January 25, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Charles Marcil


Hon. CHARLES MARCIL (Bonaventure) (Resuming):

Mr. Speaker, when you left the Ghair at six o'clock last night I had attempted to answer what I considered to be a reflection, unintentional, perhaps, which had been made during the afternoon by the hon. member for South Simcoe (Mr. Boys) and the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) regarding the situation in the province of Quebec.
I am glad to congratulate the Prime Minister on the stand that he is now taking in announcing his acceptance of the proposal made by the right hon. leader of the Opposition. We are passing through difficult times, and there must be some give and take on both sides. The Liberal party gave
a splendid example of that principle at the very outbreak of hostilities- In the early days of August, 1914, when most of us were basking down on the seashore at the summer resorts, taking our usual holidays, we suddenly learned with dismay that war had broken out in Europe. We were summoned to an extraordinary -session. The Parliament o'f Canada was called upon to ratify the action which had been taken by the Prime Minister and his colleagues to throw Canada into a European war. The step was a most extraordinary one, having no precedent in our history. The Prime Minister declared in his speech that he had taken upon ihimself the responsibility of that action without having consulted his own colleagues, and we have it now that he did not consult the Liberal party or its leader. The representatives of the people came here in large numbers and in four or five days they passed all the necessary legislation, voted all the necessary money and gave Canada an example of union, harmony and concord which will stand to their credit in the annals of this Parliament. Since then we have tried to carry out that line of policy to- the best of our ability. How easy it would have been for the- distinguished leader of the Opposition to have merely laid down the constitutional rule that any important departure like this should first -be submitted to the referendum of the people; that th-eir consent should first be asked. But he overlooked that, and took the stand that ihe -had always taken in -his public life; that England's difficulty was Canada's difficulty, that England's case was our case. And we took it for granted that the people- of Canada would ratify our action- I am glad to say that the people whom I represent, a mingled community, not -all of the same origin or of the -same stock, -have all gladly ratified my action and by the-ir enlistments in the English and Scotch as well as- in the Acadian French settlements have made a record which will forever stand to their honour.
I know that the member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) is an imperialist, and I will not take very seriously a passing allusion he made in his speech, because towards the end of his address he apologized to some extent for what he had said. But he made a passing allusion, which, though not offensive, is not altogether to the credit of the Empire of which he is an apostle. The member for Brantford is an ardent imperialist, and in speaking of this war in which Canadians have taken part in such large numbers, he referred to the fact that

there were so many people in this country of British stock and so many others-fifty-seven other classes. He did not refer to any other particular class at great length, but he made particular allusion to the Brantford Indians. I think that the member for Brantford makes a very grievous mistake if he considers that the glory, the strength, the power, the very foundation of the British Empire, rests merely upon the subjects of the King who are of British stock. It is the pride of England, and it is the pride especially of the British Empire, that the greatness of the Empire is to be found in its 450,000,000 subjects, of whom . but
45,000,000 or less are of British stock, the remaining 400,000,000 being composed of all nationalities, of all creeds, of all languages. To say that in Canada a man must be of British stock to be a loyal supporter of the Government, to be a loyal supporter of the institutions of Canada, to he a loyal supporter of the Crown and of the flag, is to exhibit a most deplorable ignorance of our history. Canada would never have existed as it exists ito-day but for the subjects of the King who speak the French language. The hon. member for Brantford knows full well that when rebellion did break out on this continent it broke out among the English-speaking subjects of His Majesty the King. The temptation for the French subjects of His Majesty the King on the banks of the St. Lawrence to have followed the new star spangled banner was great; but it stands to-day to their credit that although the English-speaking subjects of the King, of British stock, rose in rebellion against Great Britain, it was his French subjects of the province of Quebec who in 1774 saved Canada to the British Crown. The hon. member made a reflection upon the people ,of Quebec which I am. quite sure he did not intend; and if he had intended it, I would refer him to our friend from Peterborough (Mr. Burnham), the most outspoken member on the Government side, the man who says what he thinks, who wired, the day after Courcelette, to the hon. member fpr Rouville, that London *was ringing with the praises of the French-Canadians. That testimonial, unsolicited, came frqm the hon. member for Peterborough, and it was quite true.
Leaving these things aside, I was dealing yesterday with the difficulties that we had to contend with in recruiting in Quebec, and endeavoured to show that there had been conditions in the province pf Quebec which made it difficult to secure recruits in as large numbers as we should have liked. And with your permission, without '
showing any ill-feeling, with all due respect to the feelings of everyone here, with all due admiration for the manhood of Ontario an the West and of the maritime provinces who have gone to the front, as well as for those of the province of Quebec who have enlisted, I think it is only fair, in justice to the province of Quebec and to its citizens, that the facts should be set before this country, that they should be embalmed in the records of Hansard, so that hereafter no unfair aspersions may he cast upon the province of Quebec on the score of recruiting. I hope to be able to prove this afternoon by acknowledged facts that the wrong crew were in charge of recruiting in the province of Quebec; that those who are now the ministers of the King from the province of Quebec do not possess the confidence pf the people of that province, and that they were either sincere in 1911 when they spoke-against Canadian participation in the wars of the Empire, or else they are sincere now, when they aTe speaking in favour of such participation. Were they sincere in 1911 when they were speaking against participation in all wars of the Empire, or are they sincere now? The people of the province of Quebec were put in that dilemma. But the responsibility, if it had rested there, would have been of secondary account; we of Quebec who are familiar with the facts would have passed lightly over this thing.
But there is another responsibility that has been assumed by one of the great political parties of this country; that responsibility has been assumed by the right hon. gentleman who is'now the King's chief adviser in this great Dominion, and in the interests of fair play and justice to the province, in the interests of that British justice to which we are always so proud to refer, I think the facts should be made known and should he stated, without any doubt whatever. Yesterday, in my address, I called your attention to the most extraordinary fact that the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Descarries)-and I regret that at the present moment there is not a single member from the province of Quebec on the Conservative side of this House and has not been for the last three or four days, the bulk of them being down in Dorchester leading a forlorn hope-the hon. member for Jacques Cartier, who seconded the motion now in your hands, was the gentleman who, in 1910, in the town of Lachine, presided over the birth, of the National party. I had known the hon. member for Jacques Cartier for many years prev-

ions to that. I had known him in the provincial life of Quebec; I had known him when he was an ultramontane supporter of the Mousseau Cabinet; I also knew him when he was a supporter of the Quebec Government in the days of the Riel troubles in the west. I knew him later on when he was a strong Conservative, when the Con-iservatives were again in power. I knew him as a Nationalist, and I know him today as a True Bleu, expressing from his place in this House astonishment at the fact that the electors of Dorchester do not allow Mr. Sevigny to be elected by acclamation, and hoping that this Slight insurrection, ms he calls it, will blow away. The hon. member for Jacques Cartier was the man who presided at the birth of the Nationalist party. The sponsors for that party were, among others, the present organizer of the Dorchester election, the hon. the Secretary of State (Mr. Patenaude), who first distinguished himself as organizer in the election in Drummond-Arthabaska, who repeated his work in the Chateauguay election and is now on trial in the Dorchester election. Along with these two sponsors was Mr. Cousineau, an unfortunate leader, who can say, as Francis the First said, all is lost save honour. Mr. Cousineau lost all he could lose in the province of Quebec. He was the leader of the Conservative party in that province in May last. He is the man who went forward with eighty-one candidates in the province of Quebec. Six of these were returned-no, five, because one was at the front and was allowed to be elected by acclamation in Westmounit. Five of has candidates out of eighty-one were elected. The present ministers of the Crown representing the province of Quebec have constituencies there. Part of the constituency represented by ithe Secretary of State (Mr. Patenaude) returned by acclamation, the Liberal organizer for the district of Montreal. The constituency of the present Post Master General (Mr. Blonddn) went back on him to the tune of sixteen hundred votes; and the county of Dorchester which Mr. Sdvigny carried by three hundred lin 1911 ias a Nationalist elected Mr. Cannon in the last local contest by over five hundred majority. Why did the province of Quebec turn so strongly to the support of the local Liberal Government? It wias because the local Government was a good Government to begin with, but above all because the immense majority of the people of Quebec were tired and sick of Tory rule at Ottawa and at Quebec. Mr. Cousineau was one of the sponsors at the birth
of the Nationalist party. This National party caone into existence at, Lachine; it took its first flight into history at 'St. Eustache, where the resolutions that I read yesterday were passed. Mr. Monk subrnit-ted these resolutions, but one paragraph was inserted' at the request of Mr. Bourassa, who refused to take the leadership of the new alliance unless it was stated that the Borden policy was condemned as well as that of the right honourable leader of the then Government (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), These people began to preach this gospel. What was that gospel? It was: that the policy of Sir Wilfrid Laurier was nefarious -that the policy of the Hon. Mr. Borden was equally nefarious. And what was meant by this wbrd nefarious. It meant going to the support of England when England was .at war; it meant that we should exercise our rights as free and loyal subjects of the King; it meant that Canada should not vote one dollar, or send one man to the defence of the Empire in any of its wars. That was the nefarious policy which Sir Wilfrid Laurier had preached in the province of Quebec, and which Henri Bourassa condemned, which the Conservatives of the province of Quebec condemned, and which every French-Conservative elected in the province of Quebec condemned. These gentlemen were elected upon this platform. But here I put a query. There are two facts in this case which have not yet been brought to light. The members of this House who knew the late Mr. Monk had for him nothing but respect. The honourable Mr. Monk was a man who gave a sincere proof of his convictions when he resigned his portfolio and practically retired from public life because he did not seek to impose a new naval policy upon Canada without consulting the people. The honourable Mr. Monk had given his promise to the electors of Jacques Cartier that he would not vote any money for the creation of a Canadian navy, that he would not vote for a contribution to the navy unless the people of Canada were consulted upon the subject. He moved such a motion in this House, and he declared so openly throughout the whole campaign. After the election, when, to the great surprise of the whole Dominion, and, I might even say, to the surprise of the whole English-speaking world, it was learned that Sir Wilfrid Laurier had been defeated by a combination of Nationalists and Conservatives, what happened? The present Prime Minister of Canada

handed over to Mr. Monk the choice of his colleagues for the province of Quebec. The first man who was called upon by Mr. Monk to enter the cabinet, was Mr. Armand Lavergne, the man who refused to answer the call of the late Minister of Militia to muster his regiment in the county of Mont-magny, and enlist for overseas duty. Our friends from Ontario escaped the fate of having Mr. Armand Lavergne as one of their leaders, as one of the members of this Cabinet. Mr. Armand Lavergne is just as good as the three gentlemen who are in the Cabinet now. They all preached the same policy. I think Armand Lavergne i3 better.

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