Some hon. MEMBERS
I can quite understand how the Minister of Railways might be amused at this, because he has very little knowledge on these matters.
There appear to be a couple of us in that dilemma.
Yes, you and the member for Annapolis. The hon. gentleman has already exhibited his lack of knowledge, when he did not see any distinction between the resolution as brought in by the hon. member for Victoria and the amendment as suggested by the hon. leader of the opposition, But I am very glad that this resolution has been amended in the manner in
which it has been, and I shall take very great pleasure in voting for it, and I would be very sorry to see a division of the House on the question. I think we should approach it, as we have almost without exception, without any party feeling. This is another point on which I am sorry the hon. member for Westmoreland should have made the statement he did. He endeavoured to bring politics into this matter, although there are no politics and should not be any in It. Now that the hon. member for Victoria has accepted this amendment, and the government, who are, I have no doubt, behind him in the matter, have also accepted it, I think we should all vote for it without division, and have it unanimously carried.
Mr. E. B. OSLER (West Toronto).
Mr. Speaker, I had intended to vote against this resolution, and to speak against it as strongly as I could. Not because I do not thoroughly and entirely agree that all those offensive words should be left out of the declaration ; but I do not think this is the proper place to introduce such a motion. My feeling is that to bring this and kindred subjects before the House must revive religious strife which has almost ceased, at all events in western Canada. But, as I do not wish that there should be any division in the House on this subject, and after the amendment has been accepted by the mover and endorsed by tbe leader of tbe opposition, not taking that as an endorsement of the principle that such a resolution should be introduced into this House at all, I will frankly support and vote for the amendment.
I am sorry not to be able to join my voice to the chorus of approval with which the amendment to this resolution has been received. I am sorry that the resolution was brought into the House. There are people to be considered out of this House as well as those in it, and this is a question which touches the hearts and consciences of people of many different classes in all sections of this country. We are placed in this position that we must either vote-so the extremists will tell us-to Insult one section of our population, or we must betray the other. If it were within the province of this legislature to decide the question, it might still he right and proper to bring it up in this House, but when it is one outside our jurisdiction, I think we should leave it severely alone. We know that in this country we have suffered in the past from agitations over questions of religion, which were exploited by political brigands and parasites, and we are liable to suffer from similar agitations in the future, if such questions are again introduced. It looks to me as if it were the intention of some people to introduce them. I am not one of those who object to this resolution because it deals with
a subject which is within the sole jurisdiction of the Imperial parliament. I do not object to approaching the Imperial parliament. We have the right to do so, but there are many things which are right, which are not expedient. Having been a member for a number of years of the territorial assembly, I am well aware that however much an irresponsible House may know concerning any certain measure not within its jurisdiction, it is apt to deal with it in a different spirit from the legislature charged with the responsibility of settling the question. I notice there is a degree of carelessness and levity in our treatment of this question that I am sure we would not display if the responsibility of deciding it rested with us. I do not imagine that if we had such a responsibility, a resolution would be approved, hour after hour, in one form, and then, after hours of debate, a radical amendment, changing its nature, would be just as readily accepted. It seems to me that this readiness to accept a radical change argues a sense of irresponsibility, which is not creditable to this House.
With regard to the change that has been made, it is certainly an important one, and makes a radical difference in the resolution. Those hon. members who spoke in favour of the resolution as it stood, by doing so laid themselves open to the charge of being willing to forego the Protestant succession to the Crown of England. But the resolution lias been amended in that particular, and now we are only dealing with it as regards the assertion of an insult to our Catholic fellow-citizens. I am not prepared to accept the statement that there is any insult intended. I take it that insult exists by reason of intent rather than by what is said, and there is no intent, and never was any, to insult any one's religious belief by requiring the King to take that solemn declaration.
The seconder of the resolution said whatever rights he claimed for himself he is willing to concede to others. I resemble him in that particular, but I say that the rights which I concede to others I claim for myself and those who think with me. If we admit the principle of Protestant succession to the Crown of England, then we admit the principle of establishing the Protestantism of the King by such form of words as may be necessary, and in so doing we do not insult any man's religious belief. It is the privilege of the members of every church to declare their religious belief by such form of words as they may think necessary. I do not think that our Roman Catholic friends will say that the form of words in which they profess their religious belief could not be construed as offensive to Protestants. No doubt the same view will hold with regard to the profession of faith of the Protestant church. These are subjects on which each one lias the right to express his own opinion in his own way.
Would you call Roman Catholics idolaters ?
Nobody calls them idolaters.
Read the declaration.
The declaration reads :
And that the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary or any other saint and the sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitous and idolatrous.
I humbly submit that it does not follow necessarily from that declaration that Catholics are idolaters. I am sorry that other hon. members do not look at this matter as I do. But I decline to be put in the position of stating that our constitution has systematically for 200 years insulted any class of the loyal citizens of this country. I deny that contention. I say that this matter of the declaration of the faith of the King of England is a necessity arising from the fact of the Protestant succession. The intolerance, if intolerance there be, is in that principle of Protestant succession. If a wrong is done, it is because the constitution demands that a Protestant and not a Catholic shall sit upon the Throne. That is where the difference lies between the case of a king and others. No Catholic is debarred from any office or position throughout the King's dominions, but still a Catholic is debarred from a seat on the Throne. That is intolerance if you like. I will admit that it is intolerance, but I will not admit that the form of words by which it is established that the King is, as required by the law to be, a Protestant, is an insult to anybody. With regard to the change that has been made in the resolution, I say that, when the principle of the Protestant succession is admitted, the contention contained in the resolution falls to the ground. The contention that any insult is contained in the constitution is as incorrect as to say that any insult is intended. I ! cannot, by supporting even this amended resolution, admit, as I say, that the constitution of England has insulted a part of the people of England for two hundred years, nor will I be a party to, saying that the King of England, when he took the coronation oath and made this declaration a few days ago, did, as a matter of fact any more than as a matter of intention, insult the Roman Catholic people of this country. I shall, therefore, vote against the resolution.
Mr. JABEL ROBINSON (West Elgin).
As an independent member of this House, I feel that I would not do myself or the people of this country justice unless I expressed my opinion upon this question. I always had the idea that this parliament was instituted for the purpose of discussing politics and introducing legislation for the benefit of this country. I had no idea that it could at any time have the power to turn itself into a convocation of bishops to
discuss religion. It seems to me that that is what it has been doing since three o'clock to-day, and I think it is time this discussion was ended.
Mr. ROBINSON (West Elgin).
And it will end the sooner if hon. gentlemen opposite will keep quiet. I am built of the kind of stuff that will stand here till to-morrow morning if necessary. Now, I say, in all earnestness, that I hope and trust that this will be the last time that ever a resolution of this kind will be introduced into parliament. It is an insult to the people of this country for this House to sit here for twelve hours and discuss a thing that is not our business. I am satisiied that the people of England, whom we propose to advise in this matter, understand their business far better than we do, and that we should let them settle this question. I understand, from what the Prime Minister said, that we had been snubbed once for the advice we gave. I hope that that will not happen in this case. I have very little objection to the resolution, but I do object to forcing our opinion upon the British people. What would we think if the British parliament wasted their time in telling us what we should do here ? We would think they had better mind their own business. 1 have not much more to say
Mr. ROBINSON (West Elgin)-but I could talk for a long time if I wished to. I only wish to protest now, and for all time against this question being brought up in this House. If I had to prescribe the oath for His Majesty, it would rend something like this : ' I, King Edward YII., a
Protestant firm in the faith, solemnly swear that I will give to all my subjects of every race, colour or creed, the right to worship God according to the dictates of their con-ciences; and no person shall interfere 'with the people of any religious faith, against the law, or make them afraid for anything they may do in religious matters.' No man, whatever his religion, could find fault with such a declaration as that. I hope that that is the last oath that will be given in this House, and I hope hon. members will all subscribe to it, and will live like upright, good, honest, Christian men.
The hon. member for King's, N.B. (Mr. Fowler) has been good enough to state that I did not know the difference between transubstantiation and consubstan-tiation.
I understand that the hon. member (Mr. Wade) wishes to make a personal'explanation.
I fancy that it does not make much difference to this House whether
I know the difference between transubstantiation and consubstantiation, but I wish to assert that the statement that I made here that the first paragraph of said declaration is offensive to the Lutherans as well as to Roman Catholics is perfectly correct; and, as authority, I would refer, if I may be permitted
I would remind the hon. member that at this stage of the debate he is only permitted to make a personal explanation, because he has already spoken once.