money, the establishment of local naval defence, or snch other services, in such manner as may be decided upon after consultation with the admiralty and as would best accord with their varying circumstances.
Could anything be broader, could anything give greater freedom, could anything get further away from trenching on responsible government and the autonomy of the Dominions? One would have thought that such a resolution would have been acclaimed by everybody. It was acclaimed by everybody but one. Sir Wilfrid Laurier said:
I am sorry to say, so far as Canada is concerned, we cannot agree to the resolution. We took the ground many years ago that we had enough to do in that respect in our country before committing ourselves to a general claim. The government of Canada has done a great deal in that respect. Our action was not understood, but I was glad to see that the First Lord of the Admiralty admitted we had done much more than he was aware of. It is impossible, in my humble opinion, to have a uniform policy on this matter.
It was not a uniform policy, it gave to each of the Dominions the right to make a contribution in any way it liked, all it called for was to do something.
The disproportion is too great between the mother country and the colonies. We have too much to do otherwise; in the mother country, you must remember, they have no exnenses to incur with regard to public works; whereas, in most of the colonies, certainly in Canada, we have to tax ourselves to the utmost of our resources in the development of our country, and we could not contribute, or undertake to do more than we are doing in that way. For my part, if the motion were pressed to a conclusion, I should have to vote against it.
Still, it is developing and opening up the country to an enormous extent. All the colonies are building developing railways of a character which may not be revenue producing for years. I thought the wording of this resolution would have specially met your views, because towards the up-keep of the navy it may take the form either of a grant of money or the establishment of a local defence force or other services. I understand Canada suggested strongly the other day that some of their other services were in the nature of local defence.
We, of the different dominions beyond the seas, have tried to be unanimous up to the present time. I am sorry to say this is a question upon which we could not he unanimous. Therefore, Dr. Smartt can move it if he chooses or withdraw it, but if he presses it I should have to vote against it.
I am absolutely in the hands of the conference. I do not want to press a. resolution that is not likely to meet with the general approval of practically everybody on the conference, especially a resolution of this particular character. We might, perhaps, let it stand over until the next sitting. Between this and Tuesday I may be able to modify it in some way to meet Sir Wilfrid's view.
And Dr. Smart withdrew it. Are we proud of Canada as thus exhibited?