February 3, 1910

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Then my right hon. friend had better refresh his memory before he makes the statement:

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Pardon me-I have not finished my sentence. I am not sure that my hon. friend ever spoke to me about it, but if he did, it was simply to suit the convenience of the House, and not because there was on this side any opposition to his motion.

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Neither did I imply anything derogatory of my hon. friend because he postponed moving it. But the fact is that he postponed it for two months; I do not know what the reason was. My hon. friend suggested to my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier that if they agreed the matter could be put over.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

My right hon. friend's memory is evidently deceiving him in saying I opposed the motion. I stated the Sir WTLFRTD LAURIER.

other day that I thought it was inopportune.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Yes, and my hon. friend is still of the same mind. My hon. friend from Jacques Cartier thought it inopportune, my hon. friend from North Toronto thought it opportune, many other members on that side of the House thought it opportune, and we on this side of the House all thought it opportune. Be this as it may, it is not worth while having any discussion on this point, why. the motion was not moved at the first opportunity. The fact is that it was not moved for two months, until the 29th of March. At that time the atmosphere had become very much charged with electricity. A debate on the condition of the British navy had taken place in the Imperial House of Commons; attention had been directed to the ' armament going on in Germany, and the news had been flashed across the ocean that New Zealand had made the offer of a Dreadnought to the imperial government Then it was that for the first time, we heard in this House the suggestion, of an offer of a contribution to the imperial navy. That suggestion came from my hon. friend from North Toronto, but it came in a very mild and tentative manner. I will give to the House the very language my hon. friend used on that occasion. This is how he spoke:

To-day peril stands at the gateway. It is not for me to say how great it is, but I cannot brush it aside. To-day it impresses itself upon the greatest statesmen of the old country; to-day it appeals to Australia until public subscriptions are taken, and the government is being importuned to do even more than its settled policy to meet the emergency; to-day little New Zealand gives one Dreadnought and offers a second, and to-day Canada faces that position of peril and emergency. Let me say to my right hon. friend, that if after careful consideration he proposes to this parliament a means for meeting that emergency adequately, now and as it should be, whether it be by the gift of Dreadnoughts or the gift of money of this country, this side of the House will stand beside him, and stand for Canada in supporting that measure.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear. -

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

This was not very effective language coming from my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster), it was not as incisive as his sentences generally are. I do not think he had yet found his sea legs. My hon. friend spoke rather tentatively, simply suggesting a contribution, and adding that if we proposed it he would agree. We did not think it was advisable to depart from the policy we had laid down. We said that we wmuld maintain the position we had taken, and after some consideration the

House agreed by a unanimous resolution upon the line of our policy of 1902, and in order that there may be no misgivings or misunderstandings upon that, in view of the cheers from the other side a moment ago, I shall once again read this motion:

This House fully recognizes the duty of the people of Canada, as they increase in numbers and wealth, to assume in larger measure the responsibilities of national defence.

The House is of opinion that under the present constitutional relations between the mother country and the self-governing dominions, the payment of regular and periodical contributions to the imperial treasury for naval and military purposes would not, so far as Canada is concerned, be the most satisfactory solution of the question of defence.

The House will cordially approve of any necessary expenditure designed to promote the speedy organization of a Canadian naval service in co-operation with and in close relation to the imperial navy, along the lines suggested by the admiralty at the last imperial conference, and in full sympathy with the view that the naval supremacy of Britain is essential to the security of commerce, the safety of the empire and the peace of the world.

The House expresses its firm conviction that whenever the need arises the Canadian people will be found ready and willing to make any sacrifice that is required to give to the imperial authorities the- most loyal and heart / co-operation in every movement for the maintenance of the integrity and honour of the empire.

When this resolution was moved, and accepted by a unanimous vote, we believed that it would be binding upon the other side of the House as it is binding upon this side, but in this we made a mistake. We supposed when this resolution had been solemnly adopted, gentlemen on the other side of the House who had given their assent would at least have the small merit of consistency, but in this we were deceived. It never entered our minds that men on the other side of the House would go back on the opinion they had solemnly recorded. In this again we made a mistake. We paid them too great a compliment. The session had hardly closed when the terms of this resolution were attacked and challenged by gentlemen who had voted for it, attacked in the press, attacked in conversation with reporters, attacked on the public platform. Thus the summer went on, everybody, almost, on the other side spoke upon this resolution, discussed it and controverted it. The leader spoke, his first lieutenant spoke, the rank and file spoke, and they all spoke together and all spoke differently, their fiddles were singularly out of tune.

This was the condition of things when this House met on the eleventh of November and we were the witnesses of a curious spectacle. The men who had been so loquacious during the recess suddenly bem

came dumb, the men who had discussed and debated this resolution, the moment they passed that bar yonder, the moment they came into this House at the time and place appointed for debate, became as mute as oysters. With a demure face and without a smile they told us they could not debate or discuss this question until they knew what had taken place at the conference at London, until they had all the papers, although during the recess, without knowing what had taken place at the conference, without having the papers, their nimble tongues had been wagging, wagging, wagging, in all the tones of the gamut, and in resonant cacophony. Thi3 sudden prudence and caution after so much extravagance of language did not deceive anybody; it was very transparent, although a somewhat clumsy attempt to hide the difficulty which, it had been apparent to all observers, would meet them as soon as they came together. When they were talking among themselves, one here and one there, one in Alberta, the other in Winnipeg, one in Toronto and one in Quebec, they could all sneak differently, each one trying to appeal to the passions and feelings of his immediate audience; but when they came here they had to try to speak to the country, and speaking to the country, they had to speak something at all events like unanimous language. There was the difficulty. Hence the

silence, hence the demand for papers, and in the meantime they met and deliberated. They deliberated in the morning, they met in the evening and again deliberated and the result of their meetings and their deliberations, if we are to credit the reports in opposition newspapers, although they are not always the most reliable, was the appointment of a committee with the object of trying to frame a policy, trying to reconcile the irreconcilable, trying to find a platform or something on which the bold lion from East Grey and the gentle lamb from Jacques Cartier could roar and bleat in unison. The task was rather a difficult one and how far the committee succeeded we know by what took place within three weeks, when this Bill was introduced for the first time. Three members of the opposition then spoke and all three spoke differently. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden). if I understood his speech aright and I think I did, agreed to the principle of this Bill, but thought it did not go far enough. My hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) there was no hesitation as to what he meant, he is opposed to this Bill and to everything of that kind. My hon. friend from Digby (Mr. Jameson) also spoke; I do not know that, I exactly apprehend his meaning, but

I think he was not so very sure of his ground and he wanted to have a referendum.

Sir, the result of all this is plain: on the other side we have a House divided against itself. At one end we have the negative extremists represented by my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier. *On the other end we have affirmative extremists, those who desire a navy, but an imperial navy to be maintained by contributions from the self-governing dominions, those who believe that if we have a navy it should pass automatically, in time of war, under the jurisdiction of the admiralty; those who believe one project of a navy is not sufficient, that we should also vote an emergency contribution.

Sir, all these forms of opinion are simply different forms of a respectable, though misguided, imperialism. And it is to that view I wish to address myself at first, If I may say so,-if I may be permitted to speak of myself personally-I d-o not pretend to be an imperialist. Neither do I pretend to be an anti-imperialist. I am a Canadian, first, last and all the time. I am a British subject, by birth, by tradition, by conviction-by the conviction that under British institutions my native land has found a measure of security and freedom which it could not have found under any other regime. I want to speak from that double standpoint, for our policy is an expression of that double opinion. Let me say at once to gentlemen who differ from me, to those who pretend to be imperialists, to those who pretend that the British empire must be the first consideration that, in my judgment, the policy which we advocate, the policy which I have the honour to place before the House at this moment, is in better keeping with the true spirit upon which the British empire was founded, upon which it exists, and upon only which it can continue to exist. There is a difference of opinion upon this, and it is to this difference of opinion that I desire to address myself at this moment, This is not the first time in history that men who have conceived a new idea and have felt very strongly upon it have made a sad failure when they have attempted to cany it into effect. Peter the Hermit preached the first crusade, and his voice aroused Europe. Under the influence of his impassioned words, men abandoned their avocations and took up arms for the deliverance of the tomb of the Saviour from Mohammedan desecration. But Peter the Hermit proved to be a most unfortunate leader. Thousands of men flocked to his banner, but the eloquent preacher was unable to direct their movements. Under his direction, the expedition of which he was in command moved on from disaster to Sir WILFRID LATTRIER.

disaster. And so it is with the shortsighted men who believe that their policy of centralization would unite the British empire. Mark the difference. Their policy is centralization; our policy is autonomy. And let the tale of the past tell the tale of the future. Sir, of all the phenomena of history, I do not know any that carries with it a greater lesson than the existence of the British empire, composed of young nations scattered all over the earth, with no force binding them, but attached to the motherland simply by their own devotion. If, in the days of the Emperor Augustus, when Rome had reached the summit of her power, when after generations of conflict that empire had at last reached a condition of peace, when her dominions extended all over the basin of the Mediterranean, but when thirty legions were necessary and were kept moving all the time from one end of the empire to another to keep in subjection rebellious races-if then some one had said to the strong Roman statesmen of that day: The time will come when the small island of Britain, now the most distant of Rome's possessions, will itself establish an empire which will extend to the confines of the earth and will be maintained, not by force but by a new principle discovered by her people, the principle that government must rest on the consent of the governed, these great Roman statesmen would have laughed at the idea; they would have said: That is Utopia; force and force alone, can build and maintain an empire. If, without going so far back, we go no further back in history than the first year of the reign of the late queen when Upper Canada annd Lower Canada were in the throes of rebellion, if some one had then said the day will come when these two provinces, now kept in subjection and obedience by force of arms, will reject force, will become obedient and devoted subjects, and will extend the Dominion of the Queen from ocean to ocean- the answer would have been that it was the maddest of all conceptions. Well, Six, this maddest of all conceptions has become the reality of the present day. And now. Sir, I pause to ask: What is the principle, what is the inspiration, what is the one thing that quelled rebellion in Canada, that brought Canada to the position that she occupies to-day ?-what is the principle, the inspiration which has made Australia what it is, which has made New Zealand what it is, and which to-day, in South Africa, torn by war only ten years ago, is building up a nation undei the British flag? What is it, but the principle of autonomy, the principle of self-government? Yes, it was when Lord Durham, speaking from Canada, then still in the throes of civil war, said that the only manner in which the colonies could be kept loyal and

devoted was to give them self-government- it was then that the principle was announced upon which the British empire is founded. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) the other day, in his speech on the first reading of this Bill, said that the British empire is of recent date. He is right, it is of recent date ; the date was the day when the principle was adopted of self-government for the colonies. Consider, for a moment, what would be the position of Canada if we had continued to be governed, as we were in 1837, simply by irresponsible ministers in Downing street-irresponsible,

I mean, to the people of this country? Should we have content, devotion, loyalty? No, we should have to-day what we had then-discontent, and dangerous dissatisfaction. Sir. the history of all countries which have had colonies is the same, with the exception of Britain in the nineteenth century. In every case there arose in the colonies a class of different interests from that of the mother country; the mother country would not yield; discontent crept in and led at last to estrangement. Lord Durham was the first statesman of all the ages to recognize this truth. And he proclaimed it boldly. And bolder yet was the remedy he suggested-give to the colonies the same rights and privileges and powers as are exercised by British men in their own islands, the power to govern themselves according to their own rules and notions The conclusion of Lord Durham was so strong that there was nobody to combat it. But it was so much at variance with the practice of all the ages that there was no one to apply it. When the constitution of 1841 was ostensibly established upon the report of Lord Durham, there was no acknowledgment of the principle of self-government, and the instructions eiven bv Lord John Russell to Mr. Poulett Thomson, the first governor under the new system, was to govern, not according to the views of ministers responsible to the people but in the manner directed by himself alone. And this is the manner in which Poulett Thomson carried out his instructions. In a letter to a friend he said:

I am not a bit afraid of the responsible government cry. I have already done much to put it down in its inadmissible sense; namely, the demand that the council shall be responsible to the assembly, and that the governor shall take their advice, and be bound by it. In fact, this demand has been made much more for the people than by them.

It was not until there was sent from England a man as broad in genius as Lord Durham himself-Lord Elgin-that, with the assistance of Baldwin and Lafontaine, we

had responsible government in this country. And it was from that date that the British empire started upon its triumphant march across the ages. I again pause to ask: When these great men, Durham, Elgin, Lafontaine and Baldwin, laid down the principle of responsible government in this country, did they set a limit upon its potentiality ? No, they launched it out, untrammelled and unfettered, to inclose the earth in a bond of union and liberty. They did not tell the people that the principle could be trusted for a certain distance, but that it would have to be abandoned the moment they came to the ultimate result of its operation.

But now we are told that in matters of naval defence we are to abdicate the principle of responsible government; we are told that we can have responsible government in everything else, we can make our own laws, we can administer our own affairs, and even have control of our land forces, but that in matters of naval defence we should have no powers of our own. I need not say that this principle is one to which we on this side of the House cannot agree. We are told that the only way in which naval defence can be carried on is by contributions to the imperial navy. I have to submit that this idea of contribution seems to me repugnant to the genius of our British institutions; it smacks too much of tribute to be acceptable by British communities. The true conception of the British empire is the conception of new, growing, strong and wealthy nations, each one developing' itself on the line of its own needs and conditions, but all joining in the case of common danger, and from all points of the earth, rushing upon the common enemy. But, Sir, the point is no longer arguable. The point has bepn settled at the last conference.

Many and many a time upon the floor of this House, in the press of this country, we have been assailed, and our action has been compared with the action of Australia, who, in 1902, agreed to give a contribution for the maintenance of the imperial navy. But, Sir, let us look and see what has recently taken place in Australia. Australia has abandoned the position it took in 1902, and it has come to the position taken by Canada. Australia to-day, like Canada, is building a fleet of her own. And, Sir, there is something still more significant; it is not Australia which is paying a contribution to Great Britain for the purposes of the Australian navy, it is Great Britain which is paying a contribution to Australia for that purpose. Need I say more? All the best men, even in the ranks of the Conservative party, who have given any attention to this question have come to the way of

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Can it be that there are men in this House so lost to the sense of responsible government that they will deny such a proposition? Let me illustrate my point by history. I appeal to history and I trust that I will be able to satisfy every hon. gentleman in this House. During the nineteenth century England has been more than once threatened with war. In 1861 she was nearly at war with the United States-luckily Providence averted it-when the United States ship 'San Jacinto' took from a British mail steamer the two delegates, Slidell land Mason, who had been sent to Europe as the agents of the southern confederacy. It was an act of war on the part of the United States, so interpreted and rightly interpreted, but luckily the United States gave way and war was averted, If war had been declared immediately we would have been drawn into it and it would have been our duty at once not only to defend our territory but to help England in that

struggle. There was another instance. England was at war in the Crimea with Russia. For myself I do not hesitate to say that if that war were to be undertaken by England under similar circumstances, I would hesitate very much before I would give my consent that we should take part in any such war if conditions were the same as they were then. But, they are not the same now as they were then because at the present time we have British Columbia to look afteT and if war were declared between Great Britain and Russia our first duty would be to look after British Columbia which might be attacked by Russia from the Pacific ocean.

I am well aware that for expressing the opinion which I did express the other day and which I repeat on the floor of this House I have shocked many and many a good Conservative mind. I was accused of treason. Charges of treason are familiar to me. I have heard them in my own province time and again, and I have heard them in the province of Ontario. Charges of treason are very easily manufactured. The other day I was speaking in Toronto. I was saying that we were British subjects, subjects of His Majesty the King, and in speaking of the sovereignty of the King I called in the use of the word suzerain and in doing this I find that I shocked many a tender soul. I shocked the tender soul of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) for one. When reviewing my speech a few days afterwards, he spoke as follows:

Some rather foolish, even mischievous talk, has been indulged along these lines. It has been asserted that we have wrested our fiscal autonomy, our political autonomy, even our naval autonomy, from Britain, and the latest addition is practically our autonomy in our international relations. After this, all we have to do in bowing our knee and saluting King Edward is to call him, not sovereign, but suzerain. It is a mistake which creates false impressions.

If these utterances are merely for the sake of rhetorical adornment they are but foolish. If, however, they are studied and serious, they are revolutionary. We cannot have absolute autonomy in any of these and remain in the empire.

Well, is my hon. friend in this, merely playing on syllables? If I had said ' sovereign ' that was all perfectly loyal, but I said ' suzerain ' and that smacks of disloyalty ! Sir, I am sorry to say to my hon. friend that I rather rubbed my eyes when I saw his criticism. I do not pretend to be a master of the English language, but I think I know something of it, and I have always understood that if there is any difference between ' sovereignty ' and ' suzerainty ' it is merely a shadow a.nd that it is used by men of greatest eminence indif-

ferently as applying to the same condition of things. I am sorry that I have to ask my hon. friend to brush up his classics. Would he be satisfied with the authority of Sir Walter Scott? Would Sir Walter Scott satisfy his literary aestheticism, or would he be satisfied that Sir Walter was sufficient of a Tory not to harrow his imperial soul? Let me ask my hon. friend, as I said a moment ago, to brush up his classics. Let me ask him to read again ' Quentin Durward' and he will find on the same page Sir Walter Scott using the expression ' sovereign ' and ' suzerain ' as applying to the same condition of things and to the same man. In the thirty-fifth chapter of ' Quentin Durward' my hon. friend will find that Lady Isabelle, addressing the Duke of Burgundy, uses this language :

' My lord, duke and sovereign/ said Lady Isabelle, summoning up all her courage, ' I observe your Grace's commands, and submit to them.' . . . ' My submission.' she said,

' only respected those lands and estates which your Grace's ancestors gave to mine, and which I resign to the house of Burgundy, if my sovereign thinks my disobedience in this matter renders me unworthy to hold them.'

Again:

, ' ^ Lord, ' she replied, still undismayed,

1 am before my Suzerain, and, I trust, a just one.'

I think that after this I can be freed from the hypercritical fastidiousness of my hon. friend both in point of philology and imperialism.

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Yes. The great mistake which is made by those imperialists of the school of my hon. friend is to confound the condition which exists in Great Britain with that which prevails in the colonies. England belongs to the circle of nations which is known as the European concert, it is one of the four or five nations of Europe that are always watching one another. There are no public works to carry on there, and she can devote herself and her resources to armaments. But, the colonies are not in that condition. Our chief consideration is public works, to develop the resources of our country, and therefore I say that this is a mistake which should not be made by hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House? They are not the first ones to make that mistake. England made the same mistake in the eighteenth century when she tried to force the American colonies to contribute to her armament by taxation. They protested, but their protests were not heeded, They protested again and at last, though they were a loyal population, they were driven to distraction and they Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

severed the tie that connected them with the mother country. Benjamin Franklin was one of the leaders of the movement in the colonies at that day, yet it is on record that he was a most devoted loyalist. He went to England to try and prevent the mischievous course which was being followed by the British government, but his visit was to no purpose. He was heard before the bar of the House of Commons. There the question was put to him whether or not, in case of war the colonies would contribute to assisting England and this is what he answered:

I do think they would so far as their circumstances would permit. They consider themselves as part of the British empire, and as having one common interest with it. They may be looked on in here (in London) as foreigners, but they do not consider themselves as such. They are zealous for the honour and prosperity of this nation; aDd while they are well used, will always be ready to support it, as far as their little power goes.

If I quote this language, it is not because there is complete analogy between the conditions which exist to-day in the selfgoverning colonies of Great Britain and that which existed in her American colonies of that day. There is no danger to-day that England would impose taxation on her colonies without representation, or _ that her colonies would go into rebellion, but I read this because there are men here, who, like the Bourbons, have forgotten nothing and learned nothing, and who go not appreciate the present conditions existing between England and her colonies.

There is another point to which I should give some attention. Great objection has been taken in the province of Quebec because there is in this Bill a provision, that, in an emergency the Governor in Council may call out the fleet and put it at the disposal of the War Office. Section 18 is in these words:

In case of an emergency the Governor General in Council may place at the disposal of His Majesty, for general service in the Royal navy the naval service or any part thereof, sj"1Ps or vessels of the naval service, and the oihcers and seamen serving in such ships or vessels, or any officers or seamen belong-in" to the naval service.

Section 19 is in these words;

Whenever the Governor in Council places the naval service or any part thereof on active service, as provided in the preceding section, if parliament is then separated by such adjournment or prorogation as will not expire within ten days, a proclamation shall issue for a meeting of parliament within fifteen days, and parliament shall accordingly meet and sit upon the dav appointed by such proclamation, and shall continue to sit m like manner as if it had stood adjourned or prorogued to the same day.

Great objection has been taken in my province because the power is there given the Governor in Council to call out the fleet before summoning parliament. It is said that this is a derogation from the rights of parliament and that parliament should exercise its control first. Well, Mr. Speaker, the answer is obvious. The conditions may be such that the government may be forced to take immediate action. Parliament will be called immediately to approve or disapprove, but the conditions may be such as to compel us, without the loss of a minute, to avail ourselves of all our resources in order to come to the rescue of a part of the country which might be threatened. British Columbia, for instance, is exposed to attack from the Orient. I do not think there is any danger at present, because British diplomacy has secured us an alliance vith Japan. Nor do I think there is any reason to fear an attack from Russia, because Russia has been crippled by her war with Japan. But all these things may change. Japan, may cease to be an ally, Russia may recover her strength; and if we have to wait until parliament meets before we can act in conjunction with the British forces, the results may be disastrous. Circumstances may be such as to force us to do what Japan did-strike the enemy before the enemy strikes us.

I now come to the composition of our fleet. Here again we have not had the good luck to satisfy our friends opposite. It is said in the press, and no doubt will be repeated here, that we should have followed the advice of the admiralty and put a fleet unit on the Pacific ocean. Is there a man who will blame us because we said to the admiralty that we could not agree to put all our forces on the Pacific ocean, that we have also a large sea-board on the Atlantic and must divide our forces between the two. But we are asked why did you consent to such an insignificant navy as the one you propose. Well, we thought it prudent, for reasons I shall explain in a moment, to commence moderately. Two plans were proposed to us. One was to have a fleet of seven ships and another a fleet of eleven ships. The seven ships were to be composed of three Bristols and four destroyers; the eleven were to be composed of four Bristols, one Boadicoa and six destroyers. For the reason that we have to protect our coasts on the Pacific and the Atlantic and consequently to divide our fleet, we thought it better to have eleven rather than seven ships. In this we acted on the advice of the admiralty. Still we are blamed because we are not to have an armoured cruiser of the ' Dreadnought ' type. Perhaps I can quote an authority on this point which will satisfy hon. gentlemen opposite. Those staunch imperialists will

not be satisfied unless we have a ' Dreadnought ' in our navy. While that view i3 respectable, it does not compare with the opinion of a competent man qualified to speak on the question. I am sure every one will agree that I could not quote a better authority than the old tar, Lord Charles Beresford-as good a sea-man as there is in the British navy. In an interview published in the ' Times ' of last summer, Lord Charles Beresford said:

His view of the situation was that our great Dominions could best help us, not by spending two millions on battleships to serve in British waters, but by making proposals for defending themselves.

But he questioned the wisdom of their putting money into torpedo vessels and submarines and sending a large amount over here to build a battleship, the life of which was only twenty years, with luck, and might be only twenty months. If they invested two millions in home defence, and in having cruisers which could go out and protect their trade routes, he thought it would be a better investment than in helping to defend the shores of this country.

That, Sir, is what we are doing under this Bill. In another interview, also in the ' Times,' Sir Charles Beresford spoke as follows:

For the colonies, cruisers are much better, as the idea of protecting Britain and weakening the defence of the colonies is all wrong.

These were the reasons which actuated us, and I think they are of such a character as will command the approval of this House.

With regard to our scheme, as I stated on the first reading, it is our intention to build eleven ships-four Bristols, one Boadicea and six destroyers. I have given the character of these ships. It is our intention to have them, if possible, built in this country. That will cost a little more and we are prepared to pay a little more provided the difference is not extravagant. We intend to call for tenders as soon as this Bill becomes law, in order to see whether we can have this plant put in this country with the view of building these ships. I have been asked also how long it would take. I must say that I am not able to-day to give these details; I shall be better informed when we come to the committee stage. My colleague, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, has been unwell, and I have not been permitted, to have as many interviews with him as I could wish; but giving the matter the best attention that I can, I may say that it would take probably one year to complete a plant for building the ships in this country, and then probably four years to complete these eleven ships. As I said at the first reading of the Bill, the cost of these ships would be a little over $11,000,000, and the total cost of mainten-

ance, including upkeep of hulls, machinery, sea stores, fuel, interest and depreciation is estimated at $4,253,000.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I did not understand my right hon. friend clearly. Do I understand him to say that it will take one year to construct a plant which will be sufficient to build this fleet, and then four years to complete the vessels?

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

The Prime Minister gives that to the House, of course, as sufficiently certain, to base the judgment of the House upon.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

It would be difficult to give more than an approximate idea upon that until we know exactly the proposition made to us. Then we can speak accurately. I give these figures as the result of the best inquiry I can make, no more.

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February 3, 1910