March 3, 1919


Motion agreed to.


REPRESENTATION ACT (1914) AMENDMENT.


Mr. FRANK B. STACEY (Westminister) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 2, to amend the Representation Act (1914).



He said: This is not a matter of very great national importance, but it is of considerable interest to British Columbia, and very greatly concerns one constituency in that province. When introducing this Bill a year ago I pointed out that considerable confusion had [DOT] arisen owing to the title of the electoral constituency in question which it is proposed to change, which confusion still obtains. The purpose of the Bill is to change the name of the electoral district of Westminster to the electoral district of Fraser Valley, The change is eminently fitting, inasmuch as it is not only a geographical designation, but of historical significance. Motion agreed to and Bill read the first time.


RAILWAY BELT ACT AMENDMENT.


Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Minister of Interior) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 3, to amend the Railway Belt Act.


L LIB
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The purpose of this Bill is to carry into effect a principle that is already in operation as regards other Dominion lands, enabling the Crown to convey to a deceased entrant.

Motion agreed to and Bill read' the first time.

Topic:   RAILWAY BELT ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink

YUKON ACT AMENDMENT.


Hon. Mr. MEIGHEN moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 4, to amend the Yukon 'Act. He said: The first purpose of this Bill is to amend the Yukon Act by permitting the Yukon Council to consist of three instead of twelve members, thereby reducing the cost of administration. There are other clauses in the Bill of a minor character, but that is its main object. Motion agreed to and Bill read the first time.


DEATH OF RIGHT HON. SIR WILFRID LAURIER, G.C.M.G.

?

Hon. S@

Mr. Speaker; I rise to

refer to that sad occurrence, the sudden and lamented death of Right Hon. (Sir Wilfrid Laurier which has east a pall over the proceedings attending the opening of this session of Parliament, touched the hearts of all his fellow members, and created a profound and melancholy impression throughout the entire Canadian community. In years Sir Wilfrid Laurier

had considerably exceeded the allotted span, yet such was the vigour of his mind, the animation of his appearance, the freshness of his interest in affairs, the charm and vivacity of his manner, and above all the great and conspicuous place which he had so long occupied in the minds and affections of his countrymen, that we had almost come to look upon him as immune from the vicissitudes of human infirmity, and, in a measure exempt from the conditions of our common mortality. For this reason the news of his departure has come with a sense of shock as well as of grief to all.

His death removes a most distinguished and commanding personality from the stage of Canadian public life. How considerable a part he played, we may realize when we reflect that he was actively engaged in national affairs at a period before many of us were born, that he was for almost half a century a legislative representative of the people, and for forty-five years a member of this House. He has been leader of the Liberal party for over thirty , years, of which he was for fifteen years Prime Minister of Canada. During his long career he has been identified with all the great political controversies since the period of Confederation. His fame has carried far beyond the boundaries of Canada, and in Britain, France and United States, as well as in other countries, the name of Sir Wilfrid Laurier has long been known, respected and admired as one of the outstanding statesmen of the age.

With such a career, with such titles to distinction, we of this House, who, next to his own immediate family and intimate personal circle, knew him best, may well upon this occasion, with profit to ourselves and in appreciation of him, examine as to the nature of the political principles to which he subscribed, his characteristics as a statesman, the personal qualities and attributes of the man himself, and the sources of the great power and influence which he exercised within and without the halls of Parliament. I am deeply conscious that there are many within sound of my voice who through longer association and acquaintance with him are much better qualified for this task than myself. Particularly do I wish that the head of the Government, the Prime Minister of Canada, Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden, could be here to bear eloquent tribute to his great political opponent and warm: personal friend.

It is not my intention to refer to the various controversies in which' Sir Wilfrid Laurier during his long career was so ac-

tively engaged. Those controversies divided and some of them still divide the people and public men of this country. That is the natural and inevitable result of opposing views, opinions and convictions strongly and honourably held in a self-governing community such as ours. It is not my purpose to attempt to pass judgment upon the attitude of the dead leader towards thes'e great questions. Even if it would be fitting and proper to do so, which it is not, we are too close to the events to make any contemporary opinion conclusive. The ultimate place and fame of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, will, like that of other statesmen, be determined by the impartial and dispassionate judgment of history.

What were the foundations of this man's political creed, the principles which guided his political action? Without pretending to be exhaustive, two or three outstanding facts emerge. Firstly, the man was strongly attached and devoted to the ideals of freedom and liberty, personal, civil and religious. He believed in 'freedom of opinion, liberty in its expression,-that is to say, free speech, freedom of conscience- that is to say, religious liberty. That these were his views may be gathered not only from his own speeches but from the names of those whom he most admired, Fox, Gladstone, Bright, Lincoln. These names were often on his lips and he had diligently studied their careers and utterances.

From this starting point of attachment to these ideals of liberty and freedom, to which I think most in this country and all in this House now subscribe, he was led to greatly admire the British political system and the security and guarantees for liberty which it embodies and affords. Owing to the influences surrounding him in that troubled period Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then but a young man, appears not to have [DOT] realized, at least in its fulness, the vision of Confederation. It is, however, to his great and lasting credit that once it was accomplished he accepted the new conditions with whole-heartedness, and in his subsequent career did much in collaboration with other political leaders "to develop its structure, interpret its meaning and mould it to the purposes for which it was designed.

He became a strong Federationist, a great admirer, exponent and champion of the Confederation pact and no question interested him quite so, much as one relating to or affecting the Constitution. He was a great constitutionalist, an ardent upholder of the principles of free government with all that it involves. As nearly

all questions arising out of our constitution have long since been settled and acquiesced in by all political parties it seemed to me at times that in his character of constitutionalist and in his continued interest in the constitution he was the dignified and solitary survivor of that great group of statesmen, giants in their day, who after prolonged and fiery discussion and controversy laid broad and deep the constitutional foundation of Canada's national life. In this connection, and as again emphasizing the part played by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in Canadian affairs and the length of years spanned by his career, let us.recall that he was minister in the government of Alexander Mackenzie, served as lieutenant to Edward Blake, succeeded him as leader of the Liberal party, and became the opponent of Sir John A. Macdonald, with whom he contended politically for many years.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier was an intense and ardent Canadian. He was a firm believer in Canada and its destiny, which he did much to mould. Particularly did he desire to harmonize the various nationalities of Canada with their conflicting ideals and aspirations. National unity he regarded as of paramount importance in a country of mixed races and diverse creeds such as Canada. He was regardful of the rights of minorities and a strong advocate of tolerance, towards the opinions and convictions of others upon all questions whether civil racial or religious. He was a believer in democracy but there was always in him a moderating and restraining influence, a pragmatical respect for experience and for the past which disinclined him to sudden or violent change and exercised a steadying influence in the determination of his policies.

For the British constitution and for the autonomy, freedom and security which it affords to all within the range of its beneficent sway, he had the greatest regard and admiration. In my last conversation with him he spoke in terms of highest eulogy of British administration in Egypt and said that he would have no fear for the mandatory system proposed at the Peace Conference if it would be carried out in accordance with the British mode of government in protectorates.

I am glad that he lived to see the end of the war and the triumph of the Allies- particularly Britain and France.

Coming now to the man himself and the sources of his personal power, we find less difficulty in reaching conclusions. He was endowed by nature with a singularly graceful, picturesque and commanding personal-

FEBKITARY 25/1919

ity, a stately bearing, a most gracious manner and rare charm of disposition. He had high intellectual culture and much personal kindliness of heart. The combination made him a great gentleman, whose distinction and individuality wrought an indelible impression upon all with whom he was brought in contact. While conciliatory and always a believer in persuasion rather than in compulsion he had a firm will and strong tenacity of his settled views, opinions and policies. This gave him strength which always of itself attracts. He had in marked degree that mystic quality, that innate attribute called personal magnetism or personality which is really the totality of excellences, physical, mental and moral, in its fortunate possessor.

His power of command over men was great. He was a natural leader because of his ascendency in the realm of intellect and of will. When all we can say has been said, there still remains an indefinable, elusive and baffling something which we cannot express, but which gave him an amazing power in attracting and retaining the affection and devotion of his followers and adherents. It was this which caused him to be likened in the minds of many to Sir John A. Macdonald, who had the same notable faculty in supreme degree.

A further and great source of his power lay in his extraordinary gifts as an orator. As a speaker either in the House or on the public platform he took the highest rank. His oratorical achievements were greatly promoted and enforced by his individual characteristics and qualities, for it is an undoubted fact that much of the success of speech depends upon personality.

His style was simple, direct, lucid. It had been modelled upon the best examples of English prose, and had been fashioned and moulded by his study of the classics, which is the best school for literary form. Some of his speeches in this House were notable illustrations of the supreme art of the orator. Those upon the death of Sir John A. Macdonald, the Rt. Hon. Mr. Gladstone and Her Majesty Queen Victoria are among the finest in the history of panegyrical literature.

In the House, where he was a most assiduous attendant and an eager listener, he was always courteous and considerate of the views of opponents and was by them all personally liked and respected.

Such, in most imperfect outline, was Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the principles and ideals for which he stood. He was idolized among the French Canadian portion of our population as their great exemplar and

representative on the floor of Parliament and as Prime Minister of Canada for so long a period. They were naturally and justly proud of his high intellectual qualities and the force and strength of his character, his political sagacity and his success as a statesman. But apart from those of his own race he had devoted followers and admirers without number throughout the other provinces of Canada. His private life was simple and blameless, and he leaves behind him a career unsullied by self-seeking or love of gain. To state that he had defects, that he made mistakes at times, is only to say that he was human and what he himself would be the first to admit and acknowledge.

We mourn his loss. We feel that a great gap has been created in this House, that a powerful link with the past has been snapped and broken beyond repair. The spirit of the age has altered since the days when Sir Wilfrid Laurier was in his political prime. Times change and men change with them-in appearance, manner, methods, characteristics.

We desire to express our most heartfelt sympathy to that most worthy helpmate, the light of whose life has gone out in the loss of him who was for more than fifty years of happy wedded life her constant comrade as well as husband, counsellor and protector. We pray that she may be granted strength to bear the heavy bereavement which has come upon her.

As for our dead friend and fellow member, he has joined the great majority, the unnumbered shadowy hosts of the dead. We shall see his face and hear his voice in these halls no more. He has left these scenes and these voices, and it will be indeed long before we shall look upon his like again.

His life was gentle; and the elements so -mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world: This was a man.

Topic:   DEATH OF RIGHT HON. SIR WILFRID LAURIER, G.C.M.G.
Permalink
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. D. D. McKENZIE (North Cape Breton):

Mr. Speaker, the task that falls to my lot on this occasion is a very serious one and one that I fully realize my personal inability to fulfil as it ought to be fulfilled and discharged. Speaking for the moment on behalf of the gentlemen who sit on this side of the House, and speaking, as I believe, for the late Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier's personal friends and admirers throughout this Canada of ours, I wish in the first place, if I may be permitted, most sincerely to thank the Acting Prime Minister of Canada (Sir Thomas White) for the magnificent tribute which

he has paid to the great worth of the illustrious dead. The tribute is so full, so comprehensive, so complete, so just, that indeed very little is left to be added to it. It would rather spoil the effect of what has been said so well and moulded so completely to try to add very much to it. Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, it comes home to me, as the desk-mate of our late revered leader, and for so many years his friend, that we should, from this side of the House join with the hon. leader of the Government in saying something about our departed friend. I stand, Mr. Speaker, by the vacant chair, a chair that will never so worthily be filled in this House or in any other Canadian House within my lifetime and perhaps not within the lifetime of the youngest man here. The leadership of the Opposition and of the Liberal party will some day be filled, but it is no disparagement to whoever may fill that position to say that we have not the mould, nor the man to fill the place of the departed Chieftain of the Liberal party.

As to the love and affection which the people of this country had for him, may I remind you, Mr. Speaker, and my hon. friends, of that great pattern of human love that has been held out to us and which we used to read in our school books and in the Sacred Book itself about David and Jonathan of old; held out to us as the greatest human evidence of love between two men. When David and Jonathan were parting, Jonathan, his brother-in-law, took him fervently by the hand and said: David, I will never see your face again; we are parting now and forever; but to-morrow you will be missed, for your seat will be empty.

The great dead is missed in this House to-day, because his seat is empty and it can never be filled. His place in this House is empty, his place in his home is empty, but his memory shall never fade. We, as his friends, have reason to be thankful, and we are thankful, that his great worth has been appreciated by the people of Canada and presented to this House today in such a magnificent manner by the hon. gentleman who is leading the Government.

I am sorry that the duty of paying this tribute to the departed statesman has not fallen upon some one more capable than I. One cannot help thinking on an occasion of this kind of the masterly eulogies which our late leader has pronounced, and one is apt to say, with the poet: "0, for the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still!"

*^lr. McKenzie.]

The acting leader of the Government has pointed to the many things Sir Wilfrid Laurier has done for the development of this nation, and it is no disparagment to others to say that in bringing this country of ours up to the full measure of nationhood, in bringing it vividly to the attention of the Mother *Country and of the home Government, in securing for it as a nation and as a dominion the high position we hold in the commercial and political world, none has done so much as Sir Wilfrid Laurier. 'Canada has risen to her rightful place as a nation within the great Empire to which we belong. The position which Sir Wilfrid Laurier took at the time of the diamond jubilee of her late Majesty Queen Victoria, and again at the coronation of King Edward VTT and of King George V and at the various imperial conferences of the great statesmen of the Empire, did more to bring Canada before the world and to secure for us the position which we now occupy than anything hitherto done by any other Canadian. We have therefore much to be thankful for, both for his life, and for the memories he has left behind not only in Canada but throughout the Empire.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier rose to the very highest position in the gift of the people of this country. As he had often himself said, he was a democrat to the hilt. He was capable of realizing and anticipating every feeling of the people, and almost of every individual in the community, for he had gone through the various stages of life within Canada, and he could see what was necessary for the true welfare of his native land, of which he was so proud. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, I repeat, occupied the very highest position in the gift of this country, and I submit that had he lived in any other country of the civilized world he would have occupied a similarly high position. Had he lived in the great republic to the south, rvith its hundred millions of people, he would have shared in the hearts of the people of that country a place with Washington, Lincoln and Grant. Had he lived in France, the home of his ancestors, I submit that he would have been President of France. Had he lived in our own beloved Mother Country of Great Britain and Ireland, I have no doubt, and I have often heard said, that he would have occupied a similar position to that held by Lord Chatham, John Bright, Gladstone and Disraeli. It has often been stated by men in this Chamber, and not by those in sympathy with him politically, that if Sir Wilfrid

Topic:   DEATH OF RIGHT HON. SIR WILFRID LAURIER, G.C.M.G.
Permalink

FEBRUARY 25, 19X9


Laurier had lived in Great Britain, nothing could have prevented him from becoming its Prime Minister. So we have reason to believe that his talents, although afforded plenty of scope in Canada, did not reach the full limit of their possibilities here, and that he was fully capable of performing higher and more exacting duties if fate had placed those duties as his task. I think it is sometimes justifiable to use the language of others when it exactly expresses one's own sentiments, and what I am about to quote I would adopt as the language of this side of the House as well as adopting the sentiments so ably expressed by the Minister of Finance. This newspaper was not a supporter of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and therefore I quote from it with the greater freedom. It says: Another Link with the Glorious Days of Canada's Making is Broken by Laurier's Death. In the passing of Sir Wilfrid Laurier yet another link with the spacious days of panada's making has gone. There are great names in Canadian history-Baldwin and LaFontaine, Brown, Gialt and Tupper, Blake, Macdonald and Laurier, and rightly indeed does the London Daily Chronicle, in its tribute to the dead statesman, say:-* . "Laurier's name will ibe permanently associated with some of the most important phases in the development of the British Commonwealth. Not only will Canada always rank him among the great builders of her nationhood, but he will hold his niche in the temple of world history." Apart altogether from the political views which he held, and advocated, the testimony is universal that Sir l Wilfrid Laurier in the-truest sense was a great man. He belonged to the Empire, and for many years he was the most considerable figure in Greater Britain. A French Canadian with unquestioned devotion to that race and its traditions, he yet accepted as Jiis task the establishment of a better understanding and a closer union of the two races of the Dominion, and though it was a task which has not yet been completed, Sir Wilfrid had the satisfaction of achieving a marked advance. iNo need of Canada has been greater and none has lain nearer to the statesman's heart than the removal of discord between the different races and tongues and creeds which comprise the Canadian Confederacy. To have attempted a task of such magnitude and hedged with tremendous and critical difficulties, is in itself an eloquent testimony to his essential greatness. Former political opponents -are one to-day in voicing their ungrudging admiration and unqualified recognition of his undoubtedly great gifts. Though not blind to his political fallings and to views which they believed to he detrimental to Canada's truest welfare, yet as one man they express the highest regard for Sir Wilfrid's strict personal probity, his untarnished character and the years of strenuous and devoted service to the Dominion. As an orator Sir Wilfrid Laurier occupied a unique position. As one writer in the English press has said-'He was gifted with unusual personal advantages. His appearance alone was worth a handsome fortune. His figure, lithe and straight as a 'larch; his face unwrinkled ; his glance clear and searching, made up a personality that wielded a strange fascination for his hearers. He spoke as well in English as he did in French-his mother-tongue. Among the many gems of Sir Wilfrid's oratory, the following, delivered in Paris in IS 97, is considered one of his finest utterances a speech touched with a prophetic fire: The citation from the speech referred to by this writer, I quote: "It may be that here in France the memories of the ancient struggles between France and England have lost nothing of their bitterness, [DOT]but as for us, Canadians of whatever origin, the days we hold glorious are the days when the the colours of France and of England, the tricolour and the Cross of St. George, waved together in triumph on the banks of Alma, the heights of Inkerman, the ramparts of Sebastopol. Times change; other alliances are made, but may it be permitted to a son of France, who is at the same time a British subject, to salute those glorious days with a regret which will perhaps find an echo in every generous mind on either side of the Channel." This quotation which I have taken the liberty ,to read, conveys to you, Sir, and to the House, my own views, and perhaps puts them better and more concisely than I myself could. Let me conclude by saying that we appreciate what has been done in the country, and what is now being done, to honour the memory of the great departed chieftain. We acknowledge, with thankfulness, what has been done by the Government in honoring his mortal remains, and we are thankful for the tribute that has been paid to his memory by the leader of the Government to-day. We on this side of the House, and his friends generally, particularly those of his own party, might say, as has been said by a wise man of old, " Our Father, our Father, the chariots of liberalism and the horsemen thereof," and may I say, with one of old, to my friends and the public at large, " Know ye not that this day there has fallen in Canada a prince and a great man,"


L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maison-neuve and Gasp6):

Mr. Speaker, the

Shadow of Death has stalked through this Chamber; a chair stands vacant. As we gaze upon the flowers strewn about us, which, by the morrow, will have withered away, more deeply than ever do we understand the baffling brevity of this life's span, the specious vanity of each and every thing. Sir Wilfrid Laurier is no more.

The mellow voice which for so long enthralled this assembly and stirred the enthusiasm of all who heard it, is silent.

The trumpet's silver voice is still

The warder silent on the hill.

The last survivor of a great generation, he whose imposing stature, whose eagle eye and whose white plume recalled those nobiemen of the eighteenth century, such as we meet them still in medallions of olden times, is sleeping his last sleep.

An illustrious ancestor has passed away. Let us incline our heads with respect in the presence of this grave: its closing

writes 'finis' to a whole epoch of our history.

Death is a law and not a punishment. No one better understood this profound truth than the eminent statesman whose loss we mourn. He had long since made his preparations for the voyage from Time into Eternity. Without bitterness the old gladiator saw himself disarmed as he was about to descend once more into the arena. His spirit passed gently, serenely, as though 'midst the darkening shadows of life's falling night the Faith of his forefathers had already revealed the gleam of dawn, presage of Eternal Day.

Speaking here in the name of my colleagues of the old French province who counted him her most distinguished son, and whose idol he became, it does the heart good to recall that throughout his entire career he was ever faithful to his origin and to the finest traditions of his race.

"I love," he was wont to say, "I love France who gave us birth, I love England who gave us liberty, but the first place in my heart belongs to Canada, my country, my native land."

This striking formula was, if I may speak thus, the Ideal, the Polar Star which guided his public life. Affectionate gratitude towards the nation, resplendent among all nations-whose sons we have the honour to be- the splendour of whose glory lights up the highest summits; unswerving loyalty towards that great and generous nation who inherited the administrative genius of the Romans and of whom Tennyson could say that hers was the classic land of liberty. But, first and foremost, Laurier was a Canadian. To his French inheritance he owed his golden tongue, his keen intellectual vision, the boldness and the grandeur of his conceptions. To his contact with the great English school, the school of Burke, Fox, Pitt, O'Connell, Gladstone, he owed his deep practical knowledge of British institutions and it may be said without exaggeration that it was by assimilating the teachings of these parliamentary leaders that Sir Wilfrid Laurier made for himself a lasting niche in the Hall of Fame.

At the time when he stepped through the threshold of Parliament, the memory

[iMr. Lemieux.]

of the great Papineau still hovered over the country. And the imago of Lafontaine, whose profound wisdom had saved many rights from the wreckage of a storm-tossed sea, was becoming greater as time went by.

In those days Cartier and Dorion represented the two different channels of opinion in 'our province. The one, dashing, impetuous, disdained all obstacles; the other, calm, of proverbial integrity, possessing a mind of very high attainments, trusted to time to dispel hoary prejudice. If it be true that, in a certain way, Laurier was the disciple of Dorion, events made him the fortunate successor, rather the direct heir, of Lafontaine's policy-the policy which strives to soothe all hurts, the better to build on a solid foundation; the policy of conciliation for the sake of unity; the policy of the golden mean; the best, the true, the sole policy which can obtain in our country.

Sprung from a vanquished people, but a people who, in their turn had themselves made the conquest of Liberty, his dream was to unite the two races on the only rational basis: equality of rights, mutual respect and tolerance. His political vision moved him to seal anew the pact entered into by Lafontaine and Baldwin in days gone by and so bring fresh strength to the work oi the Fathers of Confederation.

Was this majestic vision too ambitious? History, that impartial judge of men and .events, will say whether or not he brought it to realization, but what we of his time may uphold from this moment is his untiring perseverance, his steadfast courage, his invincible faith in the ideal he set out to attain from the very start of his career. However, he was too well versed in psychology not to realize the difficulties which beset his path.

In 1887, hardly a year after that historical debate when, at one flight, he had risen to the greatest heights of parliamentary eloquence, when the English-speaking press had acclaimed him as the "silver-tongued orator," the Liberal party, helpless after the retirement of Edward Blake, was casting about for a leader. The French Liberals formed a minority in this party, as they formed a minority in the country. Let it be said to the honour of the English Liberals, it was Edward Blake, it was Sir Richard Cartwright, it was David Mills, who selected the leader, and the unanimous choice fell v upon Wilfrid Laurier. What was the answer of the young member for Quebec East? Ah, Mr. Speaker, our great countryman, despite his' marvellous endowments, did not covet the honour

offered him. He well knew the burden he was assuming; already he could catch a glimpse of the obstacles which lay in wait for him, and the answer of this man who, beneath a stolid exterior hid very deep emotions, his answer was a sob.

Thus, unable to escape the earnest entreaties of his English-speaking friends, he [DOT] undertook to lead the Liberal party, determined to steer the ship of state towards progress and liberty, to bind together, by conciliation in both word and deed, the heterogeneous elements which go to make up Canada. He had often said that the national sentiment of a country is worth no more than the pride which it inspires in its sons. He knew thjs country was overflowing with strength and vigour, full of activity, of ambition.

He loved its distant childhood; its history, every page of which he knew; its legends; its fertile, majestic natural beauty; he loved this country especially for its ethnic duality which showed him the children of the two greatest races of Europe, henceforth fellow-wayfarers towards a common destiny in the boundless spaces of the New World.

By healing the wounds of days gone by and rallying all for the development of our immense resources, he opened a new era, he anticipated the day when he could declare in the presence of his Sovereign: " Sir, Canada is a nation. The nineteenth century belonged to the United States; but the twentieth century will witness the expansion of Canada."

The 23rd of June, 1896, was a memorable date in our political annals. The member for Quebec East had just been borne into power by a majority of the electorate. He became Prime Minister of 'a Dominion which had been guided by the genius of Macdonald. The old Tory chieftain had passed from the stage some five years before and the memory of his bewitching magnetism bordered on the legendary. People anxiously wondered if the orator from Quebec would reveal himself a statesman of sterling worth. Would he have the necessary firmness? Could he grapple with our intricate problems? Would he prove himself an experienced helmsman and steer the ship safely through shallow shoals, flinging into the teeth of the gale, to ride at anchor in the port beyond? My answer to all these apprehensions, already distant and, mayhap, forgotten, is that which John Morley made, one day, regarding Gladstone. The occasion was the unveiling of the statue erected in honour of the Grand Old Man, but a step or two from Lincoln's Inn. " The stalwarts of finance, of the

city, looked with misgiving upon the idealism of Gladstone and smiled at his supposed incompetence in matters of money and business. I wonder added Morley- and I still see him, his finger pointing to the monument-I wonder, whether after Gladstone's long and brilliant career, the Bank of England itself would not feel honoured by the presence and strengthened by the counsel of the orator? "

As I have just said, it is only in the cold, calm light of impartial history that the part played by men in the great events of their time, can be duly appreciated. But I think I am within the mark in stating now that in Laurier's optimism, in his power of assimilation, in his incessant and untiring toil, in his boundless faith in the future of our country, may be seen and reflected the powerful impulsion given to Canada from 1896 to 1911, her wonderful ascent towards economic progress, her marvellous development. How often have I not heard him whenever grappling with some difficult problem repeating the lines penned by Andre Chenier, the great French poet:

"L'illusion fficonde habite dans mon sein,

J'al les ailes de I'espCrance!"

"In my bosom dwells fruitful Illusion On the wings of hope I soar!"

He had to the fullest extent mastered the sense of the Constitution; he had an insight into its jurisprudence and genius, and he loved it. .

He ever advocated adherence to the federal pact, in its integrity. To his mind, any change, any departure or new orientation involved a danger. He was an apostle of Autonomy, like Blake and Mowat.

His political creed borrowed its inspiration from British liberalism. He believed in progress grounded on order; he believed in the advent of democracy through evolution, not through revolution, but never did he allow himself to be carried away by his love of liberty beyond those two limits laid down by conscience and human reason, that is to say, rights and duties.

From a national standpoint, none of the two great ethnical elements of tkfe country was to predominate or to be domineered. Equal justice, equal rights for all such, was his motto. He deprecated isolation, because as he said, for an ethnical group to ' isolate itself is tantamount to stagnating in inferiority. Let me add that he always advocated harmonious relations between religions and liberty, by means of a loyal alliance. In a country like ours so hard to govtrn, and owing to the fact that the

opinions and creeds of the various ethnical groups have to be taken into consideration-a policy of exclusiveness is not properly speaking, a policy, but a blunder which must prove fatal to minorities. Love of justice and of freedom, tolerance, loyalty grounded upon autonomy, patriotism, such his ideals. And with what mastery did he expound them! Those who will read his speeches in which the scholar always controls the tribune, checks his outbursts; chastens his language, will no doubt find in them the lustre of fancy coupled with the magic of style but they will first of all discover loftiness of thought combined with an unerring judgment, and the intuition of the right course to steer through the windings of Canadian politics. And this constitutes a lofty ideal, and it was this ideal which fashioned Laurier into the great .Canadian that he was. But in appreciating his career, it is on his firm and dignified attitude in the relations of Canada and the Mother Country that our attention must be focussed.

None more than Laurier admired the majestic institutions of the British Empire, where liberty wrought this miracle of a Gavan Duffy, a Wilfrid Laurier, a Louis Botha, respectively governing Australia, Canada, Africa, with intense loyalty and devotedness to the interests of the Crown.

In this connection may I be allowed to add that after the Transvaal war, Sir Wilfrid Laurier was consulted in turn by Campbell Bannerman and by General Botha as to the contemplated South African Union and that both these statesmen benefited by his vast experience. I shall never forget the words uttered in my presence at Cape Town, in November, 1910, by the Boer General; "In South Africa, two names are particularly dear to us, that of Campbell-Bannerman and that of Wilfrid Laurier. To those two men we owe an eternal debt of gratitude."

At the several Imperial conferences which he attended-and we all know what a brilliant role he played in them-Sir Wilfrid Laurier, whose fiscal policy had tickled the pride of the Mother Country, had nevertheless to withstand the new wave which was just then beginning to roll from London into the Dominions. This brilliant dream of a vast Empire, whose centre of action would be Westminster, could, forsooth, seduce the leaders of British politics, but Laurier was a Canadian first and last. Our country having disentangled itself from the bonds Of Colonialism, had gradually conquered its political freedom,

through the extension of the principle of autonomy. Knowing the exact extent of our rights and duties, he boldly and sincerely proclaimed the principle of Imperial unity based upon local liberties.

That virile attitude was to him, no doubt, the source of disappointments. But the old Premier was too much of a philosopher not to realize that impulses cannot play the part of reason, and that popularity is a poor substitute for arguments.

Were I called upon to define the outstanding qualities of Sir Wilfrid Laurier as a statesman, I would say that his moderation was a driving power in itself, his gift of expression a shining light, and that, with this master of oratory, sound judgment and common sense, outweighed his very eloquence.

His worthy manner of living, his thorough honesty, his perfect equanimity through the worst ordeals, his devouring intellectual activity, his unimpeachable righteousness, his home life imbued with such charm and beauty, his loyalty to friends, his discreet charity, but, above all, his eloquence exerted in behalf of the downtrodden, all these recall in many respects some distinctive characteristics of Gladstone and Lincoln.

We shall no longer have before our eyes those refined and aristocratic features of Laurier, whose most amiable smile went to the plebian, the needy, the humble, the lowly and the feeble; but his memory made immortal in works of bronze and marble will pass on to coming generations as one of the greatest embodiments of virtue in public and private life, as one of the finest products of human-kind in the last century.

We, his followers, his admirers, find solace in the thought that he died in the way he had wished to die. As the Norman knights of old, it was clothed in his armour that he appeared before the Supreme Judge. Death, the soother of all suffering, was to him like the declining hours of a beautiful day.

Before closing his eyes to things terrestrial, he had the supreme joy of seeing the Allies victorious. Enamoured of freedom and justice, he witnessed the downfall in Europe of autocracy and its instrument, militarism, and the founding on their ruins of the.League of Nations.

As of yore at Inkerman and at Sebastopol, he saw our two great mother countries clasping hands and joining their forces on the battle-field, and our sons rushing with a light heart to meet together a glorious

death and take their full share of sacrifice and victory.

Yes, he was granted that supreme consolation of seeing France, France which was branded as frivolous, because she was cheerful, standing before the whole world as an example of endurance and fortitude, and show herself to the oppressed what she had ever been, the shield of civilization, the champion of right. He beheld England, that country deemed cold and self-seeking, set out all her sails, spend lavishly of her wealth, call to arms all her children to rescue the world from oppression.

The alliance of these two great powers, sealed by the purest of blood, was especially dear to his heart. To him it appeared like the rainbow which breaks through the clouds, and which is described in the Holy Writ as a messenger of peace, a presage of better days to all men of good will.

Oh Laurier! should there remain something to be done towards the fulfilment of that triumph of harmony and good will which you have so persistently striven to bring about, then those younger Canadians whose teacher you were will in turn take up the work and carry it to its full completion. They will pride themselves in following in your footsteps along the rugged and endless path of duty which you have opened and pointed out to them.

And now, with this last farewell, allow us to mingle the expression of our deep sense of gratitude. We are thankful to you, Laurier, for having ever remained worthy of the part entrusted to you by Providence, since from the palaces of our sovereigns and from the most humble farm house, from the towering cathedral as well as from the smallest country church, there ascends towards heaven the same hymn of gratitude.

We say Farewell and we thank you. We thank you for having thus gathered around you your own people, the descendants of those Canadians of old, the last to give up the fight in that last battle, who, with souls anguished by defeat, escorted the Marquis of Montcalm from the gates of Old Quebec to the Chateau Saint-Louis, on the night following the battle on the Plains of Abraham. We thank you for having lifted them up to you and invited them to share your glory.

We say Farewell and we thank you. We thank you for the shining memento which you bequeathed to the historian at large. Its brilliancy w7ill not fade. It will be a guiding light which the tempest-beaten

mariner will look to. It will be as a pillar of fire which will guide, on their march towards the promised land of a better Dominion, all sections of the Canadian people, reconciled at last to one another and linked together by the bonds of an "Union sacree."

Farewell. Close to your resting place, amid maples and poplars, adorned by the coming spring with luxuriant foliage, we shall, many of us, congregate to pray in the tongue of your ancestors. The field wherein you lie, whose tender embrace you received, will be light to you. For it is part of that native land w'hose history is three centuries old and whose motherly womb will some day cover our meanness with its vastness and shroud our nothingness with its perennity. Adieu!

Topic:   FEBRUARY 25, 19X9
Permalink

THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.

ADDRESS IN REPLY MOVED BY MR. REDMAN, SECONDED BY MR. MANION.


The House proceeded to the consideration of the speech of His Excellency the Governor General at the opening of the session. [DOT]


UNION

Daniel Lee Redman

Unionist

Mr. DANIEL LEE REDMAN (Calgary East):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to move the address in reply to the speech from the Throne, I wish to tender to the Honourable, the Acting Prime Minister (Sir Thomas White), my humble thanks for the honour which he has conferred upon me and upon the constituency which I have the honour to represent, a constituency which, **' in enlistment and other war efforts, has made an enviable record. I had the honour to serve for a short period in a small way in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, I have been for some time in association with returned soldiers and their organizations, and I have no doubt that, in choosing me to move this important address, the Government wished to do honour to our soldiers generally. In their behalf, if it is not presumption on my part to speak for those splendid Canadians, I wish to express gratitude and appreciation.

I can assure you, Sir, that I enter upon this task with a keen sense of my temerity, and I ask for the kind indulgence of you, Sir, and of this House, in listening to the brief remarks which I intend to make. Great honour has been conferred on this Dominion in giving to us as our Governor General the head of a House which, for centuries, has taken a leading part in ruling our great empire.

His Excellency, the Duke of Devonshire, can he well assured of the high estimation jn which he is held by the Canadian people, and of their deep appreciation of the painstaking and able manner in which he performs the arduous and important duties which devolve upon him.

I must pause here, as indeed this nation has paused, to pay my humble tribute to the great man who has died. I can add very little to the eloquent tributes which have been paid by honourable members on both sides of the House. As a new member of this House, I consider it a very great privilege to have witnessed the closing years of his great and illustrious career. His memory will always remain as an inspiration to those who love Canada.

In each of the last four years Parliament has been opened under the cloud of a great war. A war entailing enormous effort, unlimited sacrifice and great sorrow, and requiring the undivided attention of the nation to the exclusion of all other national problems.

To-day, the cloud has lifted and we stand on the threshold of an assured and, I believe, a lasting era of peace. Our great epoch of struggle and sacrifice is ended. A glorious, a victorious peace has crowned the efforts of our Empire and its allies. The armistice has been signed on our own terms. The enemy is utterly demoralized. The menace of militarism and 'autocracy has been crushed, we trust forever, and democracy and representative institutions have been preserved to humanity.

The British empire, of which Canada has the increasing honour of being an important member, has played an outstanding part in this war. Her matchless navy made victory a certainty. The splendid tenacity of her army made defeat an impossibility. Her lofty aims and unbending adherence to the principles of fair play and international justice attracted numerous nations to the side of the allies.

The British Empire has been preserved to itself and to humanity. Hundreds of millions of human beings are assured that they may continue to live safely under its beneficent laws. Its ideals, its institutions, have been preserved, and will continue for the good of the world, we hope, for many centuries to come.

The co-operation of the British Empire and the United States of America in this war should result in the happiest relations between these two great Anglo-Saxon nations-relations which shall not only be beneficial to these two nations, but which should enable them, acting in unison, to

exert an excellent influence in world affairs.

Representatives of each of the Allies are now assembled at Paris to settle the immediate differences between all belligerents, and to plan, as far as may be possible, to make war impossible in the future. Great conferences have been held in the past with these two objects in view, notably the Assembly at Vienna in 1814-15, and the Conference at Berlin in 1878. But progress has been made since those memorable days. The right of peoples to choose their own form of Government has been recognized. The horror of war is greater to-day than ever in the past. This Conference is attempting to settle the differences of nations on such a basis as will remove possible causes of war, and it regards the prevention of future wars as its most important problem. This Dominion has been recognized as a nation entitled as such to representation in any league of nations which may be formed. The presence of the right honourable the Prime Minister of Canada, Sir Robert Borden, with several of his ministers at this conference is most fitting, having regard to the great sacrifice which the Canadian people made in the war, and Canada's international duty as a nation among the nations of the world. The Prime Minister has distinguished himself at that conference. He has been entrusted with important and difficult work, and he is reflecting great honour on this Dominion.

The people of Canada may, now that the tremendous burden of effort and sacrifice, imposed on them by the war, has been removed, pause to review with pride the excellent record which they have made under the leadership of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Only through untiring efforts and sacrifice can the character of an individual or a nation be strengthened and achieve greatness. Canada, in this war, has made and proven itself a great nation. The achievements and sacrifices of its soldiers and sailors have, and of right do, overshadow all its other efforts. Over 600,000 of its manhood enrolled in its service; over

200.000 casualties have been sustained; over

55.000 have given up their lives in its behalf. Canada has raised for war purposes, from its own people, under the able direction of the Minister of Finance, in excess of the fabulous sum of $1,300,000,000. Canada has manufactured and sold to the Allies over one billion dollars worth of munitions, being in excess of one-fourth of all the munitions used by Great Britain and the

United States in the war. Agricultural products of enormous values have been sold to the Allies. Its business and economic fabric is stronger and on a larger scale than ever before in its history. Its people generally during the period of the war submerged petty prejudices, personal ambition and their own convenience, and devoted their energies to war work, notably in connection with Red Cross, Patriotic Fund and kindred efforts. The women of Canada bore a great and inspiring part

5 pm. in the struggle. The stoical patriotism with which they sent their sons to war; the suspense and bereavements which they suffered, the splendid influence which they exercised over our soldiers cannot be too highly commended. They took the places in business of thousands of men who went overseas and added to our economic capacity.

But our main inspiration was given by our soldiers overseas. How nobly have they upheld our honour thousands of miles across the sea; their discipline, their resource, their initiative, their irresistible dash in attack, their stubborn tenacity against heavy odds, has made Canada a name to conjure with. Not only have they upheld our traditions but, far surpassing them, they have established for us new and loftier standards; new and more illustrious traditions. They have made a magnificent reputation for our country on those hard-fought fields where, before the eyes of all the world, manhood is tested and reputations are irrevocably lost or made to endure throughout eternity. Those who risked all, and especially that 55,000 who gave all, have left us a great heritage, but have also left us great responsibilities and great duties. Let us, as Canadians, now look well to the duties which lie immediately before us so that we may not be untrue to those who have sacrificed so much for this country, and so that the principles and ideals for which they died may become actual institutions in this country, to be enjoyed by the people of Canada and posterity, for whom we, at this crisis, are trustees.

But while it is pleasant to pause and reflect upon the achievements of the last four years, so pressing and so vital are the problems which immediately confront us that we must face them now and devote to them all the ingenuity and concentration which we possess, looking backward only for the purpose of obtaining inspiration. And surely the adaptability and ingenuity shown, and the success achieved, by our soldiers, our statesmen, our manufacturers, our workmen, our farmers and

our people generally during the period of the war should make us confident of successfully solving them. Let us then undertake these problems patriotically and unselfishly, inspired by the lessons of sacrifice which we have received from our army overseas.

During the war we had the stimulus of a common enemy, the excitement and the fever of battle. This has now been removed. In order to attain the concentration and efficiency the present situation demands, we must have something to take its place. What is undoubtedly required is a high sense of patriotism, a strong concept of public duty and responsibility on the part of all our people, and such a desire to wrork for the common good as shall overshadow all party prejudice, all class struggles, all personal selfishness and unworthy personal motives. Consider the example which has been given us by our army overseas. There a Conservative was supported by a Liberal,-a millionaire stood side by side with a labourer; there were no class distinctions no party differences; each was willing- to sacrifice himself for the other; all were willing to sacrifice themselves for Canada. The problems before us to-day are equally great and vital. Let us face them confidently, strengthened by our economic success during the war, and unselfishly inspired by the splendid traditions given us by our Army.

The Government has had the problems of reconstruction under its consideration for many months. The uncertainty of the date of peace has added to the difficulty of the work. I venture to say, however, that no country was better prepared to meet these problems than Canada.

It is gratifying to note that the Government intends to present a bill to establish a department of Public Health. It is essential that we should preserve and foster our greatest resource, the vital energy of our people, which nature, by the vigour of our beneficent climate, gives them in such abundance. During the recent great struggle there has been a greater mortality among children in Canada from purely preventible diseases than the number of our casualties in the war which enables us to appreciate the necessity of legislation of this character.

The proposed Better Housing Bill will be acceptable to the entire country. Anyone who has wandered through the tenements of great cities cannot fail to be impressed with the absolute necessity of government assistance and supervision. Happily in this new country we are able

to institute this measure more in the nature of a preventative for the future, than as a corrective of present conditions.

The Government is to be congratulated in presenting a Bill to assist in vocational and technical education. This is a move in the right direction and a work which will assist materially to the earning power of our people.

A measure will be presented to encourage better highways. Such a measure is essential to improve living conditions in rural localities, and to assist agriculturists and others to market their products without unnecessary cost and inconvenience.

The new Franchise Bill, providing as it does for more effectually enabling women to vote, and conferring upon them the privilege of sitting in Parliament, is a happy measure. The splendid work done by women during the war has entitled them to every power and privilege of citizenship, and has assured this country that their advice and assistance in legislation will be of inestimable benefit.

The Bill to be presented, dealing with desirable immigration, is vital to our national life. It is inconceivable that we should allow further immigration of enemy aliens. From my knowledge of the feelings of our soldiers, I can assure this House that the direst consequences will ensue unless some such measure is enacted. With the sentiments of the soldiers, I heartily concur. We must keep this country British, let our growth be fast or slow. While our soldiers have been beating back the Germans from our front in France, they do not propose that any one shall open the back door admitting them into this country.

All the measures enumerated tend to the creation of better and fairer living conditions for all classes in Canada, and the Government is to be congratulated in moving unfalteringly in this direction.

It is essential that we face squarely the feeling of unrest that prevails throughout the world, a spirit of change which eludes constituted authority, and crosses frontiers at will. I believe we can look at this phenomenon optimistically. We must believe that the curve of human evolution is an ascending curve. We should, instead of defending ancient institutions, turn our efforts towards guiding the new spirit, and be alert to do everything practical to improve economic living conditions for all classes. It seems to me that reconstruction must not stop when we have reached our pre-war basis of stability, but the lessons and inspirations of the war must be capitalized,

and our people must receive the benefits to which their sacrifices during the last four years have entitled them.

Unfortunately a creed has risen in Russia which has become an actual menace to civilization. 'It aims at destroying all industry, all representative institutions, and to substitute autocratic and non-productive rule by a single class. In my opinion, Sir, the new creed is just as dangerous as the one that we have been combatting during the last four years. Canada is happily practically free from this evil, but we should be prepared, should it raise its head in our country, to stamp it out even more ruthlessly and thoroughly than we crushed German autocracy, because it is equally autocratic, and is absolutely opposed to civilization and our representative institutions. Our returning soldiers have already given evidence that they are fundamentally opposed to this doctrine, and can be relied upon for any assistance which might be required if this menace should ever arise in this country.

The most immediate problem which confronts our Government is the demobilization of the returning soldier and his absorption into civil life. This, while an arduous duty, should be, and I am sure is, a pleasant one. A grateful country will wish to do everything reasonably possible to assist its soldiers. I think I can say with considerable assurance that all the returned soldier desires, is to receive such assistance and encouragement as shall enable him to take his place in our economic and social life, freed, as far as possible, from any loss or handicap which his service overseas may have imposed upon him. That I think is not asking a great deal, that much the returned soldier expects. Otherwise I am sure it is his desire to be as good a citizen in peace as he was a patriot in war. The Government has grappled vigourously with this problem. The Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment has, in my opinion, done its work exceedingly well. The various regulations are constantly improving and the administration of the work is gradually becoming more efficient. However we must take the most punctilious care to see that the soldier is fairly treated, and that he has an opportunity to enter, unhandicapped, into our economic life. Nothing less will satisfy the people of Canada. _

It must be remembered that our soldiers are changing from a life under a simplified administration, where necessary changes are made instantly in a general order, and results obtained, to life under our compli-

cated and sometimes unnecessarily 'slow civilian system, where what he may desire and indeed, what he may be absolutely entitled to, cannot be obtained without endless delay. Possibly the influence of the returning soldier, trained in a speedy, simplified, clarified form of administration, may have a salutary effect on some of our government departments, and on our system of life generally.

Every precaution should be taken so that needless and harassing delays should not be imposed on our returning soldiers, who are anxious to get adjusted into civilian life as quickly as possible. Our soldiers should not be hampered and irritated by red tape and unnecessary rules. These are purely matters of procedure, but are equally important in their results with questions of principle or legal rights.

The immediate and piessing question is that of employment. Canada owes an absolute duty to its soldiers to furnish them with employment as soon as they are ready for it. All problems centre about this one. Among our half million soldiers are men capable of filling every position under the control of any government. Every opening in every government service, be it military or civil, should be filled by a returned soldier. Provision must be made, and in the Government's building programme is being made to furnish additional employment. Each lesser governing body should have a similar policy and programme, and each employer of labour should, if he is worthy of citizenship, make every possible provision to employ soldiers. Many civilians employed in the place of soldiers should, if necessary, be dismissed.

In this I feel that I am not stating the case too strongly but am simply enunciating the principle that our soldiers have an absolute right to be absorbed into our. economic life, and to have an opportunity to be respected and useful citizens, without any handicap on account of service overseas. This principle cannot be too clearly understood by the people of Canada.

The Government is to be congratulated on the recent Order in Council dealing with land settlement. Our great resource is our undeveloped agricultural land. We wish this land developed by patriotic Canadians, not by the people of other lands who are not in sympathy with our national ideals, and I hope that any scheme presented by the Government to make available our western lands will made adequate reservation for not only our soldiers, but the soldiers of other parts of

the British Empire. In Western- Canada, especially, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of returned soldiers ready for the development of the Government's scheme, and I hope that it will be proceeded with with all possible speed.

The Government will present a Bill improving and consolidating the Orders in Council dealing with pensions. Many laudable improvements were made in the recent Order in Council passed in January last, and doubtless additional improvements will be included in the coming Bill.

T feel that this Government should be congratulated on the splendid manner in which they directed the energies of the people during the last four years of war and on grappling so vigorously with the problems arising in this period of reconstruction But no Government alone could successfully solve either the problems of the war or the problems which are at present before us. During the four years of war they had the co-operation and assistance of all the people of Canada, and I believe that they may rely on similar support and assistance now.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and the House for your courteous attention and for the patience with which you have listened to my remarks.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY MOVED BY MR. REDMAN, SECONDED BY MR. MANION.
Permalink

March 3, 1919