Some hon. MEMBERS:
More of them! Come on, we will have a few more. The point is, we cannot distinguish which gentleman is saying "hear, hear"; if we could, I am afraid we would not hear so many.
While there is no amendment to the tariff policy so frankly declared by the Government, still we have a definite declaration in this book. The first resolution says that the Liberal party when returned to power will substantially reduce the tariff. That leads one to ask: What is the meaning of the word "substantial." As I passed the Library I went in and, as many of us lawyers sometimes have to do, I looked into the dictionary to get a definition of the term. In the last edition of Webster's International Dictionary I found the meaning of the word. I am quite sure that the framers of the resolution which I have read about a "substantial" reduction of the tariff, being educated and scholarly men, must have known the meaning of the words they were using, especially of this word "substantial," because they put it in their speeches and in their resolutions.
Well, I looked up in Webster's Dictionary -an authority my hon. friends will probably admit to be as good as any-the meaning of the word "substantially". I find that it means, first, " in a substantial manner"- no shading down, as we had it in West Peterborough, but an actual, substantial reduction. Further, it means " really, actually, solidly, essentially,, materially,"-in a substantial manner. It means that and nothing else. So that if hon. gentlemen opposite introduce petty resolutions calling for reductions of ten fifteen twenty-five or even forty per cent in the tariff, we shall know that they have undergone a change of heart since August, 1919. To effect a reduction which would be something material, something in line with the definition I have given, my hon. friends would have to advocate at least a seventy-five per cent reduction. On that policy my hon. friends must go to the country, and I think that the issue would be met with the greatest alacrity and pleasure by gentlemen on
this side, and by supporters of the Government generally.
For the reasons which I have given, therefore-Laving regard to the uncertainty which exists on the other side as.to what principles we would adopt and what leader we would follow if we went to the other side-all this doubt makes it perfectly clear to those who were formerly Liberals and who have now joined in an honourable compact known as the National Liberal and Conservative party-
that they should stay
where they are. I think I heard an observation by an hon. gentlemen opposite, no doubt with regard to the name " National Liberal and Conservative party". Well, is it not true? Is this not a national party? Does it not stand for the nation as against groups, as against small interests here or small racial conflicts there or anything that is brought up to oppose this Government? Does it not mean that the party in power has really put Canada in the way of being a nation, although yet in her tottering steps?
I accept with readiness
the laughter, the forced merriment which I hear. I do not believe that my hon. friend who laughs that way and sneers about Canada being a nation can really be the good Canadiaii that I would have taken him to be. If there is one thing that has engendered pride of race, pride of country and a true spirit of patriotism in Canada, it is the idea that in view of Canada's contribution to the great conflict she is recognized as beginning to be a real nation. True, she is a member of the galaxy of British nations, but that does not alter the situation. We shall go on henceforth trying to make Canada great and good; trying to get rid of racial troubles which we have had. Hon. members know that I made a strong plea during the last session in this regard, and I repeat it: we can never be a nation unless we eradicate difficulties of that nature; unless a strong effort is made and the best of good feeling is exerted with the view of bringing them to an end. We are of many races, and unless we have the spirit that will get us together we shall never have the future which we all desire. So that regardless of what comment may be made on the name chosen, nothing could be better, nothing more true. We are a national party; it is a union of two parties who respect each other, and who
do not in any way try to interfere with each other's former ideas. It is Liberal and it is Conservative. My friends the Conservatives have had the grace to allow the word " Liberal " to come first because we are the fewest in numbers, but the three names, " Conservative", " National", " Liberal", do seem to me to combine not only the elements of the party, but the ideals for which they will continue to strive.
Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maison-neuve-Gaspe):
Mr. Speaker, when listening to the able address delivered by my hon. friend from Parkdale (Mr. Mowat), and particularly to the biting remarks which he made with regard to his former associates, I was reminded that the hon. gentleman, with his Liberal antecedents, was made a candidate in the county of Parkdale in 1917 and was elected under very special circumstances. I remember very well that at the time of his election the Tories of that eminently Tory division of Parkdale made a covenant with the party organizer that for one Parliament only would that circumscription be loaned to the hon. gentleman; they did not expect that Parliament would last five years, either. Sir, I am not surprised that the hon. gentleman's presidency of the Liberal Association in the province of Ontario should have occurred at a time when the Reform party in that province was at its lowest ebb.
My hon. friend says that it has been impossible for him, after reading the report of the Liberal convention held in 1919, to find therein a policy to guide, first, the destinies of the Liberal party, and then the destinies of the Canadian people. My hon. friend is so blind as not to be able to read the admirable platform laid down by the Liberal party in convention assembled in 1919 as set forth in that report. May I not refer him to another authority? He says that on the tariff the Liberal party has no policy. Let me bring forward the latest authority in the Tory party-pardon me, in the Tory-Liberal-National party- and I hope that my hon. friend will be satisfied with it. It was stated in the House that this was our battle-ground:
Reduce the tariff and you will help to reduce the cost of living. The policy followed by this Administration has had the result of creating unrest which continues to grow every day and every week, and this policy- is proved by its results to be wrong, change it; reduce the tariff, and you will reduce the cost of living.
This policy, Mr. Speaker, was laid down by the eminent member who represents the
county of St. Hyacinthe (Mr. Gauthier) - the new John the Baptist prophesying the advent of a saviour for Canada. And, Mr. Speaker, that speech was delivered in this very Chamber less than a year ago.
When my hon. friend (Mr. Mowat) opened his remarks this evening he stated that he .would speak on current events. I would have forgiven him had he spoken only on current events. But when he went as far back as the Middle Ages and the geography of Sicily-perhaps he meant the Scilly Islands, because I thought his speech very silly-he lost all right to be answered this evening; therefore he will pardon me if I leave him at that and if I only speak on the amendment which is before the Chair.
Before I do so, I wish to say a few words about the very degrading incident which took place the other day in the House of Commons. It is an axiom in politics as in war that it is good tactics not to do what the enemy wants you to do. For that reason, we, on this side of the House, after the spectacle presented by the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe-Rou-ville (Mr. Gauthier) in his speech of last week, decline to gratify our hon. friends opposite by entering into an unseemly brawl such as the hon. gentleman's new-found allies hoped he would be able to provoke in this chamber. At the same time I owe it to myself and to my native province that I should emphasize the political solidity as well as the personal respectability of the people of Quebec by drawing attention to the contrast presented in regard to both by the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe-Rouville and his performance of a few days ago.
Appropriately enough from the hon. gentleman's point of view, he selected the second anniversary of the death of our great leader whose memory he professed to honour as the date upon which to confess his own shame, and to give to the House a long list of personal and political lapses of conduct of which neither the House nor the country, outside of the province of Quebec, would have had any knowledge, and in which credence would not have been placed by the majority of the people, were the admissions not made by the hon. gentleman himself. Where the hon. gentleman stands in public estimation after his extraordinary revelation of his own chequered and tortuous career, I need not specify; but I may observe that after his attacks on all his former comrades and political associates, Conservative, Nationalist and Liberal,
because he was all that, and after his further attacks on labour and the farmers, it goes without saying that he placed himself outside the pale of all political parties, and now there is "none so poor' to do him reverence."
After having made it plain to the House and to the country that he occupies a position such as no other man belonging to any party in the province of Quebec would occupy, the hon. gentleman asks the House and the country to believe him when he says that he is no Judas. Mr. Speaker, that was an unhappy phrase for the hon. gentleman to use. I will not apply it to him. I might remind him however that, after receiving his forty thousand pieces of silver, Judas, at least, had the grace to go out and hang himself. The performance of a similar act is not, however, necessary in the case of the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe-Rouville. The black flag is already at the top of the mast in St. Hyacinthe, and the sheriff with his posse is waiting his political execution. This performance degrading as it was, made it certain that no matter what member of the Government may have stood sponsor for him, not even his shadow will ever be cast over the place that he and his sponsor planned that he should occupy. That 9 p.m. is all that I have to say on the subject, and I leave the hon. gentleman, his new associates and his sponsor to contemplate together and separately the mess they have made of things and the contempt in which they are held by all who esteem fair dealing, fairplay and upright conduct in the public and the private life of this country. Further than this, about this incident I shall say nought. I do not care, I never cared to play bridge with a corpse.
I now intend to address you, Sir, on the question which has been debated since the beginning of last week, and I beg to state at first that I will support the amendment moved by my honoured leader (Mr. Mackenzie King) because I believe in British Parliamentary institutions. No government is possible unless it has the consent of the governed. This is a basic principle in the British Parliamentary system, and we in Canada have accepted that system of government. My young friend, the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power), in his admirable address the other evening, gave a case in point which I will cite once more. I happened to be in England in 1905 and 1906 when the general elections were fought. Everyone will remember that
the Balfour Government came into office in 1900 during the South African war, that government being returned by an immense majority. It was a "win the war Government" such as this Government was on the morrow of the 1917 election. They called the elections of 1900 the "khaki" election. But soon after the treaty was signed in South Africa and the people of England returned to their respective political affiliations.
Constitutionally speaking, the government was entitled to seven years' existence, and Mr. Chamberlain, who was one of the leading ministers in that government, started at once to agitate the question of Imperial preference and that of protection There were many changes in the Cabinet at that moment, several of the ministers left the government and there was a series of by-elections. In Canada, several ministers have left the Government since 1917 for divers considerations and a series of by-elections has taken place. To continue the parallel, from 1900 to 1905 in England Mr. Balfour lost in most of the constituencies, so much so that long before the constitutional end of his government, he decided to dissolve the House. I remember his address delivered, I believe, in the city of Birmingham-he was the member for Birmingham or Manchester. He positively stated that he had dissolved Parliament because he saw that public opinion was fgitated; that new questions had arisen; that the Government had been defeated in several constituencies, and that the people had a right to select a new government. His government was defeated and, mark this, Mr. Speaker, the opponents of the Government of England-here again the parallel is applicable-were at that moment of different persuasions, politically speaking. You had then the Irish Parliamentary party; you had the Radical party; you had the Labour party, and you had the old Liberal party, composed of men like the present Earl Grey, Mr. Asquith, Mr. Haldane, Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, Lord Rosebery, and others. All the opponents of the Balfour administration, although divided amongst themselves on nonessentials, united their efforts against the government of the day, and victory for one was considered a victory for all. Whenever a Labour man was put up in a constituency, he was supported by the Liberals and the Radicals, and wherever a Liberal ran, he was supported by the Radicals and by Labour. The most important question at that time, as it is to-day, was whether or not the government had the con-121
fidence of the people. It seems to me it was exactly parellel to the present situation here. Whether we call ourselves Liberals or Farmers or Labour, when the majority opinion of the country as expressed in the various constituencies is against the government, as it has been consistently against the Government since 1917, I claim that an amendment of this nature is in order and the Government should take notice of it.
There is, Mr. Speaker, it seems to me, a paramount reason why the present Parliament should dissolve. I say, Sir, in all seriousness that there has been no general election in this country since 1911-ten years ago. The last general election in Canada was held in that year, but it has not had the opportunity to do so since. That explains the unrest which exists throughout the country; it explains the revolt, the rumbles of which we hear in the various constituencies.
Let me review very briefly the circumstances under which the Canadian Parliament was dissolved in 1911. The question before the people at that time was the reciprocity pact with the United States. Reciprocity was not a new question. It was a very familiar issue to the people of Canada. It was familiar to our predecessors in 1854, in 1866 the year of the abrogation of the first treaty, in 1872, in 1875, in 1879, and in 1891, because in 1891 a general election was fought in Canada on the question of reciprocity. The Liberal party at that time advocated a full measure of reciprocity and the Conservative party a restricted offer of reciprocity with the United States. The Liberal party was practically victorious at the polls. At all events the majority of the government was not very large, and the Conservative administration could claim that they had received the support of the Canadian electorate in favor of a restricted offer of reciprocity. But be that as it may, in 1911 the question was hy no means a new one.
Yet, when my hon. friend the present member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) and that old friend of ours, the late Mr. William Patterson, returned from Washington and presented the reciprocity pact to Parliament immediatelyno, not immediately, because at first the Conservative party in the House of Commons gave a genuine support to the measure-but afterwards, there developed opposition to the measure and the Conservative party through its official mouthpiece, the leader of the Opposition, stated that an appeal should be had to the people
of Canada before the measure was voted on by Parliament. I remember that a motion was introduced in amendment by my friend the late Mr. Monk, then member for Jacques Cartier. His motion read that the question of reciprocity should not be voted on by the Canadian Parliament until the people had had a chance to pronounce upon it. His motion was supported by my hon. friend the present leader of the Government, and we know that later on there developed obstruction to the passage of that measure. It is interesting to remind the House of the frantic appeals which were made in respect to that measure brought in by the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's. Perfervid appeals were made to the province of Ontario in particular, by the general manager of the Conservative political campaigns of the day. Sir John Willison said: The future is a sealed book which only the Gods may read, but at least the country should have time and opportunity to express it self. At least the constituencies may demand the right to pronounce the final judgment. It is intolerable that two party politicians, however able and trustworthy they may be, should settle the political destiny of Canada by a secret negotiation with a foreign country. Surely no Government has the right to impose upon the country, without consultation with the people a .policy which involves such momentous consequences, and surely if it persists every means of delay and obstructions should be employed to force dissolution of Parliament and to secure for Canadians the simple and incontestable right to determine their own commercial policy and their own political destiny. So, Mr. Speaker, in order that the people might determine our policy at that time on a question which was not a new one, but dated back as far as 1854, the Conservative party, and some gentlemen who belonged to that House of 1911 are still in the House, obstructed the passage of the measure and forced the government to appeal to the country. Sir Wilfrid Laurier had been returned by a considerable majority of the votes in the election of 1908. However, he dissolved Parliament in 1911-mark the contrast between him and the present Prime Minister-Sir Wilfrid Laurier dissolved Parliament and was defeated on> the 21st of September of that year, on two different issues; he was defeated on the issue of reciprocity, and defeated on the naval issue, and defeated above all by the whispering campaign. Here is the contrast between the Conservative party and the Liberal party. Here we have a Government elected for war purposes, and war purposes only. In 1908 you had a Govern- ment possessing the full confidence, of the electorate of Canada, presenting a measure to Parliament on a question which was not new, but was as old as the oldest amongst us could remember. And yet, Mr. Speaker, because this measure was, in the minds of the Tory party, a measure destined to fix the commercial future of Canada, they forced the issue; they obstructed the measure and brought about a dissolution. Mark the contrast. In the elections of 1917 we had an appeal that was epitomized in a very concrete slogan: "Win the War." The only object of the elections of 1917 was that of winning the war, and from the Prime Minister down to the humblest member in the Unionist party, that slogan was heralded throughout the country. It was said that the Government should be allowed to manage the public affairs of the country until the war had been won, and then the people could pronounce on the policies of both political parties. After the defeat of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal party in 1911, the right hon. gentleman who now represents King's County, Nova Scotia (Sir Robert Borden) took office. With his Cabinet, he administered the public affairs of Canada until the year 1914, when we were suddenly awakened by news of the most stupendous war in history. That was the time, Mr. Speaker, to form a Union Government. Thus understood British statesmen; thus understood French statesmen; and so did the Premiers in Australia, in New Zealand, and in Newfoundland. Not so the Tory party in Canada. The other day the right hon. gentleman who leads the Government (Hon. Mr. Meighen), taunting my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King), said: "I do not understand why the leader of the Opposition is anxious to have an election to-day. In 1914 his party was most anxious that there should not be held any general election." How generous on the part of the Government not to have held an election in 1914! Sir, when the history of war events in Canada is written it will be surprising to know that at one moment the Tory Government, in the month of November, 1914, was ready to dissolve Parliament and to launch the country into a political contest, when already thousands and thousands of lives were being mowed down in Flanders' fields in Belgium. At that time, Mr. Speaker, it was wise and patriotic on the part of the Liberal party to oppose any dissolution of Parliament. One might say that from that moment until 1917-and this is the point-1 wish to emphasize-from 1914 until 1917-Parliamentary, yes responsible Government was suspended in Canada. We had the War Measures Act; we had the extension of the Parliamentary term; we had the suspension of Habeas Corpus, one of the most sacred of all the liberties enjoyed by British subjects, if not, indeed, the most sacred of them. And finally we had the War Time Elections Act, the most iniquitous measure ever passed by any Parliament in any country. Sir, I have no hesitation in saying that in 1917, after the War Time Elections Act was passed by closure we had only the semblance of an election. The election of 1917 was but a sham, and all over Canada, in at least eight of the nine provinces, it was an official debauchery. It has been stated by my hon. friend from Westmoreland (Mr. Copp) - and he brought affidavits to prove his assertions-that there are at least fourteen or fifteen members sitting in this House who were not regularly elected. Mr. Speaker, we know what took place. I was present at the Liberal Convention two years ago, and I heard an acquaintance of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister, Mr. Adamson of Winnipeg, whose father and father-in-law both sat in this House of Commons, state to the Convention assembled,'on his word of honour, that two telegrams which I shall read to you had been sent during the campaign. He had the code and the key thereto, and he decoded the telegram to the Convention. On the 30th November, 1917, the following telegram was sent from the present Prime Minister to the late Prime Minister: Would like one thousand soldier votes at large for Manitoba, of which 300 for Selkirk,, balance. divided between Provencher, Macdonald and Springfield or same proportion of division, no matter what our allotment maybe. He read another telegram sent from Senator Sharpe to Senator Tanner, dated Winnipeg, December 4, 1917:
Halifax, N. S. W. J. Tupper received a telegram from your assistant secretary and in reply would say: please allot all unattached' votes equally among the following constituencies; Pro-vencher, Springfield, and Selkirk, for the province of Manitoba, and in Saskatchewan, Saltcoats, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Swift Current and Humboldt. This will assist us greatly. W. H. Sharpe. I know-I want to be fair-that the Prime Minister has mildly denied the paternity of his telegram addressed to Sir Robert Borden, the ex-Premier, but Senator Sharp never denied the authorship of the telegram which was addressed to Senator Tanner. All of us of the Liberal party, who hail from the province of Quebec do not know what took place in the other provinces except from what slips through the press or through the quarrels which occur to-day between the officials who were identified with that election, but we know what happened in our province. We know that for the county of Chambly-Vercheres 700 soldiers voted at St. John's. We know that Colonel Melville who was commanding at St. John's declared that he did not know where his domicile was, and for that reason voted himself in Chambly-Vercheres. You have only to present facts such as these and you have completely proven your case. Yes, Mr. Speaker, having sat in this House for a quarter of a century, having passed through several general elections, knowing the rough and tumble of a political contest, having read the history of the British Parliament and of British institutions, I have no hesitation in saying there were no elections really held in 1917, but that the elections of that year were nothing short of an official debauchery. . The salient fact through all the elections of 1917, or, if I may so speak, the raison d'etre of the Union Government, was the objective which I mentioned a ' moment ago-that is to say, winning the war was the only purpose. Is it necessary to prove that? Why, we have the evidence from the lips of one of the most astute members of the present Government. We have the evidence from the Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Cal-der). On June 11, 1919, he said: The present Government as originally constituted was not created for the purpose of making a general revision of the tariff. This Government was formed for war purposes and to carry out a war policy. I find exactly the contrary in the speech from the Throne. There I read: My advisers are convinced of the necessity for revision of the Customs Tariff. In order to secure the most complete information a committee has conducted an extensive and thorough inquiry, and has secured the views of all parties and interests in every province.
Ybt the Minister of Immigration stated two years ago: The present Government as originally constituted was not created for the purpose of making a general revision of the Tariff. This Government was formed for war purposes and to carry out a war policy. Shall we believe the minister who uttered those words in 1919 or must we believe the minister who drafted the speech from the Throne? But my hon. friend said this further: When the Government wa® constituted' it was composed of Liberals and Conservatives and the members composing the Government held1 strongly divergent views on the tariff question. What is true of members of the Government is equally true of members of the House on both sides. The members of this House /were not elected because of their tariff leanings. I do not wish to he personal but let me take one or two illustrations. Then he takes the case of our esteemed friend the member for Macdonald (Mr. Henders) : The hon. member for Macdonald was supported by all sections of the people in his constituency regardless of any ofpinions he held on the tariff because, I say again, the tariff was not an issue when he was elected a member of the House. Then speaking of my genial friend the member for Regina (Mr. Cowan) he said: Will any person say that the people of that constituency were at that time thinking of the tariff or of a general revision of the Tariff ? They were not. At that time the people were thinking of and voting on the issue that was before the country. I claim, Mr. Speaker, that this evidence coming from a member of the Government and knowing the circumstances that surrounded the last election, is sufficient to justify any fair-minded member in this House in voting in favour of the amendment, and to ask that in all sincerity, in all justice, the people of the country be called upon to pronounce between the Opposition and the Government. I will admit, as I stated a moment ago that a union of both parties was a logical sequence of the declaration of the war; but what was logical during the war, and immediately after the war, is illogical to-day, and wd must strip of its disguises the Government which continues under a war agreement when we have reached peace. The master of the English language in the British Parliament is Mr. Asquith. It has been my privilege to listen to that great statesman on many occasions and I do not know in the English World a Parliamentarian who can marshal his phrases in such beautiful order as the present leader of the Liberal party in England, Mr. Asquith. He made such an apt description of the coalition in England that I feel inclined to apply his burning sentences to the existing coalition in Canada. Here is what he said in the month of January last: Now, let us turn for a very few moments nearer home. We see the same necessity for cleanout ideas and policies. The native atmosphere of the coalition is fog-fog which blears outlines and destroys perspectives. A combination of this kind, no longer justified by the supreme necessities of war, is driven to the task which, as the government of this country, is imposed upon it, or whieh it has imposed itself-it is driven, by the necessities of its being, to cater for at least two sets of opinions at the same time, and fhe inevitable result is a policy, if policy it can be properly called, of aviguities and compromises, or, of I may say so, of zigzag and see-saw. That is an apt description of the present coalition of interests and appetites in this country, Mr. Speaker. It makes for ambiguities and compromises with two sets of opinions, as you saw last week. It makes also for a policy of zigzag and see-saw. The supreme issue of the war has come to an end. The Government, of course, did not win the war, although they claim to have done so; the boys in the trenches won the war. There have been radical changes in the Cabinet; the Prime Minister selected by the people of Canada in 1911 has resigned; the Cabinet has been re-cast three or four times at least since 1911; the name of the party has been changed-and public opinion has also changed. Are we to be told Mr. Speaker, that a caucus which selects a Prime Minister, a leader of the party, shall be substituted for the will of the people and of Parliament? Are we to be told that bureaucracy shall take the place of free government in this young democracy? Ah, I say to my hon. friends, the Progressives, the Farmers who sit alongside of me; This is the old, old 'issue between reaction and progress, between Liberalism and Toryism, because whatever be their name-Liberal, Conservative, National, we know that it is the same old Tory party. And this brings me to the distinction made by a famous English writer as between the Tory and the Liberal. Commenting on Gladstone's definition of the Liberal as the man who trusts the people, this writer said: The Tory looks down from the institution to the man; the Liberal up from the man to the institution. The Liberal says. "The state is made for man, and not man for the state"; the Tory reverses the dogma. Democratic government to the Liberal is an essential condition of the free growth of the individual soul; to the Tory, if he believes in it at all, it is a piece of efficient political machinery. The Tory' theory, in other words, is expensed in terms of duties, the Liberal in terms of rights. And, Sir, it is a right that we are asserting to-day in moving this amendment. We assume the right of calling upon the Government to dissolve Parliament in order to give the people of Canada an opportunity of pronouncing as between the two political doctrines-an opportunity which has been denied since 1911. But, Mr. Speaker, there is not only this question involved in the present amendment; there is, in my judgment, another paramount issue which justifies an appeal to the people. We are informed from all quarters that an Imperial Conference is to be convened for the mohth of June, that ministers from the various Dominions are to gather in London, and that they will he called upon to pronounce on the question of sharing the naval defence of the Empire. That is the declaration made by the Prime Minister of England. And we have also a declaration made, it is said, by Lord Milner, that the question of Home Rule for Egypt should also bring the Dominions together in order that they may be consulted on that most important policy. I leave aside this last question, because I cannot believe that we shall be involved in it, as we have nothing to do with Egypt. But the other declaration made by the Prime Minister of England, that the burden of naval defence had become too heavy for Great Britain, and that the Dominions should be called upon to share in that defence, creates at once, a rtiost important issue. On many occasions the ex-Prime Minister, the right hon. gentleman from King's, N.S. (Sir Robert Borden) has declared, in England and in Canada, that our country should have a voice in the affairs of the Empire-that Canada should be consulted on the policy of the foreign office. It is true that, at the Imperial Conference, in 1911, Mr. Asquith, who was then Prime Minister of England, said that all this was a sham, that the Dominions could not share in framing the foreign policy of Great Britain. Sir, if we should have a voice, if Canada should be called upon with British statesmen to decide the foreign policy of the Empire, you could see at once in what old world troubles we might be embroiled. As my hon. friend from Beauce (Mr. Beland) stated so eloquently this afternoon, if Canada was called upon to pronounce on such a foreign policy, it would mean that there would be some sort of central authority in London where the Dominions would be represented according to population. Well, although I belong to the minority, and although I know that quite often we are denied the right and the privilege to speak on Imperial affairs because forsooth, we are supposed to be born rebels, yet I know, and I have enough regard for public opinion in [DOT] Canada, for public opinion in English-speaking Canada, to say that never, never, never shall Canada surrender her rights as a free self-governing commonwealth. Canada is a self-governing dominion, will take part in the defence of the Empire or in the defence of Great Britain whenever Great Britain is on her trial; but Canada will do so of her own free will; there will never be any central authority in London to dictate a policy to Ottawa in that regard. If it is true that an Imperial Conference is to convene in the month of June to discuss the problem of the part Canada shall take in the naval defence of the Empire, I say that the question transcends all other issues and that the Government clearly has no mandate-to even discuss it! They have no mandate even to approach the issue; to take it up with Imperial statesmen and commit this House to a policy. I say that the Government should dissolve Parliament and ask the people by way of a referendum what is their will with regard to this grave question. Any organic change in our constitution would be a serious departure, which should be specifically authorized by the people. This is a most vital issue, yet we are kept in the dark with regard to it. I suppose we shall be told in a few moments by' the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) that, as he said the other day in Montreal, "Canada is a nation." True, Mr. Speaker, we have a territory and we have a population, but as I understand the elements of international law there lacks an essential attribute: Canada has no sovereignty. But we are told by the right hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Foster) that Canada'is "a nation within the Empire" yet our status is not the same as that of Scotland, Wales, or Britain. I am eliminating .poor old Ireland, but I hope that the day is not far distant when Ireland shall have her share in the Government of Great Britain. Is our status equal to that of Britain, Scotland, Wales, even the Isle of
Man? Mr. Speaker, if we are a nation within the Empire, what about the requisition of our ships during the war? Our ships were commandeered, I understand, owing to the emergency of the occasion, but what about the returning of those ships to Canada when the shipping interests of this country were clamouring after the armistice: "Give us back our ships. Do not send them from Liverpool to the extreme sections of the British Empire to help the merchants of Liverpool and of Glasgow. Return them to Canada." We are "a nation within the Empire", and we pride ourselves upon that distinction; yet there is an embargo on our Canadian cattle, an embargo which rests on what Sir Charles Tupper stated was a lie. It is not true that Canadian cattle suffer from pleuro-pneumonia, but it is true that free-trade England wishes to protect the cattlemen and breeders of Scotland and the North of Ireland. We are "a nation within the Empire," but I remember that in 1911 when the Rainbow and the Niobe came to Halifax the Canadian Government received word from the British Admiralty that Canadian ships flying the King's colours and the Canadian ensign might not go beyond the three-mile limit lest they should create complications with some other power. I am sorry that the Minister of Marine (Mr. Ballantyne) is not in his seat, but some time during the session I should like to know from him how it is that the present so-called Canadian navy is going round the world flying the British flag and the Canadian ensigh at the same time. By what process, through what channels, did we obtain in this year of Our Lord 1921 the privilege which was denied to the late CJoyernment in 1911? The Minister of Trade and Commerce waxed eloquent the other day when he said that before Confederation Canada was bound first to the provinces, then to the other Dominions; and, as things progressed, as events emerged, Canada became bound to the Empire, and in a glorious peroration the Minister added: "Now, Canada is bound to the world." Noble words, Mr. Speaker; yet I read in the Gazette of February 4 that Canada was denied the right to conclude a commercial pact even with Nigeria and the Gold Coast. Here is what I read in the London correspondence of the Montreal Gazette of that date: On inquiry at the Colonial Office by your correspondent, the information was vouch- safed that negotiations had taken place directly between Canada and the Governments of the Gold Coast and Nigeria for preferential agreements somewhat similar to that now existing between Canada and the West Indies. It was soon discovered* however, that tne granting of such a preference was forbidden, in the case of the two African Governments, by the Anglo-French Convention referred to, and there the matter ended. It appears that not only West Africa, but also East Africa, is thus hound, the bar in the latter case being the Berlin Convention, which prevented a proposed arrangement between a British colony there and Australia. The statement of the Colonial Office, when asked whether the Anglo-French Convention could not be terminated, was that it would take about five years, in the event of the British Government being willing to make the effort, which would doubtless require a considerable amount of persuation. Canada and .the other Dominions have outgrown entanglements of this kind, but other parts of the Empire still find: themselves in the leading strings in which Britain's foreign policy of [DOT] former days has placed them. I hope that if this matter is followed up by the Department of Tradt? and Commerce the right hon. gentleman who presides with such distinction over the affairs of that department will take a leaf out of the late Government's book so far as its trade policy is concerned. When British preference was voted by this Parliament in 1897, there were obstacles in the way, there were the German and Belgian treaties with Great Britain; but the Prime Minister of Canada went to England, where he pleaded the cause of Canada and the cause of the Mother Country, and the two treaties were denounced forthwith. To-day we are attempting to trade with Nigeria and the Gold Coast, and I hope the precedent of Belgium and of Germany will help the Minister of Trade and Commerce. Canada is a nation; but will the right Hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) at least give us a hint as to when we shall have a right to appoint consular agents, or consuls, in the various countries of the world ?
When we shall need
My right hon. friend
has travelled of late. He went to Geneva; he went to Paris; and I have no doubt that he went to the various capitals of western Europe. He knows that, in every city of importance, the smallest country in the world, is represented by at least a consular agent who looks after the trade interests of that country. Where are the consular agents of Canada? And yet my right hon. friend will say: "Canada is a
nation." My right hon. friend says that we shall appoint consular agents when we shall need them. He will pardon me if I follow that expression. A few months ago the present Government was nearly defeated on the vote taken on the question of representation at Washington, the Government escaping defeat by five of a majority. The question was whether or not Canada should be represented at Washington by an ambassador or a semi-ambassador who, jointly with the British ambassador, would look after the interests of Canada, and in the case of the absence of the British ambassador would look after the affairs of the embassy at large. I make bold to say that the ink which signed the approval of Parliament was not dry when loud protests were made by the British ambassador at Washington and when louder protests were made by the colonial office and the foreign office in London, because a nation we may be, but still under the aegis of Downing Street. The Canadian ambassador has not yet been appointed, and I dare say that he will not be appointed. Will my right hon. friend state to-night if that ambassador will be appointed? He will not be appointed.
I will state this, that it is no loud protest from anybody outside of Canada that has anything to do with the question whether he will be appointed or not. My hon. friend said that he would make bold to make the statement. He certainly carried the boldness to the extreme of making a statement entirely devoid of foundation.
My right hon. friend
evades the issue. He will not say if the ambassador will be named, and I make bold to say once more that he will not be appointed.
I will also say, as I
am accused of evasion, that he will be named just as soon as Canada decides who is to be named.
This question was
mooted, not last year, but three years ago, and I think this is the third time we have voted the money necessary to maintain a Canadian ambassador at Washington. It is very easy for my right hon. friend, in answer to my question, to say that he will be appointed just as soon as we decide who shall be appointed;! but if you never decide, no one will ever be appointed. I have no warrant to say that, but my knowledge of British traditions and my com-10 p.m. mon sense dictate the answer I gave a moment ago to my right
hon. friend. I say that Great Britain, through the foreign office in London, will never allow the Canadian Government to appoint a dual ambassador at Washington, and why should the foreign office give Canada, which has no sovereignty, the right to discuss with the United States the interests of Great Britain at large? Aye, if you were to appoint a High Commissioner like the one you have in London or the one you have in Paris, the case would be quite different, and I have already stated in the House and several others on this side also stated that they would see with pleasure, indeed, the appointment of a Canadian, of a man of substance who knows Canada, who is familiar with her trade interests and Canadian affairs generally, to Washington, where we have so many problems to discuss and to settle. That, I would approve most heartily but again I repeat to my right hon. friend that it is no more necessary to have two ambassadors in the British Embassy at Washington than it is necessary to have two ministers sitting in the Department of Justice. What would my right hon. friend say if, for instance, the province of Quebec or the province of Manitoba were to insist on the Government having alongside my right hon. friend in the department over which he presides, I must say, with grace and ability, a jurist, a lawyer from either of their respective provinces to assist him in his task? My right hon. friend would protest. Would he resign? I think he would.