That is no doubt a laudable object; but I am sure that my hon. friend himself would not regret the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific even if it cost more than it has, and I think perhaps it will be the same with the navy.
I am not able to give my hon. friend more information than I am giving to-day, I am discussing this matter from a general point of view. When we come to the committee stage, I will endeavour to satisfy his curiosity as to these details.
Mr. W-. F. MACLEAN. May I ask the right hon. gentleman a question? The interpretation clause of the Bill says that ' emergency means war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended.' If it requires one year -to construct the plant and four years to construct the navy, what would he Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
I think ships and guns are different things. But I am only at present giving a general outline of the policy; I do not think the details are a part of the present discussion oil the second reading of the Bill; they can all be asked for in Committee of the House. I may say that it is the intention of the government to establish a new department for this service-not under a different minister, but to have a deputy minister charged with the duty of looking after this naval expenditure and this naval construction. On this point I will give further explanations when we are in committee.
There is one other observation I should make. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition, in the -course of his observations the other day, if I understood him aright, whilst approving of the principle of this measure, thought it did not go far enough, but that we should also make an emergency contribution on account of the apprehended danger to Great Britain from Germany. I do not know whether I have apprehended rightly the position taken by my hon. friend on this point. I think I did. At all events, if he did not take this position, it has been taken very generally by the press of the country speaking for the other side of the House. For my part, I do not see any cause of danger to Great Britain at the present time. Let me say further that if Great Britain were engaged in such a contest, a wave of enthusiasm to assist her would sweep over this country and all other British countries. It is true, Germany is creating a navy, but I see no reason whatever for supposing that Germany is creating a navy for the purpose of attack or that England is increasing her navy for the purpose of attacking Germany. The fact is that all the nations of Europe at the present time are arming: England is arming, Germany is arming, France is arming, Austria is arming; but I do not believe any of these nations is arming with any intention of attacking its neighbour, but all are arming simply because they are afraid that they will be attacked by one of their neighbours. I was impressed by one statement of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition, though I do not share in the conclusions which he implied from it. He said that if wrar came between England and
Germany, it would come within the next three or four years. I have not been able to get any satisfactory answer to this query: what is the reason for supposing that war *from Germany is to come within the next three or four years? Germany commenced to build a fleet in 1900; but, a3 my bon. friend rightly said, no European nation, commencing with nothing, as Germany has done, can create a fleet inside of fifteen or twenty years. If that be so, it is not to be expected that Germany will be in a position to attack England within the next three or four years. What will be the position of things in 1912? The figures of comparison between the German and British navies will be as follows; The total tonnage of displacement of the British navy will be 20,000,000 tons, and that of the Germany navy 890,000 tons, a difference of 1,100,000 tons. Under such circumstances danger is not to be apprehended within three or four years. Moreover, I call attention to this fact. No one knows exactly what is in the minds of the German government, but everybody knows that between the people of England and the people of Germany there is no cause of war. They have always been fast friends so far back as contemporary history goes. In the Seven Years' war England and Prussia were fast allies ; in the Napoleonic wars Germany and England were fast allies. And there is another feature; democracy is coming to the front in all the countries of the world, and all the democracy of the world is opposed to war, because it is well known that war falls upon the masses of the people. War may come, I do not say it will not come, but I was impressed by a statement made the other day by my hon. friend opposite. He stated that England had subsidized the nations of Europe time and again to enable them to defend their liberty or their independence, or their autonomy against foreign aggression. England subsidized Prussia under Frederick the Great, when Prussia was engaged against France and Austria in the Seven Years' war. England subsidized all the nations of Europe during the Napoleonic war when all the nations of Europe were defending their autonomy, their independence, against the Colossus. She was able to do so, why? Because, of all the nations of Europe, England was the nation which had spent least upon armaments. She had never spent any of her resources as thei other nations did, purely upon her armies, she had extended her trade and her commerce, she had developed her resources, and in time of war she was able to assist other nations with money, which, as we know, is the nerve and sinew of war. Napoleon, in a fit of anger, called England a nation of shop-keepers. No higher compliment was ever paid to England than this, if it were meant as an insult, because it was
these same shopkeepers who grappled with the Colossus and were able to bring him down and make him bite the dust. For Canada, for my country, I would desire no better title than also to be called a nation of shop-keepers-and to be able to supply the~sinews of war.
Sir, up to this moment I have endeavoured to meet the arguments of those who in this controversy say that our policy is wanting in the duty which we, as part of the British empire, owe to England. But, Sir, there are also on the other side of the House those who arraign our policy because, as they say, we sacrifice by it the interests of our native land to the interests of the empire. There are the two extremes, they are there, sitting together, side by side, cheek by jowl, blowing hot and .cold.
I have endeavoured up to the present time to deal with those who blow hot; let me try a word now with those who blow cold. Need I say that this applies chiefly to the hon. member for Jacques Cartier and to those who think with him upon this question. The policy which they have taken in the province of Quebec is that our attitude at the present time is uncalled for and unnecessary, that it is a surprise upon the country, that we never had a mandate to carry it on. Sir, is it possible that such an argument is heard in this House? Have these men been asleep for eight years? Are they Rip Van Winkles? Must I call their attention to the policy we laid down, which has been communicated to this House and to the people and which for eight years has been before the people of this^ country? At the conference of 1902 we laid this paper before the conference;
At present Canadian expenditures for defence services are confined to the military side. The Canadian government are prepared to consider the naval side of defence as well.
On the sea coasts of Canada there is a large number of men admirably qualified to form a naval reserve, and it is hoped that at an early day a system may be devised which will lead to the training of those men, and to the making of their services available for defence in time of need.
In conclusion the ministers repeat that while the Canadian government are obliged to dissent from the measures proposed, they fully appreciate the obligation of the Dominion to make expenditures for the purpose of defence in proportion to the increasing population and wealth of the country. They are willing that those expenditures shall be so directed as to relieve the tax-payer of the mother country from some of the burdens which he now bears, and they have the strongest desire to carry out their defence schemes in co-operation with the imperial authorities, and under the advice of experienced imperial officers, so far as is consistent with the principle of local self-government which has proved so great a factor in the promotion of imperial unity.
This paper has been before Canada for the last eight years, and we are told in the province of Quebec that this policy of ours is a new departure. Canada has progressed since 1902. We stated in 1902 that, as Canada advanced in wealth and population, we would advance in our defences. The population of Canada in 1902 was 5,400,000 souls; the population of Canada in 1910 is at least 7,400,000 souls. The revenue of Canada in 1902 was $58,000,000; the revenue of Canada in 1910 is at least $100,000,000. We, therefore, think that the time has come when, as was stated in 1902, we should take a step forward, and this is what we are doing. Upon this men can differ, although in my opinion they should not differ; but to tell us that this is something unheard of, a new policy, is simply trifling with common sense. But, Sir, that is not all. They took another position, that the naval service is absolutely uncalled for and unnecessary. Why do we ask parliament to vote for this naval service? It is simply because it is a necessity of our condition and the status we have reached as a nation. Do these gentlemen forget that, as I stated a moment ago, the revenue of Canada is today $100,000,000, and the population over
7,000,000? Do they forget that our country extends from one ocean to the other, and from the American boundary to the Arctic ocean, not on the map only but in actual and ever-increasing settlements? Do they forget that there are growing up on the Pacific coast, cities fast approaching in strength and wealth, eastern cities, that Vancouver to-day has a population of 100,000, that Victoria has a population of 40,000? Do they forget that Prince Rupert is also fast advancing to the front? Do they forget that we are going to build a railway from the interior to Hudson bay? Do they forget that we have gold mines under the Arctic circle? Do they forget that Canada is expanding like a young giant, simply from the pressure of the blood in its young veins? Are we to be told under such circumstances that we do not require a naval service? Why, Sir, you might just as well tell the people of Montreal, with their half million population, that they do not need any police protection.
But that is not all, there is something coming yet, and the position is taken by gentlemen on the other side of the House, speaking in the province of Quebec, that we are not to risk one man or one dollar for the maintenance, the preservation of British supremacy on the high seas. We took the position last year that we should endeavour and we would endeavour to maintain British supremacy on the high seas. We are told m the province of Quebec that we are not to risk one dollar or one man in order to carry out this object. Sir, I have only to say Sir WILFRID LADRIER.
this, that this service will not be compulsory. No one on the other side of the House, no one in any part of the country will be bound to serve in this navy of ours, it will be the free will of any body who wishes to risk his life for his King-it is his privilege, and who will deny it to him? Those who object will not have to lift a finger if that fleet is called out. Their part will be simply to enjoy the security, the ease, the comfort, gained for them by the sacrifice of other and better men. We are told that we should not risk one dollar for such a purpose. Sir, if it be the will and wish of the parliament of this country that this navy of ours should engage in war, whose liberty will be affected by it, whose right jeopardized, whose privilege interfered with? This is a constitutional country and the majority have the right to speak and to dispose, and it is the part of the minority to agree and to accept, unless, of course, rights, privileges and liberties are interfered with; but there is no question in this policy that any man's liberty will be interfered with or his rights endangered.
There will be Canadians of French descent in that fleet. And if, which God forbid, this fleet should ever engage in war, my hope is-nay my certainty is-that these men will fight for the King of England, as their ancestors fought against the King of England when under the gallant Montcalm they repelled attack after attack, when, in the summer of 1759, they kept at bay for three long months on the rock of Quebec the flower of the British army and the flower of the British navy under the command of the young hero, Wolfe. Later, on this same rock of Quebec, they fought for the King of England against American invasion. And. still later, on the banks of the Chateaueuav river, they fought under that true soldier, Salaberry, to keep the flag of England floating over their homes. All these many events have had their part in making my country what it is. And now, when I review the long conflicts between the French and the English, I follow the events without any sense of shame or humiliation. For history attests that my ancestors fought with all the prowess of their race, a prowess equal to that of their opponents; and, if they lost, they lost because England was at that time under the leadership of one of the ablest men of that generation, the first William Pitt, whereas France was under the influence of the King's mistress. My ancestors lost on that occasion, but -it simply transferred their allegiance from one sovereign to another. They lost in the final the battle, but they did not lose anything of their independence, of their liberty, of their rights and privileges ; and to-day the sun in his daily career
does not shed its light upon any people on the face of the earth enjoying more liberty than my fellow countrymen of French extraction. And my last words to the doubters, to the scoffers, is that freedom is worth fighting for and worth dying for.
But, Sir, these men will not be reached by any noble sentiment; perhaps we can reach them by appealing to their selfish interests; perhaps they will be found sensitive in their pockets if they are not sensitive otherwise. What would be the condition of Canada to-day, and of the province of Quebec in particular, if England were to lose the supremacy of the seas? Canada to-day is a prosperous country. Quebec is a very prosperous province; but is not that prosperity due to our trade with England? Let the market of Great Britain be lost-and it would be lost if the British supremacy on the sea were lost-and the prosperity * of Canada and the prosperity of Quebec would be affected for years, if not for ever.
Sir, in the settlement of political problems it is very seldom that a solution can be reached on pure abstract principles. When a conclusion is arrrived at, it is reached by taking into consideration several points of view and a common ground lias to be found upon which the different schools of thought, the different prejudices and passions, and the different shades of public opinion can be united. That is true everywhere, it is truer in Canada perhaps, than in any other portion of the earth. I stated a moment ago that it was the report of Lord Durham which had been the foundation of the system of local self-government. It may be considered a singular fact that the report of Lord Durham was received bv the French Canadians of that day with pained surprise. The reason is known to those who have studied the history of that period. Friend of liberty as he was, broad as he was in his conceptions, far-\ isioned as events showed him to have been, Lord Durham himself did not appreciate the whole effect of liberal institutions. Coming to Canada at a time when the very atmosphere was reeking with rebellion, he formed a hasty judgment unon the French population of that day, which he expressed in vehement and somewhat haughty language. He thought they could not be reconciled to British rule, and stated in his report that the conditions were such that the two provinces should be united, so that French Canada should be ruled by the stem and relentless hand of an English-speaking majority. It is not to be wondered at that when the report was made known in Canada it not only caused, as I have said, pained surprise, but produced a feeling of injustice and wrong. Sir, I repeat that Lord Durham, friend of liberty as he was, did not realize
the full force of free institutions, did not perceive, as other men perceived at that time-men who, on this subject had a better conception of things than he had- that there are principles superior to race feeling, that there are principles that can unite men or all origins in a common aspiration for the welfare of their common country. Such a man was Louis Hippolyte La-fontaine; such a man was Robert Baldwin. When the provinces were united, Lafon-taine, speaking of the Act of union, characterized it:
As unjust and despotic in this that it was imposed on us without our consent; in this that it deprives loner Canada of its legitimate number of representatives; in this that it deprives us of the use of our language in the proceedings of the legislature against the justice of treaties and the pledged word c.1 the Governor General; in this that it forces us to pay against our consent, a debt which one had not contracted; in this that it allows the executive power to take illegal hold, under the name of civil list, of an enormous portion of the revenues of the country.
This was a severe arraignment, and unfortunately it was only too true, but what was the conclusion arrived at by Lafon-taine? Did he say that the French Canadians should not accept the Act of union? No. Men there were at that time who im mediately started an agitation for the repeal of the union, and those men were joined some years afterwards, when he came back from exile, by Papineau, a strong man, an eloquent man, a man of intense nature, and whom the very intensity of his nature always carried beyond the point into impracticable conclusions. La-font aine was a different man, he was a broad man, he understood the situation. .The Act of union was not satisfactory to his fellow-countrymen, he thought it was an injustice, but he accepted it, because principles there were by which every injustice could be rectified. It is upon those principles, Mr. Speaker, that we rely. In the address which I have just read, addressed to the electors of Terrebonne, he continued as follows:
The reformers in the two provinces are an immense majority. . . . Our cause is the same. The interest of the reformers in the two provinces is to meet in the legislative ground, in a spirit of peace, of union, of unity, of fraternity. Unity of action is more than ever necessary. I have no doubt that the reformers of Upper Canada, feel, as we do, the need of it, and that in the first session of the legislature, they will give us unequivocal proof of it, which, I hone, will be the pledge of a confidence both reciprocal and durable.
Sir, in these noble sentiments he found an auxiliary in that other great and true Canadian and British subject, Robert Bald-
win. The confidence which he had looked for, he found; it turned out to be as he expected. It wras not only reciprocal and durable. Above all it was fruitful. That policy obtained for the French-Canadians the restoration of the rights of which they had been deprived by the act of unions; it removed the dissensions, which up to that time, had rent the land; it introduced amity and concord among the different races and branches of the Canadian family; it established a permanent and ever-growing prosperity; it increased loyalty to the Crown and brought it to its highest pitch of enthusiasm and devotion; it brought up Canada, step by step, stage by stage, to the high position which it occupies at this moment; and as I said at the beginning, so I say in conclusion, this is the last and crowning effort of the policy which was then happily inaugurated. Sir, we must advance, we icannot remain stationary. We must advance. To remain stationary in this age is to retrograde; we must advance. And again on this occasion, as in the days of Lafontaine and Baldwin, we appeal to moderate men in all parts of the community. We appeal as they did appeal, in a spirit of amity, of union, of fraternity; we appeal, as they appealed, in the highest conception of the duty which we owe to our country and to the mother country. It is the tradition of these great men, which is our supreme inspiration to day in turning this page of the history of Canada.
I join most sincerely in the regret which has been expressed bv the Prime Minister at the continued illness of the hon. the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, which prevents him from addressing the House upon the second reading of this Bill. However, my right hon. friend the Prime Minister has taken up that task. He has addressed to the House a very long speech, more than three-fourths of which had absolutely nothing to do with the subject which is now occupying the attention of the House and of the country. The right hon. gentleman seems to think, for some reason, that this is the year 1837. This is not the year 1837, and we are not engaged to-day in a discussion as to whether this country shall have autonomous rights and privileges. That question was settled 75 years ago. It is significant that when my right hon. friend finds himself in circumstances of peculiar difficulty with his own party, he always goes back to the days of 1837, and quotes to us, not only from the speeches of Lord Durham, but from the eloquent orations of Mr. Lafontaine and Mr. Baldwin. It is an old piece of tactics on the part of my right hon. friend, and I sincerely condole with him Sir WILFRID LATJRIER.
to-day in the circumstances in which he finds himself. Why, Sir, he told us in the first place, that he had an absolutely united party behind him; and then, not very long afterwards, we found him dealing at great length with criticisms which had been made upon his course in the province of Quebec, and presumably from members of his own party.
The right hon. gentleman has seen fit to introduce a great subject most profoundly affecting, not only Canada, but the whole empire, in a highly controversial and partisan spirit. He has indulged in what he calls a retrospective glance, accompanied by observations more or less dignified as to the supposed divisions in the ranks of the Conservative party. Well, Sir, there is no attempt to gag any one in the Conservative party, and there never will be, l hope.
But my right hon. friend has invited some remarks which otherwise I would not have felt impelled to make to-day; he has given us a retrospective glance, but his retrospective glance does not go back to some periods that perhaps he might be well inclined to forget, and he has conveniently forgotten them to-day. He speaks of criticism from the province of Quebec. Sir, I venture to tell him this, that if he has received any criticism from men who, in the past at least, have been his followers in the province of Quebec, that criticism and that feeling are due to himself more than to any other man in Canada. A retrospective glance seems to suit the humour of the right hon. gentleman to-day. Well, Sir, what was his own aspiration in the days of 1891 and 1892? His teaching in regard to this matter in the province of Quebec was summarized in his own hearing, in this House, only three years ago, by one of his own followers, and it was in words which are to be found in ' Hansard ' of the 29th of November, 1896. It is the language of Mr. Bourassa, a disciple and follower of the right hon. gentleman; and here is Mr. Bourassa's language, which was not called in question by the right hon. gentleman at the time it was uttered:
Well, sir, what was the language of Mr. Laurier in Boston in 1891: that Canada would never consent to imperial federation even on commercial lines alone, because the consequence would be the participation of Canada in British wars, and Canada would never consent to participate in British wars.
Was that or was that not the teaching of my right hon. friend in 1891 and 1892? Does he now deny that summary of his position which was given by his own follower in this House and which was not denied by him at that time? Well, Sir, we may go on to a little further retrospect since my right hon. friend is anxious for retrospects.
Here is his own language recorded in the pages of ' Hansard ' and I am anxious to observe whether hon. ge*tlemen on the other side of the House who applauded with such vigour the speech just delivered will applaud the words which I shall proceed to quote, used by the right hon. gentleman as the leader of the Liberal party in this country, which,, as he declares has an absolutely consistent record in this matter:
I hold out to my fellow countrymen the idea of independence, but, whenever the day comes, it must come by the consent of botli countries, and we shall continue to keep the good feeling and the good-will of the mother land. If we are true to our record, we will again exhibit to the world the unique, the unprecedented example of a nation achieving its independence by slow degrees, and as naturally as the severing of the ripe fruit from the parent tree.
' Hansard ' 1892, page 1142. If any hon. member desires to examine the remarks of the right hon. gentleman he will find them there and further at page 1143:
Is there a Canadian anywhere who would not hail with joy the day when we would be deprived of the services of British diplomacy ?
As he has invited controversy with respect to the matter, although I had hoped that he would have elevated the discussion somewhat more above controversial lines. I have to tell him that in my judgment, since he has held the reins of government, British diplomacy has more than once got this country out of difficulties in which it has been involved by the blundering of himself and his colleagues. Further, at page 1144, since my Tight hon. friend desires a retrospect, I find him using this language on the same occasion:
The hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) no doubt would prefer an English shilling to a Yankee dollar; but for my part I am differently constituted. I am ready any day, whether I am charged with annexation or not, to take a Yankee dollar in preference to an English shilling. ... I have again and again repeated that the goal of my aspiration is the independence of Canada, to see Canada an independent nation in due course of time.
Well, my right hon. friend may have recanted that opinion. I am not aware that he has ever publicly recanted that aspiration and it would seem to me, having regard to some of the provisions of this Bill that he has not, and, if I may indulge in the tactics of my right hon. friend, rumour reaches us from some sources in the country that this very measure now presented to the House in so eloquent a speech is being held out as an important step in the
direction of that independence which was at one time at least the aspiration of my right hon. friend.
Now, Sir, the right hon. gentleman declared to us that he has been told from some source in criticism of this measure that aid should be given by Canada to the mother country in respect of the naval defence by means of annual contributions. I have already expressed my opinion on that point, and as I spoke in this House at great length on the first reading of this Bill I shall be enabled to curtail my remarks today. As far as I am concerned, while the system of annual contributions might be best, and, no doubt, would be best from the purely strategical standpoint, I firmly believe that no such system could be adopted, but that eventually and permanently the basis upon which Canada must contribute to the defence of the empire will be by employing our own material, our own men, our own resources and the skill of our own people. But, Sir, we have to consider to-day some of the propositions of the government not only as embodied in this Bill, but as embodied in the speech of my right hon. friend. He told us on the first reading of this Bill that Canada must be at war when the empire is at war. Any man who has the slightest acquaintance with international law knows that that is absolutely the case. Yet, my right hon. friend has somewhat receded from that opinion to-day, because he has told us that under conceivable circumstances the rest of the empire might be at war while Canada was at peace. Such a proposition is absolutely impossible. So long as Canada remains in the empire, Canada is at war when the empire is at war. So long as the English flag floats above Canada, Canada is at war when that flag is attacked. The moment a shot is fired or a blow is struck at that flag, Canada is at war with the nation or country which fires that shot or strikes that blow. In view of the fact that the right hon. gentleman recedes, as I understood him to recede to-day, from the position which he took on the first reading of the Bill, we must understand that some very strong compulsion has urged him to take that course, and that difficulties within the ranks of his own party have compelled him to recede from what was in the first place the true and correct declaration of the position of this country. I shall not stop to dwell upon the argument of my right hon. friend based upon the authority of that great constitutional work, Quentin Durward, as to the exact similarity of meaning between sovereign and suzerain. Every one knows that the term ' suzerain ' is a term which has come down to us from the old feudal days. I have not had an opportunity of examining the book, but I would not be very much surprised to find that my
right hon. friend, in consulting this eminent constitutional work, has, after all, misread it and that its authority might be turned against him.
Let us look for a moment at the position of affairs to-day. The question which we have to consider is undoubtedly a very important one. It is the question of organizing the forces of the empire for defensive purposes in naval warfare. The question which is before the House to-day is simply as to whether the proposition as embodied in the policy of the government and as embodied in the Bill is one which can fairly recommend itself to the people of the country. In the first place, my right hon. friend has referred to the resolution of March, 1909. I distinctly understood from the clear terms of that resolution that any proposal to this government should follow the suggestions of the admiralty made in the year 1907, and I say without the slightest hesitation that in the most important respect of all, the control of the naval forces of the empire in time of war, the Bill of the government absolutely departs from the suggestions of the admiralty and therefore absolutely departs from the resolution unanimously agreed to in this House in 1909. What was the suggestion of Lord Tweedmouth, First Lord of the Admiralty, on that occasion? The suggestion-indeed it was more than a suggestion, it was an absolute declaration- was that, so far as the naval forces are concerned, there must be unity of control in time of war. It does not require experience, it does not require naval knowledge to understand that in time of war the whole integrity and future of its empire may depend upon that unity of command and control. What did Lord Tweedmouth say in his address to my right hon. friend and the other delegates? He said this: I
I have only one reservation to make, and in making it I ask that, as we have proved ourselves successful in the past, you should put your trust in us now. The only reservation that the admiralty desire to make is, that they claim to have the charge of these strategical questions which are necessarily involved in naval defence, to hold the command of the naval forces of the country, and to arrange the distribution of ships in the best possible manner to resist atack and to defend the empire at large, whether it be our own islands or the dominions beyond the seas. We thoroughly recognize that we are responsible for that defence. We want you to help us in that defence. We want you to give us all the assistance you can, but we do not come to you as beggars; we gladly take all that you can give us, but at the same time, if you are not inclined to give us the help that we hope to have from you, we acknowledge our absolute obligation to defend the King's dominions across the seas to the best of our ability.
Could there be anything more definite, specific or emphatic than that declaration. But that is not all. Let us take the declaration of Mr. McKenna, First Lord of
the Admiralty at the recent defence conference to be found in the English state paper brought down, pages 22 and 23:
If the problem of imperial naval defence were considered merely as a problem of naval strategy, it would be found that the greatest output of strengh for a given expenditure is obtained by the maintenance of a single navy with the concomitant unity of training and unity of command. In furtherance, then, of the simple strategical ideal, the maximum of power would be gained if all parts of the empire contributed, according to their needs and resources, to the maintenance of the British navy.
Further on he said:
If the fleet unit maintained by a Dominion is to be treated as an integral part of the imperial forces, with a wide range of interchangeability among its component parts with those forces, its general efficiency should be the same, and the facilities for refitting and replenishing His Majesty's ships, whether belonging to a Dominion fleet or to the fleet of the United Kingdom, should be the same.
And I especially invite the attention of the right hon. gentleman to this:
Further, as it is a sine qua non that successful action in time of war depends upon unity of command and direction, the general discipline must be the same throughout the whole imperial service, and without this it would not be possible to arrange for that mutual co-operation and assistance which would be indispensable in the building up and establishing of a local naval force in close connection with the Royal navy.
I also invite the particular attention of my right hon. friend to what follows:
It has been recognized by the colonial governments that in time of war the local naval forces should come under the general directions of the admiralty.
Not only in 1907, but also in 1909 we have the clearest and most specific statements from men who know infinitely more about these matters than any man in this House, that unity of control and unity of command in time of war are absolutely essential to successful action. There cannot be any question about that. There are many continents in the world, but only one sea. That sea is a great highway. It is the highway of British commerce. It is the highway of the commerce of Canada because the greater part of our exports are sea borne. It is the highway of the world and especially of the British empire. That sea is one, and it would be absolutely impossible for the different local units of the empire to cooperate successfully under any circumstance, in time of war, unless there was absolute unity, command and direction.
If the right hon. gentleman had spent more time on section 18 of his Bill, I think he would have better justified the expectation of this House. Clause 18 is as follows:
18. In case of an emergency the Governor in Council may place at the disposal of His Majesty, for general service in the Royal navy, the naval service or any part thereof, any ships or vessels of the naval service, and the officers and seamen serving in such ships or vessels, or any officers or seamen belonging to the naval service.
What is the meaning of that? The plain and direct meaning is that the Governor'in Council may refrain from exercising the discretion which is there provided for. If the government should so refrain, what will be the result? Are we to be face to face with the condition which the hon. gentleman says is demanded by our autonomy-that Great Britain being at war we shall declare that we are not at war and that our fleet shall not take any part in it. If the clause does not mean that, I would like to know what it does mean. So far as I can understand the English language, it means just what I have said. I have just this to add, that when Great Britain being at war, the Governor in Council shall declare that our fleet shall take no part in it-and they may do that simply by inaction, by standing still, by making no order in council-I say that when that occasion comes then, such inaction or declaration will amount virtually to a declaration of independence.
I have the further objection that unity of organization is not effectually provided for. The Prime Minister of Great Britain used this language in announcing the results of the Defence Conference:
It was recognized that in building up a fleet a number of conditions should be conformed to. The fleet must be of a certain size, in order to offer a permanent career to the officers and men engaged in the service; the personnel should be trained and 'disciplined under regulations similar to those established in the Royal navy, in order to allow of both interchange and union between the British and the Dominion services; and with the same object, the standard of vessels and armaments should be uniform.
As a matter of fact, there is no unity of training. The men to be engaged in the Canadian navy are to be three-year men; and, if I understand rightly the lessons I have endeavoured to learn in regard to naval training, it takes at least six years to make a sailor efficient in these complicated and mighty engines of war used on the high seas at the present time. So there will be no unity of organization, and apparently there is to be no unity of training, because the officers are to depend for their training, not so much on the British service as on the schools which it is proposed to establish, and I have not ob-95
served any very distinct provision in the Bill as to the character of the training which is to be given in those schools.
Now, I would like to read one other extract upon that point. The admiralty most distinctly recommended a fleet unit. It declared:
In the opinion of the admiralty, the Dominion government desirous of creating a navy should aim at forming a distinct fleet unit; and the smallest unit is one which, while manageable in time of peace, in capable of being used in its component parts in time of war.
The fleet unit to be aimed at, should, therefore, in the opinion of the admiralty, consist at least of the following:-
1 armoured cruiser (new ' Indomitable ' class) which is of the ' Dreadnought ' type.
3 unarmoured cruisers (' Bristol ' class).
3 submarines, with the necessary auxiliaries, such as depot and store ships, etc., which are not here specified.
Such a fleet unit would be capable of action not only in the defence of coasts, but also of the trade routes and would be sufficiently powerful to deal with small hostile squadrons should such ever attempt to act in its waters.
Then in paragraph 11:
As the armoured cruiser is the essential part of the fleet unit, it is important that.an ' Indomitable ' of the ' Dreadnought * type should be the first vessel to be built in commencing the formation of a fleet unit.
On that I would like to remark that Australia accepted at once the proposal for the establishment of a fleet unit and did it under the conditions which I find set out on page 26 of this blue-book in the following words:
The Australian fleet unit should form part of the eastern fleet of the empire to be composed of similar units of the Royal Navy, to be known as the China and East Indies units respectively and the Australian unit. [DOT]
So that Australia has not only carried out the recommendations of the admiralty in that regard, but has gone further: it has distinctly declared, if I may rely on the blue-book, that its fleet unit shall be a part of the eastern fleet of the empire.
As far as that is concerned, my position is as distinct as I can make it. I say that any proposals for the establishment of a naval unit of
the imperial navy will be absolutely useless, and worse than useless-I would go further and say dangerous-unless it is expressly stipulated that in time of war there shall be but one navy under one central command and direction. We might repeat in the British navy the history of the ' Invincible Armada,' which was composed of five or six different Armadas of distinct organization, different training, different equipment; and we know what the result was in that case. My right hon. friend referred, for some reason that I could not comprehend, to the adventures and crusades of Peter the Hermit, I could not see the exact line of argument by which he introduced Peter the Hermit, or a great many other things, into his speech; but he could not have given a more apt illustration of the argument I am making. What was the cause of the failure of that crusade? The fact that it was composed of a heterogeneous assemblage of men of different countries, without any unity of organization, without any unity of training, without any unity of command; and the same result which befell the crusade of Peter the Hermit would be likely to befall the navies of the empire if they should be organized on any such basis as that which my right hon. friend has proposed to the House.
What further does the right hon. gentleman propose? He proposes that we should build a certain number of cruisers of the Bristol type and of some other type. What' will these cruisers amount to as an effective fighting force in time of war? At the highest you might say they will be commerce protectors. I do not know that you could say that. They might be useful as scouts, or be of some advantage to this country in protecting our fisheries. But what would be the result in time of war? I will tell my right hon. friend what the result would be. An Australian or New Zealand Dreadnought would be called on to protect these Canadian cruisers from attack by the enemy. Surely that would not be a very proud position for the people of Canada to occupy in the day of stress and trial.
As far as any effective fighting force is concerned, it is not supplied by any proposals of the government. I believe the empire is confronted with a serious situation. I gave my reasons for that belief a few days ago, and I will not repeat them to-day. I believe that the duty of Canada is not to be occupied in shaping its policy to meet conditions which are largely the creation of my right hon. friend, but rather1 to do something immediate and effective in order that we may at least stand side by side with the other great dominions of the empire in the day oiE trial. _
We all did agree, at least I did agree, to the resolution of March, 1909, but every man in this House who since that time has given the slightest consideration to this question will realize that when we talked about the speedy organization of a Canadian naval unit of the imperial navy -because that is the way I prefer to express it-we are speaking of something that cannot be brought about in ten, fifteen or twenty years. Why, my right hon. friend to-day has even a vaguer idea of what he proposes to do than he had in respect of the National Transcontinental railway. I did not like to interrupt him; he was being interrupted a good deal; but there was one question which I would like to have put to him, and I shall take the liberty of putting it now. He says these vessels are to be built in Canada. I would like to know whether they are to be built in a private shipyard or in a government shipyard? Has the government come to any conclusion m regard to that?
Then I will venture to say that when my right hon. friend intimates that a private shipyard capable of constructing these ships and of providing the guns, armament and all the equipment which are the most essential parts of such war ships, can be established in this country in one year, he convinces me that he has not given very much consideration to the subject. I venture to suggest to the right hon. gentleman that at the very earliest possible moment he should revise his estimate in order that he may not incur criticisms of the character which have been justly made in this House with respect to his predictions concerning the National Transcontinental railway, to which I have just alluded.
I was referring to the resolution of 1909. We spoke about-a speedy organization of a Canadian naval force. I do not believe that that force or that service can be brought about, can be effectively organized, in less than 15 or 20 -years, probably it will take longer. I say to my hon. friend that inasmuch as he cannot do that in less than the time I have mentioned, there is another consideration which I would like to bring to his attention. My hon. friend has some recollection of the attitude^ he took in 1899 with respect to the participation of this country in the South African war. In the 'Globe' of October 4, 1899, he expressed himself in this way:
As I understand the Militia Act, and I may say that I have given it some study of late, our volunteers are enrolled to he used in the defence of the Dominion. They are Canadian troops, to he used to fight for Canada's deI fence. There is no menace to Canada, and
although we may he willing to contribute troops I do not see how we can do so. Then again how could we do so without parliament granting us the money? We simply could not do anything. In other words we should have to summon parliament.
There was not a very great delay before my hon. friend altered his opinion in that regard, but I would like to interject this observation that a delay such as that which then occurred might spell ruin to the empire if it took place with regard to the employment of our naval forces. I venture to recall to my right hon. friend the reason which he gave in a speech delivered at Sherbrooke, in the province of Quebec, in the month of January, 1900, that was after he had reconsidered his attitude with regard to the participation of this country in the South African war. His words are as follows:
We believed it our duty as a British colony to take part in the war, and permit two thousand Canadian volunteers to enlist in the English army and to fight for the mother country. We did it because we believed it our duty to do it, in response to the unanimous sentiments of the people of this country. We are a free country; ours is a constitutional government, and our duty is to put into execution the popular will, and the moment the popular wili was known to us we had but the duty to discharge, and we discharged it of our free will. There was no power to constrain us to act as we did; but in the plenitude of our legislative independence we had the right to reply to the popular will. I
I would invite my right hon. friend today to respond again to the popular will, *and the will of this country to-day is that these different proposals ought to be submitted to the people and the people ought to be permitted to pass upon them before any permanent policy of this kind is engaged in. I think there is a great deal to be said in favour of that course. I am as strong as any man in this country in the belief that it is the duty of Canada to participate upon a permanent basis in the defence of this empire and to do our reasonable share in that regard. But I say that to attempt to force a policy of this kind upon the people of this country *without giving them an opportunity to say yea or nay with regard to it, would be one of the worst mistakes that could be made by any man who really favoured that policy. If my right hon. friend was able, in very short meter indeed, in 1899, to respond to the popular win, there seems no Teason he should not to-day be equally ready to respond to the popular will upon this question. What the people of this country want, as far as any man can judge who has observed the currents of 95i
public opinion, what the people of this country desire, is immediate and effective aid to the empire, and to have any proposals of a permanent character very carefully considered and matured, as they ought to be considered and matured, before any such policy is embarked upon, because there are a great many considerations that must be taken into account. There is the consideration, and not an unimportant one, to which I alluded, in speaking on this subject on the 12th of January, as to the voice of this country with regard to matters of international concern. These matters must be dealt with and considered by the great dominions of the empire before any permanent basis of co-operation by* those great dominions in the naval defence of the empire can become thoroughly established. That is a question which must be taken into consideration and must be faced.
Inasmuch as the proposals of the government are weak and ineffective, as they afford no immediate aid and assistance, as they could not be carried out for ten or fifteen years so as to become efficient, I say it would be the proper course to mature more thoroughly those proposals, to take up all matters that concern our relations to the empire in respect to co-operation in imperial defence, and in the meantime to do that which, after all, is the most important thing, stand side by side with the mother country under the conditions which confront her at the present time. The needs of the empire are before our very eyes to-day. We have the splendid example of the other great dependencies of the empire. Are we of less faith and of less courage than they? Shall an Australian fleet and a New Zealand Dreadnought defend the flag which floats above us while our little cruisers are fleeing helpless before an enemy? I do not so understand the spirit, the intention, or the desire of the Canadian people. I believe they are ready to assume their full share of meeting any peril that shall assail the empire, come when it may. Their hearts and their hands are as strong to will and to dare as were those of their fathers before them, and I do not doubt that, as my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) has eloquently expressed it, the men of French descent in this country will be as prompt and ready to do their share with the English speaking citizens of Canada, as they have proved themselves in days gone by. Thus, let our aid be prompt and generous, so that it may bring to the motherland the assurance not only of material support but of a courage, a faith and a determination which shall proclaim alike to friend and foe that whether in peace or war, the empire is one and undivided.
I Jhink those of us who have given some attention and some study to the important matter which is now submitted to the House, will readily admit that never, in this or any other parliament since confederation, indeed I plight say never at any time since we have possessed the privilege of self government in this country, has any question of this magnitude and of such vast consequences, been discussed in the free assemblies of this country. The Bill in itself outside of section 18 does not present to my mind any very striking feature; it is the extension, if I may use such an expression, of legislation which we have had in a diminished form upon our statutes ever since the mother country called upon us to assume our proper share of the burden of defence. Therefore, I think one may say with the exception I have just pointed out, this legislation is not in any sense extraordinary. But it must be viewed,, I submit, under all the surrounding circumstances, and particularly, as a first step towards the execution of a policy or what
I called at another stage of this Bill, an agreement arrived at with the_ imperial authorities. At that time my right hon. friend stated that what he was endeavouring to carry out was not an agreement but a policy, and that statement was covered by the applause of those who sit behind him. But I see no material difference between the two names, what we are doing now, as I understand it, is carrying out a policy of defence, that was laid down at the last imperial conference held during last summer. It therefore seems to me of the utmost importance that we should all understand clearly what is the course upon which it is sought to have the country embark. My right hon. friend might have given that to us in a very few words this afternoon; but so far as I was able to apprehend the meaning of his speech, he confined himself, as he usually does, to brilliant generalities, speaking with the eloquence that characterizes him. But is this a proper occasion, I would ask, on which to deal in generalities? Was it not more fitting, at this important stage of the measure when we are asked to affirm the principle, that he should leave aside those historical allusions to the greatness of the empire, to the long forgotten career of Peter the Hermit, and such things as that, and tell us clearly what it is to which he is now asking us to commit ourselves.
My hon. friend has spoken of differences of opinion in the ranks of the party on this side of the House. They may exist, but they are acknowledged. Let me say to him that, when, on a question of this magnitude, we do not find it possible to see eye to eye on all phases of the question, we acknowledge it openly, instead of trying to cover it with a veil, and to convey in a different manner, in different places, and at different periods, the meaning of a policy which it seems impossible to grasp and to thoroughly understand. Therefore I say it is incumbent upon us to take all proper means that there shall be no mistake on that point. That is the reason why there is, on the ministerial side of the House, that apparent-acquiescence and unanimity which, as every body knows, merely conceals the grinding of teeth which otherwise would be apparent among them. How, I ask, are those gentlemen held together? No doubt what the government organs and my right hon. friend himself have stated at different times and at different places, explains it; no doubt, in the confusion which reigns among them, they do not fully apprehend the real aspects of this question, and I have heard muttered here a moment ago that patronage possibly is the explanation. I told my hon. friend from Toronto (Mr. Foster) a day or two ago that I was sorry I could not be here, through illness, to uphold by word of mouth and
by my vote that very appropriate motion which he presented to this House in regard to the- curse of patronage. That curse I think, explains the apparent indifference and the alleged acquiescence which we find among those hon. members who come from my own province of Quebec, because I know what is their private opinion upon this subject. I say more. As long as that curse exists and is maintained by this government, as long as we have here men who hold promises of position, and who have held out to them the prospect of petty grants of money to be made within the limits of their county, so long shall we not see in this parliament that free expression of opinion which we find in the British parliament at the present time.
But. let me particularize, because, although I want to ibe as brief as possible and merely upon this occasion lay some of my views in support of my opinions before the House, I will not on that account diminish what I have to say upon these preliminary and important points. From the beginning of this controversy the organs of my right hon. friend in the province of Quebec have laid before the public what seems to me to he absolutely the contrary to what this Bill and this policy are. I could quote from the accredited organs of my right hon. friend. I could quote from other newspapers in my own province, which, although they are not the properly accredited organs of the government, have been brought by influences which I suspect, hut the extent of which I do not know, to support in a general way the policy of a Canadian navy. My quotations in that respect might be infinite in number. Let me quote an article published a few days ago, on the 29th January last, in ' Le Canada,' my right hon. friend's own organ in the city of Montreal, upon this question, and let the members of this House judge whether this exposition is a truthful one, is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. After enumerating what this newspaper calls the diversified views of the opposition, after having given us the views of the Conservative members from the west, given us their own private, individual view, or what purports to be the view, of the leader of the opposition, and after having given a garbled view, an insincere and untrue aspect, of what it calls the Monk-Bourassa policy, it goes on-I will not detain the House with it-to tell us what is the policy of the government. I will give it in English: ,
Canada must gradually take charge of the defence of its own territory on land and on sea.
It refers to New Zealand and Australia, and continues:
We are less exposed and we have no business to prepare a defence against attack from the United States, our friends and allies. A powerful hostile fleet could not attack up coming from Europe without having vanquished the imperial fleet-an impossible contingency. Therefore, we are only exposed to raids of hostile cruisers, isolated, or, at least, very few in number, that wo'uld have been left outside of any naval concentration to run upon the seas and harass British commerce. Therefore, we must indeed content ourselves with rapid cruisers and torpedo boat destroyers small vessels armed to attack, and whose extreme rapidity enables them to elude pursuit.
I may say to my right hon. friend that what he called some days ago the shivering electors of Jacques Cartier are indignant at this expression.
Therefore, we must do something in order to bear the burden of British defence. This something we will do in full harmony with the British admiralty by constructing ships for our own defence, if needed. These ships will be at our expense and under our control, but if we are asked for them we may
' may ' is marked in specially heavy type.
-lend them to Great Britain. The imperial authorities accept this programme with gratitude, as representing our full share of the imperial defence.
Our fleet being essentially defensive, we do not cause any damage to anybody, and our act is as far from militarism as the organization of a police force differs from the creation of a permanent army which is destined for the offensive.
This navy we are constructing will not in any way cause us any expense to this extent that we will not be obliged to borrow a single cent.
Our readers have here, shorn of all useless verbosity, of all declamation, of all appeals to public sentiment, the exact expression of the four policies that have been produced in Canada on this question of an imperial navy.
This has been dinned into the ears of our population for months, and I ask the House again: Is this the true expression of the policy that underlies this Bill along with the authentic conclusions arrived at by the Imperial Defence Conference of 1909 which we are now about to carry out? In the same city, but speaking to different readers upon the same subject, what do we find in another organ of my right hon. friend, the Montreal 'Herald'? Commenting upon the very able speech delivered in Montreal some days ago by a gentleman who was formerly
a member of this House, Mr. Bourassa, it says:
We do not mind confessing that Mr. Bourassa is largely right when he says that the Canadian fleet would almost as a matter of course take part in the empire's naval struggles. In other words, the theory of national control, exercised dispassionately, would in any imperial emergency prove but a fiction. Yet that fiction, like many a legal fiction, would shelter a mine of practical wisdom, and enable us to avoid many of the difficulties that would arise under the application of the more logical suggestion of Mr. Bourassa. For organic union we are not yet ready. But we are ready or should be, to take some share in the naval defence of the empire. By the creation of a Canadian navy we can fulfil our duty in that regard, and at the same time preserve ourselves from all the perplexities, at home and abroad, that would follow either the policy of direct cash contributions to the British navy, or the creation of a federation of British states. Our fleet would be in our own hands, to go or not to go to the empire's wars. That in practice it would no doubt inevitably go to any major war would not destroy the value of the freedom from entanglements that the Dominion would possess under this policy. Under it, the question of participation may be puc off for ten, twenty, fifty, or a hundred years, if war should not ensue. Britain has not had a great naval war for a century. The creation of new centres of imperial naval strength in Canada, .Australia, New Zealand and South Africa may help to make such a war improbable for a century to come.
This is the view presented to the English electors of my own province. But let us look for further differences and we will find some equivocation in a letter which the right hon. the Prime Minister himself wrote to an elector of the province of Ontario who was seeking information upon this subject and who, a farmer, wrote to the Prime Minister disapproving entirely of this expenditure. The right hon. gentleman wrote on the 8th of November last in reply to the very emphatic letter which he had received :
I have very little exception to take to your letter, and I am sure that when our policy has been laid before parliament there will not be much difference between your opinion and ours, and I do not think there should be any.
He did not want any expenditure at all for the construction of a navy, or any contribution. On writing this as his view, the Prime Minister tells him that there is very little difference between them. I
I would respectfully call your attention to the fact that you are in error in saying that this is a new matter. On the contrary it has been before the Canadian public since the conference of 1902, when an attempt was made to force us into a policy which you might properly call militarism and against which we dissented. I would draw your attention to the paper which was laid before the Mr. MONK.
imperial conference at the time by the ministers who attended it>
that is to say Mr. Fielding, Mr. Paterson. Sir Wm. Mulock, Sir Frederick Borden and myself, and in which we thus declared our policy:-
At present Canadian expenditures for defence services are confined to the military side. The Canadian government are prepared to consider the naval side of defence as well. On the sea coasts of Canada there is a large number of men admirably qualified to form a naval reserve, and it is hoped that at an early day a system may be devised which will lead to the training of these men and to the making of their services available for defence in time of need.
In conclusion the ministers repeat that while the Canadian government are obliged to dissent from the measures proposed, they fully appreciate the obligation of the Dominion to make expenditures for the purpose of defence in proportion to the increasing population and wealth of the country. They are willing that these expenditures shall he so directed as to relieve the taxpayer of the mother country from some of the burdens which she now bears ; and they have the strongest desire to carry out their defence schemes in co-operation with the imperial authorities, and under the advice of experienced imperial officers so far as this is consistent with the principle of local self government which has proved so great a factor in the promotion of imperial unity.
_ You will therefore see that we refused to go in for any larger expenditures than would he warranted by our development as a nation. This policy has been before the people for several years and it has never been challenged so far as I know, by any one.
I overlooked that I am no more in sympathy than you are with militarism in any form, but the question of defence is one which cannot be altogether overlooked.