Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
tive party of the province of Quebec, refuses to send to the British parliament a humble prayer in favour of the poor victims of this imprudent war in South Africa, asking for mercy in their favour, when this very prayer was called for by an English-speaking member, the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton). I do not believe that this attitude of the lieutenant-leader of the Conservative party will ever be highly appreciated by the Conservative party in that province.
Then the hon. member for Jacques Cartier, while not explicitly finding fault with the hon. member for Labelle for joining hands with the hon. member for North Norfolk, referred to the fact with a certain ironical smile covering his lips ; and it was very easy to see that he was amused at such a spectacle being given in this House. But if the hon. member for North Norfolk has been converted to the ideas that have been expressed by the hon. member for Labelle on the question of the South African war, he is'not the only member of tnis House who has been.
The hon. member for Jacques Cartier himself, in his capacity of lieutenant-leader of the Conservative party, is a convert to the views of the hon. member for Labelle. In the by-election that took place since the last session of this parliament in the county of Laval-and I see the hon. member for Laval (Mr. Leonard) sitting close to the hon. member for Jacques Cartier, and I challenge him to deny the assertion I am going to make- is it not a fact that the hon. member for Jacques Cartier in his capacity of leader of the Conservative party in the province of Quebec, said that he blamed this government for allowing England to recruit soldiers in this country to go to the front in South Africa ? This is the very attitude that was taken by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier in the by-election in Laval, and I ask him and I ask the hon. member for Laval to tell me if the hon. member for Labelle has ever gone further in that direction ? The hon. member for Jacques Cartier took the very same attitude in the byelection that took place in St. James Division. Montreal, where Mr. Bergeron, an exleader of the Conservative party, was candidate. He said there that he would have supported the motion brought before this House by the hon. member for Labelle if that motion had not been an academic motion, because, so far as the ideas were concerned, he sympathized entirely with the views expressed by the hon. member for Labelle. So, if the hon. member for Jacques Cartier saw fit to sneer a little about the hon. member for Labelle joining hands with the hon. member for North Norfolk, I think every member of this House can accord the same sneering to himself, because he has done the same thing as the hon. member for North Norfolk ; and why did he do so ? I am very far from blaming the hon. mem-
ber for Jacques Cartier for having done what he has done. I believe he has done so knowing that he voiced the feeling of the province of Quebec when he turned in the opposite direction from that which he had always followed on the South African question since he first occupied a seat in this House. Now, it is true that the hon. member for North Norfolk has changed a little his opinions about the South African war. or rather about the quality of the Boers peopling the Transvaal and the Orange Republic. I remember very well, when this question of the South African war was first brought up before the House, the hon. member for North Norfolk gave us one of the best reasons that could be adduced in favour of England waging that war, that England had the undoubted right to force British Institutions on these very same ignorant and half-barbarian people of the Transvaal. To-day I am glad to see that the hon. member for North Norfolk-and I congratulate him on the fact-considers that this ''brave race of the Transvaal deserves better treatment than he himself formerly thought should be accorded to them.
The hon. member for Jacques Cartier, in discussing the resolution which we are now debating, admitted that this parliament had the right to express its opinion on the question at issue ; but he said that the resolution was extremely untimely. Mr. Speaker, did the hon. member for Jacques Cartier, or did even the hon. leader of the government, give a single reason why this resolution is untimely ? It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that this resolution is very timely. In what circumstances is it brought before this House ? We know perfectly well that just now the question in England is, what treatment are we going to give to the Boers ? We know perfectly well that the decision is not arrived at yet. We do not know very well on what basis the peace will be made. Then, I say, if this parliament has a right ever to give its opinion on the terms of the peace which is going to be made, now is the time for giving that opinion. Those who claim that this resolution is untimely would do well to state when it will be timely for us to offer it. When will it be timely for us to ask the British parliament to give such treatment to the Boers of the Transvaal and the Republic of Orange ?