March 7, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


John Herron



city necessary to such an enterprise, I would say: Go on and build the navy. But, by all means, give the people who are going to pay for this navy a chance to express their opinion with regard to it. No one party or government should determine whether we should enter into this enormous expenditure for the building of a navy, but I think that the people who are going to pay for it should have the right to a voice in the matter and should be given the opportunity of saying whether they are going to have a navy or not. If this navy that we are proposing to build was going to be part of the British navy and was going to meet an emergency, I would be prepared to make any sacrifice and take the responsibility upon myself of voting for it, but at the present time I do not feel like doing so. With reference to the cost, I mentioned what the government figures are in connection with the navy that they propose to build. I _ noticed that the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat said that what is proposed by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition in his amendment is to contribute $25,000,000 or $30,000,000 to Great Britain as the price of two Dreadnoughts I listened with a great deal of interest to the statements of hon. gentlemen on this side of the House who went to a great deal of trouble to establish the correct figures, and their estimate was that the price of two Dreadnoughts would be about $1Q,000,000.
I -would be prepared to say that if we could build them for $19,000,000 or $20,000,000, or even $25,000,000, I would be in favour of the proposition, because I would like that whatever we do for the British navy may be well done, and that if we build Dreadnoughts for Britain we will build ships that are able to go into the front of the fighting line. With reference to the question as to whether an emergency exists or not, I would like to read to the House a portion of a letter received by me from one of my constituents last November, just after the House met. If the House will allow me, I would like to read the extract from this letter and to withhold the name of the man who wrote it. If any one on the other side of the House wishes to see the letter, I will be pleased to hand it over to him. The writer of this letter is a German by birth and served as an officer in the German army. He says:
Now, as you know, I came from that nation which has caused that justifiable scare in England, and, therefore, I know something of my old Fatherland, its spirit of patriotism and also its coasts along the North Sea. Should the time ever come when the German people felt strong enough and felt that they had a justifiable cause to attack England at sea, the attack will be so swift and so sudden and the results so decisive, either one way or the other that it would be childish to think of sending for the ' political fleet' of Sir Wilfrid

Laurier. You must be aware that owing to the natural conditions around England, should she lose this first battle, and her ports blockaded, starvation and surrender would be the end of this war, while on the other hand, Germany is far more favourably situated. So in face of these facts it is the merest hypocrisy for any honest Canadian to talk of having a navy of our own for the purpose of helping England. The Monroe doctrine up to now has been the fighting asset to which the Liberal government has pointed with pride to defend our shores. Why now a Canadian navy? Time and again in the past Britain has sent her cruisers to protect single individuals in foreign countries, and we, up to now, have not paid one cent for this protection (more shame to us). We should now make a start to maintain this fleet. If the utterances of our public men, of loyalty and devotion to the flag are not a screen behind which they pick the raite-payer's pockets, then by all means let us send our contribution in cash. Then we will know our money is spent in an honest and efficient manner, which we could never expect under the government proposal.
These are the views of a naturalized German. How much more strongly should a born Briton feel on the subject.
I would commend this opinion to those hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House who have been so emphatic in the declaration that there is no naval scare and no need of Canada doing anything at the present time. I promised that I would only speak for a few moments and I am about done. I would like to see the amendment proposed by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition put through, the Navy Bill thrown on the scrap heap for the present, and an appeal made to the people, whom you will find British to the core. ' One King, one flag and one British navy,' is good enough for me.

Topic:   EDITION'.
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