July 11, 1904



Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)


Hon. CHARLES FITZPATRICK (Minister of Justice) moved :


That item No. 40, House in committee on .Bill (No. 73) to amend the Railway Act of 1903 (Mr. Lennox) be transferred from Public Bills and Orders to Government Orders.


Motion agreed to.


Hon. SYDNEY FISHER (Minister of Agriculture) moved for leave to introduce (Bill No. 151) respecting the Incorporation of Seed-Growers' Association.


Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)



It is simply to give statutory authority for the incorporation of Seed-Growers' Associations. In consequence of the investigations that have been made by my department into the seed business of the country, certain people have expressed a wish to form themselves into an association for growing seed grain and other agricultural seeds. At present, there is no law under which these people can be incorporated and do their work legally as a corporate body. Some years ago parliament passed a statute for the incorporation of live stock associations, and this Bill is very much in the same form, as applied to seed growers.


Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.




Mr. EARLE asked :

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. Is there a vacancy in the collectorship of customs at Victoria, B.C. ? /[DOT]

2. How long has the collectorship been vacant ?

3. Who is performing the duties of collector at present ?

4. How long has he been performing such duties ?

5. When is it proposed to fill the vacancy ?

6. Has the position been offered to Mr. R. L. Drury, M.P.P., or to any other person?


Right Hon. S@

The collectorship of customs at Victoria, B.C., has been vacant, I believe, since February or March last I have not the exact date, The duties of the office are performed by the sub-collector. As to the fifth question, ' When is it proposed to fill the vacancy ? ' The Minister is not in his seat, and I cannot answer. The position has not been offered to Mr. Drury or to any other person.



Mr. MONK-by Mr. Ingram-asked : 1. Who are the parties entitled to receive an indemnity for the damages caused by flooding, and referred to in item 31 of the further supplementary estimates for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 1904 ? 2. By what means have these parties established their claim ? 3. Are there any other claimants, and if so, what are their names ?


Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)


Right Hon. SIR WILFRID LAURIER (Prime Minister).

The explanation with regard to this vote will be given when the estimates come up for discussion.



House again went into committee on Bill (No. 5) respecting the Militia of Canada-Sir Frederick Borden.


Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)


Hon. SIR FREDERICK BORDEN (Minister of Militia).

When the second reading of this Bill was under discussion, my hon. friend from South Norfolk (Mr. Tisdale) who preceded me in the department of Militia, asked for some papers with reference to the communications which led up to my attendance at the meeting of the Defence Committee in London. I told the hon. gentleman that I would endeavour to bring these papers down. I have them here. They consist of only two or three cablegrams which I will read. The first was from Mr. Chamberlain to Lord Minto :-

London, April 20, 1903.

With regard to important amendment contemplated in Militia Act, His Majesty's government earnestly hopes that your responsible advisers will defer action until matter has been fully discussed by Minister of Militia with Secretary of State for War and Commander in Chief. After close of Dominion session of parliament would suggest that Sir Frederick Borden should come to England.


Ottawa, Nov. 12, 1903.

Referring to Mr. Chamberlain's cypher telegram dated 20th April, Minister of Militia 203

anxious to sail for England about Nov. 28th, so that he may discuss new Militia Act with Secretary of State for War and Commander in Chief, and return to Canada before Christmas. Hope that this arrangement may be a convenient one. Consider mutual discussion important.

(Sgd.) MINTO.

Lord Minto telegraphed later on

Ottawa, 23rd Nov., 1903.

Am anxious for reply to my telegram of Nov. 12th, as Minister of Militia wishes to make his plans accordingly.

(Sgd.) MINTO.

The answer from Mr. Littleton was as follows

London, 24th Nov., 1903.

Referring to your cable of yesterday's date. Date suggested for visit of minister will be quite convenient.


I have already stated to the House the substance of what took place at that meeting of the Defence Committee. I only wish to add that my understanding of the object of my being invited to attend that meeting was simply and solely to expedite business. The Defence Committee is no longer, as it used to be, a sub-committee of Council, but is now an independent and advisory committee which has been created by the Prime Minister of England for the purpose of advising the Council, and its functions go no further than those of advisers. It is a business committee, and the object of inviting me to attend that committee, was simply7 to bring about, in the shortest possible manner the best results. As a result of my attending that committee, we were able to arrange in a short time-in an hour and a half or so-business that could not have been done in less than weeks, or possibly months, by correspondence.

Since the conymittee last sat, a number of notices of proposed amendments have been given. I have collected all of these amendments, with the exception of one or two, for the convenience of hon. gentlemen who are interested in this discussion, and I shall send two copies of this memorandum to bon. gentlemen opposite. The further amendments will be explained later on. Since the Bill was prepared I have, as already indicated to the House, had an opportunity of studying the new system which has been adopted by the War Office, as the result of ihe report of the committee known as the Esher Committee, which was appointed by Mr. Balfour for the purpose of investigating and reporting on all matters connected with the organization of the War Office, and making a report. The report is known as the Report of the War Office (Reconstitution) Committee, and is an exceedingly interesting, able and elaborate document. This report lias been adopted by the British government, and the details of it are now being worked cut. Like any new system it will, of course.

take time to work out all the details, but the main principles have been adopted and, I have been informed, are working very well. In view of the course which has been pursued by the War Office, a course which I may say has resulted from difficulties which were found to exist in working out the complicated system which has obtained in England, and which, to some extent, has been in existence in this country, I have thought it advisable to provide, in the Bill now before parliament, the machinery by which the government of this country may follow the example of the Imperial Government. Without troubling this committee by going into details, I think I may say, without fear of contradiction, that it is quite obvious that the system which has been in existence in this country ever since confederation has not worked well. I am not going to animadvert upon or criticise any officers who have been sent out here to assist us in administering the militia of this country. I do not propose to do that, but 1 think that every one will agree that the system has not worked well, and I am prepared to blame the system much more than the individuals who have attempted to work it. I believe it is an impossible system. I believe it is absolutely and entirely impossible to get on with the system which we have attempted to work in this country since confederation. We have had abundant examples, not confined to the administrations of the Liberal party alone, but under previous administrations as well, when It was found unworkable. There are many difficulties which I think act against the public interest in the endeavour to work out this system, difficulties which will be overcome entirely or very largely by the new system. One of these difficulties is that there has been absolute want of continuity under the existing system. Each new General Officer Commanding who comes to this country seems to be possessed with the idea that it is his duty to overturn and change everything done by his predecessor. There are no records to show in detail the reasons for the conclusions which the different General Officers Commanding have reached. Lnder the new system, there will be a Militia Council corresponding to what is in England called the Army Council. That council will be composed of the Minister of Militia, as chairman of the council, with four military men and two additional civilians. Everything that is done at that council will be made a matter of record, or at any rate every conclusion of importance which is reached by that council will be made a matter of record, so that if there be a change of ministers or a change of officers the record will remain there for the guidance of those who may come afterwards, and when changes are suggested, means will be found to compare new proposals with old proposals.


July 11, 1904