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


Samuel Hughes



If the millions go in graft in the harbour of Quebec and in the constituencies along the shores of the counties in various parts of that province the hon. gentlemen will not kick, but so long Mr. HUGHES.
as they go to keep the old flag flying in Quebec there is a kick.
In close relation to the imperial navy.
Our policy is that our fleet should be part of the imperial navy. There is no measurable distance in connection with it.
Along the lines suggested by the admiralty.
These gentlemen in no sense have followed the lines suggested by the admiralty. Yet, they have the hardihood to ask us to support such a resolution.
Another clause of the resolution is:
In full sympathy with the view that the naval supremacy of Britain is essential to the security of commerce, the safety of the empire and the peace of the world.
But, the government in reserving to themselves the right to say whether or not that navy shall take part in a war in which Britain is engaged are departing from an essential part of the resolution of last year. The resolution concludes:
The House expresses its firm conviction that whenever the need arises the Canadian people will be found ready and willing to make any sacrifice that is required to give to the imperial authorities the most loyal and hearty co-operation in every movement for the maintenance of the integrity and honour of the empire.
The policy of the government departs from that. How can they have the nerve to stand up and ask us to join them in such a measure as they propose to-day. We are told there is no danger for the British empire. Well, Sir, what does the history of the world show. Thousands of years before the birth of Christ there was as great a nation as Britain is to-day, a nation relatively even greater. The Phoenician nation had all the liberties that Britain has to-day in many respects. Her ships traded in every sea, Carthage was a colony, Sardinia and Corsica were colonies, the Balearic islands, the southern part of Spain and parts of the British islands were colonies. The ships of the Phoenicians traded all along the northern coast of Africa, down the west coast, around the Cape of Good Hope, and to the distant Indies; their_cara-vans crossed every desert. It was that nation that furnished the Christian world with the religion of one God; it was that nation that furnished the world with the alphabet, the principles of mathematics, and the learning which has graced and benefited humanity. They had everything the heart could desire, and yet that nation fell. The Grecian states in succession rose and fell, other nations in the east rose and fell. In the year 256 B. C., the first Punic war came, Rome knew that Carthage had succeeded Phoenicia as mistress of the seas,

and Rome prepared a fleet in order to meet Carthage. Their fleets met off the coast of Sicily and 300,000 men were engaged in that sea fight, the greatest naval battle In the history of the world. The Carthaginian fleet was wiped out of existence by the fleet of Rome, although Rome was comparatively a new nation. Taking advantage of the system of boarding the enemy's fleet, which was not thought of by the Carthaginians, the latter were driven from the sea and disaster followed to Carthage. Nation after nation has risen in power and might and has gone down. And why? They all had liberty; they all had their parliaments. The statesmen of ancient Greece would put to blush the eloquence of this parliament here to-day. Gifted as is the First Minister, with his nickel-plated eloquence, he could not hold a candle to the orators of ancient Greece. In the Roman Senate addresses were delivered which are still the wonder of the world. These men had liberty as we have liberty, they had education as we have education, they had religions and creeds galore, they had,temples and churches and colonies, they had sister nations, but they have all vanished. And why? They began to live on their past records, they became self-important, they became wealthy-and gentlemen on the other side of the House tell us that the chief ambition of a nation is to become wealthy and opulent. As they became wealthy they became impotent, they neglected the principles of liberty, they centralized, they became sister nations instead of being part and parcel of the one great nation; they did not understand the principle of decentralization in non-essentials, while retaining control in a central government over matters of great national character. They forgot that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; they did not realize that while it takes a thousand years to form a state, an hour may lay an empire in the dust. Shall we, in these days, forget our duty to the empire and to humanity; shall we embrace the spirit of militarism which has been the bane of many nations, instead of upholding the principle of democratic military training under which every citizen will do hig, duty to the state, by which every boy of ten years and upwards shall be trained to shoot and every boy of fourteen and upwards be trained to command his company. Shall we not place ourselves in the position as we can easily do, of being able to put a million men in the field, each one of whom would be a good rifleman. Shall we not place ourselves in an inpregnable position in Canada, and thus become a tremendous strength to the motherland in time of war. Our duty is to unite in one great imperial federation. Oceans no longer divide, the genius of man has overcome distance, and
ships can traverse the ocean as rapidly as trains can cross the land. If you want to blockade the Canadian Pacific railway between here and Winnipeg all you have to do is to blow up a bridge on the north shore of Lake Superior, but you cannot block the pathless ocean against the traffic of ships of commerce, or ships of war.
I maintain, Sir, that for the benefit of humanity, and the building up of the empire, our duty is to stand shoulder to shoulder in a union of the whole empire. It is said that in the course of time the 3un must go down on the British empire.
I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I make this prophecy; that if the sun ever does set on the British empire, it will rise next morning on the empire of Greater Britain.
(Translation.) Now. a few words to the Prime Minister and to my fellow citizens in the province of Quebec. The population of that province is the offspring of a race whose name and practice are always in favour of liberty, e La belle France is but another name for freedom and loyalty.
As in England the Normans and Huguenots were the best citizens amongst the British nation, so the Frenchmen in Canada, at every period were characterized_ by all the virtues of good citizens; that is, they are characterized by integrity, honour, energy and enterprise; they are also thrifty, witty and courageous.
The political chieftains in the province of Quebec, in our two parties, do not show them the Confidence they deserve.
I ask the Prime Minister to stump Quebec in order to teach the good citizens in that province that the empire of our greater Britain is to continue to give them the right they have enjoyed so far. But they must remain steady and loyal in order to maintain under all difficult circumstances and against any danger, the integrity of the British empire and the majesty of the Union Jack.

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