Robert Laird BORDEN

BORDEN, The Right Hon. Sir Robert Laird, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C., D.C.L., LL.D.

Parliamentary Career

June 23, 1896 - October 9, 1900
CON
  Halifax (Nova Scotia)
November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
CON
  Halifax (Nova Scotia)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (February 6, 1901 - October 9, 1911)
February 4, 1905 - September 17, 1908
CON
  Carleton (Ontario)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (February 6, 1901 - October 9, 1911)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
CON
  Halifax (Nova Scotia)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (February 6, 1901 - October 9, 1911)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
CON
  Halifax (Nova Scotia)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (February 6, 1901 - October 9, 1911)
  • Prime Minister (October 10, 1911 - October 11, 1917)
  • President of the Privy Council (October 10, 1911 - October 11, 1917)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (April 1, 1912 - October 11, 1917)
October 10, 1911 - October 6, 1917
CON
  Halifax (Nova Scotia)
  • Prime Minister (October 10, 1911 - October 11, 1917)
  • President of the Privy Council (October 10, 1911 - October 11, 1917)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (April 1, 1912 - October 11, 1917)
October 27, 1911 - October 6, 1917
CON
  Halifax (Nova Scotia)
  • Prime Minister (October 10, 1911 - October 11, 1917)
  • President of the Privy Council (October 10, 1911 - October 11, 1917)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (April 1, 1912 - October 11, 1917)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
UNION
  Kings (Nova Scotia)
  • Prime Minister (October 12, 1917 - July 9, 1920)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (October 12, 1917 - July 9, 1920)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3579 of 3580)


February 11, 1901

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

And may I ask when we are to expect the Auditor General's Report ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUDITOR GENERAL'S AND OTHER REPORTS.
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February 11, 1901

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Before we adjourn, I merely desire to say to the right hon. gentleman that we on this side of the House are delighted at the effect of the admonitions we had to give to the right hon. gentleman and his colleagues last year, when we had to wait for these reports lor weeks, and even months, in some cases. The promptitude with which most of them have been brought down this year is very gratifying.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   REPORTS.
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February 11, 1901

Mr. B. L. BOUDEN (Halifax).

Mr. Speaker, I have to congratulate most heartily both the mover (Mr. Guthrie) and the seconder (Mr. Marcil) on the very excellent manner in which they have addressed the House on this occasion. I was not able to follow as well as I could have desired the portion of the address of the seconder, which was given in his own beautiful language; but if X may judge of that by what he spoke in my own language, I am sure I cannot compliment him too highly on the sentiments which he expressed and the manner in which he expressed them. So far as the race problem, to which he has referred, is concerned, I may say to him, that in the province from which I come, that race problem has been a matter of the past for years. We never even think of it to mention it, and I trust with him that it will become so much a thing of the past in Canada that it will not be necessary even for any hon. gentleman, rising in this House, to suggest that there is such a thing in Canada as a race problem, if there be one to-day. With respect to what has been very eloquently said by the hon. mover of this address, I desire also to congratulate him particularly, because he is, as I understand, a member of the profession to which I have the honour to belong. His speech to-day showed a great grasp of public matters, and I am sure that he, as well as the seconder of the address, will be a very great addition to the debating power of this House. I cannot altogether agree with some of the things which the mover said, and he did not make some of his points altogether clear to me, but possibly I may learn his views more fully at some future stage of this session. He referred to the fact that prosperity dawned upon this country shortly after the present administration came into power. It was a striking tribute to this administration, that not only did prosperity dawn, but that it should have dawned so shortly after this administration came into power, and it is a still more striking tribute to this administration, although the hon. gentleman did not dwell upon it, that the advent of this administration into power brought prosperity to all the world. Of course, I do not know that all hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House are in accord with the views which were expressed by the hon. gentleman in respect to that. There is a gentleman sitting in this House, a gentleman who has held an honoured position in this House for a great many years, and who has been recognized'as a very high authority in trade matters. Possibly it may be that there is no hon. gentleman on the other side of the House who is better qualified to speak as to the causes of that prosperity than the hon. gentleman to whom I refer, the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton). That hon. gentleman, in an address which he lately placed before this country, did

not seem to take exactly the view which the hon. member for South Wellington took in the remarks which he so forcibly placed before the House. The view of the hon. member for North Norfolk was this, and possibly there may be some small modicum of truth as well as of common sense In the view which he expressed :

The government was fortunate In assuming office just at the beginning of a period of prosperity, which not only applies to us, but to all commercial nations, and which it is well to realize has been due to the blessings of Providence, and to causes beyond the control of the Canadian government.

I do not know that I have anything to suggest in answer to what the hon. gentleman has said, beyond the words which have fallen so aptly from the hon. member for North Norfolk in regard to that matter. The hon. gentleman also referred to some opportunity which had fallen to the lot of the Conservative party when in power, and of which that party had not seen fit to avail itself. I understood him to rejoice that the present administration had taken some step which has corrected the mistake of the late administration, and has resulted in a marked increase of our trade with the mother country. I did not clearly gather from the hon. gentleman just what step of the present administration he referred to. Possibly when the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) comes to deal with this matter he may be able to supply that omission. As a matter of fact, we know very well what the policy of this government has been with respect to that, and we know what result, if it can be called a result, that policy has produced. If it be possible for this administration to so control trade matters as the hon. gentleman would have us think, how does it happen that this administration has been so remiss in its duty as to permit the imports of this country from Great Britain to rise from $33,000,000 to no more than $37,000,000 in the three years they have been in power, while during the same peridd the imports from the United States rose from $59,000,000 to $93,000,000 ? If these are matters which can be effectively dealt with by measures placed before the House, by Acts of the parliament of Canada, and if it be true that these are altogether independent of trade conditions throughout the world, it strikes me that the administration of this country is highly remiss in not having corrected that most unfortunate condition of affairs during the past few years.

Now, my hon. friend spoke also of the misfortune of the Liberal-Conservative party in struggling against prosperity in" 1900. My hon. friend will permit me to say that the Liberal-Conservative party has no record of struggling against prosperity in this country. The Liberal-Conservative party, from 1896 down to the present time, Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

has been prepared to concede, and all those who have been qualified to speak for it have always conceded, the prosperity of this country and have been thankful for it. It is true that the Conservative party has taken the ground that the prosperity is not due to any change of administration. It is true that the Conservative party has taken the ground, as it still takes the ground, that the prosperity may in no small measure be due to the policy which was advocated through good report and through evil report, and was maintained by the Liberal-Conservative party for eighteen years. I would remark, in passing, with respect to the depression in trade matters, which was referred to by my hon. friend, that with what he said in regard to the resources of Canada, and the possibility of Canada facing a depression more successfully than other portions of the world, I am inclined to agree, in some measure at least, but I desire to remind him and the House of what, I think, he has forgotten, that during the administration of the great party which I have the honour to lead in this House, a depression which prevailed throughout all the world was felt by Canada much less than by any other portion of the world, and much less certainly than by the great country to the south of us, although that country may claim to have resources as great, and possibly more varied, than even the great and varied resources of Canada.

Now, with respect to the other remarks which were so eloquently made by my hon. friend, I do not know that I need refer to them, at any length at least. It has been claimed by the right hon. gentleman, I think, who leads the government, that this is a business administration. I shall endeavour to claim for the opposition in this House that we shall be a business opposition, and, therefore, I do not propose to discuss, except so far as necessary, matters which have been referred to in the speech. With respect to one matter, I desire to say a word or two, and that is a matter which has been referred to so eloquently by the hon. member for South Wellington. I mean the part which has been taken by our Canadian citizen soldiers in fighting the battles of the empire beyond the seas. I believe, Sir, that Canada has every right to be proud of the way in which its men have acquitted themselves. We knew when they left us that they would be brave and true, and we hoped that they would be fortunate. They have fulfilled all these conditions. The opportunity came to them more than once in South Africa, and the opportunity never came to them when they were found wanting. They received the commendation of their superior officers on every occasion on which they were called upon to play a prominent part, and it is well not only for Canada, but for the world to know what Canada and the outlying nations of the empire are capable of doing in that respect.

I would especially like to refer In this connection to the welcome which the Canadian contingents received upon their arrival in my native city of Halifax. It was a day which will long be remembered by those who were in Halifax on that occasion, and ' I listened with great pleasure to Lt.-Col Pelletier, a compatriot to the hon. seconder of the Address (Mr. Marcil), who as chief in command of the first contingent returned thanks for the reception which was tendered to his regiment. Let me say* further, Sir, that Canada is bound to see that those who fought for her and for the empire, and who because of wounds or disease are unable to earn a livelihood, are not left forgotten and unprotected. I regret that some mention was not made of this matter in the Speech from the Throne, and I trust that this omission was rather by inadvertence than by intent. I do not believe that the government of Canada intend to neglect to deal with this matter, especially in view of' the fact that the hon. the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir Richard Cartwright) used these words in the House last session :

I beg to tell that hon. gentleman that when Canada sends her sons to the front, Canada becomes responsible, and will know how to redeem that responsibility to the widows and the orphans of the brave men who may fall in that struggle.

We do uot propose to shift that duty on to the shoulders of any insurance company, and I may remind the House that with the full concurrence of his Council, my right hon. friend ward and care of every honest-minded Canadian.

Further on the hon. gentleman (Sir Richard Cartwright) said :

Sir, I have no fear that the Canadian people will shrink from that duty. I say that the government have chosen the right way, and I say again that the brave men in the^ front may have no fear if it should please Providence that they should remain on the soil of South Africa, that their widows and little ones will not be the wards and the care of the state, and the ward and care of every honest-minded Canadian. I

I have quoted this language because it expresses in more suitable terms than I could do, the views I entertain in regard to this subject, and I trust that the right hon. gentleman may be able to assure the House that the government will deal with this question before the session is over. As to the volunteers who have returned and who are able in some measure to perform the duties of life but who are handicapped in the struggle of life by reason of wounds or disease, provision should be made for them also. Again, the families of those who have fallen have in many cases been deprived of their bread winners, and while it is true that in some cases a provision has been made through the insurance which Sir Charles Tupper announced to the House last year,

Topic:   '23 COMMONS
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February 11, 1901

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

With the indulgence of the House, I would like to ask whether the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Fielding) suggests that we should go into supply before the Auditor General's Report is down. I think it would be very inconvenient to do so-I can hardly see, at present, how it will be possible to do so. Perhaps the hon. gentleman will be able to give us to-morrow the date when we may expect the Auditor General's Report.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AUDITOR GENERAL'S AND OTHER REPORTS.
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February 11, 1901

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

yet that does not cover all the necessity and it is most desirable that the government should make some further provision. \

I regret also that no mention was made in the Speech from the Throne of the present position of negotiations-if any negotiations are pending-with respect to the fast Atlantic service. Upon that question both parties in parliament are united. The government undertook to deal with it in 1897 and we had reports from the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce, from the hon. member for Quebec (Mr. Dobell, and from the right hon. gentleman during the session of 1897 and 1898, but since 1898 we have heard very little about the fast Atlantic service. The government have practically confessed that up to the present time their efforts have been an utter failure, but that is no reason why negotiations should terminate altogether, and so I trust that the Prime Minister will be able to assure us that the matter is still engaging the attention of the government.

Another subject which is not referred to in the Speech from the Throne is the present position of the negotiations which were entered into with the great republic to the south. About two years ago the Joint High Commission met and after several adjournments it finally, some eighteen months ago, ceased further negotiations and the House and the country are entirely in the dark now as to whether that commission proposes to resume, or whether it has absolutely abandoned its functions. It is the right of the House and the country to know from the right hon. gentleman to-day whether or not these negotiations are likely to be resumed at an early date. If they are not to be resumed we should like to know in what position is the Alaskan boundary question. It was intimated that that question stood in the way of adjustment, and if the question is to be dealt with (as was suggested on one occasion) apart from the Joint High Commission altogether, we would like to know what the policy of the government is with regard to that question so far as they are able to control it.

As to the proposed visit of the Duke of Cornwall and York to Canada, I may say, Mr. Speaker, that we on this side of the House shall hail it with loyalty and devotion. The Duke of Cornwall and York is no stranger in my own province, for when he was serving as midshipman in the Royal Navy he spent several months in the city of Halifax and many pleasant recollections of him remain in that city. There is no part of Canada where he will be hailed more warmly and loyally than in that city by the sea. I shall not, Mr. Speaker, trespass on the time of the House further than to express the hope that the right hon. the Prime Minister will give us such information on the matters which I have referred

to, as lie thinks'it is proper for the House to receive.

Topic:   '23 COMMONS
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