November 8, 1951 (21st Parliament, 5th Session)


Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

While you are amending the act why do you have to amend the title? Is the title obsolete, or is the act itself obsolete? That is the point I wish to make. If the act itself is obsolete there is no reason in the world why it cannot be amended as a dominion act as well as a Canada act. I do riot see any point at all in the arguments of the minister. As a matter of fact, Mr. Chairman, on different occasions in this house we have heard requests for a change from "Dominion day" to "Canada day" and other requests along that line.
The hon. member for Kamloops spoke about the sentimental attachment to the name "dominion". I might say that I have reasons for placing some emphasis on the sentimental attachment. As hon. members know, I come from the province of New Brunswick. My home was at Gagetown in New Brunswick, and the man who was mainly responsible for Canada being called the Dominion of Canada was born in Gagetown. Personally I see no reason at all why there should be this agitation, not only with respect to this act but with respect to other acts and in other matters which come before this house, for us to change the word "dominion" and put in its place the word "Canada". The word "dominion" must be satisfactory to a good many people across this country. I understand that a good many companies across Canada use the word "dominion". Down in Nova Scotia we have the Dominion Coal and Steel Company; we have the Dominion Rubber Company, the Dominion Atlantic Railway Company; the Dominion Bridge Company and the Dominion Bank. The word "dominion" is very popular, and from a sentimental point of view we may say it is used extensively across this country. I for one cannot see why this should be considered as an obsolete term.
There are those who might say that the word "dominion"-and I think this is the argument that is used-signifies that we are placed in a position which indicates that someone else has dominion over us. I do not think that ever was the intention. When Sir Leonard Tilley suggested the word "dominion" there were four provinces of Canada, the province of New Brunswick, the province of Ontario, the province of Nova Scotia and the province of Quebec. When they were looking for a term it was said that he, who was a very religious man as most of us are in New Brunswick of course, was reading his bible and he read one of the texts in scripture which said something about dominion from sea to sea. I think the idea was that Canada, we the people of Canada, should have dominion from
Canada Lands Surveys Act sea to sea, not that someone else would have dominion over us. Frankly, Mr. Chairman, I do not see why we as a Canadian people should feel that it is necessary in this act and the many other acts in this country to change the name from "dominion" to "Canada". Mind you, I have no objection to "Canada". I am very proud indeed of the Dominion of Canada, and this idea that the word "dominion" places us in some sort of a subservient position is entirely wrong. I think this house and the people of Canada are entitled to some further explanation from the minister as to why he is changing the name of this act, as I believe the names of many other acts are to be changed in so far as the word "dominion" is concerned. A letter appeared in the November 10 issue of Toronto Saturday Night with reference to this word "dominion", and if the committee will give me their indulgence I should like to read it.
Names for Canada.
Recently in SN's accumulated during a vacation, I noticed a letter from L. Kreutzweiser in which he speaks of the word dominion as "meaningless" for Canada. In the British North America Act we are told that the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick shall form one dominion under the name of Canada and that the birthday of Canada's constitution July 1 is named by statute Dominion Day. Also it is said that the founder fathers wished to have the name dominion used because of that lovely verse in the Bible, "And His dominion shall be from sea to sea." So, it is far from being meaningless for Canada.
Then what is wrong with the words federal and national? Nothing, of course; perfectly good1 useful words as thousands of others are.
But why change a unique and beloved title just for the sake of change, or to ape someone else? Names can mean much, W. Shakespeare notwithstanding. Let us keep dominion and royal with their pleasant associations, hoping that Canada may live up to being a dominion and royal in the best sense of the words.
This is the letter from Halifax, signed by M. Lee. I see no reason why "royal" and "dominion" should be the subjects of attack, as they have been occasionally in the house. I come from the constituency of Royal. If the committee on elections were to say, "We do not want to have a constituency named Royal; it must be named Canada," hon members will see the position in which I would be placed. I would be the representative from Canada.

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