January 26, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


John Gillanders Turriff



What position did Mr. Bourassa take? This change occurred over -the resolution of 1909 and the Act of 1910,
and although various excuses have been made, no satisfactory reason founded upon sound public policy has ever been given for it. The actual cause for this change of heart is to be found in the close connection of Borden and Bourassa-
It would be indeed surprising were it not true, that, notwithstanding their professions of loyalty and devotion to the Mother Country, their professed willingness to sacrifice all for the flag, their 'burning zeal to consecrate themselves and everything else for the upbuilding and maintenance of the Empire, the hon. gentlemen who sit upon the Government side would seize the first opportunity to form an alliance with the very men whom now they pretend to repudiate and whose principles they now pretend to oppose in the most violent manner. W'h.at was it that caused this c-hange of heart on the part of the Premier and his followers? There can be but one * answer, namely, their alliance with Bourassa and the adoption- of his views.
What were, and, so far as we know, are Bourassa's views? The following articles were incorporated in the platform, of the Nationalist party, of which Mr. Henri Bourassa was the head and front, and were readopted at a meeting of the National League held at Eustache, Que., in July, 1910:
(a) No participation by Canada in Imperial wars outside her territory.
(b) To spurn any attempt at recruiting for British troops.
(c) To o-ppose the establishment in Canada of a naval school with the help and for the benefit of Imperial authorities.
(d) Control over our militia and military colleges in time of war as in time of peace and for the defence of our territory exclusively. Refusal to grant leave of absence to any militia officer in order that he may take part in any Imperial war.
Is this not strong and clear enough? Is there any doubt of the attitude of the Nationalist party? Can any one reading the articles of their Nationalist platform come to any other conclusion than that there was to be no mingling and no commingling with Great Britain in wars outside Canadian territory. Such then was the position of the Nationalists. What was and is the position of the party now in power? What does Mr. Bourassa say? Let me refer to his paper, Le Devoir, of May 29, 1913, in which issue Mr- Bourassa writes as follows:
During the session of 1910-1911 two leaders of the Conservative party requested that I meet them at the House of a mutual friend of ours. The envoys opened as follows:

The Nationalists say they are fighting, aa we do, the Liberal Government, but their stand upon reciprocity embarrasses us, the Conservative party, to a great extent. Were we (the Conservatives and Nationalists) to unite our efforts primarily against reciprocity, it is quite possible that an understanding satisfactory to both parties could be arrived at on the naval question since we are one on the point of popular consultation. If you press the naval question in Quebec it may provoke a display of loyalism in the extremist wing of our party. If reciprocity be but a subordinate issue with you, the difference between us might broaden still more, for the sole benefit of the common foe. At the time of a general election candidates will come forward who, while opposing the naval law will support reciprocity; yet others indifferent about reciprocity will come out against the naval policy of both parties.
This would be a puzzling situation for us. If we support the independent candidates, we shall be open to the charge of playing a game. On the other hand if we bring forward a third man-a straight Conservative-the Government candidate will get in between.
Mine was a decisive answer. Mr. Monk and his group have had support because of their pledge to oppose the naval policy of both parties until submitted for the peoples' verdict.
Since Drummond-Arthabaska, Mr. Borden has come nearer Mr. Monk. He has practically endorsed his plan of a plebiscite. This is the only ground upon which we can meet. Not being a party we will not bring forward any candidate, but we will heartily support any man whether Liberal or Conservative, pro-reciprocitist or anti-reciprocitist, provided he pledges himself to resist any plan of direct or indirect participation in Imperial wars outside of Canada, or at least oppose such measure until submitted for popular verdict by way of a plebiscite; the welfare of either party is for us of no moment. It is up to Mr. Borden and his lieutenants to decide whether to secure the seat for a ministerial (Liberal) candidate by entering a three-cornered field, or suffer the election of the candidate whom we shall support. ,
I have no doubt that the High Priest and Sanhedrin accepted the situation, since the fight was carried out according to our terms.
This is the story as told, so far, by Mr. Bourassa, and he is the one to know. He was the leader of the Nationalists, exercising great influence over certain of his fellow-citizens, recognized by the Conservative party as an important factor in a general election, and as one whose support was worth securing. We have had in this Parliamentary term many instances of peculiar deals-horse deals, boot deals, shell deals, etc., etc.-but while these are bad, while they cause us to wonder if this Government has lost all sense of rectitude in administration, is it not, after all, a more serious, a lamentable, state of affairs to see a gang of conspirators bartering away the principles of a party for the sake of power?
But Mr. Bourassa is not through yet. In his paper, Le Devoir, of May 30, 1913, he continues:-
As elections drew nearer we have ample proof that the Conservative leaders were quite satisfied with the situation which the Nationalist campaign had forced upon them. The Monk group came out as the "Autonomist" party with its complete organization, headquarters and oommittees distinct from the Conservative party proper.
The Tory General Committee allotted the Autonomist party most of the ridings in the province of Quebec, saving for themselves the English-speaking counties of the Eastern Townships, besides Pontiac, Argenteuil and three Montreal divisions, St. Antoine, St. Anne and St. Laurent. It was distinctly agreed that with these exceptions, Mr. Monk had exclusive charge of the whole province with the right to accept or refuse prospective candidates ; with the understanding that such candidates as were approved of must fight as best they could the Naval Law and the "No less nefarious policy" of Mr. Borden; that on reciprocity they could take whatever stand they chose, and that they should nevertheless receive from the Conservative party their wholehearted support. The Conservative party made use of its funds, and indirectly fostered the chances of such candidates as had declared themselves opposed to both policies.
On June 2, 1913, Mr. Bourassa, in his paper, stales:-
The most obvious proof that the Conservative party had surrendered to Nationalist sentiment was to be found in the Eastern Townships. Throughout that district, with the exception of Drummond-Arthabaska, no Nationalist or "Autonomist" candidates had been brought out. He took no part in the fight. Local committees and the electors generally took upon themselves to spread our principles. Such favour had Nationalism gained in public opinion, ;that (Conservative Candidates, both. English and French, had seen fit, willingly or not, to grant our doctrine considerable sway.
Such was the bargain. How was it carried out, according to the disclosures of this unholy alliance? According to Mr. Bourassa a manifesto was issued, which was eventually signed by all the Conservative candidates. This peculiar document is as follows:-
I declare that if elected on the 21st of September I shall oppose and vote against any Prime Minister of whatever party who will endeavour to maintain the Naval Law as adopted in 1910, without beforehand giving the people of Canada an opportunity to express their opinion thereon by means of a special referendum. I shall, if elected, see to it that the rights of the French-speaking Catholic minority are recognized and respected everywhere as are the rights of the English-speaking minority in the province of Quebec. I endorse separate schools, recognition of the French language, etc., and etc.
One wonders how such declaration on the part of their fellow-Conservatives will appeal to the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards), the member for West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham), the member for North Simcoe (Mr. Currie), and to many others of the same fraternity. But it ap-

pears that the kindly offices of Mr. Bourassa were not to be confined to Quebec. He was invited, so he alleges, to deliver some addresses in Ontario and by no less a person than the Hon. Frank Cochrane, the present Minister of Railways and Canals. In order to make sure that his visit to Ontario would not be unwelcome and that the invitation was made in good faith and endorsed by what he considered to be responsible parties, Mr. Bourassa received exceedingly strong endorsations of his Nationalistic policy. From two Ontario gentlemen who were elected on the 21st of September, 1911, the following messages were received:-
Mattawa, Ont., Sept. 8, 1911.
Chas. McCrea,
Sudbury, Ont.
I certainly am opposed to reciprocity and will support request for repeal of Naval policy *ni a referendum to the people no matter who is Premier.
George Gordon.
Providence Bay, Sept. 8, 1911.
Ciias. MoCrae,
Sudbury, Ont.
I am opposed to Reciprocity pact. I am opposed to Naval policy of Liberal Government. I will support request for repeal of same, and referendum to the people on Naval question no matter who is Premier.
W. R. Smyth.
Fortified by these assurances of the fellow-feeling that existed so far as these two gentlemen were concerned, Mr. Bourassa visited Northern Ontario and when in the * district of Nipissing received from Mr. Gordon the following effusive welcome :

The Liberals are blaming us for bringing the Nationalist leader here. I am willing to take full responsibility and to express my full admiration for Bourassa. I have no use for the Navy and think Reciprocity is a baneful policy. I give Monsieur Bourassa the keys of the district.
So successful had his mission been in Ontario that even Mr. Cochrane, so Mr. Bourassa tells us, " usually very shy of his compliments, has since done me the honour of telling me that my arguments had made a deep impression, deeper still among English-speaking than French-speaking people." It is stated also by Mr. Bourassa that:-
One of the prominent members of the Conservative party came to his office carrying under his arm the voters' lists of all the Eastern Townships. He paid into our hands subscriptions to Le Devoir for thousands and thousands of electors. We asked nothing but the regular subscription price, deducting therefrom the ordinary subscription paid to agents. We thus . enjoyed the satisfaction of using Tory money to circulate the good Nationalist *gospel everywhere.

It will be interesting to know the name of his prominent Conservative, who, out of the intense love for the principles of Mr. Bourassa and the Nationalists, poured out his treasure for the circulation of this so-called valuable Nationalist literature. One wonders whether the member for St. Antoine Division, Montreal (Sir Herbert Ames) has [DOT]any personal or other knowledge of this. He should know. Having established himself as a magic-lantern artist, a dispenser of patriotic funds, and a contributor to the boot and shoe supplies for the Canadian soldiers-surely he can tell us something about the circulation of Bourassa's Nationalist paper.
The campaign-of 1911 resulted in the return of a large number of Nationalists from Quebec, and three from Ontario, namely: W. R. Smyth, the present member for East Algoma; Geo. Gordon, for Nipissing, aijd, following Mr. Gordon, who was transferred to the Senate, Hon. Frank Cochrane, now Minister of Railways and Canals.
In the ordinary course of events the present Prime Minister chose his ministers, and upon the formation of the Cabinet the light is thrown by the Toronto Telegram, certainly not very hostile to the present Government-in the following language:-
The process of Cabinet-making was in the Anal stages of its completion when the Nationalists proceeded to tell Canada's Premier "who's who and what's what."
The Nationalists' demand, with all the weight of Henry Bourassa's authority behind it, was, briefly:
Department of Public Works for F. D. Monk.
Department of Inland Revenue for W. B. Nantel.
Portfolio of Postmaster General for L. P. Pelletier.
No Quebec Protestant to hold a portfolio in the Cabinet.
The ultimatum failed to bend R. L. Borden to the purposes of the Nationalists. The Premier suggested that he would complete the making of his Cabinet in the spirit of justice to everybody. Whereupon the Nationalists departed, supplementing their ultimatum with words to this effect:
"You will either meet the demands of our ultimatum, or you will meet Parliament with a majority of eight to nine, the reduction being due to the nineteen Nationalists voting with Laurier."
The Nationalist gloatingly betrays the truth that the Nationalists were sent for on behalf of R. L. Borden, and they got everything they asked for in the allotment of portfolios, because the Premier of Canada weakened under the pressure of a pale bluff that the Quebec Nationalists would have never dared to make good.
Whatever influences prevailed upon the Prime Minister in the selection of his colleagues may never be fully known, but at any rate very positive statements have been

made by Mr. Lavergne that he was asked to name the French-Canadian representatives in the Cabinet. Suffice it to say that three pronounced Nationalists were chosen, Monk, Pelletier and Nantel, as well as the sub rosa Nationalists, the present Minister of Justice and the overseas Minister of Militia.
As a result of the disagreement with his colleagues on the $35,000,000 ship-building proposition submitted by this Government, Mr. Monk resigned. His place was taken by Mr. Coderre, a pronounced Nationalist. Mr. Pelletier, through ill-health, it is alleged, resigned and went to the Bench. Mr. Nantel departed this life as a public man and became a member of the Railway Commission. Mr. Coderre, evidently tiring of the troubles and manner of departmental life, found a haven of rest in the calm and serene atmosphere of the judiciary. The vacancies so created were filled by the Hon. Mr. Blondin, Hon. Mr. Casgrain and Hon. Mr. Patenaude, two of them pronounced Nationalists. The recent death of the late lamented Mr. Casgrain created another vacancy, and this has been filled by the translation of the Hon.'Mr. Sevigny from the Speakership to the Department of Inland Revenue. Throughout all of these appointments, amid all the Cabinet changes since 1911, the Nationalists have been recognized without fail.
Now then let us deal with the present Nationalist representatives in the Government. What is Mr. Blondin's record? Speaking at St. Louis de Blandford on 25th of October, 1910, he said:
You are intimidating the people in waving the English flag and adding that we must contribute always and everywhere to the defence of that protector of our constitutional liberties; but we will not be made to forget that in 1837 it was necessary to bore holes in it in order to breathe the atmosphere of liberty.
The English have never done anything for the French-Canadians. We do not owe them anything. French-Canadians have nothing to care about the opinion of the other provinces upon this naval question. They can and must settle the questions which concern them without consulting others. Those very ones who disembowelled their forefathers on the Plains of Abraham ask of you to-day to be slaughtered for their sake.
England has gone so far as to grind down the colonies as did Imperial Rome of old.
The only liberties which we enjoy have been snatched. England has not conquered Canada for love or to plant the cross of Christ as did France, but to establish trading posts and make money. She has so wed the world with hatred, quarrels and wars. We have had enough of England and the English.
Those who butchered your forefathers on the Plains of Abraham ask to-day that you sacrifice your lives for their sakes. We have had enough of England and the British.
Our liberties, we have wrested them from England, and we owe her nothing.
Canada owes nothing to England. The British did not conquer us for love, nor to plant the cross of Christ, as did France; and we are kept under her flag for the advantage of the trade. She benefited by her colony of Canada. What do we owe her?
Mr. Patenaude, now Secretary of State, was chairman of the meeting when the Nationalist party was formed, and at St. Remi, in the province of Quebec, he declared:
We (the Nationalist party) hold nothing in common with either of the political parties.
And last, but not least, we have the latest acquisition to the Government, the Hon. Mr. Sevigny, Minister of Inland Revenue, declaring:
The Eaurer Cabinet is a Cabinet of Imperialists who want to sacrifice Canada's interests and plunge us into wars with which we have nothing to do. The Navy Bill is an attempt by Ontario and the provinces of the West to coerce Quebec and enslave our people forever. What has England ever done for you? She has no need of your help. She is strong enough to defend herself. Laurier's ideal is to make you the vassals of the majority in the West. You must protest against helping England in her wars; unless you do, conscription will come next.
This, then, is the record of the connection of the Conservative party of this country with the Nationalist party. Examine it as you may, turn it as you will, you cannot get away from the outstanding fact that throughout the whole chapter there was a pre-arranged plan, that no matter what form the action took these two parties were to coalesce and work together for the one common object of destroying the Liberal party and the Liberal leader. But at the same time the Nationalist party had to save the situation as best they could on the naval question, and, though it was with a great deal of reluctance, as Mr. Sevigny is reported to have said recently, it was decided to drop the Laurier Naval Act of 1910, cease working for a Canadian navy, and in its place adopt the makeshift of a $35,000,000 contribution to Imperial defence.
Something has been said about the lack of recruiting in Quebec. How can you expect recruiting when practically every member of the Quebec representation in the Cabinet is pledged against assistance to the Empire outside of Canada? How can you expect this Government to assist materially in winning this war when from one-third to one-half of the Cabinet are opposed in principle to participation in the Empire's wars such as we are engaged in at the present time? Let the Conservative

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