March 3, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Sir C. W.@

Dilke says: ' We defend the colonies only during peace; in war time they are ever left to shift for themselves.' Mr. Cardwell: 'it is an almost universally accepted principle of English policy that it is no longer desirable to maintain a standing army to defend our distant colonies.'
The 'London Times' says: 'We are quite aware that, in the event of war, we should not be able to render effectual aid to our Canadian Dominion, and that our fellow subjects out there would either have to fight at a terrible disadvantage, or mortify our pride by anticipating defeat and yielding to terms.
In a national point of view that would he no loss to this country.'
Before closings this speech, Mr. Speaker, I am bound to refer to some utterances of the hon. member for Victoria and Haliburton (Mr. Hughes), who, in the course of an address very agressive in tone as regards my I fellow countrymen, committed a grievous mistake by qualifying as rebels the patriots of 1837. Lord Strathcona is far from being of the same opinion, and here is what he says (I am quoting from the ' Memories of Robert Bouchette,' a book annotated by our learned and congenial librarian, Mr. A. D. Decelles, page 8):
The rebellion of 1837, directed not against England, but against colonial maladministration, was perfectly justifiable. (Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal).
These noble words fully avenge us, we of the French race in this country; they are a well deserved rebuke for the hon. .member. While listening to the insults he deliberately flung at the French Canadian people when he characterized the patriots of 1837 as cowards and traitors, I was moved by a feeling, not so much of indignation as of pity, and I said to myself: the hon. member, though a soldier, does not know of the awful horrors of a battlefield; no, he is only a parade officer utterly ignorant of the grandeur, the beauty, the nobleness and the heroism implied in the deed of the brave soldier who falls under the enemy's bullets, martyr to the love of country, victim of his convictions. In order to cover, Mr. Speaker, if possible, the sound of those words of insult and obloquy aimed at the Canadian people, I wish I could impart to my voice a power which it does not possess, and cry out: Chenier, the great Chenier, and that phalanx of brave men who have fallen under the bullets of bureaucracy, were heroes, and history will speak of them as men of courage, who have died for a great principle and for a noble cause.
In concluding, I wish to state the reason ' which induces me to vote in favour of this measure. They are, in the first place, the great confidence I have in the policy so well defined by my right hon. leader; in the second place, the political status and relationship of our country to Great Britain; and in the third place and above all, <he interest I take in my country and the conviction I have that the establishment of a war navy will be the last step towards a higher political status, and one in greater harmony with national aspirations, independence. However, that independence, I

wish for it only inasmuch as it could be obtained through the good will of Great Britain and with her full agreement; for I am free to acknowledge that to Great Britain we owe all that we are to-day, and I am proud to proclaim myself her loyal and devoted subject. .
Let us provide armaments, it is the duty of the hour, but I wish most ardently to see the day when the people will loudly call out to militarism: Stop, it is time to disarm. Long enough has our blood been spilt and our flesh been tortured to satisfy the ambitions and hatred of the governing classes and war mongers.. The general trend of opinion is even now, though unperceived, working towards that goal, and when democratic ideas will have prevailed through universal sufferage, and organized labour will act in co-operation with those who have freed themselves of the fetters of plutocracy, then shall we see peace triumph, and then also will militarism be a thing of the past.

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