March 7, 1910

LIB

Joseph Pierre Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH TURCOTTE (Quebec County).

(Translation). Mr. Speaker, I do not rise to participate at any length in the debate that is now in progress and I intend to be as clear and methodical as possible in the few remarks I have to make. When the time comes, after the speeches have been delivered, to read the resolutions or the motions which are before the House, you will first take up, Sir, the resolution brought down by the government and than the amendments moved by the two factions which sit at the left. This will bring us back to the sitting of February 3rd last, over a month ago. You will then read No. 43 of the Votes and Proceedings, -which contains the following r

Sir Wilfrid Laurier moved, That the Bill No. 95, An Act respecting the Naval Service of Canada, be now read the second time.

Mr. Boxxlen moved in amendment thereto, That all the words after the word ' That ' be left out, and the following substituted therefor ' the proposals of the government do

not follow the suggestions and recommendations of the admiralty and in so far as they empower the government to withhold the naval forces of Canada from of the empire in time of war are ill-advised and dangerous.

' That no such proposals can safely be accepted unless they thoroughly ensure unity of organization and of action without which there can be no effective co-operation in any common scheme of empire defence.

' That the said proposals while necessitating heavy outlay for construction and maintenance will give no immediate or effective add to the empire, and no adequate or satisfactory results to Canada.

r That no permanent policy should be entered upon involving large future expenditure of this character until it has been submitted to the people and has received their approval.

' That in the meantime the immediate duty of Canada and the impending necessities of the empire can best be discharged and met by placing without delay at the disposal of the imperial authorities as a free and loyal contribution from the people of Canada such an amount as may be sufficient to purchase or construct two battleships or armoured cruisers of the latest Dreadnought type, giving to the admiralty full discretion to expend the said sum .at such time and for such purposes of naval defence as in their judgment may best serve to increase the united strength of the empire and thus assure its peace and security.'

And a Debate arising thereon;

Mr. Monk moved in amendment to the proposed amendment, That all the words after the word ' That ' be struck out and the following substituted thterefor: ' this House,

while declaring its unalterable devotion to the British Crown, is of opinion that the Bill now submitted for its considerbtilon, changes the relations of Canada with the empire, and ought, in consequence, _ to be submitted to the Canadian people, in order to obtain at one the Nation s opinion by means of a plebiscite.'

And tbe Debate continuing;

As will be seen, there is first the main motion in connection with the second reading of the Bill and then the two amendments. As under the parliamentary rule, the vote has to be first taken on the amendment to the amendments, I am going to consider it first.

The hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) says in his amendment that the Bill now under consideration changes the relations of Canada with the empire and that is the reason why he is of the opinion flint the question ought to be submitted to the people.

Sir, there is in that phraseology something incomprehensible. It is stated that this Bill changes the relations of Canada with the empire. What is the empire referred to bv my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier, and how could you submit in such a shape to the Canadian people a question so imperfectly yporded? Canada is part of the empire and how could the

provision is found in section 37 of the old Act.

Secton 8 provides for the appointment of a naval board. This is a new provision.

Section 9 is similar to clause 28 of the Act of 1886, and provides for the appointment of a permanent naval force.

Section 10 is a reproduction of clause 22. Section 11, concerning the ,rank and authority of officers of the naval force is similar to clauses 48 and 49 of the old Act.

Section 12 relates to the commissions of officers. It is similar to article 42.

Section 13 refers to relief from duty and retirement from the naval force. It is clause_ 15 of the old Act.

Section 14 relates to conditions of discharge from the service at the expiration ol the time of service. Similar provisions are to be found in clauses 79 and 80.

Sections 15 and 16 deal with the uniforms and equipment of officers of the naval service. This section is similar to clauses 51 and 52 of the old Act.

Section 17 is a reproduction of clause 78, *while section 18 is similar to clause 79 of the old Act.

In connection with this section 78, which provides that in case of an emergency, the Governor in Council may place at the disposal of His Majesty for general service m the Royal Navy, the naval service or any part thereof, it is proper to remark that the new section restricts and lessens the obligations and responsibilities which devolved on Canada under the old Act.

Although under the Militia Act of 1904 the land militia is not to be called out to serve beyond Canada, section 70, which is now the law in force, enacts that the Governor General may place the militia on active service anywhere in Canada and also beyond Canada, at any time when it appears advisable so to do by reason of emergency, in case of war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended, and the militiamen called out for active service are required to serve at least during a period of one year. Doubtless the present law, in empowering the Governor in Council to place at the disposal of His Majesty the naval forces or any part thereof, improves considerably the nature of our obligations; for, according to the theory developed by my hon. friend from Quebec Centre (Mr. Lachance), who has thoroughly mastered this question, the Act of 1886 clearly gives to the King, without the participation of the Canadian ministers, the right of directly, commanding the Governor "General his representative, to place the navy at the disposal of the admiralty, while the proposed Act requires the intervention of the Governor in Council and the ratification of parliament. Such is the essential difference between the old Act and the proposed legislation. Therefore, there is no change in the relations between Canada and the Mr. TURCOTTE.

mother country, or rather I should say that the proposed legislation constitutes a material improvement.

Section 19 is new. It provides that if parliament is not in session, a proclamation shall issue for the meeting of parliament -within the fifteen days following the action taken by the1 Governor in Council, should he, in case of an emergency, place the Canadian fleet at the disposal of the admiralty.

The other night, as the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) was not in his seat, I asked the hon. member for l'lslet (Mr. Paquet) what he meant to do, should the people be called upon to express their opinion by a plebiscite, approve of the proposed legislation including section 18. He told me, not without some hesitation, that he would consult his conscience and that if he couhj not make up his mind to vote in favour of this Act, he would bid adieu to public life.

I may here remark that the very same gentlemen who in this House and outside of it, advocate a plebiscite, have already decided, as shown by their statements and their acts, to undertake a campaign in the rural centres in order to inflame public prejudices and induce the electors to vote against this legislation. They are acting very unfairly and they remind me of those misers who, when you ask them to contribute to some good work, plead as an excuse that they have nothing to do with such work and then they refer you to their wives. But before the solicitor has had time to see the wife of the miser, he has already directed her to give nothing. Such is the rather mean position taken by the advocates of a plebiscite. They only aim at embarrassing the government, in order to climb into power.

Sections 20, 21 and 22 of this Bill, concerning the naval reserve, are an exact copy of clauses 12, 116, and 80 of the old Act.

Section 23 is a modification of clause 69. [DOT]

As to section 24, it is declaratory, in so far as it enacts a principle of common law, namely, that the King is the owner of everything that is appropriated to the use of the navy.

Sections 25, which provides for the notice of all general orders issued to the naval forces in a copy of clauses 119 and 120. Section 26 is textually clause 121.

Section 27 gives the* Governor General the discretionary power to transfer to and from the naval service, any vessel belonging to His Majesty. The old Act contained no similar provision, as there were no fighting ships.

The provision of section 28 is taken from the Revised Statutes of Canada of 1906, chapter 111, which was itself borrowed

from chapter 71 of the Revised Statutes of 1886.

Sections 29 and 30 provide for the creation of a naval volunteer force. It is a condensation of sections 12, 26, 27 and 30 of the Act of 1886, with this improvement, that enrolment or drafting by ballot, that scarecrow of Canadian families, is done away with.

Section 31 enacts that the Governor General may make regulations. It is a copy of clauses 116 and 117.

Section 32 which is a condensation of clauses 13 and 14 of the Act of 1886, provides for the engagement and discharge of naval volunteers.

Section 33 contains a provision analagous to the provisions of clauses 56, 60 and 81. This section 60 of the Act of 1886 calls for special consideration. It reads as follows:

Her Majesty may order officers aiid men of the naval militia, or of any detachment of such militia, to drill or train for a period of not more than sixteen days and not less than eight days in each year.

That is proof conclusive that the fathers of confederation, since that clause is found in the Militia Act of 1868, had already in contemplation the organization of a naval department for military purposes.

Section 34 is a reproduction of clause 79 in its first part, and a copy of clauses 80 and 81 for the second part. It refers to active service in the case of an emergency.

Section 35 should be read in conjunction with clause 13 of this Act. By comparing both clauses, one finds that the Governor in Council, under section 13, may at any time relieve from duty any officer or seaman, and that under section 35, the minister is given a similar power. It may be supposed that, under certain circumstances, it w'ould be desirable that the minister should exercise that right, in a case of emergency.

Sections 36, 37, 38 and 39 are new enactments. They are printed in italics and show that the government is anxious to reward the brave servants of the state, the maimed soldiers, the old seamen, the invalids who are entitled to the protection of the state which they have faithfully served. I do not suppose that our hon. friends opposite would feel like insisting on a plebiscite before voting such pensions.

Sections 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44 provide for the establishment of a naval college, with similar provisions to those governing the military college of Kingston.

Sections 45, 46 and 47 are almost an exact copy of clauses 116, 117 and 126.

Sections 48 enacts that the provisions of the Acts of the United Kingdom shall apply. Its wording is similar to that of section 82 of the Act of 1806.

Section 49 enacts certain penalties for [DOT]desertion. It is the old article 109.

Sections 50, 51 and 52 provide for the execution of warrants and sentences and for the incarceration of prisoners sentenced to imprisonment in the common jail, in the penitentiary or any other prison or place of confinement, as the case may be.

Finally, section 53, which is the last, repeats chapter 41 of the Revised Statutes of 1886. _ .

Such is the analysis which I deemed it my duty to undertake, to show that there is nothing new in this Bill 95 which is but copy, with slight changes, of the Militia Act now in force; whence I infer that the statement made by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier that this Act aimed at changing the relations of Canada with the empire is not grounded on facts and exists only in his imagination.

But this Act, we are told, you_ are not going to be content with placing it on the statute-book; you are going to enforce it by creating a navy. True, we are going to create that navy, in spite of the criticisms of the hon. gentlemen opposite. But let us see what is to be the immediate effect of that lgislation. If I look at the estimates for 1910-1911, what do I see as the outcome of this legislation? I find that we are invited to vote a sum of $3,000,000 for the naval service, including the purchase, construction and maintenance and upkeep of dockyards at Esquimault and Halifax and the establishment and maintenance of training schools.

Granting that the proposed legislation which hon. gentlemen wish to submit to the electorate entails this immediate consequence provided for in the estimates a vote of $3,000,000 for the naval service, I confess that I do not understand the objections raised by those who oppose the Bill. 1 should like to know where is the man of common sense who could pretend that this legislation, even with the consequence I have just pointed out is going to modify the relations of Canada with England? I do not think that any man endowed with an average intelligence would find that even the practical enforcement of this Bill could warrant such a statement as the one 1 have just referred to, namely, that our relations with the mother country would undergo a change.

I have shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that those three million dollars could be voted and spent for the same purposes, even should we not pass this legislation. All we should have to do would be to invoke the provisions of the Revised Statutes of 1886, chapter 41, which is the law in force. Both Acts produce the same effects; the Act in force and the proposed legislation are identical as to the power conferred. -

Hon. gentlemen opposite are no doubt going to sa" that they do not oppose the

passing of this Bill, seeing that it is. with a few slight changes, similar to the Militia Act, but that they are opposed to voting these estimates. Well, my answer is: that ' Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.' Wait till the estimates are voted and then you mav urge objections as you see fit, and so each question will be settled in the proper time.

They will urge all the same, that the people is entitled to have a voice in the matter, although we have the power to pass this Bill and these estimates. In my opinion, Sir, we should not at this moment, hold such popular consultation as suggested. It is neither our right nor our duty, as representatives of the people who are here, not as holders of an imperative mandate, but of a general mandate.

I say that we have neither the right nor the duty to try to elude, so to say, our responsibility and our oath of office and to saddle with such responsibility the electors of this country who are not in a position to investigate those questions. If, as representatives of the people, we have not the power to legislate, even wnen we are satisfied that we are acting in the interest of the people, then I say that, in many circumstances, we should have to abdicate our rights and privileges and what is the very essence of constitutional government, and all that, in the sole view of creating an agitation in the popular mind.

In this connection, I may say that other important issues have come under discussion in the past, but the most considerable debate was the one that took place, at the time of confederation. If I trace this question back to its origin, in 1865, I am but quoting a page of history well worth reading and which affords as good food for thought as the one we are now writing. To-day, we have the honour and the privilege of being called upon to solve a question of vital imDortance, which was already foreshadowed at the time of confederation.

_ When they met together in view of bringing about the federation of the province, the fathers of confederation aimed at re-miting those scattered provinces, so as to create a common entity and a great empire, a powerful nation on this American continent; they foresaw that such an agglomeration under one government, would result in developing the wealth and -all the resources of the country, in increasing the nucleous of population and in making the people contented, happy and respected not only in America but in the whole world.

It was on the 3rd February, 1865-and there is here a coincidence of dates, since this debate was opened on the 3rd of February-that the debate on confederation began. Consulting the ' Debates on Confederation ' I find that Sir Ettiene Pascal, Tache, who was then prime minister, pro-

Topic:   EDITION'.
Permalink
LIB

Gustave Adolphe Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. TCRCOTTE.

tiong do not follow the suggestions of the admiralty, contains an unwarrantable error in point of fact on tihe part of a jurisconsult like the hon. gentleman. And he continues :

The proposals of the government do not follow the suggestions and recommendations of the admiralty, and so far as they empower the government to withhold the naval forces of Canada from those of the empire, in time of war are ill-advised and dangerous.

I have to say right here that this is a false statement of facts, the more so as the proposition made by the government tallies with what I read at page 38 of the report of the proceedings of the imperial conferences.

Let us read the statement made in the sub-report of the conference on lmncary defence: -

The representatives of the self-governing Dominions at the Imperial Defence Conference having signified their general concurrence in the proposition-' That each part of the empire is willing to make its preparations on such lines as will enable it, should it so desire, to take its share in the general defence of the empire.'

It is expressly said, granted and agreed to by all the interested parties, by the representatives of the various sister nations that_ participation in the wars of the empire is to take place only in so far as each party should so desire. Therefore, the participation of each colony and particularly that of Canada, will be determined and defined by the competent authorities, by parliament, prior to such participation.

In view of those facts, how can the leader of the opposition assert that this Bill empowers the government to withhold the naval forces of Canada from those of the empire in time of war.

The third paragraph of the amendment moved by the leader of the opposition reads as follows:

That no such proposals can safely be accepted, unless they thoroughly ensure unity of organization and of action, without which there can be no effective co-operation in any common scheme of empire defence.

Well, I think that the resolution of the 29th of March last fully answers that objection when it states that parliament cordially approves of any expenditure designed to promote the speedy organization of a Canadian naval service in co-operation with the imperial navy, whenever the need arises.

Paragraph 4 reads:

That the said proposals, while necessitating heavy outlay for construction and maintenance, will give no immediate or effective aid to the empire and no adequate or satisfactory results to Canada.

Topic:   EDITION'.
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Pierre Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. TURCOTTE.

Such is the opinion of the leader of the opposition, but the admiralty is. of a different mind and I think the people of this country will share the latter opinion.

Paragraph 5 reads:

That no permanent policy should be entered upon, involving large future expenditures of this character, until it has been submitted to the people and has received their approval.

The leader of the opposition also favours an appeal to the people, but not on the same grounds as advanced by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier and his small group of* followers. These gentlemen clamour for a plebiscite, in the hope of smothering this Bill and preventing the passing of any legislation concerning the navy. The leader of the opposition is also trying to kill the Bill, but with another object in view, he aims at coming into power, in order to saddle the people with much heavier expenditure. That is what he says in paragraph 6, which reads: .

That, in the meantime, the immediate duty of Canada and the impending necessities of the empire can best be discharged and met by placing without delay at the disposal of the imperial authorities, as a free and loyal contribution from the people of Canada, such an amount as may be sufficient to purchase or construct two battleships or armoured cruisers of the latest Dreadnought type, giving to the admiralty full discretion to expend the said sum at such time and for such purpose of naval defence as, in their judgment, may best serve to increase the united strength of the empire and thus assure its peace and security.

_ That is what we should have, Sir, were the leader of the opposition to change sides -which is altogether impossible-and sit at your right, Mr. Speaker, in order to shape the future policy of the Canadian government concerning the creation of a naval service.

I have now to point out a somewhat extraordinary statement in the first part of his amendment. He says that the proposals of the government do not tally with the suggestions of the admiralty. It would be quite easy to retort the argument and say that his offer of two Dreadnoughts is absolutely at variance with the suggestions of the admiralty. In fact, the following statement is found at page 24 of the report of the imperial conference:

The fleet unit to be aimed at should, therefore, in the opinion of the admiralty, consist at least of the following:-

1 armoured cruiser (new 'Indomitable ' class, which is of the ' Dreadnought ' type.)

3 unarmoured cruisers (' Bristol ' class.)

6 destroyers.

3 submarines.

With the necessary auxiliaries, such as depot and store ships, &c., which are not here specified.

The admiralty wants an armoured cruiser and the leader of the opposition offers two

Dreadnoughts. Why should he try to substitute his opinion to the wisdom and experience of the British admiralty?

The hon. member for Ste. Anne's, Montreal (Mr. Doherty), after having carefully weighed and computed everything, told us that the cost of two Dreadnoughts would not exced $20,000,000. Now, $20,000,000, that's a pretty round sum of money, and before voting such a sum methinks we should first consult the people. That money is not going to come out of the pocket of the leader of the opposition, but out of the people's pocket. It is the ratepayer who would have to pay those $20,000,000, an expenditure by no means extraordinary, in the opinion of the leader of the oposition, but which will prove absolutely useless, as it is expressly stated in his resolution that the admiralty is given full discretion to spend the said sum as they think best, and without consulting us, even without defending our territory. For, supposing that such an emergency should arise in England and in Canada, and that our two Dreadnoughts should be in English waters, do you believe that the admiralty would detach a squadron to come to our rescue.

All this, in my opinion, is altogether irrational and illegal. There is in the position taken by the leader of the opposition and by his assistant leader, a concatenation of contradictions and of absolutely illogical statements which one is astonished to find simultaneously in the speeches of a jurist and those of a professor of constitutional law in one of our great universities.

I think we had better abide by what we have now, namely, the proposition moved by the leader of the government. As circumstances would have it, the Minister of Marine was denied that honour and the leader of the government was called upon [DOT]to introduce this Bill. Now, the Prime Minister has the assistance of the Finance Minister, who, for the last fifteen years, has held that important portfolio which he has always found well filled with money to supply the needs of the country. Do you believe that previously to submitting this Bill to the House, there have not been held many contradictory meetings of the cabinet and that the Prime Minister did not ask the Finance Minister how we were going to meet those responsibilities? We have the guaranty that the new liabilities will be met without a single cent being added to our public debt and without our taxation being increased. The experience of the last fifteen years shows that the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, as well as their colleagues in the cabinet, made no mistake in tlhe past. In my opinion, that is a guaranty for the future, and we who represent here the people, relying upon the experience of those fifteen

years, may loyally and honestly discharge our mandate in the interest of the people and of the greatest good of the country.

Topic:   EDITION'.
Permalink
CON

David Marshall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DAVID MARSHALL (East Elgin).

Mr. Speaker, two questions in this discussion are being confused. The question of beginning the foundation of a Canadian navy, and the question of rendering immediate and effective aid to Great Britain are not the same. It is with the latter that we are called upon at this juncture to deal. The government declares its readiness to assist the mother country, but the proposal contained in the Bill outlined by the right hon. the First Minister provides for the creation of a war instrument which cannot be made effective for many years to come, until the present emergency has been met by Great Britain, and its consequence to Canada as part of the empire already determined. This is not a question which should be decided one way or another for party political profit. The. question is a simple one, a question of determining what is our clear duty to the empire and of our readiness to do that duty. We must look first of all to the question: Is there an emergency? That question has been answered. I am within the mark in saying that were it not that a crisis was known to be impending the government of Canada would not have considered itself compelled to take even such meagre action as is contemplated in this Bill. The right hon. Prime Minister has given good evidence that he appreciates the futility of this navy scheme as an instrument of immediate and effective aid. That proof is to be found in a speech made to his own political followers only a short time ago in the city of Toronto, in which to make this project if possible more acceptable, he declared his conviction that no such thing as a German peril existed.

Is there in the great German preparations now being carried on, a menace to the naval supremacy of Great Britain. We are told that within two years Germany as a sea power may have caught up to Great Britain or surpassed her. The London ' Times ' a few days ago declared that if the present way of construction resulted in a German triumph, no blood need be shed, that Germany would simply impose her will upon Great Britain as she has done it upon various European countries within the past decade. German preparations are unquestionably directed against Great Britain. We cannot read the preamble of the German Naval Bill of 1900 without reaching that conclusion. It says:

Germany must possess a battle fleet so strong that a war with her would, even for the greatest naval power, be accompanied with such dangers as would render that power's position doubtful.

The ' greatest naval power ' is Great Britain, the British empire, of which Canada is a part.

Why did the British admiralty's whole plan of defence change a few years ago? Why were the most powerful of her fleets concentrated in home waters? What compelled the withdrawal of the British fleet from the Pacific? It was not because no fleet was needed there. The British admiralty to-day is anxious to see a fleet upon the Pacific flying the British flag. Why then were these ships withdrawn? The an-_ swer is already history. They were placed in waters adjacent to Great Britain to guard the shores jof England from a threatened descent by a hostile European army, a German army. The statement that we cannot have a navy in commission for many years to come even if we start to-morrow, i3 one that cannot be attacked. We have not the yards in which to build the ships, nor the men to build them. Moreover when you have built your ships you have only begun the work. The task of arming them is still before you, and this cannot be done in Canada. The creation of a navy, however small, involves years of building and years of training, and an outlay of which no man can see the end. We are told that the fleet will cost eleven millions. We were told that the Grand Trunk Pacific would cost thirteen millions, and it has already passed the hundred million mark. We may take it then that the creation of a Canadian navy is not intended as an aid to the mother country in a crisis present or immediate. I say then that this navy scheme stands by itself and must be decided without regard to the question of immediate peril to the empire, with which question it Iras nothing to do. There is no hurry then, about it. That being so, I believe that no ' action should now be taken in regard to it, but that it should be submitted to the people of Canada to be decided by them.

What, in view of these things, is the best for Canada to do? The duty of Canada, I take it is to render such aid to the mother country as will meet t.he demands of naval strategy, because upon this the safety of the empire and the supremacy of Great Britain at sea must depend. What that aid should be is set out within the' four corners of a short paragraph in the memorandum of the First Lord of the admiralty, submitted to the naval and military defence conference in August of last year. That paragraph reads:

If the problem of imperial naval defence wore considered merely as a problem of naval strategy, it would be found that the greatest output of strength for a given expenditure is obtained by the maintenance of a single navy, with the unity of training and unity of command. In furtherance, then, of the simple strategical ideal, the maximum of Mr. MARSHALL..

power would be gained if all parts of the empire contributed, according to their needs and resources, to the maintenance of the British navy.

The principle is laid down by a man whose business it is to know. If that is generally a sound principle, it is equally sound as applied to the emergency which undoubtedly exists. It is ' the maximum of power ' upon which the safety of the empire depends, and that ' maximum of power ' would be best obtained, so far as the Dominion of Canada is concerned, by a cash contribution for immediate use in augmenting the strength of the British navy. This is the new view taken. I believe, by a majority of the people of Canada. It is the view held by a great majority of the people of the constituency which I represent.

I may say, Mr. Speaker, that I mailed to every voter in East Elgin, a circular letter inclosing a slip covering three questions, asking the electors to indicate their views by answering these questions. Between five and six thousand was the number of these sent out, and I had replies from about 75 per cent. I would like to give the House an idea of the result of this work.

In answer to the first question, which was:

Are you in favour of the establishment of a Canadian navy, to be under the control of the government at Ottawa?

To this question 269, or six and one half per cent, of the replies were in favour of a Canadian navy; 3,836. or ninety-three percent, were strongly opposed to it, and twenty, or one half per cent, were quite different.

The second question was:

Are you in favour, as a Canadian, of taking any part in the naval defence of Canada and the empire?

To this question 430 answered they were not in favour of taking any part in the defence of Canada or the empire, while 3,570 were willing to do their share.

The third question was:

Do you believe that the time has come when Canada, should, in answer to the call of the motherland, and in answer to the threats of the enemies of the British empire, perform her share toward ensuring the continuance of British naval supremacy, by the direct contribution of a Dreadnought or its equivalent in money?

The result of this is that: 430 were not willing to take any part; six and one half per cent or 269 were in favour of a Canadian navy; one per cent or 41 were in favour of a Dreadnought being contributed; one and one half or 61 per cent "were indifferent as to what means were adopted, though they were opposed to a navy being

established; 91 per cent or 3,754 were in favour of a money contribution.

These replies come from a people who are in a position to give voice to sensible ideas, for with the present improved rural mail facilities, they are in receipt of the daily papers and the vast majority of them keep in touch with the doings of the outside world, and know as much of what is going on as do people residing in our large cities, and in that way, they are quite capable of judging and giving opinions on matters of this kind.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would consider this a fair criterion of the sentiment of the Canadian people. Judging from the results which I have laid before you, it is my opinion that were the entire electorate of Canada called upon to answer questions similar to the above, the result would be very much the same, and, therefore, I am strongly of the opinion that a national question of such wide importance, involving as it does such large expenditure of money, should, before being undertaken by the government, be submitted to the people and, therefore, I will support the resolution moved by the hon. leader of the opposition.

Topic:   EDITION'.
Permalink
LIB

John Patrick Molloy

Liberal

Mr. J. P. MOLLOY (Provencher).

Mr. Speaker, I have no hope that I shall be able to add anything new to what has been said in this debate, which is now worn threadbare. I might remark that it appears to me strange that on a subject so well threshed out, some hon. members should see fit to speak for two hours, three hours, and three and a half hours, covering ground which has already been well covered, adding nothing to the'debate but adding something to the expense of the country. In view of what has occurred here, I believe that whenever the question of the amendment of the rules may come before us, I will vote for closure; I will vote for what may be called the gag; I believe I would vote for a chloroform chamber for some of the hon. members of this House. One reason why I speak at all is that it appears to be fashionable, but whether that be so or not, I believe that every hon. member has a right to speak his thoughts briefly on this question. I would not for a moment advocate that hon. members should not be at liberty to express their opinions on every subject that comes before the House, but I believe that something should be done in some way to shorten the debates, even on such momentous a question as that which we are now considering. As a Manitoba man I desire to say a few words on this question also, because when the local government will have time to act on the Bill sent to them by this government about a year ago, and the boundaries of the provincce are extended, Manitoba will become a maritime province; and then it will have more interest 156

in the question of a Canadian navy than it can have, so long as it remains an inland province, for it will be on the line of a new and shorter route to the motherland.

Another reason why I speak on this question is that we have in the province of Manitoba the greatest naval experts to be found on the continent of America, at least in their own opinion. They care nothing for the opinions of the British government, the admiralty, Lord Charles Beresford, or any of the other British naval authorities. A year ago they put forth their policy, which was simply a policy of direct contribution. This is as near as I can see the policy of hon. gentlemen opposite; and I compliment my province on having in the Conservative party men strong enough to practically force their policy on the opposition in this House. At the same time, in putting forward their policy, they have taken every opportunity, in the belief that they were making it stronger, to attack the loyalty of the leader of this government and the loyalty of everybody who sees fit to support a policy different from theirs.

On the whole, Mr. Speaker, the issue between gentlemen on this side of the House and the bulk of the gentlemen on the other side of the House is one merely of terms. I am willing to give credit to those on the other side who honestly believe that the policy of a contribution would better answer the situation, so far as Great Britain is concerned at the present time, than the policy of a Canadian navy. I am always willing to give to those who honestly believe, even if they are wrong, credit for the opinions that they hold. I am also aware that there is in the ranks of the party opposite a third party, or a. separate party; I refer to the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk), and those who support him; and I wish to say this for the hon. member for Jacques Cartier, that, judging by some of the press reports, he, as well as the leader of the government, and the members of his cabinet, and his followers, have been charged with disloyalty. I hold that the hon. member for Jacques Cartier is just as much within his rights, and is just as loyal in expressing his opinion, whatever that may be, so long as he believes that he is putting forth a policy in the best interests of Canada, as any other member of this House. Therefore, I for one, will never charge the hon member for Jacques Cartier with disloyalty.

On this question the Canadian people are handicapped through lack of experience.- We have never been called upon to have anything to do -with a navy, in spite of our enormous sea-board, bounded as we are by the ocean on three sides. The only experience Canadians have had with a navy has been in the war of 1812, and

that was so long ago, and was fought so entirely by British ships that from that we gained nothing in the way of experience -only this, that from that time the American people and the Canadian people have been at peace, and I believe that it is the hope of the whole Anglo-Saxon race that they shall for ever remain at peace. There are some who say that we are building a tin-pot navy for the purpose of fighting the United States; but I believe that nobody expects that that will ever iiappen, while the people of both countries hope that we shall never settle by force any differences between the two branches of the Anglo-Saxon race.

It is not necessary for me to deal with the origin of the so-called German scare. About a year ago the premier of England made the announcement that Germany was outstripping Great Britain in building battleships. That was before the British elections. I do not charge that-that statement was made for the purpose of influencing the elections. But since that time the British elections have been held, and the same man and his party have been returned to power. The same peril that faced England then is facing her now, but we do not hear anything since the election in regard to the German scare. In fact, one would judge by the reports that the scare has completely disappeared. Allow me to quote in this connection the following despatch:

Berlin, March 6.-Chancellor Von Bethmann-Hollweg made a strikingly pacific speech on international relations, during the course of a debate on the naval estimates in the Reichstag yesterday. Replying to the arguments of Herr Sudekums, the Socialist member, that Germany's great fleet was not called for by commerce or the colonies, and that Great Britain was justified in the belief that it was directed against her, the chancellor spoke shortly, but vigorously, saying:-

Our relations with Great Britain lie clear and open before everybody's eyes. It is not necessary to repeat that our fleet is not for aggressive purposes, but for the protection of our coasts and commerce. The limits of our naval programme are known to every one, with the dates for the completion of our ships. Nothing is secret about the programme and nothing is done in such a way as to arouse suspicion or belief that a threat is intended against anybody.

Finally, it is our wish to cultivate unprejudiced, straightforward and friendly relations with Great Britain. (Cries of hear, hear.) I do not see why the existing friendly relations should be disturbed between Germany and Great Britain, with whom we are so closely connected, both economically and in culture. No nation on earth can divert or suppress free competition of other nations. We must all proceed on the same lines as an honest merchant, and on this foundation I am convinced that the relation of confidence existing between Germany and Great Britain will develop favourably, and that public Mr. MOLLOT.

opinion of both countries will be influenced in the same way.

Hon. gentlemen opposite say there is an emergency. Perhaps they may say it for political reasons, in their desire to force their policy upon this government. We on this side have just as much right to say there is not an emergency. It is now a year since we first heard of it, and we are no nearer to a crisis to-day than we were then. For my part I do not believe that an emergency exists, and if it did, Great Britain would be as well able now as she has been in the past to take can* of herself and defend her sea-board against all comers.

With regard to the question of control, I wish to quote the London ' Times,' a good Conservative paper, and surely hon. gentlemen opposite will not charge it with disloyalty. The London ' Times ' says the Canadian government is taking the proper course in keeping control of the Canadian navy, and adds:

In principle the proposition is indisputable. It applies to all and every form of co-operation of contribution towards imperial defence.

Now, allow me to quote Mr. Balfour, the leader of the Unionist party in the British House of Commons. In speaking last year, before the Imperial Press Conference, he said:

I think it was one of the speakers from Canada yesterday who said in my hearing that there was a certain jealousy existing- I am not sure I have got the exact words- a certain jealous anxiety amongst sections of the population in Canada lest there should be any attempt on the part of this country to accept any organization which would interfere with the complete control by Canada of everything that Canada desires to do. Well, in the earlier days of the colonial empire that fear might have been justifiable. There was a time when the relations between this country and the offshoots of this country were like the relations between parent and child. But let every man who hears me, who comes from any colony, understand that no politician of any party in this country holds that view any longer. (Cheers.) On that let there be neither doubt nor hesitation. Everybody recognizes, so far as I know, that the parental stage is over. We have now reached the stage of formal equality, and nobody desires to disturb it.

What did Mr. Haldane say on the same matter:

If the empire is to become one it will not be by the imposition of any outside will or of any one part of the empire; it will be with the evolution of the will of the empire as a whole under these unwritten constitutions which represent one and the same spirit, which took their origin in the mother country, but which mean absolute freedom for every constituent part of the empire.

Mr. Balfour spoke of the difficulties of the old war-office notion of controlling the forces

of the Crown overseas, of the self-governing dominions. I agree with him that that is an absolutely impossible enterprise, although one quite sees the reason why from the military point of view it was desirable.

This policy was the policy of the opposition as well as of the Liberal party. From the opposition we first heard it argued that Canada should in some way assist the empire, from the resolution passed unan-j imously in this House last year it is evident that the intention was to establish a Canadian navy. It is well for the opposition that this is their policy, for 15 or 20 years from now, when these gentlemen will be entrusted for a time with administration of the affairs of Canada, this policy will have been initiated and developed by this government and yet these gentlemen, having supported that policy in the first place, will be able to carry it out without-prejudice, justly, and in the interests of Canada and to the credit -of their party.

I view this policy from two standpoints, from an imperial standpoint and a Canadian standpoint. It must be a good policy from the imperial point of view because it has the support of all parties in Great Britain. There are grave practical difficulties in the way of giving Dreadnoughts. For instance, we are told to-day that Britain experiences great difficulty in manning the ships she is building, that there is a shortage of experienced A.B.'s. Therefore if we should accept the policy of the opposition, the policy -of money -contribution, and should send that money to England, could she to-day build and man those Dreadnoughts? I rather think not. We know that the British shipyards are now working overtime and no matter how many ships you might order or contribute to the main battle fleet -of Great Britain, they would be of little assistance to the imperial navy if they could not be properly manned. Therefore the manning question itself is of great importance in considering this matter. Each Dreadnought takes from 800 to 1,000 men, who are taken in as youths and trained up. In that way the British seamen have become the most proficient in the world to-day.

Again, the British navy must be at all times strong enough to seek out the enemy in his own harbours or waters and crush him by sheer weight and strength. To do that it is well that the main battle fleet should he as strong as possible, and that is a problem that has never - been solved by the British admiralty. In other words, the main battle fleet has always been short of cruisers that would guard the trade, routes. The immense strain, the financial burden of keeping up the main battle fleet, and the demands of the moment has always caused the fleet to be short of cruisers or river craft to protect the trade routes and 156i

commerce of Great Britain. Therefore by the establishment of a Canadian navy, the interests of Canadians in time of war in place of being protected by ships from the British navy, we will in time have ships to protect our own trade routes and our commerce in our own waters without in the least weakening the main battle fleet of Great Britain. From the Canadian point of view the mere giving of a sum of money, $20,000,000 or $25,000,000 and that borrowed money, would not be relieving the Canadian people of their responsibility to the empire. Would it not be the vain-glorious, the easy, the selfish way of doing our part as Canadians towards the defence of the British empire? Would it not be only a temporary gift, the gift of a Dreadnought, no matter what it cost, because the life of a Dreadnought is only a certain number of years, 12 or 15, and then the Canadian part of the British navy would -disappear. What is to be done then? As far as I have followed, no member of the opposition has answered the question of the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. M. Lake). How many Dreadnoughts are you going to give, how often are you going to give them? On the other hand, will any man argue that the giving of two Dreadnoughts, if we are going to take part in the building up and strengthening of the British navy, is all that we should do? I say no. Then, let us give something as soon as we have built it, as we must pay for it, something which we will control, which will become stronger year by year, and will increase in cost year by year, at the same time becoming of greater importance to the British empire.

I say that the policy of the government in building a Canadian fleet is the one that I believe will be most acceptable to the Canadian people, and to the British people, and in the years to come will certainly be more acceptable than- the policy of simply giving one or two Dreadnoughts. As time goes on, as our commerce increases as it will increase, hundreds of fold in the next score or two of years we would be taxing the British navy for its protection, adding to the burdens of the British taxpayer, and doing nothing to protect ourselves. As the country grows and cities of wealth and importance spring up along our coasts, it will be a greater burden to the British people than it is now to protect us, if war takes place either between England and Germany or England and any alliance Germany may form with any other power. Therefore we will have our navy, a Canadian navy on the ground to protect our own coasts, our own commerce, because it is bound to increase, and whether the navy is built now or later, the Canadian people would in time be compelled, as I believe they are now compelled, to do something in that direction. We know what can be done by one

ship. For instance, in the war between the north and the south the ' Alabama ' destroyed untold millions of commerce. The same thing might happen to Canadian commerce, and no doubt would be attempted in the effort to starve out the British people in the British Isles. In that case who would suffer? The Canadian people generally, the farmers of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the farmers of eastern Canada. Wheat would be seized, and destroyed, beef, butter, cheese, eggs, hogs, the products of east and west alike, would meet the same fate, so it becomes the duty of all of us to defend our own commerce in our own waters, and England in time of war would have enough to do without convoying Canadian ships. Therefore I say as every man says, although we differ as to the means, that Canadians must do their part-so long as Canada is under the British flag, and I hope it will always be under the British flag, Canadians must do their part, and must do it manfully. That I believe is a patriotic, a sentimental, and at the same time a sensible view of this question.

Any contribution in money is so much money sent_ out of the country that will be expended in England employing labour there. If the money is expended here on a Canadian navy it will mean that in a short time we will be employing ship-wrights, joiners, fitters, platers, plumbers, boiler makers, electrical workers, and other mechanics, and in that way tend to the prosperity of the Canadian people. It will mean the building of docks, and the maintenance of shipbuilding yards. It will mean that the men who build our ships will be Canadians. If the Canadian people are contributing to the British navy, let us be represented by Canadian flesh and blood, and not by money contributions towards our own defence. It means that in time we shall build our own guns and projectiles. This will not be in the beginning -nobody expects that it will. This is a great undertaking, and a national question. It is bound to enlarge, and, as time goes on, the Canadian people expect that this parliament will decide upon a policy that will mean that ultimately Canadians shall build, equip and man the Canadian navy. This will give opportunity to Canadian brains and muscle. It will bring into use our own coal, our own steel, the minerals and metals with which we have been so bountifully supplied, and in that way it will develop the resources of our own country, and tend to the prosperitv of our own people. Let me give briefly seven reasons why this policy of the government should be supported:

1. Because the imperial aumorities approve it, and they are the best judges,

2. Because for imperial reasons the pro-Mr. MOLLOY.

tection of trade routes is the most difficult part of the British navy's work, and it can better be done by home squadrons in home waters.

3. Because as Canadians we should be proud to bear our own bumens and not pay others to bear them.

4. Because though we may never seek war ourselves we incur dangers all the while we are under the flag, and we want to prepare to defend the flag.

5. Because it is true that much of the money spent on warlike equipment is wasted in times of peace, but if we have to spend this money we might as well be utilizing Canadian resources, and building up Canadian industries with it.

6. Because in this work of protecting our own commerce and our own coasts we need only the light, small and speedy craft which are known as third-class cruisers and river craft, and we can in a short time put ourselves in a position both to build these and train our own men to man them.

7. Because we Britishers beyond the seas should feel ashamed to think that the Britishers at home have to worry about the protection of our thousands of miles of coast line when we can do it ourselves.

I cannot speak of this matter from first knowledge. But I believe that, in spite of the expressions of the more fanatical party organs, no man doubts the loyalty of the Prime Minister or of any member of his government, no man doubts the loyalty of any man on this side, no man doubts the loyalty of any hon. member on that side of this House. Future generations will say that the men of our day and time builded wisely and well when thev decided upon this policy, a policy which I believe will be of great benefit to Great Britain and a policy worthy of Canada.

Now, I desire to say a few words with regard to certain remarks made by the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) when speaking on this question. As usual, he was unkind and ungenerous. He tried to lead the country and hon. members of this House to understand that every man on this side had to do simply what he was told-in other words, that he was a slave. Mr. Speaker, I would have the hon. member understand this, that there flows in my veins the blood of the Irish Canadian, and I will not submit to the 'composing room,' the thumb-screw or the rack. The hon. member should let charity begin at home. When this question was before the Canadian people, as it has been since last March, it happened that the hon. member was in Winnipeg, where was moulded the policy which I believe hon. gentlemen opposite have accepted, because it is one and the same. There was held what might be called a political powwow. The hon. member (Mr. Foster) was

to be the chief speaker. Did he utter one word in defence or advocacy of ihe policy v'hich he himself advocated on the floor of this House last March? Not one word did he say, though everybody expected it from him. Why did he not speak in the way expected? As we understand the situation, those of us living in Manitoba, explain it in this way: The premier of Manitoba and the gentleman who is now acting premier of that province, saw fit to tell the hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) that, in the city of Winnipeg at least, no matter what his leader might say and no matter what he himself might say in other parts of the country, they would not submit to his putting forth the policy accepted by this House a year ago this month. Instead of the 'composing room,' instead of the thumb-screw and the rack, it seems to me the hon. gentleman was introduced to the garrotte, and that he got the Spanish twist, so that he dared not say a word because these men were in absolute control. They believed and he believed, and I believe, that they were strong_ enough and powerful enough to make him accept, so far as they were concerned at least, the policy that they had promulgated, and that their' organ, the Winnipeg 'Telegram,' has advocated since its introduction a year ago.

I should be remiss, as representing the greatest number of French electors in any constituency west of the great lakes if I did not say a word with regard to the remarks of the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards). I would have that hon. gentleman understand that, from what i have seen and what I know, the French Canadians do not have to go to him or his seed, breed or generation, for lessons in loyalty. The French Canadians are a loyal people. It is but a short time ago, in the province of Manitoba, when the Tory party was catering to the French electorate in that country, that orator after orator-they had some then and they have some yet-declared that we should, not forget that, in the war of 1812, four hundred French Canadians saved to the British empire this Canada, the brightest jewel in the British Crown. So, I resent the remarks of the hon. member for Frontenac, and I was pleased to hear the hon. member for Ste. ..Anne (Mr. Doherty) practically repudiate everything he said. If the hon. member (Mr. Edwards) thinks, or any other gentleman thinks, such remarks as he made are in the interests of the Canadian people, they are welcome to their opinion so far as I am concerned. The French Canadians are loyal; they are loyal to their families, they are loyal to their country, they are loyal to their church, they are loyal to the sovereign and they are loyal to their God; they are a brave, proud and brilliant people, and do not need to make apologies to anybody or to any section of the country.

Topic:   EDITION'.
Permalink
CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

On behalf of the hon. member for South Waterloo (Mr. Clare), I beg to move the adjournment of the debate.

Topic:   EDITION'.
Permalink

Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned. Mr. FIELDING moved the adjournment of the House. [DOT]


CON
LIB

Motion agreed to, and House adjourned, at 12.40 a.m., Tuesday.



Tuesday, March 8, 1910.


March 7, 1910