January 28, 1916

THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.

ADDRESS IN REPLY.


Consideration of the motion of Mr. Alfred Thompson for an address to His Royal Highness the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, resumed from Thursday, January 27.


CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. BURNHAM (East Peterborough) :

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to detain the House farther than to make a protest in the name of the young men of the country, and, if I may so presume, of the people generally, against the conduct of the members of this House who are endeavouring to stir up party acerbity, party hatred, and all the contemptible politics which attach themselves to the prejudices of party politicians, especially at this time.

I am shocked, Mr. Speaker, indeed, I am terrified, to find this Hou-se being turned into a political shambles. I do not purpose to excite further controversy by saying which side is to blame; I leave it to an impartial public to judge when they have understood thoroughly how this debate was begun, -and how it has been carried on. Some time ago I noticed that there was gradually arising in the party press a feeling of disturbance which boded no good to this young country at this crisis in this historic struggle. For a time such papers as the Hlobe maintained their mental equilibrium. They protested against the idea of an election, and everybody that I know joined them in the hue and cry to stop those people who would sacrifice the

well-being of the country for the spoils of office, or even the remote prospect of them.

Now, however, I find the scer^e is transformed. I came to this House filled with the ardour of the men from the country who have been working with their political foes, shoulder to shoulder, in a united spirit, harmonious, strong. We had forgotten the question of politics; we were not thinking of politics; we were thinking of conquering the Germans, of standing true to Canada and to Canadian manhood now sacrificing itself so nobly in the trenches. We find the women of Canada working might and main. They have dropped their tea-tattle gossip for a time; . they have ceased to transport even with the charm of dress; they have got down, if I may use the phrase, to their knitting, and are working hard, night and day, for the purpose of providing comforts for the men at the front. Speaking more particularaly for my own constituents and the district I represent, I was amazed, charmed, delighted and elevated in spirit by the unanimity of feeling and of thought prevalent in that district-. 1 was more than charmed to find, not that it was rent in twain, not that it was being disturbed, not that it was being poisoned, but that it was [DOT] growing in strength and beauty from- day to day. I had to come to Ottawa to le.arn that the whole business was a fraud. I had to come to .this House to find that the poison which would destroy the life of this country was being distilled in this very Chamber. I turned in amazement to look at the record, and I found the noble words of the right hon .the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), which should have given the keynote to the whole discussion and the future conduct of the members of .this House. In that short war session which followed the declaration of hostilities he said:

This session has been called for the purpose of giving the authority of Parliament and the sanction of law to such measures as have already been taken by the Government, and any further measures that may be needed, to insure the defence of Canada and to give what aid may be in our power to the Mother Country in the stupendous struggle which now confronts her. Speaking for those who sit around me, speaking for the wide constituencies which we represent in this House, I hasten to say that to all these measures we are prepared to give immediate assent. If in what has been done or in what remains to be done there may be anything which in our judgment should not be done, or should ba differently done, we raise no question, we take no exception, we offer no criticism, and we

shall offer no criticism so long as there is danger at the front.

That statement thrilled Canada. It also assured to the Government the steady and honest support, as one might reasonably suppose, of the Opposition. But whatever has got into them I am sure I do not know. It seems all to have turned .to poison, and now even the journals at large are attacking the individual members of this House. Even the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Graham), a man who, I believe, devotes himself heart and soul with a single mind to the advancement of this country, is treated dike a common felon. On February 8, 1915, we find in Hansard these remarakable words of the right hon. the leader of the Opposition:

Let. me say at once that we who sit on this side of the House, and who represent His Majesty's loyal Opposition, took our course at the outset of hostilities when we declared that we would support the Government in their war policy.

Then, a little farther on:

But whilst we are prepared to believe, as indeed we do believe, that mistakes have been made in the manner in which the money has been expended, that errors of judgment have been committed, of those mistake's and of those errors of judgment we are not disposed to be critical. .

It would be hardly possible to expect that in the case- of the expenditures of some fifty million dollars no mistakes would arise; n is perhaps more than we can expect from human nature; but we cannot close our eyes to the fact that not only have mistakes been made, but frauds have been committed which have resulted in injury to the health of our troops, and impairment of _ their efficiency. These frauds have been regarded as so gross and so criminal that the Minister of Militia himself, not more than two or three weeks ago, stated, not once but three or four times at different places in the country, that if he knew the nian who supplied the boots, which have been the cause of so much disease, and sickness, and suffering to our soldiers on the Plains of Salisbury, that man would deserve to be shot. The honour of the minister is at stake, and so is the credit of the country. It; is not impossible to discover the responsible parties. Up to the present the minister [DOT] is responsible, and it is for him to take the necessary measures to vindicate himself. We have been told that a commission of three members has Iron appointed by the Government to investigate this particular matter, and not later than ten or twelve days ago it was stated that the minister himself, not satisfied with this inquiry, had instituted a departmental investigation to ascertain the true facts. I do not know if this is all that is intended to be done by the Government; but let me say that the fullest light should be thrown upon' th's matter, so that the people of Canada, may know where the responsibility lies. No member on this side of the House intends to be critical, and for my part I certainly have no

such intention; but assuredly we are all gravely concerned that the health and comfort of those brave men who are risking their lives in the cause of the Empire shall have every protection that we can afford.

We have there the very .best keynote to the proper conduct of an Opposition, or, indeed, to the conduct of the people of this country in general. But we have witnessed, during this past week, an extraordinary transformation. The hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley), skilful and serene as he is, has not hesitated to lay a train that would destroy the Government by a terrible explosion if he could so arrange it. He has been followed by the hon. member for Carleton, N.B. (Mr. Carvell), who in turn has mlatrshalled all the vitriolic sarcasm amd invective he could possibly think of, and has blown it, like the German gas, at the Government side, in order, if possible, to asphyxiate them before they could arise in in their own defence. Then, we, have a Daniel come to judgment in the person of the hon. member for North Cape Breton (Mr. McKenzie), who, with all due respect,

Sir, did himself little credit in an hour's speech that really would not have done credit to a child in the nursery. I listened patiently for one solitary noble thought, knd really it was an extraordinary performance when you think of it. He said:

I realize that in rising in my turn to address the House I am taking a great responsibility, although that respons bility may not be of my seeking.

Who, then, is responsible? Certainly he did not sound as if he were at all responsible. But when I quote his words I ask; Who, then, is to Re considered responsible? The leader of the Opposition had turned in his seat and was listening to him and looking at him with amazement. Nevertheless, the hon. gentleman contrived to say things ' that in no way could be considered as decent, let alone conciliatory.

But I do charge,- he says,

in the presence of the Prime Minister, who !is a Nova Scotian of whom we are proud, that in the county of Halifax, where I hold him responsible for the patronage, the vilest sort of Ipartisans are put at the head of battalions,

*in the highest positions that they can be given.

No proof is offered, and what time, pray, is this for proof? Is this not a debate on the Address in reply to the gracious speech from the Throne? Every suggestion is connected with an investigation.. Who has denied that there may be an investigation? Who has pretended that he will set aside the rules of the House and that whatever

may be done, or may have been done, shall not be referred to the committees that are constituted for the purpose of investigating? Nobody. Not a single soul has said: H there are frauds or shortcomings, if there 'has been misspent money, the thing shall not be investigated- That is not denied at all. No one pretends for a moment that "these things will ndt be investigated. The *cold fact is that for some reason, that used ito be occult but that is no longer so, the 'Opposition are bound to get this stuff before the country. What their purpose is the country is beginning to divine; and the Lord help them when the country gets hold of them! Then this Daniel come to judgment says further on:

But the government of which he is a member,-

He refers to my hpn. friend the Minister of Militia and Defence (Sir Sam Hughes), a man who surely has borne the burden and heat of the day, a man who has been able to gather together nearly 250,000 Canadians who hardly knew the meaning of war before, who has despatched them to the front, who lias provided them with such materials of war that, coine what may, bad as some of it may have been, they nevertheless have been able with it to do themselves and the Empire the greatest possible credit. Is there, in these speeches, one word of commendation from beginning to end? None. These gentlemen are not large-hearted enough to give a member of the Government credit for one single good act. Are we to understand that all that has been done is as nothing, and that some little trifling charge, which may or may not be true, and wlhich yet, in the words of the leader of the Opposition, may, in the weakness of human nature, be to some extent true, is to be a ground for condemnation? Is it possible that the Minister of Militia and Defence, that the Minister of Finance

tMr. Burnham.]

things of war, to which they are devoting their thoughts at the present time, but (gainst each other, and that Canada will be irretrievably ruined. If this ruin should befall iher, who is there who will deny that the cause will lie at the door of a recreant Opposition?

But the Government of which he is a mcm-iber,-

says the hon. member for North Cape Breton, referring to the Minister of Militiahimself and the whole outfit,-*

That is a patriotic reference, surely !

-if I may use the expression, will learn, not 'many days hence, that there is a people in this country and that it is the people that speak.

Why these- promiscuous and repeated threats of an appeal to the people? For what purpose are we to be threatened with an election in the very midst of a war which, gives no sign of a settlement, and which will strain our resources and energies to their utmost? This conduct is without parallel on this earth. In no other country will you meet people so utterly devoid of patriotism as to seek to make .political party capital at the expense of the good name of their country. A little further on this gentleman says:

I said, Mr. Speaker, that I was going to put to you, in the form of a few questions, certain propositions that came before the Minister of Militia and DefenCe in regard to the running of his department. After he had received the warning which I read a moment ago he was asked by his party heelers: " Can we send the soldiers to the trenches with improperly made shoes, practically with paper shoes, and with bare feet?" The answer was: " So far as the department is concerned, yes if you can make money out of it, and can conceal it, I have no objection."

What could have induced any respectable man to utter such a sentiment as that in this House of Commons of Canada, where he is supposed to represent a portion of the people? Throughout what may, perhaps, in a spirit of extravagance, be dignified as that speech, we . find the same thing from beginning to end. Not a word of commendation or a word of credit, but everything that is calculated to infuriate the Government side of the House ahd have the effect, if possible, of turning this House into a seething cauldron of riot and discontent, to be paralleled possibly only by the naval debate of a few years ago, when the people at large got the idea that we had suddenly turned this House into a raving lunatio asylum.

I wish to warn these gentlemen. The Grain Growers' Guide says:

There are too many men in the front rank of the Liberal party of Canada to-day who have absolutely no conception of the true principles of liberalism and democracy.

For once I agree with a western man. Again, I find in glaring type on the front page of the Citizen this morning, " Election talk being revived." My heart sinks within me.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

Of course, you do not wonder, being like-minded with the rest. There is nothing surprising to hon. gentlemen opposite in the fact of election talk being revived, for they all expected it; but it is a surprise to the Government side oi the House, and it certainly is to me. It is most deplorable. If there is one thing likely to minimize the value of our energies at this time in the carrying on of the war, it is the reviving of election talk. In the Free Press the other day I saw another complimentary reference to the Conservative party. It said, speaking of the caucus:

The consensus of opinion on this point was that, while it might not look well to refuse an investigation, still if an investigation were- allowed by the Committee on Public Accounts there might be disclosures which would be even more injurious to the interest of the Government.

There is your malicious innuendo. There is a lie in cold type. No one of us ever said or thought of any such thing. The truer spirit, to be found in the better part of the Opposition, is contained in the speech of the hon. member for South Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll) last night. He was trying to work himself up into a becoming fury, but he could not do it. His heart is too honest to vibrate responsively to any such appeal as is being "made. He said:

Now, to-day is it or is it not the duty of rthis Government to investigate the charges that have been made? I do not say they are true.

All the diatribes of the gentlemen about him had failed to convince him that there was a particle of truth in these charges, and I am sure I do not wonder at that. Further on he says:

, i hope, Sir, for the honour of Canada, foi tthe honour of this Parliament, and for the honour of these gentlemen who occupy these positions in the Government of to-day, that an [investigation will be granted. If there was no wrong-doing, no harm is done; if there was wrong-doing, it will he corrected and righted, and the people of this country will see that

tthe public men on both sides of this House are willing to do right and not shield the wrongdoer, be he Conservative or be he Liberal.

Are we to understand that on such a flimsy excuse as this hon. gentlemen would hurry us in Canada to the brink of civil war? Would any man with a clear sense of duty presume to say that he was not committing a crime, let alone a wrong, in seeking to inflame the members of this House and the peole of this country? Whether there is anything in these charges or not, hon. gentlemen opposite want the Government to promise that the charges will be investigated before the extension measures come up. It is hardly likely that the Government will do such a thing as that, because if the life of Parliament is not extended they could not carry out such a promise; but if the term is extended they can and must, and certainly will do it. It is therefore the duty of the hon. gentlemen opposite to vote for the extension measure first, and after that will come the realization of their hopes. For my part I would be quite content to allow a few choice spirits, of the Opposition to remain here for the rest of the year if they -want to, taking note of all the graft, of -which I regret to say my countrymen are sometimes capable. Let us agree on some margin of depravity. Let the maTgin be whatever you like, as the leader of the Opposition has said, hut for God's sake let us set our faces towards the rising sun some time, and let us not always be turning our backs on every bright prospect, in order to glory in the ruin and depravity of our country. It is not that spirit which actuated the men who went to the front. They went there trusting we were fair and square and honourable men, who might be left to garrison this country and look after the base of supplies. They had no idea that the little game of politics was being played, and that on the very first measure, so to speak, brought before the House, there would be a prolonged debate of the most acrimonious kind. Why do not hon. gentlemen opposite say, in the words of their leader, that whatever faults or frauds may be committed they will suspend judgment till the proper time. Now is not the proper time to fight this matter out. Why do gentlemen opposite.not lend us a hand? Ido not say that the Government is infallible: they may have made mistakes: but I have yet to find any minister condoning in the slightest degree fraud or anything of that kind, or refusing to give any official record

and every explanation of any record asked for. I believe in my heart that this Government is absolutely honest. I am not prepared to say why, because I do not care to dig into the motives of any man. But, whether it be from a natural impulse or from necessity, I believe that it is absolutely honest and that everything done on its part has been correct. What representative of a constituency will say that he has not had some narrow escapes from even the rascals in his own party? What representative of a constituency can say that some of the things he has had to do or to leave undone might possibly require invidious explanations, if not worse, were it not for the fact that it is not within the power of men sometimes, limited as they are by the usages, the regulations, the customs of Parliament and parliamentary procedure, to rectify those wrongs? They have to grin and bear in silence, and thank fortune that they are not successfully pilloried in the outcome. But no margin or allowance is made for all that. Condemn " the whole outfit." A man.who at one time I understood occupied a position on the bench of this country condemns this Government at the very height of this crisis as an " outfit," and he is not ashamed to use the word.

I want to warn hon. gentlemen against the very serious damage which they are doing to recruiting. When men go out and speak heart to heart with their countrymen upon the necessity of going to war, when they may be met by the statement: "You are a lot of political sinners; you are a lot of political'rascals; the Opposition at Ottawa say so "-what hope is there for that union in which is strength? What hope is there for the carrying out of the magnificent scheme conceived and managed by the Minister of Militia? There is a danger in all this that is so imminent and so great that sometimes I feel as if it would be impossible for me to describe it. There is not this danger in Great Britain or in Australasia. The people of Australasia are bearing their burdens and some grievous disappointments with a dignity and a patience which do them so much honour that not only do we admire, but we wonder; and when we turn our gaze back upon Canada and find that we are at the mercy of a lot of political tricksters bawling for an election, really it makes my heart sick. The impression of all this upon recruiting will be bad; throwing the apple of discord amongst the people of Canada will be worse; but the impression made upon our enemies will be a thousand times more detrimental to us. Instead of a united and cheering House of Commons,

ignoring the shortcomings, the depravities, if you like, of the members of the Government, we have men sulking in their tents who cannot find it in their hearts to force their tongues to utter one syllable of commendation. A boast was once made of a truce. Why, the truce has been torn to pieces long since. It -was evidently initiated and concocted only as a pretense, and it has barely served that purpose. It has long since been thrown to one side. Has a member of the Opposition uttered the word "truce" this session? Not one. Truculent they are, but as for a truce, hon. gentlemen opposite do not want one.

The other evening, in listening to some of the remarks of hon. gentlemen opposite, which made me for a time low-spirited at the prospect before me of a disunited and a frenzied Canada, I thought, "can there be something else that is disturbing these gentlemen? Is it that the prohibition resolution is bothering them and they want to get to the country to avoid it for fear they may lose Quebec and irritate Ontario? And yet I said to myself, cold water could not have that effect. Possibly there may be prospects in that regard." But I will not transgress; I will stick rigidly to my text; I will not throw one particle of suspicion on the Opposition; I will not insinuate nor use innuendoes; if I have anything to say about the Opposition I will say it as straight and as clear as I know how. Hon. gentlemen opposite cannot accuse me of doing otherwise. Last night the debate, if it may be so designated, ran into all sorts of channels, into the little byways, the eddies, up the little streamlets and into the foul waters. Amongst other things, the Prime Minister was charged with having agreed to give Mr. Armand Lavergne and Mr. Bourassa positions in the cabinet. These gentlemen opposite have pointed with pride, and reasonably so, to the success of the right hon. the leader of the Opposition in harmonizing the discordant elements in Canada. Why should no credit be given to the present Prime Minister of Canada for gathering in Jew and Gentile, bond and free, Nationalist and Liberal, and anything else, and blending them into one harmonious whole? We read in the Scriptures that the stone that was once rejected has become the very greatest in the building. Repentance never should convict. There is no Nationalist in the Conservative party. If any man was a Nationalist at any time before he entered the Conservative party, when he entered that Conservative door he

left all Nationalism behind him. There is not one of them who does not deny that he is a Nationalist; they all say that they are Conservatives. Then I say: give the Prime Minister that which is his due, which you would certainly ascribe to the right lion, leader of the Opposition; give him credit that the has, with an iron hand, with a strong, firm grasp, with a dignity and a gentleness which blend so well, taken the erratic elements of our population and spanked them properly into line, put them where they belong, and where they are turning out to be some of our best citizens. When we have had another term of office, possibly there will not be a single Nationalist left in Quebec. Even the wildest and most disloyal of them will find that in the Conservative party there is not only strength and reason, but that patriotism which is an unction and a holy Oil to all reasonable souls.

On December 4, 1912, in the session of 1912-13, the following question was put by Mr. Lemieux and answered by tlhe Prime Minister:

Mr. Lemieux: 1. Is the right hon. the Prime Minister aware of the statement made by Mr. Armand, Lavergne, ex-M.P., at a meeting held in the county of Quebec on the 1st of November ult., , and reported as follows in the Montreal Star of November 2, 1912:

" Then Mr. Lavergne proceeded with Ids version of how the Prench-Canadian members ot the Cabinet had been selected by the new Premier after his victory of last fall.

" The first names proposed," Mr. Lavergne said, "were those of Messrs. Monk, Tellier ana myself. I declined th is offer of a portfolio In the Cabinet, and at Mr. Pelletier's request, I did my best to make Mr. Monk accept him in my place. He objected at first. Mr. Forger at the same time was working in favour of Mr. T. Chase Casgrain, but I refused to agree to that choice. ,

" It seemed understood then with the Premier and Mr. Monk that Mr. Pelletier would be the Quebec representative in the Cabinet. Later. I learned that Mr. Borden's intentions were to have only two French-Canadian ministers in his Government, and It was at this juncture that I went to Montreal on a special train, paid for by Mr. Cahan, to impress Mr. Borden with the necessity of following the tradition, giving three Franch-Canadian representatives in the federal Cabinet, which point we finally gained."

2. Is the above statement true?

Mr. Borden :

1. No.

On the same day the following question was put and answered by the Prime Minister, as reported at page 589 of Hansard of 1912: .

Mr. Lemieux:

. 1. Is the right hon. the Prime Minister aware

[DOT]of a statement by Mr. Armand Lavergne, ex-

M.P., at a meeting held in (the county of Quebec of the 1st of November ult., and reported as follows in the Montreal Star of November 2, 1912: .

" Mr. Lavergne made the affirmation that before entering the Conservative government Mr. Monk had received the assurance from Mr. Borden that a plebiscite would be taken before any kind of contribution to the British navy should be decided upon. The Prime Minister also promised his colleague that the Government would do something, Mr. Lavergne did not say what, for the Catholics of Manitoba and Keewatin. It was because Mr. Borden failed ito carry out these pledges that the Hon. Mr. Monk sent him his resignation."

2. Is the above statement true?

Mr. Borden: No.

I trust, therefore, that those who created the little scene last night, trying at a late hour-it was half-past eleven-to cast on the Prime Minister in his absence the odium of having given way to Bourassa 'and Lavergne, will now repent it and acknowledge that when I said these statements had been contradicted by the Prime Minister, I was right.

Other questions were asked in connection with this matter and were answered, but it is unnecessary to go over these also;

I 'have given only those that arose in the debate. I saw in the newspapers a short time ago what was, possibly, a reprint of these things, though I took it to be a report of an interview with the Prime Minister. But it is unnecessary to quote that;- the questions and answers quoted from Hansard are sufficient. And I am glad indeed-if there is still anybody who doubts the stand taken by 'the Prime Minister-that this question has arisen, because the matter is so easily, so completely and, I may say so, opportunely, settled.

In conclusion, let me once more appeal to these gentlemen. If this agitation is for an election, say so and in God's name let us go to it and work it out before the country is Tuined; if it is not for an election, drop it, and let us do what we can for the men at the front.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Kamour-aska):

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend from West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) opened his address with very strong words, but those words were fully justified by the speech of the hon. member for Frontenac (Air. Edwards) last night. I have no fault to find with the tone of the remarks of my hon. friend from West Peterborough. Strong as those remarks were at times, they were certainly a great improvement .on tlhose of the hon. member for Frontenac. I hope to refer in a later part of my ad-

dress to some statements which the hon. member for West Peterborough has made.

I do not think I should have taken part in this diefoate, had it not been for one or two remarks made by my hon. friend the Postmaster General (Mr.v Casgrain) in the very able speech he delivered in this House on the 18th January. Some parts of that speech ought not to be left unanswered, and this duty is made still more imperative by editorials which have been published in the leading Conservative organ of the city and district of Quebec which is supposed to reflect the ideas and opinions of the Postmaster General. Those editorials threaten the members of this House and the electors of Canada with an immediate dissolution of this Parliament and a general election unless we, the representatives of the people, agree to sit still and content ourselves with registering the wishes of my hon. friend and of the Administration. To this I do not intend to submit, and never shall. The policy of the rulers of the country dining a great national crisis is not their private property, and the people are entitled to discuss it and judge those who nre responsible for it.

With that part of the speech from the Throne relating to the effective participation of Canada in the great war which Great Britain and her Allies are now waging, I heartily agree. All the measures that can be necessary to sustain the honour of Canada and protect the most saored interests of our country, should be taken. It seems to me, however, that the figure of 500,000 men is rather large and will be very difficult to reach, though I would not like to use the language of the Toronto Saturday Night and say that it is a " somewhat hysterical figure."

With regard to the financial requirements, under the circumstances, our duty, difficult as it may appear, is to grant all the money that is asked for by those who are entrusted with the responsibility of national defence; but we must require, as we have done before, a proper, effective and honest use of the sums placed at their disposal. We owe that to our countrymen who have left their farms, offices and shops in answer to the call of the Government and the country. It is our duty to see that they are provided with the best military training, with the best military organization, with the best military equipment; and we should not be fulfilling our duty, were we to agree to a general conspiracy of silence and refuse to expose wrong-doing or to investigate the acts and

omissions of those who are responsible to this Parliament for the military operations of the country. I believe that the interests of the Canadian people must be placed over and above the tranquility of the Government. Our share in the present conflict we must accept not only with a high sense of duty, but in a generous and cheerful spirit. It was .said last week in the other Chamber, .as an argument against our making further and larger sacrifices to help the Mother Country in this war, that Great Britain was somewhat responsible for the war, and was to be blamed for not having declared

herself earlier in favour of the Allies. Quite naturally, those words were severely criticised, and Conservative newspapers like the Toronto News and the Toronto Telegram have tried to throw the responsibility of Senator Choquette's speech on the Liberal party. But Senator Choquette has always been opposed to the policy of the Liberal party with regard to naval defence and the participation of Canada in any war undertaken by the Empire. In 1911, his speech in the Canadian Senate against such a policy was circulated and distributed in every home in the constituency of Kamour-aska, which I represent, and which is a part of the division which my hon. friend Senator Choquette represents in the Senate; and the Conservative party paid for that'circulation. Sir, nothing could be more at variance with the facts than the statements of my hon. friend Senator Choquette, which I have mentioned. It is true that the British statesmen endeavoured strenuously to avoid a conflict and to preserve the peace of Europe. To the very last Sir Edward Grey tried everything that might call a halt. As late as. July 31, 1914, Sir Edward Grey suggested to Germany that the four outside powers should unite in suggesting to Austria that they would undertake to see that she obtain a full satisfaction in her demands upon Serbia, provided that these demands would not impair Serbia's sovereignty and the integrity of Serbia's territory. Under date of August 1, he wrote to the German Ambassador as follows:

I fully believe that It might be possible to secure peace if only a little respite in time can be gained before any great power begins war.

On July 30, Sir Edward Grey replied to the proposition from the German Government that England should remain neutral, under the condition that Germany should not annex any of the territory of continental Prance. I shall quote only the last part of that reply-and I commend these words

to the attention and admiration of the Canadian people, and more especiallly the people of my own province:

It would be a disgrace for us to make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France

a disgrace from which the good name [DOT]of this country would never recover.

On August 2, war broke out between Germany and France. On August 3, the German troops invaded Belgium, in defiance of the protests of the Belgian Government. The British Ambassador then demanded his passports, and on August 4, war was formally declared between Great Britain and Germany. In the face of these facts, how can any hon. gentleman say that Britain should be held responsible in any degree for this horrible war?

When, on July 30, it became apparent that France could not avoid a conflict with Germany, many people in my own province, especially those who could remembeT the dark and painful days of 1870, were watching with anxiety wthat Great Britain would do. During these days of expectation feelings of uneasiness were expressed in many quarters. Would England stand aside and let Germany crush Belgium and invade France? Finally, all efforts towards the securing of peace having failed, the voice of Britain was heard on the side of right and justice against might and tyranny. A feeling of relief was experienced everywhere; enthusiasm replaced anxiety, and from that day, Mr. Speaker, I have favoured and supported all measures that would help the Mother Country in this war. I have supported them as a national duty and as a profound expression of gratitude.

I believe that if England had refused to declare herself in favour of the Allies and to unite her efforts with those of Belgium, France and Russia, many of 4 p.m. those who now criticise our participation in the war would have raised indignant voices against the attitude of Great Britain.

I claim that under the circumstances, notwithstanding what has been said elsewhere, the province of Quebec has done her duty. Her people have contributed their full share, and they are still willing to contribute their full share. But there is a certain subject upon which I must speak frankly-though I should not like to hurt anybody's feelings. Our people resent very deeply the aspersions and the insulting remarks of a certain press. The hon. member for Frontenac, whom nobody in this country will accuse of being too'

broadminded, and who seems to be unable to deliver a speech in this House without directing a few mild and tender words to the unfortunate province of Quebec, was more prudent in his remarks yesterday, although there were some insinuations which he could not help indulging in. Certain articles which have appeared in Ontario newspapers have been a far greater obstacle to recruiting in Quebec than all the speeches of the gentlemen who are denounced and branded as traitors t>y the same press. Let those Ontario journalists apply themselves to their own shortcomings.

I believe-and I am glad to see that my opinion is sharbd by such a newspaper as the Ottawa Citizen-that the field for reform in their own province is wide enough to require all their activity and to satisfy their eagerness to work for the common good. I do not object to some people having a very high estimate of themselves-there have been such people since the days oi the Pharisees; but I protest against the unjust, inaccurate and odious comparisons which they are trying to make. Again I repeat that those charges and insinuations in the Tory press of Ontario have hindered the work of recruiting in Quebec to a far greater extent than all the speeches of the Nationalists who are opposed to Canada's participation in this war.

Having referred to the Nationalists, allow me to make a few comments on an incident which occurred recently. The people of this country have been aroused by certain words uttered by Mr. Armand Lavergne in the Legislature of Quebec. Only yesterday I read an article in a newspaper which demanded that poor Lavergne be court-martialled and shot with the least possible delay. I think the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) went almost that far last night. Well, I am not here to defend Mr. Lavergne. His words should have been left unsaid, and it is to be regretted that in this Dominion such statements should have been made.. But, Sir, to those who have been so>

highly scandalized over this matter, let me recall that, unfortunately, similar and even worse statements were made only four years ago by certain hon. gentlemen who were friends and associates of Mr. Lavergne, and who were subsequently rewarded by the present Administration. Some are occupying the highest positions at the disposal of the Government, in the judiciary and elsewhere, and at least two of them are on the Treasury benches,

38U

members of the Government which is entrusted with the sacred duty of supervising the participation of 'Canada in this war. Yes, Mr. Speaker, and the financial means for the carrying on of their nefarious campaign were supplied, and as my hon. friends from Quebec on this side of the House know only too well, abundantly supplied, from the treasury of the ultraloyal party in Ontario. I have a right to say these things. You are assailing the Nationalists who are outside of the House; I wish to include in the reprobation those who are inside, and those who are members of the Government. Here let me state to the credit of my province that she did her duty nobly in spite of that violent and demagogic campaign. In spite of the money provided by the Tory loyalists of Ontario, she elected thirty-eight Liberal members, pledged to stand up in this Parliament and vote for a Canadian navy and for the voluntary acceptance by Canada of her share of the burden in time of danger, whenever the Mother Country should be called upon to fight for the rights of the oppressed- .arud the liberties of the world.

The right hon. leader of the Government has called to his councils some of the leaders of the Nationalists. Mr. Lavergne has even stated that he was invited to accept a portfolio. Let me remark in answer to my hon. friend from West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) that the statement which Mr. Lavergne has, made time and again is that he was offered a portfolio, not by the Prime Minister, but by the late Mr. Monk. That was the statement he made when the regretted Mr. Monk was not -alive, and it has never been contradicted. We have had successively in the Government -Messrs. Pelletier, Nantel, Coderre, and the present Secretary of State (Mr. Blondin), and the present Minister of Inland Revenue (Mr. Patenaude). Would you like to know, Mr. Speaker, what the relations of those gentlemen were with Mr. Lavergne? I will take the words of the most prominent of them, the former Postmaster General of this country, and for a time, too long a time, the high executioner of the Government. Here are the words he uttered at St. Gregoire on the 18th of September, 1911. I quote them from L'Evenement,. the great Conservative journal of the city of Quebec. In order to he more accurate, I will read them first in French, and then translate them into English:

Le peuple vous aime Lavergne, parce que vous 1'avez aim6. Bourassa et vous avez ecrit line page unique dans l'histoire de notre pays. Je me suls presents parce que j'avais 1'appui de M. Armand Lavergne, et le 21 septembre vous aurez a. chanter la victoire de Pelletier et Lavergne. .. .

The people love you, Lavergne, because you have loved them. Bourassa and yourself have written a page unparalleled in the history of our country. I have accepted nomination because I have the help of Mr. Armand Lavergne, and on the 21st of September you will be cheering the victory of Pelletier and Lavergne. ,

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Hon. L. P. Pelletier. I think the House is well acquainted with the words uttered formerly by my hon. friend the Secretary -of State. Those of my hon. friend the Minister o: Inland Revenue are not so well known in this House. I would like to supplement the information given the other night, and I will read a few extracts from an article signed by Mr. Bourassa in Le Devoir of October 15, 1915, after the appointment of my hon. friend. The article is entitled: " Is Mr. Borden again becoming a Nationalist?" and Mr. Bourassa says-I will read it first in French and then in English:

M. Borden redevient-il nationaliste?

M. Patenaude dtait plus nationaliste que tous nous autres. A 1'assembiSe de Saint-RSmi, or-gan-isge par ses soins, il s'Scriait le 4 septembre 1910:

" Nous sorpmes a. 1'aise aujourd'hui pour discuter cette politique, parce que nous sommes detaches des deux grands partis. . . Mats j ai encore confiance dans la population cai.a-dienne frangaise, car je erois qu'elle est oil-core plus loyale au Canada qu'fi, I'Angleterre, aux traditions de la province qu'aux desire d'un gouverneur gdndral ou d'un premier mi-nistre....

"II existe une autre voix: celle des hon-neurs et des titres. C'est celle qui a perdu Laurier et Borden, qui a perdu le Gouverne-ment canadien et les deputes moutons qui en sont la grande majorite."

Et M. Bourassa, apr&s avoir constate que le premier ministre choisissait tous ses ministres de gauche, dans les rangs nationalistes, a part M. Casgrain, dcrivait: [DOT]

" Au lendemain de 1911 ce choix s'appli-quait: M. Borden savalt bien qu'il devait son

suceSs a Fagitation contre la loi navale, mende par M. Monk, avec 1'appui des nationalistes. II avait alors rdsolu de faire abroger la loi navale. Mais aujourd'hui? M. Borden songe-t-il a revenir bientOt a la politique nationaliste? Compte-t-il sur M. Blondin pour faire de nouveaux accrocs au drapeau anglais? Garde-t-il M. Patenaude en reserve pour une nouvelle election de Drummond-Arthabaska?"

Mr. Patenaude was more Nationalist than any one of us. At the'meeting of St. R6mi, organized by himself, he said, on the 4th of September, 1910:

"We feel at ease to-day to discuss that policy stand, as we are free from the two great parties. . . . But I still have confidence in the Freneh-Canadian people, because I believe that they are more loyal to Canada than to England, and to the traditions of the province than to the wishes of a Governor General or a Prime Minister. . . . There exists another voice-that of honours and titles. It is this that has been the doom of Laurier and Borden, the doom of the Canadian Government and the sheep-like members who form the great majority."

* It is interesting to know the opinion the minister had of the members of this House before he became one of them. Mr. Bour-assa, after finding that the Prime Minister had selected all his Quebec ministers from the Nationalist ranks, except Mr. Casgrain, said:

" On .the morrow of 1911 that choice could he explained. Mr. Borden knew well that he owed his success to the agitation against the Naval Bill, led by Mr. Monk, with the aid of the Nationalists. He then decided to have the Naval Bill repealed. But to-day does Mr. Borden intend very soon to adopt the Nationalist policy? Doesi he rely on Mr. Blondln to tear new rents in the British flag? Does he keep Mr. Patenaude in reserve for a new election in Drummond-Arthabaska?"

Much can be 1 done by the distribution of patronage, but the Prime Minister seems to have forgotten that leaders and generals lose their usefulness and worth as soon as they abandon their army. However, the prodigal sons have come back, and the thanksgiving banquet is still going on under the eyes and with the participation of the hon, member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards). Personal ambitions have been satisfied, but we are sure that opinions and convictions have been changed? Have these gentlemen retracted, or withdrawn, or repudiated, one of the statements which are still ringing in the ears of the electors of that province? I am not aware that they have and until they do so, and nntil they apologize to the people whom they deceived in 1911, their appeals for enlistment cannot be very effective and cannot carry much weight. I protest as strongly as I can against my hon. friend the Postmaster General mentioning the names of his two exJS'ationalistic colleagues and asking the people of the other provinces to judge my province and my countrymen by the actions and expressions of these ministers, I believe in political morality. The loyalty of my hon. friend to his colleagues deserve admiration, but the respect he owes tp his province and to the people he represents

should have been more binding upon him than ministerial loyalty.

I shall now refer to another part of the Postmaster General's speech. H6 said that he and his colleagues have refrained from all political activity in the province of Quebec, and have devoted all their time and energy to recruiting and addressing patriotic meetings.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

That is not what I

said. I did not say that we had not devoted any. of our activities to political life.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I understood my hon.

friend to say that they had not indulged in political activities.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

No, I did not say that.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Well, I accept the

statement of my hon. friend. .

Mr. -CASGRAIN: Read my, statement in Hansard. .

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

I will look up Hansard again. That is the impression that was left on the minds of those who listened to the speech of my hon. friend. Then, my hon. friend said-and T would not have taken the trouble to contradict him if he had not said it-that some Liberal members at least had not followed the example of their leader and had- indulged in the discussion of political questions. He even stated-my hon. friend will find it in Hansard-that on a later occasion-I think he said on a less dignified occasion-he would perhaps discuss that matter. Does my hon. friend remember that?

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

Yes, and I will keep my promise.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Before my hon. friend keeps his promise I will give him some material. Of course, I will kfeep some in store for the occasion when my hon. friend . will come back. I do not know to whom my hon. friend referred, but I purpose to say to this House that if any hon. members on this side did discuss political questions, they had to do so to protect themselves or their party against the attacks and political speeches of the ministers of the Crown in the province of Quebec since the last session of Parliament. Let us look at some of these thoroughly patriotic utterances of the members of the Government.

" A tout seigneur, tout honneur 1 begin with the master, the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers). The Minister

38*

of Public Works came to Montreal-and here, I am afraid, I am going to scandalize nry hon. friend from West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham). The Minister of Public Works came to Montreal and delivered a speech on May 3, 1915. Here are some extracts which I take from the report of the Montreal Gazette of the Minister's speech, so that the House may be made aware of the patriotic declarations uttered by that hon. gentleman on that occasion. He speaks o'f the Prime Minister and says:

"But the fact that he has sp 'honestly and so honourably discharged these great responsibilities apparently means nothing to a certain horde of designing Grit grafters and simpletons-grafters that are strong and powerful to reason of the wide scope given them in their field of operations during the fifteen years of Liberal reign. For example, who will deny the strength of the press of Canada to-day that represents Grit graft, Grit loot, and Grit plunder? A press that in its desperation descends to the very lowest possible level; and when I make this statement I frankly acknowledge I am thinking of the Montreal Herald, ithe Toronto Globe and the Winnipeg Free Press-all papers that have prospered in one form or another by the purchase and sale of influence with Liberal leaders, by the purchase and sale of Liberal principles, or by pure and unadulterated graft during the reign of the late Administration.

Allow me to make the remark that when that hon. gentleman was speaking so loudly and so earnestly about graft, he was exchanging telegrams with his friends in Manitoba and telling them that he was looking around Eastern Canada; to get the *best counsel available to send to the rescue of the grafters of Manitoba. He proceeds:

It is true, for a time they were temporarily silent, nursing in shame their remorse of conscience for their conduct of the year previous, through which they were obliged to witness their own most ignominious downfall in the eyes of every good Canadian, and for months and months they were treated by the Government and by the people generally with the reverence and respect that is always due to a political corpse.

I might read his reference to the ministers of religion in the country, but I do not think it is necesary for me to do so. A few weeks later another minister-he was not a minister at that time; he was Solicitor General; but he is now a member of the Cabinet. The Solicitor General came to Montreal and made a patriotic speech.

I take the report from the Montreal Gazette of June 11, 1915:

A strong fighting speech was made last night by the Hon. Arthur Meighen, Solicitor General, before the Westmount Conservative Association, at Victoria Hall.

Here are some extracts:

" Can you call that anything hut party trickery?" asked Mr. Meighen. . . , " The Liberals Showed they were blind to the facts on the naval issue, as they now show themselves blind. Ho you think that, knowing what the leader of the late Government has . done and what has been achieved by the present Government, the people of Canada would wish to restore LaUrier to power?" It was there, as a monument over his political remains. . . . There will be immense deficits without a doubt.

I will now quote, from a speech delivered by the Minister of Finance at Durham, and reported in the Montreal Gazette of June 19, 1915:

The Liberal leaders had acted like a lot of bad children, rather than responsible statesmen seized of the gravity of the crisis.

Further on he says:

It was true that public expenditure had been increasing. In a country like Canada it always will increase, but by far the greater part of the increase in recent years has been due to the policy of wasteful extravagance of the late Government in enterprises such as the National Transcontinental. *

Further on he says:

In all their actions they have displayed a wilful and perverse blindness which has resulted greatly to the detriment of the Empire in the day of trial.

I now come to my own province. My hon. friend the Secretary of State (Mr. Blondin) made a speech at Louiseville, in Maskinonge county, on July 12. That speech was reported in La Patrie on July 13, and I will quote the following extracts:

Sir Wilfrid has received everything from the province which has bestowed all things upon him-confidence, power, and a halo of glory. Why has he accomplished so little for her? The Conservatives have but twenty seats in the House of Commons, and yet more than under any previous administration they have acquired the recognition of the rights of the French language. The future looks forward to a great many efforts. But give Us your help, grant us your confidence. One can hardly explain the reason why certain Liberals, the Hon. J. E. Caron especially, so persistently criticise new taxes at the creation of which the Liberals have unanimously applauded. That small boot scandal has fallen through. These boots had been manufactured by Canadian firms. The inquiry has been closed. Why *have the members of the Opposition discontinued to push it forth after they had obtained so little out of it? The evidence was that one fourth of one per cent of these boots had been found defective. The sole conclusion is this: Praise be given to the Canadian manufacturers! Praise be to the Government! Following all the financial disasters, wheat shall be the essential wealth, and that of prime value. The Government has been far-sighted and has established a protective tariff which will prove efficient.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN:

Will my hon. friend admit that this is a very incomplete report of my speech?

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Perhaps it is, but 1 have read the report as published in La Patrie, which represents Conservative views, and so far as I know the report has never been repudiated.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLONDIN:

I am not repudiating it.

I say it is incomplete.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

My hon. friend did npt

respect the truth in this speech of his.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Permalink

January 28, 1916