March 14, 1919

L LIB

Duncan Campbell Ross

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROSS:

Did you hear the matter mentioned at all during the election?

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

No, I did not hear it mentioned, and for this very good reason:

It so commended itself to the judgment of the whole of the people that nobody thought an issue could-be made of it. It must also,

I think, commend itself to all hon. gentlemen if they take time to consider the situation. What is the situation, Air. Speaker?

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. D. D. McKENZIE:

Before the President of the Council leaves the constitutional phase of the subject, I would like to put a question to him. The hon. member says that this Council, or Cabinet, of which he speaks, is constitutional and based on constitutional principles. Will the hon. member explain where he finds any basi3 for such an arrangement in the constitution of Canada, for instance?

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

I said it was a development of the British constitution, like so many others, to meet the exigencies of the situation, and that is the way all the great developments in the British constitution have been made. In that respect the British people have differed from most other nations under free and democratic governments. The majority of nations have prescribed for themselves a written constitution, and they must act within the terms, or the limits of that constitution. The British people, on the other hand, have had confidence in their ability to meet any situation when it arose, and they have adopted their constitutional procedure to meet the exigency of the case. That is the way this Imperial War Cabinet developed.

When my hon. friend asked his question,

I was pointing out that the Imperial. War Cabinet does not deal with any matter with which the Parliament of Canada previously dealt, or over which it had jurisdiction. There was always an area of sovereignty oveT which we had no jurisdiction, such as foreign affairs and matters relating to the issues of peace or war. Over these Canada had ho control except in so far as she might make representations to the Imperial Government which dealt with these matters. Now, Mr. Speaker, the development is this: Our autonomy has been enlarged, our selfgovernment has been enlarged, Canada has reached the status of a nation, not in name but in fact. Canada now has her voice heard in that area of sovereignty over which she previously had no jurisdiction. The representatives of Canada meet with the representatives of the other Dominions and the Mother Country to determine these questions of foreign policy-the issues of peace or war. There has been no curtailment of our sovereignty. On the other hand, there has been an extension of sovereignty, or self-government, to the people of Canada.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. LAPOINTE:

Ordinarily, when a member of a Cabinet disagrees with his colleagues on a question of policy, the

course for him to follow is to resign from the Cabinet. Will my hon. friend say whether this course will be followed by a member of the Imperial War Cabinet if he disagrees with other members of the Cabinet on any question of policy brought before it?

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

The answer to my hon. friend's question is this: where the Cabinet, as in the past, is responsible to a particular parliament, that has been the constitutional procedure. But this is not a cabinet like any other cabinet.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

It is, as the Prime Minister has said, a cabinet of governments in which the heads of governments represent their own peoples. You may call it a council, if you will; I will not quarrel over the term. But it is an assembly, an organ of government, a place where the representatives of the Mother Country and of all the Dominions and of India meet together to discuss matters of common concern and to agree on lines of co-operation affecting the whole Empire.

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L LIB

Duncan Campbell Ross

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROSS:

My hon friend has not

answered the question of the member for Kamouraska.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

The question is answered. The difficulty with my hon. friend on the other side is that while he professes to be a Liberal, he cannot readily change. There should be a readiness to change to meet new situations and new developments; there should be new machinery of government to meet new exigencies.

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L LIB

Duncan Campbell Ross

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROSS:

I admit I cannot change just as quickly as my hon. friend.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

I have not changed; I

have stood for compulsory military service and the backing up of our boys at the front.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

My hon. friend (Mr. Ross) should not get nervous when he does not have his own way.

Let me come back to the question we were discussing. What is to be the future relation of Canada to Great Britain and to the other Dominions of the Empire? Are we to continue in a position where we have no voice in questions of foreign policy or the issues of peace or war? That is inconceivable on the part of a nation such as

ours, which has taken such a part in this great struggle. It is inconceivable that Canada should be content to occupy a subordinate position in the Empire; to have the issues that affect the lives and welfare of her families, and citizens determined by men living elsewhere, and to have no voice whatever in their determination. There are only two ways in which Canada can have a voice in foreign policy. She can have it as an independent nation, or by co-operation with the nations that now form part of the British Empire. Here again I have not changed; I believe that the future of Canada is inseparably associated with that of the Mother Country and the other nations of the Empire. Canada s future is to be found in association with these nations.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I am very glad that the hon. gentleman is coming to the right line. Now, would he kindly tell us where the question of responsibility for the colonies-I use the term in a broad sense- comes in?

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

Responsibility for the colonies?

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Responsibility under the new form. There must be responsibility in all governments, or there should be.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

I will come to that point in a moment.

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UNION

March 14, 1919