August 25, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)


' God save Canada from the likes of ns.' There is an old fable in which it is related of an individual who was the possessor of one of those long eared quadrupeds of the horse family that he had occasion to make a lengthy journey through the country and in making that journey was obliged to pass over a bridge of considerable length. The bridge was very unsafe but the possessor of the animal had no knowledge whatever of its insecurity. It is also related of that individual that he possessed a very vacillating mind and with his animal and his vacillating mind he started upon his journey. And it is related that he got fairly well across the bridge before he discovered bis weakness and the peril in which he and his animal stood ; and his vacillating mind did not come readily to his rescue, and he sought the advice and the assistance of His friends. Those before him urged him to come on, those behind bim urged him to turn back, and in his endeavour to compromise between the conflicting advice that was given by his friends on the one side and on the other, it is related that the old man in trying to please everybody pleased nobody and lost his ass into the bargain.
Now, Sir, the old fable fairly illustrates the position that the government of the day will occupy after they have passed this measure. With the Trans-Canada on one hand, with the interests of the supporters of the government from the maritime provinces on the other, and with the Grand Trunk Railway in the middle, pulling in all directions, I venture to believe that the government will repeat the experience of the old man to whom I have just referred. I used the expression ' after the government had passed this measure,' for, Sir, I entertain no reasonable doubt but that the government will, notwithstanding the want of merit of this measure, and notwithstanding any opposition that may be offered from this side of the House ; they will pass that measure by the force of their majority, and that, irrespective of merit or any consideration of the advantage or disadvantage it may be to tbe country. In the discussion of this question it has pleased the government supporters to urge upon the House and especially upon the opposition, that this Bill should be considered apart entirely from every political consideration and upon broad national grounds.

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