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


John Patrick Molloy


Mr. J. P. MOLLOY (Provencher).

Mr. Speaker, I have no hope that I shall be able to add anything new to what has been said in this debate, which is now worn threadbare. I might remark that it appears to me strange that on a subject so well threshed out, some hon. members should see fit to speak for two hours, three hours, and three and a half hours, covering ground which has already been well covered, adding nothing to the'debate but adding something to the expense of the country. In view of what has occurred here, I believe that whenever the question of the amendment of the rules may come before us, I will vote for closure; I will vote for what may be called the gag; I believe I would vote for a chloroform chamber for some of the hon. members of this House. One reason why I speak at all is that it appears to be fashionable, but whether that be so or not, I believe that every hon. member has a right to speak his thoughts briefly on this question. I would not for a moment advocate that hon. members should not be at liberty to express their opinions on every subject that comes before the House, but I believe that something should be done in some way to shorten the debates, even on such momentous a question as that which we are now considering. As a Manitoba man I desire to say a few words on this question also, because when the local government will have time to act on the Bill sent to them by this government about a year ago, and the boundaries of the provincce are extended, Manitoba will become a maritime province; and then it will have more interest 156
in the question of a Canadian navy than it can have, so long as it remains an inland province, for it will be on the line of a new and shorter route to the motherland.
Another reason why I speak on this question is that we have in the province of Manitoba the greatest naval experts to be found on the continent of America, at least in their own opinion. They care nothing for the opinions of the British government, the admiralty, Lord Charles Beresford, or any of the other British naval authorities. A year ago they put forth their policy, which was simply a policy of direct contribution. This is as near as I can see the policy of hon. gentlemen opposite; and I compliment my province on having in the Conservative party men strong enough to practically force their policy on the opposition in this House. At the same time, in putting forward their policy, they have taken every opportunity, in the belief that they were making it stronger, to attack the loyalty of the leader of this government and the loyalty of everybody who sees fit to support a policy different from theirs.
On the whole, Mr. Speaker, the issue between gentlemen on this side of the House and the bulk of the gentlemen on the other side of the House is one merely of terms. I am willing to give credit to those on the other side who honestly believe that the policy of a contribution would better answer the situation, so far as Great Britain is concerned at the present time, than the policy of a Canadian navy. I am always willing to give to those who honestly believe, even if they are wrong, credit for the opinions that they hold. I am also aware that there is in the ranks of the party opposite a third party, or a. separate party; I refer to the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk), and those who support him; and I wish to say this for the hon. member for Jacques Cartier, that, judging by some of the press reports, he, as well as the leader of the government, and the members of his cabinet, and his followers, have been charged with disloyalty. I hold that the hon. member for Jacques Cartier is just as much within his rights, and is just as loyal in expressing his opinion, whatever that may be, so long as he believes that he is putting forth a policy in the best interests of Canada, as any other member of this House. Therefore, I for one, will never charge the hon member for Jacques Cartier with disloyalty.
On this question the Canadian people are handicapped through lack of experience.- We have never been called upon to have anything to do -with a navy, in spite of our enormous sea-board, bounded as we are by the ocean on three sides. The only experience Canadians have had with a navy has been in the war of 1812, and

that was so long ago, and was fought so entirely by British ships that from that we gained nothing in the way of experience -only this, that from that time the American people and the Canadian people have been at peace, and I believe that it is the hope of the whole Anglo-Saxon race that they shall for ever remain at peace. There are some who say that we are building a tin-pot navy for the purpose of fighting the United States; but I believe that nobody expects that that will ever iiappen, while the people of both countries hope that we shall never settle by force any differences between the two branches of the Anglo-Saxon race.
It is not necessary for me to deal with the origin of the so-called German scare. About a year ago the premier of England made the announcement that Germany was outstripping Great Britain in building battleships. That was before the British elections. I do not charge that-that statement was made for the purpose of influencing the elections. But since that time the British elections have been held, and the same man and his party have been returned to power. The same peril that faced England then is facing her now, but we do not hear anything since the election in regard to the German scare. In fact, one would judge by the reports that the scare has completely disappeared. Allow me to quote in this connection the following despatch:
Berlin, March 6.-Chancellor Von Bethmann-Hollweg made a strikingly pacific speech on international relations, during the course of a debate on the naval estimates in the Reichstag yesterday. Replying to the arguments of Herr Sudekums, the Socialist member, that Germany's great fleet was not called for by commerce or the colonies, and that Great Britain was justified in the belief that it was directed against her, the chancellor spoke shortly, but vigorously, saying:-
Our relations with Great Britain lie clear and open before everybody's eyes. It is not necessary to repeat that our fleet is not for aggressive purposes, but for the protection of our coasts and commerce. The limits of our naval programme are known to every one, with the dates for the completion of our ships. Nothing is secret about the programme and nothing is done in such a way as to arouse suspicion or belief that a threat is intended against anybody.
Finally, it is our wish to cultivate unprejudiced, straightforward and friendly relations with Great Britain. (Cries of hear, hear.) I do not see why the existing friendly relations should be disturbed between Germany and Great Britain, with whom we are so closely connected, both economically and in culture. No nation on earth can divert or suppress free competition of other nations. We must all proceed on the same lines as an honest merchant, and on this foundation I am convinced that the relation of confidence existing between Germany and Great Britain will develop favourably, and that public Mr. MOLLOT.
opinion of both countries will be influenced in the same way.
Hon. gentlemen opposite say there is an emergency. Perhaps they may say it for political reasons, in their desire to force their policy upon this government. We on this side have just as much right to say there is not an emergency. It is now a year since we first heard of it, and we are no nearer to a crisis to-day than we were then. For my part I do not believe that an emergency exists, and if it did, Great Britain would be as well able now as she has been in the past to take can* of herself and defend her sea-board against all comers.
With regard to the question of control, I wish to quote the London ' Times,' a good Conservative paper, and surely hon. gentlemen opposite will not charge it with disloyalty. The London ' Times ' says the Canadian government is taking the proper course in keeping control of the Canadian navy, and adds:
In principle the proposition is indisputable. It applies to all and every form of co-operation of contribution towards imperial defence.
Now, allow me to quote Mr. Balfour, the leader of the Unionist party in the British House of Commons. In speaking last year, before the Imperial Press Conference, he said:
I think it was one of the speakers from Canada yesterday who said in my hearing that there was a certain jealousy existing- I am not sure I have got the exact words- a certain jealous anxiety amongst sections of the population in Canada lest there should be any attempt on the part of this country to accept any organization which would interfere with the complete control by Canada of everything that Canada desires to do. Well, in the earlier days of the colonial empire that fear might have been justifiable. There was a time when the relations between this country and the offshoots of this country were like the relations between parent and child. But let every man who hears me, who comes from any colony, understand that no politician of any party in this country holds that view any longer. (Cheers.) On that let there be neither doubt nor hesitation. Everybody recognizes, so far as I know, that the parental stage is over. We have now reached the stage of formal equality, and nobody desires to disturb it.
What did Mr. Haldane say on the same matter:
If the empire is to become one it will not be by the imposition of any outside will or of any one part of the empire; it will be with the evolution of the will of the empire as a whole under these unwritten constitutions which represent one and the same spirit, which took their origin in the mother country, but which mean absolute freedom for every constituent part of the empire.
Mr. Balfour spoke of the difficulties of the old war-office notion of controlling the forces

of the Crown overseas, of the self-governing dominions. I agree with him that that is an absolutely impossible enterprise, although one quite sees the reason why from the military point of view it was desirable.
This policy was the policy of the opposition as well as of the Liberal party. From the opposition we first heard it argued that Canada should in some way assist the empire, from the resolution passed unan-j imously in this House last year it is evident that the intention was to establish a Canadian navy. It is well for the opposition that this is their policy, for 15 or 20 years from now, when these gentlemen will be entrusted for a time with administration of the affairs of Canada, this policy will have been initiated and developed by this government and yet these gentlemen, having supported that policy in the first place, will be able to carry it out without-prejudice, justly, and in the interests of Canada and to the credit -of their party.
I view this policy from two standpoints, from an imperial standpoint and a Canadian standpoint. It must be a good policy from the imperial point of view because it has the support of all parties in Great Britain. There are grave practical difficulties in the way of giving Dreadnoughts. For instance, we are told to-day that Britain experiences great difficulty in manning the ships she is building, that there is a shortage of experienced A.B.'s. Therefore if we should accept the policy of the opposition, the policy -of money -contribution, and should send that money to England, could she to-day build and man those Dreadnoughts? I rather think not. We know that the British shipyards are now working overtime and no matter how many ships you might order or contribute to the main battle fleet -of Great Britain, they would be of little assistance to the imperial navy if they could not be properly manned. Therefore the manning question itself is of great importance in considering this matter. Each Dreadnought takes from 800 to 1,000 men, who are taken in as youths and trained up. In that way the British seamen have become the most proficient in the world to-day.
Again, the British navy must be at all times strong enough to seek out the enemy in his own harbours or waters and crush him by sheer weight and strength. To do that it is well that the main battle fleet should he as strong as possible, and that is a problem that has never - been solved by the British admiralty. In other words, the main battle fleet has always been short of cruisers that would guard the trade, routes. The immense strain, the financial burden of keeping up the main battle fleet, and the demands of the moment has always caused the fleet to be short of cruisers or river craft to protect the trade routes and 156i
commerce of Great Britain. Therefore by the establishment of a Canadian navy, the interests of Canadians in time of war in place of being protected by ships from the British navy, we will in time have ships to protect our own trade routes and our commerce in our own waters without in the least weakening the main battle fleet of Great Britain. From the Canadian point of view the mere giving of a sum of money, $20,000,000 or $25,000,000 and that borrowed money, would not be relieving the Canadian people of their responsibility to the empire. Would it not be the vain-glorious, the easy, the selfish way of doing our part as Canadians towards the defence of the British empire? Would it not be only a temporary gift, the gift of a Dreadnought, no matter what it cost, because the life of a Dreadnought is only a certain number of years, 12 or 15, and then the Canadian part of the British navy would -disappear. What is to be done then? As far as I have followed, no member of the opposition has answered the question of the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. M. Lake). How many Dreadnoughts are you going to give, how often are you going to give them? On the other hand, will any man argue that the giving of two Dreadnoughts, if we are going to take part in the building up and strengthening of the British navy, is all that we should do? I say no. Then, let us give something as soon as we have built it, as we must pay for it, something which we will control, which will become stronger year by year, and will increase in cost year by year, at the same time becoming of greater importance to the British empire.
I say that the policy of the government in building a Canadian fleet is the one that I believe will be most acceptable to the Canadian people, and to the British people, and in the years to come will certainly be more acceptable than- the policy of simply giving one or two Dreadnoughts. As time goes on, as our commerce increases as it will increase, hundreds of fold in the next score or two of years we would be taxing the British navy for its protection, adding to the burdens of the British taxpayer, and doing nothing to protect ourselves. As the country grows and cities of wealth and importance spring up along our coasts, it will be a greater burden to the British people than it is now to protect us, if war takes place either between England and Germany or England and any alliance Germany may form with any other power. Therefore we will have our navy, a Canadian navy on the ground to protect our own coasts, our own commerce, because it is bound to increase, and whether the navy is built now or later, the Canadian people would in time be compelled, as I believe they are now compelled, to do something in that direction. We know what can be done by one

ship. For instance, in the war between the north and the south the ' Alabama ' destroyed untold millions of commerce. The same thing might happen to Canadian commerce, and no doubt would be attempted in the effort to starve out the British people in the British Isles. In that case who would suffer? The Canadian people generally, the farmers of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the farmers of eastern Canada. Wheat would be seized, and destroyed, beef, butter, cheese, eggs, hogs, the products of east and west alike, would meet the same fate, so it becomes the duty of all of us to defend our own commerce in our own waters, and England in time of war would have enough to do without convoying Canadian ships. Therefore I say as every man says, although we differ as to the means, that Canadians must do their part-so long as Canada is under the British flag, and I hope it will always be under the British flag, Canadians must do their part, and must do it manfully. That I believe is a patriotic, a sentimental, and at the same time a sensible view of this question.
Any contribution in money is so much money sent_ out of the country that will be expended in England employing labour there. If the money is expended here on a Canadian navy it will mean that in a short time we will be employing ship-wrights, joiners, fitters, platers, plumbers, boiler makers, electrical workers, and other mechanics, and in that way tend to the prosperity of the Canadian people. It will mean the building of docks, and the maintenance of shipbuilding yards. It will mean that the men who build our ships will be Canadians. If the Canadian people are contributing to the British navy, let us be represented by Canadian flesh and blood, and not by money contributions towards our own defence. It means that in time we shall build our own guns and projectiles. This will not be in the beginning -nobody expects that it will. This is a great undertaking, and a national question. It is bound to enlarge, and, as time goes on, the Canadian people expect that this parliament will decide upon a policy that will mean that ultimately Canadians shall build, equip and man the Canadian navy. This will give opportunity to Canadian brains and muscle. It will bring into use our own coal, our own steel, the minerals and metals with which we have been so bountifully supplied, and in that way it will develop the resources of our own country, and tend to the prosperitv of our own people. Let me give briefly seven reasons why this policy of the government should be supported:
1. Because the imperial aumorities approve it, and they are the best judges,
2. Because for imperial reasons the pro-Mr. MOLLOY.
tection of trade routes is the most difficult part of the British navy's work, and it can better be done by home squadrons in home waters.
3. Because as Canadians we should be proud to bear our own bumens and not pay others to bear them.
4. Because though we may never seek war ourselves we incur dangers all the while we are under the flag, and we want to prepare to defend the flag.
5. Because it is true that much of the money spent on warlike equipment is wasted in times of peace, but if we have to spend this money we might as well be utilizing Canadian resources, and building up Canadian industries with it.
6. Because in this work of protecting our own commerce and our own coasts we need only the light, small and speedy craft which are known as third-class cruisers and river craft, and we can in a short time put ourselves in a position both to build these and train our own men to man them.
7. Because we Britishers beyond the seas should feel ashamed to think that the Britishers at home have to worry about the protection of our thousands of miles of coast line when we can do it ourselves.
I cannot speak of this matter from first knowledge. But I believe that, in spite of the expressions of the more fanatical party organs, no man doubts the loyalty of the Prime Minister or of any member of his government, no man doubts the loyalty of any man on this side, no man doubts the loyalty of any hon. member on that side of this House. Future generations will say that the men of our day and time builded wisely and well when thev decided upon this policy, a policy which I believe will be of great benefit to Great Britain and a policy worthy of Canada.
Now, I desire to say a few words with regard to certain remarks made by the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) when speaking on this question. As usual, he was unkind and ungenerous. He tried to lead the country and hon. members of this House to understand that every man on this side had to do simply what he was told-in other words, that he was a slave. Mr. Speaker, I would have the hon. member understand this, that there flows in my veins the blood of the Irish Canadian, and I will not submit to the 'composing room,' the thumb-screw or the rack. The hon. member should let charity begin at home. When this question was before the Canadian people, as it has been since last March, it happened that the hon. member was in Winnipeg, where was moulded the policy which I believe hon. gentlemen opposite have accepted, because it is one and the same. There was held what might be called a political powwow. The hon. member (Mr. Foster) was

to be the chief speaker. Did he utter one word in defence or advocacy of ihe policy v'hich he himself advocated on the floor of this House last March? Not one word did he say, though everybody expected it from him. Why did he not speak in the way expected? As we understand the situation, those of us living in Manitoba, explain it in this way: The premier of Manitoba and the gentleman who is now acting premier of that province, saw fit to tell the hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) that, in the city of Winnipeg at least, no matter what his leader might say and no matter what he himself might say in other parts of the country, they would not submit to his putting forth the policy accepted by this House a year ago this month. Instead of the 'composing room,' instead of the thumb-screw and the rack, it seems to me the hon. gentleman was introduced to the garrotte, and that he got the Spanish twist, so that he dared not say a word because these men were in absolute control. They believed and he believed, and I believe, that they were strong_ enough and powerful enough to make him accept, so far as they were concerned at least, the policy that they had promulgated, and that their' organ, the Winnipeg 'Telegram,' has advocated since its introduction a year ago.
I should be remiss, as representing the greatest number of French electors in any constituency west of the great lakes if I did not say a word with regard to the remarks of the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards). I would have that hon. gentleman understand that, from what i have seen and what I know, the French Canadians do not have to go to him or his seed, breed or generation, for lessons in loyalty. The French Canadians are a loyal people. It is but a short time ago, in the province of Manitoba, when the Tory party was catering to the French electorate in that country, that orator after orator-they had some then and they have some yet-declared that we should, not forget that, in the war of 1812, four hundred French Canadians saved to the British empire this Canada, the brightest jewel in the British Crown. So, I resent the remarks of the hon. member for Frontenac, and I was pleased to hear the hon. member for Ste. ..Anne (Mr. Doherty) practically repudiate everything he said. If the hon. member (Mr. Edwards) thinks, or any other gentleman thinks, such remarks as he made are in the interests of the Canadian people, they are welcome to their opinion so far as I am concerned. The French Canadians are loyal; they are loyal to their families, they are loyal to their country, they are loyal to their church, they are loyal to the sovereign and they are loyal to their God; they are a brave, proud and brilliant people, and do not need to make apologies to anybody or to any section of the country.

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