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


Paul-Émile Lamarche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAMARCHE (Translation):

If my
hon. friend will only read to-morrow's Hansard, he will find that I did not state 25 counties, but 25 different parishes, and I believe that estimate is very conservative.
At any rate, if the question is of any interest to the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Lavallee), I may say that I am not in a position to state that those resolutions were adopted in his county, but what I do know is that had it not been for the Nationalist propaganda, Le Devoir and Messrs. Bourassa and Lavergne, the charming features of the member for Bellechasse would never have graced these precincts.
At 'that date, Mtr. Monk was held in disfavour by many of the big wigs of the Conservative party, particularly by representatives of certain English-speaking constituencies, who requested that he be read out of the party. The annoyance even impaired Mr. Monk's strength and he had to seek in a milder climate a new lease of health. On his return, the Conservatives of the province of Quebec prepared in his honour a demonstration which took place at the Monument National; I had the honour of presiding over the meeting. Again Mr. Monk in a great speech emphasized his stand in relation to his party on the question of Canada's contribution to the Imperial armaments.
Shortly thereafter, an event occurred in our province which resulted in placing back into favour those who only yesterday had been ostracized; that was the victory at the by election of Drummond-Artha-baska. I shall not stop to narrate the events of that electoral campaign, Hansard of that year gives all the details. But I assert *without any hesitation that it spe'lls the victory of the principles of Nationalism over the Naval Act of Sir Wilfred Laurier and over the equally "subversive" policy of Mr. Borden. It' was a struggle not soon to be forgotten and for my part still unforgotten.
A few days after that memorable victory, a large meeting was held at Montreal, at the Ontario skating rink. The attendance is estimated to have been over fifteen thousand. I see in this House men who were present. A standing vote was called on the following resolution:-
This meeting acclaims the result of the election in Drummond-Arthabaska as the triumph of the principle of Canadian autonomy. This victory is a manifest endprsation of the position taken by Mr. Monk, the member for. Jacques-Cartier, on the Naval Bill and that of those metnbers who have supported him.
It is an indication that the people wish to be consulted before being launched into a new policy of Imperial militarism. This meeting approves and endorses the verdict rendered by the electors of Drummond-Arthabaska, emphasizes the determination of the Canadian people to defend the rights of the British Crown in Canada, asserts its readiness to support all measures that may be found necessary and efficacious for . the defence of Canadian territory, but holds as subversive of the principle of Canadian autonomy and of true Imperial unity, any policy which aims at forcing upon the nation, which has no voice in the councils of the Empire, any portion of its foreign burdens and of its military defence outside of Canada-the only part of the Empire upon which the Canadian people can exercise a political and constitutional action. (Prolonged cheers.)
The resolution was adopted almost unanimously, there being only four dissentient voices. Very important addresses were delivered by Mr. Monk and his friends. The meeting was presided over with great skill by Mr. L. E. Patenaude, the organizer of the election, and to-day the Minister of Inland Revenue, in the Cabinet.
Subsequent to this victory of Nationalism, the elections of 1911 came about. If it is meet, Mr. Speaker, that two of my compatriots should step to the wall to be shot for high treason, I ask equal justice for all, and if they be guilty, it is only fair that their accomplices be visited with a like punishment.
I maintain, Mr. Speaker, before this House, that about twenty members from the province of Quebec, those who make up the majority which keeps the Government in power, were elected in 1911, not only on their proclaiming, with Messrs. Bourassa and Lavergne, the principles of Nationalism but after having pledged themselves solemnly to uphold those same principles on the floor of the House of Commons. I will go further, Mr. Speaker, and claim thats if Messrs. Bourassa and Lavergne be guilty of high treason, there are equally guilty those who, although not members of this House, have by word or act, endeavoured to spread and secure the triumph of those principles which are being denounced as wicked and disloyal. I would make no exception, not even in favour of men who, being unable, through insufficient knowledge of our language to speak publicly in favour of the Nationalist candidates, contributed generously out of their pux.se, because it is no secret that the lists of subscriptions to the

elector-all funds of the candidates I have alluded to, have been filled with the names of the most eminent among the leaders of the Conservative party.
The position taken by the representatives of the people in this House is none of my concern. By their electors will they be judged. I would however render a public homage to him, who, faithful to his convictions, preferred to resign his office of minister of the Crown: I allude to the late
lamented Hon. F. D. Monk, ex-Min-ister of Public Works.
Never did I receive greater pleasure from any statement in this House than I did when the Prime Minister (R. L. Borden) loyally declared that in resigning, the Hon. Mr. Monk was actuated by sentiments of high honour. My object in this is not to flatter the Prime Minister, but because I recognize in him, and gladly so, a man of loyalty, honesty and distinction.
The more readily do I call attention to those qualities of the hon. the Prime Minister, qualities that distinguish the true statesman, as I did not join the group who one day started a movement in Israel and who led by wise and prudent councillors, came to Moses and requested that he no longer be chief of the tribe, because he could not lead them soon -enough to the Promised Land, the land of power.
The hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) appealed the other evening to the Postmaster General and to the -Government to suppress 'Le Devoir.
The hon. member for Frontenac, has stated, if my memory serves me rightly, that Le Devoir gave expressions to pro-Ge.rman sentiments. I -do not know whether the- hon. member for Frontenac has Tea-d the articles of Le Devoir in the original or if his information is' gathered from worthless, unfair and incorrect translations circulated in certain parts of the country, but I am in a position to state that since ith-e birth of Le Devoir never was a line or -a word written in its -columns, which directly or indirectly could be interpreted by any intelligent and fair-minded reader as expressing any wish on the part of the paper or its editor other than the complete victory of the Allies over Germany. Whosoever states otherwise has been misinformed by malicious people or by persons whose knowledge of one of the two official languages of the country is defective.
For my hon. colleague's satisfaction, I hunted up precedents and found an analogous case. I will tell him how and why
over half a century ago, a French-Canadian paper was suppressed. It is to-day the same story. It happened about the year 1806, under Governor Craig. An English newspaper of Quebec, the Mercury, thought fit to persist in wanton attacks on the French-Canadian inhabitants. The following is a sample:-
This province is still too French for a British colony. Whether at peace or at war, it is necessary for us to put forth all possible efforts to put -a stop to the Increase, of the Frenchspeaking population and to their influence. It is but just that after a possession extending over lortjy-seven years, this province be a British province.
In order to meet the attacks of the Mercury, a newspaper edited in French was founded at, Quebec under the name of Le Ganadien. Its founder and editor wias Mr. Pierre Bedard, member of the Legislative Assembly and at that time the recognized political leader of French Canada. The Governor had taken upon himself to differ from the popular assembly, which desired to debar judges and public officials from sitting in Parliament. Because of its criticism of the Gov-emor'-s position, Le Oanadien was suppressed by the high official's order, and its editor Pierre Bedard was sent to jail along with Tasehereau and Blan-ehet, who were suspected of having something to do with the paper. Panet, Bedard and Tasehereau were deprived of their -military rank and expelled from the militia, just the same treatment as the hon. member for Frontenac would have Mr. Armand Lavergne submitted to. The dispute, however, was carried to London, and the Colonial Office sided with the assembly and censured the Governor. The Solicitor-General of the United Kingdom e-ven said that the suppression of a paper on similar grounds would not -have been tolerated in England. The prisoners were set at liberty and Bedard was later on appointed a judge of the Superior Court at Three Bivers in which office he -continued to -serve his country loyally.
Should perchance the hon. -member for Frontenac -succeed in having Le Devoir suppressed, i-t Sis very likely (that we should have to go back to England to be taught again the true meaning of free speech.
In reading over that article in "the Mercury, written over a century ago, one is struck with the analogy between the pretentions of certain bigoted groups of that period and the nightmares that constantly haunt the brain of my hon. friend the member for Frontenac and his undying

fear that a French-Canadian republic will one day flourish on the shores of the St. -Lawrence and the Ottawa.
My English-speaking fellow-countrymen, for whom I have much regard and esteem, will allow me to tell them that among my compatriots 'the idea is prevalent that not a majority, but a considerable number among themselves, desire ardently the complete stamping out of the French language in Canada. They are wrong, M-r. Speaker. Instead of seeing in the French language a menace to Canadian nationality, they should on the contrary look upon it as an element of strength. The expanse of our great country is sufficient to allow the descendants of ithe two great races, (French and English, to llive side by side, pursuing their respective ideals, exercising their respective genius, working toward the same goal which is the greatest good of the nation, in accordance with those principles of equity and justice bequeathed us by the Fathers of Confederation.
It must, of course, he acknowledged that we have outdistanced our fellow-countrymen of British origin in the natural growth of our population. This would indeed be an inopportune time to blame us for this fecundity, when in many countries, notably in the United States, race suicide is branded as a plague.
The dream was entertained in certain quarters that one day we 'ooiulld Ibe sruib-imenged under the waives of an tadisorilmimaite immigration. Experience shows that your national characteristics brought into close contact with this cosmopolitan element, hastily assimilated, have suffered thereby, while ours have remained absolutely unimpaired.
Can we, I repeat, he blamed for having stood these bard tests? Some amihnigst you had been led to . believe that a race can be pent up in a reserve as Indians, and that its rights and privileges disappear as soon as it transgresses its confines.
The French race in America is too deeply rooted in the very soil of the country to allow for a single moment of the thought that it -can be uprooted or its growth in the least (Stunted.
The task may be likened to an attempt to check the natural growth of a giant tree by the building of >a stone wall. You may perhaps encroach somewhat on its shade, but its roots will interwine underneath; you may lop off its branches and cut away its boughs, still they will grow, because the sap in its arteries flows from below abundant and full of life, and some day overcoming the obstacle its branches will shoot upwards interlocked in a victorious embrace.
Our English-speaking colleagues in the House of Commons, whom I hold in high esteem, are poorly acquainted, in my opinion, with the French population of Quebec and little understand its aspirations. They believe they can safely judge our people from the occasional politicians they meet, who for the most part, in their anxiety for poweT, are poor exponents of the true sentiments of the people. They believe they know us from reading with complacency in certain of our newspapers the flattery which is dosed out to them in proportion to the pittance allowed to that press by the Government. In those papers, more harmful than beneficial to their compatriots, the leading articles seem to have been written with a fork on an over-full bread-pan. Behind the noise of their loud but hollow patriotism, is generally esconeed the mean selfishness of their shareholders.
If you would know the French-Canadian, dig down into the deep layers of the population, come to him, llive his life. Some English-speaking members of this House, among others the hon. member for St. Antoine (Mr. Ames) have been in close touch with the French-Canadian and they bear witness to the fact that he is respectful of the rights of minorities and deals out equal justice to all.
Our ambition, Mr. Speaker, is not to grow beyond bounds nor take a dominant position in the country. We ratheT aspire to improve our position in our sphere, to develop according to our ideals and in harmony with our English-speaking fellow-citizens, provided we aTe allowed a living place under the sun. We wish above all to continue to deserve the praise, of which we are proud, that of all the Canadian provinces, the province of Quebec has best of all understood and lived up to the basic principles of Confederation. __
Now, Mr. Speaker, a further word, on an important statement contained in the speech of His Royal Highness. The Government purposes to apply to the Imperial Parliament for an amendment of the Canadian Constitution (allowing the House to sit beyond the legal term without an appeal to the electorate.
I, for one, am absolutely opposed to the suggestion. I can see no reason that justifies such a radical change in our Constitution. The reason is put forward that a general election in Canada would imply

certain hardships for the Empire. Since the war, Cape Colony and Australia have held their general elections. The Empire is none thet worse for it and has made no complaint.
Only a few months ago, the hon. the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers) thought it in the country's interest to have polling booths in the trenches in Flanders. To-day, for motives of his own, elections are no longer desirable. As for me, it is my opinion that the proposed amendment is a mere expedient and that the true motive for the Government not wishing to account to the people, must be found in the fear of the coming day when, in the English-speaking provinces as well as in Quebec, there will stand revealed before the electors the political combination which has been in existence for the last five years, whereby representatives elected on platforms diametrically inconsistent have made an alliance in order to share the power and its spoils.
At any rate, Mr. Speaker, so far as I am concerned, above the Canadian Parliament, above even the Imperial Parliament, I recognize the sovereignty of the people. I have been elected by the people for five years, and whatever be the laws that may be passed, you shall, Mr. Speaker, at the expiration of those five years, receive my resignation as member for the county I have the honour to represent.
At six o'clock, the House took recess.
The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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