November 22, 1910

GENERAL FRENCH'S REPORT.

LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Before the orders of the day are called, I desire to lay on the table the report of General Sir John French, also copies of general orders of the appointments, promotions and retirements in the Canadian militia which have been passed and issued since the last session of

parliament under the authority of the statute.

Topic:   GENERAL FRENCH'S REPORT.
Permalink

QUESTION OF ORDER.

LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I think it is my duty, for the proper conduct of the debates and the maintenance of decorum, to call attention to a remark made yesterday by the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Gauvreau) during the heat of debate. Unfortunately I did not hear it or I would have called the hon. gentleman to order. I am sure the hon. member himself will admit that these words, which were spoken in heat, were unparliamentary and should not have been used, and will take this opportunity to withdraw them.

Topic:   QUESTION OF ORDER.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Liberal

Mr. GAUVREAU.

At your request, Sir, I withdraw the expression, if it is unparliamentary.

Topic:   QUESTION OF ORDER.
Permalink
CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I had not, Mr. Speaker, more than yourself, noticed the expression which has just been pointed out to me in ' Hansard.' I confess that I do not like the form of the hon. gentleman's retraction. If he will step outside this House and repeat the expression to me, face to face, he will there meet with the treatment he deserves.

Topic:   QUESTION OF ORDER.
Permalink

ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.


House resumed adjourned debate on the motion of Mr. McGiverin for an Address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session.


LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. HUGH GUTHRIE (South Wellington).

As my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster), who last addressed the House, is not in his place, it would be useless for me to occupy the time of the House in endeavouring to express my congratulations upon the speech which he saw fit to deliver last night. I have not yet been quite able to digest that speech, and perhaps I may do, as he did last night, when, in referring to the speech made by the seconder of the address, (Mr. Lapointe), he said he had not been able to fully appreciate it, but would read it over in ' Hansard,' with care and afterwards tender his congratulations. I may take the same course with regard to the speech of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and deal with it when he is in his place. But I may say that, at the conclusion of his remarks last night, there was an expression of opinion in the House that he had not quite risen to the occasion, that he had not reached that standard of excellence in debate which he usually reaches when addressing the House, and the question most prominent in the minds of hon. members was the sporting question very much in vogue in July last: Has Foster

come back? And many were inclined to think, that, so far as the first round at all events was concerned, he had not come back. However, I think the House will agree with me that his effort was perhaps more remarkable for what it omitted than for what it contained. He spoke in reply to the speech of the right hon. the Prime Minister. The hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) is an adept at debate He has perhaps greater facility of expression and quicker perception while on his feet than any other member of this House; and it was somewhat remarkable that he made no reference whatever to those matters with which the Prime Minister dealt almost exclusively. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister, devoted himself almost exclusively to the discussion of the Naval Service Bill and the recent by-election in Drummond and Arthabaska. It was, therefore, to be expected that the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) would likewise have devoted some attention to that particular matter which is at present so prominent in the public mind. But upon that question, he was as dumb as an oyster. What was the reason? I am prepared to admit that the magnificent address of the Prime Minister was practically unanswerable. I doubt if there were any points in his armour which could be pierced, but still we all naturally expected that some reference would have been made to that matter in the reply of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster). I noticed also that when reference was first made to the recent by-election yesterday, many hon. members opposite burst into uproarious applause.

A smile of satisfaction and gratification played upon the face of my hon. friend from East Hamilton (Mr. Barker), and he thumped his desk as did also my hon. friend from North Ontario (Mr. S. Sharpe) and other hon. members on that side. I watched carefully the faces of my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) but they sat sphinx-like in their places and gave no indication by action, word, gesture or facial expression of their opinions or feelings in regard to this matter of preponderating interest. My hon. friend from North Toronto has not always been so quiet since the recent byelection. For, in the city of Toronto, a day or two after the by-election there was a Conservative gathering. News had come from Quebec of what many in this country consider more in the nature of a national calamity than anything else. And on that occasion the hon. member for North Toronto did deliver himself ; and from his speech as reported in the Toronto press, but excluded, for some reason, from the report appearing in the Toronto 'Mail and Empire,' he seemed to

derive the most intense satisfaction from the result in Drummond and Arthabaska and from the fact that on the streets of Montreal the cry had gone up, 'A has Laurier.' Why, after having risen to the occasion in Toronto two days after the election, he should let the opportunity offered him yesterday of saying something on the subject go by, he did not explain. But I can state the reason which, in my judgment, actuated him, and that i3, that there is, perhaps, a different feeling in the ranks of the Conservative party within the last week or two from what there was within a day or two of the byelection. Perhaps the hon. member from Toronto or the leader of the opposition have been looking over the columns of the Toronto 'News.' That newspaper is edited by one of the ablest journalists in the country, a man with whose opinions we may not all agree, but a man of undoubted ability and forethought. And any hon. members on that side who have been reading the Toronto 'News' the leading Conservative journal in the province of Ontario to-day, will not, I believe, give open expression to feelings of gratification or satisfaction over the result of the elections in Drummond and Arthabaska.

Passing from the subject, as my hon. friend from North Toronto did not make mention of it-though I may refer to it for a moment before I close-I proceed to consider what the hon. member did say. First, taking up that portion of his speech which I think may fairly be referred to as mere rambling comment, that is, the first part of his speech-not that portion which dealt with trade relations _ with the United States-the first question to which he referred was the immigration policy of the government. He only made a passing reference to it, nominally for the purpose of expressing, as he put it, the pleasure which he and other hon. members found in the fact that the immigration policy of the government was giving the greatest satisfaction and meeting with the best results. Had he stopped there, well and good. But that was not his purpose. His purpose was to insinuate that there was something wrong in the government's immigration policy and that the government were bringing into the country a class of people who were no 'Credit to the country and who could not become assimilated completely to our conditions and our manner of life. He spoke of the task which the United States had set before it in assimilating the immigration into that country, the task of a population of ninety millions assimilating a million immigrants annually, as a task of the greatest magnitude. Then he referred to Canada as having by comparison a much Mr. GUTHRIE.

greater task, our population, which he took at eight millions, having to absorb a hundred thousand, two hundred thousand, two hundred and fifty thousand immigrants a year. The proportion in the United States is as ninety to one, and in Canada as thirty-two to one. So the hon. gentleman's figures would show that the task in Canada would be three times as great as that of the United States. And there he stopped, insinuating that the government were pursuing a wrong policy, that the task of assimilation would be too great for the country, and that the foreign element might, at some day in the future, dominate conditions in Canada, and, possibly, subvert our institutions. Whether he spoke for the east or for the west, or for both the east and the west, I do not know, but it is clear that his object was not to congratulate the government upon its policy, but to condemn it by inference. His statement was only half a statement; had he made all known, nobody would see occasion for alarm. I asked the Immigration Department to give me figures to show where Canada did stand in this matter. They gave me a comprehensive statement only a brief extract of which I will give to the House. Take the immigration for nine years and nine months to March 31 last-the nine months being added on account of the change of the fiscal year in 1907. The total immigration to Canada in that time was 1,453,391. And how is that made up? From the United Kingdom came 562,054; and from the United States directly-not through the United States but from that country-came 497,390. And from all other quarters of the globe, including South Africa, Australia and other British colonies, came 393,947. That is, less than 25 per cent of the total immigration is foreign population, and 75 per cent is Anglo Saxon, not population which this country must slowly assimilate, but population like our own in every respect, speaking our language, and accustomed to our laws, our free institutions and our political methods. So, the question of assimilation arises only in regard to 25 per cent of that immigration. And so with the present year. In the seven months up to 31st October last the total immigration was 227,966. Of this the immigration from the British Isle3 was 90,740 and the immigration direct from the United States was 85,563, so that the immigrants from all other countries in the world numbered during that period 56,663. That is, 77 per cent of the immigration of this year is Anglo-Saxon immigration, and 23 per cent is foreign. So, the process of assimilation which the hon. member from North Toronto so much fears applies only to 23 out of every hundred

those coming in this year, while 77 out of every hundred are like ourselves. Yet this is the bugaboo which the hon. member raised yesterday to frighten people into believing that the system of immigration pursued by the government was an improper system and likely to fill this country with an undesirable class of citizens.

Then the hon. member turned to the same point as that to which his leader (Mr. R. L. Borden) turned at the opening of his remarks. I do not know anything in recent times that has given hon. members opposite, from their leader down to the humblest members of the rank and file, more concern, more grave alarm, than that which must seem to most of us on this side a matter of domestic politics, namely, the tour of the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) through western Canada last summer. I believe that tour has given greater alarm to the Conservative members in this parliament than any German war scare or threatened invasion ever did. And it is for that reason, and that reason solely, that the leader of the opposition and his chief lieutenant in this House at once plunged into the question of the western tour, with the object, of course, of making some capital out of it if they could. What did they have to say? What did they object to? The objections, so far as I recall them, were, in the first place, the manner in which the Prime Minister saw fit to receive the various, deputations who called upon him. They complain that this and that deputation received unsatisfactory answers, that the Prime Minister did not give them the information they desired regarding the tariff, that he gave them no definite information at all on that great question. What would they expect of the Prime Minister of a country in respect of tariff matters? I do not know that there is a man in Canada who has so full a knowledge of and so high a regard for the responsibilities which pertain to his high office as the Prime Minister himself. I do not know any one who would be less likely to contravene any known parliamentary usage or parliamentary principle. No one but a blatant openmouthed politician would tell a deputation of any kind what he would do ot would not do in regard to tariff matters. Delegation after delegation, denutation after deputation come here every session and consult with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, and what do they find out? What would the opposition think of a Prime Minister or a Minister of Finance who would tell what they proposed to do? It would be the grossest breach of parliamentary usage that one could conceive of. So when deputations in the west visited the Prime Minister and laid before him their imagined grievances, what were they promised? They were promised, in this case,

consideration and investigation, and if it turn out that they have a good ease, I think they can make up their minds that they will get speedy relief; and if they have not a good case they will not get the relief for which they prayed. What more should a man do? That seems to me their great ground for complaint against the Prime Minister during his western tour, as judged by the speeches made by the leader of the opposition and his chief lieutenant.

Oh, but, says the member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster), there is more than that. What more than that took place on that tour, that triumphal progress, you might call it? Why, he says, the Liberal government has unfairly dealt with those new provinces, and the Prime Minister is chiefly to blame for the unfair treatment meted out to them. Then he struck a strange note. He says: You should have taken these new provinces into this confederation as an ' unshackled sisterhood,' with the rights which the British North America Act gave them. And then his leader began to move uncomfortably in his seat, and a seraphic smile lit up the countenance of the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule), for he knew why the reference was made. But the hon. member for North Toronto saw that he had made a mistake, he saw that he had stepped on a coiled snake, and he dropped the subject like a b-ot potato; nothing more was said ot that question. That was the old school question, which was threshed out in this parliament in 1905, one upon which the 'Conservative party took a narrow and untenable stand, and for which the people rebuked them as soon as they had a chance. .

Then what did he pass to? Dropping the ' unshackled sisterhood of provinces ', he turns to the question of the public lands of those provinces. He says the Prime Minister himself was the man who was guilty of depriving those new provinces of their right to administer and manage their own lands. Why should the new provinces be deprived of that right? Why should they be treated differentlv from the other provinces of this Dominion? Once more I complain that the statement of the hon. member for North Toronto was not accurate, but was thoroughlv misleading, and the trouble of it is that his statement will probably go to the northwestern provinces, and my explanation will not. His statement was made, I believe, for the purpose of misleading. Now what are the facts? Why do the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, the maritime provinces and British Columbia own and control their own lands, while the new provinces do not? Is there not a good reason for it? The reason simply is because the Dominion of Canada never owned a foot of land in Ontario, or Quebec, or the maritime provinces, or British Columbia, never owned an acre of land except

&3

they .had brought trade in this country; they saw the tremendous falling off that had taken place everywhere and the market to the south cut off. They made another determined effort and back again went the hon. member for North Toronto and his colleagues to put through some kind of a trade arrangement. Did they succeed? No, they trooped back again. Where is the skin of the McKinley tariff bear? It still remained at Washington, they did not bring it back. What did they bring back? They brought back a statement by the Secretary of State that if Canada would directly discriminate against Great Britain then she might have a treaty with the United States, and as my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) put it last night, as he poised his head towards Heaven with a heavenly beam on his countenance, he said: We would not discriminate against the mother land. Did he forget that from 1879 to 1891, when he went to Washington, his party and his government had consistently discriminated against the mother land in favour of the United States? Why, Sir, their tariff itself was a discrimination. They charged more on British than on American imports, they did not regard the question of the long haul, the heavy charge for water carriage or marine Insurance from England; instead of that they charged a higher average rate of duty to Great Britain and discriminated against her all that time, and yet the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) comes forward and says: We do not accept your terms because it would be discrimination against Great Britain. What was their next move? What did they think of next? Some wise Conservatives said: Let us try and see if we cannot do something with the mother land, and in the House of Commons in March, 1892, Mr. McNeill, Conservative member for North Bruce, solemnly moved his preferential tariff resolution proposing a preferential arrangement with the mother land. That resolution is known in history as the ' if and when ' resolution, and as it is a long time since it was moved in this House perhaps I had better call it to your attention. Mr. McNeill moved, in 1892, as the Conservative idea of preferential treatment towards the mother land, the following:-

Resolved, that if and when the parliament of Great Britain and Ireland admits Canadian products to the markets of the United Kingdom upon more favourable terms than it accords to the products of foreign countries, the parliament of Canada will be prepared to accord corresponding advantages by a reduction in the duties it imposes upon British manufactured goods.

That resolution was met by a resolution moved bv the Hon. Mr. Davies (now Sir Louis Davies of the Supreme Court) which was as follows:-

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

Inasmuch as Great Britain admits the products of Canada into her ports free of duty, this House is of the opinion that the present scale of duties exacted on goods mainly imported from Great Britain should be reduced.

That resolution was moved in March, 1892, and I refer to the date particularly because last night my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) stated that in 1892 the Prime Minister had gone to London, Ont., and in a speech stated that the policy of the Liberal party was a policy of mutual preferences with Great Britain and my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) meant to convey the impression that the policy of the Liberal party implied that a tariff should be imposed by Great Britain in favour of the products of Canada. Well, the position of the Prime Minister at that particular date is a matter of record in this parliament, because he voted for that resolution moved by Sir Louis Davies and that resolution stands to-day as the guiding principle of the policy of this government in regard to trade with Great Britain. But, Sir, look at the ridiculous position wThich hon. members of the Conservative party in those days took upon that question. What did they ask Great Britain to do and for what purpose? Bear in mind that in the year 1892 our imports from Great Britain, which represented all we bought from Great Britain, amounted to $41,000,000. There was then a paltry importation of $41,000,000 worth of goods from Great Britain and for the sake of that infinitesimal trade, Mr. McNeill and the Conservative party had the effrontery to ask Great Britain to tax the food supplies of her people. Of course, in that day, when we were able to speak of millions at all, it looked a large sum, especially when it rolled under the tongue of the hon. member fort North Toronto. We imported $41,000,000 worth of goods from Great Britain in these days, but to-day without that duty, which was pronosed by the Conservative party, Great Britain sells us $217,000,000 worth of goods or more than five times what she sold us in 1892. How consistent, too, of these ultra loyalists of the Conservative party those navy-league loyalists of the Conservative party ; those gentlemen who at public banquets and Canadian Club lunches in particular, tell us what enormous burdens England has to hear to support that navy which protects us, and wrho calk on us to pity the poor mother land groaning under the weight of the taxes which she imposes upon herself; how inconsistent it is that those same ultra loyalists, those same navy leaguers, those men some of whom sit on the opposition benches to-day, should deliberately and solemnly in 1892 and continually since then ask Great Britain not only to tax herself for her navy, but to tax herself for her very food stuffs for the benefit of Canada. We have, therefore, set out in these two resolutions which I have read the

respective policies of the political parties in 1892, and each party has lived up to its policy in that respect pretty well ever since. Certain it is that the Liberal party has up to the present day carried out the policy proposed by Sir Louis Davies in 1892, and certain it is that whenever the Conservative party has pronounced upon that policy it has pronounced in accordance with the McNeill resolution. Now, did my right hon. friend the Prime Minister deviate in regard to the tariff policy; was his course a devious one between 1890 and 1896? I admit that in some respects it was. I have no hesitation in saying that he made several suggestions, and every Liberal in the country who gave any consideration to the inatter also made suggestions. The Liberal party, and particularly the present Prime Minister knew that something must be done or this country would be prostrated. No one knew that better than my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster); no one felt it more keenly than he, and I do not know that any one was more responsible than he for the disaster that impended over the land. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) did not institute the National Policy, but he was one,of the main factors in administering that policy. I have always noticed about the hon. member (Mr. Foster) since he and I have been in the House together, that he lacks initiative, and I trust he will not mind my telling him that so plainly. He is a wonderful critic, he is an able and active critic: possibly no better critic ever sat in opposition than is the hon. gentleman, but his criticism is entirely of the destructive as opposed to the constructive kind. The hon. member (Mr. Foster) shakes his head and I take it that he shakes it with approval.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

It must be a very eloquent shake.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

backwards. Perhaps I should give the figures, though I do not think my hon. friend from North Toronto will contradict me. The total foreign trade for the year 1893-4 had fallen off some $4,000,000 from the year before. The same year showed the highest record in business failures and the poorest for the accumulations of the people in the banks. In every line of industry and commerce there was the same falling ofi. Canadian Pacific Railway stock was selling at between 80 and 90, whereas to-day it is up to 200. The deposits in the chartered banks of Canada to the credit of the people, of which my hon. friend used to boast, showed in 1896 $183,000,000 only. Everything was going down. That was the condition which confronted the hon. member when he sweated those drops of blood. There was not sufficient initiative, either in himself or in his colleagues, to reach out and see what could be done in other parts of the world, when, by their policy of nonintercourse they found Canadian products kept out of the United States by hostile tariff laws.

Well the people rose in their might and cast out those unfaithful stewards who had made government a by-word in the land. A new order of things was established, and the hon. member for North Toronto may talk till he is black in the face, may use all his ingenuity and all his force of expression to denounce the devious course of the Prime Minister in tariff matters since 1896 ; but I ask him to judge of the policy of the Prime Minister in tariff matters by its results. Let me adduce a few of those results. Our foreign trade, which, as my hon. friend boasted, amounted to $239,000,000 in 1896, will amount this year to over $800,000,000. In eighteen years of Conservative rule the foreign trade of Canada increased by $66,000,000, whereas in the fourteen years of Liberal rule it has increased by nearly $600,000,000. Has the fiscal policy of the Prime Minister served its purpose in regard to our national finances? In 1896 the hon. member for North Toronto had a revenue of $36,000,000 ; this year we have a revenue of over $105,000,000. There has not been a deficit since 1897, and the deficit of that year this government could hardly be charged with. It has been a tale of surplus, surplus, surplus. A reasonable surplus is all right, but a surplus may become too great. I am prepared to maintain that we have at present a tariff for the purpose of revenue. It has yielded us an abundant revenue but it has not yet yielded us enough revenue to enable us to pay all our annual expenditures and to provide all the public works which this country requires. But we have a fiscal policy which has made a far better showing than the fiscal policy of my hon. friend. Take that policy in its operation regarding the indi-Mr. GUTHRIE.

vidual. Take it as shown in the bank accounts of the people ; that is a fair test. In the last year in which my hon. friend from North Toronto was in office, the deposits in the chartered banks to the credit of the people of Canada amounted to $183,000,000. By the bank statement for the month of October, 1910, which is the very w'orst month of the year for this purpose because the banks are shorter of money in that month than in any other month in the year, owing to so much being required to pay for wholesale purchases of goods and to move the crops, the returns show deposits in the chartered banks of Canada to the amount of $829,000,000 ; and if to that you add the deposits in the government savings banks, you will find that the total deposits of the people of Canada amount to probably $950,000,000. Putting our population at 8,000,000, that is equal to about $120 a head for every man, woman and child in Canada in the banks of the country irrespective of the business that has been done. Has the fiscal policy of the government yielded well with regard to private individuals as well as in regard to gcfvernment finances? What are the figures of trade? Our foreign trade on a population of 8,000,000, amounts to $100 per head as against only $35.50 in the United States and $105.25 in Great Britain. If we come down to the actual population of Canada, which is probably somewhat less than 8,000,000, it will show that the foreign trade of this country to-day is at the top of the list, greater than that of Great Britain itself. Judging, then, these policies by their results, can my hon. friend condemn the devious course in tariff matters of the Prime Minister? If he were fair and candid, he would say to the Prime Minister, your tariff policy has worked out well, to the great advantage of this country and in no sense to its detriment.

The hon. member next pursued a line of argument which I think was a little premature, in regard to Washington negotiations. I must say that from his point of view he argued his case with remarkable force and energy. I would not like to say a word either in favour or against his argument until I know more about the circumstances. I think he was premature. Hr expended half an hour or three-quarters in doing something which in others he has frequently called most reprehensible. He spoke of similar conduct on the part of the Prime Minister last session as most reprehensible. He engaged in tilting at windmills if I may use the expression. Time and again he set up for himself imaginary difficulties with regard to trade arrangements with Washington, then he would mount his charger, put on his arm-

our, poise his lance, strike spurs into his steed and tilt at a windmill.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I must correct my hon. friend. The windmill I was tilting at was the right hon. gentleman opposite (Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

That is evidently an after thought on the part of the hon. gentleman. No one who heard him could douht that the windmill he was tilting at was purely one of his own imagination. He has been thinking over this question and writing about it during the past three or four weeks. Night and day it has occupied his thoughts, and yesterday he delivered himself of his opinions upon that question, and in so doing showed an utter inadequacy to grasp it. I would be inclined to call that decided effrontery, but to be mild I shall content myself with saying that he was merely tilting at windmills. Would it be good policy, would it be courteous, to treat a request from a great and powerful country, made in proper form, through proper channels-would it be dignified, courteous or proper to treat a request thus made for the discussion of better trade arrangements in the way the hon. gentleman would have us treat it? To my mind the hon. gentleman, in his advice, shows great lack of dignity and statesmanship. If anything were calculated to block a successful issue to any such negotiations as are now going on, language such as my hon. friend used last night would be most effective in accomplishing that object. Perhaps that was his object. Perhaps he wished to block the negotiations before he knew what the proposals were. To my mind, such conduct is absurd and childish. I am prepared, and I am sure that is the consensus of opinion in this House, to wait until we hear what the proposals are before passing judgment. There may be a great deal of force in what my hon. friend said last night, but at least let us wait until we know the proposals before condemning or approving them.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Hear, hear.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

I have no doubt that just such language as was used last night, just such a spirit as the hon. gentleman has exhibited, was the prominent note in our relations with Washington during the 18 years of Conservative regime, and it was that which no doubt brought about these trade relations between the two countries that gave to Canada the McKinley Act and the Dingley Act and left unsettled so many important subjects of controversy.

Before closing there is one question to which I would like to refer, and that is a question upon which my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) was significantly silent last night. I refer to the question of the Canadian navy. To-day, some 10 or 12 months

since both the mother land and her colonies were excited over a German war scare, the alarm in that connection has considerably quieted down. In fact it has now practically passed away, and perhaps the naval policy of the government may to-day be discussed with less heat and to better advantage than during last session or a little prior to last session. I did not take part in the debate last session at all. Far abler men than I said all that was necessary on both sides of the House. But judging from the language then used by hon. gentlemen opposite and the opinions expressed on this side, I do not think that on this question there is a very wide gulf between the two parties. On the contrary I think that they are very close together. Certain it is that in the spring of 1909 there was great unanimity with regard to the duty of Canada in this matter on both sides. Certain it is that upon that unanimous opinion then expressed, this government took action, and that action is to be found embodied in the Naval Bill then brought down. The resolution which passed unanimously in 1909 was in general terms, and the Bill carried out fairly those general terms. And I think I may fairly say that, up to very recently, that Bill met with the approval of hon. gentlemen opposite. I base that statement on the language used by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition in this House in the spring of 1909 and at a Dominion Day banquet in London in that year, also in a.speech which he made in Halifax and which is reported in the Halifax 'Herald.' In that newspaper, the report of that speech was headed: 'Mr. Borden lifts the navy question above party.' I need not give any quotations from these speeches as they will probably be all found in 'Hansard.' In 1909 my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) likewise approved that policy, and it also had the approval of another great Conservative, a former Prime Minister, Sir Charles Tupper. These were all laymen, but the policy had likewise the support of experts of such undoubted authority as Sir Wm. White, Lord Chas. Beresford and Lord Milner and other men of that stamp. I do not think, therefore, that, apart from the question of partisanship, there is great difference between the two parties in this country. No doubt in the spring of 1909 when the motion was up there was a good deal of electricity in the air, there was a good deal of excitement not only in Great Britain but in her colonies as well, and all were more or less of the opinion that there was some real danger in the then situation. I must say that the offer of Dreadnoughts by New Zealand and Australia appealed to me very strongly indeed. There was something very spectacular in it, something that might have a great effect on a foreign

power, and I do not know* that the hon. the leader of the opposition last year went so far out of his way when he moved the amendment he did. There were certain things in it which did appeal to me, but certainly I preferred the government programme. I think I was right in that preference and I am still more convinced now than I was then.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

Let those who cheer derisively listen for a moment while I proceed. Had this House supported the amendment of the leader of the opposition last spring, I presume this country would have acted immediately in accordance with that amendment, because it called for immediate action. I presume, we would have sent the price of two modern Dreadnoughts -$25,000,000-to England. And I do not know at this moment how I could have justified such action before my constituents. There was alarm then; there was reason for some apprehension, then. But that has all, passed away now. The best authorities that I can find say that if it has not entirely passed away, it is rapidly passing away, and that the peril has been indefinitely postponed. I believe that, had that money been sent to Great Britain last spring, the only way we could have squared ourselves would have been to stir up a German invasion. Otherwise, we were giving away the people's money for no purpose whatever. This money was not to be for Dreadnoughts ; had it been for Dreadnoughts, we might have had some sort of lien on the ships providing that if there were no war we should get them back. But it was not to be for Dreadnoughts merely; it might have been spent on a naval college at Hong Kong, or for dry-docks at the mouth of the Ganges, according to the views of the Admiralty. Had we given the money in that way we should have been in rather a difficult position. I am glad I had common sense enough to support the government's measure. And, now that the danger has past, or, at least, largely passed, I do not, think there can be very much in principle between the government and the opposition in regard to the naval service. It may be thought by some that we have not gone far enough, and by others that we have gone too far. That is a matter of detail; a matter that can be remedied; but upon the general main principle that Canada should commence to construct a navy out of Canadian material we are one. For my part, I think the leader of the opposition would make the cleverest party move he has ever made during the eleven sessions for which he has occupied his high place, if he were to boldly announce the support of himself and his party to that programme. I do not think that he would to-day move Mr. GUTHRIE.

to send that money to England; I think that he sees that the occasion for it, if it ever existed, has passed. As a matter of fact, it never existed, except in the alarm which we all naturally felt. How is it that certain of the Conservative party are inclined to take satisfaction, or gratification out of the recent by-election which most people look upon as a national disaster or national calamity? Mr. Henri Bourassa has stated recently that the next election is going to be fought on imperialism versus autonomy. I believe that my hon. friend the leader of the opposition is just as strong upon the question of autonomy as is the Prime Minister and would guard our autonomy as securely as any one on this side of the House. And I believe that in his calmer moments he holds that the doctrine of true imperialism for a colony is the doctrine first enunciated by the Prime Minister and consistently carried out since he came into office. It is a doctrine which has met with approval in the British House of Commons, from the British government, from the press of Great Britain, and from individual statesmen there. I cannot do better, probably, than put on record one newspaper comment, a comment from the London ' Times ' upon that question. This doctrine of true imperialism was enunciated back in 1897, when the first preferential tariff was passed. That doctrine is that we benefit this country by benefiting the empire. The keynote of the whole administration of the present Prime Minister has been: Canada in her position as a British possession, and as part and parcel of the British Empire. Some tell us that we got no quid pro quo for our British preference, that we gave Britain our markets, and got nothing in return. Why, that is the beauty of the gift we made, that is the beauty of the policy then inaugurated. I have no patience with the quid pro quo imperialism, of the quid pro quo imperialists in this country, many of whom sit on the opposite side of this House. That true conception of Canadian imperialism which the Prime Minister enunciated in 1897 was again manifested when troops went to South Africa in 1900.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink
CON
LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

I take issue with that statement, and, in view ,of it, I make the statement which otherwise I would not have made. There was a time, in 1883, when there was an imperial demand for Canadian troops, and the Conservative government's answer was: Not a man.

But, regarding that doctrine which has been enunciated and carried out by the Prime Minister, let me place on record the opinion of so great a newspaper as the London ' Times.' This expression of opinion probably has appeared on our records, though I am not sure just at what place

it is to be found. The article was written on the occasion of a speech delivered in this House by the Prime Minister, announcing the policy of the Liberal party upon that very question of imperialism. The London Times' of March 15, 1900, contained the following:-

The results of the British system of imperial rule, as applied to territory inhabited by white races of different origin, was never more strikingly illustrated than by the speech made by Sir Wilfrid Laurier on Tuesday in the Dominion House of Commons. The speech would rank high in any assembly in the world as a model or noble eloquence, but it is not the language or act of the Canadian Premier's address which will make it live in the annals of the empire. The spirit which glows through it and the thoughts which underlie it are pregnant with great issues for England and mankind. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the French Roman Catholic Premier of a selfgoverning federation, in which British Protestants are in the majority, has expressed more faithfully and more truly than any statesman who has spoken yet, the temper of the new imperial patriotism fostered into selfconsciousness by the [South African] war.

I know that every Liberal in this House and in this country is proud to follow the lead of the Prime Minister in that respect. And I think that, apart from party considerations, every Conservative, in the bottom of his heart, would be equally glad if he could bridge the chasm of party differences and join us on this subject. The sentiment expressed by the Prime Minister is a noble and a true sentiment. What autonomy could we ask in Canada that we do not enjoy, short of separation? They may take away our Governor General; we may be left without any authority of the Crown in this country. That would be independence or something very like it. But we enjoy every' privilege we can reasonably ask for.. And now what is our duty? Our duty is to build up our status within the empire. And that is what this government has consistently been trying to do for fourteen years and with reasonable success. Under these circumstances, can any one congratulate that small body of men-among whom are Mr. Armand Lavergne my old deskmate in this House-who by misrepresentation of the grossest kind are able to impose upon the lack of knowledge in a people in a single riding of the province of Quebec and cause what is nothing short of a national disaster for the time being at all ev.ei?^s'>

But the Conservatives have rejoiced; they have cheered the announcement of that event in this House. Their cheering and shouting reminds me of nothing so much as of that cry which went up from the angry and infuriated mob in the streets of Jerusalem about nineteen hundred years ago: Give ns

Barabbas! I do not believe there i3 joy in the heart of the Conservative party except for some thought of politic advantage. On my way to Ottawa last week, I met a member of the local legislature of Ontario, a leading Conservative. We happened to mention the fact that Mr. Armand Lavergne was to go to Toronto to address the students there. He was quite candid in his remarks; he said he would be ashamed of a Conservative that could find any satisfaction in that by-election. I think lie was right. I think the Conservative party will not find much satisfaction in that election; and it would be in better form if they displayed less satisfaction over it in the House of Commons. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have spoken too long, and will resume my seat.

Topic:   ADDRESS IN ANSWER TO HIS EXCELLENCY'S SPEECH.
Permalink

November 22, 1910