January 12, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


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



War everywhere. When Britain is at war, Canada is at war; there is no distinction. If Great Britain, to which we are subject, is at war with any nation, Canada becomes liable to invasion, and so Canada is at war.
The question may be asked: What is to 'be the number of the permanent force? Under the Militia Act, the number of the permanent force is limited to 5,000 men. There is no limit specified in this Bill, for the very obvious reason that the number of men cannot exceed the number required to iman the ships we may have.
These being the leading features of the IBill, I come now to the question of what armament it is contemplated to have at this juncture. If hon. members will look at the notes of the conference which took place in London, and which have been published, they will see that at that conference the idea was entertained that it would not be advisable for Canada to have a fleet unit on the Pacific ocean. I read from page 26 of the notes of the conference:
The Canadian representatives explained in what respect they desired the advice of the admiralty in regard to the measures of naval defence, which might be considered consistent with the resolution adopted by the Canadian parliament on the 29th March, 1909.
While, on naval strategical considerations, it was thought that a fleet unit on the Pacific, as outlined by the admiralty, might in future form an acceptable system of naval defence, it was recognized that Canada's double seaboard rendered the provisions of such a fleet unsuitable for the present.
And at page 22, in the summary of the proceedings given by Mr. Askwith after the conference had taken place, is the following :
Separate meetings took place at the admiralty with the representatives of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and general statements were agreed to in each case for further consideration by their respective governments.
As regards Australia, the suggested arrangement is that with some temporary assistance from the imperial funds, the commonwealth government should provide and maintain the Australian unit of the Pacific fleet.
The contribution of the New Zealand government would be applied towards the maintenance of the China unit, of which some of the smaller vessels would have New Zealand waters as their headquarters. The New Zealand armoured cruiser would be stationed in China waters.
As regards Canada, it was considered that her double seaboard rendered the provision of a fleet unit of the same kind unsuitable for the present. It was proposed, according to the amount of money that might be available that Canada should make a start with cruisers of the Bristol class and destroyers of an improved river class-a part to be stationed on the Atlantic seaboard and a part on the Pacific.

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