May 9, 1916

THE MEMBER FOR BELLECHASSE.

LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Rouville):

I would like to know if it is true that the hon. member for Belleehasse (Mr. Lavallee) has resigned his seat. I heard that he was to be a candidate in the provincial elections. I would ask his honour the Speaker whether he has received his resignation?

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CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The SPEAKER:

I was told that the hon. member for Belleehasse was to be a candidate in Berthier, but I have not received his resignation yet.

[The Deputy Speaker.]

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THE BILINGUAL QUESTION.


On the motion of Sir Robert Borden for Committee of Supply: Mr. E. LAPOINTE (Kamouraska) moved in amendment, seconded by Mr. E. B. Devlin: That all the words after " that " in the main motion toe struck out and the following substituted therefor: " It has long been the fettled policy of Great Britain whenever a country passed under the sovereignty of the Crown by treaty or otherwise, to respect the religion, usages and language of the inhabitants who thus become British subjects: "That His Majesty's subjects of French origin in the province of Ontario complain that by recent legislation they have been to a large extent deprived of the privilege which they and their fathers have always enjoyed since Canada passed under the sovereignty of the British Crown, of having their children taught in French. " That this House especially at this time of universal sacrifice and anxiety, when all energies should toe concentrated on the winning of the war, would, while fully recognizing the principle of provincial rights and the necessity of every child being given a thorough English education, respectfully suggest to the Legislative Assembly the wisdom of making it clear that the privilege of the children of French parentage of being taught in their mother tongue be not interfered with."


LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN (Prime Minister):

Whatever may be said about the point of order, which will be within your disposition, Mr. Speaker, and as to which it might be well for you to take time to make your ruling, I would suggest to my hon. friend who proposes this motion that, whether the point of order be well taken or not, he is bringing into this House a subject over which this House has no jurisdiction, and that, therefore, he ought most carefully to consider whether he is well advised in introducing it here. There is no question that a certain feeling has been aroused in different parts of the country-it is not confined to one part of the country-with respect to matters that are the subject of provincial jurisdiction; and I desire to appeal most earnestly to the hon. gentleman who proposes to introduce this resolution that he should not proceed with it. Its terms, perhaps, I did not accurately gather. A proposed resolution was handed to me last evening by the right hon. gentleman who leads the Opposition, but after listening to the resolution which the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lapointe) proposes, I find that it differs somewhat from that which I received from my right hon. friend. In any event, it seems to me that, if my hon. friend is determined to precipitate a debate, which, so far as I see, can do no possible good, and which, in my judgment, may do an infinite amount of harm, the exact terms of the proposed resolution ought to be submitted for the information of the House before any debate takes place. Therefore it would be well, in order that His Honour the Speaker should have an opportunity of considering tne point of order which has been raised, and also that my hon. friend who proposes to move this resolution may have the opportunity for more careful and weighty reflection and consideration, that this motion should stand until to-morrow. In

the meantime His Honour the Speaker may take into consideration the point of order which has been raised by the hon. member for Moosejaw.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Mr. Speaker,

I beg to submit, in all humility, but with great force, that the point of order of my hon. friend from Moosejaw is not at all well taken. There is an abundance of precedents in this very House against it. As to the legislation of the province of Ontario which it is proposed to discuss to-day, m no hostile spirit, I am sure, we have the precedents in this House, in the time of Sir John Macdonald, in the time of Liberal

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I do not want any applause. I address myself to the common sense and the spirit of fairness of my fellow countrymen in the province of Ontario, and I repeat that we have nothing to gain by running away from the question. Let us discuss it like men; let us discuss it like the British subjects that we are. I speak here as a member of the minority; but no one is prouder of his British rights than I am myself, and I can appeal to my forty years in this House to justify what I now say. There is nothing to be gained by running away from this question. Let us discuss it; let us hear both sides of it; and then, Sir, I believe that from this discussion we shall rise wiser and better men, knowing better what our position is, knowing better what the rights of the minority

are; and I venture to say that when the question has been settled, as it ought to be settled, the minority will accept the situation whatever it may be.

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CON

Thomas Chase Casgrain (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. T. CHASE CASGRAIN (Postmaster General):

Mr. Speaker, just a word upon the question of order raised by my hon. friend from Moosejaw. I do not think the precedents which have been advanced by my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition have any application. The precedents that he has referred to are the precedents of Home Rule resolutions, which on several occasions were moved in this House, and also certain resolutions which were moved in the House of Commons in England with reference to the Christian populations of the Orient. I do not think that any benefit can be derived from the first precedent, that is, the passage of Home Rule resolutions by this House. I have not seen the terms of the present resolution, but, if I am correctly informed, we are asked to comment to a certain degree upon the action of a legislature in this Dominion. The powers conferred upon the legislature and upon the Dominion are defined very clearly by the British North America Act, and it seems to me that, by reason of that clear definition, any interference by this House in a question which concerns a legislature is an interference which cannot be justified by saying that upon another occasion the House expressed itself in favour of Home Rule. Let me call the attention of the House to the fact that the resolutions which were passed in favour of Home Rule were addressed to His Majesty's Government, and did not have the same significance as a resolution in this Federal House approving or blaming a legislature in the Dominion. Let me say one word to my hon. friend1 from Kamour-aska (Mr. E. Lapointe) who has- moved this resolution. I am as much concerned over this question as my hon. friend. I take as much interest, and have taken as much, interest in it from the very first time that it was mentioned, as my hon. friend, and more than my hon. friend has done while he ha6 been a member of this House. I have not had occasion to see the motion. I was unavoidably kept away from the House last evening. I saw a form of resolution this morning, but I am told that that is not th'e resolution which .is before the House. I suppose that what my hon. friend has in mind is the good of the cause which he

is advocating. If it is, and if he really does want an intelligent and clear discussion of the question, let him give notice of the resolution which he intends to move, so that we may see what attitude we upon this side of the House, or amongst ourselves, will take upon it; or, let him at least give us time to prepare any argument which he thinks we should bring forward either in favour of the resolution or against it.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

May I ask that if hon. gentlemen want to have until to-morrow, or another day, to examine the resolution which is presented, I certainly would advise my hon. friend (Mir. Lapointe) to agree at once to the suggestion.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I was not present when the initial proceedings here to-day were had, and I do not quite understand all that has taken place up to the present moment. My understanding is, however, that an hon. member of this House wishes to move a resolution on the subject which has been mentioned, and that the point of order has been taken as to whether or not this is a subject which ought properly to come before this House. It is that question of order that ie now being discussed. I do not wish to say anything at all in reference to the question of order. My right hon. friend who has just taken hie eeat (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) has asked his supporter, in reference to what hae been said, to let this motion stand for another d'ay. I wish to the bottom of my heart that he had put his plea that the question should stand forever and a day. For many days now there has been in the air the threatening of a coming menace. It has been stated that from one side or the other a question would be forced into this-

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES:

Mr. Speakerl, I rise to a point of order. I am sorry if my point of order has precipitated this discussion. I do not think it is fair to my hon. friend from Kamouraeka (Mr. Lapointe). I now raise the point of order, in regard to the Temarks made by my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), that he is not addressing himself to th'e point of order, but that he is discussing the merits of the proposed resolution. I would ask your ruling, Mr. Speaker, as to whether it is now in order to discuss

the merits of the proposed resolution. I felt it my duty to bring this point of order to the .attention of the House, hut I do not want any unfair advantage to be taken of my hon. friend from Kamouraska.

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CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The last point of order of the hon. member for Moosejaw (Mr. Knowles) is certainly well taken.

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Air. KNOWLES:

On the first point of order, I want to say .a word An reply before you decide.

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CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

If objection is taken, I

think the Minister of Trade and Commerce will have to discontinue his remarks. The main point of order is certainly of very great importance and has, I must say, taken me quite by surprise-I only got back from Quebec to-day-and I would rather reserve my ruling on it until to-morrow.

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Sir GEORGE POSTER@

Does that mean that I must reserve my remarks till tomorrow? [DOT]

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CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The question before the House is certainly of the greatest importance. If the House is disposed to listen to the remarks of the Minister of Trade and Commerce there will be no objection from the Chair; but, if objection comes from the House, I have already ruled that the minister must discontinue his remarks.

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES:

I wish to say a word

on the point of order, in reply to what my right hon. leader has said. The belief that has been in my mind ever since this resolution-

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May 9, 1916