April 8, 1914 (12th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. L. BORDEN (Prime Minister) :

Mr. Speaker, I would like,.

with the consent of the House, to mention the recent appalling disaster that has overtaken a great many persons engaged in the sealing industry of Newfoundland. The latest reports seem to indicate that the disaster is even greater than was at first apprehended, as nothing has been heard of one of the ships, the Southern Cross, although two steamers are, I believe, still engaged in endeavouring to find some trace of that vessel. Some days ago I sent a telegram to the acting Prime Minister, the Hon. John R. Bennett-Sir Edward Morris, the Prime Minister, being absent. The telegram was in these words:
Ottawa, Ont., April 4, 1914.
The Acting Prime Minister,
St John's, Newfoundland.
On behalf of the Government and people of Canada my colleagues and I desire to express our profound sympathy with the people of Newfoundland in the terrible disaster to the seal hunters, tidings of which we have just received.
(Sgd) R. L. Borden.
To which the following reply was received on the same day:
St. John's, Nfld., 4th April, 1914. Rt. Hon. R. L. Borden,
Prime Minister,
Ottawa, Ont.
Sincere thanks for kind expressions of sympathy from yourself, Government ar.d people of Canada, which I am sure will be greatly appreciated by the people of this colony.
(Sgd) J. R. Bennett, Acting Prime Minister.
Yesterday I addressed a further telegram to the acting Prime Minister in these word3:
Ottawa, Ont., Yth April, 1914. Hon. J. It. Bennett,
Acting Prime Minister,
St. John's, Newfoundland.
With consent of your Government I propose submitting to Parliament an appropriation in aid of families of those lost in recent calamity and of survivors. Kindly let me know whether your Government will approve. I hope you have news of Southern Cross.
(Sgd) R. L. Borden.
To which, this morning, I received the following reply:
St. John's, Nfld., April 8, 1914. The Rt. Hon. R. L. Borden,
Ottawa, Ont.
Have submitted your message to ministers who greatly appreciate the practical expression of sympathy from the Government of your great Dominion. Government and people here will gratefully accept such contribution as you may offer in behalf of the sufferers by the sealing disaster. Regret that up to the present no tidings have been received of Southern Cross,

but search is still being prosecuted by two steamers.
(Sgd) John R. Bennett, Acting Prime Minister.
The calamity which has befallen those engaged in this arduous pursuit is a very great one, as I have a private telegram that *seems to indicate that nearly 250 lives will have been lost, assuming that the Southern Cross will not be heard from ag?in. It seemed to the Government appropriate that, under the circumstances, the sympathy, which is undoubtedly felt by all the members of this House, by all the people of Canada, towards the Government and people of Newfoundland, and particularly towards those who have suffered by this calamity, should be expressed also in a practical form, as I suggested in the telegram sent yesterday. 1 wish to announce that the Government purposes submitting to Parliament an appropriation of $10,000 for this purpose.
Right Hon. Sir WILiFRID LAUR1ER: The action of the Prime Minister in communicating with the Newfoundland Government,'under the sad circumstances, is worthy of all commendation. On this side of the House we shall be happy to join with my right hon. friend in extending the sympathy of the Dominion in the practical manner he has suggested. While I have no doubt that the Government of Newfoundland is quite capable of extending what relief may be needed, still, being so closely related as we are to our sister colony, the proposal of the Prime Minister meets with hearty support on this side of the House.

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