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


John Waterhouse Daniel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. W. DANIEL (St. John City).

Mr. Speaker, the intense importance of this Bill and the effect which it may have on the future history of Canada, and of the great empire of which we form a part, justify me in speaking on this question even at this late stage of the debate. Personally I feel a very deep interest in anything which has relation to naval defence. The constituency which I represent is on the Atlantic sea-board, and in the event of a naval combat between Great Britain and any country which has accumulated sea-power enough to attack her supremacy on the seas, if unfortunately that other navy should be successful, the constituency I represent would probably be the first to feel the fatal effects.
As far as I am concerned, I am deeply interested in this, not only as a citizen and a British subject, but especially as representing a constituency down by the sea. Now, Sir, I intend to make my remarks brief and as much to the point as I can, and before coming to them I feel myself bound to reply to some few observations of the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. McKenzie). In the first place, he spoke about there being no necessity for sending this verv important proposal back to the people. He said that we were here elected by the people to represent them and to decide on these questions. Under ordinary circumstances I quite agree with the hon. gentleman, but what do we find in this case? This is the most important matter that we have ever had to deal with in this parliament, and the people have never had an opportunity of giving any expression of their views upon it. The hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat knows as well as any member of this House that this question has never been proposed to the people in any shape or form, and how he can intimate that such has been the case is something I do not understand. We have never had a proposal about a navy for this country until this very session, and it is the proposal that we are now discussing. How any hon. member can say that the people have had an opportunity of discussing and deciding this question is more than I can understand. He also made a reference to the fact that leading members on this side of the House have hitherto confined their wishes and desires to a navy for the purpose simply of defending our own shores. He quoted my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. E. L. Borden) as stating that my hon. friend the member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) had made a statement when the resolution was passed in 1909 which had met with his concurrence. He intimated that the statements that were then made by the hon. member for North Toronto were devoted to the advocacy of a fleet simply for local defence. I had al-Mr. Mckenzie. .
ways thought that the hon. gentleman was one who prided himself on being a gentleman who did not misquote or misrepresent the language of another. With your permission. Mr. Sneaker, I will read what the leader of the opposition said, and I will give the quotation that he made from the speech of the hon. member for North Toronto. The leader of the opposition said:
One of the criticisms which has been made upon the resolution is this: That parliament did not then proffer to the empire in the hour of peril anything more than an expression of a desire to co-operate and'an intention to perform. Well, Sir, so far as we on this side of the House are concerned that is not our fault. My hon. friend from North Toronto said, in that debate, with my concurrence:
To-day peril stands at the gateway. It is not for me to say how great it is, but I cannot brush it aside. To-day it impresses itself upon the greatest statesmen of the old country; to-day it appeals to Australia until public subscriptions are taken, and the government is being importuned to do even more than its settled policy to meet the emergency; to-day little New Zealand gives one Dreadnought and offers a second, and to-day Canada faces that position of peril and emergency. Let me say to my right hon. friend, that if after careful consideration he proposes to this parliament a means for meeting that emergency adequately, now and as it should be, whether it be by the gift of Dreadnoughts or the gift of money of this country, this side of the House will stand beside him, and stand for Canada in supporting that measure.
I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the members of this House, whether the hon. member for Cape Breton, in making the statement he did. quoted the hon. member for North Toronto and the leader of the opposition correctly. The hon. member also spoke to the effect that we had never been asked to assist the mother country in this emergency. That they did not come over and ask us to give them some money, that they should have sent a request for funds through the Tegular channels or in some other way. I would like to know in what way the hon. member would expect the statesmen of the mother country to intimate to this country that they would be glad of assistance in the emergency that is now before the whole British empire. I should imagine that a eentleman of his standing in the legal profession, one who has occupied a seat on the bench, if he wished to give a judicial statement in regard to the matter, would have studied the question to some extent so as to satisfy himself that the remarks he was going to make were actually based on fact. I am sorry to make these quotations because they have all been placed on record before, but the statements of the hon. gentleman make it absolutely necessary. Lord Tweedmouth's statements have been already quoted, and I suppose that even the member for Cape Breton will allow that

Lord Tweed mouth was in a position to speak for England because he was at the conference of 1907. Speaking to the representatives of the empire at one of these notable conventions, he said:
To the representatives of the empire

Those from Canada included.
-we ask you to take some leading part in making the national defence of the empire mere complete. We thank you and recognize the free, unstinted help already given. One reservation we make, and one only, that we hold the command of the naval forces for the defence of the empire for which we are responsible. Unity of action, unity of command. We want you to give us all the assistance you can.
Is that pot plain? Is that not distinct? I wonder if the hon. member for Cape Breton wants anything more than the language to which I have just alluded that the mother country would be glad of our assistance in this great emergency?
We want you to give us all the assistance you can, but we do not come to you as beggars. Whether you help or not we are still to protect the King's dominions across the seas to the best of our ability.
people of England are not beggars. They will defend themselves and they will defend this whole empire until the last shilling or the last man is used up in the fray rather than go on their knees to Cani any other Part of this empire and ask them any more plainly or openly for funds than they have already done. Then there is Lord Rosebery. He also made some remarks, I think at the press conference, and I quote the following:
When I see one country alone asking for 25 millions of extra taxation for warlike preparations; when I see the unprecedented sacrifices which are asked from us on the same grounds, I do. begin to feel uneasy as to
.f, outcome of it all, and to wonder where it will stop. . . . Gentlemen, we can and we will build Dreadnoughts' or whatever the newest type of ship may be as long as we have a shilling to spend on them or a man to put into them. All that we can and will do, but I am not sure that even that will be enough, and I think it may be your duty to take back to your young dominions across the seas this message and this impression: that some personal duty and responsibility for national defence rests on every man and citizen of the empire. Yes, gentlemen, take that message back with you. Tell your peoples - if they can believe it - the deplorable way in which Europe is relapsing into militarism and the pressure that is put upon this little England, to defend itself, its liberties-and yours! But take this message also back with you-that the old [DOT]country is right at heart; that there is no failing or weakness in her; and that she rejoices in renewing her youth in her giant dominions beyond the seas. For her own 139
salvation, she must look to herself, and that failing her she must look to you. -
Surely, in view of these two quotations from eminent statesmen holding responsible positions in Great Britain, surely the position of the hon. member (Mr. McKenzie) is untenable when he says there is no need for a contribution from Canada or any other part of the empire to aid the motherland in this emergency. The hon. gentleman tells us he does not believe there is an emergency, but the answer to that is that there are none so blind as those who do not wish to see. He reminds me of that story in sacred writ where some Hebrews from a distant part of Judea came to the Saviour and stated that they wanted a sign; the Master told them they had Moses and the prophets, and if they would not hear them, they would not believe even though one rose from the dead. I take it that no matter what evidence is submitted to my hon. friend he would not believe even though one rose from the dead. The hon. gentleman has referred to the fact that the British North America Act places the control of the naval and military forces in His Majesty, and I would point out that if the British North America Act is in force, then clause 18 of the Bill is of no effect, and it being of no effect, why insert it? The very fact that clause 18 is in the Bill determines me to vote against it even though I should be in favour of some of its other features. Clause 18 says:
In case of an emergency the Governor in Council may place at the disposal of His Majesty for general service in the R'vval Navy, the naval service or any part thereof.
That seems inconsistent, for if under the British North America Act His Majesty has command of these forces, why should the Governor in Council be in a position to place them at his service or not just as they think fit. The inference is, of course, that if the government did not wish to place the naval force at the disposal of His Majesty they need not do so. If clause 18 does not mean that, it has no effect at all, and that being so, I object to it. To my mind that clause gives the Governor in Council a chance to declare the independence of Canada whenever it should think that it was a fit and proper time to do so. I say, Sir, that this parliament has no mandate from the people of Canada to go to any such length as that, and whether this Bill is submitted to them for their judgment or not, they certainly must have a final say on such a momentous question. Such a radical change as that in the constitution of the country, this parliament, I submit, has no power to bring about without the consent of the people. That is the great reason why I shall vote against this Bill. The hon. gentleman from Cape Breton admitted that the British North America Act

Topic:   *FEBRUARY 28, 1910 QUESTIONS.
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