Henri Sévérin BÉLAND

BÉLAND, The Hon. Henri Sévérin, P.C.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Beauce (Quebec)
Birth Date
October 11, 1869
Deceased Date
April 22, 1935
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Sévérin_Béland
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=50634114-351e-4c08-8b61-8698a41f8814&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
physician

Parliamentary Career

January 8, 1902 - September 29, 1904
LIB
  Beauce (Quebec)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
LIB
  Beauce (Quebec)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
LIB
  Beauce (Quebec)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
LIB
  Beauce (Quebec)
  • Postmaster General (August 19, 1911 - October 6, 1911)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
L LIB
  Beauce (Quebec)
December 6, 1921 - December 29, 1921
LIB
  Beauce (Quebec)
January 19, 1922 - September 5, 1925
LIB
  Beauce (Quebec)
  • Minister presiding over the Department of Health (December 29, 1921 - April 14, 1926)
  • Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment (December 29, 1921 - April 14, 1926)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 626 of 629)


April 5, 1905

Mr. BELAND.

No, Mr. Speaker, I said that by some information he had gathered the hon. gentleman had been led into error when he stated that in France there was a large number of atheists. For my part, Mr. Speaker, lam not discussing this question from the point of view of an advocate of separate schools, nor from the point of view of an advocate of public schools. We are not called upon in this House to say whether we favour the one or the other. We are discussing a Bill which provides for religious instruction in the schools in the Northwest, a system which has been adopted by the Northwest and which is in force now. Our country is a British country, our institutions are modelled after the institutions of Great Britain, and I am very sorry, I deeply regret-I say it sincerely-that the great lines, the illuminated paths which have been set for us in the mother country, are in this debate willingly ignored. Unshakable attachment to all things British, be they military, be they political, be they social, has been boasted of here, especially by hon. gentlemen opposite. It is but a few days since the echoes of this chamber were disturbed by the imperialistic eloquence of my hon. friend from Victoria and Haliburton (Mr. Sam. Hughes). In his footsteps we have seen the hon. member from South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean) and the hon. member from East Grey (Mr. Sproule), earnestly and honestly, we believe, preaching the rapproachement, closer relations between England and Canada. It is their contention that British institutions are the climax of perfection for a constitutional country. Why in the name of common sense was the British school system not good enough for them ? The French Canadian is very devoted to British institutions, and I make bold to say here that if my countrymen, my compatriots in the province of Quebec, were offered to-day the opportunity to sever their connection Mr. BELAND.

from Great Britain, if they were offered independence, if they were offered annexation, if they were offered French allegiance, I have not the slightest hesitancy to say! they would squarely refuse and remain) faithful to Great Britain. And why, Mn Speaker ? Because as was said so elo-) quently by one of the hon. gentlemen opposite in a debate a few years ago, Great Brl-* tain has distinguished herself at home and abroad for that broad spirit of good faith and toleration, for those sacred principles of religious equality and self-government. In England an education Act was recently introduced providing for religious instruction in the schools, according to the wishes of the parents. By whom was it introduced ? By men like Chamberlain, by men like Balfour, and that legislation was assailed, and I think encountered as bitter an opposition as this legislation is encountering to-day. Ministers of the gospel went as far as to say that the state was in danger, that the primary and elementary rights were threatened, that the birth right of the British citizen was at stake, that it was a battle for life. The Solicitor General (Hon. Mr. Lemieux) the other night, in the course of a very able speech, read to this House quotations from speeches that have been delivered in England by Mr. Chamberlain and by Mr. Balfour. I shall not trouble the House by reading any more of those speeches. I think the House will permit me to make an allusion to a reverend gentleman in England, a minister of the Presbyterian denomination, Rev. Archibald La-mont, of St. Paul's Presbyterian Chapel. Here is what that gentleman said :

I have high hopes for education and for Presbyterianism and for future Christianity as the result of the advent of this imperfect, but substantially good, Education Bill, and, in spite of an unreasoning and undignified agitation against it, an agitation to which, as I deeply deplore, my own beloved church has thoughtlessly, but I hope temporarily, committed herself. I fear that in most of our Protestant churches, eloquence of speech is often more a hindrance than help to the practical solution of far-reaching and complex questions. It often puts men unwittingly in a false pre-eminence, so that the rank and file-the common people- are misled and become martyrs by mistake.

This should be read to some of the reverend gentlemen of Ottawa and Toronto who have thought it proper to speak from the pulpit against the educational clauses of this Bill. But, Mr. Speaker, this Bill has been adopted in England, and lias been in force for a couple of years, and it bas given entire satisfaction. The impression that must prevail in the end is that some people want more religious instruction and some people want less religions instruction than this Bill provides ; but, Mr. Speaker, standing here as a representative in parliament of a country of 43.005 souls, I think it is my duty to uphold the constitution, and by it to confirm the privileges, be they large or be they-

small, that the majority enjoy in the Northwest Territories. There are some hon. gentlemen on the other side of this House, the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) the hon member for South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean) and the hon. member for Victoria and Haliburton (Mr. Sam. Hughes) who profess to believe that religious instruction should be done away with in the schools. But, Mr. Speaker, though I have great respect for their opinions, I must say without hesitation that if those three gentlemen were put on one side, and on the other side you were to show me statesmen like Mr. Chamberlain, like Mr. Gladstone, like Mr. Balfour, like Mr. Guizot. 1 would have to throw in my lot with the great Englishmen. Now. Sir, the claim has been made in this House and out of it that the Liberal party has trampled upon provincial rights and provincial autonomy, that it has abandoned its principles of 1896, and that now the Liberal party is invading provincial rights and provincial autonomy. Well, Mr. Speaker, let me refer for a moment to what took place in 1896. What was the position of the right hon, the Prime Minister in 1896, when he moved the six months hoist of the Remedial *Bill ? He said : This parliament has a right to interfere ; the remedy lies with us, but I think that remedy should not be applied until all conciliatory methods have been exhausted. Now, Sir, in 1896 we stood for conciliation. What are we doing today ? We are still standing for conciliation, we stand for compromise on an honourabe basis.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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April 5, 1905

Mr. BELAND.

I think I can satisfy the hon gentleman on that point. Mr. Rogers is fond of notoriety, he desires to make himself and his party some political capital in Manitoba, and he came to meet Monseigneur Sbarretti for the purpose, in my opinion, of procuring some arrangement by which he hoped to capture the Catholic vote of Manitoba. I think that the object of Mr. Rogers, in my estimation, and I think in the estimation of my hon. friend also, was to make political capital. Now, Sir, who is making a claim for provincial rights to-day ? The hon, the leader of the opposition is making, from the rock of the constitution, as he said, a light for provincial rights. We had an instance the other day of how hon. gentlemen will stand sometimes for provincial rights when the leader of the opposition criticised the Bill that was introduced a few days ago by the right hon. gentleman, and when he was asked whether the land should be left with the provinces or with the federal government, he was of the opinion that the land should go to the provinces. But then he bethought himself, I suppose, of the strong objection, for it was an objection, that I quoted a minute ago, that it would perhaps interfere with an effective immigration policy. But I will quote his own words :

May I not further suggest that even if there were any danger-and I do not think there is- it would be the task of good statesmanship to have inserted, if necessary, a provision in this Bill with regard to free homesteads and the price of these lands, and obtain to it the consent of the people of the Northwest Territories.

It is no more difficult than that.

Provincial rights, provincial autonomy as long as it serves his purpose ! But, as soon as it does not serve his purpose, let us invade provincial rights and send a postcard,- I suppose that is the system in vogue in Toronto now-to every member and to every citizen in the Northwest Territories saying : Do you approve of that ? If he says he does, all right, and if he says he does not, well, where will he be ?

We, of the province of Quebec, we, the Catholic minority of this Dominion, are bound to change our mind as to the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L Borden). We had always thought that he was a broad minded Englishman, we had always thought that he was animated by that spirit of fair dealing and kindly forbearance that have distinguished English institutions for the last fifty years. The other day he pronounced upon us a beautiful eulogy. He said that he had traversed the province of Quebec from one end to the other and that every man he bad met there was well read, intelligent and sociable and a moment afterwards he moved the amendment which is now before the House. The hon. gentleman, I am afraid, has missed his vocation. He has missed his profession. He should have been a surgeon because lie would have made a very skilful one. When I listened to him I could not refrain from thinking that when he pronounced that eulogy, when he uttered

those words in praise of the French Canadian people he was doing the work of a surgeon before the operation-injecting into the tissues an analgesic before he used the scalpel* The hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) says that because we have tried to invade provincial rights we have become a disrupted and disbanded party. But, for a moment or two let us examine what has happened on the other side. The moment the hon. leader of the opposition has placed his constitutional gun in positiomand the moment he has fired that gun it has been found to be a slate gun. It splits to pieces. The hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) mortally wounded ; the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron) not quite so badly wounded. The list of wounded grows every day. The hon. member for North Toronto says that the weakness of the Czar of' Russia is that he does not consult his people. Then, I might retort: What is the weakness of the hon. leader of the opposition ? If it is a mistake for the Czar of Russia not to consult his people how much greater a mistake must it be for that non. gentleman to turn his gun against his own lieutenants and his own regiment ? But, we have not heard so far in this House from the hon. member for South York (Mr. Maclean). He will be coming some day and making a plea such as he made to-day in favour of provincial rights. That hon. gentleman succeeded in the not very remote past in making himself plainly understood on the question of provincial rights. It was in March, 1902. What did the hon. member for South York say ? He was speaking in this House and he said :

Speaking of the provinces, I have not a moment's hesitation in saying that the result of provincial government in Canada has been detrimental to the progress of the country. I say that the interpretation of the law that has been given by the English Privy Council in regard to the distribution of rights as between the provinces and the federal power, has been against the interests of the country as a whole. That I regret. I agree with the hon. member for Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart) that some day we will have the whole jurisdiction in this parliament, and in some way we will work it out. and in some way we will increase the federal power and wipe out gradually the provincial sower.

Who would believe that after what the hon. gentleman told us this afternoon ? But, that is not all. He said something else. Here is what he said :

Yet we are told that there is no hope of progress, that the main thing is to uphold local rights. That is the doctrine of the Minister of Justice of Canada. I take issue with him there. The thing which the Conservative party of this country committed itself to was to build up a nation, with a unification of laws, if that was possible, and that this country should in some way try to recover the federal power which has been lost to the provinces in the past few years.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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April 5, 1905

Mr. BELAND.

That is exactly what I say, that the hon. gentleman had been led into error.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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April 5, 1905

Mr. BELAND.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTHWEST.
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August 31, 1903

Mr. BELAND.

(Translation.) What I have stated will be recorded in the ' Hansard.' I spoke with care, as I realised it mis a delicate subject to deal witn, and I shall repeat what I said for the benefit of my hon. friend.

I said that the member for Bothwell had placed on the shoulders of the member for Bonaventure

Topic:   BEVISED EDITIQV
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