March 2, 1911


Ottawa, January 17. 1911. Mr. Speaker, I submit, in view of the disclosures made in that correspondence given to the public in January last, it ill becomes the Minister of Justice to suggest to a layman like my hon. friend from Digby (Mr. Jameson), that he peruse the oral argument. That letter, which was written under such painful circumstances, forced with great regret and reluctance from the man who was charged with preparing the case for His Britannic Majesty, was evoked, no doubt, by the fact, that the minister had gone up and down this country, speaking before the Canadian Club, before the Bar Association, in this House on December 2, last, and in Halifax, during the Christmas holidays, lauding men who were not entitled to his laudation, paying tribute where it was not due, heaping encomiums upon men who were not worthy of them. It was under circumstances such as these that this letter was so . reluctantly and painfully given to the press of the country in self-defence by one man who had contributed more than all others combined to such success as we may be able to gather from the award- that that tribunal handed down last summer. It does appear to me that the Minister of Marine and the Minister of Justice might very well have so arranged their case as to have submitted the case of His Majesty's subjects in the Bay of Fundy to that tribunal. There is no doubt that under the first section of the treaty of 1908 which was solemnly entered into by the United States and ratified by the Senate such questions as our rights in the Bay of Fundy were intended to be dealt with. It was not legitimately possible for the United States Senate to insert that rider excepting the Bay of Fundy from the operation of this award. The minister should have stood by the people of this country and by the rights of the fishermen of the North Atlantic coasts of Canada. But, Sir, there were contingencies, the minister has served some considerable time in the public life of this country. I suppose he was looking forward to the time when he would be retiring from public life, and when , this rider was introduced into the .agreement by the Senate of the United States, and it was submitted to the Minister of Justice he as the man who was responsible as he told us to-day, only to the imperial authorities, agreed to it; but, Sir, we had then the first opportunity in our diplomatic relations since confederation of asserting our colonial rights and the minister who was there for the purpose of protecting those rights, lamentably failed in preserving to the people of the maritime provinces the fishing rights which belonged to them in the Bay of Fundy, and it is due to his utter disregard of these rights that the Bay of Fundy was not described in the



award as territorial waters. The minister could have submitted in reply to the resolution brought down in the Senate of the United States that he was not prepared to leave this question affecting the Bay of Fundy open for years to come, he should not have permitted this question, which has been an open question since 1818, to go unsettled. As the price of meat goes up in the United States and Canada, fish is becoming more and more a staple article of diet and the fisheries of the North Atlantic coast of Canada are becoming more valuable every year. We will never be able to preserve those fisheries in the Bay of Fundy in these modern days of steam trawl unless we assert our rights and treat the Bay of Fundy as territorial waters. The Minister of Justice had the opportunity of doing this but he comes home from the Hague and seems to feel quite satisfied with the result as indicated in the conclusion of his speech before the Ontario Bar Association when he said: [DOT] I am sure we on our part, with our fellows in Newfoundland on their part, will loyally submit to and support the decision where it is against us; and I am sanguine to believe that with equal loyalty the decision will he supported in the United States upon the points which may seem adverse to them. I think that this world-wide and more than century long difficulty which undoubtedly on more than one occasion ha.s brought the two great Anglo-Saxon nations to the very verge of war itself, has been definitely and finally settled, and I welcome the view that there is at least an end to this long difference and a great step forward taken in the work of international arbitration which looks to the day of universal peace. (Great applause.) I wish to say that the fishing rights of His Britannic Majesty's subjects in the Bay of Fundy according to the minister's own statement to-night are exactly no more and exactly no less than they were before the agreement was entered into which submitted the questions under consideration to the tribunal at the Hague in June last. It was clearly the duty of the minister to have replied to the Senate of the United States that he would not entertain the arbitration of these questions unless the Bay of Fundy were included in the reference. We all know very well how cases are brought before tribunals. If in any British Court of Appeal counsel cannot agree on the questions which are to be submitted to the tribunal, the court may be moved to come to their assistance and adjust the questions between them, and so the minister in this instance in answer to the proviso that was inserted in the Senate of the United States could have said: No, we will not arbitrate the remaining coast waters except the Bay of Fundy, but will submit the whole case and leave it to the tribunal to say whether or not we have such Mr. MADDIN. rights in the Bay of Fundy as entitle us to have them defined. He could have appealed to the very tribunal constituted for that purpose and have had that tribunal fix the case in spite of the Senate of the United States, because the Senate of the United States had already affirmed a treaty for the express purpose of dealing with such questions as arose in the Bay of Fundy. Why did he not do it? It is said of Sir Charles Tupper that when he was Minister of Marine and Fisheries on one occasion on which negotiations were being conducted at Washington, when Mr. Joseph Chamberlain was associated with him as His Majesty's representative from England, when the British diplomat tried to make concessions which Sir Charles considered unfair to Canada, Sir Charles returned to his hotel, asked what time the train left for New York and Ottawa, ordered his trunks to be packed and said he was leaving in the morning. This brought them to time, they came down and suggested that he remain, they modified the question involved and the negotiations were carried on. The Minister of Justice owed it to the fishermen of eastern Canada that he should have backed them up rather than submit the people of this country to the humiliation and the shame of having left unsettled and undefined the rights of His Britannic Majesty's subjects in these coast waters. He was looking into the near future when he was about to retire from public life. Does he realize that if there was no arbitration there would be no knighthood, and that there should be an arbitration in any event; that if sacrifices were to_ be made in order to bring about the arbitration it was as well that the sacrifices should be made against the fishermen of eastern Canada, and that those of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick might as well make the sacrifices as any other of His Majesty's subjects. So I submit, Mr. Speaker, that in the presence of the diplomats of the United States and of the plenipotentiaries and ministers who -were gathered at the Hague, it must have humiliated the people of Canada to realize the fact that such important rights as we have in the .Bay of Fundy would go undefined and unsettled now for a period of ninety-three yeans, that they should remain in the same position as they were ninety-three years ago, and that, after a tribunal had been especially constituted to determine and define those rights. The minister will never again in his public career have an opportunity of having those rights defined. The Hon. Amos Tuck, in the House of Representatives in the United States, said that it was only force that -would keep the United States fishermen out of the Bay of Fundy. Was the minister afraid of this veiled threat on the part of United States diplomacy in 1852? Why Sir, if our rights in Canadian waters are to be dealt with in this light, if they are to be sacrificed in such an indifferent way as this, if the United States can come in under a pretense of right and exercise fishing privileges in our territorial waters, foT well nigh a hundred years, and if we are to stand by and permit them to enjoy those privileges without protest, we had better destroy our armies and navies and use our money for some moTe peaceful purpose. For what object are we spending $20,000,000 a year for a navy and $800,000 for agriculture, if our rights in the fisheries of the Bay of Fundy are to be set aside, notwithstanding this treaty, at the instance of the Senate of the United States? Evidently the Canadian navy is not exciting the American diplomats to view with any dismay any consequences that might arise from the assertion of British rights in the Bay of Fundy or they would not probably have insisted on the withdrawal of the Bay of Fundy from the matters which were to go before the tribunal. On motion of Mr. Brodeur, debate was adjourned. On motion of Mr. Brodeur, House adjourned at 11 o'clock p.m.



Monday, March 6, 1911.


March 2, 1911