January 12, 1926

COPYRIGHT ACT AMENDMENT


Mr. L. J. LADNER (Vancouver South) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 3, to amend and make operative certain provisions of the Copyright Act, 1921.


LIB
CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

The present bill is a reprint of Bill No. 2 of last year and is the result of the findings of a special committee after hearing a great deal of evidence. It is virtually a compromise with respect to the various interests that presented their views on the matter. The report of the special committee was presented towards the end of last session but too late to be acted upon by the House. There are no variations from the bill as reported from the special committee.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   COPYRIGHT ACT AMENDMENT
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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENT'S RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE


The House resumed, from Monday, January 11, consideration of the motion of Hon. Ernest Lapointe for consideration of the Speech of His Excellency the Governor General at the opening of the session, and its precedence over other business, and the proposed amendment thereto of the Right Hon-Arthur Meighen,


IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA (Labelle) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, before dealing with the subject matter of this stormy debate, .permit me to express all the happiness which I felt in meeting you again as my colleague in this House, one of the few survivors of that concourse of public men elected in 1896 and to express to you on behalf of the part-difficult to gauge-of the population that I represent, my best wishes in this second term of office, the duties of which you so well discharged in the last parliament.

While on the subject, and since after all, I must at the outset begin to somewhat criticize, I shall be bold enough to state that the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) would have, perhaps, been more in keeping with the spirit of the hour if he had opened the door to an innovation which, I think, should as a matter be grafted on our parliamentary institutions: to wit, that the office of Speaker, as in England, should become permanent. I expressed this sentiment long ago, when the idea of being returned to this House, was most remote from my thoughts, I still cling to this opinion. I am not a follower of all British precedents; however there are good ones, the latter is one of them and I trust it will become a Canadian practice.

Mr. Speaker, before plunging into the question now engaging the attention of the House,

Government's Right to Office

may I be permitted to offer to my colleagues on both sides my best wishes, not as a newcomer to this House, but as a ghost coming back to his old haunts? Ghosts are allowed some freaks. All that I will permit myself in that respect is to say that I have come here with an open mind towards all parties and their programmes, and, may I say, with an open hand and heart to all their members.

Yesterday we were favoured with a strong breeze, may I say, blizzard, from the west, a breeze none the less refreshing because it was somewhat interrupted at times by hot waves of chinook. Later on, we had the thundering voice of the cannon from the old citadel of Quebec, a cannon fully loaded at times with balls that reached their aim, and on occasion with the quantity of powder necessary either to clear the atmosphere or to blind the eyes of those nearby.

To-day, I propose to assume the somewhat unaccustomed1 role of a dove of peace, and in order to show that that is really my intention, may I be permitted to say that it is for the general advantage of Canada that we should have here worthy representatives of the various provinces, and the different political parties and groups that now divide public opinion and favour?

In addition to yourself, Sir, to whom I have expressed my personal regard in our common language, I was delighted to find here one old friend, the last of our fellow members of the House of Commons in 18%. I refer to the hon. member for South York (Mr. Maclean). Delighted I was also, as I am sure every member of the House is delighted, to see among us that veteran of public life and journalism in Canada, that Worthy representative of a worthy family, of an interesting paper, and of a marked political tradition. May I say to the hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. White) that I for one appreciate very much his presence in the House, although I must say that I appreciate rather more the presence of the hon. gentleman than the policy of the paper which he edits with such ability, notwithstanding the fact that I agree with much of what it says. Next may I turn to my good friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) and say how old it makes me feel, and how happy at the same time, to find him in the position of honour which he now occupies. Many men of different sizes have occupied the various positions of honour which are placed before the public men of this country. But when I left this parliament, or rather the old one, the Minister of Justice was but a babe in public life, a promising babe,

I admit, not only in size but in spirit as well. May I say as a French Canadian, irrespective

of all political views, that I am happy to discover that, as in the case of so many sons of our race, the House of Commons has been to my honourable friend a great educator, and that he is a living evidence, to the Englishspeaking members of the Canadian parliament, of the way in which the French Canadian can adapt himself to the use of the English language. .

As to my hon. friend just opposite, the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan), I will refrain from saying in his presence all that I feel, because if I were to allow my heart and my brain to speak freely perhaps what I should say might compromise the influence which I hope he will exercise in that part of the House. As to the hon. member for South Winnipeg (Mr. Rogers), well, the moment I saw him here I was struck with the thought that it was a ghostly reappearance of a gentleman who was once my political chieftain and, as he has always been, my excellent friend. I will not dwell upon that lest it embarrass the hon. gentleman and perhaps disturb the repose of my late friend, Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

May I say that personally and politically as well I regret the absence from this House of a gentleman whom, although I differed from him at most times, I had learned to respect and appreciate-I refer to Sir Robert Borden. And another gentleman whom I had not the pleasure of knowing as a public man but whom I met privately in Winnipeg many years ago, Mr. Crerar, I also regret not to see here. It is a matter of great regret to me, too, that the Prime Minister of Canada should be absent from the House at this time. Not from any political consideration but purely for the advantage of parliament, I trust that Mr. Mackenzie King will soon be back in the House to face his worthy opponent, the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) whom, as we say in French, I have reserved for the dessert. May I say to the right hon. gentleman that although I have differed from him in most respects while I have been out of public life and since he has entered the parliamentary arena, I have learned, not only from the reading of his public utterances but from a better source, from the lips of persons who know him and whom I know, that although I may not see in him the man to whom should be entrusted the destinies of this country, I have always respected him as a thorough gentleman and an honest man, a man of hft word, however right or wrong his views ' may be. I may perhaps illustrate and sum up this preface to the remarks I am about to make on the amendment of the right hon. gentleman by saying that when Mr. Mackenzie King is back in

Government's Right to Office

this House I hope there will be not only a fair interchange of opinions between himself and my right hon. friend, but that, now they are out of political conflict, they will both give to their utterances a somewhat broader and loftier tone than that which characterized the speeches of both of them during the electoral contest. In saying this I do not seek to blame either of these gentlemen; I know what the exigencies are of politics, of party and of partisans. But I think we have come to the point where statesmen should strike in their utterances not the note that appeals most to the lower feelings of their partisans but the note that appeals most, above and beyond the party spirit, to the best conscience and the highest sentiments of the Canadian people. It is in that spirit, and bearing in mind my oft-repeated sins as an active politician in the past, that I shall endeavour personally to maintain relations with the various parties that compose this House.

May I say to hon. gentlemen opposite that I am happy to see the old Conservative party regaining some of its vital forces. It seems to me that, in order to give to the country the full benefit of its great traditions and of those principles which were laid down, and which are engraved in the hearts and memories of the Canadian people, by the Macdonalds, the Cartiers and the Tuppers, the Conservative party should apply itself to be less of an Ontario party or a Nova Scotia party or an Imperial party, and should cherish rather the ambition to become again, what it was at the time of confederation,-and I say this unhesitatingly as a descendant of four generations of Liberals-a great national constructive party. [DOT] To that end, therefore, I comment; the language used recently, I will not say at Hamilton but generally, by the leader of the opposition when he spoke to and of the people of Quebec. In such language as he has used on these occasions he has shown his patriotism and his statesmanship, because, given the circumstances of the recent election, the right hon. gentleman must have had a good deal of courage and self possession to resist the temptation of playing Quebec against Ontario or Ontario against Quebec. He must have learned also from the lessons of that election that if the great Conservative party is to become once more a national party it must appeal, not to the low feelings of Quebec but equally to the better feelings not only of Quebec but, as well, of Ontario and of all other parts of Canada.

There are in the province of Quebec certain principles and certain traditions that have been closely associated with the history and the life of the Canadian nation ever since its

birth; and no party, no man, no government can afford to rob Canada of the wealth of moral traditions of Quebec, even allowing for the faults and the weaknesses of the people of that province. The people of Quebec are just as necesary to the prosperity and the moral superiority, to the growth and the progress of Canada, as are the people of the great province of Ontario, or the progressive people of the western provinces, or the people of the dear old Maritime provinces, especially, so far as I am personally concerned, that province by the sea which is dearest to myself, the province of Nova Scotia, the first one I had the pleasure of knowing upon going beyond the borders of my native province.

The Conservative party has rendered great service to Canada, because it was a party of principles. But since, unfortunately, it has sacrificed so many of its principles for the sake of appealing to this section or that section, since it has renounced the solid nationalism of Macdonald and Cartier to stamp itself in the minds of the people of Canada as the standard bearer of imperialism, although it may have acquired some political advantages here and there, it has lost a great deal of its raison d'etre as a national constructive party. You may say, Sir-no, you would not say so, because you must be impartial, but it may be suggested-that the Liberal party has sacrificed at least as many principles as the Conservative party. But as one who renounced pretty early in his political life the shibboleth of Liberalism, may I say, Sir, that the position is not similar? The essence of Liberalism is to have no principles. I do not mean this in a personal sense or in its application to this special group at this particular time; but the essence of Liberalism either by way of doctrine or in its political application is to try to do the best thing, to find its path between various conflicting principles and policies, governed by the rough common sense of the British people as in the British Isles. Liberalism has produced much good. It has tempered and humbled the Tory party in its pride and in its idea that everything which was British was Tory or ought to be Tory. But I admit that Liberalism has in itself a tendency to deliquescence which must be looked after not only by the Conservative party thinking of the faults of Liberalism-especially when there is a chance of taking the place of Liberals-but also by some people who, having renounced one shibboleth without acquiring faith in the other, think there is something to be made use of in the inspiration, in the instinct, in the disposition of these great parties, provided,

Government's Right to Office

of course, that they are kept from falling into the natural path of their worst instincts.

With regard to my friends from the west, may I say, just as the right hon. gentleman on the other side (Mr. Meighen) said, without any idea of pandering to their favour or sympathy-and for an excellent reason: I have nothing to expect from them-that I have followed with a great deal of sympathy their movement, from its inception. I began learning something of it in 1913, when I travelled through the western provinces for the second time and delivered some lectures in various centres of those three great provinces. It was then (that I heard for the first time of Mr. Crerar; I think he was secretary of the Grain Growers' Association.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENT'S RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

He is president.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR PRECEDENCE-GOVERNMENT'S RIGHT TO RETAIN OFFICE
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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

It was then I realized

that this Progressive movement, whatever form it took or might take in the future, whatever leadership it might receive, whatever formula of politics it might enunciate before the people east or west or before parliament, responded to a growing need of those western provinces and was just as necessary to the welfare and maintenance of confederation, to the growth of the spirit of confederation, as those clear-seeing men in England who denounced the policy of George III and Lord North were the real friends of England; for if their advice had been followed instead of narrow Toryism and narrow Whigism, blinding king, lords, commons and people, their follies would not have resulted in detaching from the Crown of England thirteen of its brightest jewels. I was struck then and there, Sir, with the similarity of some of the words used, some of the sentiments expressed in private conversations by men not of Yankee origin, by men not of German or Polish or Hungarian origin, but by Canadian citizens born and brought up in the British Isles who had come and settled in those western provinces, but without having had a previous contact with the people of Ontario and Quebec-I was struck with the similarity of their sentiments and those expressed four years before the American rebellion by men of English and Scottish stock in the English provinces of America against the domination of England, the selfishness of Englishmen, the narrow-mindedness of king, ministers, lords and commoners; and from that time I took the resolution, as a Canadian to whose heart every inch of Canadian land is dear, to try to understand what those people wanted, whether right or wrong; to put myself in their shoes if possible in order to do the little I could do in my good old province of Quebec'

to make our people understand that the party dictum, the programme of the Conservative party or the Liberal party, no more responded to the needs of the Canadian nation, and that a new voice was arising in the west that had to be listened to if men of good will, east and west, were at least to try to solve the problems which faced the country. Everything which is a problem in Alberta is a problem for Canada; everything which is a problem in Quebec is a problem for Canada, and likewise everything which is a problem in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is a problem for Canadians, east and west.

To my two excellent Labour fellow-members may I say that although in many respects we probably stand at the antipodes in our conception of social life, I am happy to find them here and happy to find that a portion of the Labour of Canada is represented in this House by men of good English stock with an abundance of English culture and at the same time a sincere desire, I am sure, to adapt their ideas to the conditions in Canada. But may I be allowed to state that the organized Labour of Canada, as represented by these gentlemen, affiliated for the larger part at least with the United States labour unions, does not represent fully the labour forces, and that one of the mistakes committed by the preceding administration- I will not say that led by the right hon. gentleman, Mr. Mackenzie King, but by the Conservative administration,-through its

Labour minister, was its failure to acknowledge the fact that the growth of the Labour movement in the province of Quebec-gov-[DOT] erned, as everything in that province is, by old standing traditions of religion, of family ties, of attachment to customs three centuries oldj-^has to be acknowledged also, whether you approve or disapprove of it. There is that Catholic labour movement in the province of Quebec which has just as much right to be heard in the parliament of the nation as have the organized' farmers, the workmen affiliated with the labour unions of the United States, or any other class of people in Canada.

Now, Sir, begging pardon again for this long preface to my remarks, I wish to take up in that spirit the motion which stands in the name of the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Meighen). May I say, just to introduce a pleasant feeling, that I think the government owes a great debt of gratitude to the right hon. gentleman? I leave it to their conscience and' their good heart to find a means of expressing their gratitude one way or the other, but I really think that by introducing this

Government's Right to Office

amendment and having it substituted by force for the motion of the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), the government has been perhaps saved. But that is a small point. Let us take the amendment. On the first paragraph I would have nothing to say, only that with a little coquetry I would like to show that a layman, an ignorant man, can touch the fine work of legality nearly as deftly as a lawyer can. It is said that in the late general election the candidates of His Excellency's advisers were defeated, and so forth.

I d[o not know that any candidate was put in the field by the advisers of His Excellency acting in such capacity. I do not presume that the sinister intention of that wording was to insinuate that His Excellency took a hand in the choice of the candidates of the Liberal party. I think in the choice of candidates a great many influences! come to bear. I know it was so in the old days; I do not know how it is now, but I have heard of leaders imposing their choice in preference to that of the people, and that in both parties. I have heard of certain portions of a constituency imposing their candidate against the will of other portions. I remember even having heard a minister of the crown belonging to the Liberal party tell me quite seriously that it was sometimes the duty of leaders! of a party to supply funds to the opponent of one of their own candidates in order to get rid of him. So I have come to the conclusion that the responsibility of leaders in the choice of candidates does not matter very much.

The right hon. leader of the opposition says that the government candidates were defeated in a "large" majority of the constituencies. Perhaps the adjective was inspired by the circumstances of the moment, but there is no doubt that both t'he Liberal party and the Conservative party stand in a minority. This has been pointed out time and again, and we must now look for the solution which such circumstances suggest or impose.

With regard to the second clause of the amendment, "that nine ministers of the crown, including the Prime Minister, were rejected at the polls and have no seats in parliament." leaving apart the very able presentations of the right hon. gentleman, the 'hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Bennett), the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), and the Solicitor General (Mr. Cannon), from my humble point of view, and I believe I am expressing the view of a great many of the people in the country, much more numerous than the few thousands who sent me here by their votes, there is a growing feeling that the lesser the

number of ministers, the better the government. Carried to its logical conclusion I would say, Sir, that a government clipped of its head, its arms, its legs, and left only with its toes would march on the path of progress at a much quicker rate than most of the governments we have had for the past twenty-five years. But that is only as a matter of relief in the very serious situation I am going to deal with.

The next clause of the amendment reads:

That the party represented in the last parliament by His Majesty's apposition secured in the said election by far the largest support in the popular vote, and has substantially the largest number of members of any party in the present House of Commons.

The largest number of members, no doubt.

I will not follow the Solicitor General in the analysis he has made of the various nuances- there is really no English word to render the fine significance of that word. You see, French is the language of diplomacy, and1 when French diplomats want to tell each other politely, although they are in the same government, or although they are working towards the same end, that they are not of the same opinion, *or that there must be something behind the fence, they say there is a nuance. No doubt there are shades of differences between the various members on that side of the House, but I believe there are also some slight differences of opinion between various individuals or groups of individuals on this side. I do not think that iime of argument will carry us very far.

But there is one point which had just as well be looked into immediately and that is the situation of the Conservative party in the province of Quebec, and the votes given in that province. The right hon. leader of the opposition was put under the impression, when I asked him if he counted the votes given to Mr. Patenaude and his candidates in Quebec as being given to the right hon. gentleman's party, that I merely wanted to poke fun at him. He was greatly mistaken. Naturally enough, the question brought applause on this side. Conservatives must have sympathy for these gentlemen. They need some little solace of that nature, so let them enjoy it. It will not change anything. But what is serious and important is, why was the Conservative party officially absent in the province of Quebec? Why was the right hon. leader of that party excluded from appealing to the people of Quebec? He knows where I stand. I repeat, I have opposed his policy right along, ever since the war began. I opposed his policy and the policy of his party under the Union gov-

Government's Right to Office

eminent. I opposed his policy when he was Prime Minister. In my own humble organ of opinion I have discussed and analysed every speech of his, but I may claim I have always done it in the open, that such strokes as I gave him I gave him in front, and not below the belt. I do not want to be counted among those who, sheltering themselves under the traditions of the great Conservative party, or appealing to prejudices or to the racial feelings of Quebec, as against the Liberal party, or as against the right hon. gentleman, have been pursuing the most sordid domination and stabbing the right hon. gentleman in the back. *I do not appeal to gentlemen opposite any more than I do to the representatives of the western provinces, but simply because I knew the men and the circumstances, I have no regret, either as a Canadian, as a Freneh-Canadian, or as a friend, in the 'broad sense of the word, of both political parties, in having helped the Liberal-Conservative party to rid itself, if it has learned the lesson of that last election, of that sordid domination which has been exercised over this group in Quebec by Lord Atholstan and the 'Montreal Star for the last twenty-five years. They should now realize that the influence of the Montreal Star is great indeed, but that it operates against the usual law of nature. If you want to be sure that a minister will be defeated in Quebec, that a group of men will be defeated in Quebec, that a policy will be repugnant to the people of Quebec, get the Montreal Star to uphold it and you may be sure of its fate.

I am not in the secrets of either party; but I know this: long before the Patenaude movement was organized, a gentleman connected with the Conservative cause came around a friend of mine, associated with the paper of which I am the humble founder and director, as-I am not so well up in biblical language as the hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. White)-what is it?-as the roaring lion, or the insinuating serpent?-to get the influence of that paper in favour of a certain railway policy. There was a big national programme to cover up that policy. I do not know how many sheets of paper were filled with declarations of principles, as to the salvation of Canada, the adoption of a national policy, down with imperialism, down with Mr. Meighen's policy! But in that big display of fine words, there was a little black spot; and it was that the gentlemen who would accept a candidature under that national programme,-and plenty of money to support it-would have to accept an engagement -with regard to the railway policy

in question. They would be allowed to denounce the empire, to throw the flag down and get rid of Mr. Meighen, provided they made it safe for the holders of Canadian Pacific Railway shares to get, some said, ten per cent, others, seven per cent. That is the main reason why I came out from my long retreat, to help-I will not say the right hon. gentleman, I will not say the Libera! party, but all the good and right-thinking men belonging to both parties-to help rid the Canadian people, the province of Quebec and the city of Montreal of that gang of financial buccaneers and their attempts at blackmailing public men, governments and parliaments in order to secure certain sordid ends. I may say here, Sir, that I feel sure that if anything of that nature was presented for the approval of the right hon. leader of the opposition he repulsed it. For that he has my esteem and respect and that of all other Canadians who think of the honour of their public men before they think of party differences.

Now we come to paragraph four which is I understand the substance of the motion: Because the Prime Minister is not in the House of Commons or in the Senate there is no government, there ought to be no government. I listened with a great deal of attention and pleasure to the debate yesterday between the hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Bennett) and the Solicitor General (Mr. Cannon). I have enough of the lawyer's temperament in me-thank heaven I was prevented from becoming one-but I have some of the instincts of the lawyer especially on all matters of constitutional law. Really it was a treat for an old parliamentarian, for one who knows something of the development of the constitution more as a casual reader or as a Canadian citizen or British subject than as a legal man. It was a delight for me to listen to the able presentation of both sides of the case by the hon. member for Calgary and the hon. the Solicitor General. I was reminded of my namesake-that is the only resemblance there is-Henry IV, le Beamais. He was one day listening to a trial in the parliament of Paris, which as hon. gentlemen know, was more of a court of justice than anything else. There was a very able presentation by one of the lawj'ers on one side and with his bearnaise petulance Henry IV got up and said "Mr. Judge, it seems to me the case is heard." They were very familiar in those days; it was as a mere spectator that the king was present. Then the other side was presented and Henry IV got up and said "Mr. Justice, I am very glad to be only

Government's Right to Office

the king of France instead of being in your place." ,May I say without any wish to violate the canons of good taste, that in this case in some respects I prefer being judge than king. But on the other hand I admit that if I had to exercise the little knowledge I have on constitutional law and decide just on that issue with either the member for Calgary or the Solicitor General I would feel as much embarrassed as I am sure most of the members of this House feel although some, perhaps the lawyers especially, will not have the humility to admit it.

But there is something else involved than merely the application of a certain number of British precedents to the present case. Those gentlemen have gone back in English history for three hundred years. I was tempted- that is the result of the bad instincts of my nature-to go back to the time of the Wit-enagemots which, as all hon. gentlemen, the English members at least, should1 know, were the origin of both houses of parliament. But I have thought it would not be proper to inflict that revenge of a layman against the lawyers upon the whole House. Without having time to go to the library in order to see if those books which were piled un here yesterday were back again, I simply had recourse to my school boy memory, and also to the days when I was a member of parliament and lost no opportunity of learning something about British history and the British constitution. I was reminded of some reflections of Mr. Lecky, a good old Conservative and what is a great deal better than that, a great writer, a philosopher and historian but of very strong Conservative tendencies. In his work Mr. Lecky was marking the evolution through which power, as everybody knows, had passed from the lords to the king, and back from the king to the Commons. And then the outgrowth of the British cabinet to which the hon. member for Calgary referred yesterday. My little historical knowledge coincides absolutely with his legal authority that the cabinet and the office of the Prime Minister really took birth in the life of British institutions at the time of George I and Walpole. By the way may I say it was quite an accidental circumstance that imposed upon George I the choice of a government composed primarily of members of the House of Commons and led by a distinguished member of that House. As everybody knows, Queen Anne, before her death, felt somewhat anxious about what would be asked of her on the other side of this life for what she had helped in doing to her old father, and she wanted to undo that to a certain extent by favouring the re-establishment in England of the Stuarts in the person of the Pretender. Naturally all those great families and those masses of the people who had supported the great Revolution of I68S were determined that no Catholic king, no Catholic family should ever reign in England, therefore most of the great families turned against the Stuarts. But most of them also dreaded the association of the Hanover crown with that of England. They foresaw the complications that would arise from the concentration upon one head of the responsibilities and the exercise of power by a German monarch, and (that of the traditionally insular kingdom to the north of Europe which had relinquished all ideas of conquest and (possession on the continent with, of course, a back thought of recouping itself on other continents. Walpole became prime minister, and the cabinet existed because George I, a German by blood, by education and language, found necessary to chose a thorough Englishman, a member of the House of Commons, as his main adviser, in order to find in the middle classes what support he could not secure from the old aristocracy, Whig or Tory. And thus a new turn -was given to the process of evolution through which political power, first wrested from kings by the aristocracy, was finally transferred to the people. Eventually, that power was absorbed, or nearly so, by the cabinet. Some twenty years ago, I was struck with the observation of Mr. Lecky, that the cabinet and its chief, the Prime Minister, threatened to absorb and monopolize all powers of legislation and government, showing that by this process, the classical land of political liberty was being drawn in the direction of what is now designated as Fascism.

Now, sir, I think this aspect is just as important as the enumeration of the precedents established on such a day, in such a year, which enabled Mr. So-and-so to keep his seat-not a seat like this, because they are more humble in England than we are-but to keep a place on the benches of the House of Commons, for three or four weeks more or less. It seems to me it is much more 4 p.m. important for us to get at the root of the question, and to ask ourselves if really the problem is whether Mr. So-and-so will be three weeks absent from the House or not, or whether we are going to seize this occasion to throw light on the problem and bring it home to the intelligence of all the classes of the Canadian people.

From the time I came to parliament, some thirty years ago, to the present time, and especially after each visit to England, after each conversation I have had with British

Government's Right to Office

statesmen or jurists, I have been struck with the fact that when British jurists study eases of this kind, when British historians look over them, they always look to the broader aspect of things. They do not think only of the past but of the future, relying steadily upon the sound sense of the people of England. They look to the present for a practical solution of pressing problems and to the future for the maintenance of the glory of England. But here, with the development of that strange mixture of Americanism and colonialism which characterizes what we call British loyalism, we are always looking at the small aspect of British affairs, always trying to borrow British precedents and to interpret them in the manner in which a Chinese tailor interpreted the needs of a traveller. A British officer was once in China. The ship had stopped in a certain Chinese port, and the officer wanted to get a new coat. He knew the ability of the Chinese tailors as well as all Chinese mechanics. He went to one of them, gave him one of his old coats, and said "I want a coat similar to this." The tailor began cutting up the stuff and putting on the embroidery and so forth; but after it was finished, the coat was so glittering and fresh looking compared with the old one that the Chinese tailor thought it would not answer; so he took a slice of pork and rubbed it over the collar of the coat to make it resemble the old one.

Some of our colonials, who seem to assume that they carry the burdens of the British commonwealth, past and present, on their shoulders, who are prepared to launch the people of Canada, north, south, east and west, upon all war ventures of the empire, when it comes to applying the traditions of Great Britain to Canada, seem to lose sight of what is much more important than precedent, much more important than an enumeration of facts and dates, and so on, namely, the maintenance of the basic principle of all British institutions. They know about all British precedents established in the past. They know from the tip of their fingers, just as our friend the Chinese tailor knew, what was required of him-of the written laws of England as at present printed and contained in certain bound volumes that will be found in the library here and in every legal library in Canada. They know equally well of the customs of the past. But those laws, written or unwritten they interpret as Persian magi or Turkish muftis

"What is written, is written." I would suggest to my venerable and sympathetic friend from Mount Royal

(Mr. White) that here is the time to apply the biblical advice that he gave us regarding British precedents. Those legal pontiffs interpret the British laws, written or unwritten, according to the letter that killeth and not according to the spirit that giveth life and will maintain life. They forget the old maxim that a constitution is made for the people and is supposed to adapt itself to all circumstances in the life of a nation and the people, and is not to be circumscribed within the four corners of a more or less obsolete or inapplicable precedent.

They seem to imagine that in a circumstance like this, or in all other circumstances, the duty of the representative of the crown or that of its advisers, whether the advice is right or wrong, or of any government or parliament, is not to adapt themselves to cases as they come but to treat the Canadian people, their liberty, their guarantee, their safeguard, as Procustes treated his victims. He had a certain number of beds. They were all excellent beds, of the same length and width. He did not accommodate the beds to his guests, but those who were too long to occupy them were beheaded, and those who were not 'ong enough to fill them were stretched so that they could adapt themselves to the bed's dimensions.

I coincide entirely with my hon. friend the member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) in saying that there is a principle much more important than British precedent, and that is the British spirit in interpreting laws and in adapting political conditions, temporary or permanent, to the temporary or permanent situation arising out of new cases. On many occasions I have opposed British policy. On many occasions I have run risks to stand by what I consider to be the rights of my country against the exigencies of the rulers of England. But in the midst of the war I wrote a sentence which I will never disavow. The British Empire is indifferent to me, but British traditions are as dear as, and, from a certain point of view, dearer to me, perhaps, than they are to most English-speaking Canadians. With me this is not simply an inherited instinct; it is an acquired conviction, strengthened by thirty years of study, by travels in various countries, by a close contact with rulers of different nations-the conviction that the maintenance of the British spirit of progress and of stability, of advancement and of balance, is one of the greatest moral, political and social assets of Canada. The value of that great asset which you of English stock can claim with pride, has not

Government's Right to Office

been lessened because in this country, as in the Old Country, it has been leavened by the shrewdness and the more vivacious spirit of the Celtic races and, as regards Canada, by the penetration of the French spirit of logic, the rectitude and fine moral turn of mind which two million French Canadians have preserved not for their benefit alone but for yours as well as for ours, for the benefit of the whole of Canada. It is in that association of British traditions with the Ceitic turn of mind and the French shrewdness that lie the elements of the greatness of this country. I am quite sure that the right hen. gentleman is just as desirous of preserving British traditions as members representing the old province of Quebec on this side; as those old friends of our race and province, the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) and the hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. White). I am sure all hon. members here have the same desire and would manifest it the more clearly if these things were always presented to them in their tine colours not with any idea of pandering to this race or to the other, but with a view to preserving the best moral and political asset of this country and best elements of the great races that compose it. There lies our duty as legislators and as patriotic Canadians; there lies the duty of those who hold high positions of office as statesmen.

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CON

William Garland McQuarrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McQUARRIE:

Why, then, is the hon. gentleman indifferent to the British Empire?

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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

I have explained my position on many platforms and I presume I shall have other opportunities to explain it. I believe, with Lord Rosebery-a great statesman; a Liberal, it is true, but with Conservative tendencies-that the abnormal growth of the British Empire is the greatest danger to British ideals, and I am attached more to those ideals than to British imperialism wherever exhibited. Mind you, Sir, I want no mistake made. In political matters, I, as a French-Canadian, wish, desire and will work all my life to preserve, over those various racial characteristics, not the imperial spirit, but the British political spirit, because I consider the British political spirit to be the greatest instrument for the ruling of men that has been found in the last four or five centuries. But if we are to develop our nationality, if we are to make better and fuller use of those great traditions, if we are to be true and noble scions of those great nations, are we to be simply the Chinese tailor who will cut for the Canadian people a coat entirely copied from the British model? Or, are we to interpret boldly and intelligently those great principles

and traditions of government in order to suit the Canadian people? Are we to tie up the young Canadian giant forever to the apron strings of the good old grandmother, respectable though, as she may be? Mind you, Sir, I am not raising here the question of political independence. The question of keeping our political ties or cutting them off to me is a secondary matter. I would far rather secede from Great Britain and remain British in spirit than remain and go on as we are doing, British in name, but Yankeefied in spirit, morals and habits and becoming more so from day to day. Are we going to tie this or any other parliament-and to me,

I say it sincerely, it is quite indifferent whether that government be composed of Liberals or Conservatives or Progressives or a mixture of all-are we going to tie this government or the next one to a certain nuntber of British precedents which do not correspond to the present or the general situation of the country?

The hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Bennett), in his able presentation, has given a sort of lecture to my excellent neighbour on the respect we ought to have for British precedents. I presume the hon. member for West Calgary as well as the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Meighen) and, indeed, all hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House, are not prepared to say that we should imitate all British precedents in every respect. Without having had opportunity to strengthen my (cogitations at the library, let me give some instances just from memory. Supposing the Liberal party had succeeded in afflicting Canada and the empire with a useless navy, would a Liberal government or a' Conservative government be prepared to copy the British precedent of bombarding the fleet of a nation at peace with us in case a nation with which we might be at war should make use of that fleet against us, as the English did at Copenhagen? Would the right hon. gentleman or any other member of this House claim that the Prime Minister of Canada, whether this or the next one or any other, should follow the precedent created by Disraeli when, without consulting parliament, without getting the money from parliament, he purchased a large block of shares of the Suez canal, not counting the commission he gave to old Ismail Pasha to purchase them, in order to increase the strength of England in the Mediterranean? Would any member of this House, as true British statesmen and subjects, recommend that we follow the example of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain in the course he followed at the time of the South African war? The hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. COMMONS

Government's Right to Office

Bennett) gave us a good man}*- quotations from Gladstone. May I be allowed to give a very short one? I refer to Gladstone's description of Joseph Chamberlain as the first English politician of the Yankee type. Now, I have a great deal of admiration for the genius of Chamberlain, who I think was the first English statesman to have a thorough grasp of the possibilities of the outstanding portions of the British Empire. At the same time, however, he had too much of the Prussian spirit of force and of the Yankee spirit of unscrupulousness in matters of policy. And when in his relations with foreign governments a statesman adopts the process which Mr. Chamberlain resorted to, in order to inflame opinion in England, while concealing some of the despatches sent to him by Sir Alfred Milner, as well as some portions of the report of the Bloemfontein conference, just as in 1870 Bismarck had tampered with despatches exchanged 'between the French and German ambassadors in order to precipitate war between France and Prussia,-when this sort of thing is done, whether it be in London or in Berlin, it is bad policy and bad precedent. Is any other hon. gentleman in this House prepared to say that, having these great principles of government as enunciated by the right hon. gentleman, and having a government so respectful of the rights of parliament, as I am sure my right hon. friend would wish to have the government, we should adopt as a precedent that piece-I do not qualify it-of disingenuousness through which five members of the English cabinet prepared and termed the secret treaty of alliance between France and England to the point where, eight days before the war,-and this is now a matter of history-two-thirds or three-quar-iters of the cabinet were ignorant of that compact? The whole of the English parliament, the who'e of the British nation was ignorant of it; nobody knew the first word about it. But we, the poor gullible colonials of Canada, of South Africa and of Australia, were being prepared scientifically for years to give the best of our blood to implement that policy, of which only five men in the British government knew anything at all. Is this a British precedent which we are to respect tad to copy into our relations with foreign nations, with imperial governments? I do not think so. There may be British precedent in it but there is an absence of British honour.

Is any member of this House, is any leader of a party group here, prepared to recommend as a precedent the manner in which Lloyd George, whose genius, whose ability, [Mr. Bourassa.l

whose courage in many respects I admire, got rid of Mr. Asquith? Is anyone here prepared to cite, as a precedent of British honour as between men of the same party, Mr. Lloyd George's action in this regard? My right hon. friend in studying that incident might understand something of the inner history of his own party in the province of Quebec. Is anyone prepared to say that in respect of these grave matters of inter-imperial relations which, on the spur of the moment, can throw the whole empire or large portions of it into the throes of war, we should adopt as a sound precedent the despatch, let us say for example, sent by Mjr. Churchill at the time of the Chanak incident? Shall we, I will not say imitate, 'but encourage- that sort of thing? Are we to make it known by expressions of opinion that everything that comes from London we are prepared to copy, to admire and to follow? At the time the despatch came the right hon .gentleman, on December 22, 1922, if I remember rightly, launched the cry in Toronto, "Ready, aye, ready"; but he himself perhaps has learned more since that time about the incidents of that incident. Perhaps1 if he had known then that Mi% Churchill had sent that despatch without the knowledge of the Foreign Minister of Great Britain, without the knowledge indeed of most of his colleagues, he would not have been prepared to say on behalf of the Canadian people " Ready, aye, ready," upon the first beck and- call of any individual politician in London. I am sure that the right hon. gentleman is not ready to say now that we should obey the dictates even of the whole British cabinet, to say nothing of the dictates or the fancies of one single politician of one cabinet in Great Britain.

Now I come to the last precedent. Oh, I had forgotten. The right hon. gentleman has given proof that he has at last changed his mind; at least this is the way his Hamilton speech has been interpreted in Quebec. Some people declare that that speech was inspired by the Bagot election, but I do not want to stoop to any such inference. I do not think that the right hon. gentleman himself wants to stoop to that.

An hon. 'MEMBER: Why do you say it then?

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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

I say it simply because there is evidence of a change of mind on the part of the right hon. gentleman in the right sense; and I hope that any other hon. gentleman on the other side who considers the matter at all will cogitate over my right hon. friend's Hamilton speech in order if possible to

Government's Right to Office

correct the impression created by the Toronto speech, and so evolve a national policy for the Conservative party.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My hon. friend has misstated, by the very conciseness of his extract, what I said at Toronto, and I hope he will do me better justice now in regard to what I said at Hamilton.

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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

With pleasure. What I have here is an extract-I have not the complete text-from a quotation given by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) in Toronto on December 7 and reproduced verbatim in the Montreal Star of the next day.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That also is a misstatement by reason of its brevity.

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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

Oh, well, I am afraid the right hon. gentleman was pretty much involved that day, contrary to his custom. He was perhaps rather in the position of a lawyer who is lengthening the plea in order to clear up the case if he can. I can give only two paragraphs, but they are pretty cohesive.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

They are not comprehensive, and that is the reason for the difficulty of a great many people, including my hon. friend.

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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

I fear my right hon. friend will have to explain himself quite thoroughly on those two speeches.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I shall have no difficulty in doing so.

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January 12, 1926