SÉVIGNY, The Hon. Albert, P.C., B.A., LL.L.

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Dorchester (Quebec)
Birth Date
December 31, 1881
Deceased Date
May 14, 1961

Parliamentary Career

September 21, 1911 - January 7, 1917
  Dorchester (Quebec)
  • Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons (February 9, 1915 - January 11, 1916)
  • Speaker of the House of Commons (January 12, 1916 - January 7, 1917)
January 27, 1917 - October 6, 1917
  Dorchester (Quebec)
  • Minister of Inland Revenue (January 8, 1917 - October 11, 1917)
  • Secretary of State of Canada (June 13, 1917 - August 24, 1917)
  • Minister of Mines (June 13, 1917 - August 24, 1917)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 100 of 101)

March 12, 1912


(Translation.) If no amendment is added to the Bill as brought down, is the hon. member of opinion that the Keewatin minority will be subject to the conditions of the Laurier-Greenway settlement?

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March 12, 1912

Mr. A. SEVIGNY. (Translation).

No. I f m alluding to the ex-Postmaster General (Mr. Beland); if I mistake not, my hon. friend must be styled the ex-minister of Marine and Fisheries.

I have always found my hon. friend-he has been a Minister for thirty days-to be very clever when meeting his opponents and discussing thn naval question. I was honoured by his presence in my county and I listened to him on numerous other occasions. When he was addressing French Canadian electors in the province of Quebec, he used to say: Our opponents are trying to work you up about that navy, a small little navy that will serve only to protect your butter and your cheese; you are not going to vote for the large navy that Borden wants, and don't forget that Borden wants to give, besides, 25 million dollars to assist England in the wars of the empire. He invariably concluded in appealing thus to hi3 fellow citizens: If you vote for Laurier, you are voting for a small navy; if you vote for Borden you are voting for a large navy. For him the whole question was between a small and a large

navy. That tactic was clever enough and was fairly successful in several places; it succeeded even in my county, but not sufficiently to prevent my being elected.

To-night, after the vote, I listened with great pleasure, as I always do to, the speech of the hon. member for Beauce, who is one of the best speakers of the province of Quebec.

For more than a week now, we are discussing this question of the Manitoba boundaries. For my part, I took on that question a stand which is absolutely sincere and definite, and that stand I have taken at a considerable sacrifice. For the last ten years, unfortunately, I have been mixed up in politics and I have always fought for the Conservative party in the province of Quebec, in its darkest days, and a few months after taking my seat in this House, I came to the conclusion that I was in duty bound to vote against the party for which I have always fought.

_ I say that it was a great sacrifice. I did it in order to harmonize my vote with my past record and in justice to those whom my conscience called upon me to support under the circumstances.

The hon. member for Beauce has followed the whole debate; he did not however take any part in the discussion upon the amendment submitted by the hon. member for Yamaska. He proposed nothing himself as a measure of justice to the Catholic minority of Keewatin. He now comes forward with a motion having no bearing whatever on the question and which, as he says, would place the rights of that minority in the hands of a few persons who would confer with the government of Manitoba. What would take place at such a conference? Would the hon. member be there? Would I or other members of this House be there to offer suggestions? Certainly not. I say therefore that it is here in this House where the members from the province of Quebec and for all Canada are present that suggestions should be made. If the hon. member will submit a measure calculated to_ protect all the rights of the Keewatin minority, I will undertake to vote with [DOT]him and once more against my party. But I will have none of the measure he now suggests, because I do not believe in its efficacy and past events strengthen me in that connection.

In 1905, the parliament of 'Canada had to debate a question concerning which public opinion was roused as it is to-day. The Liberal government having decided to create two new provinces in the west, Alberta and Saskatchewan, there arose the questions of separate schools and of the preservation of the rights of the French language in those provinces. What took place then? Mr. Bergeron, then member

for Beauharnois, submitted an amendment which reads as follows at page 9046 of the Debates of that year:

That all the words after ' he ' at the end of the question be left out and the words:

' Recommitted to a community of the whole House with instruction that they have power to amend the same by striking out all the words of clause 16 and to substitute therefor the following:

16. Section 93 of the B.N.A.. Act of 1867 shall apply to the said province as if at the date fixed for the coming into force of this Act, the territory included in the said province were already a province, the word ' union ' in the section meaning the same date.

2. The legislature shall have the right to pass laws with reference to education, but it shall always provide for (a) the existence of separate schools and their enjoyment by the minority, Protestant or Catholic, who may claim them, (b) The effective control of said school in matters of teaching by the said minority, (c) the full liberty for the majority in any school district to have such schools as they may desire, (d) the equitable and proportionate distribution between the majority and the minority of all monies appropriated for education by the legislature of the province and of all monies arising from the school fund established by the Dominion Lands Act.

Such is Mr. Bergeron's amendment, it is clear and precise and if the member for Beauce will prepare a similar one to secure the complete protection of the rights of the minority in Keewatin, I solemnly promise to vote for such an amendment.

What took place in 1905? When the division took place on Mr. Bergeron's amendment, the hon. member for Two-Mountains (Mr. Ethier), the hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Lapointe), the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Belaud), and all the French Canadian Liberals from the province of Quebec voted against it. Such is the measure of their sincerity in the protection of the minority and of Catholics in the new provinces. Am I not right in saying that they stand condemned by their past record and they will remain so condemned in the province of Quebec.? At the same period and during the same debate, Mr. Bourassa presented an amertdment concerning education in the new provinces. What did these members do about it? Consult the debates and you will find that they voted against the Catholic minority sacrificing all that they lay claim to today in the name of Catholics of the province of Quebec. -

Did not the hon. member for Beauce who a moment ago,took upon himself to speak in the name of 42 per cent of the population, vote with his colleagues on your left against the use and maintenance of the French language in the new provinces?

Mr. Speaker, as I have already stated, I have come here resolved to do my duty. I remember the declaration I have made

in the province of Quebec since I am in political life. At the beginning of the present session, the hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux), a talented French Canadian, an honour to his nationality and whom I much admire-quoted certain words he said were uttered by the member for Dorchester, concerning the navy and which appeared to be an attack against the English of Ontario. I deny absolutely having ever uttered the words attributed to, me by the member for Rouville. What I said outside of this Chamber I am ready to repeat here. Some days ago, I gave notice of a motion concerning the navy; I knew what I was doing on that occasion. Somebody had to bell the cat and I did so without hesitation.

I am quite satisfied with the government's attitude on this question, but here again as on the school question, my conduct was entirely sincere, I had no other object butj to do my duty to the best of my knowledge and ability, and notwithstanding the deep regret that I felt and expressed, I did not hesitate to differ from my party, nor shall I hesitate to do in future if I consider it necessary. Let the hop. members for Beauce, Two-Mountains and Kamouraska submit an amendment securing the rights of the minority in Keewatin and I shall be very happy to separate once more from my party and to do my duty. But I refuse to be duped by such people who are not sincere, as I have proved, and for that reason I shall vote against the amendment presented by the member for Beauce.

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March 12, 1912

Mr. A. SEVIGNY (Dorchester).

(Translation). Mr. Speaker, at this late hour of the night and at this phase of the debate,, it is not my intention to detain the House by a long speech, but 1 think it is my duty to give some explanation before casting my vote for the amendment of the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Beland).

It has been my privilege for several years past to be acquainted with the ex Postmaster General. I am quite ready to concede here, as I have done more than once outside of this House, that my hon. friend is a talented French-Canadian; nevertheless, I hold together with several members to whom I have spoken about it, that the hon. gentleman, besides being a clever young man is also an excellent comedian. I followed him in that memorable campaign of Drummond-Arthabaska, in the fall of 1909; I followed him during the last electoral fight that was ended by the great victory of the 21st September. On all occasions it was made apparent to me. . .

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March 12, 1912


(Translation.) Has the hon. member voted for the Laurier-Greenway settlement?

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February 12, 1912

1. Has the government the right of inspection of joint stock companies incorporated under the law of Canada?

2. If so, has the government the right to know the names of the shareholders incorporated under the said laws, and will the government give to the House the names of the shareholders of the Canadian Vickers, Limited, Company?

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