Mr. E. PAQUET (L'Islet).
(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, agriculture is the corner stone of our national fabric. On its prosperity depend the welfare and happiness of the various classes of society. Indeed it is incumbent on me to thank my hon. friend from Kamouraska (Mr. Lapointe) for having once more drawn the attention of the hon. Minister of Agriculture to the need of establishing experimental farms in the province of Quebec.
The establishement of an experimental farm in our region is necessary to ensure agricultural progress. I firmly hope that the hon. Minister of Agriculture will ask parliament to grant in the course of this session a vote sufficient to provide our province with those agricultural establishments which are necessary to its development.
Last session, I requested the government to appoint a French-speaking commissioner from the province of Quebec to the board of management of the Intercolonial. I do not see the necessity of repeating the arguments set forth in my request of January 14. That request is a fair one and in accord with the spirit of the constitution. Therefore I beg insistently of the right hon. gentleman that he bring about that reform in the near future.
Allow me, at the same time, Mr. Speaker, to request the right hon. gentleman and the hon. Minister of Agriculture to appoint a French-speaking commissioner to the census board in view of the work which is to he carried on next summer. I submit these requests in the name of equity and justice.
Mr. Speaker, I take the floor to support the amendment introduced by the hon. 7i
member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) and which reads as follows:
The House regrets that the speech from the Throne gives no indication whatever of the intention of the government to consult the people on its naval policy and the general question of the contribution of Canada to imperial armaments.
That request, Mr. Speaker, not to ignore the verdict which has been rendered a few days ago in the Drummond and Arthabaska election, has also been put forward by my hon. friend the member for Quebec county (Mr. Turcotte), who had the honour, at the close of yesterday's sitting, to address the House and whom I regret not to see in his place just now.
With your permission I shall read the words of the telegram which he sent to the 'Montreal Star' on November 4, 1910:
It is impossible to say what appeals made to the electorate most influenced it or what effect the result will have on the country at large. The people have spoken, however, and the government cannot ignore their verdict. It may well be that the ministerial navy policy may have to be modified. At the same time it must be remembered that the two candidates are both liberals.
(Sienedf J. P. TURCOTTE.
I read this message, Mr. speaker, in order to fully satisfy the House that, not only on your left, but on your right as well, there are representatives of the people who are desirous that the government should not ignore the verdict of November 3, 1910. I did not think last session that I would be doing my duty if I approved of the naval policy of the government without beforehand receiving a mandate from the people to that effect. Neither would I think that I was fulfilling my duty if in the course of this session, without such a mandate, I voted the amounts required to carry out that policy. _
In view of the charges of a -most malignant character aimed at the sincerity, the patriotism and the loyalty of the advocates of autonomist ideas, I think it necessary to assert with the greatest energy that on the hustings, as well as in this House, I am guided by the spirit of our constitution, our traditions, and the rights of the people. In discussing this important question of the war navy, i bear in mind a principle inscribed in the works of the fathers of confederation: ' Canadians for Canada
under the aegis of the British flag.'
In the course of the election in Drummond and Arthabaska, I refrained from considering and discussing the question of the war navy from the viewpoint of provincial, racial or sectional interests of any kind: I discussed that important question solely from the viewpoint of Canadian interests. In the hope of hiding from the country the true causes of their defeat of No-
vember 3, the advocates of a war navy *charge us with having secured that brilliant victory in Arthabaska by appeals to prejudices which Quebec would entertain against 'the other provinces and against Great Britain. In the latter part of this great contest, I was proud to do my utmost in favour of the people's rights, defended with such patriotism by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mt. Monk). I would not appeal to the feelings of the people; I have a higher conception of my duties as a member of parliament. I appealed to the good sense, the intelligence, the reason and judgment of the electors.
On Novemebr 3, the right hon. gentleman consulted the electors of the great constituency of Drummond-Arthabaska. He had expertly chosen the battle ground. Moreover, the voters of that constituency belong to either of the two great races which are working together to further the progress of Canada. The people have given an eloquent reply, in a Liberal stronghold, wherein the Prime Minister enjoys the personal friendship of a large number of electors. My eloquent friend from Beauce (Mr. Beland) made yesterday a complaint which must have had a disagreeable effect on the right hon. gentleman. They had not, he said, had time to fight it out. I am at one with my hon. friend from Beauce in protesting against the shortness of the time assigned for the contest. My friend from Beauce had a bitter pill to administer and he forgot the sugar-coating. He may be pardoned for it, being a physician. The Liberal candidate, Mr. Perreault, is highly considered in that constituency. The most eloquent and courageous fighters in the Liberal ranks went into the fray with much vim and confidence of victory. The hon. Minister of Marine was on the spot, and was not, the Liberal army under the command of an eloquent and strenuous fighter, the hon. Solicitor General? Did we not meet there the hon. members for Temis-couta, Kamouraska, Dorchester, Beauce, Saint-Jean-Iberville, Hochelaga, Maskin-onge, St. Mary's, Berthier, Prescott, L'As-somption, Megantic, Richmond, Bagot, Joli-ette, Richelieu, Chicoutimi, Quebec, Montcalm, Yamaska and St. Hyacinthe. It would be insulting these men to suspect them of not having done their duty. They have preached the gospel of the Liberal party from the beginning to the end of the campaign. That army of Dominion parliamentarians was surely capable of crushing the members for Jacques Cartier, Terrebonne, Champlain, Soulanges and L'Islet. Certainly, however, the people would not consent to it. Did not the right hon. gentleman do his duty at the Liberal convention? He has done his duty, and so also have the people. Defeat has been the result of the efforts of our ministerial friends, be-Mr. PAQTTET.
cause they had refused to consult the people. And to-day instead of abiding by the result as courageous men should do, they can only utter words inspired for spite.
For six years past I have been the victim of appeals to race feeling in the constituency which I have the honour to represent. At large popular meetings electors were warned not to vote for me, seeing that the leader of the Conservative party is an English-speaking Protestant. I have not mentioned the fact until to-day for fear of putting in a bad plight fellow-citizens who worked on poplar feeling for the sake of votes. How can ministers of the Crown decently charge us with being demagogues and of appealing to race prejudices when one of their organs, ' Le Soir,' published the following on June 18, 1896:-
Why should we be required to fight for England ? Electors should bear in mind that the conservative leaders who purchase these rifles are not those among the Canadians who will be sent out to fight; no, it is your children who will be enrolled and sent out to Africa or Asia, whence they will never return. . Vote for Laurier and his candidates, if you wish the country to continue enjoying its present state of peace, and if you do not wish to be shipped abroad some fine day, torn away from your wives, your children and all that is dear to you.
Did not the hon. Minister of Marine speak in the following terms in the House of Commons in April, 1896:-
We have over and again been told that in the event of a war taking or Canada being invalid, we could rely on Great Britain's protection, and that the only ground for not severing the colonial tie was, that should international difficulties arise, we might rely on England's strong arm. Now, sir, I am sorry to hear under the circumstances, that the government, for the purpose of arming the Canadian militia have made their purchases not from private contractors, but from the War Office in Great Britain, and that we are asked now to foot the bills. Is that the protection we have been promised by Great Britain? Is that the position in which we stand as a colony?
Has the hon. minister the right to denounce appeals to race feelings? I find fault with the advocates of the war navy in my province for not giving due credit to our forefathers as regards the acquirement of the privileges which we enjoy nowadays under the constitution. Speakers have been abused for expressing the belief that Canadians had taken a hand in conquering the franchises which we enjoy. 'Ire they not as justifiable for doing so the right hon. gentleman?
In 1907, did not the right hon. gentleman speak as follows in the city of Ottawa?
If we look over the treaties, from that concluded in 1783 to that concluded in 1903,
we have no reason to be particularly satisfied of the treatment received by Canada at the hands of the British plenipotentiaries. We are obliged to own that John Bull has not always done his duty towards his Canadian children.' In the month of September, 1907, at the manufacturers' banquet, did not the right hon. gentleman sneak as follows : ' We consider what
British diplomacy has done for Canada, and we find that it amounts to a succession of sacrifices of Canadian interests.'
In the course of the election campaign in Drunnnond-Arthabaska, the advocates of the autonomist views took their inspiration from the St. Eustache resolutions; resolutions full of feelings of the noblest loyalty towards His Majesty George V. towards the British crown and the British flag; resolutions pregnant also with feelings of respect for the rights of the people. Such are the noble resolutions which have been adopted, not in the course of tumultuous assemblies, but at meetings wherein the people realized the greatness of their rights and responsibilities.
For the benefit of those who believe, or who pretend to believe, that we scored a victory on November 3, by means of appeals to race feelings, I may read the following from ' La Presse,' of Montreal. 'The opposition which is asserting itself on the part of a considerable portion of the province of Quebec to the establishment of a war navy, may be more or less warranted, but it is a mistake to say that it is based cn race feeling. We find in our province, and in the other provinces as well, a number of Canadians of British ori-. gin who show still greater hostility to that same proposal.'
These words taken from a newspaper which has just been the recipient of special communications from the right hon. gentleman, are absolutely true.
Before taking up another matter, I may be allowed to quote the following extract from the 'Weekly Sun,' of Toronto, at the date of November 9, 1910. It will be seen that the advocates of the autonomist view cannot be accused of isolating Quebec; it will be seen that the obloquy aimed at us by the advocates of the fleet is not warranted: *
There can be no mistaking the meaning of the vote so far as the province of Quebec is concerned. What Drummond and Arthabaska' did on Thursday the whole province of Quebec would do to-morrow if opportunity offered. Nor is Quebec isolating itself from the other provinces in so doing. A few weeks ago, E. M. Thompson, formerly chief editorial writer of the ' Globe,' made a personal canvas of the feeling among farmers in a typical section of rural Ontario and his report on his return confirmed to the full what the ' Sun has said from the beginning-that agricultural Ontario is overwhelmingly against the
Naval Bill and the whole military movement. With the Naval Bill as the one question submitted the result in Drummond and Arthabaska could be repeated in any rural riding in Ontario. This is not, as the ' Globe ' and the government appear to believe, because of lack of understanding on the part of electors -because the situation has not been explained to them. It is because the electors do understand, because they are utterly and unalterably opposed to the introduction here of the burdens and hates which are cursing the old world that the masses of the Canadian people feel as they do.
It is not with a view to vindicating myself that I take the floor: I am not guilty.
I would consider myself so, had I voted in favour of an Act which will cost enormous sums to Canada, without knowing beforehand what was the opinion of my constituents.
I blamed and I blame once more the advocates of a war navy for having stated that the cost of such a fleet would be 15 millions when they are very well aware that such an amount would be barely sufficient to build 11 warships. They are well aware that there is never any stop in the expenditure for building or repairing warships; they know that the life of any of these ships, like our own, is very short, and liable to suffer in many emergencies; they know that our naval expenditure will be (calculated not upon our numbers, our riches or our trade, but in such a way as to meet the needs of the empire. They are well aware of the persistent increasing rate of military and naval expenditures.
Were the liberals sincere in 1896 when they took exception to an expenditure of $2,i36,000 on militia? What have they been doing? Have they not themselves in the course of last session asked for a vote of $6,898,000 towards the militia? We have just learned from a British officer that it is to be re-organized. How much shall we spend in the future for militia purposes? I have spoken the language of sincerity and truth when I stated to the electors of Drummond-Arthabaska that our naval expenditure would increase in the same way and in the same proportion.' I have taken lessons from history. The British naval expenditure in 1870, amounted to $48,000,000, while in 1910 it aggregates $200,000,000. The naval expenditure of the United States in 1900, amounted to $55,000,000, while in 1909, it reached $121,000,000, and in 1910, $133,000,000.
All great countries have carried to completion their works of public utility before engaging into these military and naval expenditures which are ruinous to them. Was it disloyal to repeat to the electors of Drummond-Arthabaska the following wo~rds uttered by the distinguished representative of the Yukon, on March 29, 1909:
If we start at present into any vast naval or military outlay, we shall so impede our growth that in the course of a very short time we will be of much less assistance to the empire than if we permitted our country to advance and prosper as she is doing now.
We are a young country; we have immense resources to develop. Is it fair to adopt a policy which will hold us responsible towards foreign nations for any pledges given by Great Britain? Was it a crime to recall to the electors of Drummond-Artha-baska the following words of Sir Charles Tupper:
I for one think that no contribution towards the maintenance of the British navy and army forthcoming from Canada will accomplish more for the defence of the empire than the way in which public funds have been applied with that object in view in Canada.
I have blamed the government in the course of the electoral campaign for setting aside our constitution when disposing without the consent of the people of our earnings, of our ships, of our seamen, in connection with the wars of the empire. Under the constitution of 1867, we have the right to establish a naval service for the defence of Canada. The British North America Act is the sacred arch of our liberties, our rights and our responsibilities. It was granted by the imperial parliament, sanctioned by Her Majesty Queen Victoria. As long as the pages of the constitution are left entire I remain loyal to His Majesty Geoige V., I remain loyal to the British crown, while defending Canada, while conserving it for Great Britain as my forerunners have done at the cost of their life; but, at the same time I remain loyal to the constitution and to the British flag when refusing to mix up Canada with Great Britain's foreign policy without the people having consented to it.
I stated to the electors of Drummond and Arthabaska that it would be deceiving oneself to believe that we shall be free to keep aloof from Great Britain's wars at large. Let us bear in mind the words of Mr. McKenna, first lord of the British Admiralty: ' It has been recognized by the colonial government that in time of war the local naval forces should be under the general control of thj Admiralty.'
I pray my good friends on the other side of the House, who have been skirmishing with me in the course of the recent election whether they actually stated to the electors of Drummond that our fleet would inevitably be part of the Imperial navy in times of war, according to the very words of Mr. Fielding. Have they contradicted the utterances of the minister?