March 8, 1911 (11th Parliament, 3rd Session)


William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)


If I were able to vote for such a measure as this, I would not think it necessary to call attention to myself in public. I would retire to the remotest privacy, and would hope that I would not be discovered. I was appealing to those who have to accept this measure as a whole or oppose it as a whole. Surely hon. gentlemen opposite can see if they lay aside party feelings and apply their common sense to the question, that it is a monstrous thing to be placed in this position, when deliberating in the interests of the country, for each man here, though elected by a single constituency, represents the whole electorate of Canada. Therefore it seems extraordinary that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, who represent British Columbia, are obliged to vote to kill one of the greatest industries of that province, or else refuse to accept the bargain as a whole. If this House undertakes to amend a single clause in the agreement, the whole thing has to go back to the United States again for their ratification. The right hon. the Prime Minister represents the fruit growers of British Columbia as much as the hon. member for Yale-Cariboo, and the Minister of Finance represents the milling interest just as much as any man from Manitoba; and they must either vote to kill the industry which is interested, or to take back this agreement as a whole. I, therefore, hope that the government will see that there are advantages, Mr. NORTHRUP.
and very great advantages, in withdrawing, the measure for a time, as it is quite possible that the American Congress may not agree to it all. If this House should pass this measure, in the opinion of many of the best financiers in this country-and surely they are more competent to judge of a question of finance than even the toiling masses whom the minister so much respects -the very passing of it by this House would have an injurious effect on the country. This measure affects the banks, the transportation companies, the investment of capital from the mother land and even capital from the United States, which has been coming here so rapidly of late; and if it is true that the mere passing of the measure by this House, irrespective of carrying it out, is liable to cause tremendous injury to Canada, why not let it stand until we see whether the American Congress will pass it? ' If they fail to pass it, we shall have done no harm; and if they pass it, the right hon. the Prime Minister will still have an opportunity to have it dealt with by this House. It must be borne in mind that the Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, and that while the Republicans have a majority in the Senate, it is a very uncertain one, being only eight or nine, including the insurgents; so that it is by no means certain that this measure will pass the Congress of the United States. It cannot be too well remembered also that their system of government is very different from ours. If the right hon. gentleman insists, this Bill must sooner or later pass this House, but it is not so in the United States. The President might use every means in his power to secure the passage of the Bill, and yet it is not certain that it will pass. For these reasons I appeal to the right hon. gentleman to let the measure stand at all events until the American Congress decides what it will do. If it should pass that body, I can quite understand that the right hon. gentleman might feel bound to endeavour to have it passed by this parliament. But in the meantime the country will have an opportunity to consider it; and if the measure is, as he seems to think, so transparently in the interest of this country, and the people express their approval of it, he will then be able to have it passed by parliament, supported by a majority of the people of this country, and all criticism from this side of the House will of necessity be closed.

Subtopic:   P. C. KNOX,
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