I think that my h-on. friend from Three Rivers (Mr. Bureau) was not in the House when I explained what had occurred and what it is proposed to do. These men will train a -certain number of days each year, just as the militia train now, and then they will supplement the training which they receive on shore by training on 'board ship and for this purpose the ships -that belong to the country, ships like the Rainbow and Niobe, and ships belonging to the fishery protective service, will be used.
It is a well known branch of the training in the navy. In cases where harbours have been mined, and where there is danger of the mines being exploded by ships passing into the harbour, means are taken to what they call sweep the harbour so as to protect vessels from the danger of the explosion of these mines.
The Postmaster General has taken considerable satisfaction out of the
congratulations of the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark); but it strikes me that the congratulations of the hon. member would have been somewhat more justified had the Prime Minister shown the same courage in 1911 as he has to-night. Had the right hon. gentleman in 1911 insisted on giving his naval policy to the electors of the province of Quebec, he would not have been placed in the humiliating position of being unrecognized by his supporters and allies in that province. It is well within the memory of most men in this House that in 1911 the allies of the Conservative party in the province of Quebec, many of them its most influential members, refused to go on the same platform with the Right Hon. Mr. Borden because they did not share his views on the naval question.
It is a question whether they will or not. The Postmaster General has just told us that the naval policy of the Government was endorsed in the late election in Chateauguay. Had the Postmaster General when he was in Chateauguay during that election, proposed the policy that has been propounded to-night, and had the Conservative candidate been then returned, he would have had some justification for his statement. But during the campaign in Chateauguay last fall, not only did the representatives of the Government, from the minister down to the humblest speaker of the back concessions, not present any permanent naval policy, but the people were told distinctly by the Postmaster General that the Government would not present any permanent naval policy before it was submitted to the people. Le Devoir of the 7th of October, stated in a leading article, commenting on the Chateauguay election, that the Government could take no credit for the people having approved their naval policy, because as a matter of fact the Conservative candidate was a man of peace and had run away from the naval policy of the Government. This editorial in Le Devoir states emphatically that the Postmaster General told the people of Chateauguay that no naval policy would be entered on until it had been submitted for the approval of the people. Apparently the Government have now developed a little more courage and, as has been pointed out, they are taking another step in advance. But when the Postmaster General claims that the people of Chateauguay pronounced upon the policy of the Government
in the Chateauguay election, he is contradicted directly by his own leading organ in the province of Quebec.
Translation.) Mr. Chairman, the sight witnessed in this House to-night is of exceptional interest. How far we are from the principles proclaimed at the Lorette meeting! What a wonderful change has been wrought in the men and their views! However; as regards the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Pelletier) my surprise is not so great. The hon. minister has accustomed us to sudden metamorphoses. Like some butterflies he readily adapts his colouring to that of the meadows over which he flits.
I am somewhat more surprised at the stand of some other members hailing from the province of Quebec and especially from my district. While the hon. member for Rouville had the floor I noticed the hon. member for Montmagny suddenly effecting his exit. Is it not that same hon, gentleman who, in the early part of the session, introduced a Bill for the repeal of the Laurier Naval Act? He had made that promise to his constituents and the contents of his Bill were published in every newspaper of the province of Quebec. Unfortunately, the state of his health did not permit him to carry out his pledge, and shortly after he departed to travel over the high .seas and breathe the invigorating air of European climes. To-day he is back, we have seen him in this House a few moments ago, and now he has this rare opportunity to call on the Government to do away with every vestige of that law which he denounced in such strong terms.
All the other representatives from the district of Quebec who support the Government had also promised, and even sworn, to have that Act repealed, if their party were returned to- power. Yourself, Mr. Chairman (Mr . Blond-in), you remember that all the church steeples in your county were called to witness that this accursed Act, ae you called it, would be struck from the statute hook at the very first session following on the elections. Indeed, I remember well that you prayed at the church door of every parish in the fine county of Champlain, the patron saints of both sexes,-since the hon. ' .member for Three Rivers heard you make that same appeal to St. Genevifeve,-to esn-(lighten the electors under their protection, so that they might vote against that nefarious Act the effect of which would be to have our children butchered, for the sake of the British, in every quarter of the [DOT]world.
My hon. friend from L'Islet, whom I do not see at his seat just now, is also losing a fine opportunity of fulfilling his pledges to his electors. Great heavens, what .abundant tears did he not shed! He carried his election through blood first, last .and all the time. The Liberal party he .would say, had written a bloody page in .Canada's history, and he took the solemn .covenant to have that page torn from our .annals.
The hon. member for Bellechasse, whom I see at his .seat, is also well aware that he would never have been elected, had he not made similar promises. The same may be said of the hon. member for Rimouski: he would never have entered the precincts of Parliament had he not taken the same solemn pledge.
We have now reached the third .session, and as yet nothing has been done. And what do these hon. gentlemen say in the province of Quebec to excuse the apathy of their Government? They say the Laurier Act is not repealed, but it is practically a dead letter in the statutes and we have not carried it out.
Let the hon. gentleman who has just said 'Hear, hear', get up, .if he dare, and assert that the Order in Council creating a naval reserve is not *based on the Laurier Act and even does not exceed its provisions.
The hon. Postmaster General, though he .was far from favouring the Naval Bill of *1910, seemed to rejoice over the statement *made by the hon. member for Rouville that .the Government, in passing that Order in .Council, had given effect to that Naval Bill which he had so mercilessly condemned. The hon. Postmaster General is making a grievous mistake. That Order in Council goes a good deal farther than the Naval Bill of 1910. There is nothing in that Act to justify this paragraph of the Order in Council, dated May 18, 1914:
2. The naval volunteers, if called out in the event of an emergency, will be required:
(a) To serve in the vessels of the Naval Service of Canada or in those of the Royal navy; [DOT]
I challenge the world to find a paragraph, a section, a single word, in that Act of
1910 that warrants the provision in the Order in Council which I have just read.
The hon. Prime Minister has made fun of those who speak of autonomy. Has he forgotten that, of his supporters in this House hailing from the province of Quebec, not one was elected in 1911 as a Conservative, hut all of them as autonomists. Not one of them acknowledged the right hon. Prime Minister as his leader. All are aware of it. They repudiated him on every husting and refused to appear by his side during the electoral campaign.
The hon. Postmaster General contends that the leader of the Opposition in this House voted last year for the establishment of two naval units, one on the Atlantic and the other on the Pacific. The hon. gentleman well knows that it was not the right hon. leader of the Opposition who then had in hand the destinies of the country. A Bill was introduced. toy the Government providing for the expenditure of $35,000,000 to build three dreadnoughts which were to be handed over to the British admiralty.
The stand we took -was that if we were bound to disburse that money we preferred applying it to the creation of a Canadian mavy destined exclusively to the defence of Canada and the protection of Canadian interests. In other words, we contended, and we still contend, that it was preferable to spend our money in the country rather than send it over to Great Britain. We do not regret that stand, and we are Toady to compare it before the people with that of the Government, so soon as an occasion offers.
I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if the sarcastic references of hon. gentlemen on the other side, when speaking of the Niobe and the Rainbow, wiill he reiterated by them after the establishment of that naval reserve. These two velesels will be used for the training and drilling of the men whom the Government is going ,to enlist under that Order iim Council.
I say, in conclusion, that the Government has by its action justified and vindicated the stand taken by the right hon. leader of the Opposition, in respect to that naval question. It is also the condemnation of the campaign carried on in the province of Quebec by his opponents, and the supreme humiliation of those who were returned as a result of that campaign. Their course in this House has been in open
contradiction to the views they advocated with .such violence.
I do not hesitate to say that the statements made and the stand taken by the Postmaster General to-night are marked by a show of political cynicism which has no parallel in the history of Canada,
I want to call attention to a sentence made use of in 1910, which seems to be in line with this discussion. The hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) stated that the Niobe and the Rainbow were not intended to be used as fighting ships, merely as training ships. The questions that suggest themselves to my mind are these: Why were they training ships? What was the object in training men? The reason I ask these questions is because of the words made use of by the right hon. leader of the Opposition when he was introducing the Naval Service Bill in 1910. At page 1733 olf ' Hansard ' of January, 1910, you will find him using these words:
No man in this country, under the Naval Service Act or any other, will he liable to military service on the sea.
Why the training ships? For what purpose are the men being trained? The right hon. the leader of the Opposition says to-night that the former policy on this side of the House was ' ships without men,' and now it is ' men without ships.' I might refer my hon. friends opposite again to the words used by the right hon. leader of the Opposition himself in introducing the Naval Service Bill:
No man in this country, under the Naval Service Act or any other, will be liable to military service on the sea.
I am surprised at the question of my hon. friend. The explanation is the same as if he were in England. He knows that there are men there who are trained for the service; he knows there is no compulsion, and that' every man who goes on board a ship does so voluntarily. It will be the same thing in Canada as in England.
I understand that a man who goes on board a ship for naval training signs up for a certain length of time. In the event of war, during the time for which he had signed up, would he be free to step off the ship, or would he have to serve?
surprised at my hon. friend's question. Every one knows that every volunteer, whether on land or on sea, binds himself for a certain number of years to obey the command, whether it comes from the naval or from the military authorities.