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


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative


Now, last session a very interesting spectacle took place in this House. It has been referred to this afternoon, and I again recall it. It was that celebrated speech' made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce. It reminded me very much of the circumstances attending the falling of Elijah's mantle upon Elisha. You remember the story. Elijah crosed the river and Elisha followed him. And Elijah said : What would you
have from me ? Elisha answered : I pray that I may have a double portion of your spirit. The Minister of Trade and Commerce was the Elijah, and the Prime Minister was the Elisha, upon whom the mantle was to fall. But we have never yet fouud out whether the Prime Minister desired a double portion of the spirit of the Minister of Trade and Commerce to fall upon him. Indeed the Minister of Trade and Commerce was suspicious of his leader, and he took occasion to tell him so in a fatherly way. This is the substance of what he said : Remember-, my boy, you said in Manitoba that protection was corruption, that protection was bondage. Remember that you said the tw-o things must go together, you said! that in Winnipeg ; and remember that I intend to hold you to it. That is what the declaration meant last year, and it was supposed to be the final deliverance of the Minister of Trade and Commerce. Somehow the ascension which was to take place about that time did not take place. Why it did not, is clear to-day. But the whole country knows that the Minister of Trade and Commerce suspected his colleague, and others in the cabinet suspected him in regard to this matter, and he tried to hold him to the one view or the other. So to-day their position, if it is anything, is that they believe that protection is slavery, that protection is corruption, that protection is not in the interest of the country.
Now. if these hon. gentlemen did not intend to introduce a protectionist policy or to consider the question fully this session, what did they mean ? The late Minister of Public Works certainly thought that they intended to adopt a protectionist policy and to give the country more protection this year. The great question before the people to-day is not one of a constitutional issue, but it is whether there is to be a revision of the tariff, and whether it is to be on protectionist lines. The right hon. gentleman is a lawyer, and like most lawyers he takes refuge in a constitutional issue whenever a question of great public interest is involved. He has always taken refuge in constitutional issues, and always fails to tell the people in clear-cut language what his views are in regard to great public questions of present importance. What do the people of Canada care about the constitutional issue ? The people of Canada care everything about the fiscal policy of this country, and they do not want to hear more talk about constitutional issues, and rebukes of colleagues
for violating constitutional practice so much as they desire to get a clear-cut statement of the intentions of the government upon this great public question.
Now, there are to be a great many deputations visiting this government from now on. We are told the budget speech is soon to be delivered. Are these deputations coming here to be told, as we have been told here to-day, that a protectionist minister cannot continue in the cabinet ? Of what use is it for deputations to come this week, or to come next week, if the only answer they are to get is the one that was given here to-day, that protection is a fraud, that a protectionist minister is deserted by his colleagues and has to be read out of the party ? Hon.\ gentlemen will say that this is a constitutional issue. Sir, the public want more than that, they want a definition. They want more than a statement that there was a constitutional disagreement and that the late minister acted in an unconstitutional way. There is more than a theory, there is an actual fact, involved in this question, and it is incumbent on the right hon. first minister, notwithstanding wliat he said this afternoon, to say whether he is a protectionist or a free trader, whether he desires to promote the interests of the people of this country, or whether he will simply get rid of the responsibility by saying that he believes in free trade as they have it in England. He cannot escape that issue to-day. The people wish to know What the position of the government is in regard to that question, and particularly do they expect from the Prime Minister a statement of his position in regard to it. Now, I have no hesitation in telling this House, and the people of this country, where I am. There is no trouble about the Conservative party here to-day in regard to their policy, both; in regard to protection and in regard to free trade.
The hon. gentleman takes pride in the fact that he has changed his opinion. I thank God that I hold the views my father taught me on this question. He taught me that if a thing is good it is to be adhered to, and to be taught by one man to another, I was taught the principle of protection as being beneficial to this country. No one who holds that view is ashamed to declare it. It is the view that all nations take to-day. The right hon. gentleman makes a nice exhibition of himself when he talks about the humanitarian idea and the brotherhood of man. The principle that rules the world today is the struggle for existence between nations. Life is a struggle, l)Oth as between men and between nations, and so great is that struggle to-day that all the nations of the world are either protectionists or becoming so. England is becoming protectionist, and the greatest statesman in the British empire, the man who is destined to consolidate the British empire, Mr. Chambei'lain, is fixed in the view that the

only way to bind the empire together is by a policy of protection. Mr. Speaker, I believe in protection, I believe in a customs tariff, I believe in bounties, I believe in export duties, I believe in reciprocity of tariffs, I believe in the maximum tariff as applied to nations that are unfair to us and I believe in all these things because I think they will make the nation great. I believe in these things because I think they will build up this country as we expect it to be built up. I believe the principle of protection is good for the English speaking people and that it is good for the French speaking people of this country. I believe it is good for the east, I believe it is good for the west, that it is good for the interior, that it is good for the frontier, that, in short, it is the one kind of fiscal policy that is good for all of the country and will build it up. We have the example of the United States, we have the example of all the rising and great countries to-day and that example is all in the direction of protection. No man need be ashamed of protection, or need be afraid to let the people know where he belongs. No, it is the men who are double-faced on this question, the men who are guilty of duplicity, who are guilty of disloyalty to colleagues by reason of this duplicity, that have not the hardihood and the courage to stand up and declare where they are. We, at least, have clear cut views on this question and the people of this country want clear cut views, an out and out explanation, no such exhibition as we have seen this afternoon and no sucli disagreement as appears to have resulted between the late minister and his colleagues. Hon., gentlemen on this side of the House need never fear any reproach in regard to a question of this kind. It has been a painful exhibition that we have had here this afternoon. I do not think we have often seen a similar spectacle, but it was a painful spectacle to see the right hon. leader of the House try to convey the impression that he dismissed a colleague for being a protectionist, when, as a matter of fact, that colleague offered his resignation and his chief at the next moment asked him to hold it in abeyance and then gave the public to understand that he had dismissed him. The whole public of Canada, under these circumstances, will side with the late Minister of Public Works. The whole public of Canada will see that the Liberal party is not to be relied upon on an issue of this kind, the whole country will see that the late member of the cabinet was sacrificed because he was a protectionist and the new Minister of Marine and Fisheries will see, if he is long in the government, that he is liable to be sacrificed in the same way. Cabals will be formed against him and we have been told that cabals exist. I wonder who is the minister referred to in connection with the cabals. I wonder if he came from the North-west. Perhaps before this discussion Mr. MACLEAN.
is over we will know who really was at the bottom of these cabals and who it was that sacrificed the late Minister of Public Works. I see the Postmaster General (Hon. Sir Wm. Mulock) there and he takes all the responsibility of the statements made by the right hon. the first minister this afternoon. Let me read a short extract from a speech made by the late Minister of Public Works in Toronto, less than a year ago, in connection with the United Boards of Trade. The late minister and the hon. Postmaster General were invited to the dinner as representatives of the government and here is the speech made by the late minister in the presence of his colleague. It was on .Tune 5th, 1902, and it was reported in the papers of June 6th. The late minister said:
We must have a Canadian policy on every line, in every direction. We must have a Canadian tariff. We are not here to discuss the principles of free trade or protection. Free trade may suit certain countries ; it suits England ; another system, the protective system, may suit other countries. I suppose that we have made up our minds to suit ourselves. We have in French a proverb that my friend, Mr. Mulock, who is a French scholar, will understand : ' Charite bien ordonne. commence par sol mfime.'

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