free: free to go in, and free to stay out. But what use are we to make of our liberty? We knew that England was engaged in mortal combat with an enemy strong in preparation-even more prepared than we had supposed hitherto-an enemy animated by the black ambition of universal domination. Under such circumstances there was nothing for Canada to do but to do what she did; to place at the disposal of England all her resources in men and money. Men there are to-day who sneer at the thought of Canada exhausting her resources to defend the Empire. Sir, who talks of Empire towd-ay? There are other things greater even than the Empire, great as it is. Civilization is greater than the Empire, and civilization is the issue. Who can doubt, who can deny, in the face of the declarations and pretensions set up by German writers in their books, in face of the vain and childish declarations of their most renowned professors, of the brutally frank avowals of their military leaders; who can doubt but that if Germany were to win it would be the end of all we hold sacred. Who can doubt that it would be the end of that individual liberty, that- personal dignity, that independence of thought and action which citizens of all British countries value more than life itself. For my my part, I re-echo the words lately spoken by that workman of the docks of Liverpool, who discussing compulsion in England put an end to all doubts, by exclaiming: "If Germany should win, nothing on God's earth would matter." I speak my whole soul and heart when I say that if Germany were to win I would be thankful that Providence should close my eyes before I saw the sun rising on such a day.
But, Sir, there is more. Need I repeat that I am a Canadian of French origin? It has always seemed to me that those in whose veins courses the blood of France, as it courses in my veins, should have been even more eager than their fellow-citizens of English origin to stand behind England in this contest. Why should I say so? We of French origin have always had pride in our race. We have always affirmed it, not obstreperously, but with dignity, and certainly there never was a time when we had greater cause to be proud of the land of our ancestors than in these days when France,tried in the crucible of adversity, is perhaps greater than she ever was in the days of her greatest triumphs. She astonishes the world with her courage and heroism, and she .shows to the
world not only all the virtues that we knew her to be possessed of, but virtues that we thought she lacked. These are some of the reasons which at all events influence me. It was a day of joy for us of French origin when England and France, who have done so much to bring civilization to the high plane it has reached, at last put an end to their .quarrels, buried, and buried forever, their old enmities, and proclaimed to the world their never-ending friendship. That day, the last pang of bitterness passed away, and there arose new hopes and new aspirations to nobler and broader views.
But there came days of anxiety. As was well said the other day in a most admirable speech by my hon. friend from Kamouraska (Mr. Lapointe), on the 28th of July, 1914, when Germany declared war on France, there seemed to be hesitation on the part of England, and doubt as to whether or not the entente cordiale was anything but a broken reed. Anxiety there was as to what seemed to be hesitation. But there was no hesitation on the part of England. It must be remembered that Great Britain is a democratic country, and that in all democracies public opinion is the last supreme arbiter. There has been for the last sixty years in England a party of peace-a party of peace at any price-which was represented in the Cabinet, and before the Cabinet could declare war they had a .ministerial crisis. Two important members of the Government, Lord Morley and John Burns, declined to serve and they resigned rather than participate in the policy adopted by the British Government. But, as was stated by my hon. friend from Kamouraska, the moment England declared war upon Germany, anxiety was replaced by enthusiasm, and from that day every Canadian of French origin, worthy of his origin, has stood behind England in the war.
But that is not all. When our troops crossed the seas what was their mission, what was their object, where were they to go? Their mission and their object was to go to France, to fight for France, nay, if need be, to die for France and,-I do not know whether I should say it in joy or sorrow-thousands of them, and more of British origin than of French origin, have given to France the last measure of their devotion, and have died for her.
Yet, that is notv all. It is a fact well established by the testimony of history that there is no greater' bond of union between men than danger met and supported in common. Men there are to-day in France,
men of French origin, and of English origin, all united in a common allegiance, standing shoulder to shoulder struggling to maintain the integrity of France and to preserve her from dismemberment and humiliation. I say without hesitation what I believe to be the true sentiment of all human hearts, that when these men divided as they are by race come back to Canada, when the war is over, they will be more united than when they left, and Canada will have the manifold blessings of that union.
These were the sentiments which animated me; this was the vision which I had of what was to come, when, at the special session of the Parliament of 1914, I took my seat. Then I declared what should be the policy which I and the friends who give me their confidence would follow in this emergency. I expressed my views in words which have been very often quoted; they were even cited to-day by my right hon. friend the Prime Minister. 1 need offer no excuse if I should quote them again in view of what I shall have to say afterwards. On that occasion I stated the policy which we intended to follow in these words:
This session has been called for the purpose of giving- the authority of Parliament and the sanction of law to such measures as have already been taken b,y the Government, and any further measures that may be needed, to insure the defence of Canada and to give what aid may be in our power to the Mother Country in the stupendous struggle which now confronts her. Speaking for those who sit around me, speaking for the wide constituencies which we represent in this House, I hasten to say that to all these measures we are prepared to give immediate assent. If in what has been done or in what remains to be done there may be anything which in our judgment should not be done or should be differently done, we raise no question, we take no exception, we offer no criticism, and we shall offer no criticism so long as there is danger at the front.
These opinions which I then expressed have sometimes received a very singular interpretation. One interpretation of them which I have heard on the floor of this House this very session, would simply amount to making us mechanical automatons, mere clerks' to register the decrees of the Government. I need not say that to such an interpretation we of the Opposition do not intend to pay any attention. We are here, the representatives of the people, we see very clearly the duties which we have to perform, and we are still an Opposition. My words were very plain, and I can repeat what I said then, exemplified by what has happened since, and by what
we shall do again. All measures which have for their object the successful prosecution of the war we are prepared now, as in the past, to support; all measures, all actions, which in our judgment may be detrimental to the successful prosecution of the war, it will be our duty to oppose. As to all such things as have no improper character, as to all such things as might be differently done, though not done wrongfully, we shall raise no question. But, Sir, to all wrongs, to all frauds, we shall offer determined opposition-these can not be condoned, they must be exposed, and, when exposed, they must be treated accordingly. These are the views we have held in the past, and which we now hold, and I appeal to the testimony of both friend and foe whether we have not remained true to these views to the present day. We have objected to no measure of the Government except their fiscal policy, and we objected to the fiscal policy introduced by the Minister of Finance last year, because in our judgment it would impair our trade relations with England, injure the trade of England, and to that extent injure the successful conduct of the war.
I come to the measure which is before us, and which proposes to extend the term of this Parliament for twelve months. It must be remembered that this is a graver question for us in Canada than was the parliamentary extension measure for Eng-, land. The extension that is now sought, as I must again remind the House, is not in our own power. We are seeking an amendment to the Constitution, which was provided by the Fathers of Confederation, and as to that we must be very careful. The Constitution is the Ark of the Covenant, enclosing the tables of the law, and no one can touch it except at his peril. For my part, in the words which were quoted by my right hon. friend a jnoment ago-and he might have quoted them again and again, for I have always spoken the same way on that subject-I would deprecate an election during the war. Still, were the war to be protracted unduly beyond what was contemplated, no oiie would suppose That the right of the Canadian people over this Parliament would be in abeyance for all that time. We have this to consider. It is a different thing to force an election when it can be avoided, and to face an election when the law compels it. Moreover, do not let us forget that there is dignity and grandeur in a people carrying on in