March 30, 1927

CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Does the right hon. gentleman assume, like Pilsudski, the dictator of Poland, or like Mussolini, the Prime Minister of Italy, that he can attend a great conference like that and speak for the whole people of Canada, that he can bind the whole people of Canada to the fundamental principles embodied in that report, and yet be so negligent of his duty and responsibility as to refuse to present the work which he in part created to the House of Commons and to the parliament of Canada for ratification ?

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

Does my

hon. friend wish to know why I did not bring in the report and submit it for the adoption of the House? I wished to make that statement yesterday when the leader of the opposition brought up the point. I stated that I could clear his mind at once, but he would not give me an opportunity. I shall be very glad to make that statement now if my hon. friend will give me the opportunity.

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:

Is it long or short?

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
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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 will not

be very long.

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:

In view of the pledge

which the right hon. gentleman made in the address, I think it was due to himself that he should have made that statement when introducing this matter on the motion for going into supply.

1720 COMMONS

Imperial Conference-Mr. Cahan

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
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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 will allow me, I thought the reason was so apparent that it did not even enter my mind to make that explanation, but I will give the reason immediately if my hon. friend will allow me.

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:

Will it take long?

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
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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 will take a very few minutes, but I think it will be worth while.

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:

You hardly have time; it

is nearly six o'clock.

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

second time I have been refused the opportunity by hon. gentlemen opposite.

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:

I will give the right hon.

gentleman the opportunity on the opening of the debate to-morrow if he desires it.

According to this report, Canada is admittedly a member of the British commonwealth of nations. But who authorized the Prime Minister of this country to give Canada's assent to this common agreement which is declared to be of such surpassing importance? Were the Prime Minister and his colleague the Minister of Justice authorized by parliament to give such assent? I know of no such authority. And if not from parliament, what was the source of the authority which they did exercise, or purported to exercise, in binding Canada as a whole and the parliament and people of Canada to that new agreement? At Toronto, as well as in this House, the Prime Minister declared that this was one of the great charters in British history. He said:

I have said, and I wish to repeat, that in this particular the conclusion of the conference as embodied in the report of the committee on imperial relations, will, I believe, hold a place in history by the side of the great charters of human freedom which comprise so large a part of what is known as the written portions of the constitution of Great Britain itself.

And yet we of the parliament of Canada, and the people of Canada on whose behalf he purported to act, have never authorized him to give assent for any other than his own government. He has no authority from parliament; he has no authority from the people's representatives in parliament, and yet he dares take the responsibility of refusing to submit the report to parliament where it can be dealt with clause by clause and accepted with reservations, or otherwise, as parliament sees fit.

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

William Gordon Ernst

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ERNST:

Mussolini was a pigmy to

him.

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:

I notice that the Prime

Minister quotes from the Spectator a very emphatic paragraph:

For years to come the report will be regarded as a charter of freedom for the British commonwealth of nations.

And yet having assumed the right to voice the views of the Canadian people at the conference, not only their views as to our constitutional status, but their views with regard to the procedure that must be taken to repeal or modify imperial statutes which have been in force for years, with regard to the procedure which must be taken to make amendments to the merchant shipping acts under which every ship of British registry in Canada sails from Canadian ports to any part of the world, as well as grave amendments and modifications to the Admiralty Courts Act, upon which is based the jurisdiction of every Admiralty court in this country, and as well the abrogation, modification or amendment of the Judicial Committee Acts which ever since 1833 have governed the right of petition by litigants in this country to the Privy Council of Great Britain-the Prime Minister proposes, without the sanction and approval of this parliament, to make such grave amendments, modifications and changes as never before at one time were proposed in the history of this country. He proposes to carry out those changes simply upon the ipse dixit of the new autocrat in Canada who sits in the seat of the Prime Minister of this country, aided by the action of the Imperial parliament, in which we are not represented, and with which we have no means of communication at all except through the Prime Minister of this country.

As it is six o'clock I move the adjournment of the debate. I propose to consider those various modifications and the responsibility which Canada has to take in approving of them.

Motion agreed to and debate adjourned.

At six o'clock the House adjourned without question being put, pursuant to rule.

Thursday, March 31, 1927

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