March 29, 1927

CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I want to correct a misstatement of the hon. member with respect to what I said. I referred to his words, that Britain had not come to the assistance of Canada, and I refuted that statement. What the hon. member said as to Canada having been the cause of any wars was something he interjected later on.

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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

I do not think the hon. gentleman wants me to repeat my words. He will see them in Hansard to-morrow. Let me once more tell him what I said. Canada has never been, because of its own policy or because of its situation, the cause of any war engaged in by Great Britain or any other portions of the empire. That is my assertion and if the hon. gentleman is not satisfied, if he considers it the utterance of a French Canadian nationalist and rebel, let him refer to the numerous declarations of that past respected leader of the Conservative party, Sir Charles Tupper, in this regard. I myself

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heard Sir Charles Tupper, in the old House which was destroyed by fire, make the statement that, after his experience as leader of the government and as Canada's representative in Great Britain, he had1 come to the conclusion that for no consideration whatever would England run the risk of war with the United States on account of Canada. Furthermore, when the agitation began to make itself felt for contributions on the part of the dominions to imperial armaments, when the argument was advanced, that we should not shirk our responsibilities having regard to the protection we enjoy from the British fleet and the fact that Great Britain had fought to protect our territory, Sir Charles Tupper met this argument, not once or twice but ten times in speeches and in letters to the English press, which I could quote if time allowed.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Go ahead.

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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

Very well, then, I am prepared to give it. For once hon. gentlemen opposite will hear true national Conservative doctrine which will show them what evolution has taken place in the Tory party in the last thirty years. Let me quote Sir Charles Tupper, speaking at Winnipeg in 1893; he said:

I deny that we are a burden to the empire. I say that if to-morrow Canada was dissevered from the crown of England, if to-morrow Canada became a portion of that great republic which lies to the south of us, England could not reduce her army by a man, nor her navy by a ship. She would want more soldiers and sailors and ironclads than she has to-day in order to maintain her prestige. I say, if this great continent was closed, as closed it would be to the ships of England, under the circumstances I have named, if they had no harbour in which to run or a place where they can obtain a ton of coal or a spar, instead of England being strengthened, she would be enormously weakened.

He goes on to describe that weakening process. Then,

I deny that we are a burden. There is not a pound of British money spent in the Dominion of Canada, from end to end, for any Canadian purpose.

He further demonstrated that the only contribution Canada could make to imperial defence, compatible with her own dignity and the principles of government, was to organize her own territory, to make stronger that portion of the empire for which she is responsible, and to refrain from meddling in the policy of Great Britain or to contribute in any manner to the imperial navy or the imperial army.

That view was upheld not only in theory but in practice as well by the Conservative

party until the new days of imperial gospel came. In 1885, for the first time, an appeal was made to the spirit of imperial cooperation; appeals were made to that false sense of colonial vanity which we call national dignity. "Oh, we must go to the rescue of England, because she is prepared to fight for us." That was at the time of the Soudan war; but the leader of the Conservative government at that time, - Sir John A. Macdonald, refused point blank, both to the English government and to the Canadian jingoes and quality niggers, to spend one cent of Canadian money in that war. He said, "This is not the understanding we have had with the British government; we have no understanding but to defend our own country."

Now, Sir, if it is a crime in our day to stand by the doctrines of the founders of confederation, I stand committed, because I stood for that principle before the South Airican war, during the South African war, before the great European and during that war, and I stand by it to-day. I am not expressing only the personal opinion of a few Quebec idealists; but I know from a correspondence covering the country from one end to the other and extending over the last five years that I am now openly expressing, and because I am accustomed to stand all the risks of the position I take, the growing feelings of a large number of Canadians of all races and origins in all the provinces of Canada, who are beginning to realize that if Canada is to remain worthy of her origin and is to be a dignified and worthy scion of British civilization, she must develop those principles of self-government and self-concem which have made Great Britain an example to all nations in the world in our day.

Sir, do we want to render a real service to the empire? Let us take the advice given to us by the present representative of Great Britain in Washington, Sir Esme Howard, who said last year, "The duty of Canada or rather the best service Canada can render to the empire is to interpret Britain to the United States and to interpret United States to Great Britain." Well and good, because on the one hand we are an American nation and always will be such, and on the other we are associated with Britain. Whatever the future of the empire, whatever the future of the other countries of the world, there can be no doubt that Canada will always be a nation in America. Therefore we have in common with the great nation to the south permanent interests stronger and more binding than any political bonds we can have outside of America. On the other hand, due to our dual

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origin and to the maintenance in Canada of a French population speaking the French language and maintaining the foundation of the French civilization while absolutely and exclusively Canadian in feeling and British in political tendencies, along with a large population originating in the British Isles and new comers from the continent of Europe, we have here elements of civilization at once- European and American which must be the link between the great commonwealth to our south and the more retarded but perhaps more idealistic nations of Europe. But if we want to interpret Britain to the United States and the United States to Britain, we must speak in terms of peace; we must make it clear, either through the League of Nations or the Pan-American Union, to which we should have belonged for many years, that Canada, constituted as she is, is in a better position to advance the cause of peace than perhaps any other nation on earth One of the reasons is that any preparation for war we would make would be absolutely useless to us. Just a few weeks before Lord Fisher resumed command' of the Admiralty, he said to me, "It is foolish on the part of Canada to spend money in naval armaments or imperial armaments. It is foolish and useless, because you may rest assured that England will never fight for Canada against the United States, the only country which can successfully attack Canada-not because we are not willing to do so but because we cannot. Therefore why should you spend your money in participating in a defence which is useless to your country? If you want to make Canada safe from outside attacks, do not come here to London and talk with our shipbuilders, but go to Washington and make a working arrangement for the defence of your country in common with the United States." But I said, "Oh, Lord Fisher, we have such great patriots in Canada that they would never admit of such a shameful thing as having an understanding with a foreign country to defend us." He said, "Are you so foolish in Canada? Don't you realize that the world is made up of such dependency? Do you consider that we in England are humbling ourselves because we rely on the French army to fight for us on the continent, and because France relies on the British navy to protect her northern coast, as for years Germany relied on England to protect her, and as we relied on Germany to occupy France while we took her colonies? Do you think it is humiliation for Belgium to count on Germany to defend her against France, or on France to defend her against Germany? No country on earth can get along

without an understanding with some other country, and the most natural understandings are made between people who are neighbours and who have common interests." Therefore I say that if we are in need of defence we will not find it in Europe; we would do better to have a cordial and worthy understanding with the United States in time of peace and in view of war, and to rely on the United States for the succor which Great Britain will be unable to give us.

Mr. McGI'BBON: Why not have annexation?

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IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

The only way by which we can prevent the absorption of Canada by the United States is precisely by having the best possible understanding with that country. If we continue to do as we have done in the past and build upon dreams, delusions and alliances against nature, upon reliance on racial sentiments legitimate in themselves but insufficient; if we disregard the economic and social conditions which will determine our future policy just as economic and social conditions have determined the policies of European countries, in the last century particularly, one of these days we will wake up in a fool's paradise. It would be far better to maintain a spirit of Canadianism and to prevent the social, economic, mental and moral penetration of Americans into the souls of our young people, and then have an understanding as between government and government such as all countries have.

In doing that, Sir, we would simply be continuing what has been the British policy ever since the days when George Canning concluded with President Monroe an alliance or an understanding under which the United States made good for England on the remainder of her possessions in America, providing England took care that neither France nor Spain would endeavour to possess any portion of America again. That was not quite idealistic, but it was a very sensible and practical policy, which has held good ever since. It is one of the strangest things I have ever experienced in my lifetime: whenever I go to England I meet Tories, Liberals, statesmen, diplomats and journalists, disagreeing on all points of policy, except on the Monroe doctrine. They consider and have considered for a century that the Monroe doctrine is the permanent basis of British politics in America; but this great Canadian nation, ready to swallow up the whole of the empire and to fight with, nations in Africa or elsewhere to make the Union [DOT] Jack float everywhere; oh no, we are too big,

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too proud and too dignified to do what these little English statesmen have been doing for centuries.

I think, Sir, if we do that and raise the voice of Canada in favour of peace and disarmament, not only would it be the best service we could render to the empire, but it would be the best protection Canada could have. Provided, of course, we couple it with a declaration, an unequivocal declaration, that Canada means to stand neutral in wars declared by England to which this country is not a party.

That again may scandalize some people; but the idea was propounded by one of the leaders of the Tory party before confederation, one of the founders of confederation, one of the men whose statues adorn the grounds which surround these buildings. D'Arcy McGee was elected as a minister of the crown, then entered the government which made confederation possible, by declaring in Montreal West, represented in part by my hon. friend opposite (Mr. Bell), that Canada should look in the near future to a declaration of neutrality acknowledged in international law, not only by Great Britain and the United States, but by the rest of the world. Nobody was scandalized at that. The leader of the Labour party in Ireland, Mr. Johnson, took exactly the same position at the Interparliamentary congress held at Washington two years ago. That is my ow7n view, and I think it will be the policy of the British Empire before long. It will be a consequential development of the declaration made in London last summer along the lines of self-government. Are we going to wait until after the dominions that are less favourably situated than we are take the lead in these matters? In the past it was the pride of all Canadians that Canada had taken the lead in the development of self-government, that Canada had been the pioneer in the assertion of the rights of all self-governing British communities to rule themselves according to their own ideas. It was the pride of Canada to be the eldest daughter in the galaxy of nations that were born out of British liberty. Are we now going to step backward and wait until the South Africanders, until the Irish, lead us on the path of liberty? Surely that is not the ideal we are going to give to the next generation, to the new generation of Canadians-either French, or English or foreign born-who have come to this country because they thought they would find here the principles and policies

which exemplified their ideas of progress and advancement. Therefore in the name of British tradition, in the name of what is best in our French-Canadian traditions-but in the name especially of our Canadian homes, in the name of the generations yet to come-I would ask, if something had to be asked from this government, that there be ratified in this pronouncement of the conference of the empire everything which makes for progress, which makes for more liberty, which makes for peace-peace in the empire and peace outside of it. But I would stand decidedly opposed to every retrogressive measure, to every equivocation which has been put into that report in order to becloud the issue and satisfy at the same time those who want to go forward and those who want to step backward. My hair is white but I am still young enough I think to look to the future and to speak to my fellow citizens in the spirit of the future. It is from that youthfulness of heart that I speak as I do in all sincerity as a Canadian, as one who admires and loves British institutions-not blindly, not for what they cover of the sins which England has committed just as any other nation, but for what they contain of nobleness of purpose and of breadth of aspiration, for what they contain of hope, of peace, and of liberty for the world at large and Canada in particular. I stand upon that ground to-night as I did in all the years of peace and war, at the expense of my political advancement but because I thought I owed that duty to the country I love, to the country in which I was born and in which I expect to die.

On motion of Mr. Lapointe the debate was adjourned.

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PRIVATE BILLS

SECOND READINGS


Bill No. 216, for the relief of Queenie Isobel Parks.-Mr. Bothwell. Bill No. 217, for the relief of Charles Shedrick Phillips.-Mr. Anderson (Toronto). Bill No. 218, for the relief of Lavina Harrison.-Mr. Bell (Hamilton). Bill No. 219, for the relief of Marretta Isobelle Grose Leach.-Mr. Heaps. Bill No. 220, for the relief of Mabelle Amelia Bulmer.-Mr. Anderson (Toronto). Bill No. 221, for the relief of John Lauron Garfield Evans.-Mr. Anderson (Toronto). Bill No. 222, for the relief of Ernest Arthur Kingston.-Mr. Young (Toronto). Questions Bill No. 223, for the relief of Norah Louise Patricia Campbell Chauvin.-Mr. Garland (Carleton). Bill No. 237, to incorporate The Red River Driving Club.-Mr. Beaubien. Bill No. 238, respecting The Subsidiary High Court of the Ancient Order of Foresters in the Dominion of Canada.-Mr. Bell (Hamilton). On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the (House adjourned at 11.48 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, 1927.


March 29, 1927