March 30, 1927

CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I am dealing with this part which reads:

Where by the nature of the treaty it is desirable that it should be ratified on behalf of all the governments of the empire-

Mr. MACKENZIE KING.: Now my hon. friend is skipping the sentence. He is reading the next paragraph. Let him read the sentence between the one which he is now reading and the one which he read before.

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

The initiating government-

-must, however, before taking any steps which might involve the other governments in any active obligations, obtain their definite assent.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Exactly.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

That is restricted solely to

active obligations.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is the

only obligation that means anything.

IMr. Cahan.]

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Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

It is restricted solely to

active obligations, whereas I stated that in the opinion of the Minister of Justice today active oibligations imply military7 sanctions and the like. But those other treaties may infringe upon the natural rights or the nationality rights of Canadian citizens throughout the world, and yet by the mere neglect of the department over which the Prime Minister presides, those treaties may :be concluded without having ever been submitted to this parliament.

However we may differ in our views as to the construction of that particular clause, there can be no doubt in the mind of the right hon. gentleman that there are in this Imperial conference report two or three closely printed pages which modify, amend and change in very considerable particulars the resolutions which were submitted to this House at the last session. I ask him now whether he is going to submit this new report-he has stated he is not-for the approval of parliament. If he does not do so, which will be binding upon this parliament-the resolutions of 1923 which were ratified during last session, or the resolutions of 1923 as modified and amended by the resolutions contained in the Imperial conference report of 1926?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If my hon. friend wishes to introduce a resolution advocating that this parliament should endorse these resolutions, I will support him in that regard and I think the government also will.

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Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Why did the government not do so?

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Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Was there ever such an exhibition by a prime minister in any country? Having taken his position as representative of this country at an Imperial conference dealing with a great charter of liberty which is to stand for all time, he returns to parliament; he pledges his honour that he will produce the report to parliament and ask parliament for its approval; then within a few weeks he renounces that pledge and now he asks a private member of the opposition to stand up and move the adoption of the report. This shows simply the farcical position to which the policy of the Prime Minister reduces national government in this country.

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CON

William Gordon Ernst

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ERNST:

Quebec's backbone shivers.

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Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I am not dealing with that phase of the question. The Prime Minister

Imperial Conference-Mr. Cahan

at the Imperial conference endorsed every jot and tittle that appears in this report. In making an address at the House of Lords' dinner he stated, dealing with the report:

In all that has been recorded you of the motherland and we of the dominions are in complete accord.

It was not only the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice of this Dominion who were in complete accord. Not only did the Prime Minister propose to speak on behalf of himself or his government, but he spoke or alleged that he spoke on behalf of the parliament and the people of Canada; and yet his courage has so oozed out that he dare not now present the report for the approval of parliament. In the address which he submitted to parliament through His Excellency the Governor General he declared:

Members of my government have just returned to Canada from attending the meetings of the Imperial conference. The report of the proceedings of the conference, together with its recommendations, will be placed before you for consideration.

Has that pledge been carried out?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is before the House now for consideration.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

It is not before the House for consideration. The right hon. gentleman dare not place it before the Housfe for consideration.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It is before the House for consideration now.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

The hon. gentleman dare not move a resolution for its favourable consideration. He leaves it to private members on this side of the House to propose such resolutions, if need be. What has come over the mind of the hon. gentleman since he prepared this address for His Excellency the Governor General, or what has intervened to prevent him from carrying out his pledge? At Toronto on February 4, 1927, the Prime Minister referred to the Imperial conference as giving wholly new force and meaning to the constitutional position of Great Britain and the dominions-I had the advantage of listening to the right hon. gentleman's statements over the radio, and I was surprised that many of his emphatic statements did not appear so clearly in the public press. On making inquiry of the press as to the reason why, I was informed that the press report had been in the hands of the newspapers for some time before the address was delivered.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Will my hon friend cite one emphatic statement to which he attaches significance that was made at that meeting but was not reported?

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I could if I were to tax my memory. There was a very different tone with respect to many statements. The words and the expressions used in many, many respects conveyed a different impression to my mind as I listened, from that of the hard cold type which I read the next morning.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

That is quite different.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

This is the official report of what the Prime Minister said at that meeting:

That position now carries with it the imprimatur of an Imperial conference voicing in one note of common agreement the opinion of all parts of the British Empire as to the basic principles on which that empire rests.

He proceeds:

To have common agreement on the part of all members of the British commonwealth of nations on so fundamental a root principle governing our inter-imperial relations is no small achievement.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Hear, hear.

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Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
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March 30, 1927