Mr. CLARK (Red Deer):
May I be permitted, in a sentence, to fortify the very moderate appeal of the hon. member for Fort William and Rainy River (Mr. Manion) ? It would be a matter of poignant regret to me to see any division in this House based upon religious views, or that might be suspected to be a division based upon such views. As for my personal regret, that is a small matter; but I hold, further, that such a division is to be avoided by every well wisher of. this country if it can be avoided by any reasonable means. I would appeal to my friends, if I may call them so, the mover and the seconder of this amendment, to weigh well what fell from the hon. member for Fort William and Rainy River. Might I add my personal confession to his appeal, that this question has been sprung so suddenly that, sitting at this end of the chamber, I cannot give an intelligent vote on it at this moment? I have the greatest objection to running away from any vote. I think our friends on both sides of the House will do me the credit of saying that, as .a rule, I have the courage of my convictions. There is tremendous force, in the mind of one who has been brought up as a British Liberal, in what has been pointed out by the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding), that if you begin to give statutory recognition to sects, it is impossible to resist the claim that more than one sect has directed. As a matter of fact,
one of the fights of British Liberalism, as I learned it-and I am not putting this forward as an argument so much as a request for light on this question-was to relieve the State as soon as possible of even the most distant connection with any given church in the State. I should like to put that to my hon. friends, and if we are to vote on this amendment, I should like to have enlightenment upon how, as Liberals, they reconcile themselves with the history of Liberalism, not only in Britain, but in this country. There was a time when the Anglican church was an established institution in Canada, but it was dug up. I should like to have an explanation which would disabuse my mind of what I am sure will be recognized as legitimate fears upon this point.
But I rose merely to reinforce, if I could, in a single word, the very moderate and tolerant appeal that was made in the speech of my hon. friend from Fort William and Rainy River. Why not accept the -assurance of the Prime Minister and give time, if such be thought necessary, to get together the best minds on both sides of this House and discuss this matter calmly and quietly, and let the Government deal with it when they have something like a mature opinion upon the subject? I appeal to my hon. friends to relieve some of their friends and some friends who sympathise with their position, from a difficult position and not to throw an apple of religious dissension into the last hours of this session which may spread to a very great extent in this country. I make that appeal on the grounds of broad Liberalism of thought, and I trust they will give earnest heed to the words which I have ventured to utter.
Amendment (Mr. Trahan) negatived.
Topic: REVISED EDITION. COMMONS