June 26, 1920

L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

That is what I gathered from the hon. member's remarks, but if it is not what he meant I am ready to abide by his correction.

Mr. ARMSTRONG (Lambton). The statement as regards Great .Britain being compelled to pay $10.75 per head is correct, and the people of Canada are asked to pay only 25 cents.

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L LIB
UNION
L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

That is where my hon. friend is mistaken. We are being offered a cruiser, two destroyers and two submarines, which form the nucleus of a navy. But we have not .asked for that. We are offered the embryo of a navy, and surely it will grow. Canada does not intend to protect her coast lines with the nucleus of a navy; this is

only a beginning. My hon. friend should know that this gift is offered to us from the Admiralty "through Lord Jellicoe, in order that Canada should 'assume for the future all expenditure involved in the up-keep of a greater navy. My hon. friend went on to say that he was humiliated, when on the other side in 1916 he visited the British fleet after the battle of Jutland and saw the name "Canada" inscribed on one of His Majesty's ships. He felt rather cheap at the idea that Canada had not contributed one red cent towards the maintenance of that ship. Let me say to my hon. friend that if he felt ashamed on that visit I am rather pleased to hear him make the confession, because it is the first sign of repentance by one of those loyal Tories of 1910 who opposed so bitterly the Canadian navy, which whilst protecting Canada could meet the emergencies that might confront the British Empire. My hon. friend should not have forgotten the events of 1909-10. The policy which is beinig propounded this evening by the Minister of Naval Affairs was 'evolved by the late (Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his Government. It was introduced first in 1909 in the form of a resolution which was 'amended, the amendment being accepted unanimously by both sides of the House. In 1910 the Government came before Parliament with a Canadian policy, the naval Bill whose principal features were read a moment ago by my hon, friend (Mr. Armstrong). He now has the brass-pardon me, Mr. Chairman, the use of the expression-to' say that he did not oppose it! I have not the Votes and Proceedings under my hand, but I know that my hon. friend voted against that Bill in the House on the third reading. And when he speaks of humiliation, the humiliation is on the Tory party sitting behind the Liberal Unionist minister who stands fast by the old Laurier Naval policy, although the time is not opportune to-day to put it into force. The humiliation is on the 'Tory party, norw obliged to accept a policy which they denounced from one end olf the country to the other,- denounced in the county of Laimbton as being a separatist policy; denounced in the province of Quebec, in my constituency, in [DOT]the constituency of Reanoe, in the constituency of Kiamouraska;-in short, in the sixty-five constituencies of my native province 'a.s being too British. Sir, what are the facts? When in 1910, the Naval Bill was about to be read a third time, a gentleman rose from his seat and moved this amendment:

Mr. Speaker, in amendment to the motion that the Bill be now read the second time, I move that the word "now" be struck out, and the words be added at the end of the motion "this day six months."

This 'amendment was moved by Mr. Northrup, who at that time was a member of the House of Commons. The vote was taken on the 10th day of March, 1910. The House divided on Mr. Northirup's amendment, and the first name on the list of nays is the proud name of the bon. member for Lambkin, Mr. Armstrong!

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UNION
L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Juslt allow me one moment, please. I am rather pleased to find 'that at last there "is some sign of repentance on my hon. friend's part for his orwn action of a few years ago. The hon. member, I have no doub't, now regards his vote when my old chief Sir Wilfrid Laurier, propounded a national policy which ib now adopted by the Government and which in 1910 h)ad been endorsed by the Admiralty.

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UNION
L LIB
UNION

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Unionist

Mr. ARMSTRONG:

Can yon tell us why the Government of that day did not put that policy into force? And what about the three dreadnought policy?

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

order. They are coming to us and asking that money be appropriated for the Naval Service, and they tell us that a year or two hence they will announce what their naval policy is. That is no way to treat Parliament, and in order so far as possible to uphold the rights of Parliament we on this side are determined not to vote appropriations as a mere matter of temporary expediency, but at a time like this to demand from the Government in the first instance a statement of what their policy is. If that policy commends itself to us and to the country we will give it our support; if it does not, we will dk* our utmost to oppose it, believing that our opposition will be supported by the country at large.

Let me remind the House that at the beginning of this session during the first debate that took place I emphasized very strongly our disapproval of the habit that this Government have fallen into of leaving pveir until the very last days of the session matters of great national importance, and in particular asking Parliament to vote millions of dollars for expenditure which the people's representatives have had no opportunity to consider and discuss. I then stated that if the Government continued that objectionable course, we on this side of the House would be doubly careful before we acquiesced in the passage of any measure that would be the means of furthering (Wait kind of adtion in the future. Notwithstanding that the Government has had ample warning, it is simply repeating this method, particularly in reference to the naval service.

On the 22nd of March the Main Estimates were presented to the House, and they contained the item:

Naval service-To provide for the maintenance of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1920-21, $300,000 ; 1919-20, $600,000.

,Or compared with the Estimates of 1920, a decrease of $300,000. On the 25th of March, just three days later, the Minister of Naval Affairs made a statement in this House on what he termed the naval policy of the Government, which contained the following:

In view of Canada's heavy financial commitments and of the fact that Great Britain has not as yet decided on her permanent naval policy, and if the approaching Imperial Conference at which the question of naval defence of the Empire will come up for discussion between the Home Government and the Overseas Dominions, it has been decided to defer in the meantime action in regard to the adoption of a permanent naval policy for Canada.

The House-*

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

Read on.

Mr. MACKENZIE KlING: I will in a

moment. The House and the country generally read these two statements together -the statement the minister gave three days after the Estimates were brought down, and the figures quoted in the Estimates. When they saw that the Government proposed a decrease of $300,000, as compared with the amount expended last year, they warmly approved and applauded that action, because it was generally felt that at this time before the work of demobilization arising out of the great war had been completed, and while Parliament was still voting vast sums of money for demobilisation, the Government was at least showing a sense of perspective in not asking for additional sums for the creation of a naval service.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

Why does the hon. member not read the whole of my statement?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I read; the

whole statement the other day.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

It would do no harm 'to Tead it agin.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The next paragraph which my hon. friend is so anxious that I should read is as follows:

The Government has decided to carry on the Canadian Naval Service along pre-war lines and has accepted the offer of Great Britain of one light cruiser and two torpedo boat destroyers to take the place of the present obsolete and useless training ships, the Niobe and Rainbow.

What I have to say to my hon. friend is this. When he made to the House the statement that the Government had decided to carry on the Canadian naval service along pre-war lines, and there was before the House the item in the Main Estimates I have quoted, if he had anything else in his mind, if he contemplated an Estimate, not of $300,000. but of $2,500,000, he should have told Parliament so at that time. Either he had nolt anything in his mind at that time and the whole business is as II have described it-my hon. friend shakes his head. Well, then he had in his mind that he was going to come to Parliament in the last days of the session, and ask Parliament to volte $2,500,000, and he was afraid- to mention it when he thought we would be able to discuss the whole policy without any need of haste.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

When 1 made the

statement that the Government Was going to carry on along pre-war lines, if my hon. friend had looked up the former Estimates, he would have seen that carrying on along

on pre-war lines would mean an expenditure of $1,500,000.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I purpose

taking, and I think we are justified in taking, the Government at their own word as the minister presented his statement on the naval situation, not as he brings it down in the dying days of this session. The minister, in bringing down his statement, said that Canada's veTy heavy financial commitments are a consideration. We purpose taking that view of the matter, and we would ask the minister to confine his expenditure on naval matters to what he intimated' he was going to ask for at the tame he made that statement. We ask him>

that because we believe Canada's financial commitments are very heavy at this time. This year we can afford to economise in some directions, while we cannot afford to economise in others. We possibly cannot avoid an expenditure of thirty or forty million dollars on demobilization, but we can avoid an expenditure of $2,500,000 in regard to those vessels the minister hopes to have temporarily in commission. The minister said further:

In view of Canada's heavy financial commitments and of the fact that Britain has not as yet decided on her permanent naval policy, and of the approaching Imperial Conference at which the question of naval defence of the Empire will come up for discussion between the Home Government and the Overseas Dominions, it has been decided to defer in the meantime action in regard to the adoption of a permanent naval policy for Canada.

We Bay: If the minister has decided to defer his permanentt naiwal policy until this conference, we think we are justified in lacking him to- defer in the meantime (further expenditures on the navy than whaJt is absolutely necessary toi keep in existence the nucleus which may have to be continued after a permanent policy has been determined upon.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Is Britain doing that?

Mr. MACKENZIE; KING: Britain has

her policies to consider; we have our policies to consider. Great Britain has unquestionably certain matters to consider as regards her navy, having regard to her insular position and the equipment which she has, matters which are wholly different from the consideration of which we in this country have to take account at the present time.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My point is this. Is it not true, as set forth in the statement, that Britain's permanent naval policy has not been finally adopted? Is it not also true

that Britain is doing as we are doing now, voting money to support a temporary policy in the meantime?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I think, if my hon. friend compares Britain's military and naval expenditures to-day with her prewar expenditures, he will find that the former are considerably less.

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June 26, 1920