Mr. F. B. CARVELL (Carleton, N.B.).
Had I time before the hour of adjournment I should like to refer to the question of our trade relations with the United States and also to the question of the naval defence which are in my opinion the two most important references in the speech from the Throne. Time will not permit me to discuss our trade relations at any length, and I, therefore, shall devote myself principally to the naval question which seems to be the paramount purpose of this debate. Let me say, however, that I have not yet understood that it is the policy of the present government to conclude what may be called a reciprocity treaty with the United States; I do not understand that there has been any proposition made by the government of the United States or the government of Canada with the object of securing what might be called a reciprocity treaty; at least in the sense of the reciprocity treaty which we had from 1854 to 1866. The speech from the Throne does not say so, but simply says that there has been a demand for more
improved trade relations. Well, I may have an opportunity to discuss this question later on, but I want to ask this House now if it would not be to the benefit of every producer in the Dominion to-day to sell his products at better prices than he now gets. That is all we want. I must confess that in the past the attitude of the government of the United States was not very friendly; and so far as I am concerned, I would not be willing to consent to any negotiations which would jeopardize in the slightest degree the interests of the Canadian people. But if our farmers can obtain freer access to a market in which they can sell their produce to better advantage, if our fishermen can be given the opportunity of selling the results of their toil at more profitable rates, if our lumbermen can be enabled to dispose of their lumber at better rates-if all those in this country who have anything to sell can do so more profitably, without giving away any of the rights we now enjoy, by some mutual arrangement between the two countries, I think it is the duty of the government to conclude an agreement of that kind. And should they fail to bring about any agreement, no harm will be done.
We have had two weeks' discussion over a proposal of the government, enacted into law last year, to make the commencement of a Canadian navy. All sorts of arguments have been advanced by our hon. friends opposite; but there is one thing in this debate which stands out prominently above all others, and that is that our friends opposite are a little ashamed of the position into which they have been driven by the arguments put forward in this matter, and rather ashamed of the position into which they have been driven by a repetition and rehear-*sal of the facts and occurrences during the last two or three years. My hon. friend from West Elgin (Mr. Crothers)-who, I regret to see, has left the Chamber-was evidently put up for a purpose, and that purpose was to draw a herring across the track, and endeavour to escape from the attacks made throughout the country on the party opposite because of-I will not say their alliance since my hon. friend the leader of the opposition says there is none- but on account of the arrangement evidently made between the Conservative party and the Nationalist party in the province of Quebec. The hon. gentleman spent one solid hour this afternoon in trying to show that some members of the Liberal party have in their minds the possibility of an independent Canada in some distant future. In that connection he referred to my hon. friend from Nicolet (Mr. Turcotte), and I am convinced that every one who heard him must have concluded that his intention was to charge that hon. gentleman with having gone into the counties of Drummond 17
and Arthabaska and preached there Canadian independence. It was only when brought to book by my hon. friend himself (Mr. Turcotte) that he was compelled to drop the charge. He also tried to make this House believe that the hon. member for St. James division (Mr. Gervais) had gone into Drummond and Arthabaska and preached there the same doctrine. He likewise charged my hon. friend from Beauce (Mr. Beland) with having made certain statements at Victoriaville. That charge my hon. friend positively denied and the hon. gentleman had not the fairness to accept that denial, but tried to escape responsibility by saying that he had been quoting only from a newspaper. Then he went on to make a charge still more reprehensible. He said that the Liberal candidate in that county had declared that the object in establishing this navy was to bring about the independence of Canada. In that connection he quoted the Montreal ' Witness,' but he must also be a reader of the Toronto ' Mail and Empire,' for no man who can preach as much lip loyalty as my hon. friend did this afternoon could live in Ontario without being a constant reader of that paper. He must have known, therefore, that the defeated candidate, Mr. Perrault, wrote to the ' Mail and Empire ' on the 9th of November, three or four days after the election, a letter in which he positively denied having ever made any such statement. I do not think I am making an unfair statement when I say that my hon. friend did not do himself justice as a gentleman when he neglected to read that letter which was published in the ' Mail and Empire.' That letter is as follows:
Sir',-In your issue of Saturday, the 5th inst., the following appears in your editorial column: ' Mr. Perrault, the defeated government candidate in Drummond and Arthabaska, appealed to the electors on the separation platform. He said in one of his speeches: " Our fleet is not, and never will be, imperialistic ; it is a step towards the independence of Canada." '
I wish to give to that statement an unqualified and emphatic denial. I never gave expression to any such opinion or sentiment, and no words of mine ever could, even with the wildest stretch of imagination, be construed as conveying that meaning. On the contrary, at every meeting which I addressed I dwelt on Canada's duty to assume the naval defence of her shores and commerce, and I declared that she would come to the rescue of the mother land should the supremacy of Britain on the seas be ever threatened. I endorsed unequivocally the policy and statements of Sir Wilfrid Laurder on the navy question. I missed no opportunity of asserting that the British flag protects our civil and religious liberties, and that we are proud to live under it. My position was interpreted so differently from that contained in your columns that I was violently assailed for being too ardent an imperialist. My opponents insisted that Canada owed nothing to England,
and did their utmost to represent the government as being sold body and soul to Great Britain. These unpatriotic appeals did me sufficient injury without my being saddled with opinions which I never professed and which I repudiate.
I rely on your sense of fair play to insert the present letter.
Believe me, dear Mr. Editor,