February 1, 1916

LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

-disrobed altogether of anything that she ever had in the way of defence.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Ready for swimming.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I want to quote the Minister of Agriculture to be sure of the ground on which I stand.

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CON

Martin Burrell (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL:

Be sure you have "the right date.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

At page 328 of Hansard -I am going to quote the latest speech of my hon. friend because it expresses most truly his present state of mind-the Minister of Agriculture said:

I know perfectly well that my hon. friend would be quite willing to talk for half an hour if necessary, but I do not think it is necessary at all. When a man is in serious

danger of his life and finds that a rifle is the only weapon he can get to save his life, and it is a question of whether the rifle is going to cost $10, $15, or $20 he is not very much concerned whether he is going to pay $10, $15 or $20; he is going to get the rifle in order to save his life. 1 cannot understand my hon. friend into giving credit to the situation which existed in British Columbia at that time. He ought to know, as every man in this House should know, that at the particular time at which this transaction took place the declaration of war was a matter of hours, that there was no time to enter into lengthy negotiations, even if we had disputed the price of these boats. It was a matter of necessity to get them. I know what the condition of things in Victoria and Vancouver was at that time, and I know how seriously alarmed the people^ were. It was a matter not only of possibility, but of probability that the German fleet on the Pacific were liable at any time to steam in and shell the two cities of Victoria and Vancouver.

That is what the right hon. the leader ot the Opposition said in 1910 might happen, that a certain outbreak might occur, and that if the coast of British Columbia and the Atlantic coast were not provided with ships with which to protect themselves, cruisers or battleships might get into their harbours and destroy them before protection could come from the Imperial Fleet. But my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture-and he is more responsible to British Columbia than any one else- pooh-poohed that.

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CON

Martin Burrell (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL:

No.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Unless this submarine

purchase may be called a deviation, he repudiated the policy that meant protection for the Pacific coast, and he adopted the policy of contribution, which would leav.e the coast naked, as it was left when war broke out.

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CON

Martin Burrell (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL:

I do not want to make a speech, as I have made one already. The hon. gentleman always tries to be fair, and I am sure he wants to be fair now. I never was in favour of a policy of contribution. In the dispute that took place in regard to [DOT] the defence of British Columbia,

11 p.m. I think my hon. friend will find me on record as stating that the Laurier policy of a fleet unit split up on each coast without a dreadnought was no policy at all, and that if my right hon. friend had adopted the policy proposed by the Admiralty in the first place, of a fleet unit on the Pacific coast, he would probably have received a good deal of support.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

We find support for anything we do not do and no support for anything we do. My hon. friend's action in

joining this Government, which promised to repeal the Canadian Naval Service Act, and with it everything connected with the construction of ships, can be construed into no other meaning than that up to the present moment, unless the submarine purchase may be called a deviation, he has steadfastly adhered to a policy that means ships for the Imperial Navy and no Canadian ships on the Pacific coast.

The policy by which this Government got into power by the vote of a part of Quebec was: No naval protection to the coasts of

Canada. That included British Columbia. And if British Columbia was found naked and is naked to-day except for these two submarines, it is not the fault of the men who sit on this side of the House, but of those who sit on the other side, including the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Burrell), who, owing to the alliance described here to-day by one of the Nationalists, dare not support the Canadian navy, but promised to repeal the Naval Service Act.

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

Has not the policy

of Sir Robert Borden, to strengthen the navy in the North Sea, had the result of taking every German cruiser from the sea so that it is not necessary to have cruisers?

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The last German cruiser driven from the sea was so driven by the Australian navy, and we should have one like it.

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

The hon. gentleman

has not answered my question. Has not the policy of strengthening the great fleet in. the North Sea had the result of clearing the ocean of all foreign cruisers, with a result that it is not now necessary to have cruisers?

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

As to cruisers, the cruiser that the Minister of Agriculture meant was probably the Emden. If he had had one ship of the Sydney class in Victoria harbour and.a couple of torpedo boats or submarines, would not he have felt safe?

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

It was all right; we had the Rainbow there.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The fact is that this Government, by its own misconduct, was caught with British Columbia unprotected. I know my hon. friend will say-and I wonder he did not say it before-that the vessels could not have been completed in time. True; if what is called the Laurier policy; now called by common consent the Canadian Commonsense policy, had been carried out there would have been in October, two

months after the war broke out, one cruiser and one torpedo boat destroyer.

You say, that was two months toolate. But if this Government hadnot tied itself hand and foot to apolicy that meant no protection of our coast by Canadian ships, they could have operated under the Laurier policy, and before then could have had submarines by the score. They could have had submarines built in Vancouver or Victoria under the Naval Service Act. But, instead of that they promised to repeal that Act. In this House the Minister of Marine (Mr. Hazen) in answer to a question by Mr. Mondou as to whether it was the intention of the Government to repeal that Act, said, in effect: Yes, eventually we are

going to repeal the Naval Service Act and in its place we will introduce another Act and policy and on that we will appeal to the electors of the Dominion. They did reverse the Laurier policy, but they could not get rid of the Naval Service Act. And it was under that Act that the Minister of Agriculture put the two submarines.

T think we have learned from this w-that if Canada is to take her place among the nations of the world, if her people are to remain manly and are to retain the independent spirit which now they have or ought to have, there is only one course for this Government, and that is to accept its lesson in humility and prepare to have, the number of ships built for Canada that are necessary on either coast.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The hon. member was a

member of the Cabinet at the time tenders were called for ships under the Laurier policy. Why were not those contracts let?

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

That has been explained so often-

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The hon. gentleman' has

never explained.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I have explained it

twice in this House myself. The matter is plain-no matter what the other Government did or did not do, the contract was ready to sign, the money was on deposit. But this Government returned to the contractors the money that guaranteed the construction of the ships. This was done because they had terms with the Nationalists, as they themselvse admit and as was very frankly stated to-day, under which they had promised absolutely that in return for the support of the Nationalists in Quebec, the Naval Service Act would be repealed.

I am surprised that a British Columbian, knowing the feeling that existed in British Columbia over the Japanese question, should be willing as a Canadian to rest supinely and say: I will be protetcted by

Australia, but above all I want to be protected by Japan.

The situation is a little humiliating but I hope the lesson has been learned and that we shall proceed as a young nation to do the work of a nation, as we provide men on the land, equipping and providing them munitions, so at an early date we shall provide for Canada a navy of her own to protect our trade routes in time of peace and do its share in protecting our coasts in time of war.

We have learned to know ourselves better than we did before. Whatever may be our difficulties we have discovered that the heart of the Canadian people is rising to something nobler than the making of money. I think I can say we are all one- though perhaps some of our friends the Nationalists see things through different spectacles-in our devotion and loyalty to the British Empire. We believe the destiny of Canada is to remain in the British Empire and to work out its own salvation as an independent people within that Empire. We have learned to respect one another's views more than we did at one time, and I think the lesson learned by us all will bear fruit in the future and will help to make us more united people than we have been in the past. One thing has struck me as very important, and as something that might well impress itself on our minds and that is the levelling process that has gone on throughout the Empire owing to this war. There was a time when we rather turned up our noses at the aristocrats of the Old Land. We thought that they were living on the reputation of their ancestry. But now that the testing time has come we find the aristocrat shouldering his ^un and marching side by side with Tommy Atkins or with the colonial soldier, and doing his, share in the trenches. When the history of the war is written no differences will be made between Tommy Atkins and the aristocrat who stood side by side in the war. That will weld the nation, it will help to draw the common people and the aristocrats closer together, and to bring Canada closer to the heart of the Empire than she has ever been before. We in Canada, notwithstanding our disputes and our differences and our ideas as to methods, ought never to forget that, as in the past, one of the great duties we

have to perform in the future is to continue the work of creating and maintaining harmony and of welding a'll the different races in this our great country. We who are of any particular descent, whether it be Scotch, Irish, English, French, German, or anything else, cannot stand up and say that we only are the salt of the earth, and thank the Lord that we are not as the people who came from other countries are. We are Canadians, and we must be careful, in our 'criticisms of each other-yes, in our criticisms of how the war is proceeding-that we do not utter a word that will in the future make it more difficult to weld the races in the Dominion of Canada, whether they come from France or Germany; from Ireland, Scotland or England. We have in Canada many races; theyare truly loyal. We ought to be careful not to use any words in the heat of passion or in the heat of discussion, even of this momentous question, which in the years to come we shall be sorrythat, we ever uttered. We shall have

to remain as neighbours; our great duty, Mr. Speaker-a duty which, if performed, will reflect the greatest credit on our nationhood-is to make this country a happy place for people to live in, no matter where they come from; to let those who come here know that when they arrive in Canada they have come to a country where all men are free and equal, and where the only essentials to success are honesty and uprightness of character and the treatment of one's neighbour as one wishes himself to be treated.

Let it be understood the world over, let it be understood throughout the British Empire, let it be understood by friend and by foe, that until victory perches on the banner of the Allies, Canada, from the East to the West, from Charlottetown to the Yukon, will stand by the Empire as one man, united in a great common cause.

On motion of Hon. E. L. Patenaude, the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Hon. Robert Rogers, the House adjourned at 11.17 p.m.

Wednesday, February 2, 1916.

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February 1, 1916