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


Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)


made to show that a real danger does threaten the empire. I wish to add just one more reference in connection with that point. In ' Everybody's Magazine ' for November, an article is published by Alexander Powell, F.R.G.S., who was specially commissioned to make an investigation in Germany as to the naval preparations that were being made in that country. I quote from the report which he made when he had finished that investigation:
Everything considered, I think that England has good cause to lie awake o' nights. Twice has the Kaiser declared that the future-of Germany lies upon the seas. Repeatedly has Germany refused to discuss her vast armaments or to give any reason for the frantic haste with which they are being increased ; the whole of her ship-building yards are engaged in an unparalleled scheme of naval construction; scores of her leading writers make no secret of her intentions ; history has shown that on previous occasions she has made unprovoked and sudden attacks on other nations, and, most significant of all, the coal-earying capacity of the ships she is building so hurriedly and which, she insists, are designed solely for the protection of her trade routes, limits their radius of action to the North Sea. There is the disquieting fact. To-day the ambitions of the Kaiser are boundless. He seeks to dominate the continent as the first step towards dominating the world. Look at it any way you will, there can be hut one end to a race which is impoverishing both nations, and that end is war. If England wins, she will have secured herself for half a century to come. If Germany triumphs, her victory will give her the position that England holds now, it will make free trade in England one of the terms of peace; it will give her a free hand in the Balkans, in Mesopotamia and in Persia; will give her the pick of England's colonies oversea, and a billion dollars indemnity with which to build a navy to overawe the world.
That is an independent opinion, and one which seems to me to be enitled to the fullest consideration. The second difference that I have noted between the policy of the two parties is this: That the government declares that Canada now requires a navy of her own for her own defence, independent of the empire, and the opposition say: That Canada, independent of the empire, is not threatened from any source now, nor is she likely to be; her coast line and fisheries are now sufficiently protected, and that protection can he greatly increased as occasion arises, without burdensome expenditure. The opposition say further, that Canada's sea-going commerce is better safeguarded by the empire's navy than it could be by an independent navy; that Canada is threatened whenever Great Britain is threatened, that Canada does not now require an independent navy, hut that our best interests lie in strengthening the empire's navy. Difference No. 3 between the policy of the government and the policy of

the opposition is this: The government assumes it has the right to lay down and to engage in a permanent naval policy lor Canada independent of its entire connection, and to make an initial expenditure varying from $15,000,000 to $18,000,000 for ships, and an annual outlay varying from $3,000,000 to $7,000,000 for maintenance-no one seems to be able to tell just exactly what either one ot the other would cost- realizing that it must be a constantly increasing expenditure annually for shipis not designed or intended to meet the emergency or strengthen the empire's defence on the sea, or capable or offering any substantial defence to Canada in the event ol attack. Now, the position of the opposition as declared by them, I find to be: That whilst the government would have the right to meet the existing emergency and danger, it has not the right- to enter upon a permanent policy of establishing an independent Canadian navy with the ever increasing expenditure and burden such a policy carries with it, without a mandate from the Canadian people; and that at all events any effort made in establishing a navy should be in conjunction and co-operation with the empire's navy. I find this furtbes distinction between the policies of the two parties: That while the policy of the government ignores the recommendations of the admiralty as to the best means to be employed by Canada for strengthening the empire's navy and maintaining the supremacy and security of the nation, the opposition policy is to recognize the great value of the advice and recommendations of the admiralty in matters of naval defence, for which experience and special training have eminently qualified them, at the same time realizing our want of such experience and training, and our common interest in the safety of the empire, and that whilst the aid offered by the amendment to the Bill exceeds the best recommendation of the admiralty as to the share to be contributed by Canada, it does not exceed the duty, the obligation, or the willingness of Canada to maintain the unity of the empire and her security against the world. I find further that by the government Bill, an armed force-and what it declares for-is created in Canada an integral part of the empire, wearing the King's uniform, armed with the King's weapons, loyal men who would be willing to fight for the King and his empire, yet the clause of the Bill to which I have referred declares that such force shall not fight for the King and the empire until Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his cabinet (that is the Governor in Council) order they shall. The opposition reply that such a declaration makes for independence and separation from the empire, that it smacks of sedition, and, if not unconstitutional, is a gross breach of confidence and abuse of power. They also pretend that such an
armed force should, in the event of war, pass automatically, if needed, under the King's command to the defence of the empire, and there should be no power to prevent that being done. That point of difference between the two parties in politics is one which, it seems to me, should be accentuated. Shall we, as Canadians, be soldiers of the King? Or shall we be soldiers of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his government? Evidently the goal which the Prime Minister desires to reach is independence. Independence has frequently been his declared ambition, and the Bill before us carefully avoids any. provision which might serve to link Canada more closely to the empire and thus disappoint the premier's ambition, but on the contrary makes strongly in the opposite direction, although an attempt has been made to disguise its tendency. On the other hand, the policy of the opposition does not require any disguise or deception. It is clear cut. It makes straight for the solidarity and unification or federation of the empire, the security of Canada, and the sovereignty of the nation. That difference between the two policies, let me again point out. ought to be emphasized. Shall we continue to live under the old emblem of liberty, the Union Jack, shall we hoist it for ever and claim its protection, or shall we declare our independence and hoist a flag in accordance, with that policy? I venture to think that the great majority of our people will have no hesitation whatever in declaring for the old Union Jack.
The scheme of the government, if carried out, will not afford immediate or any assistance to the empire's navy or the defence of the nation, because the crisis will have long passed before such a navy as is proposed in this government measure could be placed in the fighting line, if it could ever be so placed, and consequently would not discharge any part of the acknowledged obligation of Canada to the empire. Thus it is an absolute denial of tbe affirmations contained in the resolution of this House, adopted unanimously in March last, to defend the empire in time of peril. On the other hand, thei resolution and the policy of the opposition, if adopted, will afford immediate and effective strength to the empire's navy, will meet the emergency and discharge Canada's obligation and duty to contribute to the defence of the empire and the peace of the world.
The professions of loyalty and willingness to assist in the defence of the empire, so loudly made by the government and its followers, are wholly inconsistent with and opposed to the policy laid down in this Bill. That is evidenced by the provision of this measure, whereby assistance to the mother country, if any be made, is to depend on the wiil of the government. Such provision

is but another step towards independence. Contrast that with the policy of the opposition, who supplement their declarations of loyalty by offering immediately to provide two Dreadnoughts, or the equivalent, without any reservation whatever^
There is another important distinction between the policies of the two parties. The government is inclined to offer fight-noughts which dread everything, while the opposition desire to offer Dreadnoughts which are prepared to fight anything.
The government has failed to show that the adoption of its policy will have any moral effect on Briton's enemies or the world in general such as the immediate and effective offer advocated by the opposition could not. fail to have. Such an offer would tend to lessen the possibilities of conflict and thus spare us the horrors of war.
The policy of the government largely consists in vain glorious boasting deception, useless and extravagant expenditure of public moneys, and cannot fail to provide exceptional opportunities for graft. Whereas, the policy of the opposition is one of action, prompt, generous and effective, by which many dollars will be saved for every dollar expended. The refusal of the government and its representatives to adopt or act upon any of the proposals of the several imperial conferences regarding naval defence compared with the promptness and generosity displayed by our sister dominions, Australia and New Zealand, in accepting such proposals and bearing their share of the burden, has placed Canada in a humiliating and unenviable position in the eyes of the empire and the rest of the world. The opposition feel that, considering the importance of Canada, considering her vast resources, considering her growing population and the loyalty of her people, considering the immensity of her growing commercial interests and the protection she has enjoyed under the British flag, she should be placed in the first rank of the overseas dominions instead of being put in the position of a voluntary outcast and laggard, as is done by the policy of the government.
The policy which the government submits to the House, is, by its nature, a permanent one, and yet is being entered upon without the authority of the people who have not had an opportunity of expressing their will and have not sufficient knowledge as to details as to enable them to judge as to its advisability or efficiency. This policy, once entered upon, cannot be discontinued, but must 'impose an ever increasing burden on the people, and that . without giving any sufficient assurance that it will prove adequate even for the defence of Canada. On the other hand, Mr. PORTER,
the policy of the opposition is intended to afford immediate temporary relief in an emergency and discharge the immediate obligations of Canada to the empire, it is fixed in amount, certain in details, sufficient for the purpose intended, creates no continuous or increasing burden, secures a greater measure of security for Canada by strengthening the defence of the empire than could be secured by the creation of a Canadian navy. And, being an emergency policy, does not require to be submitted to the people.
We are told by hon. gentlemen opposite that our policy is an attack upon responsible government, an encroachment upon Canadian autonomy, and would impose taxation without representation, which is subversive of Canadian ideas. But it must be evident that the offer we advocate, being a voluntary contribution, has none of the elements of taxation which, involve force, and in no sense can be called taxation without representation. And as responsible government means loyalty to the crown and respect for the will of the people and the right to control our own local affairs, while at the same time observing allegiance to the Crown, voluntary contribution to the defence of the empire to which we owe allegiance as well as the defence of Canada, is a declaration of the principles of responsible government and autonomy in their highest and noblest form. The government declares that the Canadian navy should be built now in Canada by Canadian workmen and -with Canadian material as far as possible. The opposition agree that, when the time arrives and the Canadian people declare that Canada should have an independent navy, then it should be built by Canadian workmen in Canada, with Canadian material as far as possible. But we cherish the hope that the day is far distant when Canada shall require an independent navy, but that her interest and determination will always be to maintain her position in the empire.
These appear to be the principal points of difference between the policies of the two parties in the1 House upon this question. Stripped of all political bias or party consideration, and viewed solely from the standpoint of loyal support of the empire, it occurs to me little difficulty will be experienced by the people of this country in choosing between the policies that I have endeavoured to outline in these fifteep articles. Occasion has been taken during the course of this debate to charge that Canadian interests have always suffered when those interests were dealt with by British diplomacy. That is a statement that has been made on many occasions before. It is made upon this occasion, no doubt, for the purpose of leading the House and the country to believe that in

the matter of naval defence the people of Canada can better trust the government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier than that they can trust the ablest experts of Great Britain. On one occasion in Ottawa, in 1907, the right lion, prime minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) said:
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 pleni-potentaries. We have to realize that John Bull has not always done his duty to his Canadian sons.
Also, in September of the same year, at the manufacturers' banquet, the Prime Minister spoke as follows:
We take the record of the diplomacy of Great Britain in so far as Canada is concerned, and we find it is a repetition of sacrifice 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 with British diplomats. We have come to the conclusion that we would do better by attending to the business ourselves rather than have it trusted to the best men that can be found in Great Britain.
Again, in Toronto, on another occasion, the Prime Minister said:
British diplomacy, in so far as Canadian interests are concerned, has been a succession of blunders.
. This fault-finding with the British government in its dealing with Canadian .affairs is perfectly consistent with the action of the government in preparing such a. Bill as they now have before this House, and to some clauses of which I have made special reference. But, I venture to say, .there is just as little evidence to prove the assertions made by the right hon. gentleman on the occasions of which I have spoken, as there is for the position they take now in regard to this Bill, that, so fari ,as the naval force of Canada is concerned, it should be controlled by the right hon. gentleman and his colleagues, rather than as the British navy itself is controlled. I think that these references to a want of interest in Canada on the part of British diplomats, and to the interests of Canada having been sacrificed on these various occasions is entirely unwarranted and has resulted more from the desire of some gentlemen to have such a position brought about, and to increase the powers of Canada in that respect or to detract from the authority of Great Britain, than from what has actually taken place under British diplomatic treatment of Canadian affairs. I think these references are made from want of knowledge, or a refusal to acknowledge the real facts in connection with these matters. As this Bill is being viewed from almost every point of view, it perhaps
would not be amiss-reference having been made to the effect of British diplomacy in sacrificing Canadian interests, and the necessary deduction from that having been made that Canadian interests would suffer if its necessary naval defence was left in the hands of Great Britain-if I were to ask the attention of the House for a short time to a consideration of some of thesd matters, and to the comparison I have suggested. The Prime Minister, in the remarks to which I have referred, went on to say that we had lost upon the Atlantic, we had lost upon the Pacific, we had lost upon the great lakes. I propose, during the short time that I shall occupy the attention of the House, to compare the treaties that have been negotiated and concluded by Great Britain with regard to what the Prime Minister has said is our loss upon the Atlantic, our loss upon the Pacific, with certain treaties that the right hon. gentlemen and his colleagues have been able to secure during the time they have occupied the treasury benches.
The first instance to which the Prime Minister referred was the one arising under the Ashburton treaty of 1842. The opinion that was expressed in regard to that matter, and that has been perpetuated in certain quarters, is, I feel sure, the result of want of knowledge of the true facts in connection with the matter. The general contention of those w'ho make similar assertions to those made by the Prime Minister is that in this treaty Canada lost the states of Maine and New Hampshire, by reason of Webster, who negotiated the treaty on behalf of the United States, exhibiting a map to Lord Ashburton which showed the line between Canada and the United States to be very much further west than, as a matter of fact, it was, and that by showing this map to Lord Ashburton, Webster had fooled him into agreeing to the United States getting more territory than they were actually entitled to.
The 3tory goes on to the effect that Webster, the negotiator for the United States, exhibited this map to the Senate of the United States, and thereby induced the Senate, which was previously opposed altogether to the treaty, to agree to it in the form in which it was afterwards assented to. Now, if it were a fact that Webster had in this manner tricked, if I may use the expression. Lord Ashburton, and obtained an advantage in that way, dishonourable as it would be upon the part of Webster, yet it would be a most unfortunate thing for Canada, and a matter upon which perhaps Lord Ashburton might be charged with dereliction of duty, or with not having sufficiently guarded the interests of Canada. But after these long years since 1842 and down to the last year, this story has been current, and it has been given credence to by the right hon. the

Premier and many others. But only last year were the real facts in connection with the matter discovered by an officer of one of the departments of this government, Mr. White, who published an article in reference to his discovery, and giving the evidence, in the * University Magazine '-. It appears that the real facts are these: When the treaty of Paris was made, the line between Canada and the territory subsequently the United States, was definitely fixed and established. That line was fixed, according to the records, by a line known as the Oswald line, and that line was laid down and defined upon a map known as the King's map, in the possession of King George III. The map was marked with the King's own handwriting beneath, a broad red line, indicating ' This is Oswald's line ', and at the time of the passing of the treaty of Paris, and on different occasions in the House of Commons, reference was made to this King's map, and to the settlement of the line by that treaty according to what is known as Oswald's line. Now, then, at the time of the Ashburton treaty, Webster procured from the archives in- Paris a map which had been obtained from Franklin, and he produced this map. There is no evidence of any kind to show where it came from except a letter which was supposed to accompany this map, declaring that Franklin had himself made the red line that appeared upon this map. So that what Webster got was not the official map at all, nor was it a map that had been used in defining the boundary with Canada at the time of the treaty of Paris. But he used that map for the purpose of deceiving the Senate of the United States into the belief that they were getting a larger portion of territory than, according to the real line, they were entitled to. And the discovery of Mr. White proves that although at the time of the passing of this Ashburton treaty this map known as the King's map, having Oswald's line marked upon it and authenticated by the King's own handwriting, had been discovered, it turned out that under that line, what the United States got by the Ashburton treaty in regard to the boundary between the United States and New Brunswick, was exactly what the King's map, and what Oswald's line that was used in the treaty of Paris, gave to Great Britain; nothing more and nothing else to a certain point, that is, from the Atlantic ocean north to what is called the Northwest angle. But from that point the boundary line between the United States and Canada was deflected, and instead of following the Oswald line, which it would have been bound to follow had that map been produced, it was deflected to the west, so as to save to Canada, and it actually did save to Canada, a considerable portion of New Brunswick and of the province of Mr. POETEE.
Quebec; in fact the very land that today the Grand Trunk Pacific passes through was saved to Canada. There would have been no land there for Canada, only for the advantages that Canada gained by the deflection of that eastern line by this treaty. But that is not- the most important point. Had the Oswald line been followed, as the United States had a right to insist upon, and had that map been produced at the time of the Ashburton treaty, but which evidently was not produced, or at any rate was ignored, the line limiting or defining the boundary line between the United States and Canada, east and we3t, would not have been deflected from the northwest angle south and west, which enabled Canada to secure, and by which she did secure, a valuable portion of the province of Quebec which would otherwise have gone to the United States. Now, I do not want to go through all the details of that transaction, but there are two other instances where Canada saved most valuable territory by reason of this Ashburton treaty which the right hon. premier is so ready to condemn.
Now let me refer briefly to the loss which he says we made upon the Pacific coast, with reference to that portion of the state of Oregon, which now belongs to the United States, and which I presume the Prime Minister would say ought rightly to belong to Canada. That treaty was made in 1846. Now the treaty was not in respect of what is now known as the state of Oregon by any means, but the negotiations covered an extent of territory of about 400,000 square miles, including not only the state of Oregon, but what is now our very valuable province of British Columbia. Discoveries had been made upon the Pacific coast by different nations, by" Spain, by Russia, by the United States, and by France, and not one of these countries, excepting the United States, claimed to have absolute jurisdiction over that territory. The greatest claim that Great Britain ever made to that territory was that she had the right of joint occupation with the other nations that were interested in it. The United States, on the other hand, set up the contention, that, Spain having discovered that territory, and having given up her rights by treaty to the United States, the United States also having acquired the right of France by purchase, and having made discoveries by Cook and others they were entitled to the ownership of the territory. The strongest claim of all they made was that of the greatest possession, because it is a well recognized principle of international law that although discovery gives a -right it is not the highest form of title, but that possession is the thing that determines the right of any nation to the ownership of the country.

The United States at this time had not only its own right of discovery, but it had the right which it had acquired from Spain, "the right which it had acquired from France, and it also had the right of possession, because at this time, Great Britain only had in that country about 400 people, whereas the United States had nearly 8,000. That was the element that must determine which of these nations this country should belong to. Mark this important feature; Great Britain did not claim at any time to be the absolute owner of it, and the United States did. What was the position under these circumstances? The slave war was on in the United States at that time, and this territory offered the most favourable place that could possibly be discovered for the emigration of Americans, and they were filling up this territory very rapidly. Great Britain, on the other hand, was making no progress in the way of occupation. Had matters been allowed to drift along in that condition for a few years longer the result must necessarily have been that the population from the United States would overrun the greater portion of this territory, and the United States would therefore acquire it by occupation. The master stroke of British diplomacy was to see that at that time the only hope of Great Britain was to secure as much of the territory as she could absolutely rather than to occupy the position a few years later of losing it all. What did she do? Negotiations were undertaken, and these various claims were put forward. It cannot be contended that either one of two countries that enter into a controversy or discussion of this kind would make adverse claims without there being some merit in the claims of each. It cannot be said that Great Britain was all right, and that the United States was all wrong, that Great Britain was entitled to the whole of that country, because she only claimed a part of it, or that the United States was entitled to it all. So, they had to sit down, and make the best bargain they could. What was the result? Under this treaty Great Britain gave up seven degrees of territory that she only claimed the right to joint occupation of, and she acquired an absolute and indefeasible title to six degrees of territory that could never afterwards be in question. I would like to know, in view of these facts, how it could be said that in the negotiation of this treaty the interests of Canada were sacrificed. This fact must be remembered too, that at that time that territory was no part of the Dominion of Canada. That was a matter in which Great Britain alone was interested, and it does seem to me that in concluding that treaty Great Britain displayed, just as she did, in concluding the Ashburton treaty, the very highest ele-148
ments of diplomacy, and the very greatest interest in safe-guarding what afterwards turned out to be the interest of the Dominion of Canada, because she secured, through Lord Ashburton, in the east, a large tract of territory that had been denied to Great Britain by another arbitrator. In connection with that it is well to remember that before the Ashburton treaty was concluded the matter had been referred to the King of the Netherlands, and what did he do? After investigating the whole matter he gave Great Britain 900 square miles less than she got under the Ashburton treaty. The United States was not pleased with that award, and it was on an appeal from the United States that Great Britain, through the Ashburton treaty, obtained far more territory than she did under the award that was given by the King of the Netherlands. So, in regard to the treaty of Oregon, Great Britain, by her diplomacy, secured for future Canada a greater extent of territory by absolute title than she actually made claim to before the treaty was undertaken. What she lost was that part of the territory lying between the Columbia river, and the Pacific ocean that she absolutely had to admit she had not the title to, that she did not discover, that she did not occupy, except in a very desultory way, and in regard to which the claim of the United States was absolutely unanswerable. Everything that Great Britain claimed under that treaty she got, and as one writer in connection with that matter has very well put it, Great Britain got, under that treaty, all she wanted, while many of the claims of the United States were left for future consideration. They never have been considered, and never will be.
At six o'clock, House took recess.
After Recess.
House resumed at eight o'clock.

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