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


Hugh Guthrie



Not in Great Britain- we have never had the benefit of a tariff there, and yet we compete in that market, and compete successfully. And, if we can compete in the market of Great Britain, three or four thousand miles away from Canada, surely we can compete right here at home where we save that long haul. I have more faith in the Canadian farmer, and the Canadian stockmen than to be afraid of the competition with which my hon. friend from East Hastings threatens us from the Argentine Republic. Now, to come back to the question immediately before the committee, and avoid discussion on the general issue, what is the dignified course for Canada at the present moment?-to cry ' Halt! * or to go ahead? We have launched on the consideration of this question, and not any action of the United States short of refusal should terminate these proceedings in this House. To take the other view, it seems to me, might be called accepting the dictation of the United States. I think our proper course is to go ahead-either to enact the arrangement or to refuse the arrangement; at all events, do not let our action be dominated to the extent suggested by possible action of the United States. If they give us what we think they will give us on this arrangement, well and good; if they do not, as I understand it, the arrangement falls to the ground. There need be no unsettling of trade, no uncertainty about the matter. If it should be that we approve this arrangement before Congress approves it, as my hon. friend from East Hastings well knows, it will not come into force until this government is assured that it has received the sanction of Congress. So, there need not be any uncertainty or any unsettling of trade about the matter. Why should we hesitate? It is possible, if not probable, judging by some statements we have seen in the newspapers, and even statements made in this House, that this discussion will be a long one. It may be that Congress will decide this matter on their side before the House decides it on this side. If I am to take serious meaning from the statements of the hon. member for East Hastings, we are almost face to face, in this country, with something like

rebellion. I do not like the idea of rebellion against the anthority of the Crown coming from any member of this parliament of the standing of the hon. member for East Hastings. My solution of the matter would be a simple one. I think we should proceed. I have not the power my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) has in regard to those members on the other side of the House. I cannot turn around on this side and declare that every man will stand up and support this agreement as he announced that hon. gentlemen on that side would vote against it. I have no doubt that the real idea of the hon. member for North Toronto and of his leader (Mr. Borden, Halifax) is to obtain what might be called a snap verdict in this matter without experience or full consideration; and what they most fear is that there will be a ratification of this arrangement between Canada and the United States, and that the arrangement may have one or two years to operate and bear fruit before there is a general election. And,' while predictions do not count for much, I can at least give my prediction that, if an election comes on only after this agreement has been ratified, and has had a fair opportunity of working out as between these two countries, there will come back to this parliament after the next general election only the wreck of the Conservative party.
Mr. FOSTER, I wish to correct my hon. friend (Mr. Guthrie) on a point of fact. If he-questions-it,-J -suppose- we shall have-4o-leave it to ' Hansard ' to-morrow. I did not undertake, in my own right, to say how hon. gentlemen on this side would vote. What I did say is that every member on this side of the House would be ready to cast his. vote

Subtopic:   P. C. KNOX,
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