February 28, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Mr. D. D. McKENZIE .@Cape Breton

I did not say, Sir, that it was a platform at all. I say that it was the well understood policy of this government, as represented and as disclosed to the world by the representatives of this government who were present at the conference in 1902. From that day down to the present the policy of the government was well known and there was no need to make a platform about it. It was an understood matter and the hon. gentleman opposite did not make an issue of it. When the hon. gentlemen who were leading the opposition party in the country will not raise an issue, the strongest and the only logical conclusion to be drawn is that the principles disclosed and the line of action laid down by the government are satisfactory to them. That is the contention which

I make here, and that I think is the only logical conclusion to be drawn. If to-day hon. gentleman opposite think that it is necessary to submit this question to the people as to whether there should be a navy at all, or, if a navv, what should be the size of it and that sort of thing, the proposition of the navy, its size, and all that have been before the people, there has been knowledge of the question since 1902, if it is a proper thing to submit to the people to-day it was a proper thing at either or both these elections, and if they did not think it proper to take advantage of the opportunity, I submit that they are not sincere to-day when they are asking to make of this an issue to go to the people with. We had this question very well threshed out less than a year ago. The hon. member for North Toronto placed the first resolution upon the order paper the very first day of the sitting. From the little knowledge I have of that hon. gentleman, obtained since I have occupied a seat in this House, I venture to say that the bringing down of that resolution was not the first thing he did in connection with it. I submit that he gave it careful thought, that he looked at it from every standpoint, considered it carefully and possibly wrote a great many resolutions before he found one that suited him. The resolution with which he came down to the House remained on the order paper for seventy days or thereabouts, and it was wrell considered by every hon. gentleman on both sides of the House, I presume. When the time came to discuss it, he discussed it fully and pointed out clearly and unequivocally that his intention was to make a start in the direction of having a Canadian navy for the protection of our own people and for no other purpose. The leader of the opposition agreed with him that that was the thing to do. The right hon. leader of the government stated clearly and distinctly that neither he nor his party, was going to depart in the slightest degree from the lines laid down in 1902 and 1907, and that he would not be stampeded by any false cry that might be abroad in the country. After hearing that clearly and distinctly laid down, the hon. leader of the opposition said: I fully and emphatically agree with the position taken by the leader of the government. That is the position that he took then. The leader of the government said: We cannot afford to lose any of the privileges which we have to-day as a country. We must have the same control over our own affairs that we have now, and we cannot and will not have any less. The leader of the opposition agreed with him and said: We have well earned every privilege that we have in this country. They are not favours, they are rights, and the government cannot go as far as, or any farther, than I will go, in Mr. McKenzie.
fully sustaining and upholding every privilege and every bit of the autonomy that we have in this country. These are the statements made by the leader of the opposition in his speech of the 29th March last. His words are to be found in 'Hansard,' and if it is to-day a dangerous thing to retain the powers which we have in the Militia Act, if it is to-day a dangerous thing and tends to disrupt the happy relations between the empire and this country, were the dangers less a year ago? If there was any difficulty at that time the leader of the opposition, if he was sincere then, or if he is sincere now, should have stood up and said: These conditions must not continue; everything should be left entirely at the disposal of the British Crown, and we will not now undertake to exercise control. But that was not his position nor the position of his party. They were unanimous in support of sustaining the conditions which we have now and which we have had for the last forty years. We have heard no reasons for such a right about face on the part of the leader of the opposition and his friends in connection with this matter. There is not a reason to-day that was not in existence a year ago. Whatever discussion took place in the English House of Commons about the German scare, so-called, took place ten or twelve days before the resolution was brought down. I think it was on the 20th or 22nd March that Premier Asquith made his speech on the subject in which he made reference to the necessity of further provision for the navy in Great Britain and I think he made some observations from which it could be gathered that there was some difficulty in that country. That period has passed, explanations have been given, and the excitement had subsided before the leader of the opposition and his followers made their speeches. We are now told by the leader of the opposition and the hon. member for North Toronto that we must all of a sudden have a tremendous navy that would be able on the first day of its appearance on the waiter, to icope with any of the great navies of the world. That is an extraordinary position to take, and it is very different from the position taken by them less than a year ago.

Topic:   *FEBRUARY 28, 1910 QUESTIONS.
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