May 13, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)



I do not know any man who is better fitted than Captain Bernier for that expedition. He has a long experience. He was born in a cold country, and he has been a navigator all his life. He is one of the best built men I ever met. I happen to know a good deal about him. He was one of my employees for some time. He is a man who, I think, can live fifteen days without sleeping, and yet remain as fresh as we are here to-night. He is well educated, and he has travelled all over the world. He is a

strong man, physically an>d mentally. I think his plans are good. I happened once to have him on hoard one of the government boats with a couple of my colleagues, one of whom was the Minister of Finance ; and he gave us a private conference on his X>roposed North Pole expedition, which was so interesting that I shall remember it all my life. He is not a public speaker ; he does not appear to advantage before a large public audience ; but, in a room with half a dozen men, let him explain his venture, and he will convince any half dozen capable men that if there is any man living who can discover the pole, he is that man. Well, what is going to be gained financially by that discovery ? I am not quite prepared to say. But, it will be a great advertisement. Highly civilized countries encourage men who are prepared to go on such ventures. Speaking not as a minister, but as a member of parliament, I would be very glad indeed if the government could see their way to help him. Parliament seems to be well disposed, and the nation seems to be well disposed, towards his enterprise. Nansen is an able man, but I do not think he is as well qualified as Captain Bernier for such an expedition. He had not the same experience nor the same physical strength. Moreover, Captain Bernier has the benefit of the experience of those who have attempted to reach the pole. I am
very glad indeed that both sides of the House seem to agree that Captain Bernier should be encouraged. I think it would be an easy thing to get private subscriptions to a very large amount. I think $50,000 will be raised in a short time in Montreal.

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