confidence, that whereas it would take the Germans 30 months to build one of these ships, we could do it in 24. I was not, of course, committing myself precisely to the number of months, but I did maintain that we had a substantial advantage in the rate of construction, which would always enable us to quickly overtake them when the event occurred. I am sorry to say that is not the case. I believed it to be the fact at the time at which I spoke, but there has been such an enormous development in Germany, not only in the provisions of shipyards and slips on which the hulk or fabric of a ship can be built or repaired, but in what is still iflore serious-in the provision for gun mountings and armaments of those great monsters, those Dreadnoughts, which are now the dominating type of ship-such an enormous development-and. I will venture to say this without attempting to excite anything in the nature of unnecessary alarm in this country-such an enormous development as to be so serious a development from our national point of view, that we could no longer take to ourselves, as we could a year ago with reason, the consoling and comforting reflection that we have the advantage in the speed and the rate at which ships can be constructed.
He said also, in the same debate:
I made two assumptions which have turned out, I shall not say to be inaccurate at the time I made them, but which have not been verified by subsequent experience. I admit it to the full. I got my information from the best possible sources, and I am perfectly certain that the admiralty had taken every means in their power to satisfy themselves of the actual facts. What were these two assumptions I made? The first assumption was that the German paper programme was one that might not be realized and certainly would not be exceeded. That has turned out not to be true, because it is undoubtedly the case that during the autumn of last year there was an anticipation with four ships which belonged to the German programme of 1909-10, in the sense that orders were given, materials collected, and it may be in one or two cases, possibly in more, ships were actually laid down. It was in view of that most grave, and to us not only unforseen but unexpected state of things that we had to reconsider our programme of the present year. When we had that state of things brought home to us, it was a great surprise to us, I confess-the falsification of one of the hypotheses on which we had hitherto proceeded. The discovery of that state of things made it necessary to reconsider our programme and to submit a different set of proposals to parliament.
Now, I wish to read a little authority for the benefit of some of our friends on the other side of the House, which they may appreciate even more, perhaps, than that of the statesmen whose views I have just read. I desire to quote a short quotation from the Toronto 'Globe', which my hon. friends opposite will probably accept as a very good authority. The 'Globe' of 24th March, last, said in its leading editorial :
British feeling for Germany until the last few years has ever been friendly and admiring. Germany's feeling for Great Britain, as was manifested during the Boer war, has been jealous and unfriendly. This unfriendliness reached its climax when Britain and Trance recently entered upon a friendly understanding. The policy of Germany since the war of 1870 has been to isolate France in Europe. The friendly relations with her neighbour across the ohannel have been openly and avowedly resented by the Berlin war party.
The German nation has gro-aned for years under the weight of military preparations. Without lightening that burden an ounce, the Kaiser and his advisers have superimposed the burden of creating a groat navy. There is not another nation in Europe which, if in the same position as Great Britain, would allow another nation to prepare an engine for its destruction without asking for explanations and an understanding. There is not another nation in Europe which would impotently stand by and sec an instrument forged for its destruction. They would seize the reptile while it was still weak and strangle it.
But that is not the British way. They have instead endeavoured to keep pace with German activity in augmenting naval power. The contest has become a desperate one. It is a contest between a nation of 65,000,000 and constantly growing, with a nation of 42,000,000, from which its sons swarm across the seas year in and year out. War is deprecated, but, as a matter of fact war is in progress. The contest in sliip-building is war. If the mother country were engaged in a deadly conli'ot, Canadians could not get across the ocean fast enough to the aid of the motherland. The Canadian exchequer would be open to the last dollar in such a cause. But we must recogn-nize that our aid is as much needed now as if a physical war, instead of a war of shipbuilding were on. Germany appreciates that if ever she is to challenge British supremacy and break up the British empire, now is the time.
This is from the Toronto 'Globe', I would ask my hon. friends opposite to remember :
Every year is adding to the might of the British possession, and ten years hence would be too late. The colonies can show by prompt and decisive action that it is already too late. They have it in their power to proclaim to all the world that the empire is one and indissoluble. It will be a stroke for peace, for the moment Germany perceives that the strength and resources of every colony have been cast into the scale, from that moment she will see that she has lost the game. She began her programme too late. It is Canada's duty, from every point of view, our affection for the land of our fathers and our own self-interest to take prompt and praotial action.
I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if the author of that article is one of those whom the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. M. Clark) and the hon. member for Yukon (Mr. Cong-don) so modestly and elegantly referred to ac 'old women of both sexes'. I shal1
have occasion to give my hon. friends opposite some more light from the Toronto 'Globe' before I finish.
Mr. Speaker, as I said a few minutes ago, we have for a hundred and fifty years been living under the protection of the British navy. No one for a moment will dispute that. We propose to live under the protection of the British navy. Even hon. members opposite will admit that they cannot construct anything in the way of a navy, that would protect this Canada of ours, in less than twenty years. They will admit that, during the next twenty years, at least we Canadians are to be protected by the British navy. And we have never contributed one dollar to the construction or maintenance of that navy; we have never promised to contribute one dollar to the construction or maintenance of that navy; we do not propose now, under the Bill before the House, to contribute one dollar for the construction or maintenance of that navy.
Now, the Prime Minister in introducing this. Bill spoke about the position that was taken at the imperial conference of 1902.
The Postmaster General was good enough to put upon ' Hansard ' the whole of the material part of that memorandum of 1902. The Prime Minister said, at page 3032:
This was in 1902, nearly eight years ago, and for eight years this policy of the present government has been ' before the country. From this policy the present government has never deviated. This policy we affirmed again at the imperial conference pf 1907.
Now, Mr. Speaker, let us look, for a moment and see whether these statements are true. We will examine the memorandum of the Imperial Conference of 1902, we will examine the memorandum of the British Conference in 1907, to see whether these statements are true. The Postmaster General was kind enough to place upon ' Hansard ', at page 3114, the material parts of the memorandum of the Imperial Conference of 1902. The substance of it is this:
At present Canadian expenditures for defence services are confined to the military side. The Canadian government are prepared to consider the naval system of defence as well. They are willing-
Now notice the condescending generosity in this proposition:
-they are willing that these expenditures should he so directed as to relieve the taxpayer of the mother country from some of the burdens which she now bears.
Wasn't that generous? What is the proposition? The proposition was that:
We are prepared to consider a naval system of defence as well.
We are prepared to consider it. Five
years afterwards there was another imperial conference, in the year 1907. I do not remember whether the Postmaster General was a member of the government during those five years, or any part of the period from 1902 to 1907; but if he was, I am asking him if the government, during those five years, considered this proposition that in 1902 they declared they were prepared to consider. Now there is nothing in that memorandum of 1902 promising to do anything more than to consider the question, that is the whole thing. Did they consider it during those five years? I do not know whether they did or not. If the Prime Minister was here I would ask him. The Minister of Finance is here, perhaps he knows whether the Cabinet, during those five years between 1902 and 1907, considered a naval system of defence as well. He does not answer.
Subtopic: NAVY ESTIMATES.