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


Eugène Paquet

Conservative (1867-1942)


(Translation.) Mr. Chamberlain, the great British imperialist, turn-Mr. PAQUET.
ing towards the colonies, asked them to become the feeders of the British fleet. In his opinion, the colonies were to become a reservoir of men necessary to the empire in order to maintain its supremacy.
Mr. Achille Viallate, a professor in the School of Political Sciences, Paris, in a work on the ' British Crisis/ published in 1108, say^s:
Can there be found any where else than in those autonomous dominions offering a shelter to a numerous rural iropulation, the necessary sums to the defence of the empire, the miliary raw material needed to hold its own against the rival empires, a raw material which the metropolis no longer finds at home in sufficient quantity or quality.
We are on the way of imperialism. And should the hopes of imperialists materialize there will be formed a new nationality, an imperial race, and before long Canada will supply with men the army and navy of Great Britain.
Such views cannot tally with the aspirations of the Canadian people.
Our hon. friends opposite do not seem anxious to refer to the imperialistic role of our navy. On the 3rd February the hon. Postmaster General said:
Those who say that this policy of a Canadian navy is a new one and that the people ought to he consulted regarding it, are singularly ignorant of the facts. Why the policy embodied in the hill we are now discussing, the very ideas expressed in that hill are to be found in the declaration made in the name of Canada during the imperial conference of 1902.
In that declaration, made in the name of the Canadian people, are found the following words:
At present the Canadian expenditures for defence services are confined to the military side. The Canadian government are preparing to consider the naval side of defence as well.
In the same memorandum occurs the following statement which goes to show that the Canadian government, in 1902, was loath to sacrifice the principles of selfgovernment, which are being infringed in 1910: |
The ministers desire to point out that their objections arise, not so mnch from the expense involved, as from a belief that the acceptance of the proposals would entail an important departure from the principle of colonial government.
Were those words calculated to induce the Canadian people to believe that Sir Wilfrid Laurier would create a navy in order to participate in the wars of the empire? I am not ignorant of the facts and I believe that the electoral body stated on good ground that, the government are embodying in this Bill a policy unknown to the people in 1908.

On the 3rd of February, 1902, Lord Minto wrote to the Colonial Secretary:
With the exception of a few details of minor importance, my ministers consider that the political relations between the mother country and the great autonomous colonies, and especially with Canada, are for the present absolutely satisfactory.
This declaration is far from pointing out a new departure.
On the 15th of April, 1902, Sir Wilfrid Laurier said:
We are going to London simply to discuss the commercial question.
Let us listen to the eloquent words fallen from his lips in this House, on the 15tli of April, 1902:
The basis upon which the British empire rests, the basis upon which it has grown, has been the local autonomy of all its constituent parts, and I do not see that anything can be done at the present time that would warrant a change in that basis in any way whatever.
The leader of the Liberal party further said:
It would be the most suicidal policy that could be devised for Canada to enter into, the vortex in which the nations of Europe, England included, are engaged at the present time, and which compels them to maintain great military armaments.
He continued:
We are going to London simply to discuss the commercial question.
Those words are far from betraying, on the part of the prime minister, any wish or a determination to build a navy, in order to participate in the wars of the empire :
At the imperial conference held in London in 1907, Dr. Smartt, representing Cape Colony, moved the following resolution:
That this conference, recognizing the vast importance of the services rendered by the navy to the defence of the empire and the protection of its trade, and the paramount importance of continuing to maintain the navy in the highest possible state of efficiency, considers it to be the duty of the Dominions beyond the seas to make such contribution towards the upkeep of the navy as may be determined by their local legislatures-the contribution to take the form of a grant of money, the establishment of local naval defence, or such other services, in such manner as may be decided upon after consultation with the admiralty and as would best accord with their varying circumstances.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier strongly protested against that resolution and Dr. Smartt withdrew it.
Could the attitude taken tiy the prime minister in 1907 lead the Canadian people to believe that the government would bring down such a Bill?
If this policy respecting the creation of a navy is not an innovation, a new departure, it should have been embodied in the Liberal programme of 1908. Read again carefully the , campaign pamphlet distributed to the electors by the Liberals in 1908; listen to the harangues delivered by the right lion, the prime minister, on the 15th of September, at Niagara Falls and on the 21st at Tilbury. Did he not say on the 19th of September, at Strathroy:
No large issues to place before the people.
Listen to the right lion, prime minister and to the non. Postmaster General in the province of Quebec. Read the editorials published by the government organs. In vain should you try to find a single word, a single line concerning the building of a navy. Did any one, I ask, officially, lay down during the campaign of 1908, the policy which it is now sought to carry out? Let us be honest and frankly confess that for the first time in 1909, the government did give their adhesion to a policy they had refused to agree to in the past.
Our statesmen by tlieir acts and by their legislation, have expressed the opinion that Canada should not participate in wars which do in no way concern Canada.
I subscribe to the opinion and approve the work of those legislators; but there are to be found in my province among newspapermen and members of parliament belonging to my race, men who seem to claim a monopoly of civic virtues; then as they are isatisfied that their doctrine is sound, and not being able to bring themselves to believe in the patriotism of their opponents, they are charitable enough to call in question the sincerity of Mr. Monk and of those who share his views in claiming the rights of the electorate and the privileges of selfgovernment.
I do not speak here in the name of the French Canadian Conservative party; but in view of such insinuations and malevolent attacks as have been directed against our patriotism, I exercise a legitimate right and discharge a duty in declaring here that I conscientiously fulfil my mandate.
Mr. TIJRCOTTE. (Translation.) Was it
not the Conservative party that introduced the Militia Act of 1862?
Mr. PAQUET. (Translation.) For the
defence of Canada.
Mr. TURCOTTE. (Translation.) A Bill
which was introduced by the hon. John A. Macdonald and the hon. George E. Cartier.
Mr. PAQUET. (Translation.) Let my
hon. friend hold his soul in patience for a few minutes, and I shall soon deal with that question. The students of history who are conversant with the past of that party,

its principles, its traditions, its spirit, its policy as vast as confederation itself which was created and extended by that party, could hardly conceal their astonishment, should I take a different attitude in the solving of that problem. In subscribing to the policy formulated by Mr. Monk, I remain deeply attached to the traditions handed down to us by Cartier and Macdonald. I am happy to hear my hon. friends opposite render homage to the memory of Sir George E. Cartier, against whom the Liberals of the Province of Quebec formerly directed such bitter attacks.

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