November 30, 1910

CON
?

Isidore Proulx

Mr. PROTJLX.

I was at the meeting, and he did not say the Conservative party; he said the Nationalist party.

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

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

You people said the Conservatives and the Nationalists were the same. I am reading from a report which appeared in your own organ, and it says there were no less than 1,200 electors at the meeting. Let me read another report. I want to show the nature of the campaign that went forward in Drummond and Arthabaska in the very eyesight of the Prime Minister. This appears in the Montreal ' Daily Witness ' of October 29, page 3, column 5:

Drummond, October 29.-The candidates, Messrs. Perreault and Gilbert, with their 6Up-rr -ters, held two meetings yesterday, one iu I/A-*enir, and the other in Riverton. The feature of the speeches was that in the Navy Bill the Liberals declared they saw a step towards the independence of Canada, while their opponents concluded that it was a step backwards to the loss of our autonomy.

Is there any hon. gentleman on the other side of the House who will stand up and assert that he was there, and that that did not occur.

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

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Mr. BELAND.

Yes, I was present at the 1/Avenir meeting, and I spoke; and, as far as I can remember, there was no mention of even the word independence in the meeting, and none of your own friends who were there will assert it. If my hon. friend will allow me, as I know he wants to be fair-I have been told that while I was out of the House he asserted the same thing as being reported in some of the papers and as having been said at a meeting in Victoriaville. I make the same statement with regard to that meeting. I never, neither this year nor any other, neither there nor elsewhere, made any allusion to the independence of Canada.

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

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CBOTHERS.

The paper must have been mistaken. It says that both the speakers referred to the navy in the way I have shown; but it may have been only the colleague of my hon friend (Mr. Gauthier) who did so. It is not on record, however, that the hon. gentleman repudiated anything his colleagues said.

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

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CBOTHERS.

I do not know whether the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Beland) was in the House last year when the hon. member for Nicolet (Mr. Turcotte) made the speech I quoted this afternoon.

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

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

Nor do I know whether he was here when the hon. member for St. James division Montreal (Mr. Gervais) made the speech, a part of which I have read, but if he were not here, and did not hear it, no doubt he has since read it. And I would like to ask him whether on the hustings in Drummond and Arthabaska, in this House, or anywhere else, he has repudiated what the hon. member for Nicolet (Mr. Turcotte), and the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Gervais) said in this connection.

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

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Mr. BELAND.

It is quite enough for any member to speak for himself; and speaking for myself, I say that I never made any assertion in favour of the independence of Canada, or to the effect that such independence was being promoted by legislation presented by this government.

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

Gustave Adolphe Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. TURCOTTE (Nicolet).

Let me say that my hon. friend from Beauce (Mr. Beland) made an argument against independence in the speech he made in my constituency. For my part I do not see anything to repudiate in the speech I made at all. If my hon. friend will read it over he will see that I was speaking only of independence brought about in a constitutional way after friendly negotiations with England, and nothing more.

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

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

I want to be very fair, and will be very glad to give my hon.

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

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

friend from Nicolet (Mr. Turcotte) an opportunity to make a recantation of the sentiments he has uttered.

While the lamp of life holds out to burn,

The vilest sinner may return.

If my hon. friend now desires to make a recantation of the sentiment then expressed and apologize to this House and country, we shall receive him with open arms.

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

Gustave Adolphe Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. TURCOTTE (Nicolet).

I take back nothing I have said. I stand firm in the position I took that sooner or later independence or annexation will be the destiny of this country. If my hon. friend will be fair enough to look over the speech from which he has quoted, he will find that in it I said that independence, if it should come, could only come by constitutional means, and as the result of friendly negotiations with England.

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

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

And one of the constitutional means is the building of a navy. That is the very thing the right hon. gentleman himself said many years ago. Again and again he repeated that the goal of his aspirations was the independence of Canada, to be brought about in a constitutional way, of course, just as the hon. member^for Nicolet says. Does the right hon. the Prime Minister recant that now?

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
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

He does not reply. He will not say now that the goal of his aspirations is not the independence of Canada. I have heard the statement made many times that Mr. Perreault used these words : ' Our fleet is not and never will be imperialistic; it is a step towards the independence. It was made in the other chamber the other day, and has been repeated here, and I have never heard the right hon. gentleman contradict the statement that his candidate in Drummond and Arthabaska used these words. Our navy, according to that statement, is not now, and never will be imperialistic, but it is a step towards the independence of Canada. Is it unfair to assume that the right hon. gentleman saw his candidate, and talked over with him the character of the campaign to be waged in Drummond and Arthabaska? He went there and voted for him. He was challenged-so jthe report in the 'Witness' says-to meet"Mr. Bou-rassa in that constituency and discuss the question in open daylight, and he refused. But he was able to find the time to go down to Drummond and Arthabaska and give his vote. Why did not the Prime Minister himself participate in that campaign? The county of Arthabaska was his adopted home, he had lived there 40 years, he knew the people intimately, why did he not go down there and educate them if, as

they now say, they so badly needed to be educated? A Naval Bill had been passed by this parliament, perhaps the most important measure we have passed since confederation. It was being submitted for the first time to the test of public opinion, it was on trial, and every eye in Canada was looking to the people of Drummond-Arthabaska to see what answer they would give to the right hon. gentleman.

Here was a test case. And where is the Prime Minister, the father of this measure, one of the most important measures since confederation, a measure which is to be submitted to the test of public opinion for the first time and in his adopted home? He was in the vicinity, and the people of Canada looked to him. And he -I will not use a strong word-failed to appear in that constituency to father the Bill that he had fathered in this House. I am perfectly serious. It seems ,to me that he clearly failed in his duty. He must have known, as I have said, the character of the campaign that was being waged in his behalf. Did he approve or disapprove of that campaign? If he approved it, he has not been quite fair and candid to the people of Canada as a whole on this momentous question. If he disapproved of it, it was clearly his duty to go into the constituency and tell the people there that his candidate and the members of parliament and others who were advocating his cause were misrepresenting the character of the Naval Bill in telling his old friends and neighbours in Drummond and Artha-baslra that this was a measure in the direction of independence. It seems a perfectly fair inference from these facts that he approved of the campaign being waged on behalf of his candidate. Was he but walking in his beaten path of a quarter of a century in the province of Quebec, saying little himself on these embarrassing questions, but winking at the efforts made on his behalf to arouse race prejudice and smilingly receiving support won in that way? In my opinion, there is very little difference between the party heeler who wins support by such means and the party leader who' gladly receives such support. With such a campaign, the government candidate is defeated. But it is interesting to inquire, where did the hon. member for Nicolet (Mr. Turcotte), the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Gervais), the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Beland) and Mr. Perrault, the candidate, get their first lessons in the sentiments I have read to this House? Let us turn to the records:-

Canada would never consent to imperial federation, even on commercial lines alone, because the consequences would be the participation of Canada in British wars, and Canada would never consent to participate in British

wars. I hold out to my fellow-countrymen the idea of independence.

And again:-

If we are true to our record, we will again exhibit to the world the unique, the unprecedented example of a nation achieving its independence by slow degrees and as naturally as the severing of the ripe fruit from the parent tree.

With the assistance of the hon. member for Nicolet, the hon. member for St. James and the others:-

Is there a Canadian anywhere who would not hail with joy the day when we would be deprived of the services of British diplomacy? I am ready any day, whether I am charged with annexation or not, to take a Yankee dollar in preference to an English shilling. I have again and again repeated that the goal of my aspiration is the independence of Canada.

These are the words of the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) himself. If he has read sacred history with care, he has come across these words: Be not deceived, whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.' The Prime Minister had read to him in my hearing the words which I have just read, and he has never yet, so far as I am aware, recanted any of them or repudiated ally of them; nor is he prepared, as I understand it, to repudiate any of them to-day.

Well, Sir, that seems to have been the character of the campaign that was waged on behalf of the government in Drummond and Arthabaska. And, instead of taking their defeat like brave men and valiant soldiers, what do these gentlemen do? They come to this House-the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and the Minister of Marine (Mr. Brodeur)-and take up hours of our time in trying to explain to us how it all happened. And what do they say?

Let me read a few extracts delivered by the right hon. Prime Minister himself. I quote from page 58 of ' Hansard.':

That election was won by appeals so desperate, that when the smoke of battle had cleared the public conscience was aroused to shame and indignation.

If that had read that the fight put up on his behalf had roused the public conscience to shame and indignation, it would have been nearer the truth. Then the Prime Minister reads to the House statements which, he alleges, were made in that constituency to induce the people to vote against his candidate. He quotes a ' fatherless pamphlet,' and here are some of its words:

But to return to the question; when the volunteers shall have been sunk in their old tubs of war and the law shall come and claim from the mother of the family, after the sacrifice of the eldest son, that of the husband and of her last child; tell us then, Mr. Laurier, if conscription shall respect her tears and sorrow.

And again:

England has gone so far as to grind down (pressurer) the colonies as did imperial Rome of old. The only liberties which we enjoy have been snatched. England has not conquered Canada for love or to plant the cross of Christ as did France, but to establish trading posts and make money. She has sowed the world with hatred, quarrels and wars. We have had enough of England and the English.

Then we have the Minister of Marine giving us a choice morsel of the food which, they tell us, was so palatable to the people of Drummond and Arthabaska. At page 150 we have this:

The navy is a conspiracy of the British to drown Canayens. Laurier has consented after having betrayed us_ as regards our language, to man all the ships of war which we will have with French Canadians. This will take 50,000 to 60,000 men, all fathers of families or young men on the point of so becoming, who will have to go to Japan, China, or Australia, under the command of English officers, who, wishing to make our race disappear will see to it that these ships go to the bottom of the sea. Laurier has sold us to the English in return for the honours he has received, and in 25 years there will be no French Canadians left.

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

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

I am reading from a speech delivered by the hon. the Minister of Marine and Fisheries in this House, stating that somebody had made it, but he does not tell us who that somebody was. Sir, as a fellow-citizen with the people of Drummond-Arthabaska, I felt indignant at the humiliating spectacle of the Prime Minister of this great country and the Minister of Marine and Fisheries declaring to this House, and through this House to the world, that the character of their compatriots in the constituency of Drummond-Arthabaska was such that a thousand of them could be moved to abandon this government by such unmitigated trash. Mr. Speaker, I do not believe it. I think it was an unpardonable slander upon the people of Drummond-Arthabaska, it was the most unkindest cut of all. Here were the people among whom the right hon. gentleman, the Prime Minister, had gone in and out for forty years, a people who had observed his charming manner and fascinating smile, who loved him, who were proud of him, and because the people in that province, after hearing the campaign in favour of independence that I have read to you this afternoon, because his neighbours and friends in that constituency, in the exercise of their inalienable right as British subjects, chose to declare that they were opposed to the navy intended as a step in the direction of independence, that, forsooth, they are to be

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

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

told by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Marine and Fisheries that they are a class of people that can be influenced by the language that has been read to you to-day. In so characterizing those people the Prime Minister and his colleagues wrere, it seems to me, guilty of ingratitude- of all moral defects the most repulsive. No, Mr. Speaker, I choose rather to think that these people were influenced by the campaign on behalf of the government candidate in favour of the navy because it was a step in the direction of independence. Who shall say how many hundreds of them were influenced to vote against Mr. Perreault on that ground? By what rule of logic does the right hon. 'gentleman conclude that because these people voted for Mr. Gilbert, and against the man who said he was in favour of the navy because it was a step in the direct tion of independence-by what rule of logic does he reach the conclusion that these men must have voted against Mr. Perreault because they thought the British were in a conspiracy to drown Canadians? Now, Mr. Speaker, the right hon. gentleman has refused to submit the question of a navy to the people of this country. He did submit it to one constituency, under the tempter's voice, and he got his verdict. Let him open another constituency in the province of Ontario, where the sole question shall be whether or not we shall have a navy such as he proposes to-day; and I believe that in four cases out of five he would get a similar reply. Now, I think that is all I desire to say with reference to the Drummond-Arthabaska election.

There was one other question that the right hon. gentleman referred to, that was our trade relations with the United States. He told us that the question of reciprocity' was now engrossing the attention of thq people of this country. These are his words, as found on page 52:

This is the question, which in my estimation, engrosses at the present time the attention of the Canadian people, and this is the question which I think they expect to hear U6 discuss on this early occasion after the meeting of parliament.

Well, the Minister of Militia and Defence, a few days ago, was interviewed in Boston on that subject, and in the Montreal ' Herald ' of October 28, he is reported to have said this:

Any proposal the United States may make for reciprocity with Canada will^ receive careful consideration from the Dominion government; but the attitude of the Canadian people now is to let well enough alone.

* The attitude of the Canadian people now is to let well enough alone.' That is what the Minister of Militia and Defence

tells us is the situation in Canada. But the Prime Minister tells us that this is the question above all others that is engaging the attention of the people of Canada. Well, last session we remember very well that my hon. friend from Portage la Prairie (Mr. Meighen) asked the Minister of Militia and Defence whether he was in accord with the Prime Minister in his view of independence, and the minister told us then that he always was in accord with his leader. So I suppose he was in accord with his leader on the 28th of October last, and if he was, the position of the Prime! Minister at that time was that- the attitude of the people of Canada to-day on this question is to let well enough alone. Now, he comes to this House and tells us that this is the question above all others that is engrossing public opinion. Well, Mr. Speaker, I venture to think that in making that statement the Prime Minister is no more accurate in his estimate of public opinion than he was in his estimate of public opinion in Drummond-Ar-thabaska. On first seeing the report in the press that negotiations were to be opened, I took some pains to consult the people in my constituency, Liberals as well as Conservatives; and I tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I did not speak to a single man ' who had given the question any thought whatever. One of them, a very intelligent farmer and a leading Liberal, I think a granger, told me that he had been requested from Toronto to see to it that some delegates were sent from his part of the country to Ottawa to interview this government on the question of reciprocity with the United States. He told me he could not find a single man who would undertake to go to Ottawa, that they had no interest whatever, that they all said: Let well enough alone.

Then we have the Prime Minister telling us on the next page:

All our enemies and some of our friends have been very emphatic in telling us that we should have absolutely nothing to do with these American commissioners, that we should eschew them as we would eschew a pestilence.

Well now, it seems to me that the Prime Minister, in making use of such language, was guilty of his besetting sin of gross exaggeration. I do not think that there is any one who feels that way towards the matter. What is the history of our more recent dealings with the government at Washington with respect to trade relations? The hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie), the other night, gave us a short piece of history. He told us that in the year 1891 the government of that day, proposed to make a treaty with the government of Washington, and that they went to the people on that particular

question. At that time the Liberal party was in favour of unrestricted reciprocity. The Prime Minister declared that he had nailed the colours of unrestricted reciprocity to the mast of the ship of state and that he would never take them down until they should wave triumphant. Well, they came down in deep humiliation. They have not been run up since. From the year 1891 until the year 1896, when the right hon. gentleman came into power, he declared, in season and out of season, just as my hon. friend from South Wellington declared here the other day, that the reason why we did not have reciprocity with the United States was, that we did not treat the people at Washington with sufficient courtesy, that we were brusque. The right hon. gentleman, in season and out of season, made that charge against the Conservative party from 1891 to 1896. He told them that if he were returned to power, he would show them how to get a reciprocity treaty, how to get this great inestimable boon from the government at Washington. Had he not pledged himself to secure that, after the election of 1896? The hon. member for South Wellington dropped the matter when he reached 1896. I do not think that was quite fair. I think that was a very serious suppressio veri. What happened when the right hon. gentleman came into power in 1896? A joint high commission was appointed. He, with a kingly retinue of retainers, at enormous expense to this country, made several pilgrimages to the shrine of commercialism at Washington, but after these meetings, extending over two or three years, he came back and declared to the people of Canada that he had made his last trip to Washington, that he would make no further effort to secure reciprocity or reciprocal trade with the United States. Time .and time again he told us that. Well, we did not hear very much more about it. In 1892 the right hon. gentleman found fault with the Conservative party, and he found fault with it in this House in these words:-

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) no doubt would prefer an English shilling to a yankee dollar; but for my part I am differently constituted. I am ready any day, whether I am charged with annexation or not, to take a yankee dollar in preference to an English shilling.

In those days the right hon. gentleman's attachment to the British Empire was a question of dollars and cents merely. As shown by these words he was then prepared to barter his British birth-right for a mess of Yankee pottage. At that time he repeated these words:-

I have again and again repeated that the goal of my aspiration is the independence of Canada.

Well, we heard nothing more, after the declaration made by the Prime Minister that he would not return to Washington to try to get a treaty, till last winter, about a year ago, when the President of the United States sent representatives here, and said to this government, in effect : It is quite true that our tariff

against you is twice as high as your tariff against us ; still, we will raise it 25 per cent higher unless you give us an inducement not to do so. Then, we had the editor of the Toronto ' Globe,' under secret instructions from one or more members of this government, hieing off to Albany to meet the president and from that point he sent word back here, that the question was so urgent that the Minister of Finance must hurry off to Albany, and have conference with the President of the United States on Sunday and plead with him to spare the suspended big stick until he could have time to come back to Canada and get the Minister of Customs,; who knew something about such matters?-no, but the Minister of Railways and Canals. Just what railways and canals had to do with perfumery, nuts, fruit and soap was not quite apparent ; still these two Ministers hied off to Washington and there they agreed to reduce the duty on thirteen classes of articles coming into this country from the United States. The suspended big stick did not descend upon our devoted head. They came back and reported to us in this House,-and I think their courage was sublime. They tried to appear as happy as a child with a new whistle. They told us that times had

changed that there was no moTe going to Washington, but that Washington was coming to Ottawa. What are the facts? The president came over here with his big stick, and said: Bow your head, or I will crack it with the big stick. We obeyed, we bowed our head, the big stick did not come down and the Minister of Finance said: See the great

victory we have achieved! Such is the statesmanship of which hon. gentlemen opposite are so proud.

Well now, I do not think that the people of this country desired this government, as the Prime Minister says, to eschew the American commissijoners as they would eschew a pestilence. I believe the people are quite willing that the representatives of this government should ascertain from the representatives of the government at Washington what we can get, and what it will cost us to get it, and then that the question should be submitted to the people, because, prior to the last election, we were told by the Prime Minister that there would be no further pilgrimages to Washington, that there would be no more efforts made to secure a trade

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

November 30, 1910