February 1, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)


Paul-Émile Lamarche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAMARCHE (Translation):

member for Saint Antoine inquires whether Le Devoir has paid any dividends? I may say that the paper was not founded as. a dividend producer but solely with the object of diffusing light among the people and defending certain principles.
We next -come, Mr. Speaker, to the period of agitation against the Naval Bill. Messrs. Monk and Bourassa stood together on the -same platform in defence of a common cause. It was customary at those popular meetings to take a standing vote on certain resolutions known as " resolutions of St. Eustache " 'because they were adopted for the first time ' at St. Eustache, in the county , of Two Mountains. I shall now read the text of those resolutions:-
The Naval Bill condemned, Canadian autonomy, the true Imperial unity; resolutions adopted at St. Eustache on the 17th July, 1910.
As citizens of Canada, loyal subjects of His Majesty King George V, we stand ready to defend with our blood our country and the rights of the British Crown in Canada in the same manner as our forefathers have done in 1776, against the English subjects of His Majesty, in 1812, -against the -armies of the American.Republic, and as we have done in 1886 against our own fellow countrymen who had revolted.
But, believing in the greatness and efficacy of the principles of decentralization and autonomy solemnly proclaimed and recognized for over half -a century by -the authorities of Great Britain and Canada, we are opposed to any

change of policy which would draw us into distant wars, foreign to Canada, so long at least -as the autonomous colonies of the Empire have no share with the Motherland and on equal terms in the sovereign power, which controls the Imperial army and fleet, treaties of peace, and alliances, foreign relations, the Government of India and of the British possessions.
We sincerely believe that the policy of concentration and so-called Imperial unity of which the Naval Act is a first milestone, will be productive within the Empire itself of misunderstandings, rivalries, and conflicts, that will endanger the peace and union of the many dominions, nations and races who are proud to-day of their allegiance to the British Crown.
Canada has never been for Great Britain the cause of any conflict and we believe that a policy of peace, aiming at the moral and material development of the country, is what is needed for Canada, to ensure its growth and cohesion, and, as a consequence, to enhance the glory and promote the safety of the Empire.
As free citizens of a democracy, we claim the right to express openly our opinion on this question as on all matters affecting the future and the interests of Canada, We recognize the right of the majority of the Canadian people to give a new bearing to our relations to the other parts of the Empire, provided it is with a full knowledge of the case.
But we protest against any attempt to prevent the Canadian people or any of its component groups from freely and openly discussing this serious problem.
We repudiate the statements made at Toronto last December by Mr. Alexandre Tas-chereau, Provincial Minister of Public Works, who falsely represented that the population of Quebec is willing to -accept blindly any policy for the naval defence of the Empire and we censure those members of the Provincial Government and Legislature who by their vote on the 2nd of June last have endorsed those statements.
We censure the Dominion Cabinet and the parliamentary majority who have forced upon Canada this new Naval Act, cast the country ' into the vortex of militarism, only lately denounced so vigourously by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, imperilled the peace we enjoy and diverted to the manufacture - 'f deadly weapons and to the preparation of bloody wars millions of dollars which were intended for the development of the country's agriculture and transportation facilities.
We likewise censure the position taken by Mr. Borden and those members of the Opposition, "who, with him, have clamoured for the adoption of. a policy no less subversive.
We claim that Parliament had no right thus to encumber Canada's future with a policy which was never submitted to the people whose part it will be to pay the blood tax and hear the burden of military expenditure.
We approve entirely the courageous and loyal stand of Mr. Monk and of those few members who, true to their mandate, have shown the dangers of such a policy and claimed for the Canadian people the right to speak its will before its representatives saddle it with such a heavy burden.
Those resolutions, Mr. Speaker, were carried at, to say the least, 25 public meetings in different parishes of the province of Quebec.

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