I hear some hon. members say "ready, aye, ready." The phrase seems to come very easily to the lips of our friends across the floor. Apparently, it is because they used it so often during the last compaign that they know it and know it well. But since they have brought up this subject, I am going to say something about "ready, aye, ready." Being of a somewhat curious turn of mind I looked this up. I wanted to see where and how it was used, and much to my surprise, looking through Hansard, I found that other public men before my leader had used the term "ready, aye, ready." Just for the satisfaction of the House I am prepared, as I expected that somebody might mention the phrase, to read a statement by Sir Wilfrid Laurier which appears in Hansard of August 19, 1914., page 10. This is what he said:
It will be seen by the world that Canada, a daughter of old England, intends to stand by her in this great conflict. When the call comes our answer goes at once, it goes in the classical language of the British answer to the call to duty: "Heady, aye, ready."
No wonder hon. members across the way know the words well. They have, 1 suppose, been practising them since that time. Ready, aye, ready,, without qualification, on a straight question of helping England in time of war; but my leader said, "ready, aye, ready" in his Toronto speech, which I have heard mentioned many a time since I have been sitting here during the last three weeks. He said
"ready, aye, ready," but let me read how he said it. I am not going to read the entire extract, as it is too long, but I will read a part of it. He said:
There is no suggestion at all that we should send armed forces across the sea. Britain merely sought a declaration of solidarity on the part of the Dominions, the existence of which the war itself demonstrated once and for all. Let there be no dispute as to where I stand. When Britain's message came then Canada should have said: "Ready, aye, ready; we stand by you.". ... By that course we do not bring the country nearer war. We take the best step in our power to ensure that war shall not come.
I believe hon. gentlemen across the floor who have used the phrase "ready, aye, ready" so often, did not know this. There will be no excuse for them now,, and any time they want to find it I shall be only too glad to show it to them.
We have heard a great deal during the last few weeks about the supremacy of parliament, how everything must be decided by parliament. After coming across the rather curious instance in which these words "ready, aye, ready" had been used, I delved a little deeper and found this: On page 2403 of Hansard of .Tune 18, 1917, I find these words again of that wonderful chieftain, Sir Wilfrid Laurier:
What I propose is that we should have a referendum and a consultation of the people upon this question-
Speaking in regard to the question of conscription.
I have taken the referendum. . . . When the consultation with the people has been had, when the verdict has been pronounced, I pledge my word, my reputation, that to the verdict, such as it is, every man will submit.
He went further: He moved this amendment to the second reading of the bill that had been proposed by Sir Robert Borden:
The further consideration of this bill be deferred until the principle thereof has, by means of a referendum, been submitted to and approved of by the electors of Canada.
Topic: AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT