February 22, 1910

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would ask the Minister of Finance whether or not there are to be any supplementary estimates, and, if so, when it is likely they will be brought down.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

The supplementary estimates for the current year are being prepared at this moment. As to the sup-plementaries for the coming year, I am not in a position at the present to answer my hon. friend's question. Ufc would be some little time before they could be brought down if there are to be any. The supplementaries for the current year will be brought down at an early day.

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NAVAL SERVICE OF CANADA.


House resumed the adjourned debate on the motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for .the second reading of Bill (No. 95), respecting the Naval Service of Canada, the proposed amendment of Mr. Borden thereto, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Monk.


LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH (Nanaimo).

Mr. Speaker, I had the honour last evening of occupying the time of Ithe House for a few minutes with the discussion of this question, and I think I can promise the House that I shall not occupy very much (time this afternoon. But, coming from a maritime district, as I do, in fact, coming from the farthest western constituency in Canada, I think it is incumbent on me as a member for that particular district, to have a view on this question and to be prepared to put that view before this House. Last night I made some reference to the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Cowan), who preceded me, and I wish to make further reference to one or two things to which that gentleman attached great importance in connection wilth the policy of the government, which is now before the

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

House. I wish to make a very important and very necessary correction to one argument advanced by my hon. friend last evening. He stated that perhaps the mos*t mischievous and most insidious feature of the government Bill was an attempt, a veiled and unpatriotic attempt, (to change the relations of Canada to the motherland. By section 15 of the British North America Act the Commander in Chief of all the armed forces in Canada is declared !to continue to be vested in the Crown, and my hon. friend went on to explain that in his opinion the constitution of this country, section 15 of the British Nodth America Act, was very seriously interfered with, and that the policy of the government presented to the House and to the country made no provision for regaining the authority of the Crown with regard to the operation of the naval or land forces of the empire or of Canada. My hon. friend, by this argument, simply announced to the House that he had not read the Bill before 'the House, for section 4 of the Bill provides exactly according to the terms and the very words of section 15 of the British North America Act. I shall read the two sections, as I did last evening, in my hon. friend's absence, because he attached such supreme importance

The section in the British North America Act to which he referrred, reads:

Tbe command in chief of the land and naval militia and of all naval and military forces, of and in Canada, is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the King.

Or in the Crown, if you like. I shall now read the section in the Bill before the House:

The command in chief of the naval forces is vested in the King, and shall be exercised and administered by His Majesty, or by the Governor General as His representative.

He concluded that this unconstitutional act was an evidence of the disposition of the government to bring about the breaking off of the alliance, that proper and reasonable, and staunch alliance between this country and the empire, and to lead this country out into the development of absolute independence and perhaps in the future absolute separation from the em-

pire. That is the attitude assumed by my hon. friend, and the strongest evidence which he produced that the policy before the House showed such a disposition on the part of this government was the fact that in this Bill they had failed to provide for the carrying out of the British North America Act in regard to the authority of the Crown, in the control of the naval and military forces of Britain and of this country. Thus, it is of tremendous importance that this matter should be brought to the attention of this House, and that the correction should be made.

The next point, and abuut the only point of attack that my hon. friend made upon the policy of the government was in relation to the fact that in time of war it was necessary for the Governor in Council of this country to give instructions as to whether or not the naval or military forces should be sent to the protection of the British empire. My hon. friend thought that was a very serious omission. I do not know exactly where he meant to place the responsibility, you have to have responsibility somewhere. But my hon. friend's argument went to show the House and the country that the leading ministers of the Liberal party were not true to the traditions of the British empire, were trying to develop an absolutely independent nationality, and his reasoning led him to the necessity of objecting to that provision in the Act, whereby it is necessary for the Governor in Council to provide that the military or naval forces of this country should'be sent to the aid of the empire in case of war. I submit that the conclusion of my hon. friend was purely a political conclusion.

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CON

George Henry Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN.

Does the hon. gentleinan propose to read section 4, without reading section 18, or does he read section 18 into section 4, and if the Governor can act what is the necessity of an order in council under section 18?

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

Mr. Speaker, I am following my hon. friend's own argument. He complained last night that there was very serious danger in this country having to submit to the authority of the Governor in Council in case of hostilities occurring between Great Britain and any other nation, and he led up to that position by the announcement that he had no confidence in the leaders of this government, as he believed they tended to independence and separation. According to the conclusions of my hon. friend, he was deciding this question entirely on political grounds; because he had no confidence in the leaders of this government, he was afraid to depend upon them in such possible contingencies. I suppose my hon. friend would have no alarms at ail if a Conservative 1274

government were in power. That is the answer to the whole position taken by my hon. friend. If his friends were in power, the Governor in Council would be all right and the empire would be perfectly safe. The thought struck me at the moment that even in that case my hon. friend could not be very confident, in view of the attitude of the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk), a very important person in the political party of my hon. friend, whom every one might reasonably expect would be a prominent member of a Conservative ministry. Therefore it struck me that my hon. friend could not entirely depend on the security of the empire even if his own friends were in power. If there is any tendency to independence on the part of any minister of the Liberal government, it has been annulled by the denunciation of British diplomacy by the leader of the Conservative party from the province of Quebec; and under these circumstances it would be unreasonable for my hon. friend from Vancouver to expect to make the empire secure by having as one of the principal ministers in a Conservative government the hon. member for Jacques Cartier.

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CON

George Henry Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN.

May I ask the hon. member for Nanaimo, before he leaves the merits of the question, to answer the questions I put to him, and further to tell me what would be the result if no order in council were passed under section 18?

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

My answer to my hon. friend is simple. As I said, he controverted two things in the policy of the government last night. He said that the government were destroying the constitution of this country-that the authority over the forces of this country was provided in the British North America Act to be vested in the King, whereas there was no provision in the Bill of the government for such a condition? I have demonstrated to the House that in that my hon. friend is mistaken. The other position taken by my hon. friend was that if hostilities broke out between Britain and another country, it would be a serious thing to depend on the authority of the Governor in Council in this country, especially as it is constituted at the present time. Now, I am not contending against any legal interpretation that my hon. friend may put upon the Bill, now that he is in cold blood and sober senses; but I am replying to statements made by my hon. friend when he was a little excited; and if his statements cannot bear cold criticism, that is not my fault. What I am doing is criticising what my hon. friend has said, and I am doing it without prejudice and without feeling, as I have nothing but the best feeling for my hon. friend; but on an important question like this, the decision of members of this

House ought to be based on argument, not on excitement or emotion.

My bon. friend made a great deal of a statement of the premier in his address, which he repeated to the. very great amusement of hon. gentlemen opposite. That was why I put myself out of order by making the remark I did. My hon. friend sought to contribute to the amusement of his friends in the House by trying to show how ridiculous was the simple statement of the premier that when Britain was at war, Canada was at wax, and if Britain was at war Canada might not be at war. Now, Sir, the amusing thing to me was that a man would demonstrate the simplicity, and, if my hon. friend will excuse me, the vanity, of thinking that he could amuse or please his friends by a simple repetition of phrases. My hon. friend never attempted to analyse the statement of the premier. It never occurred to him that after all there might be something in that statement. When the premier made that statement, as a plain man, deducing plain facts from simple arguments, it was very easy for me at least to see that Britain might be at war without any necessity for Canada being at war. It does not follow that Britain may not in very many instances be engaged in hostilities at different parts of the empire, none of which would be suffic-ently important to necessitate calling in the aid of this country; and if I can understand the deductions of common sense, that is exactly what the premier meant by the statement he made.

Now, I want to ask the House to bear with me for a few minutes while I discuss the three principles which are before the House. We are called upon as members of this House to vote for one of three things; first, the policy of the government; second, the policy of the -leader of the opposition; third the policy of the member for Jacues Cartier. What were the circumstances that gave rise to the consideration of this question? How is it that suddenly, within a year, we are called upon to consider and determine the question of providing in this country for naval protection involving millions of dollars of expenditure? The condition arose from the fact that a year ago some strange emotion and excitement took possession of certain gentlemen in the old country and spread to kindred political spirits in this country, and that the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster), becoming suddenly alarmed for the safety and security of the empire, brought up a motion in this House for the discussion of this auestion. As the result of that discussion, the right hon. the Prime Minister proposed to amend the motion of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster). My hon. friend, the leader of the opposition made an arrange-

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

rnent, with the consent of his friends, whereby whatever resolution might be adopted at that particular time, should express the unanimous feeling of both sides of the House. That, in my opinion, was an ideal condition for the consideration of a question of this importance affecting this country and the empire at large. The proposal suggested by the hon. member for Toronto (Mr. Foster) was amended by tire right hon. the leader of the government and again amended by a change suggested by the hon. the leader of the opposition, and the proposition in its final shape was unanimously agreed to. Where was the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) at that particular moment? In view of the position he has since taken, in the discussion on this Bill, what excuse has he to offer for his inertness and inaction on that occasion? He had nothing to say a year ago when this resolution was unanimously adopted, but no sooner did this government commit itself to a proposal to do something to strengthen the naval forces of the empire than the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) declares that he never believed there was anything in this excitement regarding the naval forces of Great Britain, that it was purely fictitious and had spread from the -old country to Canada. But if that were his conviction, when was the proper time for him to have expressed it? I submit that it was when the hon. member for Toronto (Mr. Foster) submitted his resolution when that resolution was being discussed in this House; but the hon. gentleman, instead of doing this, left his seat and went out of the House and abandoned his duty, and he did this, although he was at the time convinced that an exciting condition had arisen in this country which was not based on facts. Then was the proper time for the hon. gentleman to have made the criticism which he made a year later, rftrd in neglecting to do so, I charge him with having failed in his duty. But a year later, when this tremendous excitement was cooling off, and things were coming to a normal condition, was 'the time he chose to show his temper and his teeth to his own friends and dispute the methods taken by his own political colleagues, and to show his anxiety to protect the empire by an amendment asking that the whole question be submitted to the votes and opinion of the people. I could not help being reminded of the old lines:

When the devil was sick, the devil a monk would be;

When the devil got well, the devil a monk was he.

The time for my hon. friend to have asserted his convictions and used his influence was at the beginning of the excitement but he shirked his duty. The

occasion for him to have corrected the wrong impression was just the one when he failed to do his duty.

Just a word more about my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk). It is amusing to consider the position of my hon. friend in contrast with the speech of the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Cowan). That hon. gentleman spoke for two hours last night, and during nine-tenths of that time he was facing the hon. member for Jacques Cartier. One could not help feeling that really his arguments, his influence and his declamation, were directed almost solely for the benefit of my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier. He kept steadilv looking that hon. gentleman in the face, although using words that might, by a wave of the hand, be sent across to the government benches, still it seemed to me that the hon. gentleman was really saying: Those fellows are bad enough, but you are a long ways worse, and I consider you are really a more dangerous factor as opposed to the empire than even are hon. members opposite.

The hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) expressed great dissatisfaction with British diplcmacy. He went on to remind the House of a statement made by the right hon. the Prime Minister that if the supremacy of Britain on the sea should be weakened, the strength and integrity of Canada would he jeopardized, and expressed his dissent from that proposition. Then he proceeded to depreciate British diplomacy and the effects in Canada of that diplomacy. Well,. I myself, am a little jealous in favour of Britain and British diplomacy. I am myself an Englishman, just a few years in this country, but while I do not questirn the loyalty of Canadians to Britain, what I do say is this, that no man is in a position to doubt the wisdom of British diplomacy who refuses to spend a dollar for the protection of his own country. Britain has undoubtedly, in her diplomatic negotiations, to make compromises, but it must be remembered that she has to protect every country within the empire, and all her diplomatic resources had to be exercised in favour of the empire; and in my opinion any hon. member who-as my hon. friend did in a very bitter speech- opposes the idea of Canada making .any contribution or any effort in her own defence or that of the empire is hardly in a position to question the effectiveness of British diplomacy. Great Britain has had to make the best settlements she could. She has had to give as well as take. If her diplomatists insisted on taking every time, they would have had to fight every time. They had to consider grievances; they had to give as well as take. If they took every time, they would have to fight every time. The hon. member for Jacques Cartier demands of the British diplomats only consideration of the interests of the empire on every occasion, and yet he insists that not a man and not a dollar should be contributed by Canada in tne defence of this country either by land or by sea. I submit that no a. gument has been presented by any member of this House so politically cowardly that of the hon membei (Mr. Monk). If he was right in remembering the faults of British diplomacy he should have considered also the difficulties under which British diplomacy operated.

I do not say that every negotiation in the pa^t has been carried on to the best interests of the empire, but I do say that the men who had the responsibility of carrying, on these negotiations did the best they could in the interests of the empire. And, if there is to be a reflection on British diplomacy, it ought to come from men who are willing to'back up their opinions with their own serength and their own money, and not from men such as a prominent leader of a great political party who reflects upon the diplomacy, of the British authorities and yet refuses to spend a dollar to protect his own rights.

Now, I dispose of the amendment of the hon. member for Jacques Cartier as being outside the practical politics of the empire. For mv hon. friend (Mr. Monk) has placed himself outside the empire in his discussion of this question. I come now to the amendment proposed by the leader of the opposition 'Mr. R. L. Borden). That amendment contains two principles; First, that we should make a voluntary gift of a sufficient sum to build two Dreadnoughts, and do it immediately on the assumption that there is an immediate emergency; second, that the question of naval defence in Canada should be submitted to the consideration of the people of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the strongest speech that could be made against the amendment of the leader of the opposition to-day would be an accumulation of the expressions of the leader of the opposition and his friends just a year ago. Within the last few days, I have spent several hours reading these speeches, reading them in the light of the amendment which the leader of the opposition has now placed before you, and I propose to give some passages that have not been recited from the speeches of such hon. members as the member toe N< rth Toronto (Mr. Foster), the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden), the hon. member for North Grey (Mr. Middlebro), and my good friend from the city of Victoria (Mr. Barnard)- interested as he is;-and I want to select a few very short passages (for I do not like to read extracts) to show that the arguments of these gentlemen a year ago are the strongest answers that could

be offered to the present policy of the leader of the opposition in this House. If I want to find an argument in favour of a Canadian navy, I must go to the speeches of these hon. gentlemen a year ago,- if I want to find an argument against making a contribution to Great Britain for Dreadnoughts or anything else, I must go to the arguments of these gentlemen a year ago. I take first the'hon. member for North Toronto. As hon. members listened to his words, I ask them to keep in mind the policy^ of the leader of the opposition, and keep in mind also the somersault performed by the hon. member from North Toronto a few days ago in the debate on this Bill-a political somersault that, I admit, was cleverly executed; no member of the party could execute such a ' 'bout-face ' as did my hon. friend. His contention eleven months ago was in favour of a contribution. Speaking of the thing to be considered, he said:

The first is the policy of a fixed annual contribution in money to the British government or the Badtish admiralty. Now, that divides itself, apparently, into "two branches, but it is really the same thing. One man says: Send one million dollars or two million dollars a year; another man says: Send a Dreadnought or two Dreadnoughts, and so tar as Canada is concerned, these two are absolutely one.

The present policy of the leader of the opposition is to send Dreadnoughts, but the member for North Toronto demonstrated that, so far as the principle of the thing is concerned, there is absolutely no difference to Canada.

When we translate one contribution into Dreadnoughts it comes down in the end to money which would be sufficient to build and equip a Dreadnought. And, therefore, I say, they are both parts of the one proposition

Now, I would like the hon. member, and especially _ the hon. gentleman who is to follow me in this debate to remember this:

-an annual fixed contribution of money te the British government for the purpose of national and imperial defence.

If that statement be correct, then this House has to consider not only the proposition of the leader of the opposition for two Dreadnoughts at the present time, but the more serious contingency of a repeated contribution to the British empire which is involved in the principle necessarily and according to the hon. member for North Toronto himself. Let us get back to the foundation of this proposition. If we are not to have the establishment of a Canadian navy, if we are to remain in the empire, if we are to make the contribution this year because we have not the necessary ships within the country to help the British empire, and if, as hon. gentlemen Mr. RALPH SMITH.

say, we are not to have a Canadian navy, is it not logical to say that for all time to come, every time a little cry is raised, every time a possible contingency threatens in Great Britain, hon. members opposite will stand in favour of making direct contributions in cash from this country to the empire? They cannot escape the necessary conclusion. That, Sir, in my opinion, is the very weakness of their position. If the hon. gentleman had said: We. will build a Canadian navy and we will make a contribution, that would have been a different proposition. But the hon. gentleman takes the position: We will not build a navy, but we will send a contribution. Sir, if you never begin to build a navy, you will never have one, and if you never have one, and remain within the empire, then you will for all time have to resort to a direct subscription of money by the people of this country.

The next proposal of the leader of the opposition is to submit the question of the establishment of a Canadian navy to the people. Well, I do not know what I would do under exactly similar circumstances as the hon. gentleman, but in contending for a principle I always try to put myself in the other fellow's place. But so far as I can see, if I had been the leader of the opposition, I would have reversed that proposition, I would have asked the people of Canada if they are willing to send a contribution of 20 or 25 millions to the empire, hut I would assume that I had a mandate from the people to take proper measures to defend their trade and their coasts. As I say, my hon. friend reversed that proposition, and says: We will send away the

money of this country, over which we will have no control, and we will not ask the people for permission to do so.

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CON

Martin Burrell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL.

I would like to ask the hon. member if he considers there is an emergency, and if so, what does he propose to do?

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LIB
L-C
LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Hughes) has stated the literal truth tor once, in favour of a Canadian navy we could not get anything better. What was the position Itaken by the leader of the opposition ten months ago? We know his position now, what was it ten months ago? Let me remind the Minister of Militia that

the leader of Ithe opposition less than twelve months ago conceived the importance of a Canadian navy to be so great that he undervalued the land defences of this country, and then said we should spend half the money we are now spending for militia to formulate a Canadian navy. He laid stress on tbf importance of Canada's oversea trade in comparison with its overland trade, and contended that the argument was preponderatingly in favour of a naval policy as against a land mili'tia. Said the leader of the opposition: Ninety-two per cen>t of the trade of this country passes over the sea, whilst the remaining eight per cent passes over the land. For this land business we subscribe an average of $6,000,000 a year. What would be wrong in taking three or four million dollars from the land defence and subscribing for a strong, magnificent protection of this country? I supported that principle because just a few weeks before I had made some little complaint in this House against the extreme expenditure on the militia from the standpoint that the ministers were contracting the appropriations for public works in the country generally on account of the financial conditions, and that when we were reducing the expenditure for productive public works, we might have seen our way at that particular time for that particular reason to decrease the large expenditure made on the militia for that particular year. When the leader of Jthe opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) put up his argument I agreed with him entirely. I shall read one sentence from the hon. gentleman's speech. He said: _

I venture to submit to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the members of this House, that the expenditure in defence of our seaports, in defence of our coasts, in defence of the waters of the ocean which are immediately adjacent to our coasts is of immensely greater advantage and of immensely greater importance, than the expenditure which, year after year, we are disbursing in connection with the military forces of this country. ... I am entirely of opinion, in the first place, that the proper line upon which we should proceed in that regard is the line of having a Canadian naval force of our own.

I submit that it is a marvellous exhibition to have these words froha "responsible leaders of great national parties. There can be no change in any conditions or circumstances which would correspond to the enormous changes in these opinions. What has happened in ten months tha't Canada should have a navy ten months ago and should not have a navy to-day? Perhaps the scare has been scattered. Perhaps hon. gentlemen think that there is no such thing as an emergency. If a Canadian navy today is not necessary because hon. gentlemen think there is not an emergency, by what line of reasoning can they suppose that there ought to be two Dreadnoughts?

If it is not necessary to build up the protection of this country for the defence of Canada, for the trade of Canada, what particular reason is there that we should send $20,000,000 or $25,000,000 out of this country over which we would have no control?

I submit that there is no reason or logic in the position hon. gentlemen have taken.

Another hon. gentleman, the hon. member for North Grey (Mr. Middlebro) made a very magnificent speech last year and of course he switched around just as quickly as did all the rest of the hon. gentlemen. I wish to read a few words of my hon. friend's speech of a vear ago. I read it just three hours before he delivered his speech this year, and as he addressed the House I was able to compare his speech of this year with his speech of last year, and to observe the wonderfully quick change that he had made. Let me read a few sentences:

We are here to-day to protect the Dominion of Canada, a country that has a population of 7,000,000, a country that is thirty-three times as large as Italy, eighteen times as large as Germany, eighteen times as large as France, nearly as large as the whole of Europe, and slightly larger than the United States. We are here to protect the commerce and the productiveness of the Dominion of Canada. We are here to protect seven thousand miles of coast line on the Pacific coast.

Now I expect the support of my hon. friend in connection with the handsome Bristols that are to be built for Esquimalt in my district.

We are here to protect 7,000 miles of coast line on the Pacific coast.

If that was his position ten months ago, what has happened? May I not confidently expect that he will vote to protect the 7,000 miles of sea coast on the Pacific, and support the government policy when he has an opportunity.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I would be very glad still to support it if the scheme which the government mapped out were in my judgment suitable to do that, but I do not think it is.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

The hon. gentleman who commits himself to a proposition of doing nothing ought not to be a competent judge of the qualities of what ought to be done. My hon. friend has committed himself to a proposition of doing absolutely nothing. If he had said: If you

will build so many Dreadnoughts, if you will build a navy of a certain capacity, if the government will decide to do just what ought to be done in the construction of this navy, I will support them-he might speak, but my hon. friend is not in that position; my hon. friend is in a position of opposing every thing so far as a Cana-

dian navy is concerned, and his explanation now to the House, that he would be glad to support a policy if it came up to his ideas of what ought to be done is not consistent with his expressed intention of voting for something that is absolutely nothing. I do not quite understand why my'hon. friend objects.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I ask my hon. friend if he does not exercise the same right himself with regard to questions coming before this House. If they do not meet with his approval he does not support them?

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH.

Of course I do, but I am trying to point out that an hon. gentleman who says that he does not want a thing is not quite the man to reason as to what the thing ought to be; he is committing himself to contradictory positions. The hon. gentleman has announced that he intends to support the amendment of the leader of the opposition. If he intends to support a policy with regard to what a navy ought to te, why does he tell the country that he does not want a navy at all?

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The hon. gentleman is doing an injustice, because if he read or listened to my speech carefully, he would see that I said that provided a policy was evolved by the government and submitted to the people for their approval, and they approved of it, I would certainly fall in with it.

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February 22, 1910