Henri Sévérin BÉLAND

BÉLAND, The Hon. Henri Sévérin, P.C.

Personal Data

Beauce (Quebec)
Birth Date
October 11, 1869
Deceased Date
April 22, 1935

Parliamentary Career

January 8, 1902 - September 29, 1904
  Beauce (Quebec)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
  Beauce (Quebec)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
  Beauce (Quebec)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
  Beauce (Quebec)
  • Postmaster General (August 19, 1911 - October 6, 1911)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
  Beauce (Quebec)
December 6, 1921 - December 29, 1921
  Beauce (Quebec)
January 19, 1922 - September 5, 1925
  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 629 of 629)

April 9, 1902

1. Is the government aware that the following circular, signed ' P. Landry,' has been sent from the Senate of Canada into the counties of the province of Quebec : -

'(Confidential.) Ottawa, Senate, April,1902.

' Sir,-I send you a form which I ask you to be good enough to fill in as soon as possible.

'1st. By putting down the names and surnames of the persons engaged in the employments mentioned in the form.

'2nd. By having each of these names followed by one of the following marks :-[DOT]

'X. If he is a Conservative.

'O. If he is a Liberal.

' ?. If he is doubtful.

'3rd. By distinguishing the councillors as follows, placing the names on the lines A for the councillors elected this year ; on the lines B for the councillors elected last year ; on the lines C for the councillors elected in 1900 ; and by placing after the name of the mayor one of the three letters A, B or C, according as the mayor has been elected this year, last year or in 1900.

'4th. Ev naming the hotelkeepers and drivers according to their importance and efficiency, beginning with the most commendable.

'5th. By uaming the two most prominent Conservative leaders and the two most prominent Liberal leaders.

'6th. By adding aftor the name of the secretary-treasurer your estimation of that officer, who may be an intelligent partisan, scrupulous, or a skilful, dangerous adversary, to be watched.

'7th. By giving information, as far as possible, of the number of copies of each of the newspapers received in the parish.

'8th. By supplying in the space reserved for remarks all that you think has been omitted in this form and which might be considered as useful information. I shall he happy to receive any suggestions you may be pleased to make. You need not prepay your reply if you address it to me at the Senate, Ottawa. I will ask you as a favour to have your reply reach me as soon as possible.

'I remain, sir, your obedient servant,

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March 3, 1902

Mr. BELAND asked :

Has the attention of the government been called to an article which appeared in the Victoria ' Colonist ' on the 9th February, 1902, part of which reads as follows :-

' In speaking of the grievances of the canners, Professor Prince, commissioner of fisheries, said there were no doubt many grievances, many matters to set right, and if they had been set right long ago, it would have been better for the government; but the government have not had a minister who could form a resolution and act on it since the days of Sir Hibbert Tupper.'

2. Is it the intention of the government to have an investigation as to whether Professor Prince expressed himself as above reported ?

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February 14, 1902


Yes, the existing government is perfectly satisfied because the people of the country at large are satisfied. Whether you stand at the door of the farmer, or at the door of the workingman; whether you stand at the door of the artisan, or at the door of the manufacturer ; wherever you go, whether it be in the streets of the city or into the remotest lumbering regions, whether on the coast of the Atlantic, or whether in the mining districts of the Yukon or of British Columbia; wherever you go your eye and your ear will be delighted with tiie sound and the sight of prosperity throughout this broad land. I am here, Sir, as the

representative of perhaps the largest rural district in Eastern Canada, and it becomes my duty to express my gratitude to this government, which has conferred such benefits upon the farming community of this country. By the aid and solicitude of the present government new and profitable markets have been secured for our products. The preferential tariff, the eloquent speeches that have been delivered in England by the prime minister ; the readiness with which the appeal of the motherland was answered by Canada when she was in want of moral and even substantial support during tiie struggle in South Africa; all of these circumstances have tended to create a favourable sentiment for Canadian products in the British market. Then again, the transportation facilities which have been provided by the Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Fisher) have not been the least amongst the processes by which this country has reached its present prosperity. As my hon. friend from West York (Mr. Campbell) has covered the most important parts referred to in tiie Speech from the Throne, it is unnecessary for me to dwell upon them at length. Let me say that all of us in this great country should entertain enthusiastic hopes for the future. There are in Canada citizens of different creeds and different races. Along side of the Irish we have the English, alongside of the French we have the Scotch, alongside of the Protestant we have tiie Catholic, and though we may differ in nationality and in religion, though one may speak the tongue of Louis XIV. and another the tongue of Shakspere, let us all remember that our duty is to build up a prosperous and happy country founded on principles of tolerance and equal rights to all. I see in this House members on both sides whose hair has faded from its original colour in the work of securing peace and harmony between the heterogeneous elements of our population. Let me express the hope that before these gentlemen pass from tiie troubles of this earth they will gather the fruit of their patriotic efforts.

It is scarcely necessary for me to refer to the visit paid to this country by tiie Prince and Princess of Wales. If those who are not acquainted with our population in the province of Quebec and who do not know the sentiment of that province, if they had had the privilege of witnessing the grand scene presented when our people in the old city of Quebec greeted the landing of the illustrious visitors; if it had been their privilege to hear the deafening cheers of the people of East Quebec so eminently represented by the prime minister ; if it had been their privilege to glance at the beautiful women of that old city waving flags and handkerchiefs and throwing flowers at the feet of the royal visitors, I am sure they would have said from the bottom of their hearts that a people so enthusiastic on that occasion, could never be disloyal. Not only have

the men of my race proven their devotion to tlie British Crown in the days of rejoicing, but also in the days of sorrow. Not so long since, in lands far away, they sacrificed their lives to protect the flag which waves over them. And, Sir, that province from which I come will enshrine with fadeless flowers, the memory of those volunteers who have fallen, and the incense of their gratitude will continue to ascend until the last drop of the St. Lawrence has rolled by their homes on its way to the sea.

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February 14, 1902

Mr. HENRI BELAND (Beauce).

(Translation.) I am sensible of the great honour that has been conferred upon me, in that I have been chosen to second the motion moved in such happy terms by the hon. member for West York (Mr. Arch. Campbell). But at the same time I cannot help the thought that if it was my good fortune to have been selected to address this House under such circumstances, and to discharge so honourable a task, it was perhaps also my bad luck to be called upon to do so after one of the most eloquent members

from the province of Ontario, or it is still within the vivid recollection of this House, what a remarkable feat the hon. gentleman did achieve, who has just taken his seat. At all events, Mr. Speaker, apart from the question whether it was to good or bad luck that I am indebted for the honour of seconding this motion, I have a very pleasant duty to discharge from the very outset, and it is to offer my best thanks to the right hon. the prime minister for the great honour he has conferred upon me in inviting me to perform this task. That honour, I am well aware, is not only a compliment paid to my humble self but a compliment paid to the electors of the county of Beauce, who have just returned me by acclamation. To the right hon. prime minister, then, my most heartfelt thanks are due, the more so, as under these particular circumstances, he has given a fresh proof of his devotion, which was already so marked, to the interests of his old agricultural county.

Mr. Speaker, in reading over the different paragraphs of the Speech from the Throne, the feeling which is uppermost in our minds, the feeling which is most vividly brought home to ns is one of gratitude to Divine Providence for the blessings conferred, during the last twelve months, upon this vast Dominion.

I think I am voicing the feelings of this side of the House at any rate in saying that to Divine Providence we indeed owe a debt of gratitude for the happy inspiration imparted to the gentlemen who sit on the treasury benches and who have the control of public affairs.

A simple glance thrown at the Speecli from the Throne will show that the government do not mean to rest upon their oars but that they are up and doing.

No doubt, they have not forgotten the fact of that great general who saw the fruit of his dearly bought victories snatched from his hands, for having one single day rested upon his laurels. No, the government cannot remain idle and with their arms folded, and that is the reason why fresh legislation is going to be brought forward and new amendments added to the existing laws. It is characteristic of human affairs that they always admit of improvement and perfecting. Go through the different provinces of the Dominion, and everywhere among the various classes of the community you will find the country is blessed with universal prosperity ; go among the farming community, the mechanics, the manufacturing classes, and everywhere you will find that the fires of content blaze upon the hearthstones and the lights of hope illumine every household.

I need not dwell at any length here on the facts which show that an unprecedented prosperity smiles on us. But I may anticipate the comment often heard from certain quarters, and mainly from the hon. gentlemen opposite, that the prosperity we are now enjoying is neither the result of legislation nor to be attributed to any action of the government, but is the gift of a bountiful Providence. On the other hand, I am also aware that credit is claimed for the Liberal party for the prosperity with which the country is blessed. That public men are often unduly criticised or lauded and praised beyond their deserts I know very well. I for one am inclined to believe with some-and that opinion rests on a well known principle in poltical economy-that the criterion of prosperity of a country is to be found in the balance of trade, according as that balance turns in favour of or against such country. Although, under the circumstances, to encroach upon the domain of statistics may seem out of place, still I crave leave to say that, during the last five years of the Conservative administration, from 1891 to 1896, the balance of trade was in our favour but for one year ; whereas, in four out of five years under Liberal rule, the balance of trade was in our favour. During the last five years under the Conservative regime, only in one year was there an excess of imports over exports ; whereas, under Liberal rule, there was an excess of exports over imports in four years out of five.

As 1 have the honour of representing here a rural constituency, the population of which is one as thoroughly agricultural as is to be found anywhere in the province of Quebec, I may perhaps take the liberty of dwelling at greater length on the prosperity of our farming community, and mainly upon the remarkable growth and steady development of dairying, but at the very outset, I am met with this question : what is the part to be played by the government, in order to promote, encourage and secure the proper development of our agricultural industry ?

To build up and secure the prosperity of that industry, there are requisite conditions : first, a market must be provided ; in the second place, proper and ample facilities of transportation at a low temperature have to be arranged ; and thirdly, improving our processes of manufacture and bringing them up to date.

Now, the government have secured the proper manufacture of cheese and butter, by educating the farming population as to the best methods of manufacture, and this by means of lectures given by competent men ; further, by bonusing the industry and trade, and by enacting proper legislation. To the prosperity of that industry the government have also contributed by providing greater facilities for carrying our perishable agricultural products, and mainly by means of a chain system of cold storage on board trains and by the mechanical refrigerator plan on board steamers, so that our farm products may be placed upon the British markets in as good a condition as when leaving points of shipment.

In connection with the British market, we are sometimes told that in business matters, sentiment is of no account, and that is to say that the government have succeeded in securing the British market for our agricultural products-is altogether preposterous. To such a statement I, for one, take exception. On the contrary, I do believe in sentiment as a most potent factor in trade matters and I further say this : that to the preferential treatment of 35 per cent given by tlie government to the trade of England, coupled with the eloquent speeches delivered in Great Britain by the leader of the Liberal party, is due the better position we are enjoying on the markets of the mother country. To the influence exerted by the right hon. prime minister, as also to the various other measures adopted by the government, as for instance, when they so nobly responded to the appeal of the mother country in her hour of stress and difficulty, we owe the boon of having secured a market with such boundless capacity and possibilities for our agricultural products. All these circumstances, I say, have conspired in creating a favourable sentiment to Canada on the world market of Great Britain.

But, Sir, what I have just said as to what has been achieved by the government in favour of the butter and cheese industry applies with equal force to all other farm products. With a government at the head of affairs which is anxious to promote the prosperity of the farming community, small wonder indeed, that our Canadian farmers should now find plenty and comfort where formerly there was nothing but distress and suffering for them. To our manufacturing industries, to trade in general and to our artisans and labourers these remarks equally apply.

I hope the Blouse will bear with me, if I briefly touch upon the great national work which is being carried out by the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Tarte), in improving the St. Lawrence route. No * doubt, the old administration had, in some measure, grappled with that problem, but I think I am within the truth when I say that since the hon. minister has assumed control of his department, this question has reached a new stage. He it was who brought to bear upon the solution of that great problem all the resources of civil engineering ; he it was who availed himself of all the information and data bearing on the St. Lawrence route-a national highway which is the national outlet for Canadian products exported to Europe, as also for foreign traffic with the commercial metropolis of Canada. Surely, Providence, which has given us such a magnificent river, cannot be taxed with niggardliness.

What with its powerful volumes of waters, its magnificent banks, its fertile valleys, the St. Lawrence, in the views of Providence, is also the great thoroughfare for the carriage of the products of the Mr. BELAND.

vast granaries of our great North-west, a country which is destined in the near future to supply food to a portion of old Europe.

In a speech which I happened to read a few years ago, of the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), the hon. gentleman, in a masterly peroration, expressed the view that Canada had perhaps reached the zenith of her prosperity, but still he was confident that better times were possibly in store for her.

Well, Sir, I may say that the most sanguine expectations of the hon. minister have been realized beyond his dreams. Now, we are not satisfied with surpluses of from two, three to four million dollars ; but, for the seven months of this exercise, the surplus or the excess of ordinary revenue over our expenditure has reached the high water mark of seven million dollars, and this under a tariff that has been re-adjusted and reformed.

" Hands off the tariff " was what our friends on the other side of the House were heard to say in 1896 ; the tariff was then held up as something sacred, something that profane hands should not touch, and it was sacrilege to look upon it. But what they looked upon as a sort of national inheritance, was at the best but a party glory. No sacrilegious hand has touched it; but the hand that did remodel the tariff and lop off the mouldering branches was the very hand of the great financier who during so many years has wielded such a prepondering influence in the councils of his province of Nova Spotia.

Reference is made in the Speech from the Throne to the fact that His Majesty has been graciously pleased to invite the premier to be present at the ceremonies attending his coronation. What a glorious part the premier has played in London upon the occasion of the jubilee of the late regretted Queen, we all know, and we also know what a lustre his presence in the metropolis has shed on Canada. That upon the occasion of the King's coronation, he will discharge his duties as our representative with as much eclat as he did in 1897, goes without saying. Of all the men of eminence in this House or out of it, none are to be found who could speak with a more authorized voice than the premier will be able to do at the conference to be held between the leading statesmen of the several colonies. From his lofty patriotism, and his broad spirit of statesmanship, we know that he adequately represents the aspirations of our young nation.

I do not intend to occupy the time of the House at greater length, but before bringing these remarks to u close, I wish briefly to refer to the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and to bear witness here to the hearty and enthusiastic reception extended to our royal visitors by the people of the province of Quebec. As we crowded together where the old ramparts of the

city of Quebec rise, tbe royal yacht was sighted over the point of the Island of Orleans. Expectant Quebec in thousands thronged the heights. The whole population of St. Roch had turned out ere masse to greet our royal guests. No longer, as in tiie days of Wolfe, was it a question of taking Quebec by storm ; no longer the thunders that broke forth from the forts belched forth death and destruction, but from the mouths of her cannon the old city roared out a loyal welcome from a whole people to the heir to the throne of England.

That the visit of the Prince of Wales was but a triumphal march throughout the length and breadth of the land we all know from press reports. And when, on board the yacht which was taking him back to England, the Prince reviewed in his mind the rich domains he had travelled over, as also the cordial and enthusiastic welcome extended to him by the people of this mighty Dominion ; when he looked back at the great manufacturing centres he had visited, where industrial life and activity are in full growth and development ; all this no doubt vividly brought home to him the reality of the strange phenomenon which is being enacted on this continent, of Anglo Saxons, Normans, Scotchmen and Irishmen working shoulder to shoulder to the upbuilding of a pi'osperous and happy nation.

Mr. Speaker, as there are amongst my constituents a number of my electors who are of English origin (though I may say they are not very numerous), I deem it my duty on this occasion to address a few words to the House in the English language. It is, I know, scarcely necessary for me to ask from the members of this hon. body that indulgence which is usually extended to every new member. Hon. gentlemen who listen to these few remarks will easily see that this language is not familiar to me; not nearly as familiar as the tongue which I was taught to speak in the days of my youth. In reading the speech which His Excellency addressed to us yesterday, one at once reaches the idea that this government, although anxious to aim at still better results in the future, if that be possible, are perfectly satisfied with the existing state of affairs.

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