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


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (South York):

Mr. Speaker, I should not want a better setting for the few remarks I* have to address to the House to-day than the incidents that have taken place. We have heard in the opening proceedings here to-day the announcement of the Prime Minister of Canada (Sir Robert Borden) to the House and country that he is prepared to accept the offer of the right hon. the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) for joint action for regulation of the conduct and business of this House. When he said that, I think he went a long way to prove what I intend to argue here to-day, that if it is good for both parties in this House to join together for the conduct of the business of the House, then the time has come for both parties and all parties and all citizens of this country to join hand to hand for the successful accomplishment of this war. Then if I wanted another setting for what I have to say to-day, would it not be found in the speech of the hon. member for Bona-fMr. March.]
venture (Mr. Marcil) just delivered to the House? I do not agree with all he says. I regret much of what he has said here to-day, because it went to show that there was a most regrettable divergence of opinion between the two great provinces of Ontario and Quebec in regard to the conduct of the war, and also to show that in connection with the election now under way in the county of Dorchester there is a great divergence of feeling, that there is almost, I shall not say hostility of race, but a strong feeling based more ^ or less on race in connection with this war ; and that should not be. Something ought to be done to bring about absolute unity in this country for the winning of this war. The little that I have to say will be in this direction. I am not going to appeal to provincial views or to race views; or to dwell on divisions that may exist between our people; but I am trying to find out if there is' not at this stage of the war-and now it is more serious than ever-an opportunity of in some way uniting the country and doing away with all this discussion about differences between provinces and between races. Why should we not unite as they have united in every other country in the world for the successful accomplishment of the war? They have absolute unity to-day in France for the conduct of the war. There is no party . spirit there. They have got together in England. They have got together in Russia. They have got together in the other countries, and they are all united for the war. Yet here we have to-day in Canada to listen to the speech-and I am not condemning the speech, bear in mind-made by the hon. member for Bonaventure. We have listened to this discussion to-day and have read of the other discussion that is going on in the county of Dorchester, and, in view of these discussions and of utterances of the press of the country to-day, I cannot see how we can have a successful participation by Canada in this war while these dissensions, or what appear to be dissensions, exist.

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