March 2, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)


We had the hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McLean) saying in so many words in this House: We owe England nothing, we are indebted to England for nothing, why, because she does not pay us any more for our apples, or any more for our cheese, or any more for our bacon, or for our canned goods than she does for similar merchandise entering England from the United States, and therefore we owe her nothing. Narrow, selfish, picayune provincialism. As well might he say that the merchant of Montreal pays him no more for his eggs, and butter and cheese than he would to an American coming into the market of Montreal, and therefore, we are not indebted to Montreal at all, and if Montreal be attacked we shall not come to the rescue of that city. A gentleman from Nova Scotia (Mr. McKenzie)) told us that England has more money than we have, that she had facilities, for building ships, that she could build all the ships that were necessary to protect not only the British isles but to protect the remotest part of the British empire. And, he, a member of the House of Commons of Canada and a citizen -of Canada was willing to allow the taxpayer of the United Kingdom alone to raise money to construct and maintain a navy to protect him in this country. Narrow, selfish, picayune provincialism. And, Sir, wehavehad similar remarks from member after member on the other side of the

House. Talk about defending our coasts, or protecting our trade routes, why Mr. Speaker, this empire of ours, as the 'Globe' truly said, is one and indissoluble; the British empire must .stand or fall all together. We have had remarks made by the Prime Minister showing, I submit to- you, Mr. Speaker, that even he has never grasped the idea of empire. Many of you have read the remarks he made on independence a few years ago. Now, I do not desire to be offensive; I want to say boldly that if there be any man in this country who believes honestly and sincerely that it is in the interest of the British empire that we should become independent he has a perfect right to that belief and he has a perfect right to advocate it if he pleases. But, the people of the country, if he be a public man, have the right to insist that he stfall come out in the open and say so. We had the Prime Minister a few years ago stating, that he held out to his fellow countrymen the idea oi independence. That is not the only time the right hon. gentleman has made some remarks he should not have made in my humble judgment; remarks, which coming from a man occupying the prominent position he does, have a disintegrating effect upon the affections which the people of this country should entertain towards the British empire. And, it is not away back in the year 1902 either that he made those remarks, for, in the year 1907, the right hon. gentleman said in the city of Toronto :
We have to realize that John Bull has not always done his duty to his Canadian son. If we take all the treaties from the treaty of 1783 up to the treaty of 1903, we Canadians do not feel particularly cheerful over the way we have been treated by the British plenipotentiaries.
And in Ottawa, in the same year, addressing the Manufacturers' Association, he said
We take the record of diplomacy in Great Britain in so far as Canada is concerned, and we find that it is a repetition of sacrifices of Canadian interests. We have suffered on the Atlantic, we have suffered on the Pacific, we have suffered on the lakes, we have suffered wherever there has been a question to be discussed between British diplomats.
Mr. Speaker, what would be thought of a son who would delight in parading before the world the shortcomings of his mother? Whatever else might be thought of him. no one would think of accusing him of having any affection for her. So seriously did the British Ambassador the Right Hon. Mr. Bryce, regard these observations made by the Prime Minister of this county, that in Toronto he referred to them, and said: -*
I will ask you to suspend your judgment upon all those questions in which it is alleged that British diplomacy has not done its best for you. In those matters you have only heard one side of the case, and I feel it is my duty to my country, and to the government which I represent, to tell you this, and that I believe you are entirely mistaken if you think that British diplomacy has been indifferent to Canada or has not done the best it could for Canada.
When the right hon. premier of this country says that Canadians do not feel particularly cheerful over the way we have been treated by the British plenipotentiaries, I ask, who were the British plenipotentiaries? I asked you what would be thought of a son who would delight in parading before the world the shortcomings of his mother; but what would you think of a son who would parade before the world accusations against his mother of which she was not guilty? And I want to show you, Mr. Speaker, that these very plenipotentiaries to whom the right hon. gentleman refers were named by himself, every one of them. In speaking of the treaty of 1903 he referred of course to the Alaska boundary treaty. I have in my hand the correspondence touching the Alaska Boundary, and in it you will find at page 63 the following:
To the Earl of Minto, Ottawa, from the Secretary of State, March 7, 1903.-The ratifications of the Alaskan boundary treaty were exchanged on the 3rd instant. Time for the preparation of the case, article 2, has consequently begun to run against us, and it is important that composition of British half of court, also appointment of British agent, should be settled without delay. Hope, therefore, your responsible advisers will favour us with their views on these appointments as early as possible.
On the very same day the Governor General sent this message to the Colonial Secretary:
In view of the short time given for preparation of the ease, my ministers desire to proceed immediately, and, therefore, suggest an early settlement of preliminaries. As to the composition of tribunal, my ministers suggest chief justice of England and two Canadian judges, names to be telegraphed hereafter. As to counsel, my ministers desire that Mr. Edward Blake, K.C., London, and Mr. Christopher Robinson, K.C., Toronto, be of counsel to uphold the British contention and junior counsel. Under that clause of the treaty which provides for the appointment of an agent to represent each party before the tribunal, my ministers desire that Mr. Clifford Sifton, Canadian Minister of the Interior, be appointed to fill such position.
On the 17th of March, 1903 the Governor General sent this message to the Secretary of State:
In addition to chief justice of England, my ministers propose Sir Louis Jettis, a retired

judge of the Superior Court of the province of Quebec, and now Lieutenant - Governor of Quebec, and Justice Armour, of the Supreme Court of Canada, as members of the Court of Imperial Jurists under treaty for settlement of boundary of Alaska.
You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that the late Justice Armour died, and the present Minister of Justice was appointed to his piace. This correspondence shows conclusively that the government of Canada named all three of the gentlemen who represented 'the British empire on that board of arbitration, and that the Chief Justice of England, named by the government of this country, agreed with the three gentlemen who represented the United States, and hence there were four to two against us on that question. And in face of the fact that Sir Wilfrid Laurier named the three gentlemen who represented Great Britain on that board, we find him at Toronto blaming the British government for the award that was given. Have I made it clear, Mr. Speaker, that the right hon. gentleman has taken delight not only in parading the shortcomings of his mother before the people, but in making accusations against his mother that are not borne out by the record? Only a few days ago the right hon. (gentleman delivered" another address in Toronto, and what did he say? It is very peculiar. Sir, that a gentleman occupying the prominent position that the right hon. leader of the government does, should make such remarks. I venture to say that no one ever knew or ever read of a British statesman speaking of the government of Canada as the Prime Minister of this country so glibly and so delightfully speaks of the British government, ' This is what he said, as reported in the Globe of the 5th of January:
The King of England has no more rights over us than are allowed him by our own Canadian parliament.
Now, what was the necessity of making a remark of that kind? What is the object? Did you ever hear Sir John Macdonald talk that way? What are the facts? I have here some extracts from the British North American Act in these words:
Be it therefore enacted and declared by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
1. This Act may be cited as the British North America Am, 1867.
3. It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the advice of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, to declare by proclamation that, on and after a day therein appointed, not being more than six months after the passing of this Act, the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and ivew Brunswick shall form and be one dominion under the name of Canada.

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