February 7, 1917


Motion agreed to.


CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The business on the

Order Paper having been disposed of, I declare this sitting suspended until 5.15.

The House resumed at 5.15 p.m.

Topic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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THE ROYAL ASSENT.


A message was delivered by Lieut.-Colonel Ernest J. Chambers, Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, as follows: Mr. Speaker, the Deputy of His Excellency the Governor General desires the immediate attendance of this honourable House in the Chamber of the honourable the Senate. Accordingly, the House went up to the Senate. And having returned, The Speaker informed the House that the Deputy of His Excellency the Governor General had been pleased to give, in His Majesty's name, the Royal Assent to the following Bills: Bill No. 19, An Act to authorize the raising, by way of loan, of certain sums of money for the public service. Bill No. 23, An Act to provide for further advances to the Quebec Harbour Commissioners. Bill No. 20, An Act for granting to His Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of the financial years ending respectively the 31st March, 1917, and the 31st March, 1918. Bill No. 24, An Act for granting to His Majesty aid for military and naval defence.


IMPERIAL WAR CONFERENCE.

STATEMENT BY SIR ROBERT BORDEN.

?

Right Hon Sir ROBERT BORDEN (Prime Minister):

Perhaps the House will permit me before moving the adjournment, to depart from the usual custom and say a few words. I desire to express, in the first place, my appreciation of the consideration of hon. gentlemen, and especially of hon. gentlemen on the other side, in expediting the business of the House by reason of the necessity that I and some of my colleagues, should proceed overseas in the immediate future. As far as the call for that purpose concerned me, it seemed that one should consider it in the same way as if it were a call to the trenches. Therefore, putting aside all considerations of whatever character, I thought it my duty to obey it.

I realize, as I have said before, that the adjournment which has been agreed to and the arrangements necessary to bring about that adjournment within a suitable period entail some inconvenience upon hon. members of the House, but I know that considering the greatness of the cause which we all have at heart they will not be disposed to regard that inconvenience either as unnecessary or as undesirable.

We are facing in these days very great events. That might, indeed, be said of the whole period covered by the past two and a half years, ibnt within the past eight or ten days events have been moving with even greater rapidity, and I trust, and more than that, I believe, that the trend of these events -is for an earlier consummation of that issue towards which this country, in common with all the Empire, has directed its energies in no small way ever since the commencement of this war. Every reason that influenced the mind and the soul of the Canadian people when war was first declared prevails in ten-fold measure to-day. The renewal, in an intense form, of the submarine campaign with all the barbarous methods which accompany it, can only serve tc steel our resolve. More than that, the sufferings and barbarities that have been inflicted on some of the smaller nations should serve to strengthen that determination. I am voicing an opinion in which I am sure my right hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) will coucut, when I say that the barbarities inflicted on the heroic Belgian people, in leading them into practical slavery by thousands, by tens of thousands, and even by hundreds of thousands, have shocked the conscience not only of the Allied nations but of the whole civilized world. It is fitting that we should at this moment and in this, if not in some more formal manner, raise our protest against such outrages and barbarities, which in the end can serve no good purpose even for the enemy nations, as they will but strengthen the determination of the British people and of all the Allied nations.

That brings me to the further thought that our own work in this war is by no means concluded. The Canadian people have done mighty things in this war. The splendour of their devotion, their resourcefulness, their determination, their valour and heroism on the field of battle, whether in attack or in defence, have placed Canada upon a status before the nations of the world to which none of us could have looked forward in August, 1914. Their effort has been a glorious one. But we have not yet attained to the authorized standard which was established in January a year ago, although we have made very considerable effort towards reaching that standard. The fact that nearly 180,000 men were enlisted in 1916, and that 165,000 of them went overseas in that year, constitutes in itself an achievement to which I believe few of

us in August, 1914, could have looked forward. But, as I have said, the effort must not be stayed, because the purpose for which we have entered this war has not yet been accomplished. It may be that the war will yet be prolonged for a very considerable period. On the other hand, it may be that the end will come sooner than many of us now anticipate. As to all this, we cannot form even a conjecture which is based upon reliable grounds. But we do know that all the allied nations are united in the firm determination of which I have spoken, and we are all, I am sure, inspired with a just confidence that' these efforts will not be in vain. All the sacrifices made, in blood and in treasure would indeed be vain, and worse than useless, if the great purpose for which the war was undertaken should not be accomplished. This is a war of nations, but more than that, it is a war of absolutely conflicting ideals; and unless the purpose for which it has been undertaken by the allied nations is accomplished, one could not look forward with reasonable confidence to. a development of future civilization upon the principles of freedom and justice. The democracies of the world are on trial. So, I pray that we may, all, whether in this House or out of it, unite in the effort to throw the full strength of this country into the conflict. Appreciating, as I do, the cooperation of my hon. friend's on the other side of the House in facilitating the passage of the Bill, the largest appropriation for one purpose that ever passed this Parliament, the largest fox one purpose that is likely to pass this Parliament for many years to come, I most earnestly invite their continued co-operation, and the co-operation of all the people of this country, irrespective of political opinion, irrespective of race or creed, in the firm determination to make our cause triumphant, and for that purpose to throw into this war the greatest and strongest efforts of a united people. Once more, Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friends on the other side of the House for their co-operation in the passing of this measure, and I trust that it may be made thoroughly to subserve the great purpose for which it has been framed.

Topic:   IMPERIAL WAR CONFERENCE.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY SIR ROBERT BORDEN.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Mr. Speaker,

in endeavouring to facilitate the business of the House, so>

that my right hon. friend (Sir Robert Borden) and his colleagues might proceed to London in answer to the invitation they have received, we do not claim to have done anything for which we

deserve thanks-we have only done -what was oui duty as members of this House and as Canadians

As regards the object of the war, I share the sentiments expressed by my right hon. friend. The course of this war, from the day when the neutrality of Belgium was cynically violated by Germany down to the present, and its latest developments, have shown the world, have satisfied everybody, that there can be but one end to the war, and that it must be carried to that end- such a victory over Germany that a recurrence of such an issue shall not be seen at least for generations to come.

On motion of Sir Robert Borden the House adjourned at 5.45 p.m., until Thursday the 19th day of April next.

Thursday, April 19, 1917.

Topic:   IMPERIAL WAR CONFERENCE.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY SIR ROBERT BORDEN.
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February 7, 1917