April 10, 1915

APKIL 10, 1915 SUSPENSION OF LIQUOR MANUFACTURE.


On the Orders of the Day being called:


LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

I have received a number of resolution^ from different bodies in the province of Nova Scotia asking for a suspension of the manufacture of liquors during the war. Has the right hon. the Prime Minister received a copy of any of these resolutions; and, if so, has he any statement to make?

Topic:   APKIL 10, 1915 SUSPENSION OF LIQUOR MANUFACTURE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I have received a number of such resolutions from Nova Scotia, and I think from other parts of the Dominion, but at present I have no statement to make on the subject.

Topic:   APKIL 10, 1915 SUSPENSION OF LIQUOR MANUFACTURE.
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REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.


The House proceeded to consider a message from the Senate relating to the joint Address to His Most Excellent Majesty the King, praying him that he may be graciously pleased to give his consent to submitting a measure to the Parliament of the United Kingdom to amend certain provisions of the British North America Act, 1867.-Sir Robert Borden.


?

Right Hon. S@

This order relates to a matter

that was under consideration by-this House and by the Senate last session as well as this session. The resolution which was passed by this House on both occasions prayed that certain amendments should be made to the British North America Act, 1867, by which a new division or district for the purpose of representation in the Senate should be constituted by the four western provinces of Canada, and that each of these provinces should be represented in the Senate by six members instead of the number that is now assigned to each of them. The address also prayed that the British North America Act should be amended by providing that a province shall always be entitled to a number of members in the House of Commons not less than the number of senators representing such province. The address passed the House of Commons unanimously in 1914 and also passed the House of Commons without dissent when it was introduced a few weeks ago. In 1914 the Senate modified the resolution by a certain provision which declared that the Act should not take effect until the termination of the now existing

Parliament. For reasons which I then communicated to the House, and to which I still adhere, I asked the House not to concur in the amendment which the Senate proposed, and this House, without any dissent whatever, concurred in that view, and a message was accordingly sent to the Senate, who adhered to the opinion expressed in the message which they had sent to us. So the question dropped at the last session.

The matter now under consideration is a message from the Senate in which they propose an amendment almost but not quite in the terms of their amendment of last year. They propose to add to the resolution a section to be number 3 in the amended Bill, which is as follows:

The first section of this Act, paragraph 1 to G inclusive, shall not take effect until the termination of the now existing Canadian Parliament.

The difference, if there be any difference, between the amendment proposed by the Senate last year and the amendment which they now propose is that the postponement affects the number of senators in the western provinces but does not affect the proposal in regard to the representation in the House of Commons. As I have already said, I adhere to the views which I expressed in this House and elsewhere as to the action of the Senate last year being undesirable and without good reason; but it seems apparent that the majority of the Senate are determined to insist upon the postponement which they desire, for a very obvious reason. Under the circumstances, as it seems impossible to get desirable and necessary legislation passed without an amendment which we think entirely unnecessary and to a certain extent obstructive, I am disposed to accept the Senate amendment; and therefore I move:

That a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that this House cloth concur in the amendments made by the Senate to the joint address to His Most Excellent Majesty the King, praying that he may be graciously pleased to give his consent to submitting a measure to the Parliament of the United Kingdom to amend certain provisions of the British North America Act, 1867.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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Right Hon. S@

My right hon. friend has just stated that it is with some reluctance that he has agreed to the amendment which was suggested last year and renewed this year by the Senate. It is with some reluctance also that I agree to the motion that we should accede to the amendment made by the Senate, not, however, for the reasons which have been

stated by my right hon. friend, but for another reason-because the Senate this year has incorporated in the resolution another amendment which was not in the resolution of last year, and which is to this effect:

Nothing herein contained shall affect the powers of the Parliament of Canada under the British North America Act, 1867.

By this amendment the powers which are conferred upon the Canadian Parliament by the Act of 1886 are continued. Without this amendment I apprehend that the Act of 1886 would not have been kept in force. The Act of 1886 is very wide in its terms, and in some respects, however useful it may be, in my opinion it goes further than it should go. The Act of 1886 provides for admitting new provinces into the Dominion and also for giving representation to the territories which have not yet been organized as provinces. To this I have no objection at all; but it has always seemed to me that the powers which were conferred upon the Parliament of Canada are altogether too great in that the Act puts no limit whatever upon the discretion of Parliament as to the representation of these territories in the Dominion Parliament. By the terms of that Act, no limit is put upon the number of senators and members who can be given to the territories. It would seem to me, then, that the representation which was given to the territories in 1887 was altogether out of proportion to their actual population. In this respect the Act has always seemed to me to be deficient, and as this deficiency is continued in this legislation, in my judgment the Senate has taken some responsibility upon itself, which for my part I would have been disposed to dispute. But still, as my right hon. friend has said, this is a matter upon which we cannot all have our own way, and I am disposed to agree to the resolution.

To the other part of the resolution to which my right hon. friend has just agreed I take some exception, and I certainly object to the insinuation-I emphasize the word-which he made when he said that the Senate added the paragraph to which we are now agreeing " for obvious reasons."

I do not admit that there is any occasion for such a slur-if my hon. friend will pardon me the expression-upon the Upper Chamber. It has been intimated in the press, and I think my right hon. friend rather conveyed the impression also, that the amendment of the Senate would post-

pone the appointment of senators until after the next election, implying that if there were a change in the verdict of the people the appointment of senators would be by the incoming Administration. Such is not the case. The appointment can be made immediately after dissolution, as my right hon. friend well knows, and there is therefore no necessity of postponing the appointment of the six senators until after the general election. The object of the Act that we passed last year was to increase the representation of the House of Commons in the new provinces, and it seemed to me reasonable that the representation should be increased in both chambers at the same time. This view was taken by the Senate, and I think everybody must on reflection agree that there is a good deal in favour of it. However, this is an academic debate, because, after all, both parties have agreed to the resolution and it will become law. The position of the Government is not in any way prejudiced; they can make the appointments as soon as Parliament is dissolved.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. ROBERT ROGERS (Minister of Public Works):

Seldom, if ever, in the

history of this Parliament, for the forty-eight years of its existence, have the elected representatives of the free people of Canada been faced with a more humiliating condition than that which faces us to-day, in the consideration of the message from the Senate now before us. The position is humiliating, Mr. Speaker, beyond description, by reason of the fact that although we are elected representatives of the free people of Canada we are not to be allowed to carry out our form of democratic government under our own constitution and our own law, by reason of the action of the Senate. That means, if it means anything, that our constitution and our law are to be set at defiance to suit the purposes and the will of the majority of the Upper Chamber, which, I presume, is in keeping with the principles which my right hon. friend, the leader of the Opposition, represents. Our constitution has been approved, as hon. gentlemen well know, times without number by the Canadian people; our constitution carries the stamp of the approval of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain as well, and under that constitution we have laid down for our guidance the form under which senators are to be appointed. Let me say to the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) that his statement of the representation in both

Houses should go together is not in keeping with the law and the constitution of our country. Under our constitution, there is provided in section 51 of the British North America Act the conditions under which this Parliament is to have its representation re-adjusted at certain specified times. Under clauses 24 and 25 of the British North America Act the Governor General, with the approval of His Majesty, under the great seal of Canada, has the right to name who shall be appointed to the Senate and when they shall be appointed. But, Sir, the message from the Senate which we are obliged to accept to-day, places at defiance that law, and places at defiance the right of the Governor-General, with the approval of the King, under the great seal of Canada, to make appointments to the Senate, and for no other purpose save and except the purpose of advancing the principles which hon. gentlemen opposite represent in this country. In order to do this the Senate has set at defiance the free will of the Canadian people.

The right hon. gentleman has stated that the insinuation of the Prime Minister with respect to the upper chamber was uncalled for. But what are the facts? We had before us a year ago in this House of Commons the question of the redistribution of seats, and while we were considering that measure we were told in the most explicit and express terms: that if a satisfactory arrangement were arrived at in respect to redistribution of seats in the House of Commons, -the proposals for increased representation in the Senate would be agreed to, or otherwise it would be opposed. The manner in which we carried out the arrangement for the re-adjustment of seats in the House of Commons is within the knowledge of every member of this House. It is well known that we carried out that redistribution in an honourable and creditable manner. We on this side of the House took the ground that there never was a time in the history of this country when we were afraid to meet the free will of the people upon any fair redistribution of seats. That was our position then; that is our position to-day. We yielded liberally and generously to the wishes of hon. gentlemen opposite in respect to the redistribution of seats, but they failed to carry out their part of the contract. The leader of the Opposition kncws that the Prime Minister trusted hon. gentlemen opposite; trusted them that good faith would be kept, but good faith was not kept, and good faith is not being kept to-day.

These are- the conditions of which we have to complain, because, when my Tight hon. friend states that the representation in the upper Chamber and the representation in this Chamber should go hand in hand, he takes an entirely different position from the one which he took last year when this matter was under consideration; for when the message came back from the Senate last yeaT, my right hon. friend said that appointments to the Upper Chamber bore no relation whatever to the election of members to this Chamber. He said also that the majority in the Upper Chamber were unable to give any good Teason why they were taking the course which they did in defeating the will of the Canadian people as represented in this chamber, and this is the stand which my right hon. friend and every hon. member sitting behind him took in this House last year when they sent that message back to the Senate unapproved. He said further:

Appointments to the Senate have no necessary or appropriate relation to the date of the election of members to serve In the House of Commons.

In respect of certain of the western provinces the proposed increase of representation in the Senate has relation solely to the result of the last decennial census, which result has been ascertained.

The said amendment is inappropriate and incongruous.

No sufficient reason can be adduced for the delay effected by the said amendment.

This was my right.hon. friend's position last year, and we would like to know why he has changed and why he to-day approves the action of the majority in the upper chamber in setting at defiance the law and the constitution of this great Dominion?

We have heard something in this House about German autocracy. If in this Parliament and out of it we have condemned what we call German autocracy, we have done so because of certain statements and certain actions of the Emperor of Germany; and as far as I have been able to learn, no statement ever made by the Kaiser of Germany has been more strongly condemned by the people of the United Kingdom than the one he made about a year ago when he attended the launching and christening of one of his great battleships, when he used the following words:

The ocean teaches us that on its waves and its most distant shores no great decision can be come to hereafter without the consent of Germany and the Kaiser.

In that strong statement the Kaiser was willing to acknowledge the support and the

rights of Germany herself; but what have we in our own Canadian Parliament? We have a condition that outclasses the autocratic rule of the German Emperor himself, because we have here the action of the upper chamber which, in dealing with this matter in defiance of our laws and constitution, which provide that representatives are to be appointed from time to time to the Upper Chamber upon the recommendation of the Governor General approved by the King and under the seal of this great Dominion, says that notwithstanding that we have observed this provision, the great seal of Canada, the Governor General and the King must not be allowed to carry out the provisions of our constitution because the upper chamber believe that in this matter there is a political advantage to a party in this Dominion. It is a sorry condition for the people of this Dominion. But we are told that there is a time when that autocracy may be abandoned. My right hon. friend has told us this morning that that day and that hour will come with the dissolution of this Parliament. His declaration means that until then we cannot under our constitution carry out our form of democratic government in Canada, and that we are unable to give effect to the free will of the Canadian people by reason of the action of the Upper Chamber. Is it, then, any wonder that the cry comes, from every individual that one meets and that understands the conditions, in tones louder than thunder, demanding that this Parliament be dissolved and that the rights and liberties of the people of this Dominion be granted to them under our form of democracy, and that that form of democracy be restored to them?

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

Is there any public reason why the vacancies now existing in the Senate have not been filled?

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

None whatever.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

I would like to have an answer to that question if it can be answered.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I will give an answer to my hon. friend presently.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Edmonton):

It is not often that the Minister of Public Works favours us with such an outburst of oratory as he has done on this occasion, and I am sure we all appreciate very much what he has said.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I hope you will also profit by it.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

We will profit by it in due course. It almost strikes one, in view of the appeals which my hon. friend has made to the spirit of democracy and the suggestions which he has given of the necessity of an appeal to that democracy at an early date, that something has occurred that, in his capacity as minister of elections has struck him near the solar plexus, and has caused the outburst we have heard. My hon. friend's complaint I understood to be addressed rather against this side of the House and the leader of the Opposition. May I suggest to him that his complaint was not properly directed; that it should have been directed against the fathers of Confederation, who were the parties guilty of establishing the conditions which he finds so objectionable at the present moment. If we have not now in this country that democracy for which he cries, it is because the Fathers of Confederation saw fit to constitute a Parlia-cries, it is because the fathers of Con-should have certain established authority.

My hon. friend's complaint is that one of these bodies has exercised the authority with which it is vested. I am not at the moment going to question whether the fathers of Confederation acted wisely or unwisely; whether their establishment of the Senate, with its authority, was in the interests of democracy or not, but I do say that the Senate was established for certain definite and special reasons relating to the government of this country, and that unless there had been a Senate with such authority as has been given to it and with such authority as it has exercised, there could not have been any Confederation. Because the Senate has exercised its authority within the limits which are constitutionally unquestionable, my hon. friend declares not that he proposes to move that the Senate be abolished; not that he proposes that this bar against the full exercise of the privilege of democracy shall be removed, but that the leader of the Opposition has, in some way, controlled the Senate and caused it to stand in the way of the realization of my hon. friend s proposals. That is a matter which he must settle with the Senate in due course, and with the people of Canada in due course. Every senator is appointed under certain specific rights and privileges, and no body of men exercising authority in this or any other country is so absolutely independent of any possible outside influence as is the Senate of Canada. When my hon. friend suggests that the majority in the Senate of Canada are under the direc-

tion of anybody else, it is because he. and they are like-minded in regard to what is right and what is wrong. When my hon. friend, in the exercise of his authority, because he has a parliamentary majority behind him, undertakes, in the slang of the day, to put something over the people of Canada, and finds that he cannot do it, he rages and blames the leader of the Opposition. Let him blame his proposals, which do not appeal to the minds of the honest men who at the moment constitute the majority of the Senate.

My hon. friend said something about Kaiserism; that the Senate is another Kaiser. My hon. friend objects to the exercise of constitutional authority sanctioned by the wisdom of the- men who framed this Confederation; he protests against the exercise of that right in the interests of the people of Canada. I ask, who is the Kaiser, the Senate, acting within the authority of the constitution, or the Minister of Public Works, making a demagogic speech in this Parliament declaring against the constitution? If my hon. friend believed what he has said, then let the Prime Minister amend the resolution that he proposes to this this House, and move for the abolition of the Senate and for the establishment of authority only by this House of Commons. That will show whether or not my hon. friend believed in what he said- It is not satisfactory that he should declare that the people of the West have been robbed of their rights because the Senate did not agree to the proposal of the appointment at an improper time of an increased number of representatives. My hon. friend cannot justify that argument so long as the vacancies in the Senate, which he has a right to fill, remain unfilled. The people of the West are entitled to their rights under the constitution; they claim that and nothing more. If we get our senatorial representation at the same time as we get our parliamentary representation, we certainly shall be very well satisfied.

My hon. friend has had something to say about the honesty and fairness of the Government in regard to redistribution. Admitting, if my hon. friend likes, that the Government have been honest and fair; admitting that they have provided a fair and reasonable Redistribution Bill, is that any more than the Government ought to do?

Is that any more than the

12 noon peopl i of Canada have a right to expect at the hands of the Government? Surely it is not necessary to

*~147J

claim that in order to get justice at the hands of the Government as to the redistribution of seats in the House of Commons, it was necessary to have an understanding as to some action that would be taken in the Senate. Surely nothing of that kind was necessary.

I. am not so sure that there is good ground for the claim that my hon. friend has made as to this redistribution measure being very fair. I think I can produce members of Parliament who are thoroughly satisfied that there was a full intention on the part of the Government majority on that Redistribution Committee to butcher their chances of election.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I do not believe the hon. gentleman can.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I think I can; I think I can find one right here now who will stand up and give my hon. friend the information.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Bring him up.

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN SENATE AND HOUSE OF CMMONS.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF B. N. A. ACT.
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April 10, 1915