Mr. WILLIAM FOSTER COCKSHUTT (Brantford):
Mr. Speaker, this new Chamber has already listened to several very excellent speeches. If the doings of our Parliament, the legislation that we pass and the addresses that we make in this Chamber are to be equal to our surroundings, we shall have to go some in order to attain such excellence as our surroundings indicate we are at present in possession of. 1 desire to congratulate the architect and those who have been associated with him on the spendid result of their work as I think this legislative assembly chamber will compare very favourably with any others in the principal capitals of the world. I have visited quite a number of them, and I have seen very few that are equal in grace and durability to the splendid Chamber in which we are assembled to-day. I trust the future of Canada may justify the expenditure of the present, in legislating in such a wise and wholesome way for our people as will bring the same excellence to bear in all parts of Canada. The mover and the seconder of the Address have given us excellent speeches, and it is not necessary that I should allude to them more than in a passing way. They have already received many encomiums from other hon. members who have spoken.
One of the principal subjects, however, mentioned in the speech from the Throne has not, up to the present, received that consideration and attention that, in my opinion, is justified. The larger part of the speech from the Throne is taken up with allusions to the Peace Treaty, which is supposed to bring to an end the greatest war of all the ages and to proclaim peace and future happiness to the world. The war was a deadly affair; but the Peace Treaty I think is, in many respects, a bigger
disaster than the war. It is now about eighteen months since the Armistice was signed, and during that period the Peace Treaty has been before the various parliaments and legislative assemblies of the nations that were concerned. Up to the present time I have seen no proclamation from any of the great nations that would lead us to believe that conditions of peace have yet been reached, while we know, in the neighbouring country to the south, the attitude of the legislators and of those high in authority towards the Peace Treaty is lamentable in the extreme and is causing and will continue to cause unrest until these matters are finally settled between the great combatant nations of the world. I have been watching fairly closely the doings in the United States capitol with regard to the Peace Treaty and the discussions thereon. I have alluded to this matter already on two previous occasions. I know that I am singular in that respect, as I have heard no one else express the same view; but I have said from the start and I say so again that, in my judgment, it was a great mistake to unite the League of Nations and the Peace Treaty in one document. The plenipotentiaries who were sent to the Peace Conference were charged with making peace with the nations with whom we have been at war. That was their first and main duty so far as I can understand it, and to endeavour to wipe away war for all time and to raise idealistic pillars throughout the world was something that could have been taken hold of later on. Whether the League of Nations, which is really an ideal, and is another term for the balance of power, is finally successful or not, there was no good reason why the matter of dealing with the League of Nations should not have been left until the Treaty of Peace had been fully signed, sealed and delivered. I may be, as I say, singular in that respect, but as the unrest in Canada and in all other countries of the world is one of the most serious subjects with which we have to deal, everything that tends to increase this unrest or to continue it should be removed, and by the bringing to an end of these negotiations and the signing of this Peace Treaty letting the world know that the hatchet is buried and buried for all time, or at least until another war is declared, we would wipe away a good deal of the unrest that at present prevails. In order to show that I am not taking an extreme view in speaking of the Peace Treaty as I have done, I will read a few words only from a review published in London which I have read in this House
on more than one occasion. The date of the review from which I am about to read is February, 1920. There is a good deal of this which I shall not read, but I will read this so that hon. members may see a portion of British opinion goes quite as far in that direction as anything that I am able to say:
Referring to Clemenceau, the former great French Premier, who was one of the greatest and most outstanding figures in the war and in the peace negotiations; and if we have arrived at a sound basis, he has had more to do with it than any other one man not even excepting our own Lloyd George.
The Tiger at large, hacked as he would have been by an irresistible public opinion on both sides of the channel, could have achieved much, and even had President Wilson gone home in the "George Washington" and the conference broken up, we cannot see that the world would have been any worse off than it is to-day under the ratification of a Peace Treaty which, in trying to settle everything, failed to settle anything, and in the hope of ending all war has not even made a certainty of ending the only war that concerned it, while it opens up limitless vistas of future and hitherto undreamt of conflicts of which no man can foresee the end. The tragedy of the Peace is worse than any tragedy of the war. As some cynic has observed, the foundations have been laid of many a just and durable war.
Those are the remarks made in a magazine published on the other side. The article goes on to say, and this, I think, is also worthy of notice:
Yet another blunder was made in the drafting of the Franeo-British Treaty by the insertion of the unfortunate proviso that it "will only come into force" on the ratification of the Franco-American Treaty.
So that until the United States is pleased to make a treaty with France, the British and the French treaties must he held in abeyance until that is brought to pass, which certainly does not appear likely before another presidential election for which the present treaty is going to furnish great material.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLT.