March 18, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


The Hon. J. I.@

By the direction, I have no doubt, of nay right hon. friend, both his letter and mine were handed over to the press. They were given to the press on the 21st, the very same day that my right hon. friend's letter was written. On the 23rd October, I wrote over my own signature an article in ' La Patrie ' headed " a word to the country." Permit me, Mr. Speaker, to quote the following paragraphs, which refer to the letter of my right hon. friend :-
I see that some reproach Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the tone of the letter which he addressed to me.

The Prime Minister is fatigued-harassed- ill. The undeniable harshness of some of his words by no means changes my personal feelings towards him. I have grown old enough to take circumstances into consideration.
The Prime Minister had no right to tell me that I had failed in loyalty towards my colleagues, in using the language which I recently did on the fiscal question.
To this unjust reproach I have the right to oppose the numerous speeches which I made, in the same sense, during the last few years.
I did not organize a campaign in Ontario. I went into that province last year and this summer at the urgent invitation of the agricultural societies, of chambers of commerce, of ministerial members.
I am of the opinion that parliament is the proper place to discuss, at first, matters of this kind. I beg, then, to be allowed to emphasize as energetically as I can my objection to the Prime Minister's letter. I am speaking in all deference to him. I have a great deal of respect and consideration for my right hon. friend. I take direct issue with the statements contained in his letter as it has just been read to the House. Let me quote some of his words again :
During my absence to Europe, without warning me and without any previous agreement with your colleagues, you commenced an active campaign in favour of the revision of the tariff towards very high protection. I regret to have had to point out to you that this attitude on your part constitutes an open violation of your duty towards the government of which you are a member.
I did not commence, I did not carry on any new campaign. I went on repeating speeches that I had made before in the presence of the right hon. gentleman, of many members of the House, and of several of my colleagues on repeated occasions. There was a banquet given by the Manufacturers' Association in Montreal, in the month of November, 1901. I had the privilege of being one of the guests and one of the speakers on that occasion. My right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) attended that meeting. I was called upon to speak, and in the course of my speech I said :
Shall I be accused once more of being a 'Confounded Protectionist ' if I say openly, as I generally try 'o say things, that the main dovma of my political creed is ' Canada for the Canadians ?' Canada for the Canadians and for those who want to become Canadians. (Cheers).

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