March 8, 1910

LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I am glad that my hon. friend has put that question straight to me. I read that statement this morning in ' L'Evenement ' of Quebec. I never moved that resolution, and ' L'Evenement' does not say that I moved it. Once in my life I did speak on that question. That was, I think, in 1893. I am surprised that that fact was not mentioned during this debate. In 1893, there was in Montreal a gentleman who was connected with the construction of the Monument National, where the meetings of the St. Jean Baptiste Society, the national society of French Canadians, take place every week. In order to obtain the necessary funds to build that monument he organized a large meeting at Sohmer park, Montreal. There was to be an academic debate on the four following questions: Annexation to the United

States, the statu quo, imperial federation and the independence of Canada. I was then a young, budding lawyer, and I was asked by the organizers of the meeting to take part in the debate. I was assigned the role of advocate of the independence of Canada, which I accepted.

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CON
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Yes. A gentleman from the province of Ontario-I forget his name, but I think it was Mr. Elgin Myers-spoke in favour of annexation to the United States. A friend of mine, Mr. McGoun a very distinguished lawyer of Montreal and a Liberal, spoke in favour of imperial federation, and a young friend of mine who was a very active member of the Conservative party, Mr. Cardinal, pow dead, I am sorry to say, spoke in favour of the statu quo. There was a vote taken and there was an entrance fee of, I think, 25 cents paid by all those who were present. It was an academic debate. I do not deny that I took part in that debate, stood to my guns and advocated the independence of

Canada, but it was a purely academic subject. I am surprised that the fact was not mentioned in this debate. But as to_ the resolution, I never moved it, and this is the first time I heard of it. That is my .explanation.

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CON

William Ross Smyth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMYTH.

All I can say to the hon. gentleman is that chickens come home to roost sometimes. Always be sure that your sins will be found out.

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LIB
CON
LIB
CON
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

The Club Nationale exists. but I never moved that resolution.

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CON

William Ross Smyth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMYTH.

I accept the hon. gentleman's denial. I was just going to remark that I have the utmost confidence that the great mass of the French Canadian people take no stock in any such utterances as that anyway. They are too intelligent, notwithstanding that sometimes around election time especially some of their leaders would like to agitate them and ask them to do things that are not perhaps quite along the lines that they otherwise would follow on those occasions. I know that I have suffered a great deal from that myself; I know that while my French Canadian friends in my riding stood loyally and true by me when I was their candidate for the local legislature, they deserted me and deserted me very greatly indeed during the campaign of 1908. And, Sir, that was because of the pamphlets and the literature that were sent out

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An hon. MEMBER.

'The duty of the hour.'

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CON

William Ross Smyth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMYTH.

Yes, 'The duty of the hour,' that was published ana paid for by the Liberal party and circulated by the Liberal party in wagon loads all over the northern part of Ontario. We on this side of the House have been twitted by gentlemen opposite who claim that we are very much divided on this question; but when it comes to the vote perhaps they will better understand just how much divided we are. But let me say, Mr. Speaker, that it is a sign of life in any political party when its members do take issue one with the other on such a great question as this, and when they think for themselves and are not led by the nose by any leader or any number of leaders. Sir, we stand each thinking for himself and each acting for himself, and I am doubtful whether hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House can say the same thing. Indeed I have been astonished at the utterances of some Mr. LEMIEUX.

of the Liberal members who have spoken in this House, because I have heard these very same gentlemen speaking outside on this same Bill and they played a very different tune. I am inclined to think that the 'composing room' and the gag and the thumb-screw and the offers of graft

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An hon. MEMBER.

And straight jackets.

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CON

William Ross Smyth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMYTH.

Yes, and straight jackets and everything else have been applied to some members on the other side of the House. The hon. member tor Laval (Mr. Wilson) also said something about independence, and he told us that the navy is a preparation for the change in our national condition for which we ought to be ready. Well, were the hon. gentleman (Mr. Wilson) in his seat I would like him to explain what he meant when he said we had to be prepared for a change, because I hope, Mr. Speaker, the day will never come when there will be any change or any attempt at a change which will sever Canada from the British empire. _ But all the sentiments in connection with independence and ingratitude to England do not come from the French Canadian members on the other side of the House. 1 was sorry indeed to hear the other day a member of the great family of Scotchmen to which I belong -giving utterances to certain statements, and I recommend that hon. gentleman to read the statements made by the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Gervais) to-night, who told us that we did owe a debt of gratitude to the motherland. But my Scotch friend from South Huron (Mr. McLean) thinks we do not owe the motherland anything. Well, Mr. Speaker, there was a difierent song sung by his forefathers when the British empire required assistance and help. In those days the McLeans went not only with a wave of enthusiasm, but they took off their coats and buckled on their swords and fought for the empire. And, Sir, it amazed me to hear the hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McLean) declare that instead of taking off his coat and putting on his kilts and buckling on -his sword for the empire he would send over his love, for that was all he could afford to give them. Well, I don't think that this is very Scotchlike. As I have said, Mr. Speaker, some members on this side of the House have been twitted with having accused the French Canadian people of disloyalty, and the hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely) _ this afternoon made certain statements which I was very pleased to see that you, Mr. Speaker, made him withdraw. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Neely) told us over and over again that he had read the speech of the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) from end to end and backwards and forwards and crosswise, and he could

not find any other meaning in it than that which he gave to the House. Well, Mr. Speaker, I would like to read what the member for Frontenac did say, because I must confess that when I heard the construction that was put on his utterances I was very much grieved to think he would so far forget himself as to cast any reflection on our French Canadian people, which, of course, as a matter of fact he did not do. I did not have to read the speech of the hon. member for Frontenac very far to find him using this language:

I am not charging, and I have not said one word to charge the mass of the people of the province of Quebec with disloyalty; I have not said anything that could be construed into such a charge. On the contrary, I have said that the people of the province of Quebec have shown a more than ordinary intelligence in resisting the political leaders who for political purposes essayed to lead them from their allegiance.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Neely) dwelt a long time on this incident, but I would ask any fair minded man: Where can you find anything said by the member for Frontenac that any French Canadian or any one else could take offence at?

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LIB
CON

William Ross Smyth

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMYTH.

You can read it yourself; you have more time than I have. Now, Mr. Speaker, I come to the question of the navy, and I must say that I was very much disappointed at the lack of information which the right hon. Prime Minister had when he presented this Bill. I have been a business man the greater part of my life, and as a business man I have never entered into anything that I did not first study out what it was going to cost as nearly as I possibly could. If I were building a house I would first get an estimate from a man properly qualified to give it, and although it might cost a little more than the estimate, I would know approximately what my responsibility was. But, when the right hon. the Prime Minister was asked several questions in regard to the cost of this navy he could not answer them when he introduced the Bill, and he said he would give the details when the Bill got into committee. Well, Sir, I do not believe in going into it blind, and I would like to know here and now before committing my constituents, and the people of the Dominion to the principle of this Bill, what will this Canadian navy approximately cost? That information we are entitled to have from the Ministers of the Crown, who are supposed to know it. The ministers who have charge of this Bill should have been able to announce to the House as nearly as possible what will be the cost of this tin-pot navy of theirs which they are going to construct. I may say in the first place 158}

that I do not think that the navy which the right hon. gentleman is going to build is any good as a fighting force, or of any value whatever in the defence of the empire. I am certain that no sane being at this present date would build such a class of ships for defensive or offensive purposes in any part of the British empire or any other empire except the party that is in power to-day in Canada. I am not willing to entrust the building of even this tin-pot navy to the gentlemen who occupy the treasury benches. In the face of the charges against them more than ten-yes, more than twenty-that I have heard since I have come to this House, and that we have been trying to investigate-charges of the misappropriation of moneys, the spending of moneys foolishly, the wasting of the people's resources in various ways- they should not be allowed to enter into this great work which is goirfg to entail such enormous expense on the country. For that reason alone, if for no other, I would be inclined to vote against the building of this navy. I am not opposed to our Canadian people getting all the benefits that might accrue from the building of a navy in Canada; but such a navy is not going to be built in three years or five years, or even in ten years, if it is to be efficient; and before the last ship is completed, the first will probably be out of commission, and in the bottom of the sea or on the scrap-heap. The right hon. the First Minister should have laid before this House an approximate estimate at least of what this navy was going to cost Canada. Now, I want to say that during all the campaigns in which I have taken part in the last ten or twelve years, I have never heard the question of a Canadian navy, or a navy of any sort, brought before the electors, and I am not going to commit the people that I have the honour to represent to any such scheme without first having their authority to do so. I am not going to commit them to anything that I have not myself some idea of the cost of; and I am not going to commit them to any such expenditure especially when it is to be handled by the gentlemen who occupy the treasury benches at the present time. I feel that there is a responsibility on me to ask the people of the district I have the honour to represent whether they are in favour of a Canadian navy or not. That is one of the reasons why I will vote against the proposal of a Canadian navy at the present stage. By giving a direct contribution, even if it is $20,000,000, or $25,000,000, I know that it is no more, and no less, and I know that it is not going to be called for year after year, but that is the end of it. We are told by the First Minister that the government purpose building the Georgian Bay canal, which is a much more important project than a Canadian navy. They

are going to build the Hudson Bay railway. They have now under construction the Grand Trunk Pacific. All these are about as much as Canada can bear at the present time. I have taken up more time than I should, Mr. Speaker, but I felt that it was my duty to my constituents to place myself on record as against the construction of a Canadian navy at the present time. I also wish to place myself right as not being in sympathy with any sentiment that might lead our French Canadian people to believe that we accuse them of disloyalty; but we do accuse some of the leaders of the French Canadian people in this House of making statements that I would very much rather they had not made, in the interests of this great Canada of ours.

I hope the gentlemen on the other side of the House will all balk when they come to the fence, and will not go over.

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LIB

Joseph Ernest Oscar Gladu

Liberal

Mr J. E. O. GLADU.

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, the Tories, I say it with all due respect

Borne hon. MEMBERS. (Text.) Speak .English.

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LIB

Joseph Ernest Oscar Gladu

Liberal

Mr. GLADU.

(Text.) I shall speak in 'French, as it is my own language and, as you are aware, I have a right to do so.

' ((Translation.) Mr. Speaker, the Tories, I say it will all due respect, are the same the whole world over, and are not capable of improvement, not any more in Canada >than elsewhere. When a few years ago the ; hon. Finance Minister was about negotiating an important loan in England, these [DOT] same Tories of Canada thought the best they could do was to depreciate Canadas * financial standing, and thereby endeavour to prevent the floatation of the loan. _

While the British Tories were engaged in the last general election, they thought similarly that the best they could do would be to discredit the King's navy, with the object of forwarding their political aims,

I do not propose speaking at great length, but before taking up the main question, there are several statements made in the course of this debate by hon. gentlemen on the other side who have preceded me, to which I would like to refer. I will not take up any of the time of the House answering the taunts which have been directed at the right hon. Prime Minister. Thank heaven, that mud, as we ail know, has been slung from depths too great to ever reach the man at whom it was aimed. Thank heaven, I repeat it, the right hon. gentleman's loftiness of mind, loyalty, and force of character are too well known, and Mr. WM. R. SMYTF

such insults cannot possibly sully his good name even in the slightest degree.

Let me call the attention of the House to some of the charges made by hon. gentlemen on the other side in the course of their remarks of recent date. The hon. member from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) found fault with us for being too docile, for blindly following, and witn servility-to use an expression of the Nationalist leader of the province of Quebec-the leader of the government, in a word for not having sufficient individuality. The member for North Toronto, of course, is an authority on questions of breach of discipline. He will need to go back only a few years, in company with some of his friends who still occupy seats not far distant from his own, to live again those glorious days when he was charged with being a traitor, with being one of the nest of traitors, by the then leader of the government. Thereby will he realize what is meant by a lack of discipline. .

In that same speech he characterized us as silent dogs. I regret that, for his own sake, he did not hold his tongue when that Naval Bill was up for discussion, and that he allowed to go forth-the expression I am about to use may not be parliamentary-the infamous words which he thrust at the heads of the Prime Minister, the Catholics and the French Canadians of this country.

The hon. member stated also that there were in our midst a few dogs which were beginning to bark. If I may be allowed to refresh his memory, he also has on previous occasions given proof of his ability to bark, and if he will only come with me to the Senate with six of his friends-he knows who I mean-to offer a fair shake hand to Sir Mackenzie Bowell, the latter will let him know what is meant by * a dog who can bark.'

The hon. member stated also that the Prime Minister had a policy for the province of Quebec and another for the province of Ontario. I take such charges to be not only an insult, but an imputation of dishonesty against the Prime Minister. And remember "that the hon. member for North Toronto bears on his forehead a stigma impressed on it two or three years age by the hand of the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Aylsworth), who, in the course of a terrific denunciation, dealing with that question of the Union Trust, compared him to the unfortunate McGill, defaulting manager of the Bank of Ontario, and declared, aifter looking into the matter of the Independent Order of Foresters, that he might not have fared any better.

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CON

Glenlyon Campbell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. M. CAMPBELL (Dauphin).

(Text.) Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. The hon. gentleman has no right

to discus that question until after the findings of the judges in Toronto. _

' Wk >-T. ' [DOT]I

'[DOT]Sj ' * -

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LIB

Joseph Ernest Oscar Gladu

Liberal

Mr. GLADU.

(Text.) I have the right to recall a speech that was made two years ago in this House by the Minister of Justice.

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March 8, 1910