Wilfrid LAURIER

LAURIER, The Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C., B.C.L., D.C.L., LL.D., Litt.D.

Personal Data

Party
Laurier Liberal
Constituency
Quebec East (Quebec)
Birth Date
November 20, 1841
Deceased Date
February 17, 1919
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfrid_Laurier
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=e2f3ce71-bd81-4d34-8a08-56a140552231&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

January 22, 1874 - October 7, 1877
LIB
  Drummond--Arthabaska (Quebec)
October 8, 1877 - August 16, 1878
LIB
  Drummond--Arthabaska (Quebec)
  • Minister of Inland Revenue (October 8, 1877 - October 8, 1878)
November 28, 1877 - August 16, 1878
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • Minister of Inland Revenue (October 8, 1877 - October 8, 1878)
September 17, 1878 - May 18, 1882
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • Minister of Inland Revenue (October 8, 1877 - October 8, 1878)
June 20, 1882 - January 15, 1887
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
February 22, 1887 - February 3, 1891
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (June 23, 1887 - July 10, 1896)
March 5, 1891 - April 24, 1896
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (June 23, 1887 - July 10, 1896)
June 23, 1896 - July 10, 1896
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (June 23, 1887 - July 10, 1896)
July 11, 1896 - October 9, 1900
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • President of the Privy Council (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
  • Prime Minister (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
July 30, 1896 - October 9, 1900
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • President of the Privy Council (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
  • Prime Minister (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • President of the Privy Council (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
  • Prime Minister (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
LIB
  Wright (Quebec)
  • President of the Privy Council (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
  • Prime Minister (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
  • Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs (March 13, 1905 - April 7, 1905)
  • Minister of the Interior (March 13, 1905 - April 7, 1905)
  • Minister of Marine and Fisheries (January 6, 1906 - February 5, 1906)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • President of the Privy Council (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
  • Prime Minister (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
LIB
  Soulanges (Quebec)
  • President of the Privy Council (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
  • Prime Minister (July 11, 1896 - October 6, 1911)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (October 10, 1911 - February 17, 1919)
December 17, 1917 - February 17, 1919
L LIB
  Quebec East (Quebec)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (October 10, 1911 - February 17, 1919)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1743 of 1744)


March 7, 1901

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Topic:   SOREL HARBOUR WORKS.
Full View Permalink

March 7, 1901

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

granted to that road $27,000 a mile of public money for 290 miles in Ontario ; $8,000 a mile guaranteed by Manitoba for the Minnesota section and the section in Manitoba ; and the Dominion government in 1898 gave 6,400 acres a mile. The Manitoba government guaranteed $10,000 a mile bonds which, with the land grants, made a donation of $20,000 a mile to that concern. In 1898 three Liberal legislatures in this country : the legislature of Ontario, the legislature of Manitoba, and this parliament controlled by the Liberal party, gave the equivalent of $20,000 a mile for this road. I called the attention of parliament and the Minister of Railways to these facts when the measure was going through here, and I said : Now is the time to protect the people of Manitoba. But the minister replied : You are wandering far afield ; you are trying to pose before the country, and he made all kinds of charges of that kind against me when my only desire was to get him to protect the interests of the people. What was the defence that the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Blair) set up then '! He said : This is not a great continental project ; it is only a little railway and does not involve any great interest. That statement of the minister (Hon. Mr. Blair) is on record, and when 1 divided the House, the right hon. the First Minister rushed the measure through and he neglected to seize the opportunity which would have protected the people of Manitoba to-day. The people of Manitoba are now seeking to right the wrong that was perpetrated upon them by three legislatures controlled by the Liberal party. The province of Ontario is to blame for not taking some sort of satisfactory guarantee from the Rainy River road ; the minister (Hon. Mr. Blair) is to blame in the same way, and the Greenway government is most of all to blame. If what I proposed had been done, namely, to unite and make that road a national road, there would be no grievance in Manitoba to-day, but on the contrary, the Rainy River Railway would have been a link in the new national system. It would in a short time have been connected with the Crow's Nest Pass Railway and with the Intercolonial system, and for the money that Canada has expended on these railways we would have practically had a national system across the continent without costing us an additional cent. The Minister of Railways on that occasion failed to protect the interests of the country ; he failed to protect the interests of Manitoba, and the same charge applies to the Liberal governments of Ontario and Manitoba.

I want to pass, Mr. Speaker, from that partial view of the case. I am sorry to have to say of hon. gentlemen opposite that they failed in their duty. Now. with what the hon. gentleman from Simcoe (Mr. Bennett) has said in regard to transportation of Lake Superior, I agree to some extent, but I 1 do not agree with all he said, for if his argu-

ment means anything it means that the Grand Trunk Railway system from Midland to Montreal isi the system Rest adapted to solve the transportation problem, and that after we are finished with the canals we should do nothing more. I do not agree with the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bennett) in that respect. On the contrary, I agree with hon. gentlemen opposite. I say that there is or will be enough traffic for every system of transportation which we have got, and the thing for us to do is to find that system will give us the best and most immediate results. The Grand Trunk Railway has a good harbour at Midland and a good system to Montreal, but just when it reaches Montreal it does the worst thing possible for Canada, because it deflects that traffic to Portland. That should not be, nor should the Grand Trunk Railway be allowed to continue that practice. The best way to stop that and to afford a remedy is to do just what the hon. member (Mr. Bennett) said we should not do. I believe we should nationalize the Booth lines and nationalize the Ross line, and from all I can gather to-day Quebec is the natural port for a great deal of that trade. At very small cost Quebec can be made a splendid shipping port, and can be developed and put in running order this year, and extended every year in the future. I believe that there is something in winter navigation, but I do not intend to enter upon that subject to-day. Be that as it may. Quebec is the most available port we have in Canada for the greatest length of time during the year, and it can be equipped with the least expense. I believe that the Canada Atlantic Railway and the Great Northern Railway would make a first-class extension of the 'Intercolonial Railway. I do not believe that our national line, the Intercolonial Railway, should end at Montreal. I believe in its extension to the great lakes where the traffic originates and where it will find a feeder. If these ports are to be built up ; if the 200 million bushels of grain -which I believe will be 400 millions before a great while-which comes to the great lakes and which will come to Midland and to Parry Sound are to toe handled in Canada, I want to see the Grand Trunk Railway get a share of it and I want to see the Canadian national railway getting its share of it and taking it to Quebec in the summer time and to St. John, Halifax or Sydney in the winter time, or if need be. all the year around. I am applying my system of nationalizing the railways as a solution of the problem submitted to us yesterday by the hon. member (Mr. Bennett). I believe that the people of Canada are in favour of nationalizing the Booth system and the Ross system and making them part of the Intercolonial Railway. I believe that if the government had in 1898 secured a proper control over the Rainy River road, Canada would have a national system of railways in a short while right into the city of Winnipeg, and in that way we would have been able to discipline all the other railways in this country. My hon. friend from Simcoe iMr. Bennett) said that we had spent enough money on the canals and that we should now iet the railways have a show. I do not agree with him there. My opinion is that for twenty years the railways have done their best to prevent the deepening and enlarging of our canals, and now that our canal system is coming into vogue I would like to see it largely improved and extended.

We in Toronto, also believe that probably one great solution of the transportation problem is to make a national road somewhere between the Georgian Bay and Toronto, by which we could use the canal and river system from that city down to the sea.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Full View Permalink

February 12, 1901

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

by each for office rent and hired help, in detail, during each of said years, amount allowed to each for board and lodging during each of said years, and amount of all other expenses during each of said years of each such agents in connection with his rffiee and charged to the government of Canada.

4. Date of appointment of W. T. R. Preston, his salary, his duties, his travelling expenses, amount he charged the government of Canada for board and lodging and other expenses in connection with his office, during each year since his appointment.-Mr. Wilson.

Return of the report of the engineer who surveyed Napanee river in 1890, and for a return showing the names of the persons employed, length of employment and sums paid to each person, and giving details of all other sums paid, with names of persons to whom payments were made on account of the said survey.-Mr. Wilson.

Copies of all papers, instructions, tenders, contracts, correspondence, reports in any way relating to the construction of a dwelling for the officers of the government or staff in Dawson City.

Also, all instructions, papers, tenders, contracts, correspondence, in any way relating to the construction of public buildings under contract awarded to William Rourke.

Also, all instructions, papers, tenders, contracts, specifications, reports in any way relating to the construction of a bridge leading from the barracks and other public buildings to the main part of the town in Dawson.-Sir Charles Hib-bert Tupper.

Copies of the address presented by the citizens cf Dawson to His Excellency the Governor General on the occasion of His Excellency's visit to that city in 1900, all orders in council, correspondence and papers in any way connected with the said address and the requests and representations contained therein.-Sir Charles Hib-bert Tupper.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MOTIONS AGREED TO WITHOUT DISCUSSION.
Full View Permalink

February 11, 1901

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

turing to criticise the position taken by the American commissioners, I may say that we can hope that if we cannot reach an honourable settlement of the question between ourselves, we may at least effect an honourable compromise. Between two such countries as the United States on the one hand and Canada and Great Britain on the other, I am sure there is no difficulty that cannot be settled by an honourable compromise or arbitration. If we cannot ourselves arrive at an agreement, certainly we can agree to call in a third party, a friendly power, to arbitrate. In the meantime, we have taken a step which was important to take in a matter of great moment. At any moment, there might be discoveries of gold in that district, and we know from the character of the men who risked their lives in the search for gold, that unless we knew exactly where the gold might be found, whether in the territory of Canada or the United States, great complications might result unless there was a settled boundary. Consequently we have agreed on a provisional boundary, which will serve as a boundary so long as the question remains unsettled, and that provisional boundary has been settled by the geographers' of the two countries. In a short time I will be able to lay on the table the report on the commission. But for the present we have a provisional boundary, by which the two countries have agreed to abide, and according to which the rights of the two countries are to be settled in the meantime.

Topic:   '23 COMMONS
Full View Permalink

February 8, 1901

Sir WILFRID LACRIER.

that from the clay of her accession to the Throne, the Queen exhibited, under all available circumstances, an abounding and lasting friendship towards that country which but for the fault of a vicious government would still have formed part of her dominions-a friendship which could not fail to touch the minds and hearts of a sensitive people. This was manifest in times of peace, but still more in time of war, and especially in the supreme hour of trial of the United States during the civil war. In the early months of the civil war, as perhaps few now remember, an event took place which almost led to hostilities between Great Britain and the United States. An American man-of-war stopped a British merchant ship on the high sea, and forcibly abducted from it two envoys of the confederate government on their way to Europe1. That act was a violation of the territory of England, because England has always held the decks of her ships to be part of her territory. It not only caused excitement in England, but it caused excitement of a different kind in the United States. The action of the commander of the war vessel in making the abduction aroused a great deal of enthusiasm among the people of the United States, which was reflected even on the floor of Congress, and evoked many meetings and resolutions of commendation. Lord Palmerston was at that time the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and he was not the man to brook such an affront. He had a despatch prepared by the Foreign Minister, who, if I remember rightly, was at that time Lord Russell, peremptorily demanding the return of the prisoners and an apology. The despatch which had been prepared was submitted to the Queen; and then was revealed the good sense and the kind heart of the wise and good woman at the head of the British nation. She sent back the despatch remarking that it was couched in too harsh terms, and that it ought to be modified to make possible the surrender of the prisoners without any surrender of dignity on the part of the United States. This wise counsel was followed ; the despatch was modified accordingly ; the prisoners were released, and the danger of war was averted. That act on the part of the Queen made a most favourable impression on the minds of the people of the United States. But that was not all. Three years, or a little more afterwards, at the close of the civil war, when the union of the United States had been confirmed, when slavery had been abolished, when rebellion had been [DOT] put down, the civilized world was shocked to hear of the foul assassination of the wise and good man who had carried his country through that ordeal. Then the good heart and sound judgment of the Queen were again manifested. She sent a letter to the widow of the martyred president-not as the Queen of Great Britain to the widow Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

of the president of the United States ; but she sent a letter of sympathy from a widow to a widow, herself being then in the first years of her own bereavement. That action on her part made a very deep impression upon the minds of the American people ; it touched not only the heart of the widowed wife, but the heart of the widowed nation ; it stirred the souls of strong men; it caused tears to course down the cheeks of veterans who had courted death during the previous four years on a thousand battlefields. I do not say that it brought about reconciliation, but it made reconciliation possible. It was the first rift in the clouds; and to-day, in the time of England's mourning, the American people flock to their churches, pouring their blessings upon the memory of Britain's Queen. I do not hope, I do not believe it possible, that the two countries which were severed in the eighteenth century, can ever be again united politically ; but perhaps it is not too much to hope that the friendship thus inaugurated by the hand of the Queen may continue to grow until the two nations are united again, not by legal bonds, but by ties of affection ns strong, perhaps, as if sanctioned by all the majesty of the laws , of the two countries; and if such au event were ever to take place, the credit of it would be due to the wise and noble woman who thus would have proved herself to be one of the greatest of statesmen, simply by following the instincts of her heart.

Sir, in a life in which there is so much to be admired, perhaps the one thing most to be admired is that naturalness, that simplicity in the character of the Queen which showed itself in such actions as I have just described. From the first day of her reign to the last, she conquered and kept the affections of her people, simply because under all circumstances, and on all occasions, whether important or trivial, she did the one thing that ought to be done, and did it in the way most natural and simple. Thus, on the day of her accession to the Throne, when she had to hold her first Council of State, when she had to meet veterans of the army and dignitaries of the church and the state, she performed all her duties in such a way as at once to win the hearts of all present. The Duke of Wellington expressed his gratification in the blunt language of an old soldier by remarking that if she had been his own daughter, he could not have expected her to have done better. So it was on the first day, so it was every day, so it was on the last day of her reign.

She was a Queen, she was also a wife and a mother. She had her full share of the joys and sorrows of life. She loved, she suffered. Perhaps, though a Queen, she had a larger share of the sorrows than of the joys of life, for as Chateaubriand somewhere says, we have come to know how much there is of tears

in the eyes of queens. Her married life was one of the noblest that could be conceived. It can be summed up in one word : it was happy. But death prematurely placed her cold hand upon her happiness by the removal of the noble companion of her life at an early age. From that moment she never was exactly the same. To the end of her life she mourned like Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be consoled. After the lapse of forty years, time may have assuaged, but it did not remove her grief ; we can apply to her the beautiful language of the French poet :

Dans sa premitsre larme elle noya son coeur.

(' In her first tear she drowned her heart.') She is now no more-no more ? Nay, 1 boldly say she lives-lives in the hearts of her subjects ; lives in the pages of history. And as the ages revolve, as her pure profile stands more marked against the horizon of time, the verdict of posterity will ratify the judgment of those who were her subjects. She ennobled mankind ; she exalted royalty-the world is better for her life.

Sir. the Queen is no more, let us with one heart say : Long live the King !

I propose to the House that we should unite in a resolution to His Majesty the King, to convey to him the expression of our sorrow at the loss he has suffered-a loss which, we may say with every respect, is ours also.

I propose that we should unite in conveying to the King the expression of the loyalty of his Canadian subjects.

Only a few days ago His Majesty sent a message to his broad dominions across the sea, in which he said it would be his aim in life to follow in the footsteps of his great and noble mother. Sir, we did not want that assurance on the part of His Majesty, to know that the wise policy and the wise conduct of the great Queen whom he has succeeded on the Throne would be his guide. We have believed from the first that he who was a wise prince would be a wise King, that the policy which has made the British Empire so great under his predecessor would also be his policy, and that the reign of King Edward the Seventh would he simply a continuation of the reign of Queen Victoria.

On our part let us offer to His Majesty the King the expression of our loyalty-a loyalty which does not spring from any sycophancy or fetichism-but from grateful hearts, who duly appreciate the blessing of living under British institutions. Let us wish him Godspeed, and let us hope that his reign may be as fruitful of good as was that of his wise predecessor. I now beg to move:1-

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty:

Most Gracious Sovereign :

We, Your Majesty's dutitful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Canada, in Parliament

assembled, humbly beg leave to approach Your Majesty with the expression of our deep and heartfelt sorrow at the demise of our late Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria.

In common with our fellow subjects in all parts of the empire, we deplore the loss of a great ruler whose manifold and exalted virtues have for three generations commanded the respect and admiration of the world.

As representatives cf the Canadian people, we mourn for the beloved Sovereign under whom our Dominion first rose into being, and to whose wise and beneficent sway are due in no small measure its growth and prosperity.

May we venture to add that above and beyond these sentiments which the sad occasion naturally calls forth, there has come to each one of us a sense of personal bereavement which, we say it with all possible respect and duty, makes Your Majesty's sorrow our own.

We pray that the God of consolation may comfort Your Majesty and the members of the Royal Family in the affliction.

It is with feelings not less deep and sincere than those to which we have just given utterance that we hail Your Majesty's accession to the Throne of your ancestors. We beg to assure Your Majesty of our devoted attachment to Your Majesty's person and government, and to express our unclouded confidence that the glory and the greatness of the British Empire abroad, and the happiness and well-being of^ Your Majesty's people at home, will suffer no diminution under Your Majesty's gracious rule.

Topic:   DEATH OF QUEEN VICTORIA.
Full View Permalink