done or attempted to do for this province? What have these other provinces received from the Senate? Their representatives in this House obtained several concessions from the government, but they did not feel that they^ had received all that they should have obtained. But what have they received from the Senate? Go over the records of that body and you will find that the senators from these provinces have, like those from other parts of the country, been asleep to a great extent, that they have accomplished very little and that the Senate is of no advantage as safeguarding the interests of the lower provinces.

But, the representatives of the people can be increased in number and with one body composed of 220 representatives the Dominion of Canada is perfectly safe without a Senate. At confederation the question was raised as to how many of the provinces should have a second chamber. The second chamber was advocated by a number of the fathers of confederation. It was proposed that Ontario even should have one, but Ontario was opposed to the second chamber and it has got along very well without it. But, we know that other provinces have a second chamber, and we know that they have had great difficulty in abolishing the principle of the second chamber, that it has only been by appointing men who are pledged to vote for the abolition of the second chamber that any progress along that line has been made. Quebec has one at the present time, but it could not have remained in existence in Ontario for five years if the principle had been established there. If Ontario, one of the largest provinces in the confederation, having almost half the representation in this House, sees no advantage in its second chamber, and if it is not deemed advisable to establish it in other provinces, must we not come to the conclusion that it is not a necessary part of the parliament of Canada? I believe that if the problem of confederation were to be worked out again today there would be no Senate, that the people would be quite willing to leave the legislative power to their representatives in the House of Commons, and I can assure you that with the intelligent voting population that we have in Canada to-day this Dominion and the provinces which compose it would be perfectly safe. We have, every four or five years, a Dominion election and the people can change their representatives at any time they

choose to do so. That is the greatest safeguard that any people 6ould have, and I believe that the Senate has been a curse rather than a blessing. I do not believe that appointing younger men to the Senate would be an advantage nor do I believe that the appointment of more aggressive, active and energetic men to the Senate would commend itself to the wisdom of the country. It has been said that the government have been very careful in the selection of senators and the argument has been advanced that one of the greatest safeguards was that the government had not appointed aggressive men, but, mild, quiet, easy-going men to occupy seats in the Senate. It is true that there are some brilliant lights, but usually the men selected for seats in the Senate are those who have been rejected by the electors or who have not been called upon to run again and, if we look at the last appointment, we must say that there is not much hope of improvement. There we find that the gentleman who was appointed to the Senate was not able to secure the convention of his party. It was necessary for him to give way to another candidate in order that the government might carry the election and he received his reward in the shape of a sena-torship. He never was any bright or shining light in this House such as we might expect to be called upon to fill that position. The Senate is also utilized as a means of finding places for ministers of the Crown that do not succeed in obtaining a seat. If such a state of affairs continues we have no hope of any reform. I believe the best course we can pursue is to abolish the Senate. One of the strong reasons why I hold that belief is this: We have a Senate to-day such as we never had before, in that a large number now occupying seats in the upper chamber are prepared to change the constitution of the Senate and assist the Commons in carrying out the wishes of the people in. that regard. We have heard leading men, many of whom have grown gray in the service of their country, and men who, I believe, are conscientious in what they say, stating publicly and openly that they believe the time has come for either abolishing or amending the Senate. We have that old statesman and politician, the Hon. Mr. Scott, coming out with a scheme which probably would be a good one, and which, at least, would be a great improvement on the present state of affairs. That is to continue the appointment of one-third of the members and have two-thirds elected by the people. .

That would give something in the neighbourhood of fifty-four or fifty-eight representatives of the people. I admit the objection to these large constituencies, but even that would be small compared with the existing disadvantages and dangers. So long as we have representatives of the people, by the people and with the people, the


country is comparatively safe, but if we had a conflict between the Senate and the House of Commons confederation might be in danger and with two-thirds of the Senate elected that danger would cease. The other third might be appointed. I believe to-day that if our Senate was altogether composed oi politicians who had long served their country it would be better and more in accordance with the interests of the people. The greatest danger is the younger element put in in the hope that they would live long after a change in popular feeling shall have brought in a Conservative administration. If we are not to abolish the Senate we should amend it in a way to give the provinces a voice in the elections. Suppose that one-third of the senators were elected as at present, one-third elected by the different provinces and one-third by the electors, the objection of the last speaker is in my opinion one of the strongest points in connection with this legislation. It is that probably no time will occur in the history of Canada in which all the provinces will belong to one political stripe, whether Conservative or Reform. It is true that now over two-thirds are Conservative, and from appearances they are likely to remain so for some time unless this government should mend its ways in connection with graft andAflher things of that kind. But suppose they were of a different political stripe from this House would that not be a strong argument why a number of them should be appointed by the different provinces. We would then have continued mixing and no matter whether a Conservative or Beform government were in power, we would always have a number of the opposite party appointed which would greatly help to solve the problem. It is admitted that one great danger in Canada is the encroachment of this government upon provincial rights. Unfortunately at the time of confederation questions which are now of vital importance and whose solution presents the greatest difficulty were comparatively trifling. I refer to such matters as water-power, gas wells, &c., which in the near future will be of great importance to provinces. This House has been encroaching upon the rights of the provinces. It is unfortunate that these questions are not all settled, but if we had these different provincial governments making appointments to the Senate to the extent of one-third of its membership, the wishes and desires of the provinces would be represented in the Senate and they would see that justice was done to the provinces. By such a system we would have a mixture of politics in the membership of the Senate and have a much safer body than now. I must therefore come to the conclusion that no better solution than the one suggested can be found and I should be pleased to endorse it. It has been Mr. BARR.

suggested that the work of parliament should be divided between the two Houses, and that senators should carry through one-half of the legislative programme, which would come to us for revision as our work now goes to them. But we must not lose sight of the fact that we the representatives-of the people, coming from the people, being of the people, know the wants of the people better than the senators do. . We have all noticed that Bills coming from the Senate are in many cases of such a character that they would not pass this House if originally introduced here and subjected to the criticism of our committee. Bills favouring corporations and granting charters to companies that would not be accepted in this House have in the last four years been introduced in the Senate and have then passed through this House without receiving the degree of consideration they otherwise would. The result is that many Bills have slipped through this House that would not have passed if they had been introduced here. All the bad Bills that we have had in the last four years have emanated from the Senate. It is well known that the Senate favours corporations more than this House does because the senators have not their constituents to consider, and the result is that railroads and corporations have more faith in the Senate and in this way dangerous legislation has been passed. Under these circumstances I hope that if we are to have a Senate it will not be an aggressive Senate. I believe that a sleeping, quiet Senate such as we now have is not dangerous. The general feeling throughout the eountrv is that the principal work of the Senate is in connection with divorces, and I must say they do occupy a great deal of their time in that way and I have no doubt it amuses them very much. But if we look over the divorces granted we must conclude that the senators do not attach that importance to their decisions that they should and that in many cases applicants succeed in influencing the senators to a greater extent than they could influence the representatives of the people in this House. I am opposed to divorce and divorce laws if we can get on without them. But I believe a divorce law would be preferable to the existing system. These Bills emanate from the Senate and when they come here no consideration is given to them. Would not a judge be much more capable of weighing the merits of a divorce case, and better able to judge right from wrong than the senators if we are to measure their future by their past decisions. If we take away from the Senate the trial of divorce cases, which my hon. friend proposes to do, what is there left for them to accomplish ? I believe the time has come when we could do without the Senate, and by so doing save a large amount of money to the country year after year.


Honoré Hippolyte Achille Gervais


Mr. HONORE GERVAIS (St. James, Montreal).

Mr. Speaker, I have been for a great many years looking for an opportunity to join in such an important debate as the one that is going on to-night. I know nuite well a number of senators who have been for a long time waiting for a ticket of leave for they have been thinking, not of the Notre-Dame or Beechwood Cemetery but of reforming that upper house which is called the Senate of Canada. I am not unmindful of the great role which has been played all over the world by upper houses of legislation. For the last four centuries, in about every country in the civilized world, except in Hungary, an upper house and a lower house have been in existence and are still in existence. Mr. Speaker, you know quite well, that three great social interests-the aristocracy of wealth, the aristocracy of knowledge, and the aristocracy of lineage- have been instrumental in establishing and maintaining those houses which are styled by social writers upper houses. It is not my desire to-night to give my views on the usefulness of maintaining our Senate. It is a moot question whether or not our Senate could be reformed in any shape or form. I am not prepared to-night to say just what degree of concession should be made to those who demand the reformation of our Senate, because I have not yet gathered all the necessary information or data. I am waiting for this information and data to come to me, both by cable and by mail, and until I get it, I do not feel able to give to this House the benefit of my views on this great question. Before resuming my seat, I must say that while listening to this debate, which evidently was inspired by some remarks already made in the Senate, I could not help recalling the old fable, 'when the devil was sick, the devil a monk would be.' Might I quote here, as a word of advice, the phrase,

' let the dead bury the dead,* and the living govern the living. Under the circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to move the adjournment of the debate.


Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned.



Mr. A. B.@

WARBURTON (Queens, Prince Edward Island), moved:

For a copy of all reports, memorials, documents and correspondence in possession of the government with regard to the superannuation and to making provision (for the superannuation of officers and members of the crew of the winter or ice-breaking steamers owned or in the employ of the government.

He said: Mr. Speaker, before this motion is put, I would like to say a few words on behalf of a very deserving class of men in the employ of the Government. The Government of Canada at the present time, has,

I believe, five ice-breaking steamers in its employ. Of these the two which are perhaps the best known, because they have been the longest in the service and have been most often mentioned in this House, are the two engaged in the ice-breaking service between Prince Edward Island and the mainland. The other three are now and have been for some three or four years in service in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. I refer to the ' Montcalm,' the ' Lady Grey,' and the ' Champlain.' The officers and men on board of these vessels are engaged in a most arduous and difficult employment, in which they are subject to much exposure and hardship. I have no personal knowledge of the conditions which prevail in that service in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but I have a somewhat intimate acquaintance with the hardships connected with the work done by the 'Minto' and the 'Stanley,' which are engaged in the winter service between the mainland of Canada and my own province of Prince Edward Island. The senior captain of those vessels, Captain Finlayson. has been in that employ for nearly thirty-five years. He was in command of the first steamer owned by the Dominion government which was put on that route, the old ' Northern Light.' He has been in command of the ' Stanley,' which is still there, and later has been in command of the , Minto,' the last vessel built for that route, and still employed there. _

Captain Finlayson has been m the service nearly thirty-five years, Captain Brown for 10 or 12 years, and it is difficult for any member of this House to form an adequate idea of the difficulties and hardship these men have to undergo. The ice-boat service is hard enough as we have it in Prince Edward Island, but it begins in the morning and ends at night, and the men rarely have to work more than seven or eight hours at a time. In the case of these steamers, however, it frequently happens that they are tied up in the ice and in the straits for weeks at a time. Some three or four years ago one of these steamers got into a jam and drifted up and down the straits during sixty days. She lost her propeller blades; the other steamer had to go to her assistance, and she also lost one of her propeller blades, and it was only after sixty days that they got clear. The captain had of course to stand by his ship. I do not know that there was any special danger, but the experience was a very trying one and a severe test on the nerves of the strongest men. Captain Finlayson has been nearly thirty-five years in this trying service; he has to fight his way through ice floes and rafted ice, as I know of my own experience, for I have crossed some fifteen or twenty times on such occasions and found the experiences very trying ones. I have seen that vessel stuck on the ice off Pictou for thirty-six hours at a stretch. I

have seen one of these steamers stuck inside the harbour for 59 days while the other was shut outside. And during all that time these captains were responsible for the management of their ships and men and subjected to the most unreasoning and querulous criticism from the people and from a portion of the press which ought to have known better. I am using as strong language as I can because I have seen a lot of this kind of thing and I sympathize deeply with these men. What do these men get ? Captain Finlayson, who is the senior captain, gets, after this long experience, but $1,500 a year, which is but a little less than the pay of a second-class clerk who has not quite reached the maximum of his class. And this man has been only receiving this salary the last few years. During a great part of the period he has been in the service he received less than $1,000 a year, but gradually worked up to $1,200 a year, and finally a few years ago he got $1,500. This pay for a man holding that responsible and nerve-destroying position is utterly inadequate. However, that is not the chief point I want to bring before the House. It is well known that when men are employed in very trying positions they cannot stand the wear and tear for any length of time. I am not a railway man, but I am informed that in our great fast railway service, in which the express trains are run at great speed, their conductors and engineers cannot stand the strain for more than, four or five years, and no company will keep them longer in these positions because even the strongest among them are bound to give way. But what are we to think of a man in the position of Captain Finlayson, who has been thirty-five years in charge of a steamer going through the ice, having the responsibility on his hands of the lives of his passengers and crew during the winter season, in all sorts of stormy weather, through heavy rafted and floating ice and harbour ice, under perhaps the most difficult conditions which prevail in Canada, receiving such small compensation. And besides, what is still a worse feature, these men can make no provision for the future, for it must be evident to every one that no man in Captain Finlayson's position can save out of his pay any kind of a competence for the future. If there were anything to look forward to, the case might not be so bad. But here you have a man over seventy years of age who when he retires, as he must before long, will have no superannuation allowance to fall back on. Surely if a judge of the land is entitled on retiring from the bench to a pension, or a clerk who has served in a comparatively easy service, such as in these buildings, or in the outside service of the government, and who, at the end of a number of years, when he is still perhaps in the prime of life has the privilege of retiring Mr. WARBURTON.

on an allowance sufficient to keep him in at least moderate comfort, surely the men who conduct the difficult service to which I have referred ought to be entitled to at least as much consideration. Surely these men, when the time comes when they must retire from the service, should receive some superannuation so as to keep them in comfort during the remainder of their days.

My object in moving for this correspondence is to bring this matter to the notice of the government and lion, members on both sides, feeling sure that when they recognize the position in which these faithful and devoted servants of the people are placed, they will judge their case favourably and take some steps to remedy this anomalous state of affairs. In the British service, in the army and navy, every man has the hope of retiring on some allowance which will at least support him, but there is no such hope for the men who go into the ice-breaking service between Prince Edward Island and the mainland and also in the river and gulf of St. Lawrence. I have said, Mr. Speaker, sufficient to bring the case of these men before the government and the House. This is a matter in which I have for years taken a great interest. Ever since I began to cross in these boats and have seen the work these men have to do, I made up my mind that if I ever should have a seat in this House I would bring their case before it, and in doing that, I believe I am only doing my duty.


Austin Levi Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)


(King's, P. E. I.) The subject which is now before the House is one of deep interest to a large number of people in the province from which I come. Captain Finlayson, to whom the hon. member from Queens (Mr. War-burton) has referred, has been in this difficult and dangerous service for thirty-five years. During a great part af that time he received a very small salary and is now receiving but $1,500 a year. He has devoted his whole life to this service, perhaps the most dangerous on the North American continent, for certainly the most difficult and dangerous navigation to-day is that of the Straits of Northumberland. During all this time he has conducted this navigation without an accident, without the loss of a life or anything else. This alone ought to entitle his claim to the favourable consideration of hon. members on both sides. If there is any man in the Dominion who has well earned his superannuation, it certainly is Captain Finlayson. This man has shown himself to be well qualified for the position. The other captain is not so long in the service, and I do not know so much about him, but he also bears a good reputation. We of Prince Edward Island, when crossing in the boats, know that all that prudence and care can do

to ensure our safety will be done by the two captains in charge of the winter boats. And though we may sometimes feel that the boats are delayed, we feel also that our lives are safe with Captain Finlayson and Captain Brown. That is one of the reasons why I think they should receive the favourable consideration of this House. And I have no doubt that when the government takes this matter up and considers what Captain Finlayson especially has done during the last thirty-five years in the navigation of the straits, it will see its way to recompensing him as he should be recompensed.


Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)


Hon. L. P. BRODEUR (Minister of Marine and Fisheries).

I may say to the hon. member for Queens (Mr. Warburton) that there is no objection to the papers being brought down. I am not aware whether there are any papers in the hands of the department or the government concerning the superannuation of the two officers whose names he has mentioned, Captain Finlayson or Captain Brown, or of the captains of the other ice-breakers run by the government. I am aware, however, that there are memorials which have been presented to the department in relation to the captains of Dominion vessels generally. I shall be glad to bring down these papers also because they touch upon the question under discussion. I am glad to avail myself of this opportunity to add my voice in support of the sentiments expressed by the two preceding speakers concerning the services rendered to the country by Captain Finlayson and Captain Brown. Captain Finlayson has been in the service for many years- I believe the hon. member for Kings (Mr. Fraser) stated, more than thirty years. It would be impossible to eulogize these captains too highly. The services they have rendered to the country are meritorious services. They have discharged their duties faithfully. We are glad to know that during their long service no accident has happened to any vessel under control of these captains. The work they have to , perform in the Straits of Northumberland is certainly most difficult work, but because of their caution and because of their skill in the discharge of their duties, they have been able to avoid accidents, a result which has been very satisfactory to the department. The question of superannuation of the officers on government vessels is one which is engaging the serious attention of the department. We have adopted in the department the plan of making appointments in the service by promotion. For the last year or two all appointments of officers made, with the exception of one, I believe, have been made by the elevation of men from the ranks. The results of this policy, I am sure, will be good. At the same time, it may be opportune for us to consider very seriously whether we should 47

not give to these captains some gratuity or superannuation. Last year, we had an old officer, Captain Graham, who had been on the ' Osprey ' or some other of our vessels for many years, and who, on account of his age, had to be retired. No superannuation allowance could be given him, and we had to give him some little employment in the dockyard at Halifax in order to show our appreciation of the services he had rendered. This question should be dealt with not in connection with the officers on the icebreakers alone, but in connection with all the captains in the service of the government. I can only repeat what I have already said that this question is engaging the serious attention of the department.


Motion agreed to. Sir WILFRID LAURIER moved the adjournment of the House.

February 22, 1909