March 31, 1927 (16th Parliament, 1st Session)


Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Then is it by a process of casuistry that the hon. gentleman makes consistent his remarks of this afternoon with this splendid quotation? Let me again emphasize those words:
-a Canadian nation endowed with a distinctive national character, permeated with a vigorous national life, vested with national responsibilities and, withal, masters of their own national destiny.
How under heaven can we be masters of our own national destiny if we are subject and subordinate to some imperial authority? If I have misunderstood the hon. gentleman I apologize; if I have been misunderstood I will ask the hon. gentleman to apologize.
I was delighted with the speech made by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) yesterday. I think he laid down his case in as clear a manner and interpreted it in as broad a form as even I could have anticipated from a member of the government in dealing with the work of the Imperial conference. Let me remind the House of one or two sentences which he used, which I took down as he said them. He said that this constituted the final acceptance of the unity of the so-called dominions and the British throne, and liberty in all external and domestic affairs. The hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George has endeavoured to demonstrate that this is not true. To a degree he is right, and if I were willing to follow him into the legal facts in regard to his criticism I might be compelled to agree with him entirely. But I want to say frankly, Mr. Speaker, that I am in a very pleasant frame of mind this afternoon, and do not intend to be carried away into an unnecessarily cavilling or critical attitude. I am prepared to accept in faith the utterances of both our delegates to that conference. I do not think they have done any harm; I have not seen any great evidence of it, and while they may not have done any great good let us be grateful that at least no harm has been done, and in that spirit approach this report. The Minister of Justice declared that equality of status was not a new principle,
Imp. Conference-My. Garland (Bow River)
and gave us illustrations of that fact. I agree entirely with him as several other hon. gentlemen have agreed. Equality of status is a principle very deeply rooted in the hearts of our people, and goes back far beyond even the quotations which have been referred to in the course of this discussion. I have in my hand a book called The Union of the British Provinces, by Mr. Whelan, one of the gentlemen who was very active in the days preceding confederation. It is a strange thing and perhaps an unhappy circumstance that we have not on record a verbatim report of the speeches then made, but in two very rare documents, so rare that it is almost under bond that one secures a loan of them from the library, one may find reports of the speeches of the various delegates to the different conferences which took place before confederation. In one of them Sir John A. Macdonald, speaking at a banquet in Charlottetown, on September 1, 1864, is reported by Mr. Whelan as follows:
He had, however, every reason to believe that the result of the convention which held its sittings in Charlottetown for the past week would lead to the formation and establishment of such a federation of all the British North American provinces as would tend very materially to enhance their individual and collective prosperity, politically, commercially and socially; and also give them in their united manhood that national prowess and strength which would make them at least the fourth nation on the face of the globe.
Again at Charlottetown in September of the same year Hon. George Etienne Cartier is reported as having used these words:
They (the delegates) met to inquire whether it were possible for the provinces, from their present fragmentary and isolated materials, to form a nation or kingdom. Canada of herself-
That is Upper Canada at that time.
-could not make a nation; neither could the maritime provinces of themselves become a kingdom. It was, therefore, essentially necessary that those national fragments and resources of all the provinces should be concentrated and combined in order that they, in their trade, intelligence, and national power and prosperity, might be rated as at least the fourth nation of the worl d.
That is, not only in size and resources, but in status and as to rank and title. I am offering these references to the House because of the statement made by the Minister of Justice yesterday when he said that the work of building the nation has been achieved. Has it? I simply wish to submit these references and ask the House if that work has been completed; frankly, I do not think so. I think we have gone a long way in that direction, but before we start, blowing the trumpets or waving the flags it would be as well to see
fMr. E. J. Garland.]
what was in the minds of the fathers of confederation and what was their vision of the destiny of this country, and perhaps we will then arrive at a clearer idea as to how far or how little we have progressed since that time. In my opinion we have progressed very far, but not so far as we should have progressed under more favourable conditions.
At page 16 of the same work, in the course of another speech made by Hon. T. H. Havi-land, one of the delegates, he said that from all he could learn the provinces would ere long be one great country from the Pacific to the Atlantic. There was another conference held at Halifax, and by the way, they went in very strongly for conferences in those days, and every conference was either preceded or followed, or both, by immense banquets. Those banquets should be to us a mark upon which we should centre our appreciation, because I rather think that if it had not been for the banquets, many of the things we now know to have been said prior to confederation would not be known to us, and possibly many of the things which were said would not have been spoken were it not for these banquets. We have learned that under wine men open their hearts and tell the truth. If that be the case it makes the quotations I have been using all the stronger. We find at pages 24 and 25, reporting the banquet at Halifax the following utterance by the Hon: George
Etienne Cartier, a man of considerable renown, a man whose record is certainly that of one of the great leaders of confederation:
When we come to the territory occupied by these provinces, we see again another great element requisite for the foundation of a great state.
It was not a colony, it was not a great dominion, it was "a great state," a sovereign state these gentlemen had in view. Again at page 25 he said:
Knowing as we do in Canada, that we possess so large a personal element-that we have cleared so much of our territory as would secure to us as respectable a position as many of the European powers, rve want to be something greater yet; but that cannot be unless you unite with us.
Another authority corroborates many of these statements-Mr. J. H. Gray, who has written the Confederation of Canada. He has repeated word for word the very statements reported to have been uttered by Sir John Macdonald, then John Macdonald, George Etienne Cartier, and many of the others who took up and discussed this matter at that time. At page 44 we find Sir John Macdonald speaking at Halifax. He says:
If we can only obtain that object-

Imp. Conference-Mr. Garland (Bow River)
What object?
-a vigorous general government-we shall not be New Brunswickers, nor Nova Scotians, nor Canadians, but British Americans, under the sway of the British sovereign.
Again he says:
In discussing the question of a colonial union, we must consider what is desirable and practicable; we must consult local prejudices and aspirations. It is our desire to do so.
In the conference we have had we have been united as one man-there was no difference of feeling-no sectional prejudices or selfishness exhibited by anyone; we all approached the subject feeling its importance; feeling that in our hands were the destinies of a nation; and great would be our sin and shame if any different motives had intervened to prevent us carrying out the noble object of founding a great British monarchy, in connection with the British Empire, and under the British queen. (Cheers.)
I do not think a more emphatic pronouncement was ever made by anyone in this country in favour of an independent sovereign state under the sovereignty of the British crown. It is not necessary for me to go further. If hon. gentlemen will simply consult the speeches made before confederation, the debates that took place in the House at that time, the debates that took place at the conference in London, it becomes readily clear that the objective of John Macdonald and George Etienne Cartier-if not of others certainly of those two; they were the guiding figures; they were the men who made the submissions to the conference, and their guiding thought was the creation of a nation on this side of the Atlantic-not a subordinate nation, not a colony, not a dominion, but a sovereign nation in connection with the British Empire, united with the rest of the selfgoverning dominions under the sovereign. But beyond that they did not go. Just how far have we come? At the conference that took place in London, and indeed prior to the London conference, the objective is made very clear. At page 20 and 21 of Pope's Confederation Documents we find Mr. Macdonald moving on Thursday, 20th October, 1864:
That the executive authority -
This was just prior to going over to London.
That the executive authority or government shall be vested in the sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and be administered according to the "well understood principles of the British constitution by the sovereign personally or by representative duly authorized.
At page 39 of the same work we find a report on the resolutions adopted at the conference of delegates from the provinces of
Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and the colonies of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, held in the city of Quebec. Amongst the resolutions then adopted was the following:
The executive authority or government shall be vested in the sovereign of the -United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and be administered according to the well understood principles of the British constitution by the sovereign personally-
By the sovereign personally!
-or by the representative of the sovereign duly authorized.
It is as clear as possible that without precipitating a debate of an objectionable nature, the intention was to establish a sovereign state under the sovereign personally or a representative of the sovereign duly authorized.
We now can pass to London. In London on the 4th day of December, 1866, a conference of delegates from Canada was again held. It was held at the Westminster Palace hotel. Had I known that at the time I was in London I would have gone to see if the old place was still there. If it is still there I am sorry I missed seeing it. But at that hotel the following resolution was passed by the conference:
The executive authority or government shall be vested in the sovereign of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and be administered according to the well understood principles of the British constitution by the sovereign personally or by the representative of the sovereign duly authorized.
There was never any idea in the minds of the great guiding figures of confederation that we should be subject to the Colonial Office or any representative of the Colonial Office. If there was to be any link, any visible link, between us and the mother country it was to be the king in person, or his representative, and no one else. Now one of the resolutions consists of just one sentence but it is worth quoting as we pass on:
That Her Majesty the Queen he solicited to determine the rank and name of the federated provinces.
Sir John Macdonald knew very well what his ideas were as to the rank and also the name. He made it very clear in his speeches, but at all these conferences he refrained from disclosing them for fear of arousing the abuse and vituperation of the little Canadians who saw only subordination of our state in future. And so Sir John Macdonald most astutely refrained from inciting in any way a discussion which might precipitate violent debate. Some indication of the cleverness of that gentleman may be found in a letter which he wrote just
Imp. Conference-My. Garland

(Bow River)
prior to going to London in which he indicated that it was important that no reverberations of the attitude to be taken at the conference should be spread throughout the dominion prior to the enactment of legislation. Once the act became law then everyone would agree to it and it would be all right.
It struck me at the time I read this that it was rather typically Tory. I do not think there is any doubt about the attitude; it certainly was not democratic. There was no indication that he wanted to submit the matter for consideration to the people who might not have agreed with him. He took that attitude for the purpose of preventing reverberations that would have destroyed his objective.
_ Now in the same volume, Pope, Confederation Documents, on page 115 there is given part of the debate which took place on Thursday, 13th December, 1866, on the resolutions of the Quebec conference. I quote the following :
. Mr. MeDougall: Why assert that the sovereign is commander in chief when it is part of the constitution of England?
Mr. Macdonald: I am not prepared to admit that. The sovereign is not absolutely the commander in chief of the militia of England except by proclamation.
Mr. MeDougall: I am prepared to go to the same lengths as is constitutional in England.
Mr. Macdonald: Read it in connection with the third resolution.
Mr. Tupper: Then constitutional advice will be necessary.
Mr. Macdonald: Any powers given by statute to the sovereign must be exercised constitutionally.
Shortly after their arrival the first draft of the proposed pact was drawn up, and I would ask the House to note that Macdonald left blanks for the title of the new state. The first draft reads:
After the passing of this act-
These colonies which he had mentioned-
-shall for the purposes hereof, form and be one province or confederation, under the name of.
bene fits to the colonies and be conducive to the interests of the United Kingdom:
*n therefore enacted by the Queen's most
Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows.
And then follows the word "preliminary". Clause 2 states:
It shall be lawful for Her Majesty, at any time not later than , },y letters
patent under the great seal of the United Kingdom, to declare the union of the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into one colony, with such name as Her Majesty thinks fit.
It was to be a grouping of colonies, and for what object? In reading over the documents of that period it is quite clear that the only objective in the minds of those short-sighted British statesmen or the Colonial Office employees was to concentrate the colonies into one government and so more easily to control and manage the then scattered governments of the colonies in North America. Clause 3 states:
The Governor General of British North America shall, within after
receipt by him of the letters patent declaring the union, proclaim the same by publication thereof in the Government Gazette of Canada, and thereupon the union shall have full effect, and the said three colonies shall thenceforth form and be one colony.
We find that repeated in clauses 4, 5 and 7. The reference is entirely to the formation of one colony and not of a nation free and equal or anything else. We find the third draft of the third conference reported on page 159. Will hon. gentlemen please note that in the previous delegates draft, blanks had been left in the space where the title was to be, and it is fair to assume that in the interim Her Majesty was consulted. If she was consulted, then certainly she must have agreed to a title now used for the first time in the draft of the conference. Note this:
And then there is a blank. But in the second clause of the draft he repeats again the source of authority: the queen personally or her representatives. One gets some conception of the Obstacles in Macdonald's way when one reads the report of the next draft, this time the draft of the Colonial Office of the 23rd January, 1867. This is reported at page 141 of Pope's volume. Note what the Colonial Office wanted; note what was in their mind as opposed to that which was in the mind of Macdonald and the delegation:
Whereas the union of the British North American colonies for purposes of government and legislation would be attended with great
.f' Within calendar months next
after the passing of this act-
These various provinces of Canada-
-shall form and be one united dominion, under the came of the Kingdom of Canada, and thenceforth the said provinces shall constitute and be one kingdom under the name aforesaid, upon, from, and after the day so appointed as aforesaid.
Clause 7 adopted completely from Macdonald's Quebec resolution reads: .
The executive government and authority is and shall be vested in the queen.
I therefore submit that in all probability and indeed one is justified in assuming that

Imp. Conference-My. Garland (Bow River)
in all certainty Her Majesty had been consulted in the interim and had given her consent. Otherwise, after Macdonald's public statements' and after the resolutions that were carried, they would not have dared to include in this draft a title which he had already declared to be a matter for Her Majesty to decide. However, the obstacles raised in the Colonial Office were too great, and we find reported at page 212 the final bill in which Macdonald had had to admit that he had lost his great objective and had compromised. We will find out in a moment the reason why. Section 3 of the final draft reads:
It shall be lawful for the queen, to
declare by proclamation that, on and after a day therein appointed-
And so on.
-the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick shall form and be one dominion under the name of Canada; and on and after that day those three provinces shall form and be one dominion under that name accordingly.
The compromise had been reached. It was not to be a colony but it was not to be a sovereign state. It was not to be a kingdom. Macdonald had sought the one; the Colonial Office had sought the other. A compromise had been reached and a dominion, a subordinate, inferior title and rank had been secured. If one seeks the reason why Macdonald capitulated, one can find it in Pope's volume at page 312 on which appears a letter written by Macdonald to Lord Knutsford repeating many years afterward his chagrin, his bitter disappointment at the weakness, lack of vision on the part of the Colonial Office people. He said:
A great opportunity was lost in 1867 when the dominion was formed out of the several provinces. This remarkable event in the history of the British Empire, passed almost without notice. The new confederation had at the time of the union about the same population as the thirteen colonies when they rebelled and formed a nation imbued with the bitterest feelings of hostility towards England-feelings which by the way exist

As he said at that time:
-in as offensive a form now as they did on the day of the declaration of independence.
The declaration of all the British North American provinces that they desired as one dominion to remain a portion of the empire, showed what wide government and generous treatment would do, and should have marked an epoch in the history of England. This would probably have been the case had Lord Carnarvon, who, as colonial minister, had sat at the cradle of the new dominion, remained in office. His ill omened resignation was followed by the appointment of the late Duke of Buckingham, who had as his adviser the then Governor
General Lord Monck-both good men certainly, but quite unable, from the constitution of their minds, to rise to the occasion. The union was treated by them-
And this was simply the reflection of the general attitude of the Colonial Office.
-ns if the British North America Act were a private bill uniting two or three English parishes. Had a different course been pursued, for instance had united Canada been declared to be an auxiliary kingdom as it was in the Canadian draft of the bill, I feel sure almost that the Australian colonies would, ere this, have been applying to be placed in the same rank as the Kingdom of Canada.
Pray pardon this long discursive letter, which I have been tempted to bore you with, by the pleasant and cool breezes of the lower St. Lawrence-
And so on.
Yours faithfully,
John A. Macdonald.
But Macdonald wrote to that letter a postcript part of which was suppressed for some time by his biographer. I will read the part that was published in the first editions of his biography:
PS. On reading the above over I see that it will convey the impression that the change of title from kingdom to dominion was caused by the Duke of Buckingham. This is not so. It was made at the instance of Lord Derby, then foreign minister, who feared the first name would wound the sensibilities of the Yankees.
So we failed to become a kingdom because Lord Derby feared to hurt the sensibilities of the Yankees. It may not be too late to adjust that position. I do not think there is any danger of hurting the sensibilities of our friends to the south. After living on their border a nation, in effect, if not in fact, for sixty years, surely we have shown them that we have much in common with them not only in tongue, but in aspirations, in many of our ideals, in our religious and social customs, and so forth. Surely the time has come when we must admit to ourselves that the power on the part of the American people to understand and sympathize with our aspirations is sufficiently equal to our power to understand and sympathize with theirs, and is there any one in this House who will condemn or attempt to condemn the aspirations of the republic to the south? I for one will not, nor do I think anyone here will. Therefore, why take it upon ourselves to asume, as Lord Derby unfortunately did, that we might be hurting their sensibilities if we assumed the position to which we are entitled by the findings of this conference which are now before us?
But that quotation is not complete. In Popes volume I, 1894, the whole of it was not
Imp. Conference-Mr. Garland (Bow River)
given, but subsequently in a letter published in the Ottawa Citizen in July, 1917, Sir Joseph Pope wrote as follows:
Origin of Name
I agree with you in characterizing as erroneous the statement publicly made to the effect that at the Quebec conference in 1864 the name "Dominion" was selected for the new confederation. The only allusion at that conference to the subject of name that I am aware of, is the 71st resolution, which says: "That Her Majesty the Queen be solicited to determine the rank and name of the federated provinces."
Nor is this surprising, for in 1864 the fathers were engaged in laying the foundations, not crowning the edifice.
"United provinces" was employed in 1866 merely as a temporary convenience while drafting the bill. In the margin of one of Sir John Macdonald's memoranda of the London conference there appears, written in his own hand, one under the other, probably in inverse order of his preference, the words: Province . Dependency Colony Dominion Vice Royalty Kingdom.
Apropos of the rejection of the title of "Kingdom", I may say that when I published my Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald, out of consideration for the then Governor General, who was the son of the Lord Derby criticized, I omitted a portion of Sir John's remarks. I now quote the whole sentence which he wrote as a postscript to his letter to Lord Knutsford of 18th July, 1889:
"P.S.-On reading the above over, I see that it will convey the impression that the change *of title from "Kingdom" to "Dominion" was caused by the Duke of Buckingham. This is not so. It was made at the instance of Lord Derby, then foreign minister, who feared the first name would wound the sensibilities of the Yankees. I mentioned this to Lord Beaeons-field at Hughenden in 1879, who replied: 'I was not aware of the circumstance, but it is so like Derby, a very good fellow, but one who lives in a region of perpetual funk'."
In none of the papers on this subject of confederation is there anything to indicate that it ever occurred to Sir John Macdonald that his desire to have the new confederation styled "The Kingdom of Canada" might one day be interpreted to mean a looking forward on his part to Canadian independence. He evidently considered that the term "Kingdom" does not necessarily connote independent sovereignty. The kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland might have occurred to his mind, just as, at a later period, one would naturally think of the kingdoms of Saxony, Wurtemburg. Bavaria, or, for that matter, the Empire of India.
There is another quotation, by the way, that may throw a little light on Lord Derby's capacity. It is taken from Lord Newton's book on Lord Lyon's, volume II, page 105:
There can be no possible doubt as to Lord Derby's sincerity; indeed, he was so constitutionally averse from, an adventurous foreign
policy that a year or two later, Lord Salisbury said of his colleague that he never could have brought himself to annex the Isle of Man.
That brings us down through the various stages to the final draft of the bill. May I recall to the House the fact that on the day this debate opened, on Tuesday last, we celebrated, or should have celebrated if we wanted to celebrate-I wonder if there was any reason to do so-the passing of that bill through the British House. I do not think any hon. gentleman referred to it. It is simply a matter of interest to be noted in passing, but it is nevertheless true that this bill to which I have just referred passed the British House of Commons on that day, and so we see why to-day it has been found necessary to go back to England to struggle again and again, as we have been struggling, to achieve that state which Sir John A. Macdonald himself and those associated with him in those days sought to establish at that time.
Some of the speakers who have taken part in this debate have explained the attitude of the Colonial Office at that time, and their attitude since, as well as the attitude of the officials of departments over there at the present time, sometimes in criticism, sometimes not. Of them I do not wish at the present moment to make any criticism. I wish simply to submit in passing that if there is anything I do regret about this report it is that it has not been made as clear as I would wish just exactly what status we have achieved by adding not only to the qualification of our status as given in the report, but as well the definition as to our title. Why worry? Some poor old ladies, you know, Mr. Speaker, are fearfully worried about the possible loss of the word "dominion". I can sympathize with their point of view, but I do not think they quite understand. Use makes us love many things. Why should we use the word "dominion"? Let us study the dictionaries in regard to this word. The Oxford dictionary defines "dominion" as:
1. The power or right of governing or controlling.
And it gives as an example of the use of the word this sentence from Sir T. Herbert's Travels, year 1634, page 29:
Those Moguls got the dominion of those countries.
And another example from Freeman, 1867, page 215:
Foreign dominion in any shape would soon become hateful.
Yes. The Oxford dictionary gives a second definition:

Royal Assent
2 (b). The territory owned by or subject to a king or ruler or under a particular government or control.
Example: Dominion of Canada (colloquially, the Dominion) the title under which the former colonial provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, etc., in British North America were united into one government in 1867.
That is the example given in the Oxford dictionary. Webster defines dominion as:
That which is subject to sovereignty or control.
Specific examples:
(a) the estate or domain of a feudal lord.
(b) territory governed; the tract or country considered as subject; as the dominion of a king.
Then follows this statement:
Dominion has no technical meaning as used in the names Dominion of Canada, Dominion of New Zealand, etc., but the namg is popularly taken as implying a higher political status than the term "colony".
That is all. So it is quite clear that the term "dominion" indicates or implies inferiority to sovereignty or nationhood.

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