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


Eugène Paquet

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PAQUET. (Translation).

The hon. gentlemen who do not share my views, who advocate an imperial policy, those who are in favour of building a navy in order to take part in the wars of the empire, those who want to place at the disposal of the imperial authorities contributions to the navy, should read carefully the following extract from the report of the last imperial conference:
A simple contribution of money or material mav be to one Dominion the most acceptable form in which to assist the imperial defence. Another, ivbile ready to provide local naval forces, and to place them at the disposal of the Crown in the event of war, may wish to lay the foundations upon which the future navy of its own could be raised. A third may think the best manner in which it can assist in promoting the interests of the empire is in undertaking certain local services not directly of a naxTal character, but Avhicb may relieve the imperial government from expenses which Avould otherwise fall on the British exchequer. I
I share the views expressed in the latter part of this quotation. From the very inception of confederation, we have given our adhesion to the suggestions of the admiralty. I wish to be understood when giving my opinion on the defence of Canada. Proud as I am of our autonomous institutions and of the privilegs which flow therefrom, I agree that certain duties and responsibilities devolve upon me, from a Mr. BELAND.
national standpoint. Let me review the question in the light of our national traditions. Our military tradition goes back not merely to the battles of Montmorency and Carillon, but it goes beyond the heroic period of Frontenac. This military tradition, like the ' Canadian soul ' is traced back to the days of Champlain.
Under the shadow of the British flag as under the French flag, the Canadian people knew how to defend their territory at the cost of the greatest sacrifices. My most earnest wish is that the Canadian people should in the future show the same spirit of abnegation and the same devotedness to this land of ours.
I say, consult the Canadian people and I will submit to the verdict of that sovereign body. If the members of parliament are bound or deem themselves bound by the resolution of the 29th of March. The people remain absolutely free. The hon. gentlemen on the other side, in endeavouring to commit the people to a policy which, in my humble opinion, distorts the national soul, point out the sacrifices made by New Zealand and Australia in favour of England. The public knows very well that owing to their isolation in the Pacific ocean, these colonies are bound to make great sacrifices for their naval defence. Our position is altogether different from theirs and I cannot endorse a legislation which in defiance of our traditions, drags us into the world policy of England.
Alone, among all the governments of the American continent, the Canadian government is about to entangle itself in the foreign policy of the United Kingdom. Still, I am not opposed to any assistance that might be given to England in an emergency. No. But this policy problem involves the most serious consequences and the Canadian people, enlightened by their representatives, should have a voice in the discussion of such a momentous matter.
During the conference of 1907, the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries showed that Canada had relieved England of important naval expenditures which she formerly bore. I aril sorry I cannot but regret that certain causes should keep the hon. minister away from this House and I sympathize with his friends in their trial.
On the 29th of March, 1909, the hon. minister said: After the denunciation of the treaty of Washington, from 1886 until to-day Canada has assumed all the responsibility of protecting her fisheries, not only on the Atlantic coast, but. also on the Pacific coast, and since that time, we have spent no less a sum than $5,186,700.16.
By taking over the stations of Esquimalt and Halifax, Canada is doing a very great service to the empire at large. Canada has been spending considerable sums for

the aid of navigation in general and the maritime commerce of England has greatly benefited thereby. If our fishery protection service is not what is desired, if it is incomplete, let us vote the necessary sums to secure an efficacious service.
As stated by the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries, on the 29th of March. [DOT]' If we had some of these small boats in order to protect our coasts, it is to be presumed that in a short time large warships could come to our rescue, and in the meantime our coasts could be defended by these destroyers and torpedo boats.' I concur in these words. I could even go further. I am in favour of taking the necessary means for the defence of our coasts for the protection of bur fisheries, and for our national defence. But the vessels used for those purposes should be absolutely Canadian ships, employed for the defence of Canada. There would be no cause to bear militarism.
Why should we not act in accordance with our national traditions? The Canadian people has fully discharged its duty towards the British Crown. Let us listen to the noble words fallen from the lips of Sir Charles Tupper in 1892:-
For my part, I believe that no contribution to the maintenance of the British army and navy on the part of Canada would have done more for the defence of the empire than the means by which public expenditure has been carried on for that purpose, in Canada.
On the 11th of March, 1898, Sir Charles Tupper showed that Canada had discharged her duty. Here are his very words:
I for one believe that no contribution on tlie part of Canada to the maintenance of the British army and navy would have done any more for the defence of the empire than the manner in which public money has been applied for that purpose, in Canada.
On the 11th of March, 1898, Sir Charles Tupper showed that Canada had done her duty. These are his words:-
In 1863, there went over to England a delegation of Canadian statesmen composed of Mr. George Brown, Sir John Macdonald, Sir George E. Cartier and Sir Alexander Galt. These gentlemen were going to settle with the imperial government the measure of our mutual condition to the imperial service and upon that occasion, the British government solved the difficulty by writing. This despatch though it was considered that it should remain confidential, was published at full length. It mentioned that were Canada willing to agree to make a yearly expenditure of one million dollars in connection with her militia, England was ready on all occasions to put her power at the service of Canada for the maintenance of her interest and her security. Not only has Canada discharged the obligations assigned to her by that document, but she has done immensely more. After having created a militia for the maintenance of which she provides herself, she has built, 149
without a single cent of contribution from the imperial 'funds, the Canadian Pacific Railway.
And what does Mr. Chamberlain say to you? He tells you that the construction of that great interoceanie road, by means of which England may equip her fleets on the Pacific, has enormously increased the importance of the mother country and that it is invaluable to her.
Yes, Canada has discharged her duty to the empire!
We are bound to provide for our own defence, in order to show to the world that we are a spirited people. In the future, as in the past, Canada shall discharge her duty and do what she owes to herself and to the empire. But I do not wish to commit myself, by legislation, to participate in the wars of the empire. Let us try to realize the dreadful position we should find ourselves in by taking part in all the wars of England. Let- us hear the admiralty on the matter :
It has been recognized by the colonial government that in time of war the local naval forces should come under the general direction of the admiralty.
It is impossible to forecast the enormous expenditure which Canada will incur. The South African war has cost us two million dollars. The United Kingdom, with a population of 40 million people, was waging war against a population of 350,000 souls. Is it possible to foresee the enormous sacrifices that we shall be called upon to make should England go to war with one of the great, powers ?
From 1850 to 1900, England has carried on or been mixed up in twenty or twenty-five wars. Since 1814, in spite of the numerous wars of the British empire, never" has the integrity of the Canadian territory been threatened. In thq future, owing to a legislation diametrically opposed to all our national and constitutional traditions; in the future, I say owing to a legislation placed upon our statute-books, without the people having had a voice in the matter, we shall have only to defend our own territory, but to shed our blood upon all the battlefields of the empire.
As remarked by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier on the 3rd February:
AYe become parties to all British guarantees to foreign nations. Great Britain has undertaken very serious responsibilities, involving possibly very extensive wars, towards those foreign, nations. I say that we in Canada, under pain of being branded as unfaithful to this agreement and worse than that, as cowards, should have to take part in those wars and in those terrific conflicts which may he occasioned by her guarantees.
This new policy might involve us in the troubles of militarism; it might deprive us of great public works and one day, we

might send over to England those ships which will perhaps be destroyed. Are you not afraid of rousing the indignation of those thousands of immigrants who, in leaving Europe have shaken off the shackles of militarism? Would not England be represented with the features of the oppressor.
Let us now study this problem in the light of the constitution. Let us read sections 17 and 18.
The question then is not to create a fleet for the sole defence of Canada. In case of an emergency, the government may place that navy on active service, when it appears advisable to do so, for the defence of England and of the empire.
We become responsible for the foreign policy of England,; without having a voice in her counsels as to the framing of that policy. This legislation changes our relations with the mother country and imposes a policy which is baneful to our best interests. This doctrine of participating in the wars of the empire is not. a new doctrine; it is an imperialistic doctrine advocated in the interest of England.

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