November 29, 1910 (11th Parliament, 3rd Session)


William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)


Official despatches from southern ports say it is rumoured that the revenue cutter ' Sora ' has been captured by Moro pirates

Moro is another place in the Gulf of Mexico.
-and the crew murdered. The authorities have been unable to secure confirmation of the rumour, although despatches have been sent to all adjacent points.
The ' Sora ' was used as a patrol boat against the Moro pirates of the southern archipelago in the general campaign against smuggling inaugurated by the insurgents a short time ago.
It was commanded by Captain P. A. Mc-Gorty, and carried a crew of It, all Philippines.
-gathered from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, of course.
The cutter left Salabo, 20 miles south of Palana, carrying J. L. Peary, collector of the port, who was bound to Sandakan in British North Borneo, to purchase supplies. Nothing has been heard of the vessel since.
It is only fair to the Minister of Marine to say that the argument he advanced to this House to justify the expenditure of millions of dollars on a Canadian navy in order to protect the trembling, shivering, cowardly Canadians and their commerce, against the Philippino pirates in the Gulf of Mexico is as sound logical reasoning as any argument presented by hon. gentlemen opposite, to this House.
Now, hon. gentlemen opposite sometimes blame us because we have not that confidence in them and their administration that they think intelligent people should have. What are the people of this country to think, Sir, when before this august body, supposed to be composed of representatives of the people, supposed to come here and to acquire the best information that will guide us and enable us to legislate honestly, intelligently and in the best interests of those who sent us here-what, I say, are they to think, when the best information we can get to justify this enormous expenditure and this departure from all constitutional usage is such language-I will not use the word that I intended to use, even although I think that under the circumstances of the case I would be justified-as was used in this House by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries? In a subsequent part of his speech he returned to the discussion of these piracies in the Gulf of Mexico, thereby showing that the description of the Gulf of Mexico was not merely a slip of the tongue.
The next clause I see in the address is one referring to the Hague tribunal. I am sure that every hon. member of this House must rejoice at the success of the proceedings of the Hague tribunal, and must congratulate the government, the people of this country, the United States and the empire

that it is possible that international difficulties can be settled in such a way as they were there settled. But, does it not strike the right hon. gentleman that when two great nations of the world, such as Great Britain and the United States, who, perhaps, have had about as much difficulty in avoiding complications politically as any other two nations, are beginning by international arbitration to settle Questions which otherwise might lead to war is an inopportune time to commit Canada to a navy? I do not think that any member of this House would be justified from this time forward in treating any utterance of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries seriously, but, surely, the right hon. leader of the government and some of his colleagues must appreciate the fact that there never was a time in the history of naval construction when so many changes were being made in the vessels as those which are going on today. There never was a time before when aerialists were seeking to conquer the air, and no one can tell what improvements in aerial navigation and naval construction may be brought about in the course of a few years. Is it possible that prudent statesmen, men legislating only for their country, without collateral considerations, would select this of all times to plunge this country into a burden of that extent?
From the information I have from various parts of the country, I have no hesitation in telling the right hon. gentleman that if he would appeal to each of the provinces of Canada and if, in constituency after constituency, the simple question were put to the people: Are you in favour of a Canadian navy or not?-the people would almost unanimously vote that they are not in favour of a Canadian navy. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that I am opposed to a Canadian navy, first, because I think the time is inopportune; secondly, because I think we owe a duty to the British Empire which we are not discharging in the way the government has attempted to do it, and which we might discharge in another way. Therefore, I am opposed to a Canadian navy at the present time, but I decline to be put on record as saying that for all time to come, under all circumstances and under all conditions I would always oppose a Canadian navy. I can understand that the conditions might be such that it might be necessary, but before I would agree that it was necessary to have a Canadian navy I would insist on having a friendly conference with the various nations or colonies, call them what you like, which make up this empire. Let them sit down together and calmly deliberate as to what are the responsibilities and needs of this great empire and then, after sitting down together and elaborating some plan by which the end desired may be best accomplished, I am 13*
prepared that Canada shall do its duty, whatever the cost may be.
The next clause in the address is one referring to the National Transcontinental railway. With great joy and satisfaction and much in the way of congratulation the government informs the country that this railway has so far progressed that grain is this season finding an outlet from the west to the Great Lakes over that new highway. I have under my hand, but I shall not occupy the time in reading it unless the right hon. the leader of the government wishes me to do it, the speech made by the right hon. gentleman seven years ago, in 1903, when he trembled with anxiety lest it was then too late. Heaven forbid that it is not too late! Not an hour, not a minute, not a second is to be wasted; this road must ibe constructed from ocean to ocean ! Now, after seven years the government comes before this House and calls on the people of the country to fall down on their knees and thank heaven that this year a little grain has been delivered at the Great Lakes. It would seem, unless I have entirely forgotten what took place in 1903, that the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway company wanted to build a railway from North Bay or somewhere along their own line west to the Pacific ocean and every hon. member on this side of the House wished to assist in building that road for the people of the Northwest. They desired at the earliest possible moment to have two lines bringing the products of the west down to the sea, and yet, when the Grand Trunk wished to build one line of road and when the members on this side of the House believed in assisting them to build this line of road the right hon. leader of the government decided that it should be a different line of road running through a different part of the country. The result is that to-day, after seven long years, the best news that the government can -bring down to the people of this country is that a little grain has been carried to the Great Lakes.
Surely, when the government make predictions, such as they made in connection with the Grand Trunk Pacific railway, such as they made in connection with the navy and such as they make from day to day on every subject, every one of which has failed of verification, it' might be expected that the government would be a little more careful to bring the people into their confidence, to bring the representatives of the people into their confidence and not come down in an autocratic way with a scheme cut and dried and declare that it must be passed by this House because one or two gentlemen sitting on the treasury benches have decided that it should be passed. Surely it is time that we should calmly deliberate upon and

discuss these questions in the good old-fashioned way when the representatives of the people are legislating for the people and do not let us have an uncrowned ruler legislating for us according to his own sweet will.
The next clause in the address has reference to the railway to Hudson hay. Here again I have exactly the same criticism to make because the government has proceeded with the construction of that road. Parliament has never been asked a word about it. No representative of this side of the House had a word to say as to whether this road is to be built or not. No one on this side of the House has the faintest idea how it is to be built, who is to build it, or, when built, who is to oper-. ate it. Yet, the government tell us that they have already built a bridge on the line of that road and that we are to have a Bill submitted to parliament this session to provide for the building of the road. There is no man in Canada, outside of the government, that will stand up and say boldly : I am in favour of the building of the Hudson Bay railway. Not even the people of the west will say that. They are all in favour of the building of the Hudson Bay railway provided it is so constructed and operated as to be in the interest of the country. But, if any Hudson Bay railway is to be built like the National Transcontinental railway, sinking hundreds and thousands and millions of dollars, the interest on which the freight carried must pay, and if the operation of that road, when built, is to be like the operation of the Intercolonial railway, a road costing this country $70,000,000 and yet run at a loss, then the people of the Northwest do not want the Hudson Bay railway. Let the right hon. gentleman bring down a scheme for a road properly, economically, reasonably and intelligently built and with proper provision for its operation and I venture to say that hon. members on this side of the House will be ready, as they are always ready to support any honest, intelligent scheme for the betterment of the conditions of the Canadian people. Then, Sir, I come to an interesting clause which I shall read :
The construction of the bridge across the St. Lawrence river at Quebec, the largest work of its kind ever undertaken, has been receiving the careful attention of my government, and the utmost care is being observed so that success may he assured. The substructure is now under contract. Tenders for the erection of the superstructure have been received from four responsible companies, and are now being considered.
It is expected that the contract will shortly be awarded and the work pushed forward to completion.

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