February 3, 1910


Argentina.-9 cruisers and armoured cruisers. gunboats and torpedo boats. Population, 7.000. 000, 6,000 men. Naval policy, $35,000,000. 3 Dreadnoughts under contract. Brazil.-15 armoured cruisers, 5 dockyards. Chile.-7 armoured cruisers, 3 Dreadnoughts under contract. Population, 3,750,000. Columbia.-3 cruisers on the Atlantic; torpedo boats; 2 cruisers on the Pacific. Population, 2,500,000. Costa Rica.-1 torpedo boat, 1 gunboat. Population, 350,000. Denmark.-9 armoured criusers and monitors. Population, 2,500,000. Equator.-1 torpedo boat, 1 transport, 250 men. Population, 1,250,000. Greece.-3 armoured cruisers and 20 torpedo boats; 4,000 men. Population, 2,000,000 Haiti.-6 warships, 3rd class cruisers, gunboats. Population, 1,500,000. Mexico.-10 gunboats, 1 training ship, 6 protected cruisers, 198 officers, 965 men. Population, 13,000,000. Holland.-17 cruisers, 8,000 men. Population, 5,750,000. Norway.-5 cruisers, 1,000 men. Population, 2.500.000. Paraguay.-5 transports and coast defence ships. Population, 700,000. Pern.-5 armoured cruisers, 2 cruisers. Population, 5,000,000. Portugal.-8 armoured cruisers, 5,687 men; Population, 5,500,000. San Domingo. - 1 gunboat. Population, 610,000. Sweden.-15 armoured cruisers. Policy, fortification works to last twelve years. Population, 5,500,000. Sir, if we were to follow the advice of my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier we would have the province of Quebec in the position in which my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster), a few years ago, said England was: in a splendid isolation ; we would have the province of Quebec in this confederation, where all of the other English-speaking provinces on this question are one, although differing in details, we -would have the province of Quebec in a position of splendid isolation. Mr. Speaker, I am against the splendid isolation of the French Canadian race. I say to my hon. friend and to his ally, the ex-member for Labelle, Mr. Bourassa, one of the most talented men that the French Canadian race ever produced, that in propounding this policy of splendid isolation for the French Canadians in this confederation of ours, they are not true to the traditions of their race. No, my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier does not respond to the national traditions of the race which he and I represent. He does not even respond to the political traditions of the French Conservative party of old. Let me give a few glimpses of the history of the province of Quebec, My hon. friend seems to infer that we, in Quebec, are naturally against any movement in favour of either a militia or a navy. In 1759, when the last act took place of that sombre drama on the Plains of Abraham, my forefathers passed under another domination. Under the French regime our forefathers had not known what liberty and free institutions were. We were governed by a bureaucracy and there was no such thing as parliamentary institutions. But, as Aeneas came from Troy to Rome and brought with him his customs and his laws, so, the British and the Scotch grenadiers, who vanquished the French on the Plains of Abraham, brought with them, so to speak, the British constitution and all that it implies. We were left a few thousand French, led by the Roman Catholic clergy, and abandoned by the seigneurs, who at that time returned to France. We were left a minority of 60,000 people on the two shores of the St. Lawrence, almost lost in the Anglo-Saxon continent of North America. We would have been submerged if the British parliament qf 1774 had not, under the most generous impulse, given to the French Canadian Roman Catholic minority, its laws, its language, its customs and its religious freedom. Does not my hon. friend, whose allies are invoking the Monroe doctrine as a protection for us in case of attack, remember having read in the history of the thirteen colonies, that one of the grievances adduced by the revolutionists against the mother country was that very fact that the mother country had given the French Canadians and the Roman Catholics their religious freedom, their French laws and their national customs? In the light of history, would my hon. friend believe that if we were once launched on the American ocean, our laws, our schooh, our usages and customs would be protected by the United States Congress? Let him remember the history of Louisiana. There was in Louisiana a French minority. It had the civil laws of France as we have the civil laws of France embalmed in the Canadian statutes. It professed the Roman Catholic faith. [DOT] Let him go to Louisiana today; let the clergy; let the bishops of the province of Quebec go to Louisiana and what will they find? They will find many French names in the directories, but they will hear very little French spoken. They will see that while twenty or twenty-five years ago, French was taught in the schools, to-day there is only one language, and that is the English language. French laws were preserved. They are in their code, tut they are printed in English and before the courts they are cited in the English language only. My hon. friend stated a moment ago that we had nothing to care about British supremacy, that if perchance British supremacy was a bygone thing, what we had gained, we would still keep. I say to my hon. friend that his language does not voice the sentiment of the far-seeing men of his race, and of his province. It is, on the contrary, of the most vital interest to the French Canadian citizen, whether he be a layman or a priest, whether a priest or a bishop, to stand up for the maintenance of British supremacy in order to preserve the rights, the privileges and the franchises which were obtained from the British parliament in 1774. My hon. friend says that we owe nothing to British statesmanship. As a Liberal, as a Canadian, I cannot forget that it is due to Charles James Fox, to the great Pitt himself, that the Canadians of 1774 secured what I have called on many occasions, the Magna Charta of the province of Quebec. What we obtained in 1774 was secured again under the constitution of 1791 and a few illustrations will show that the role of the French Canadian clergy has always been one of grateful and loyal adhesion to the British Crown just on account of the privileges enjoyed under it. What did Mgr. Briand, Bishop of Quebec, say? In May, 1775, at the time of the American invasion, he used this language: The singular favour and kindness with which we have been governed by his most

Gracious Majesty King George the Third, since by the fortune of war we have been subject to his rule, the recent favours which he has just shown us in granting us the use of our own laws and the free exercise of our religion, and in allowing us to share in all the privileges and advantages of British subjects, should assuredly suffice to excite your gratitude and your zeal to sustain the interests of the Crown of Great Britain. I may say to my hon. friend that Monseigneur Briand was a humble priest. He had seen this country passing from the French regime to the British regime, and he was full of the traditions of the past, but he had learned to appreciate what it meant for French Canadians to live under British institutions. He was not a sycophant or a jingo, He was a Canadian. He was not looking for honours or favour, for titles or knighthood, but he was simply voicing the sentiments of his people and expressing their gratitude to the British Crown. My hon. friend says we owe nothing to the British Crown, that we have wrested from Britain what privileges we possess. This is not exactly the language used by another distinguished prelate in the long line of French Canadian bishops. What did the Rev. Joseph Octave Plessis, afterwards bishop, and recognized as such by the British sovereign say? Sir, remember that in those days there were Catholic disabilities in England, but as far as Quebec was concerned those disabilities were wiped out by the British Crown, and the Roman Catholic church of Canada became practically an established church. What did this Catholic bishop of Quebec say? This is the language he used: Our conquerors were looked upon with jealousy and suspicion, and inspired only apprehension. People could not persuade themselves that strangers to our soil, to pur language, our laws and usages, and our worship, would ever be capable of restoring to Canada what it had lost by a change of masters. Generous nation, which has strongly demonstrated how unfounded were those prejudices; industrious nation, which contributed to the development of those sources of wealth which existed in the bosom of the country; exemplary nation, which in times of troubles teaches to the world in what consists that liberty to which all men aspire and among whom so few know its just limits; kind-hearted nation, which has received with so much humanity, the most faithful subjects most cruelly driven from that kingdom to which we formerly belonged; beneficent nation, which every day gives to Canada new proofs of liberality. No, no, you are not our enemies, nor of our properties which are protected by your laws, nor of our holy religion which you respect. Sir, let me quote again what Monseigneur Plessis said on September 16, 1907. Speaking to the French Catholics of Quebec he said:


Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)



You have understood that your interests were not apart from those of Great Britain.

Thus he was speaking against the policy of isolation propounded by my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk), and by Mr. Bourassa. He continued:

You are convinced, as we are, that it is impossible to be a good Christian without being a loyal and faithful subject; that you would be unworthy the name of Catholics and Canadians, if, forgetting the rules of your holy religion and the examples of your ancestors, you should show disloyalty or even indifference when it is a question of doing your duty as subjects devoted to the interests of your sovereign and the defence of your country. You have not waited until this province should be menaced by an imminent invasion, or even until war was declared to give proofs of your zeal and of your good-will for the public service.

This language applies as much against the reliance on the Monroe doctrine as against the splendid isolation preached by my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier. Sir, what benefit could French Canadians expect. from annexation with the United States or from isolation in this confederation of ours? What would become of our language, our laws, our schools? As I said a moment ago, remember Louisiana! I repeat it again, my hon. friend does not represent the national aspirations of the province of Quebec in this matter. He does not even represent the French Conservative traditions. Sir George Cartier, whose name he mentioned, was the man who introduced in parliament the Militia Act, of 1862. The Bill brought about the defeat of the government. What did Sir George say: )

But I must at the same time confess that the question upon which we fell-the motion of Tuesday last (20th May, 1862) was a severe blow to us; in fact, it defeated us as responsible advisers to His Excellency. If, however, that blow had been aimed against us only, we should not have expressed regret, but I cannot help saying I apprehend-I sincerely apprehend-that vote will be hereafter invoked by those-and they are numerous who are hostile to the institutions of Lower Canada, and particularly to the French Canadians. But I hope that the noble conduct of our clergy, and the manifestation of the population of Lower Canada last fall, will mitigate any aspersion unprincipled men may be disposed to cast upon us.

In 1867, what did Sir Geo. Cartier do? In order to impress his fellow countrymen with the necessity of joining hands with the English-speaking Canadians, he demanded from his colleague, Sir John Macdonald, the; portfolio of Militia. Why? Because he knew he could make that military policy popular with his own countrymen when they came to understand it. He

wanted the two races to be united in oTder to carry out the work of confederation.

It was necessary to prepare for the defence of the land, in the firm determination of the country to remain British. And so long as there was a British nation existing, the people of this dominion were resolved to remain a portion of it. He was certain that even if the expense were heavy for such a purpose, it would not be repudiated. He was almost ashamed to state before the great House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada that he required so little money to carry out so great an organization. (From the speech of March 31, 1868, before the House of Commons.)

On the first of May, 1868, when moving the House into Committee for the consideration of the resolutions respecting fortifications, Sir George Cartier said:

While it was conceded that Canada could always claim the aid, in emergency, of all the resources of the empire, it had been thought only just that the dominion should share the expenses necessary to make this assistance effectual. . . . If it be contended that such works are unproductive, it may be said in reply that Canada has now reached a stage of development, when following the example of other nations, it may oppose a barrier to invasion. By thus raising a barrier between Canada and its neighbours, Canada solemnly declares before the whole world that she desires to remain united to Great Britain. When the great fortifications previously mentionned, are built. English capitalists will be still more firmly convinced that their funds are secure in this country, and Canada will then become a field of profitable investments for British capital. Thus falls the objection to a measure which is nothing else but the very measure i.* o post'd by the imperial government itself. That objection that I foresaw, and which consists in saying that the country is going to spend large sums of money on unproductive works cannot stand.

What he said about fortifications and the Militia applies with greater force to the conditions with which we are confronted to-day. But Cartier spoke also about a Canadian navy. It must not be supposed that he was opposed to it. At the sitting of the 31st- of March, he intimated that this policy would be taken up later on. He said :

I do not contend that the present Bill provides for the organization of the naval militia. That is left to the Governor General in Council.

Speaking of that isolation policv, which is being preached by my hon. friend in the province of Quebec, may I not remind him of the language used by his former leader, Sir George Etienne Cartier:

Isolation can never lead to our national glory; that is to be found in effort and in fight. In days gone by, we arose in arms to resist despotism and tyrannv, and later on 97

generously to defend the flag of the motherland. Now in peaceful emulation and rivalry through the paths of business we strive with our fellow-countrymen for the first place. Any race of men having overcome so many difficulties, fought so many battles, and suffered with such constancy in resistance to monopoly and tyranny, must be a fighting race, able honourably to hold their own with any other.

Let us beware of belittling the minds of our fellow-countrymen by the narrow views we may ourselves take of political and social questions. The idea will perhaps be derided, but deep thinkers have held it to be true that the citizen of an independent nation is morally and intellectually greater than the inhabitant of a colony. His intellectual vision ranges over a broader expanse, he having to study graver questions and to deal with more serious interests.

Let us therefore avoid surrounding our nationality with the mental disabilities which exclude success and greatness. The sphere of our activity should be constantly enlarged, that we may become great and noble by the works of our children and our champions.

Confederation will extend that sphere, while also giving to our inner life, to our family life, a happiness and a joy to us hitherto unknown. We will be free and absolute masters in the administration of our own patrimony.

But I have already spoken at too great length, and I must crave the indulgence of the House while I offer a few more remarks. My hon. friend from Jacques Cartier, when concluding his speech the other day, referred to the rhetorical delusions of the Prime Minister of Canada. My hon. friend himself indulged in a few literary reminiscences. He spoke of Paul of Tarsus. He also quoted Byron, who, describing the agony of the Dacian gladiator dying in the arena at Rome, said:

He heard it, but he heeded not-his eyes Were with his heart, and that was far away;

He recked not of the life he lost nor prize, But where his rude but by the Danube lay, There were his young barbarians all at play, There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire,

Butchered to make a Roman holiday-

All this rush'd with his blood-shall he expire

And unavenged? Arise! ye Goths, and glut your ire!

In the province of Quebec-because this is for Quebec consumption-the Dacian gladiator, whose blood is oozing from him, butchered in the arena, is the French Canadian fighting for the British flag, and the young barbarians are supposedly our sons. We, the French Canadian members of the House are, of course, responsible for that state of things. Who are the Goths?

I suspect that in my hon. friend's mind, the Goths are the Yankees beyond the boundary who would, no doubt, invoke the

Monroe doctrine in case of aggression-

' arise, ye Goths, and glut your ire.' Mr. Speaker, is that patriotic language-language befitting a seigneur belonging to the great feudal aristocracy of lower Canada?

I cannot close my remarks without also indulging in some literary reminiscences. As I said a few moments ago, I had the good fortune of studying under my hon. friend, who was my professor of constitutional law at Laval university. From his lips I learned to love, admire and appreciate British institutions; and looking at my copy-book the other day, I found on one of the pages-the ink was dry-I am speaking alas! of nearly twenty years ago- the definition of the British constitution imparted by my hon. friend to his students. He used the words of Edmund Burke, that great luminary of the British parliament, who was one of those statesmen who defended Canadian liberty at Westminster in days gone by. My hon. friend, the member for Jacques Cartier waxed very eloquent when addressing his students in those days. In order that we might fully appreciate the value of British institutions, he concluded his lecture with the following definition:

If the standard of moderation be sought for, I will seek for it. Where? Not in their fancies nor in my own-I will seek for it where I know it is to be found, in the constitution I actually enjoy. Here, it says to an encroaching prerogative-Your sceptre has its length. You cannot add a hair to your head, or a gem to your crown, but what an eternal law has given to it.

Here, it says to an overweening peerage Your pride finds bank-there is a. bound to the raging of the sea. Our constitution is like our island, which uses and restrains its subject sea, in vain the waves roar. In Brat constitution I know, and exultingly I feel both that I am free and that I am not free dangerously to myself or to others. T know that no power on earth, acting as I ought to do can touch my life, my liberty, or my property. I have that inward and dignified consciousness of my own security and inde pendence which constitutes and which is the onlv thing which does constitute, the proud and comfortable sentiment of freedom m the human breast. I know' too that I cannot by royal favour.


Or by popular delusion,

Monk's speeches.

Or by oligarchical cabal, elevate myself above a certain very limited point so ns to endanger my own fall, or the ruin of my country. I know there is an order that keen things fast in their places; it is made to us, and we are made of it.

This is the clearest definition ever given of the British constitution and all that it conveys. I think my friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk), my heart is Mr. LEMIEUX.

full of gratitude to him. He, with the right hon. gentleman who leads the government, in my younger days taught me to love and to revere British institutions. How amazed T am to find him speaking on a subject and advocating a policy which if it were carried through-but thank Heavens it will not be-would go against the very principles enunciated by him twenty years ago. The French Canadians in the province of Quebec are the proud possessors of all the advantages described in the words of Burke. They intend to maintain and to treasure those advantages and privileges by doing their duty like men and like patriots^ towards their country and towards their King. Doing their duty towards their King and t( wards their country, I claim, Sir, that they are also doing their duty tow'ards God Almighty.

On motion of Mr. Middlebro, the debate was adjourned.

Sir WILFRID LAURIER moved the adjournment of the House.


Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)


The debate, I presume, goes on to-morrow?


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



No. To-morrow the Minister of Railways, who is very anxious to finish his estimates, as the Deputy Minister is leaving the service, will proceed with them. The debate will not be resumed until Tuesday.


William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)



To-morrow we might also take up the item for French relief.


Motion agreed to, and House adjourned at 12.50 o'clock a.m., Friday.

Friday, February 4, 1910.

February 3, 1910