February 3, 1910

CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Was not the argument the hon. gentleman advanced some time ago, when he read some remarks of Lord Camden, to the effect that nothing should be taken from the individual without his consent and that representation went with taxation, contrary to the argument he is presenting now?

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

My hon. friend is generally fair, and I must pay him this compliment, that he is sincere and honest. There is no discrepancy between the two statements. A moment ago, in answer to the reproach which is being hurled at us in the province of Quebec, that the navy was at the beck and mercy and fancy of the imperial authorities, I said that it was not-that we were British subjects, possessed of rights and privileges; that we had a parliament, and that parliament would say whether our navy would serve the imperial ends or not. Then I quoted Lord Camden as my authority, and I believe that the principles laid down by him are at the very foundation of the British constitution.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Might I ask the hon. gentleman this? Provided we go on and carry out this policy, and are prepared to take part in all the controversies of Great Britain from year to year, shall we not he doing it in violation of the very principle the hon. gentleman lays down, because we have no representation in the British House of Commons, to say whether the wars are proper or improper according to our judgment, though we contribute to them?

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I will answer that question in a moment. But we are told by some of our hon. friends that our navy is not worthy of that name. It is the laughingstock of the Conservative press in the country. Do you believe, Sir, that Dreadnoughts or battleships alone are required by the British Admiralty? I do not claim to be an expert; far from it. But since this question has been before the country, I have taken the trouble to read a little of what has been said in this country and abroad by experts. What is the opinion of Sir Wm. White, who, as we all know was the chief naval instructor of the Admiralty of Great Britain until very lately. He made a speech not very long ago before the Royal Society of Arts in London, and what did he say? He said:

' Showing the flag even in small vessels' lias been and is no empty or merely ceremonial custom. It has done much to maintain British prestige, to promote and protect British commerce, and to make more real the recognition of British sea-power all over the world; while the small vessels employed on these services have furnished excellent schools of training and opportunities for gaining experience and lessons in direct responsibility by younger officers. There has been a tendency in recent years to minimise these results, and to treat as ' worse than useless ' the smaller classes of vessels which from time immemorial have been so engaged. It is satisfactory to note that -wiser counsels are again prevailing, and the necessity for employing vessels of many classes in an imperial navy is recognized.

This is the opinion, not of a humble parliamentarian like my hon. friend from East Grey or myself, but of an expert. He would not characterize the Canadian navy, with its eleven ships, as a tin-pot navy. He would say that it is a necessary adjunct to the British navy and a gTeat helper in time of war.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
CON
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

And also for the protection of British commerce I will quote further:

Every care ought to be taken to avoid inferiority in types and numbers of ships, and to provide ail classes required to make up modern battle fleets,-ships fit for the fighting line, cruisers, torpedo craft, submarines and special vessels used as colliers, store ships, repair ships, and for other subsidiary but important duties. Battle-fleets are essential to the maintenance of supremacy at sea, but it is necessary also to provide for the protection of British commerce and communications. _ .

In addition to regularly built cruisers, lightly armed mercantile vessels possessing high speed and large coal supplies will certainly be used in future for commerce destruction. During the last two years a fresh start his been made in the construction of commerce-protecting cruisers of moderate size, and all who have the interests of the empire at heart must rejoice at this return to a saner policy, which has been justified by long experience.

The scheme for Canadian and Australian navies contemplates the building of a number of swift cruisers of this class for use in the approaches to great ports where trade routes converge and the chances of injury to merchant ships attain their maximum if an enemy possesses vessels suitable for employment in those regions.

This is the opinion of an expert and I am glad my hon. friend gave me an opportunity of further quoting what has been stated by so great a military authority on the British navy.

Now, shall I speak of the German scare? I think I need not refer to it. The British electorate have just answered the insinuations which were made on the platform in England to the effect that the German navy was every morning leaving the Baltic sea and ready to land on British soil and get possession of London itself.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTEE.

Is it not claimed that the British electorate got a whack at the Lords?

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

My hon. friend knows better. He knows that in this election there were three issues, one as regards the Lords. It was a very strong issue which was somewhat obscured by my hon. friend's friends on the other side, by tariff reform and the German scare. Did not the great leader of the Conservative party in England, in the very last days of the election, have resort to some of the words used by a certain Socialist by the name of Blateh-ford? Yes, Sir, even Mr. Balfour himself stated in so many words that there was fear of a German invasion and that the British electorate should repulse that old enemy, the Eadical party in ^ England, because, forsooth, British institutions were not in safe hands. It is about the same story in England as it is in Canada.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTEE.

By what process does my hon. friend find out what caused the remaining majority of the Liberal party, which of these three things was it that brought it about and which of the three things was it that gave the Unionists so large a gain over them? I know he has been there and understands all that-he is the one who did the business.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

In 1906, when the hon. gentleman with his well known eloquence went to England to help the cause of tariff reform, the Liberal party abnormally secured a majority of over 200. My hon. friend came back to Toronto and other issues were discussed in England and the parties took to their normal level in British politics. I am in earnest in what I am saying. My hon. friend knows as a matter of fact the majority the Liberal party secured in the election of 1906 was Mr. LEMIEUX.

abnormal, owing to circumstances that we know too well. At this last election the Liberal party came back to power with a working majority, with a substantial majority, but it is the aim of the Tory press in this country to distort the facts. Every day we hear of a coalition ministry. But Mr. Asquith is quietly resting on the continent, he is enjoying his villegiature there. He will come back in a few days. His majesty, the King, will open parliament, the budget will be adopted even by the Lords and the Liberal party, aye the Labour party which after all is only the vanguard bf the Liberal party, will continue to govern Great Britain. I am, I believe, just as much a Unionist, in the better sense of the word, as my hon. friend is. I am a true Unionist, and when I speak of a Liberal majority in Great Britain, whether that Liberal majority comes from the Eadical party, from the Whigs, from the Labour party, or from that island whence the ancestors of my hon. friend from Montreal Centre (Mr. Doherty) came, it is nevertheless a Liberal majority, it is a reform majority.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
CON

Charles Joseph Doherty

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHEETY.

The hon. gentleman has appealed to me as being in some way able to speak for a certain portion of that majority. I desire to say most emphatically that so far as I know them, they form part of no Liberal and equally of no Conservative party in England.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

The hon. gentleman knows a great deal, but I can tell him that during the last parliament the Irish party voted on nearly every question with the Liberal party. They would be very ungrateful indeed if they did not vote with the successors of Gladstone, but they were not ungrateful. During the recent contest, after the speech delivered on the 12th of December last, by Mr. Asquith at Albert Hall in London, we received the echo of another speech delivered the day after by Mr. Eedmond, in which he pledged the support of his party to the Liberal majority in the House of Commons because he knows that with the Liberal party in England they will secure home rule for Ireland.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
CON
LIB
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEOULE.

Who was responsible for the German scare which he says the Unionists used so effectively during the elections?

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I will say that the German scare is the work of a very thrifty journalist by the name of Lord North-cliSe.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

It was started in the House of Commons by the present leader of the Reform party, Mr. Asquith himself.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I will answer my hon. friend by the words of Mr. Asquith and of Mr. McKenna, the present Lord of the Admiralty. I quote, from 'Public Opinion', Mr. McKenna's words:

At this moment, Great Britain has got seven Dreadnoughts in commission, Germany has got two. When Germany has four in commission, Great Britain will have ten: when Germany has five in commission, Great Britain will have twelve; when Germany has nine in commission, Great Britain will have fourteen; and when Germany has eleven in commission, Great Britain will have sixteen; and when Germany has thirteen in commission, Great Britain will have twenty.

And further:

The navy scare has not the slightest foundation in fact.

That is the statement of the first Lord of the Admiralty, Mr. McKenna. And what does Mr. Asquith say? He stated, at Birkenhead, on the 21st December last:

With regard to our defensive forces, the navy and the army, I do not hesitate to say that they never were in a more efficient, a better equipped or a more highly organized condition than they are to-day.

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

That is not what I was asking. What was this statement in the House of Commons when he was asking for the naval estimates?

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I am not aware of that statement, but I take the statement made publicly on the platform by Mr. McKenna, the first Lord of the Admiralty, Mr. Asquith, the prime minister, and Sir Edward Grey, the secretary for Foreign Affairs. Sir Edward Grey said:

The British navy is being maintained in a position to protect the country from any probable combination of fleets.

Again, the right hon. Reginald McKenna, first Lord of the Admiralty, said on January 5th last:

This navy scare is absurd and ridiculous. No attempt has been made to argue the question seriously. How can we reason with rumour or reply to shrieks?

Mr. McKenna may have used other language, but I quote his latest statements. I do not deny the statement alluded to by my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule), but we all know that this German scare exists only in the imagination of party politicians. It was started by the party press of Great Britain, controlled by Lord Northcliffe, and was written up during the elections - by the well-known socialist, Mf. Blachford, in the pay of a certain party

in Great Britain. But, Sir, who will ever believe that Britons are scared by a ' German terror? ' Sir, I am of French descent, but I know something of the history of England, and I say that no country in this world can abate the well-known and well-founded pride of British valour.

We are told that the building of this Canadian navy will give rise to graft, and that we in Canada are too ignorant to build a navy. The charge of graft is beneath contempt. Let the hon. gentleman who believes that Canadians are unable to build a navy go up from the bar of this chamber to the library, and he will see on the wall the following inscription:

In honour of the men by Whose enterprise, courage and skill,

The ' Royal William,'

The first vessel to cross the Atlantic by steam power, was wholly constructed in Canada and navigated to England in 1883.

I claim-and I know that my hon. friend from East Grey '(Mr. Sproule), after all, is too good a Canadian not to say-that if Canadian energy and enterprise in the city of Halifax in 1833 was able to accomplish this, the Canada of 1910 is able to construct the modest-I admit, but very efficient-navy which is in germ in the Bill presented to this House. Sir, I have the pride of my country. I do not belong to the racial majority and may no' have the same ideals as they have- But it seems to me there should be in this country common ideals on questions of this nature. If Canada has been able to build a Canadian Pacific railway, and if the enterprise of two men of the province of Ontario, Messrs. Mackenzie and Mann, is duplicating that road in the Canadian Northern to-day; if the Canada of 1903 was able to remove, so to speak, further north, the boundaries of Canada by building another Transcontinental; if we are able to undertake the Hudson Bay railway, and to construct the Georgian Bay canal, it seems to me that it is not beyond our reach to build a Canadian navy. And we have in the maritime provinces, nay, we have in the old section of the province of Quebec, in the county which I have the honour with you, Mr. Speaker, to represent in this House, a thrifty and skilful people whose ancestors were all sailors, who were building ships, and the best ships of the empire, at the time of the ship-building industry in this country. May not we hope and expect that the descendants of these sailors and shipbuilders will be able to accomplish to-day what their forefathers were accomplishing sixty or seventy-five years ago?

But the experts of the British navy themselves are in favour of a Canadian-built navy. Sir William White, chief of naval construction of Great Britain, says this:

By many leading Canadians whose opinions are entitled to respect, it would be preferred to follow the course recently adopted by New Zealand, and to make a money ' grant-in-aid ' of British navy estimates, leaving the decision as to the use made of the money to the Admiralty, who would be free to construct what numbers and types of ships they thought proper, to arrange for manning them, and to employ them in whatever service they chose as units of the Koyal navy. This would be a simple plan, no doubt, would involve a minimum expenditure on construction, armament, manning and maintenance, and would secure early completion of these additions to the fleet. On the other hand the plan favoured by the Canadian government and (as I believe) supported by a preponderating opinion amongst the people of the Dominion is natural in the circumstances, has some distinct advantages, and tends to cultivate a national interest in the fleet, while it gives opportunities for the personal service of Canadian citizens in the naval defence of the empire. The government of the Australian Commonwealth is acting on lines similar to those favoured by the Canadian government, and has decided on the creation of its own navy before the Imperial Defence Conference of this year was aranged. In doing so Australia abandoned the plan of an annual cash payment (or subsidy) to British navy estimates, which had been in force since 1888.

I say that a Canadian built navy would be much more acceptable to the Canadian people than cash contributions to the British exchequer. The Canadian national sentiment would be much feebler if Canadian money was invisibly spent in England, instead of having a navy of our own, of having the ships under our own eyes, manned by our own people and built in our own yards. At first the navy would not be built as well as it would be in England, granted. The cost may be greater, granted again. But we must begin. I believe we will become a great nation, and we must arouse the pride of the Canadian people. If we were to argue, as some of my hon. friends argue on the other side of the House, we might bring back to this country the British garrisons. The British garrisons have departed, and we have assumed the care of Esquimalt and Halifax. We have now our own militia. Is it not better to form our own seamen instead of hiring, not Hessians, as in the days of old, but our sailors from the mother country, who, otherwise, would be of service to the motherland in the North sea and the British channel? Is it not better that we should have Canadian sailors on both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans? Shipbuilding should not be confined to England, it should be extended to Canada. That was the view taken by Lord Milner when he came to this country a few months ago. That is the view of the grand old Canadian statesman, Sir Charles Tupper, in a letter he addressed to the Canadian press a few months ago, wherein he ex-Mr. LEMIEUX.

pressed his hope that the leader of the opposition would remain faithful to the policy unanimously adopted in this House on the 29th of March, 1909. Let me also quote the words of a Conservative paper, a patriotic paper, I mean the Ottawa 'Evening Journal

Canadian navy built in Canada means the spending of the money in Canada, the establishment of shipyards and naval training schools in Canada, the building of ships in Canada, the employment of men in Canada, the purchase of material here, the encouragement of other Canadian industries. It_ means a stimulus to Canadian towns and cities, a new development of national self education and confidence, the avoidance of possible causes of friction with the mother country. The contribution policy means that Canadian taxes are spent in England, and they may become a source of friction and irritation, a source of dissatisfaction, here and there, as to the amount, and the way it should he expended. There will he no continuity to the system.

; These are all strong reasons for adopting the policy propounded this afternoon by the right hon. gentleman. We are reminded by some that ours is only a tin pot navy, whilst in the province of Quebec it is regarded as a luxury. Sir, I thought my hon. friends had more pride. I have here a list of independent countries, and self-governing colonies, whose population does not exceed 10,000,000 people, and is in many cases less than that, who have navies of their own:

Topic:   EDITION.
Permalink

February 3, 1910