February 17, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Samuel Hughes



There is a wing of the French element which is trying to make us suffer, but fortunately there is another wing that tries to keep things in proper shape. Will any one say that because of the vote given to France the other day, we are subject to the domination of France? Not for an instant. We were standing by the principle of responsible government in every one of these votes. We appropriate money for the exhibitions in foreign coun-120J
tries-hundreds of thousands. Are we then, subject to the domination of Belgium and these countries to which we send our officers with our exhibits? We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for lighthouses and other means of protection for the commerce of the world on our coasts. Are we subject to the nations that are thus benefited? No. The money was freely voted. In voting it, we stand by the principle of responsible government, and we seek no subterfuge, and make no equivocation. But what is the position of the government, as we find in the speech of the First Minister? They are quoted in many parts of the country as being in favour of helping the motherland, but when we come to analyse them, you find that the ship he is proposing does not fly the British flag. And what is going on in Quebec to-day? Why, it is whispered about: ' Never mind; vote this money; it is all right; it means Canadian independence.' The First Minister tells us that he is accused on both sides-accused of being too loyal, and accused of not being loyal enough. But there is no question as to our position-we are standing by the principles of responsible government, and we aTe not obtaining the money for our policy by false pretenses. Under our policy Canada would have a voice in the councils of the empire, because Canada, having contributed these ships to the navy, would be represented on the imperial defence committee, and her voice would be heard, not only in the management of the ships, but on the question of war or peace. Our policy is a policy for the whole empire, and not a policy for Canada alone.
There are four or five ways in which Canada could have helped the motherland in this extremity, and of those four or five ways the government has chosen the worst possible way from Canada's own point of view or the point of view of the empire. The first policy is that of the government of Canada having a navy no matter where it is bought, controlled by Canada-and we know what that means-which may or it may not be loaned. There is the policy of . the government in a nutshell, and as I pointed out before, the British flag is not necessarily the flag that floats over that navy.
The second policy is that proposed by the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden), a direct contribution in the meantime, and then we will be prepared to fight out at the polls whether the policy of the government is the one that should be upheld^ or not. That policy would fly the Union Jack.
The third policy would be that outlined by the admiralty, an imperial navy with docks, naval schools, training ships, etc., in Canada, so that whether we confederat-
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ed or remained as we are, we would do somethin? towards the upkeep of the empire, That policy, too, would fly the British flag.
The fourth would be a combination of a *direct contribution and an imperial unit, working in harmony with the admiralty. Jack would fly from the masthead.
The fifth is the one to which I have adhered for many a long year and which I trust will come within a very few years, a confederation of the empire, a full partnership on a union basis. That would combine all the good that is in the others and we would have the manhood of the nation elevated, there would be no complications in the matter, and the old Union Jack would fly from the masthead.
The only one of all these policies concerning^ which there is any doubt as to the position of Canada is the one that the government has selected, and why is that? Why? All we can do is to surmise. I am free to admit that the First Minister is in a rather difficult position in this matter. But it is the old question of chickens coming home to roost, and he cannot complain of anybody but himself.
Let us take a little review. We have listened so long to misrepresentation of these heroes of 1885, of the heroes of 1870 and the heroes of 1837-38 and all this sort of thing, that I think it will do no harm to nlace a few facts before the House. In 1763, by the treaty of Paris, Britain acquired the French property in the new world. In 1774 the Quebec Act was passed. Under that Quebec Act what happened? I am not referring to any concessions given to the then province of Quebec further than to point out that the territory for which the American colonists have given their 'time, their money and their lives, the valley of the Mississippi and Ohio, that great tract including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, part of Minnesota and Michigan, was taken deliberately from the British colonists in the United States and handed over under the Quebec Act to the province of Quebec.

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