Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Constitution of the Senate”, 10th Parl, 4th Sess, (20 January 1908)

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Date: 1908-01-20
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 10th Parl, 4th Sess, 1908 at 1513-1550.
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1J5A1N3 UAIRY 20, 1908
Return showing ail advances to ministers
of the Crown and their private secretaries, on
account of travelling or other expenses in con- nection with the Imperial Conference of 1907,
the date of such advances, and the appropriation
against which it was charged.-Mr. Fos.
Copy of ail correspondence, documents and
papers, in the investigation into the case of
Mr. 0. S. Tinnie, chief clerk in the Gold Coinmissianers’s
office, Dawson, Yukon Territory.
-Mr. Thompson.
Copy of letters, telegrams and reports, l’e- garding complaints made by John Franklin
and Stapleton Brothers, with respect to Indian
Agent Yeomans.-Mr. Knowles.
Copy of ail correspondence, telegrams, &c.,
in the possession of the goverument or any member or officiai thereof, respecting the
withdrawal of the winter steamers frein
Charlottetown on or about the 8th of January,
instant, and thjir replacement some days
later.-Mr. Martin (Queens).
Copy of ail certificates by farmers resident
in the riding of West Kent, and returned to
the departinent by immigration agents for the
said riding, and on certîficates such agents
were paid for piacing immigrants with each
fariner, giving the namnes of each immigrant
and of each farmer such were placed with,
giving the total amount received by each agent
up to the present time.-Mr. Clements.
Copy of ail correspondence relating to the
morality of the Yukon.-Mr. Thompson.
lieturu showing ail fines imposed for violation
of the Fisheries Act in district No. 2,
Nova Scotia, comprising the counties of An- tigonibli, Colchester, Cumberland, Guysborougli,
Halifax, Hauts and Pictou, showiug the
amount of each fine, dates on which. samne were
imposed and paid. the place of trial in each
case, the offeuce charged, and the naines cf
the convicting justices or fishery officers.-
Mr. Sinclair.
Mr. 0. H-. MeINTYRE (South Perth). The
1esolution which 1 propose seconded by Mr.
Scheil, of South Oxford, is as follows:
That this House deems it expedient to invite
the honourable the Senate to co-operate
with it by ineans of confel-ences or joint coinmittee,
in giving consideration to the advantages
to be gained by changes in the composition
of the Senate, looking to:
1. An age limit for retirement; and a shortaned
teri cf service for future senators.
2. An extension te other authorities than
the present one, of Power to select persans for
the fillinff of a portion of future vacancies in
the Senate.
3. A rearrangement of some of the duties
and work of the two Houses.
4. And in making recommeudations in regard
te these and other changes caiculated
to place the Senate in a position of increased
usefulaess and of increased responsibility ta
the people.
There are, Sir, also two ather resolutians
bearing upan the Senate which appear an
the Order Paper, and wlth the consent of
the Hause It ta propased that the principie
iuvolved in each of these three resolutions
shahl be discussed at the same time. The
resolution proposed by Mr. Miller Is
That this Canadian Senate, as an institution
has net proved ta be of aay decided benefit
to Canada, and cannot be regarded as a necéssity.
That the disadvautages connected
with and resulting from the maintaiaing of
the Senate greatly outweigh the advantages
and benefits derived therefrom, and that the
Senate inay with advantage and gain be
The resolution moved by Mr. Lewis is:
That in the opinion of this liouse it will
be advisable at the next general election, for thie Licuse cf Commons for Canada to submit
the folloiving questions for the votes of the
1. Shahl the Senate of Canada be abolishedF
2. Shall the method of appointinent of the
Senators of Canada be altered?
In moving n resalution of this charmeter,
Sir, I renhize that I amn not trending on entirely
new ground. The question is one
that bas been discussed ln rnany foi-ms for
a cansiderable number of yenrs. It is a
question of. grent Importance, ns naturally
any question is that involves a change la the
constitution of aur country. It would be
very natural that In praposing such a
change, I should be called upon first ta
prave my case. Saome two yenrs ago 1
moved a resolutian lu this House la regard
ta the Senate. At that tîme I quoted a
number of authorities and a number of Instances
shawlng dissatisf action, dîsappointment
and disapproval with the Senate. I
quated resolutions of the Liberal convention
of 1893. 1 mentioned the dissntisfaction
and trouble af the Mackenzie administration.
I quoted statements of weIl-known
Liberal statesmen, sanie of thein of a former
day. I quoted a resolutian of the Ontario
legisiature passed lu 1899. Ail of these
went ta show a very grave feeling of dissatisfaction
wlth the Senate and a very strang
desire that there should be some remedy. I
mlght have mentloned saine ather evidences
of dissatisf action. The resolution whlch
my han. frlend from South Grey (Mr. Miller)
bas put an the Order Paper evidences
very serions dissatlsfaction lndeed. I mlght
alsa mention the plank lu the )Halifax platfarm
of the hon, leader of the apposition,
showlng dissatisfaction ln, same respects
wlth the 7Senate as at preseut canstltuted.
Iu crltlclslng the ýSente or Its acts, one
reallzes that a member of this body may
perbaps be treadlng on tender grouud, and
May be charged wlth presumptian lu dolng
sa. But lu crltlclslng the Senate I do nat
wlsh you by any means ta Infer that I conaider
the House of Commons to be without
fauîts. 1 reallze very clearly lndeed the
many fauits and weaknesses of this body.
But there la thîs very great difference between
the two bodies, that we go back fre-
quently te the people te bave our record
examined andi for criticism and porhaps
punîshmeat. It is net se wjth the Sonate.
My criticism of the Sonate is net tbe criticism
of the individuai members et the Senate;
It Is a criticismn of the conditions surrounding
those mombers. Now, Sir, tanitfinding
anti criticism are net on the wbele
a pleasant or gracieus task; it is net one
that I take kindiy to. It is necossary at
times. but I do net as a rule induige lu it.
So that with the quotations that I have
made, -witb the instances ientioneti f rou
tine te time in our party press and by our
party leaders, I wili asic this House te take
the dissatlsfactlon and disapprobatien of
th(, “enate as somnetlîiag proveti. as a postulate.
If I cannot do that. the reselution of
my hon. friend frem South Grey calis for
proof aleng that lino, anti if he but haîf
proves bis case, lie will abundantiy suppiy
ail the Justification I desire te have for
mine. If our conistitution were net a written
constitution, we rnight perbaps inaice
ail the changes necessary without any appeal
te tue Inîiperial authorities. But we
are under a written constitution which largely
limîts us. We rnay magko changes la proceduaro,
but evea tiiere w-e are limiteti te
some oxtent.
WVe must, thon. 1 believo. soek for a
roaîedy fer the lîresolît condition of things.
The dissatisfactioîî is s0 widospread, andi
the danger of coiitiniig la the i)iesent condition
is se great. and weuid ho se mucli
greater iti a tinie eof-is tiait I beileve
we are torced te seek soine rernedy. The
nature et your rernedy wiil itnrally de-
Pend upoii your diagneosis o? the disbaqse,
nnd upon yeur ideal or standard for a
second chamber. Se that it niîay ho wvel
te look at what are tue usuaily accepted
reasons for a second chamber. I Nviii state
them : first, as a legisiative body, Some
people would desire that it shouid ho a
fully co-ordinate body with the first chaiîîber.
That view, liowever, is scidorn helti.
It is regardoti as a corrective ef hasty or iiicensidereti
legisilîtioa; it is inteadeti te recoasider
cases in ýwhiclî there is douht et
the pepular will; it is inteadeti to represent
the soer second thjought et the people;
It is intendod to ascertain and enfonce t11e
permanent and net mereiy the transiexît
Ideas of the people; it is initendeti te insure
stahility, permanence, and continuity la gevernment,
rather than iere activity; Lt is intended
te protect the riglits et certain
minorities; It Is intonded te represent the
people as a whole rather than certain local
majorities; It is inteadod frequently te protect
provincial rights; it Is intended te ropresent
certain Ideals o? tht people net
easily attaîneti by oun ondinary form o?
general election. Whea we read a list et
reasons of this kînti for a second ehamber,
wo realîze theîr Importance. I believe that
evory one of these reasons exIsts la Canada
andi did oxlst at tbe timo the second
chamber was madie a part of our formn of
governmnent. Not that they ail exlst ini
equai force, but ail do exist. It wiil depend,
then, upon the extent to whlch you belleve
any one of these reasons to be predominant
what form of remedy yen will desire to bave
applied to the Senate to make it correspond
to what you think it should be.
Among the remedies proposeti, the first
one that shouiti be mentioned is that referred
to lIn the motion of my hon. frienti from
South Grey, that is, abolition. Lt is true
that removai can hardly be considered a
remedy. But taking itas aremedy, one must
recognize that it bas some advantages. It
bas the menit of simpiicity; involves but few
details; It cornes quite readily to the tongue.
I conceive that Lt is the view of numbers
ef thinking people, including my bon. frienti
fromn South Grey. But I think I may asic
hlm to concede that In many cases it is the
remedy rather of impatience and irritation
than of sober tbougbt.
Many of the people wbe now coimplain
of the lnactivity of the Senate wouid be
jîst ns bitter in their compiaints if the
Senate, as at prosont constituted, were
snddenly to break into vigorons activity.
Nevertheless the dissatisfaction wItli the
Senate is realiy so great, that the question
is forced upon us: Shahl it be mended or
endeci? Before, however, considering the
niris of sucb a suggestion ns abolition,
it la absolutely necessary that we shonild
consider its i)racticality. Is abolition
l)racticable? We know that before abolition
cau be accornplislied, we must have
an Act of the Imperial parliament. To
obtain such an Act, it wili be absolutoIy
necessary, flot oniy that this House shouid
be willing but that the Sonate itself should
lie a consenting party. Lt will be fnrther
uecessary that the varions provinces shouid
consent to the change-certainly the provinces
wbich were parties to confedoration
or which caine lu undor nny compact.
When we consider that the consent of ail
tiiese parties wvill be needed nnd when we
consider what tue expression of somne of
those provinces lias been in the past, we
eannot fait but corne to the conclusion that
abolition, however desirable we might consaler
it, is not practicable. Thon we are
mnet by this otiier tact. WVe do not aiwvays
terminate immediately any institution
thait is net entireiy satisfactory. We
are too yonng as n country to juînp s0
histiiy at conclusions. WNe are oniy forty
years et ago, whicb is but a short time
la the history of any country, and we are
asked lu our youth and with 50 littie expenience,
to absolutoly abrogate the Sonate
wlthout once even trying a remedy. That
is certalnly net the lineofri action we wouldj
take lu any ordinary proceeding of lite.
But passing from that viow and taking Up
the goneral argument rogarding abolition
I imiglît imost say that the genoral argument
would not be necessary owing te the
1517 JANUAIRY 20. 1908 1518
impracticability of abolition. But when I
recolleet the ablllty and the power of my
hon. friend. from South Grey (Mr. Miller),
I realîze that even the Impossible, may
perbaps be rather endangered by hiseattacil.
So that on that account and for
the advantagé-that ma3′ accrue from a
moment’s examînation of wbat abolition
mlght effect, I propose to enter a littie on
the general argument.
What would abolition men la Canada?
The abolition of- the Senate would remove
ail the good that Is in that body, and I
presume there ls some good .in It. It
would remove ail the ability and experience
that le in the Senate, and we must neknowledge
there is some there. It would
put the business of Canada la the absolute
control. of the House of Commoas, and not
oniy that, but la the absolute control of
the majorlty of that House, or a caucus
of that majorlty, or the leader of that majorlty.
Would that be wlse? That le
a posslblllty lndeed well worth consldering.
We have to coneider the poselblltles o!
the future. The abolition of the Senate
would mean ieavlng the deetinies o! this
country under the control of an absolute
democracy rather than a llted one. It
would mean very mach lncreased work for
this House and mach greater care la al
the leglelation brought before It. It would
men that the mlnorlty of this country
would be at the mercy of the absolute wlII
of the m0ajorlty. It woaid men that the
minorlty muet snhmlt to the most rigid
enforcemeat of everythlng the niajority
might desire. Under sucli cîrcametances,
can we not Imagine how arbltrary the
majorlty of a House 0f this klnd would be.
Free from the restriction of the Seîiate,
mlght flot the majorlty of this House i)ecome
arbitrary or anjust?’ ixamples may
not be very nfimeroae ; bat if 1 can do so
wlthoat offence, 1 might quote one within
My own memory. A very dlstingulshed
member o! thie Hoase, feeling that he had
been. unjustly deait wlth by a newspaper
correspondent, took the eomewhat unusual
and rather antliuated course of calllng that
correspondent to the bar of thie Flouse.
Wïthout discusslng the menite of the
case, may 1 not neil you te recali whether
the mai orlty at that moment, embittered
at what it thought -wae an anf air attacil
on a distlnguiehed member, wae
prepared to act dlspasslonateiy. It nemalned
for one man, who hae more especially
the honoar and dignlty o! the Flouse
ander hie care, to see that juetice wae done,
and he ehowed himself strong enough and
fair enough te have justice doue. But
who can gaarantee that, under other cir-
,eixmstauces, a man equally just and reeolute
woaid hold that position? Who can
gaantee that an lrritated majorlty mlght
flot crash out entlrely the rIghte 0f the
mluority-not merely the rlghte of the lndîviduai
but o! the entire minority? There
wouid be nobody to protect the minorlty
or eee that lu some way justice wae done.
I fear that a Flouse, left entlrely to Iteelf,
would assume an arbltrary attitude. We
have kuown, lu other hon. chambers, of
an arbltnany speaker and an arbitrany lnterpretation
of the raies accomplishlng Injustice.
,When the conditions are such
that any one man can make hie mere wlIl
preval, he no longer neede to appeal to
reason ln order to accomplish hie ends; he
no longer listens readly to reason la others;
and we know that uncontrolled power le
not apt to be ecrupulous la Its regard for
the rlghts of others. *So I fear that a
Flouse of! Commone, supreme and anreetrlcted,
might, through an arbitrary majority,
create great Injustice te the minerlty.
And beeldes the majority la the
Flouse of Commons mlght not represent
the majonlty of the Canadien people. I
need not enter lnto any question of genrymander,
but we know that wlth the poselbllity
o! e change la the distribution o!
the seats now exlstlng, the majority elected
ia this Flouse mlght not represeat the mejority
o! the people. Yet full enbltrary
power would be placed la the hande o! thet
majority, -whose election was obtelned by
dlstributing the eeate I laech a manner
as to faveur one partîcular party.
Mr. HÂGGART. How could the Senate
remedy thet?
Mn. G. H. McINTYRE. The iSenate
couid not corne la and do Justice te the
Individuel. The Senate couid not change
the raies o! this House; but where the lnterests
of the country at large are affected
by the arbltrary action of thîs Flouse, the
Senate could act in such a way as would
enable justice to bo done, not te the mndividuai,
but to the country. It could restrain,
and I believe, if the acte of thie
Flouse were sbown to be arbltrary, It
wouid reetrain. This Flouse le elected by
the people, and la that respect le establlshed
on the proper foandetion, but juet
consider for a moment ail that le lavolved
la an election. Conelder the etepe teken.
In the firet place, there le the primary
meeting for the election of delegates to the
convention, aad then there Is the meeting
of the convention to choose a candidate.
Probably not more than 200 electors on
either elde take part la these prlmery meetings
and conventions whlch decide on the
two candidates, and the cholco of the electorato
ls llmited to the two mon se chosen.
No matter what difforont viewe a man may
hold, he can only exprese them through
one or other of theso two men ; and lot any
man remember hie own election conteet.
Lot hlm recali the mlsreprosontatlons, the
appeaIs to prejudices and eectioualism, and
aIl the devîces ased to Influence the people,
charged by each party on the other,
and ho will realizo that lu maay cases the
members of this Flouse are rathor the
1517 JANUARY 20, 1908 1518
1519 OOMMONS 1520
elected supporters of the one party or the
other than representatives of the people In
the true sense. It depends largely on our
own sense of honour whether we are the
representatives the people hope we may
be, and which they endeavour to make us
by this form of selection.
But if, even at the time of the election, a
majority of this House absolutely represented
the view of the people, it does so
only on one or two questions. It does not
do so on many questions that come up and
Inter on it does not represent the people
properly at all. And yet this Flouse, by the
abolition of Ihe Senate. would have complete
control of al] legislation. not merely
on those items that have been discussed before
the people. but on anything that the
leader of the majority in the House chose
to bring in. And we know fliat a government
of a party is seldoni eleeted absolutely
on ifs ow n programme, but very often
is elected mainly on the mistakes of its opponents.
Abolition of the Senate, then,
would make Ibis lIouse absolute. There
would be no resistinits force aniid I lelieve
that, in every polity, there should be
some centre of resistance against predoin-
Inant power, or that power will become absolute.
Any system of government that is of
value is one in whîieh tlere are elecks, one
in which no anthority is given full power.
Tue people cannot a fiord to give absolute
power to one set of’ men. And, indeed, if
you wish governors 10 govern well, you
musf, as far as possible, prevent th.ei from1
having the opportunily to govern ill. The
tendency towards mîîachine politics, as it
is called,-towards close orgainization,-ik
very great, and it would becone greater if
this were the only chamber that had control
of the destinies of the country. Abolition
of the Senate would, I think, if we look
at the matter properly, demiand that there
should be souue referendui, so that whatever
might pass in this louse could, under
some circumstances, be referred to the people
for their judgment. That w ould be the
proper course. But, if you are going to
adopt a course of that kind, you might as
well use your Senate for a referendum, And
I wish to point out here that all the theorles
of second ballot, and initiative and referenidum,
which many have considered necessary,
are ail proofs of the necessity of a
second chamber and are necessary to enable
one chamber to properly fulfil the
functions of governnent. The laws passed
even by two chambers are frequently imperfect
and need change. H1ow muci more
would this be so if we, in the turmoil of
our work, passed the laws without any possibility
for examination, reflection or change.
I may also point ont that, while there bas
been, for a long time, a feeling of dissatisfaction
with the Senate. and a desire to
change. no province in this country lias ever
asked for abolition. Some provinces have
asked for change. The Ontario resolution
of 1899, to which I have already referred,
specifically asks for certain changes, but
makes no demand for abolition. In fact,
I think I may fairly state that ail the arguments
for abolition, certainly all that I have
heard, and i have not heard those of my
hon. friend from South Grey (Mr. Miller),
are against the Senate as it is at present
constituted, and not against the Senate as
we would hope to make it. Has the Senate
of Canada any merits ? The Senate thinks
it has. And I think so.
Mr. FOSTER. Ask Archie.
Mr. G. H. McINTYRE. Yes, I think we
might safely ask him. His experience is
not so long as that of some of the others,
and so there might be others vlhose opinions
would be of greater value. But his
opinion should carry weight, and I think
that opinion would be that the Senate las
mîerits. The Senate does its work quietlythere
are no fireworks. It is reported very
little in the publie press. It does not often
enter into conflict. At the same time, I
mîust concode lthat the evidence shows a
considerable amount of work done by the
Senate. The value of that work we must
judge each for himself. If the Senate were
continually at war with the Commoins. it
would naturally bring itself more into notice.
Ani perhaps the Senate might say, as a
reason for sone of these quiet noments,
that the legislation sent fron this Ilouse is
fairly perfect and requires very little change
or amîendment. I cannot, lowever, very
well use an argument to show value in
the Senate unless I believe lui it myself.
The Liberal party in this country has felt
the pinch of an unfavourable Senate, and
bas been moderate in its approval of the
Senate as conpared with the Conservative
party. If I were asking a Conservative
friend to afford me an argument for thie
Senate, while the argument would not appeal
to me as it would to him, lie would
probably quote to m)e the action of the
Senate in relation to the Yukon railway
and the Druminond County railway. i have
lîeard Conservatives speak laudingly of the
action of the Senate in these cases. As I
say, that action does not appeal to me as it
does to my Conservative friends, but it may
lie that the Senate will take similar action
that will appeal to me and. not to them.
Whether I am right or wrong, I know that
certain actions of the Senate have appealed
very strongly to Conservative members of
this House as being good and valuable
actions. But does the Senate need to perform
these actions every day in order to
warrant its existence ? It seems to me that
if the Senate were, once in a session, to
return to this House a Bill wlth imperfections
and have those imperfections righted,
and the sending out of an imperfect law thus
prevented; if once in a parliament, it saved
1519 COMMONS 1520
JANUARY 20, 1908 1522
a iavish expenditure ; if once In a generation
It stood as a bulwark agalnst an
ebullition of popular feeling that was only
temporary, It would abundantly warrait its
existence. We are young as a people. In
some matters we have flot yet struck our
level. We need a few checks to steady us
ln tImes of emergency.
Further, the representation In this Huse
Is a representation of local majorities. It
Id not easy to, get representation for many
minorities ln this country. I prefer to thlnk
of our people as being Canadians, and Canadians
only, but we know that there Io a
great mixture, and that, for instance, ln tbe
province of Ontario, which I know better
than I know the others, there are Roman
Catholic minorities that find It difficuit to
get a fnir representation ln thîs bouse. It
is flot the fault of either party, but slmply
au exigency of party warfare. The sauic
may be said of German minorities in Ontario.
The Senate, if properly constituted,
would afford an opportunity for at least a
fair representation of these minorities, a
better representation than at present of the
varlous portions of our country. If we are
to improve the Senate, if there is a remedy
that we can Eind, that remedy must recognîze
wby it is that a body of men so able
ln themseives have falled to satlsy this
country. What are the faults ? Weil, as
1 see It, I tbink they may be said to be the
letbargy that cornes from elther old age or
advanciag years ; the lack o! any feeling
of responsibuiityto the people ; too great a
feeling of permanence and security ; no particular
Incentive f0 work-iothing pressing
them. I will say nothiag here of the party
bias that is to, some extent present, because,
wbile that bas in the past affected action,
1 do nof daima that It bas been a very serious
feature. Now, whlle these weaknesses
are there, we know also that the Senate ls
endowed under the constitution wýith en-
*ormous powers. It can do things just as it
pleases without a s ‘ingle check ; and wlben
you realize the theoretical power, at least,
under the constitution, one almost begins to,
lie thankful for the moment that the Senate
bas chosen the quiet and easy course.
If it once were to, prove active and obstreperous,
there is no saying what It mlght do.
And, certainly, we have no chance in any
way, except by the force of public opinion,
to, restrain tbem. The real remedy, if we
eau find if, for this dissatlsfactlon with tbe
Senate, must not affect only the Senate, It
nmust ulimateiy in some way give an increased
feeling o! responslbllty to members
of the Sonate. It must make that feeling
o! responsîbility a real one, it must stimulate
for good, and It must lirait the potentiality
for mischlef. 1 would like to, see,
I believe every man in this bouse would like
to, see, such changes in the constitution of
the Senate as would so entrencb the Senate
lu the esteem of the people that when It
had to differ from the bouse of Commous,
we would at least respect its decision and
sit down quietly and examine If, and not,
as we do at present, satisfy ourseives by
revllng It.
Can a remedy be obtalued that wlill not
only improve the Senate but make It a fairly
satisfactory working body ? Now many
Pieople acknowledge the weakness o! the
Senate, the great need of change, but lament
that If is not easy, not possible, some
will say, to, make any change that wlll be
of value. I have not offen made statements
in this bouse that may be cailed very
strong, but I feel a little lîke maklng one
now that may be by some consldered
strong. 1 wiil say this, that if yon wlll ailoxv
me to preface the statement wlth the
remark that no system of goverament wll
be actually perfect, will more than approximate
your ideal, thon I would say, not
only is there a real remedy for this state of
affairs, but there is more than one remedy,
more than two. Bnt in seeking a remedy 1
would say this, it will not be like an answer
f0 a riddle, whlch, as you know, is one
moment unknown, and the next, wben if
is given f0 you, is univorsally accepted as
being full, complete and satisfactory, and
you wouder you had not thought of if bofore.
Thore is no sncb answer as that te>
the question, what is the best means of
reforming the Senate ? To ask for that la
to forget ail the weaknoss that is inheritont
lu any system of government.
I think the difficulties have been two,
xvith regard to the maner of reformiag the
Senate. In the first place, we have no
clearly deflned idea of what we desire, or
what actual standard we wish t0 attain f0.
The other is, I fhink, that we have feit
thiat we mnust soek out, or must obtain some
new, or novel or striklng form of remedy,
somnething that will be new, something that
will appeal to the people as being intricate,
and peculiar, something no doubt that you
xviii be able to defend as logicai. No sncb
remedy of that kind need be sought for, It
wvilî not prove satisfactory to, the people.
Every system that we choose must depend
to somne extent, not merely on being logical,
but it mnst depend on the wisdom, upon
the moderation and upon the patriotlsm of
the members who compose if. So I say tjiat
insfead of looking for something novel and
strikîag, we must proceed along the ues.
that we are accustomed to, that we are using
in practical govorumont at the present
tîme. We know indoed that the British
form of government, the pariamenfary
sysfema has beon very much admlred. It
has its great weaknesses, if Is not reaily
a logicai system, It is a system of checks
and yet much as It has been admired, It la
uot the invention of any man of goulus, If
Is nof really the resuit of consclous design.
At every great fimeo0f crisis the opportunity
bas been taken f0 strengthen one,
brancb 0f the legisiature at the expense of
JANUARY 20, 1908 1522
some other, to establish some form of check
against the predominant power.
Now, Sir, the present resolution, as you
will see, does not dogmatize. I am only Inviting
the flouse to consider the suggestion
of concurring with the Senate in order to
examine into the advantages to be obtained
by considering a number of propositions.
The first refers to an age limit for retirement
and a shortened term of service for
new appointments to the Senate. This is
mot the first time that I have moved a
resolution embodying that principle. Two
years igo I moved a resolution in these
words :
That in the opinion of this flouse, the constitution
of the Senate should be brought into
greater accord with the spirit of representative
and popular government and the genius
of the Canadian people, by amendments which
in future appointments will: (1) abolish the
life tenure of office by senators; (2) limit the
tenure for one appointment to within the
legal term of three parliaments; (3) provide
a fixed age, not exceeding eighty, for compulsory
That was discussed at the time. I did
not attempt to inove it as a universal panacea
for all the objections to the Senate.
T[he object then n-as to effect the least pos-
)iblea mount of change that would at the
saine tlime make the Senate a fairly serviceable
body. The opinion was expressed
at that timue that this particular resolution
was inadequate to the situation. and I will
fnot at the present tine combat that opinion.
But I will say this, that the principle there
laid down, of the necessity of having a
tern litait, I still believe in. There I do
dogmatize. I think that without that, no
remedy you may apply to the Senate
will be satisfactory to the Canadian
people. With that, and with some limitation
to the veto power, you may have more
than one remedy that will make the Senate
a fairly satisfactory working body. The
life tenure is certainly not ‘ln accord with
representative governîment, it is not in accord
with the spirit and genius of the Canuadian
people. I need not dwell, I think, in
this Hlouse, upon the somewhat pitiful effects
of old age, when a man, no matter
wiat his powers may be mental or physical,
pretends to be doing duties that can
certainly only be done properly by a man
in middle age, nlot at least in advanced
years. It is so painful a task that I prefer
!o leave this House to recognize that when
a man passes eighty years of arc it is only
one inan in a hundred that is capable of
doing the work he should do in that legislative
body. His judgment may be good in
-nany ways, but he has not the vigour to apply
himself as a legislator should.
The people demand a change in that respect.
I think there is no doubt whatever
that the people of this country feel and feel
strongIy that no governor should be placed
over them who lias a life appointment, who
may be put in his position at thirty years
of age, and no matter how long he may
live, no matter how lie may develop afterwards,
he remains one of their legislators.
If our Senate were not a fixed body then
lit would not be so great an evil, because
he iight he removed ; but when lie becomnes
oie of a fixed body and thereby
shuts out others who are probably botter
ftioed for the position. his presence is an
antontaly anti an injustice.
The second portion of my resolution refers
to :
An extension to other parties than the present
one of power to select persons for the
filling of a portion of future vacancies in tlie
At the present time, Sir, as you know,
the appointing power for the Senate lies entirely
in the hands of the Governor-in-Coutcil,
which is the government of the day.
‘Tie result of that is evident to you. I find
no fault with either the Liberal government
or the preceding Conservative governsment.
Appointments have been political
almtost invariably. I do not see how,
under our political system. it can well be
otherwise if the appointing power remains
entirely withl then. And so. without finding
fault with either the Conservative or
the Liberal administration in that respect,
I feel liat we are not likely to obtain any
real imtprovemnot as long as the appointing
pover remains vitl them. But what
change could w-e have that would make the
Senate a better body ? One change thaI
lias been strongly urged is the election of
Senators instead of their appointnent, an
election by larger constituencies than
those that elect mebers to the House of
Comons. That would have this merit at
least. that it would refer the constitution of
the Senate back to the people, who are the
source of power. In that respect it would
be n decided advantage upon the present
systeat. If there were no objections to
that. I think we would long since have
appealed ta the people as the proper and
correct course. We must recoguize, however.
that there are objections. We know that it
was tried once in this country when wre
htad the old Legislative Council of Canada.
There is a difference of opinion as ta wliether
it was successfully tried or not. On
the whole I am of the opinion that it was
not considered a successful method of choosing
a legislative council. The argument that
we would then have too many elections is
rather a strong one. We have at present our
municipal elections, trustee elections, elections
for the local legislature, and elections
for the Commons. If, in addition ta that,
we had another, we would very seriously
add to the work of the people and certainly
very seriously add to the work of party organizations.
You would have two bodies
then virtually of the same substance, that
would come from the sane origin, chosen
1525 JANUARY 20, 1908
*vlrtually ln the same manuer, chosen
through the same party organization, and ln
every way similar bodies. Bach of these
bodies would claim to represent the people
and to represent the people iu the same
way. There would of course be friction,
but the friction in itself would flot be objectionabie
; the objection would corne wheu
each of these bodies would dlaim ta properiy,
fully and iu the same way represent
the people. The government of course
would be respansible only to the first Chamnber,
but the second Chamber would dlaim
to fully represent the people just as the first
does. If under such clrcumstances you
found that the first Charnber, elected by the
people, was Liheral and the second Chamber,
elected by the same people with dîffereut
constituencies, was Conservative, what
would become of our vaupted representation?
In that way the people would be represented
certainly but in an exceedingly
crude form, and we miglit easily have a
state of affairs lu which, corning directly
from the people ut slIghtly different times,
one House would be Liberal aud the other
In addition to that ouiy the very
rich cauld enter the second Chamber. We
know it Is expensive enough ut the preseut
Urne to run an election ln a srnall constituency.
If you demanded that a man should
run iu a coustltueucy half a dozen tirnes as
large, it would be almost an impossibity.
If two Chambers of that kind were to agree
you would be very likely to say that the
second Chamber was superfluous ; If they
were to dIffer you would say It was mischievous.
It seems to me that with a second
Cbarnber we should uecessarily have it of
rather dîssirnilar origin frorn the first Chamber
if it is praperiy to represent the people,
to ni.ake up la its representation what thls
Chamber lacks.
We might here fairly take the example of
some other cauntries, flot that they should
be ln any way conclusive, but to see ut
least what value may be in them. Taking
a few examples we see that lu France the
second Charnber la based very largely ou a
very highly *developed municipal systern
throughout the wboie country, not by direct
election, but by election of the municipal
bodies, Iu Gerrnany it ls a rederai system
of fully equlpped kingdoms. Iu Great Bnitain
It ls very largely heredltary. Iu Austraia,
the’ rost recent of the larger corn-
* ronwealths, it ls elective, elected by the
people as one body, voting as a single electoraI
body throughout the country. Iu New
Zealaud, that land of very advanced views,
socialistic I might almost say, 1 found to rny
surprise that the Senate is appolnted for ife,
but flot on elective principles. Iu the United
States it la chosen by the various State legislatures.
At the Cape the senators are eiected
and lu Natal appointed. Thus you see
there ls great variety and eacb country
jnakes its choice to suit its own pecullar circumstances.
Whiie the simple expedient of
lrng the term of a senator, leaving the
appoiatiag.power as it ls, would be perhaps
a weak remedy, yet is la one remedy.
The election of senators by large conàtituencies
of the people, with the term
limited, would also be a rernedy that
would make a very valuable body ludeed.
I fear tbat these objections that I
have raised wouid prove to be really valid
objections, but It would be so large au improvemeut
on the Senate as it ut present exists
that If noa other remedy were satisfactory
I would cheerfuliy and willingly accept
it as a remedy that would produce a falrly
satisfactory second Chamber.
There are other features on which I would
like ta dxNvell ; there are other remedies that
we might strive ta make use of. If we taire
the exampie of France, where the second
Chamber is chosen by the municipal bodies,
we realize that in this country our rnicipal
systern Is not organlzed lu the sarne
way, that it rnight change through any
change la the laws of the local legisiaturea3.
Then the municipal iaws are nat alike lu
each province. I recognize aiso that It la
scnrcely the class of work to put upon municipal
councls or municipal bodies, and sa I
would hesitate to urge-and I do not thlnk
it wauId be acceptabie-any such scherne
as basing the choice of senators upon our
municipal system. Again Germany is rnade
up reaily of separate kingdoms united for a
speclal purpase; I do not tbink that the
Germanf confederation nifards us any lesson.
But when you corne to the United States you
do find sornething tbat may be of value lu
judging whether or not their experience wili
help us. In the United States they lirnit the
number of senators to. two members for each
state, irrespective of the size o! the state.
These senators are elected by the legisiature
of the state. We have similar bodies.
Our provinces are nat as nurnerous as the
States but we have the prînciple of provincial
representation lu our Senate. It
seemas ta me that ta some extent ut least we
should recognize these provinces lu the appaintment
of senators, but If we were ta
thraw on the legisiative bodies the entire
power o! appointing senators for the provinces,
we would probabIy Eind sorne objections.
We mlght fiud, for Instance, that giving
the local legisiature the power of appointment
the legîsIature itself or the cabinet
lu It would be very llkely ta lirnIt their
choice ta men who had made thernselves
knawn and feit ln the arena of provincial
politîca only. That wauld perhaps be not
eutirely satisfactary. We would Enud also
this danger, that you might have a Senate
entirely opposed ta the House o! Cornas
on politicai questions, althaugh the Hause
o! Commans perhaps would distiuctly represent
the views o! the people ou Dominion
matters. That wouId have been the case
1525 JANTJARY 20, 1908
1527 COMMONS 1528
under such a system during the great part tionate representation from this House. Lt
of the career of Sir John Macdonald ; for may be that the provincial geveruments
while he must have represented the people would be ail Liberal, it may be that the
of Canada very largely, very fully, yet the government at Ottawa would be Liberal,
provinces were ia the bands of the opposing Justice demands that in sucl a case there
party and would have supplied him with a shoulu ho the same principle applied that
Senate antagonistic in every respect. we apply ln the formation of committees. I
These are very serious matters indeed to think fairness and justice demand that the
consider in thinking of the propriety of giv- opposition of the day should have some
ing the appointing power entirely into the power to see that thoir views are presentod
hands of the provinces. The fact that the la the Senate, some power of copsenting
provinces have provincial riglits that need to Vie nppointmont ef a number at least
protection ; that the provinces bargained for proportionate to thoir own numbers la this
certain special representation in the Senate House. This is only ono form that I sugnot
according to population, shows it would gest; it Is the ferm that appeals to me more
be fair to presume that they will not b than that off olctien, more than that of apfairly
protected, if all the appointing powersenatrs by e local lgislatrs;
is in the bands of the Dominion governent more than that of sirply cbanging the ter
against whom the provinces apparently need for wbich a senator is olected. I prefor a
protection. Thus I would feel that while it composite form of solection, a solection not
might not be desirable that the entire ap- Pniing fror any one single bndy. And if
pointing power should be left in the hands Vi al le roshonalwe to apint
of a provincial legislature, yet ve might a roneln corresDouingoternood
fairly leave a portion there, a portion equi- off proe if Vipoin in gvr rent
valent to the actual reason why the Senate
Chamber exCihsatsu hea s oxas tsparsoatreecetcotrr ooff tteh e pproo–opfpf otshieti omne mbors off Vie Senate, nnd if the of the day were nllowed a propor vinen. Wthat tat protection would be tiir nnwould
be a matter of judgment, probably 25 bers, thon I think yen wvuld indeed have a
per cent would be sufficient. We then have Sonate composite la its engin, a Sonate
the local legislature as one body that will ho ropresonting more vbeioty ef views than at
permanent that bas a right to a share in the presont I am net introdueing nny nevel
appointment of senators. Logically it mode of procodure, ami yet I helieve it
should and we might fairly leave a portion woul so largoly iraprovo Vie qualîty of tue
of that power with then. Of ail other Sonate itself isa w euh ing body, anI se
bodies there is noue but the Dominion gov- lnîgeiy i)lfil thîci in the osten et the
ernaient that I think can fairly be appealed p)opl1 tbnt it would hng about a Sonate
to. Universities might perhaps at times
be given a sliglt representation, but with a w7o t rernoubr ltte samecpinipl
lixed number of senators we could scarcely of 1 ;tieiiee n forboaranco tew , lmisafford
to let them have much say in the vakm tuat the pe01)1 new te tho
matter. The cabinet, this House of Con- Commens in as much ns they know the
mons and its members, represent the peo- Comeners cere hnck for chastisemont,
ple of Canada. As I have said, they repre- would ho exercisod tewards Vie Sonate
sent the people somewhat crudely, but they nder these conditions. The people wonld
represent the people of Canada much closer knov that this Sonate thougli objectienahle
than does any other body. And in that way ah tbe moment wenld cbange rapidly year
i feel that they are more entitled to speak atr year, and that, if net diroctiy, yot
for the 1)eople of Canada than any other hmdirectly tlrough Some of their governing
body, and that we inay fairly leave the large hodies they could roacb tue obstreperous
number of appointments to the Senate with senators nnd punisb tber if tboy se dosired.
this body ; but not necessarily with the gov- This suggestion-I do net degmatizo on amiy
ornment itself. I would prefer rather that ni mod; any of tiiose methods that I
the government should be limited, limited bave ontlinod would se largely improve Vie
very distinctly with regard to the number prosent condition of affairs Vint I think it
of their appointments to the Senate. If in- weuld ho woll iadoed if the buse, if the
stead of appointing the whole number of Sonate ilself. especially if the governont
senators the governient of the day for fair of tbo day veuld give tlem very careful
protection, for fair chance to enforce its po- consideration.
licy, should be limited to the appointment I have aise suggosted certain changes with
of s:îv 50 per cent of the senators, that might regard te Vie werk, and to Vie powers of Vie
be sultfielent. Sonate. The Sonate, at present, doos not la-
Now, if that were done you would have itiate very much la the way of legisiation.
a certain variety of representation from the Goverument mensures are seldom intreprovinces
directly, you would have a cer- duced there. As yen ail know we bave
tain safeguard for the Dominion govern- made this change, Vint wo ne longer intrement
of the day through its power of np- duce divorce Bills into Vis bouse; the matpointing
say fifty per cent, but you have ter of divorce is taken up and we mny Say
made no provision whatever for any propor- iandled entirely by the Sonate, and we, as
G. IL mayr. t ovcINTYRE.
1J5~2A 9i NIARY 20, 1908 13
a ruie simply concur in their findinga. It
bas been suggested that other work might
be thrown upon them. One distinguished
member of the Senate did suggest that private
Bis should be iargely introduced
there. I am not prepared to urge that, but
I thiak a conference between the experienced
members of both bouses might devise
mensures by whIch an increased portion of
the work should fairiy be thrown upon the
Senate-not such a portion of the work as
would rob this bouse of lis proper and full
Importance before the people. That I wouid
not llke. I wouid not like to see ln this
country a second cliamber equivaient to
the ‘Senate of the United States, nor do I
think It would likely occur If any addition
were made to the powers because in thîs
country the cabinet is responsible to and
must have a majority in this House and that
would aiways place the fight in this bouse.
It would centre intereats in this bouse so
that I have very littie fear that the 8enate
wouid aggrandize power even If it got lncreased
work. There la also this work the
‘Senate may do, and which it la now doing:
There are from time to time new questions
whlch come before this country, questiçna
too new perhaps for actuai legisiation. We
appoint committees here to examine into
telephones and telegrapha at very great
iength, and from time to time valuable information
is acquired. On ail such questions
it seema to me the Senate of Canada
mlght become n standing committee, a committee
to, search out new uines of legisiation,
to thoroughly examine ail projected new
ulnes, looklng Into ail matters of public
utility and matters of public ownershlpmatters
snch as the rural free mail delivery
that bans been so much discussed. The Senate
miglit become a very useful body ladeed
If It were a permanent committee of
examination la that direction, dlgesting as
it were Information for us and handlng it
down to, be placed in safe and proper form
amongat the inws of this country.
Wlth regard to the powers of the Senate,
1 feel that the veto power under present conditions
should not be placed la the Senate.
Irresponsible as the Seaate is, It la illogicai
that it should have the veto power. The
senators p6ssibIy will not give It up readily,
but with increased powera granted them
in other directions perhaps they would
be w!Illng. I think the suspensory power
very valuable ; I think there should be
an opportunity for them to say when
n mensure wouId come up from this
Hlouse : We are not prepared to nccept
this mensure at the present time, we xviii
hold It over until another session so that
we mny ascertain the views of the people.
But the absolute veto power I think shouid
be removed, and if the Senate were willing
to that end, then something ln the form of
a joint vote would be entlrely desirabie. In
Anstralia where they have an elective system
the Senate naturally must consent to
Bis along with the House, and where they
differ then they have a peculiar method of
arranging. A joint vote may be asked for,
but the two Houses may stili continue to
differ and ln the end the governor is ailowed,
If he so desires, to dissolve- both
Houses-and send tliem back to the country ;
and in the face of -a dissolution of both
Huses It la wanderful how the animosities
will soften down and how the objections
xviii be removed.
Now, Slr, ln aay remnrks I have made 1
have flot dogmatized particulariy as to a remedy,
except In one or two partlcuiars. I
have given views as suggestions, and I hope
the gentlemen of this bouse xviii give them
consideration as such. The form of iny resolution
la by no means vital. The particular
points I urge are the points I think
which should be considered. I have no particular
deaire that my particular form of
resolution should be the one which the Ilne
of remedy should follow. 1 realize too that
this is about the best time to take up
auch a question. It la true that the LIbernis
of Canada have for mnny years feit that the
Senate should be reformed. It la true also
that when the Liberals came Into power
they were not ln a position to, reform It because
they dld not have a majority in the
Senate, or a majority feeling in that way.
It is true that time has elapsed, it la true
that we now have a majority. It was absolutely
necessary not only that the Liberais
sbould have a majority lu the Senate but a
large mnjority before they could undertake
such a work. iAnd it was necessary for
time to elapse sufficiently to allow our Conservative
friends to realize that the present
condition of affaira meant to, them an antagonistlc
Senate were they to eater into
power. So that I think under ail the cîrcumatances
this la actually the beat time
that such a question should be brought up,
especinlly as there la no keen burning issue
now before eitber bouse to kindle a special
nnimosity at the moment. Any feeling of
disatiafaction or disapprobation townrds
the Senate la flot the irritation of a moment,
but a calm, ripe judgment of these people.
1 realize also that In opening up this matter
I am opening a gateway to aur hon. f rIenda
of the opposition to remind us that we have
not been very prompt in fulflling our old
promises. I hope, however, that after enjoying
themselves for a f ew minutes in that
way, they -wiii address themselvea to the
real question and help us witb the ability
that many of them possesa to arrive at a
solution. If I have done anything to promote
a reform, of the iSenate or added anythlng
of value to the discussion of the subject,
I shahl feel that I have at lenat done
one good day’s work for Canada.
Mr. E. N. LEWIS (West Huron). Mr.
Speaker, It la with a good deal of reluctance
and trepidation that I rise to speak to the
resolutioa which, with the permission of
1529 1530
the House, I have the privilege of bringing
forward at this stage ; that resolution is as
follows :
That in the opinion of this flouse it will be
advisable at the next general election for the
House of Commons for Canada to submit the
following questions for the votes of the people:-
1. Shall the Senate of Canada be abolished?
2. Shall the method of appointment of the
senators of Canada be altered?
My reasons for trepidation and reluctance
are twofold. In the first place, this is a
grave matter, which should be dealt with,
if I may use the word, by the bull dogs of
war of the front benches, not by one of
the bull-terriers of the back benches of
the opposition. I also wish to put myself
right before the House in another matter.
Unfortunately for myself, but probably fortunately
for Canada, as the results will
show, some two or three sessions ago I
felt it my duty to bring before this flouse,
in not a speech, but a statement concerning
the waning marine interests of Canada certain
facts, which it took upwards of four
hours to deliver, and I have no doubt that
that statement of matters with which a
great number of members of this House
were not conversant, wearied them. But I
have this consolation, that the government
have seen fit only lately to bring into force
certain things which I then advocated, and
which I have been urging on the Boards of
trade of the maritime provinces, namely,
keeping foreign shipping out of our coasting
trade. When I do reluctantly rise to
my feet, I wish to occupy only as short a
time as the circumstances will permit.
Now, Sir, while I compliment him on his
delivery and manner, I do not agree with
my hon. friend who has just sat down (Mr.
Mclntyre (South Perth) that we are here
as Elected Rulers. We are not elected rulers,
but Elected Representatives of the people
; and my reason for rising on this occasion
is that I feel that as such representative
I have a message for this House and
the government of Canada in reference to
the Senate. There is a strong feeling
throughout Ontario, particularly that part
of the province to which I belong on this
subject. I have no desire or expectation
that my ‘foot-prints on the sands of time
will lie ‘ but I hope for the good of Canada,
and West Huron in particular that my
shoes will scrape good and hard, as I pass
Now, I am not going to give utterance to
my own opinions on this matter further
than to say that I endorse the utterances of
a number of gentlemen whose words I intend
to quote. I bring forward this resolution
because of what Dr. Falconer said In
addressing the Canadian Club some months
ago that it was a wise thing to let the
people vote on the great questions of the
day ; it educates the people, and enables
those in parliament to see what the people
wish, and we, as representatives, should
carry that out. I intend to refer to the utterances
of one gentleman in particular in regard
to the abolition of the Senate, and
I do this without any political bias whatever.
Some hon. gentlemen may think that
I am trying to make some political capital;
but I am not. I am dealing with this question
entirely on business principles. Now,
Mr. Speaker, Sir Richard Cartwright, in
1896, at a great mass meeting at Massey
Hall, in the city of Toronto, referring to the
Senate used the words: ‘ When shall Providence
renove this milistone from around
the necks of the Canadian people.’ ?, Sir
Richard Cartwright was at that time viewing
the Senate from the outside point of
view. He has now all the experience of
the Senate behind him, and I give all credit
to bis knowledge, bis acumen and his
ability. He now takes an inside view of the
question, and the Ottawa ‘Free Press,’ one
of the ablest of the Liberal journals of this
country, stated that Sir Richard Cartwright
had made a speech on the Senate which
we could carry down the sands of time as
one of the ablest speeches ever made in
Canada. I only wish 1 had more eloquence
to describe that speech, but amongst other
statemients in it was this : ‘While there
may be some doubt as to the good of the
Senate to Canada, there is not the slightest
doubt of its great danger and capability
of harm.’ Now, the bon. gentlemen of the
Senate need not quaver in their shoes, because
senators have vested rights, and
whenever this country makes a promise or
a contract, it carries it out, and I for one
will advocate carrying out the word of
Canada once given, whatever change may
take place in the future.
Now, Sir, I believe there is great
capability of harm in the Senate, and
where is the harm ? The harm is to
the poor people of Canada. There is
no question that if the Premier, for
the time being, appoints enough senators
from bis own side of politics-it matters
not which party occupies the treasury
benches-and he says to the leader of the
Senate, ‘I want such and such a Bill to go
through,’ or if the pressure is so strong that
it goes through the House of Commons,
and he says to the leader of the Senate,
‘ I want that Bill annulled,’ the thing is
done. I do not say this with reference to
any government. But here is where the injustice
comes in. A company, some small
corporation wants a Bill through both
louses. It is a good and an honest Bill. It
passes the Commons and goes to the Senate.
The leader of the government, who
bas control of the majority in the Senate
for party purposes has no interest with
this Bill. What happens ? Some great corporation
gets its grip ôn this Bill, which
affects the poor people of Canada, and that
is the end of it. I understand that has oc1J5A33I
NUARY 20, 1908 13
cured numbers of tumes, and that 1e one of
the great Injustices we have to contend
against. I ean dlaim to speak ou behalf of
the people of West Huron particularly, and
of the -province of Ontario. I go from bouse
to house and from town to town. When I
arn on a raflway, I do flot travel by night
but by day, and I ask the people I meet on
the trains-people who do flot know mehow
they feel on this question. Froni what
they say, the people of Ontario want sonie
change. The hand writing is on the Wall.
The people waut elther the abolition of the
Senate or some other niaterial and effective*
change lu that body. I ask you, Sir, to
allow the people to vote on this niatter,
discussion wIii take place naturally and
the goverument will then know what the
people desire and that le what should be
carried out.
rMr. H. H. -MILLER (South Grey). After
lsteuing to the speech we have just heard
froni my hion. f riend from South Perth (Mr.
Mclntyre) and the short speech made by niy
hon. friend from West Huron (Mr. -Lewis) I
realize that 1 shali have In my remarks to
repeat somne of the things whicli they have
said. On thue Gtli February, 1649, a resolution
was carried in the Britishi House of
Gommons for the abolition of the House of
Lords. That resolution was as follows:
Resolved, that the House of Peers in par.
liament le useless and dangerous and onght
to ho abolished.
On the foilowing day the House of Coninions
of Britain passed another resolutiona
resolution to abolish the mouarchy. It Is
somewhat significant that while froni the
tume of the coronation of Charles the Second
to the preseut no nuniber of persons in
BrItain have seriousiy tliought of the abolition
of the monarchy, there lias always
been in Britain a considerable number o!
persons agitating for the ending or mending
of the House of Lords. The resolution
which 1 have Introduced lian in view the
saine object as the Cromwellian resolution
to which I have referred, but is not so
severe iu its language or extreme In its
criticisni. The resolution which I propose,
seconded by my hon. friend froni Renfrew
(Mr. Wright), is as foilows:
That the Canadian Senate, as an institution,
lias not; proved to be of any decided bonefit
to Canada, and cannot bo regarded as a
necessity. That tlie disadvantages connected
with and resulting from the maiutaining of
tlie Sonate greatly outweigh the advantages
and benefits derived therefrom, and that the
Sonate may with advantage and gain he aboiished.
*Mr. Edward A. Frecinan , lu ‘Subjects
of the Day ‘ for February, 1891, In discueslng
the question of endlng or niending the
British House of Lords laye down the
case thus:
The qunestion je a practicai one. Firet, if
the institution is a good one, keep It. Second,.
if it je moderately bad, reformn it. Third, if
it je absolutely bad, sweep it away.
At first glanile one wonld naturally conclude
that hie had fairly stated the case,
but upon dloser Investigation and after more
careffl thouglit I differ froni Mr. Freenian
and amn of the opinion that lie has not fairly
stated the case and that lie lias not nccurateiy
fixed his premises. I would say:
F1irst, if the Institution Ie a good one and
le neceesary keep It. Second, if it le only
inoderately bad and le capable of belng refornied
so thflt It will be useful and worth
to the people o! Canada what it coste, reforni
and retain it. Third, if it je absolutely
bail, or If, as it la now, or as It
rnay jie niended, it wvill be nnnecessary
and not worth what it coste, sweep lt away.
If we accept these three propositions, as
stating tlie case, which to me seem reasonable,
I thlnk that the Senate muet go. Not
so mucli because it is even nioderately bad
or mischlevous, but because it le comparatlvely
uselees and unnecessary and not
worth what its costs the people. When
1 speak o! the cost to the Canadian
people it will he seen, as I proceed, that
1 mean to Include more than the actual
nioney cost of maintaining the Institution.
I suppose that we la Canada have a
second chaniber largely because our Canadian
people, at and before the tîme of confederation,
sought to imîtate as closely
as possible the parliamentary Institutions
of the mother land. Let us remember, however,
that la Britain the House of Lords
le the older Institution of the two, and
that while we may argue that a second
chamber is necessary la Canada to guard
the rights of the weaker provinces and to
revise and reconsider the work of the lower
Honse, In Britain the House of Gommons
came Into existence as a clieck and safeguard
and as a protection of the riglits of
the public against the encroachments, the
injustices and the wrongs endeavonred to
lie perpetrated by the Britishi nobility and
the British lords. 1 have said that dissatisfaction
with tlie House of Lords lias
existed lu Britain for niany years. It may be
said in reply that the House o! Lords and
the Senate of Canada are altogether differeut
Institutions and that objections to the
one -are not necessariiy valld objections to
the other, and that conseqnently the saine
criticlemes do not apply to both. Iu reply to
that 1 would say that, lu niy humble judgment,
tlie House of Lords o! Britaîn la iss
objectionable than the Senate of Canada.
For the greater part, the members of the
House o! Lords are neither electedor appoiuted.
The peers take their seats In the
upper dhamber becanse of heredltary rigit
and ut le that hereditary riglit whicli le most
largely objected to. ur senators do not
take their seats lu tlie Senate beeanse of
1533 1534
1535 ~COMMONS 13
liereditary riglit, but are appointed for life.
In eitlier case. deaf h alone creates a vacancy.
As a general mile, the memnbers of
tlic British House of Lords are mon of very
considerable means, great leisure and high
dogree of culture and education. There
are some six hundred persons la Bni
tain entifled to take their places in
the Houso of Lords, and these people
receive no0 indemnity and cosf the country
nothing. Ouf of fthe six liuudred
more or less entifled to seats in1 the
House of Lords, flot more than one huridred,
usnally less, ire found occupying fliese
scats and taking’ part lu fthc work of tlic
jipper cliaiber. These hundred or less wlio
ire flic -%oriuiig iiniers cf tlic buse of
Lords. are mceii of public spirit, who have
a natural taste and inclination for politîcaIl
aaiid public life. Tue flouse of Lords at
wvork tlîenii îay be said to be composed
of a iLu lled iiinînlier of inen froin a select
class. And agaiu, in Britain there 15 always
a chîeck upon flic House of Lords ami
an influence that may be brouglit to boar
upon them ; that is, the power that lies iu
flic Soi-crligî of addîng to their memberslip
by crcating new peers. That powor
was lu ev(lidece when lu 1832 the House of
Lords w;îs induced f0 pass flie Reform Bill
fo whiclî lîey were really lu opp)ositioni.
Tliey gave flîcir coniscnt to flic Bill because
of thle promise that Earl Grey, tlic
thoen Prime Mî1nister, lîad obtained from
flic Sovercigii flat lie -%ould, if necessary,
creafo au additional nuiiber of peers so as
to bring tlîc Ilouseo0f Lords to sucli a iîumber
as îiinît 1)0 required to pasq the moisure.
Our Sonate is composed of men who
aire paid. Our senators are nof superlir
to ftic nîeîîîbers of flic bouse of Commous
cither hY reason of tlîeir position or by
reason of tlieir culture or learning. And
if is impossible, 1 tliink, for any goverliment,
uîîder any systcm, f0 choose an uiiiper
chamber for Canada fliat will binl some
respects as well selected as is the bouse of
Lords by fthc nafural process of selection
to which I have referred.
Again, witli our Sonate Iliere is no chîeck.
Thore l5 no0 influence fliat c.1u be brouglit fo
bear upon tlîem f0 miake tliem subservieut
f0 flic will of flic people, like flic power
of additional appointaint lu Great Brifalu.
Our Sonate is supreme. 1 object, Sir,
f0 our Sonate, iîof f0 our senators. And 1
do not objecf f0 our Sonate, because it
coutains sonie old mou. Tue word ‘sonate’
itself is derived fromi a Laftlu word meanig,
an old man. We have tlhe old Latin
Senatus, meaning an assembly of eIders.
And I am flot in sympatliy wifh thoso who
aire cager f0 employ and rely upon flic
vigour and sfrengf h of younger years rather
flan the more mature judgment and greater
wisdom fIat cornes wlth age. If you wll
glance cf the gentlemen wlio compose our
Canadiaîî Sonate to-day, I think you would
flnd if excoedingly difficuif f0 find among
flic youngor members of flic Sonate fircee
mon more able or cf greater usefulfl055
f0 our country flan Hon. R. W.
Scott, Clic venerable leader 0f flic govoruinient
la thie Sonate chamber and flic Secretary
of State ; Sir Richard Cartwright, Minister
of Trade and Commiuerce and Sir Mackenzie
Bowell, flic liononrable and venerable
ono-time Prime Ministor of Canada. And lot
me mention one othor, one0 who, no0 longer a
young man is rapidly approaching flic time
îvhcn lie will lie callod an old man, Hon. G.
W. Ross. Each 0f fliese mcin, with flic possile
exceptfion of ‘Mr. Ross5, is well past
any age liiiiit fliat wl bIIli fixed, if if bie
foirîîf advisal dc f refoîn flic Sonate liy
liNing aun age liîîîit. It lias licen suggesfcd
a iîy lion. friend froiu South othla
saîd, fliat oîîr Senafo 1)0 coînposed of meno
elcfcd as areiei iembers of flic louse
cf Commons, except f rom larger constifuencelos.
lu every reccîîf discussion of flic
Canadian Sonate, referonce lias been inadoe,
and in future discussions is likcly f0 bo
miade, f0 fhliiow% famous resolufion passed
by flic Reforin conivention fliat met iii 0fftawa
la 1893, thaf resolufion reads as follows
The present constitution cf fthe Sonate is inconsistenît
witî flie federal principle iii our
systemi of goveînmeîît, and is in other respects
defective, as if mnakes the Sonate’ indepeudent
cf flic people and nnicontrolled by the publie
opinion of the counntry, and shonld lie so
amended as to bring if info harmony witli
the priîîciplos of popular goverument.
Eloof your Senafe, anid I at once admit,
fliat, ii flic laiiguage of fhls resolution if
iakcs flic Sonate dcpendeiît upon flic people
and brings fhomn under confrol by the
public opinion of flic country. But, I have
thouglif flat one cf flic sfroug points, one
of flic virtues cf the Sonate, iii so far, as
it lias sfroîîg points and virfues, is fliat
veî*y indepondonceo0f tlic people, thaf very
abulify f0 stand uninfluenced, uncoîîfrolIed,
uimoved by finy sudden gusf of popular
passion, l)y aîîy iiîonioiifary impulse of flic
people0. Eloot your Sonate aîîd no one will
propose, I fhink, fo incroase flic total number
of senators. Thon, if will necessarily
follow liaf flic coustifuencies for flic Sonate
musf bo very mudli larger flian flic prosentf
constifuoncies for the I-buse of Coinmons,
and if wll inevitably follow that no
man of moderato mcaiis wili lie able f0
carry on a campaign for a Sonate election.
For, as lias licou point ed ouf by my hion.
frieîîd froni Southi Perth, as was poiuted
ont by flic riglif hon. leader 0f flic goveriîmeut
(Sir Wilfrid Laurier) during flic debafe
cf 1906, and as was urged by flic late
Sir John Macdonald aft flic time of Confedemafion,
when lie contended for an appolative
raflier flian an elective Sonate, no man
of moderato means would lie able f0′ spend
ciliher the flîne or flic moaey necessary f0
carry coi an election in s0 large a consfifu-
1535 1536
1J~A8N7 UARY 20, 1908
ency. Now, I bave no feeling of antipatby,
no feeling of ill-wll, toward wealthy men
as sncb. Though I arn not one of them, I
arn glad that there are wealtby men In
Canada. 1 would deem it a very bad advertisemnent
for Caniada, indeed, if no man, If
uo considerable number of men, had been
able to acquire within our borders bonestlymade
fortunes. Yet, I do tbink it would
be unwise, 1 think it would be an unfortunate
thIng to constitute a second chamber
so that its memnbers would be, for the
most part and of necessity men of great
mens, men representing only tbe wealtby
classes and the moneyed interests.
Again, It bias been suggested that our senators
should be elected by the several provincial
.legislatures. If we adopt that
method of reform, we sbdùld be getting furtber
away frorn the system of Great Britain
and nearer to that of- the United States.
The Right. Hlou. Prime Minister (Sr Wilfrid
Laurier), speaklng lu 1906 upo Vils
subject, rather agreed with Vie Idea of Vie
election of our senators by the legislatures
of the several provinces, and sald Viat, possibly
by adoptlng such a systemn, we might
find the solution of Vie vexed problem of
Senate reform. And, at Vie same time, hie
suggested that thie members of Vie Senate
mlght be elected by Vie several legislaturea
three at a time, and thouglit that by Vis
mens It wonld be ensured Viat at least one
of the three wonid represent the political
party lu Vie mlnority at the time lu Vie
legIslature. The rlght lion, gentleman sald
also t’bat hie would uot be adverse to go
further lu Vie idea of givlng protection to
Vie weaker provinces aud givlng ail Vie
provinces, regardless of Vhir area or population,
equal representation lu Vie Senate.
Now, Sir, If we adopt these changes, I suppose
it will not be deemed Viaf any province
ought to have a larger representation.
lu Vie Senate Vian it has ln Vie House
of Commons. Prince Edward Island bias
now four represeutatives la Vis House. If
four representatives in Vie Senate were
given to each of the nine provinces, we
sbould bave a Senate 0f Viirty-six memnbers.
That total number of 36 it wll not be
Possible to increase until, by addition or
subdivision, we increase the total number
of our Canadian provinces. That would reduce
the total number of Senators to 86,
and would, insofar as the reduction of the
number is concerned, be welcome to me, as
it wonld go à considerable distance towards
the goal I desire to reach. But how,
If the provinces are to bave a representation
of so small nurnber as 4 lu the Sonate,
are wo to elect our Senators by Vie sevoral
provincial legisiatures, 8 at a tîme ? And
again, while we are looking for improvemieut
in the method of constitutlng our
Senate to the practice of the United States,
i flnd. that the United States, Ilke most
othor countries, ls bocomlng dlssatlsfiod
with its second chamber, and that they as
xvell as we are looklng about for some method
of reform, sorne change that will make
their second chamber more satisfactory to
them. 1 have been reading a very well
written article upon the United States Senaie
in a recent standard American Encyclopedia.
That article makes this statement:
The question of electing UJnited States
senators by direct vote of the people in-
,tead of by the legisiatures of the several
‘,ta tes, hias been agitated for many years.
F’or this purpose an amendment to the national
constitution is necessary. The legisiatisies
of fourteen states passed resolntions
in 1903 asking Congress to cail a convention
for the purpose of considering an arnendnient
to the constitution. The states which
passed the -resolution were ..Oregon, California,
Minnesota, Texas, Arkansas, Nevada,
Washington, North Dakota, Kentucky, Missouri,
Ujtah, Montana, Idaho and Kansas.
lit several states the rule bas been adopted
of placiag the names of candidates for the
Unsited States senate on the ballots for members
of the legisiatures, leaving to the legislature
nothing more in effect than ratification
of the popular choice.
So lu turning to the United States for examples
In the matter of reforming our second
ebamber, It la to consider a systeui that
after one and a third centuries of trial, the
United States are becoming dissatisfied
with and are endeavourlng to change. A
,Senate elected by the difrerent provincial
legisiatures la apt to be elected or appointed
because of past political services, just as
under the system now lu vogue. Senators
elected lu that way by provincial legislatures
are mest as apt to be partisan
as those elected or appointed under
the present system. Under that suggested
systemi of reform, there wlll always
be In the Senate a partisan majority whether
that partisan majority be larger or smalier
except this, that the smaller the majority the
more intense aud the more lu evidence will
the partisan feeling be. It bas been suggested
by my hon. frined frorn South Perth
(Mr. McIntyre) that we reformn the Senate In
one respect by shortening the termi of appointing
Senators to a period of yearsten
years has been suggested, fifteen years
bias been suggested-rather than the present
Ilfe tenure. One resuit of sucb a reformi
will be that from timne to time we will
have to dispense with the services of men
wbo, by long experience have added very
innch to tbeir usefuiness, and lu their place
put men of inexperience who, because of
their inexperience, wlll not and cannot be
so useful. My hou. frlend from; Perth sald
that we mlgbt appoint a man, It may be at
the age of 80, to the Senate, and we know
isot then how hie May develop, or what lu
after life bie may turu out to be, and therefore
would have us conclude that we might
-in that way be perpetratlng au evil and
1537 .
1539 ~COMMONS 14
bringing upoil ourselves a misfortune. iflie present mode of constitutiag the Senate
Now 1 point out to the hon. gentleman, and if the present Prime Mînister were stronger
1 point out to this House, that every time than lie is, and would appoint the men that
we appoint a judge to the beach ia Can- ouglît to be appointed. I thînk the leader of
ada, wliether to the Couaty Court or to the opposition iatimated that it would lie
elle of the Superior Courts, a mucli more i good thing and a proper thiag if the leadimportant
position, because that man ia vr of the governmeat would appoint to the
himself will have more power than any one Seiate, not exclusively men of his ewn
senator ean have in the Senate, We rua the pa~rty, but sorne frein the opposition party.
ýýaine iislz, yes, a mucli greater risk, in ap- Now -whlether that lie Wise or unwise, whepoiiîtiag
that judge, because we appoint ther it be reasonable or unreasonable, 1
Ihlm for life, aîîd yet no evil has been found Ci’ankly say that 1 do not expect to see,
t0 resuit frein that systemn. Turniag again within any short time, the leader of any
to the article frem which I already quoted Canadian goverament, be lie Reform or
upon the United States Sonate, I read this :Conservative, appointing te senatorial or
other high. positions aîîy large numnber’ of
Soaie of the statos nîake it a rul to re- aiea froin the opposite side. Yet upon that
elect the saine senators practically for lifo occasion the leader of the opposition was
aaid this is especially the case with the Now odeogwsfireogi e esy
1Entglaiidl States and in certain Sonthora deogwsfi eogi o esy
States. wns generous enougli to speak la this
Thus again we se the United States
largely dýeparting la practice from thle con- 1 for one do net desiro to bc understood
stitutional rules that w’e are aow asked te reflecting on ail the appointmonts that
imiate tnefdo lowe cpy.It iasbe n y right lien. friond the leader of the
lintat, adt fotl o-vc oy. t hs bengoveraînent lias made to the Seaate or ovoni
suggested that -while our senators sliould the Majority of thieai. He has appointed
be elected or appointod for a termi of years, %-r j1an able mon, very inaay distinguished
there sheuld bie a power to re-appoint. Now mea te the Sonate; Sir Oliver Mowat, the
if we liad this power of re-appointiag, it lien. DIavid Milîs, and other mon of that
seems te me we would lie altogether llkely, type, who although Liberals, were meiî proivithin
a short time, te adept the practice lier te lie appeinted te the Sonate cf Canada,
of certain states iii the republie, and that ii( their appeintment justifled ltself net oaly
re appeinineit wiIl lie the practice rather fi) the Liherals but te the Conservatives
ihian tlie exception, ani it is possibly wvise threughiott the country.
that it sliould bo se. If net thon it seens Tlieî tlie lion. gentleman (Mr. Rt. L. Berte
nie fliat anotlier resuit of the power te doen) %vent on te say that ail of the apro-
appoint will ho te make the senators pointments had net heen so satisfactory,
macro subservieut te the reigniag power. tliat some of them lad net been well chosen
After having considered carefnlly aIl the aînd that soine of the apeointmeats had
plans I have heard suggested for a referai been a surlpriso net oilly te Censervatives,
of the ýSenate, 1 ebjoct te them. 1 objeet but te Refermers as w-ell. I observe that
te them because I have net been able te thie two gentlemen whîom tue leader of the
see la them anythiag which te my mmid opposition specially nîientioned as having
ivili mean a real referm, a real impreve- being good mon and proper appointees are,
ment. But I have been able te see in near- and were at the time cf his preneuncemeat,
ly ail of thein tliat which te my mind would safely dead, as politicians la this day
likely lead te mischief and harm rather nsnally have te lie la erder to roceive aay
than good. If we are te have a Sonate, degree of pralse, any measure of commenthon
I agree with the werds made use of, dation, froni their pelitical opponeats. I
or the opinion oxpressed, by the hon. the arn very glad, liewevor. and I am sure the
leader of the opposition when ho spoke pieople of Canada will lie glad te hear, that
upen this question in the dobate of 1906. a large inîjority of tue appeintînents recom-
If we are te judge of that gentleman’s pro- iended by tlîe riglit lion. the leader of the
sent opinioni b)3 one of the planks in the gevermament (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) te the
Ilalifax platforîn, bis mmnd has someîvhat (aainSnt ae enstsatr
vliaged îîpon tue inatter of Sonate referai ev(en te tue leader of the opposition anm
since ho spoke la this flouse la 1906, as bis that hoelias ne fault te find witli them. I
ehangod upea many questions, 1 quarrel again say that if we are te have a Sonate
net with hiima, bocause I yield te every mnan 1 qilite agree îvith the, idea expressed by
thie privilege ef clianging bis mi. But hie leader of the oppesition and say tînt
the werds te which I rofor, and wlîich ne botter mnethod of coastituting the Sonthe
hon. gentleman used la 1906, were these: aite is likely te 1)0 discovered or acted uipen
There is net very much wreng with the iliam tue iiietlîod we now emplo3′. I ouppresent
mcdeocf constitutiag the Senate. pmose every pulan that I have heard sug-
0f cursethehongenlema wet onte ested liecauise. as 1 have said. 1 see aoth-
Ohf ec obrsen . gntlean wnt o iîog iii it that appears te me likely te bho.
:idd. as wo would expect hlm- te do, that ca iiîiproveiiieit, but shoulmi anv methomi
Iliere would ho aothing very wrong witl lie discovei’ed liv whicli 3-ou wVill puit ito
1539 1540
JANTJARY 20, 1908 1542
our Senate greater life, greater energy and
greater activity or by whlch greater importance
wlll be attacbed to It I will
the more strongly and emphatically object
to it because It seems to me
that It will bring the two Houses
into collision and that there will be
friction and mnischief resulting. As it Is
now, our Senate is not seriously consldered.
The public pay it littie attention-lt pays
littie attention to itself. It is at present
a comparatively unnecessary, a comparatively
useless and expensive thing-that is
ail-but let it come to greater 11f e, greater
energy and greater activity, and you rua
the great danger of making It not only a
comparatively useless and expensive thing,
but a mischievous and hurtful thing, as
To strengtbea my position on this point,
Jet me read these words of Lord Salisbury
-and words of s0 eminent a man upon s0
important a question are well worthy of
our attention and most careful tjaought.
Lord Salisbury speaking of the Britishi
flouse of Lords said:
It is because most of those who sit in the
flouse of Lords do not themselves select the
profession of polities as a thing which. they
love but corne te it by the operation of external
causes, that we have a body that brings
to the consideration of political matters a
feeling which. 18 described as one of languor,
but which I would describe as one of good
nature and easy-goiiig tolerance, which enables
them to accommodate themselves to the
difficult part of playing second to the flouse
of Commons. .. . Depend upon it, if you
ever succeed in s0 altering the character of
this flouse that it consists of determined politicians,
who always attend ail debates and attach
the saine weight and importance that
are attached to their opinions by those who
sit la the flouse of Commons, you will have
pronounced the doom of our present systein
of goverament, you will be imposing upon the
flouse of Lords a place in the constitution
which will be fatal to the. constitution as it
We ahl agree that it would be unwise to
retain and maintain our Canadian senate
as It is. Whlle we are racking our brains
and puzzllng our mlnds to discover, If It be
possible, some method of reformi that wll
make the Senate more useful and more tolerable
to the people of Canada, Jet us ask
ourselves why, after ail, it is necessary
for us to have a Senate ? Why is It necessary
for us to have a second chamber of
any keind?
The Hon. Mr. Gladstone attributed thue
degree of toleration of the British people
*to their flouse of Lords to the English love
of arlstocracy. He said:
Ia truth the love of freedom itself is hardly
stronger in England than the love of anistocracy;
as Sir William Molesworth, himself
neot the least of our political philosophers, once
said to me of this feeling with the people ‘it
is a religion.’ The great strength of the
Blouse of Lords la popular estimation does
not, so far as I can judge, lie ia its legislative
performances, nor even la the vast possessions
of its members, but la the admirable manner
la which a large portion of them. without
distinction of polities, perform public and
social duties la their local yet scarcely prîvate
spheres; and it 18 the love not of equality but
of inequality, among the people which makes
the nobleinen almost kings la their miner
yet far from aarrow circles and permits their
fellow countrymen to contemplate, for the
most part without the slightest admîxture of
envy, thieir favoured lot.
Sir, whatever there may be ia Brîtain,
there is not la Canada any sncb love of
aristocracy as Mr. Gladstone here refers
to. With aIl our diverse religions there
is not among our Democratic Canadian
pieople any such religion as that love of
aristocracy referred to by Sir Win. Molesworth,
and it does not streugLhen the argument
for tlue mihtaiaing of the second
chamber of Canada that the strongest reason
Mr. Gladstone could find for the existence
0f the House of Lords ia Great Brntain
sbould be that love of aristocracy to
wvhich hie refers. Two reasons inainly are
advanced in support of our Canadian Senate.
First, that lt is necessary to have a
second chamber to revise the sometimes
hasty, lll-consldered, ill-advised legislation
of the flouse of Commoas. 1 would ask,
Sir, what supenlor knowledge. w’hat super-
!or wisdom la possessed by the hon. senators
that enables them to or makes them
capable of correctiag errons of the lower
flouse? The flouse of Commons devotes
amone time aad a great deal more attention
to its work than does thue Senate. The
flouse of Commons sits longer heurs, it bas
shorter and less frequent latermiissions, and
knotty and intricate problems are more
carefully and fully threshed out la speclal
and select committees of the flouse of Commons
than la the committees of the Senate.
Again, the members of the flouse 0f Commions
corne more frequeatly aad regularly
in contact with the people and are therefore
more la touch wlth the people and
more cogaizant with the populan views and
sentiments than those ia the upper chamber.
The hon. memben for South Perth (Mn.
G. f. MeIntyre), speaking la 1906, attached
some considerable value to the Senate as
an authorlty to revise, but the hon. the
Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) attached
to fI llttle or -no importance as a
revislng power and said :
A second chamber is supposed to be a check
upon hasty legislation. But this is an idea
which. has neyer made much impression upon
my judgment at ail avents. Coasidering the
course of such legislatures la the Dominion
which are composed o! a single branch, eleeted
by the people, the legisiatures of Ontario,
Manitoba, British Columbia and some others,
I do not believe that we need seriously apprehend
any danger frein the existence of oajbranch
only of the legislature.
JANUARY 20, 1908 1542
Sir, the great authority that must criti- fime of confederation the smaller provinces
cise, that must censure and deal with fli were fearful and nervous lest the larger
legislation of the flouse of Commons is the provinces witl whom they were allying
people that are represented in and by fli themselves miglt at some time endeavour
House of Commons, and to whom the House to intrude upon their riglts, and that at
of Commons is responsible, and it would be that time tie smaller provinces eagerly
an unwise thing, it is I contend an unwise clung to auy thing fiat miglt secm te afford
thing to maintain anv second institution that
renders an excuse for the dividing or the hem any possible protection la fhe
shirking of that responsibility. event of sncb a case arising. But I
dIo flot believe there lias been a single lu-
The second reason which is more com- stance from confederation f0 fli premonly
advanced in support of the Canadian] sent time wlien any sucl protection
Senate was well given li the other words las been required or wlin tle Senate
of the right hon. the Prime Minister ini coud have given that protection lad if been
the debates of 1906, when lie said required. My on. friend (Mr. Mclnfyre)
fromt Souths Perfli-wliom wifliout any at-
But one reason which to my mind is ab- tempt to flatter I wili say is ut least one of
solutely conclusive and paramount is, that the most flougltful and one of the most
under onr system of governament a second able of the junior members of this fouse
chamber is an absolutely needed safegard quoed as te only istae, suppose,
for tlie snaller .provinces because of possible tlat came te bis mmd, of the flouse of
iiviaion of their riglits by the larger PFO Commons acting rashly or unwiseiy, when
i 1Wi~ if was necessary fliat un’: otlier power
Sir, witli all due deference andoualndd i ththeoff the cmeecmkb eritss oifmf pfluicl sep r’esths e gaclalseer y ofb eiOngn1e1 fullest possible respect to the grenter wis- lrolglt to the bar of the fouse, He redom
and the larger experience and ic the red to wliat appeared to hm to have
splendid ability of tie rigiht hon, gentleman Ieen the inclination of the majority of the
-in whom no one has greater confidence nembers of tle fouse at that fie. Sir,
than I, and for whoim no one has greater I as the state of feeladmiration
than I-it would after aill seem ing of fle members of fli Fouse of Comto
me that in the first place this need of rons on tlat occasion, I do not know low
protection on the part of the smaller prov- io
Inces is more imaginary than real, and that did take place or low many were opposed
In the second place, such protection even to if, but this I do say, tlat if for a moment
if required is not given and cannot be given fle fouse of Commons was disposed f0 do
by the Canadian Senate. It is very clear an unwise rather flan a wise fIng, that
that as our Senate is constituted to-day- the Senate lad nofhlng wlatever to do witl
Ontario having 24 members in the Senate, lringing tle fouse of Commons f0 a reali-
Quebec having 24 and each of the smaller zadon of wlat if ouglt to do or wlat was
provinces a considerably smaller number,- ifs real dufy on that occasion. The power
that the Senate does not and cannot afford thaf formed a check, if it was a cleck, was
any protection to the weaker provinces. But fli power tlaf was lu fli riglt lon. gentieadopt
if you will the change suggested by mon wlo leads the goverument. Sîr, fli
the right lon. the leader of the government ceai and fli effective protection flaf mugt
and give to each of the provinces an equal ever le fn fli weakcr provinces musf li,
representation in the Senate-it is not like- mud musf le lased upon, flat feeling flat
ly, in fact, it is scarcely possible that fli prompts a man to protc a woan if muat
rights of all the smaller provinces shall b be bused upon laf feeling thaf cads us
attacked at the saem fime in connection always f0 sympaflizc wifl fli wcaker
with the same question and along the same parfy la any struggle. The greaf protection
lines. But suppose that with nine prov- of fli smaller provinces musf hat Brif’
inces each having say ten senators to re- lal love of fair play flat is, and I trust aipresent
them, which would give to Prince ways wili le a trait i fli claracter of tle
Edward Islnd more than twice as many Canadian people. No political party could afrepresentatives
in the Senate as she has ford fo endeavour f0 trampie upon the riglt
in the House of Commons, and would make of auy of fli provinces, especially one of the
the total number of senators ninety, (which smailer provinces. No parfy can afford
all will admit is a sufficiently large number) f0 fake fliaf course, licause even fliugl
then suppose that an attempt were made actuaf d ly oniy fli Most selfisi motives,
to impose upon the rights of say any two if would know flaf flaf smallqr province,
of the smaller provinces af the same time li if comparafively neyer so weak, May af
and in connection with the same Issue, what some fime lold fli balance of power and
protection would there be, how could th decide wlat political pary sbould rule or
twenty senators representing these two govern. And even flougl fli members of
provinces protect the rights of their prov- any political parfy ic flouse of Com.
inces against and In Opposition to the se- mous slould endeavour af any time ami
venty senators representing the other prov- upon any occasion fo Impose upon fli
inces ? I can easily understand that at the ciglts of one of fli smaller provinces,
1545 JANUARY 20. 1908 1546
public opinion and Canadian love of justice
would frustrate that attempt. I quite
agree with the idea expressed by the hon.
member for South Perth, when in speaking
ln 1906 in connection with th-is suggested
necessity for thie protection of the smaller
provinces ;speaking by the way in reference
to tlie election of the senators by the
people, lie said:
I would rather put up with the anomaly
we now have and consider that after ail the
provincial rights whieh theoretically need
protection are not in very mucli danger.
Tlie rIglit hon. thue leader of the goverument
on the other hand laid great stress
on the necesslty for a Senate as a mean
of protecting thie riglits of the smaller provinces.
I want to point out to the Ilouse ho-w
opinions differ on this subject. The rnember
for Soutli Perth valued tlie revislng
power of tlie Upper Chamber ; tlie riglit
lion. the leader of tlie government attached
little or no value to the Senate asr a revising
power. The member for South Perth,
for reasons that lie stated, opposed tlie eleetion
of our senators by popular vote ; tlie
riglit lion. the leader of tlie governiment for
tlie samne and added reasons agreed wltli
lim and opposed the Idea of an electedl
Senate. But, we have to-day, tlie lion.
James Young, of Gait, Ontario, a very able
man wlio lias devoted considerable tim e
to tlie consideration of Canaduan political
and public questions, writlng to tlie newspaper
press and expressing no degree of
admiration for the Senate as we liave it ;
holding tlie Senate as we have it lu verY
liglit esteem, and advocating the electioni
of our senators by l)opular vote as tlie oniy
method that is likely to give to us a satisfactory
Senate. And so it Is-no one coneiders
the Senate as we have It to-day to
be satisfactory ; no two persdons appear able
to agree upon any system or metliod of reform
that is likely to be satisfactory la
practice. In fact, 1 may go furtlier and say
that one seldom finds any one person who
is willing to iay dowvn any suggested metliod
of reformn and say tliat lie f eels
sure la bis own mimd tbat that will really
decide tlie matter and’ prove satisfactory.
Now, It appears to me that ail tbis
le very significant, and It goes far to prove
that it would be unwise for us to maintain
our second cliamber as we liave it to-day,
that we are not llkely to devise any eclieme
or metliod by which our Senate may be seo
reformed to maire it acceptable or useful
to the people, and that we ouglit, if we do
tlie wisest thing to do away with It altogether.
One otlier reason is sometimes given, If
reason it may be calIed, for maintaining a
second chamber, and that is that otber countries
have their second chamber. If tliat be
a reason. shll we have four bouses because
Sweden until Iately lias lad four
bouses, and because Finland bas to-day four
chambers ? Different provinces of Canada,
as lias been polnted out, -when they flrst
framed their constitutions, 1 suppose animated
by a desire to do as other people liad
done, provlded a second cliamber, and for a
time legislated and governed by mens of
two houses. Thougli tliey have dispensed
with their upper chamber, we -will aIl admit,
I think, that tbose particular provinces have
been just as -well governed and legislated for
since they abandoned it as they were before,
and just as -well governed and legislated for
as the provinces whlch have continued to
maintain a second chamber. I wili admit
that the fact that otlier counitries have their
second dhamber ouglit to make us very
cautious as to wliat we do; and yet, Sir, if
after careful consideration, if after patient
thouglit, if after looking at this question
on every side, if after our experience of
forty years, we corne to the conclusion that
our second dhamber, as it Is or as we may
amend It, Is not necessary, Is nlot wortb
what It costs to the people, then the fact that
other countries have their second chamber
ls flot lu itself a sufficient reason why we
sliould not abollsli our Senate. I commend,
Mr. Speaker, to your attention and to the
attention of every member of this House
the followlng words of Mr. W. P. Byles,
who is now or was recently a member of
the Britisli House of Commons representing
Vie west rlding of Yorkshire; and 1 ask
your attention to bis language, not because
of the lion, gentleman by whom It was
spo-ken, for I have no knowledge of bis
parliamentary career, but because of the
language ltself. Mr. Byles said:
Some one may ask what I would put in the
place of the Blouse of Lords? 1 answer, nothing,
only the conservatism of Englishmen.
their abject fear of breaking the continuity
of things would suggest to them in getting rid
of one obstruction to manufacture another
not quite so bad.
And I ask you wbether, after ail, our Inclination,
lu s0 far ns we have the inclination
to. maIntain our second cliamber, Is
not due to that very conservatism, Viat very
abject fear of breaking the continuity of
Viings referred to, by Mr. Byles ?
Sir, I have spoken of the cost to the country
of the Canadian Senate and 1 have said
Viat I meant more Vian the actual moneY
cost of Vie institution. Our Senate Is costlng
us to-day over a quarter of a million
dollars a year. Some attempt lias been
made, not ln~ Vils House, but ln Vie
aewspapers, to mak#u party capital out
of Vie fact that our Senate Is costlng
us considerab]y more to-day than
It dld some years – ago. I do not see
Viat any party capital can bie made of Vils
question at ail. In the last few years we
have added new provinces to our Dominion,
and Viose new provinces bave of course
Vie samne riglit to representation la the Senate
as the older provinces have. We la Vis
House as well as the members of the uP-
1545 JANUARY 20, 190S 1546
per House, irrespective of party, have voted
an increased indemnity to ourselves and to
the members of the other House. As a matter
of course, the cost of maintaining the
Senate bas very largely increased, and it
will be still further increased as our western
provinces continue to increase in population.
They will demand and must receive, if the
present system is continued, a further representation.
But be that as it may, our
Senate is costing us to-day more than $250,-
000 a year ta maintain. It is a large sum
of muoney, but that is not the only cost; l
fact, I think I can correctly say that that
is not the greatest cost to the people of Canada
of maintaining the Senate. I believe
tiat our Canadian publie are sometimes too
ready to look with suspicion upon their governient,
whether that goverument be Reform
or Conservative. Reformers used frequently
to say that Sir John Macdonald used
the Senate with its Conservative majority
to assist hNi to play tricks upon the Canadian
people. that he caused popular measures
to be pssed in the House of Commons
and then uaused those measures to be
blocked and defeated in the irresponsible
Senate over whieh he presumably had no i
control, but which in reality he fully controlled.
I have no doubt that Coiservatives
ara to-day saying the sane thing of the preseit
administration. It may bc. Sir, that
there has been little or no ground for that
suspiciol in either case: but the suspicion
exists, and anlything tUat tends to lessen the
confidence of the people of Canada iu the
powers that govern is a great loss and a
national iisfortune. Again, the Canadian
Senate has buried within it to-day, as within
a musty tomb. a number of able gentlemen
who l the Senate are not capable of
exercising any powers or exerting any particular
influence -gentlemen who outside of
the Senate, and especially if in the House
of Commons, would exert a powerful influence
that could only result il good for the
people of Canada. It would be a cqmrpara.
tively easy thing to select twelve men fron
our present Canadiai senators who could
find places in the fHouse of Connions, and
who in the House of Comumons would exercise
even more power and have greater influence
than the whole ninety or thereabouts
exercise to-day in the chainber they occupy.
This is an idea that was fully grasped by
Sir Robert Walpole, so long Prinie Minister
of Great Britain. Sir Robert Walpole
eaused Mr. William Pulteney. his one-time.
friend, but later his very able and active
opponent in the House of Commons, to b
appointed to the House of Lords, as Lord
Bath. Walpole believed that there he could
not cause hini any further trouble or give
him any further opposition, and telling bis
son, Horace Walpole, what he had done, and
illustrating bis words with a twist of his
fingers. lie said : ‘I have turned the key of
the closet on him.’ Nineteen years after-¡
-ards. a Si Loibert Walpîole, then him-
self elevated to the peerage, as Earl of Or-
Orford, met Mr. Poultenay for the first
lime in the flouse of Lords, he addressed
him thus :
My Lord Bath, you and I are now two as
insinificant men as any in England.
Both of them able men, men of great experience
and splendid talents, realized that
each’had completely lost his influence when
ha went from the Commons to the Lords.
This, Sir, Is a great loss to the people of
Canada. I have argued that our Canadian
Senate is not required, that It is unnecessary,
that it is not worth what it costs
the people. I have said that I would
lot particularly argue against it because
of its wrong doings, because of
its harmfulness and inischief. But instances
are not wanting of upper chambers
having effectively strangled legislation
to the detriment of the country-our own
second chamber included. In 1888 our
Atlantic. fisheries dispute, which had for a
long time been a cause of trouble between
our neighbours to the south and ourselves,
had been amicably arranged by treaty. Thaf
treaty had been signed by Mr. Chamberlain,
Lord Sackville, the British minister at Washington,
and Mr. Bayard, the United States
Secretary of State. It had been approved by
the then democratic government of the United
States, but upon a strictly party vote it
was blocked by the republican Senate
of the United States, which refused
to the president the power to ratify
the treaty, and that vexed question,
then so narly settled, bas remained
a vexed and troublesome question to
this day. ýSome years ago a politically
unfriendly Senate, having a majority of a
different political complexion to that then
existimg in the House of Commons, defeated
a Bill passed by this Iouse, and by defeating
that Bill lost to Canada and gave
to the United States a very profitable
Yukon trade. And during the present parliament
a friendly Senate-a Senate politically
friendly-caused to be defeated a
Bil lutroduced lu this House by my hon.
friend from Lincoln (Mr. Lancaster), relating
to level crossings upon railway tracks.
That Bill had been approved by this House
and had the approval, I am sure, of the
Canadian people, but it was defeated in our
second chamber. And who can tell how
rany lives have since been lost because
of the action of the Senate on that occasion.
It svould sem nridiculous that the stockholders,
illustrating the Canadian electors,
of any large commercial company should
elect their directors and that those directors
should elect their executive and their
president, representing the House of Coummous,
the Cabinet and the Prime Minister.
and that any power should then nomiiate
or creante by any means a second board,
not responsible li any way to anybody,
uncontrolled by the president, oftentimes
JANUARY 20, 1908
stubbornly antagonistie to the first! board, I may have been guilty of great preand
able to produce a deadlock in the sutmption. My only excuse, Mr. -Speaker,
management of the business and the con- is that 1 believe, as earnestly as I have adtrol
of that company’s affairs. vocated It, In the abolition of the second
I realize that the at’tempt to abolish the chamber. I amn confident that a very large
Senate is a very big undertaklng. My bon. number of our people hold the samne bef
riend frorn South Perth (Mr. Mclntyre) lief. And they hold that belief, not because
says it Is impracticable and asks: ‘ Can of any soclalistie ideas, but because they
it be doue?’ 1 realize that It is a consider thaf the Senate is not worth wbat
big task, but If It is a right thing to do, it costs. And until 1 hear reasous stronger
that is all the more reason why we should and more convincing than those I have
not ,delay getting at the work. Any- heard, in favour of maintalning a second
thing that the people of this country desire, chamber, I shall continue to be lu favoeur of
1 arn confident can be carried into effeet. its abolition as 1 arn to-day.
The Toronto ‘ Star’ and other Canadian
newspapers have said that the Senate can-
riot be abolished because it will not aboll

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