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


Andrew Broder

Conservative (1867-1942)


Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to delay the House at this hour of the night, but I do not care to give a silent vote on this question, which I consider of such importance to the country. I must say in reference to the hon. gentleman, who has just taken his seat, that I do not intend to criticise his speech very much, because it has been a speech most of which could very readily be credited to this side of the House. I must say that those who have spoken of what may be considered a crisis, in the light and jocular manner that some gen-

tlemen opposite have spoken of it have received their answer from the hon. gentleman. I must attribute to my hon. friend a good deal of courage. I can see by his speech and by his training that he is a fighting man and he has had a good deal of courage to charge the fighting man of the government, the Minister of Militia, with cowardice. I think that the Minister of Militia has said that the Munroe doctrine was of great interest to us, that it was a great protection to us and the hon. gentleman (Mr. H. H. McLean) says it is cowardice to say that. He has a fighting quality about him. He criticised the statement made that it will cost more to build a navy in Canada. To whom can we attribute that statement? His leader was the first man who mentioned that in the House, and he said it would cost 30 per cent or one-third more to build a navy in Canada than in England. I think he is a good honest critic of the other side of the House.
I do not think long speeches will build a navy, I am rather inclined to think they will delay it, but some things have been said in this House with which I do not agree. A good deal has been said about launching the country into militarism. A navy is just the opposite of militarism, and if you wish to go back in history, you will see that the battle of Trafalgar hindered the greatest military organization that this world has ever seen. What did Pitt say? That England had saved herself by her exertions and she intended to save Europe by her example.
They say that we want to build this navy in Canada. That is a laudable object, but perhaps it is the lowest possible ground on which you could put this question today. If there is a crisis then the most effective way of meeting that crisis is our duty, wherever it may be. I shall not endeavour to prove whether there is a crisis or not, but the prominent public men of England, of both political parties, men not apt to lose their heads in a crisis, have indicated to the world that there is a crisis. Then the duty of Canada is to assist in thwarting the purpose of whoever intends to bring to England that crisis. Does any one pretend to say that the proposal of the government will in any sense meet that crisis? Does any one pretend that a navy or dock-yard started this year in Canada for the purpose of building war vessels in the next five or ten years will meet that crisis? Does any one pretend to say that if we had our navy ready to-morrow and fully equipped it would in any sense assist to meet the crisis? If there was trouble between Germany and England-and God forbid there ever shall be any such trouble-a great naval battle would take place and that battle would not Mr. BRODER.
last more than fifteen or twenty days at the most, then where is your Canadian navy to assist England? The result would be that England's ports would be blockaded. If Germany became victorious, England's ports would be blockaded, and the Canadian navy would be as helpless as an infant in the cradle to help England in the crisis. The bounden duty of Canada is to rise in her loyalty to the empire and to British connection and to do her the most effective service if there is a crisis as we are told there is.
We have heard a good deal from the opposition side of the House from the right hon. leader down to the smallest singer of the song, and what has it been? The 20th century for Canada! Look at our great resources', look at our great revenue. The 20th century is Canada's. They would thus lead England to great expectations and hopes in reference to Canada's assistance to the empire and when they come to offer their gift, what is it? In the first instance it is a flat refusal. Who makes that refusal? The right hon. gentleman who leads the government of this country. He said in this House a few days ago, as an answer to the proposition from the leader of the opposition, that the matter should be submitted to the people, he said it had been before the country. How has it been before the country? In 1907 the right hon. gentleman in the conference absolutely refused to do what he is proposing to do to-day. I am not asking him to take my statement, I shall read what the right hon. gentleman did say in the conference in answer to a resolution moved by a gentleman from South Africa. I shall read the resolution and shall show that the Premier of Canada flatly refused to vote for it, and out of respect to his refusal that resolution was withdrawn. Then he went to the country in 1908, making this refusal and the country endorsed him; hence, they must have endorsed his refusal. Then, it is necessary that we should go to the country with his present proposition. Let us see what he says: Dr. Smart!, a colleague of Dr. Jameson, moving the following resolution:
That this conference, recognizing the vast importance of the services rendered by the navy to the defence of the empire and the protection of its trade, and the paramount importance of continuing to maintain the navy in the highest possible state of efficiency, considers it to be the duty of the dominions beyond the seas to make such contribution towards the up-keep of the navy as may be determined by their local legislatures-the contribution to take the form of a grant of money, the establishment of local naval defence, or such other services, in such manner as may be decided upon after consultation with the admiralty and as would best accord with their varying circumstances.

That embodied the proposition that is before the House to-day in a sense. What did the First Minister say in answer to that only two and a half years ago?
I am sorry to say, so far as Canada is concerned, we cannot agree to the resolution. We took the ground many years ago that we had enough to do in that respect in our country before committing ourselves to a general claim. The government of Canada has done a great deal in that respect. Our action was not understood, but I was glad to see that the First Lord of the Admiralty admitted we had done much more than he was aware of. Ic is impossible, in my humble opinion, to have a uniform policy on this matter.
The disproportion is too great between the mother country and the colonies. We have too much to do otherwise^ in the mother country, you must remember, they have no expenses to incur with regard to public works; whereas, in most of the colonies, certainly in Canada, we have to tax ourselves to the utmost of our resources in the development of our country, and we could not contribute, or undertake to do more than we are doing in that way. For my part, if the motion were pressed ro a conclusion, I should have to vote against it.
What was before the country was his flat refusal to do anything in any respect. Then he says that this matter, having been before the country, there is now no neces-[DOT] sity of submitting it to the people. We hear a great deal with reference to the right hon. gentleman's attitude by hon. members of this House, who endeavour to square it with his past record; we hear him eulogized by hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House who say that his name will go down through the annals of history when hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House are not heard of. Well, it is to be hoped as he lived in history and ceases to act, his record will appear more consistent. Why, is it necessary that we should have some interest in the navy? They say: You are going to
givj $20,000,000 or $25,000,000 to England, and you will never see your money again. Is it not right that Canada should do something in recognition of the service which England has rendered this country in protecting her shores with her navy? Oh, well, they say, we want everything done in Canada. A few years ago hon. gentlemen opposite were not very anxious to have everything done in Canada. Now, they have changed their minds. We remember that a British shilling was not worth as much as an American dollar to hon. gentlemen opposite. British connection has been our protection and a contribution of $20,000,000 or $25,000,000 will have a wonderful moral effect upon the world. We will have for our protection more of a navy than we can build in Canada in the next twenty years. It will be a notification to the world
that the mother will be protected by the children that surround her in recognition of her past service. We talk about Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, &c., but there are no people in this country who are more interested and I believe more sincere in their wishes to maintain British connection than the French people of Quebec. Why? They realize that British connection means the continuance of the solid liberty which they possess. They do not wish to run the risk of having any change in that respect. Is there any necessity of our recognizing our obligation to British connection if you wish to speak of it in that way? I believe that it is the great bond that holds us together and gives us our security, liberty and permanence. What does it mean? The British navy means the great police force of the world. It does not mean militarism. It means that it has made it impossible for piracy to continue on the high seas. It means that it has been made impossible for the slave trade to continue, and it means that no citizen is so well protected and guarded in his rights as the man who is able to call himself a British subject. For these reasons, if for no other, and there are no higher or more consistent reasons, Canada ought to recognize the obligations which she owes to British connection and show that she is prepared to stand to the utmost against the world and do her duty to the empire to which she belongs. Is there a man in whose breast it does not awaken pride and respect to realize that he belongs to the British empire? Lord Rosebery said that it was the greatest secular force that the world had ever seen in the interest of peace, harmony and good. Are we not to lend our assistance and aid, our moiety and our arms, if need be, to continue that great moral force which secures to Canada and to all the people of the British empire that peace and prosperity which every one now enjoys under the Union Jack? The navy of England is regarded as one of the greatest factors contributing to the public peace. Are we to have no share in it? That is the simple question before the House to-day. We are going to have a navy which is going to be built in Canada. When are you going to construct the guns in Canada with which to equip these great vessels? Has the Minister of War any idea when we will be able to build these guns in Canada? When will you be able to make the plate to put upon these vessels in Canada? You talk about putting Canadians on these vessels, and rightly so, but the quickest way of putting Canadians on these vessels is to put them on British training ships on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, drill them there and have them ready for your navy -when your navy is ready to float. The Minister of Militia and other hon. gentlemen who have spoken have talked a great deal about

manning these vessels with Canadians. How many of our permanent militia are native born Canadians, can you tell me? Why, the Minister of Militia stated today that only twenty per cent were Canadian born and yet we hear a great deal about putting Canadians upon these vessels. What did the right hon. gentleman say when he went on to talk of the navy and our fighting qualities? He turned round to his friends and he said: You need not fight if you don't like, you have to volunteer first. I suppose he intends that for the province of Quebec. The probability is that the right hon. gentleman does not intend to fight and his friends don't intend to fight. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind about that, because, I believe he made that statement with the express intention that it should go abroad that some one else should do the fighting, while the government built the navy. Well, I think that is about what we will get. There is a great deal said about Germany and I am not going to pitch into Germany. I think Germany is able to take care of herself. There is no doubt a great deal of activity in Germany in shipbuilding, but a great deal of that shipbuilding has been for her inland waters, and she carries to-day four-fifths of her inland commerce by water instead of by rail. She has trained her men in the inland waters and she has given to her people cheap freight, and in that way a great impetus to her industries. That is a legitimate purpose for Germany to pursue. Her object is to get colonies, in which she can place her people under the German flag, and that is commendable. ' England stands prominently in the world as a great colonizing nation, and the only successful colonizer, and other nations are no doubt jealous of that. That jealous feeling must permeate the German people to some extent and the example of England in that respect is no doubt a legitimate example for Germany to aim at. There is no doubt that Germany desires to secure possession of the Rhine to its mouth, including Holland, but there is no room for German settlement in Holland, and the great object of Germany is to get room for her people under her own flag. There is another question that has not been much talked about- and you would think after the talk we have had in this House for the last three or four weeks there could not be a subject in theology or history that has not been touched upon-but, we have not talked much about the position of the American people in regard to their maritime affairs. When we hear the government and their supporters talking about war vessels, and what they are going to do and all that, it reminds me of some people who were getting ready for war and who declared: We will hang our colours on the outer wall Mr. BRODER.
and if the enemy comes we will run away, but if the enemy does not come we will bleed and die for our country. The Americans are a great people, 80,000,000 of them; aggressive, energetic, wealthy, ingenious, but what about their shipping?- When you take away the lake shipping of the United States they have very little left. It is possible to have a navy, it is possible to have all that accompanies a navy, and yet not have that shipping and commerce which a nation should have. The Americans have no continuity in their naval policy, and in that they are different from England or Germany, or the other European countries. They will bring in a large estimate and reduce it, and they will bring in a small estimate and increase it, and the strange thing about shipping in the United States .is that while 50,000,000 bushels of wheat are shipped from Baltimore yearly, only 10,000 bushels of that is shipped under the flag that sheltered the grain while it was growing. They have 1,200 ships leaving New York every year, laden with American commerce for the ports of the world, but only seven of these ships carry the American flag. No wonder that one of the American senators said: Just think of it, ten cruisers, eight
Dreadnoughts, and nineteen battleships, guarding eight merchant ships in the Pacific. That is a beautiful picture is it not? Is that the kind of thing we want in this country? You talk about war and of sending your navy over to help England, why, England would have to send an escort over to help your navy to cross the ocean to get' ready to fight. If we were a small country surrounded by water, and having a population of 7,000,000 we might build a navy, but we are a sparsely settled country with an enormous area of land and we are proposing to do what there is no necessity for doing in the interest of this country and which is not in the interests of British connection and the empire either. It means that you will spend $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 or $4,000,000, or $5,000,000 this year and two, three, or four millions next year, and you have got to continue doing that or your navy will become obsolete. That is a serious question before this country to-day. If we had 20,000,000 people it would be a different question altogether. Now, from all I can learn, far and near, the verdict of the Canadian people is: We don't want a navy built in this country to-day, if there is necessity to do something to help the motherland in the crisis, and let the matter end there for the present. That is the opinion of the Canadian people. We have heard a great deal about this country, and that country, and the other country, and before I sit down I want to say that the strongest card we can play for the assistance of the empire and for the maintenance of British connection is to show to the world that we

will be ready to act and act promptly, and if we do that, hostile nations will stay their hand before they think of attacking the motherland.
On motion of Mr. Warburton the debate was adjourned.
Mr. FIELDING moved the adjournment of the House.

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