May 17, 1904 (9th Parliament, 4th Session)


Fletcher Bath Wade



I regret very much that the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat, and a great many of those around him, entertain the opinion of the maritime provinces that they do. It is true, I have stood up in this House in defence of the maritime provinces in connection with this scheme, and for having done so I have called down upon my head continuous abuse from the other side of the House. When the hon. gentleman states that we support this scheme because it involves a distribution of money in the maritime provinces, he states what is incorrect. I have never made any such utterance in this House or anywhere else. What I have stated, and what I state now, is that whenever there is a great national scheme on foot, the maritime provinces wish to be in that scheme. If the Dominion of Canada is to progress, we have a right to progress with it. If there is to be a transcontinental railway built, we are entitled to have a terminus in the maritime provinces. That is what I said, what I repeat, and what I will stand by ; and no amount of sneering or abuse will divert me from that position for one moment. Another misrepresentation by the hon. member for East Simcoe (Mr. Bennett) of what I said was this- that I stated that whatever the government did we had to vote for. What I stated was this : that the government had entered into an agreement with the railway company, and we had either to vote for that agreement or vote against it in its entirety. That is common sense, and every man proposing these amendments knows it. The government has entered into this contract with the railway company ; it comes before parliament to have that contract either rejected or approved of ; every member of parliament is at liberty to vote whichever way he sees fit; but you cannot get away from the fact that you must accept that contract in its entirety or reject it. I can readily understand that it affords no great pleasure to hon. gentlemen opposite to see such unanimity on these benches, to see that we are ready to follow our leaders, to see that we have confidence in their judgment, to see that we will back them up in the scheme which has for its end the welfare and advancement of Canada. It must be gall and wormwood for them, because when they rise to speak, we find them at variance with themselves and their leaders, as witness the last speaker.

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