June 18, 1936


Item agreed to. Canada's contribution to the expenses of the League of Nations for 1936, including secretariat, international labour organization and permanent court of International Justice, $194,390.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Chairman, I propose to detain the committee but a very short time. First of all, I should like to congratulate the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) upon the statement he gave this afternoon. I should also like to congratulate the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin) upon the address he has just delivered, which I think reflects very great credit upon his ability and studiousness in connection with matters which so deeply affect our country. I do not think any Canadian can look out upon the world at this time without some feeling of fear. That may seem to be a very strong statement, but I make it advisedly. The observations of public men of cabinet rank in Great Britain, as reported in the daily press, must be accepted at their face value. They say that the condition of the world to-day is as serious as it was in August, 1914. On the other hand, if we are to accept the refutation of those statements by those who are politically opposed to those who made them, this is but war-mongering. I cannot say that either view correctly describes the present situation, but no one who has followed the history of the world since August, 1914, can fail to be impressed with the very great difficulties that now confront the statesmen of the world.

We have the Far East situation, which is difficult to explain in a few words. Hundreds of millions of people scattered over one of the most ancient of the occupied communities

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of which we have any historical knowledge are without any effective central government. Encroachments have been made upon their territory by a highly organized and skilful people who have undertaken more or less the stabilizing of Asia. This in itself is a very remarkable achievement, but that it should be undertaken alone gives cause for consideration. That there is in a part of Asia a new government established under a new sovereign, but in reality under the protecting aegis of Japan, is in itself a significant situation. When one recalls what one reads from day to day of conditions in China, one has a real appreciation as to the situation in the Far East.

In Europe there is a situation which I sometimes think we Canadians cannot visualize unless we have seen something of it. It is almost impossible for a Canadian to think in terms of European conditions. I recall reading after the war a small volume by Sir John Marriott, who had long been a member of the British House of Commons, in which he referred to a great battle as having represented the hopes and aspirations of a people for centuries. Now it is almost incredible to us on this continent that a people could nurse a grievance, a resentment, an animosity over centuries of time and find the fulfilment of their hopes and aspirations in a battle fought in the early part of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, as the author pointed out, that was the case. You have differences that have arisen from old causes; you have differences that arise by reason of racial descent;. you have differences that arise from national ambitions; you have a small area inhabited by people of one type and across the boundary you find people of another type; and when you go further you find still another, so that the whole of Europe consists of a large number of states, many of them small. No wonder that men have described the Balkans as the cockpit of war! No wonder that men have not expressed great surprise at the inability of statesmen to steer a course towards peace through all these troubled waters.

In Palestine to-night there is an extremely difficult situation. There is Great Britain with a mandate. There are the Arabs and the Jews, and according to the last reports what is practically war is being carried on, aided and abetted by the gold of a foreign power. All that is disturbing. Some of us remember the Austria before the war; some of us have been in Vienna since the war. Some of us recall the ancient glories of the dual monarchy and now contemplate its shrunken boundaries. The peace treaty makes

special provision as to how Austria shall be dealt with, and the situation there has developed some of the latent animosities and certainly stimulated some of the ambitions of one of the nations of the world. Then there is Germany. We are all familiar with the terms of the treaty; this house ratified them. We recall the provisions with respect to disarmament, conditional in their character. We woke up one morning and in the newspapers read that the Rhineland was no longer a neutral area but that it had German troops in the barracks and at the bridge heads. Side by sidle with that there is the constant fear of France, the fear of a people who look for security because they know that for centuries there has been a territory in which have been fought great battles and which has passed from the control of one country to another, sometimes with a century intervening, sometimes with less, the peoples in that area being uncertain as to what will be the result of the discussions and negotiations that take place between the nations of the world and the representatives of the particular sovereignty under which they previously lived. Under these conditions it is impossible for Canadians living here in peace and amity with their neighbours to understand such a situation.

When I take the year book of the nations of the world and realize the millions of dollars that are being expended in armaments by small communities, sometimes inland countries building war ships because they happen to be able ,to reach the sea through an indirect method; when I see reflected in these vast expenditures the fears of the peoples, I Understand more than ever that we in Canada cannot appreciate the situation. I am sure that none of us understands it; none of us is capable of understanding this sentiment,, this terrible fear that oppresses the peoples of the smaller and even the larger communities in Europe. When the war ended we all, of course, hoped for better things, for better conditions; and with the idealism of the president of the United States, and the ideal realism of the great South African statesman, General Smuts, and the vision of a trained English statesman, the present Lord Cecil, all uniting together as they did to formulate a covenant of the League of Nations, with the assistance given them by statesmen from every part of the British empire and of the world, we naturally looked for something better. I can recall reading for the first time the covenant of the League of Nations, and I am sure there is not a member of the com-

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mittee who did not hope that, as a result, we might realize some of our aspirations and our hopes in that regard1. What were we aiming at? We were aiming at peace. That is the hope of the people and the goal1 of all our efforts-peace internationally, peace because democracies cannot survive unless they have peace and an opportunity to develop their institutions and their country. One of the conditions that appealed to me most strongly when I read the covenant was the provision dealing with disarmament and the abolition of conscription. I had always felt that if you continued to supply the means you would inevitably secure the result. You cannot train millions of men to be soldiers and arm them, providing munitions of war, building fortresses and supplying artillery, without inevitably reaping the result of such efforts, which is war. That is the evidence of the world's history. But we had hoped that things would change.

No sooner, however, than we had joined the League of Nations as one of the charter members, so to speak, with other commonwealths of the empire, than we learned that the greatest American nation that was interested in it, the United States of Americas, was unable to implement its signature. The people of .the United States would not permit that country to become part of the League of Nations. That was a blow to the League of Nations the result of which it is not easy to estimate,. For my own part, I cannot but think that when that event took place and the United- States withdrew from the League of Nations the league had received a very, very great injury from which it would ibe difficult indeed to recover. During the years .that have passed since,, the League of Nations has failed notably on four great occasions. It failed in connection with the difficulties of Japan's encroachment upon the Manchurian areas. It appointed a commisison and the commisison under Lord Lytton reported. The report, as we all know, was adverse to the action taken by Japan, and in the end Japan retired from the League of Nations. The League of Nations, as .the Prime Minister pointed out this afternoon, was powerless, or if it was not powerless,, at any rate it did nothing. That is the fair way to put it. And then there is the position that developed in the Chaco, down in South America, to which the Prime Minister made reference this afternoon,. In South America were two republics engaged in mortal conflict. One might say, "Those are small countries. Surely the League of Nations should

be able to do something with respect to that." Yet the truth is that all they did was to -talk about commission. I can recall the discussion that .took place at one time, I think it was in 1934. Thousands of men were killed, millions of money expended, and much territory devastated; yet the League of Nations did nothing to lessen the conflict or to apply in any sense the principles contained1 in the covenant.

More recently we had the Ethiopian difficulty. I shall not traverse that field again. In 1923 Ethiopia joined the League of Nations. The Dominion of Canada was a party to Ethiopia coming into the league; it was represented at the assembly. Ethiopia made promises that were satisfactory to the members of the league, and became a member with exactly the same status as a member as Canada or Australia or Great Britain or France or Brazil. Italy was one of the charter members of the league. The purpose of the league was to provide for, shall we say, an effort at negotiation before there should be war, and a solution of differences other than by force. What happened? Italy made war upon Ethiopia, and Ethiopia, a member of the league with Canada, with Italy, with Great Britain and with France, has been crushed by one of its fellow-members by the use of force, by bombs from the air and poison gases, in violation not only of the provisions of the covenant of the League of Nations but of the definite international agreement which we in this house accepted with respect to the methods by which war should be waged.

In the face of that, the first question Canadians ask themselves is: What is our obligation? I agree on this point with what was said by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth)-and it is about the only thing he said with which I do agree-that our obligation is exactly the same as that of any other nation which is a member of the League of Nations. Here is the analogy. When individuals in a civilized country have differences they resort to a court of justice. The plaintiff or the complainant files his claim; the defendant files his defence and the case is adjudicated upon. That did not come about hastily. Those who have read Maine's History of our Institutions will derive, I believe, great pleasure and satisfaction from the writer's description of how slow was the development of the institutions which we have so far evolved for the settlement of disputes. If the world is as old as has been suggested recently by scientists, perhaps the progress of humanity individually has not been quite so rapid as to enable us to complain very seriously about the slow progress of nations.

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At any rate it is clear that the evolution of the institutions by which men settled their differences through resort to courts came about slowly. The idea of an international court to which nations would attorn is a very old theory. This question of universal peace engaged the attention of far-seeing statesmen and wise philosophers many centuries ago, but the evolution of the plan under which international differences would be determined by an international court, a body of trained jurists, has been lower still. To settle differences between nations, how difficult the ideal, and how slow must be its realization! Yet we have such a court. I think it is one of the great triumphs of civilization that we have that court.

When we in this country were confronted with the question of bow far we would gc in the direction of judicial settlement of international troubles, we went the whole distance. Canada as a new country was prepared to have any differences of ours settled by a great international tribunal, or what at least amounts to it, because whether you say i1 is by a system of arbitration or by judicial process that you settle your differences is not at the moment important. But it was impossible by this international court to settle the differences between Italy and Ethiopia. Why? Because in this covenant that we cal! the covenant of the League of Nations we have provided that those who are guilty of a breach of it shall suffer certain consequences. If I have a difference with my neighbour aD

Early in the history of this covenant, after the United States had withdrawn, the late

Judge Doherty pressed very strongly for a revision of the covenant because he felt it was not fair that under existent conditions it should continue in its present form. The government of my right hon. friend endeavoured to support the same thesis, but with some success only; the extent of that success was mentioned by my hon. friend from Essex East, and I shall not again refer to it. When Italy invaded Ethiopia it incurred the penalty attaching to a violation of a contract. That penalty, which we have been calling sanctions, involved economic pressure being exerted against Italy, and there were certain provisions that recourse might be had to force. We eliminated force at the very start. The right hon. gentleman was quite right when, in a statement made in October last year, he pointed out that the preceding government had tied his hands to some extent, because the statement made by Mr. Ferguson, representing the government of Canada, as read by the hon. member for Essex East, represented the view of the government of the day as to the position which Canada should take. In other words, when the nations of the world, represented by their validly constituted representatives, had concluded that Italy had violated the terms and conditions of the agreement to which it had become a party, and was the offender as against Ethiopia, then the consequences, this assembly of the League of Nations said, should be visited upon Italy, the aggressor, the offender, the covenant breaker. But the language used by Mr. Ferguson was language which said that Canada would join in unanimous action with the other countries, and that was in order that there might be unanimity in the action which was taken, as there was. When we agreed to sanctions later, after a committee had studied the matter, that was an effort on the part of civilized humanity to punish one of the parties to a contract which had broken its word, violated -its contract and incurred, as it would have done had it been a private individual, liability for damages.

The character of sanctions is something that has to be settled by each of the communities which have to do with that matter. The Prime Minister this afternoon dwelt upon that feature of it, which is very important. We in this country took the only action which we could take, namely, that of enforcing these sanctions or this punishment against Italy in the manner and form provided for by the agreement made between Italy and the other nations of the world, our Canada being one of them, cutting off imports and exports, declining to supply money in any shape or form, bringing pressure to bear upon trade and

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lessening the opportunity of the Italian people to trade with us, and necessarily lessening the trade that we did with them. We were all agreed, after this small committee representing the whole had met, that there should be no military sanctions, so that question did not arise. I have always regretted the unfortunate incident that happened in connection with oil and Mr. Riddell. I have explained that before, and I am not going to do more than say that these things sometimes do happen, happen by accident rather than by design. It was not well that it should have happened as it did, and the comments of the press and of public men, of men of the political faith of the government, indicated that they did not approve what had thus happened.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

They have changed their minds since.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Very few of them have.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

They refuse to see, then.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is exactly so. But to anticipate action and to say that the representative of this dominion should not have done so and so in a discussion which took place in a small committee was to give a wrong impression, unconsciously, to the peoples of the world; and when the great headlines in newspapers, not published in Canada, indicated the joy of Mussolini and Italy that Canada had taken a position which was in their judgment helpful to them, although in the end1 it was not, this left a wrong impression. Time, I think, has done much to cure that. It has done much to remove the false impression which was thus left upon the minds of the peoples oi the world, but in removing that impression we passed through a phase which, speaking as a Canadian only, I wished we had not passed through. It left on the minds of the people of the world an impression which I should have preferred had not been left there, and which I believe did not represent the genius of the Canadian people or their hopes and aspirations with respect to this difficulty.

At any rate, what happened1 was that sanctions were imposed. Military sanctions were never suggested. In the end what occurred was this, and it could not be put more clearly than it was by the Prime Minister this afternoon when he stated that although Italy had hoped for success within a limited time, the other nations of the world believed that physical obstacles, plus other conditions, including a vigorous defence on the part of the Ethiopians, would have made success impossible within the period of time that was considered necessary. We must not forget that Napier of Magdala captured an

Abyssinian fortress in a limited number of months, released his prisoner, and got the gold which was his aim, and it was thought that having regard to new conditions the expedition of Italy could be much more rapidly carried to a successful conclusion than in those earlier days. Events have shown that while it took a little longer, the Italians conducted a very sharp and vigorous campaign with the modern armaments at their disposal, and Ethiopia was crushed without making that defence which no nation in these days can make against highly developed armaments, especially in the air, and mechanized forces.

That being so, we have to decide two questions. The first one is very simple: Should we continue the sanctions or not? I have been greatly impressed by the attitude taken by General Hertzog. We are the premier dominion of the British empire. In South Africa Premier Hertzog has to deal with problems that we know nothing of. His position is entirely different from ours. At the moment, according to the press, he has expressed the idea that we should maintain sanctions. He believes it would be a very wrong thing for us not to do so, and I have been greatly impressed by reading the press reports, limited as they are, as to what his views on the subject have been. But if we withdraw, as England has said to-day she proposes to do, and as other nations have said they propose to do, from imposing sanctions against Italy, we undoubtedly have put a direct premium upon the violation of international agreements. There is no way by which we can escape that conclusion. We might as well face it frankly. We have said, once more in the language of the ancients, that might is right. One may have strong opinions regarding the Ethiopians; that has nothing to do with the matter. Ethiopia has been a member of the League of Nations since 1923. Italy has been a member since the inception of the league. Sanctions were properly placed in operation, and now Italy having succeeded in attaining her objective, having destroyed Ethiopia and set up and proclaimed supremacy over that country, declaring her king to .be Emperor of Abyssinia, we are asked to say by the removal of sanctions that we acquiesce in that action.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

What is the alternative?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I shall come to that in a moment. It means acquiescence; that is the unfortunate part of it, just as was said to-day in the House of Commons in England, by a member sitting on the opposite side of the chamber, according to the report to which the right hon. gentleman referred this after-

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noon. Whether we like it or not, are we to say that punishment shall cease because the offender has had the force and strength to win? That is what it means. In that event we lie down, and in the language of Mr. Eden this afternoon, recognize a failure.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Britain could not do the whole of it.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I am not for a moment suggesting that the maintenance of sanctions by Canada is going to change in any sense the situation in the world, but in view of the fact that one of our great dominions which has always been friendly to this one, has urged that sanctions be not dropped-I refer to General Hertzog-I cannot but .think that we should pause and consider every angle of the situation, whether in the interests of this young democracy, this nation with none of the difficulties that exist in European countries, where we have nothing to confront us that they have there, we should not as a new country say: We will blaze a pathway for ourselves; we will say to the world that one of our associates with us has committed an action that is an act of war against Canada. For that is the language of the covenant. It is an act of war when we say that nation has done this thing. We as a new country are going to say to the older nations of the world in the very language that Canning used in days long since past, that it may well be that as the new members of the commonwealth, South Africa and Canada, can stand side by side, and say: We are not relaxing sanctions. We have no difficulties such as England has to deal with; we have no complicated situation such as France has; we have no international complications such as other nations in the league have. Might we not say-I am putting this only hypothetically-as a new country, a new people, blazing for ourselves a pathway among the nations of the world, that we stand with South Africa?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Not unless we are prepared to back up our stand by military sanctions.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Not a bit of it, not a suggestion of military sanctions. The assembly said there should be none; that still stands. There has not been a suggestion from anyone that there should be military sanctions. The very first promulgation read by the Prime Minister this afternoon was sanctions other than military.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

What would be the good of saying all this unless we were prepared to do this other thing?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The good would be that which results every time from a nation indicating to the people of the world that it will not approve and acquiesce in high-handed disregard of international obligations by any country with which it is associated. That is the point. Are we serious in the position which we take, realizing that there is no obligation for military sanctions, that having been swept out at the very initiation of the discussion? Why should I, if I were a private individual, relax my execution that I have obtained in an action for damages against a man who has broken his contract with me because someone else thinks it desirable to remove their execution against the individual who has also violated his contract with them? Each one must be the judge of what is best for himself. In our desire to maintain peace -not to punish-we can best do it, in the language of General Hertzog, as reported in the press, by taking the position that we shall not, because other nations have done so, become parties to the relaxation of these sanctions which were established by joint action of the nations of the world. I put the question to this committee, because it is one which has given me much concern: Why should we take some action just because some other nation has? Why should we determine that we shall abandon sanctions because some other nation is about to do so?

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Because Great Britain has.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

If Great Britain abandoned sanctions Great Britain has good reasons. What reasons are there that we should do the same? Our peace is not disturbed; our shores are not invaded.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

It would be entirely ineffective.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Not as far as Canada is concerned. It would lessen our trade; it would prevent Italy from receiving from us certain commodities that she otherwise would receive, but we should stand as an example to' the world that a new democracy is blazing for itself a new pathway of rectitude in regard to a position which she had accepted under the League of Nations. That is what it would mean. One may say that that is absurd; that one nation does not count, especially on the north American continent. Ah, well, example is very great. We being a small power in numbers, without military equipment that could possibly be utilized in any prospect of war, whether on sea or on land

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or in the air, that was eliminated in the very first discussion which took place. Then why should we acquiesce when we have no complications in our national life such as the nations in Europe have?

That problem has given me much concern. I mention it to this committee because the government have taken a certain action. They say: We propose to relax and abandon sanctions. I am not complaining of the government taking that action; I am only pointing out what the alternative is. I have said that the problem gives me some concern personally, after reading General Hertzog's position. I am not saying for a moment that after weighing the pros and cons I might not, if situated similarly to this government, have had the same view. I am saying that to-night and for some days I have been thinking about the matter and my mind has been uncertain what course we should take. I am uncertain yet. Nothing said to-day has convinced me that it is a certainty that one should hold unhesitatingly. No cogent reasons have been given which induce me to believe that the economic sanctions imposed against a covenant breaker by the Dominion of Canada should be permitted to lapse because might is right. I am thinking a little of the fact that although black in colour, thousands of men and women have been ruthlessly destroyed with poison gas, bombs and artillery in violation of a distinct and positive understanding. And I cannot but remember that even in the life of nations there have been punitive expeditions for the purpose of making nations understand that such things should not take place, and of indicating the necessity for the maintenance in international relations of the sanctity of contracts made between nations and having to do with the life and liberty of peoples. I am not unmindful of all that.

The other point, which is the second one, to Which the Prime Minister has not directed his attention yet, is the question of the recognition of the Italian proclamation under which Ethiopia becomes part of the empire of Italy. In the case of Manchuria and Japan we have not yet recognized Manchukuo. As far as we are concerned it is true that no sanctions were ever imposed by the league. But we have not recognized that new state. I already see in tire press that Mussolini is not content now with the relaxation of sanctions but must have what is its complement, namely the recognition of Italian supremacy, Italian victory and the proclamation which makes Ethiopia part of the Italian empire. Well,

the peace of the world, I suppose to some extent, depends upon that. We, this new democracy, are told again that we may be in the position of having to do what we did in the case of Manchukuo, that is, not recognize it, or we may be asked to recognize Italian supremacy. Now the first question we have answered. There may be a difference of opinion with respect to it. On balance the government may have taken the proper course under the circumstances; I have put the other alternative to this committee. On the second point, which will inevitably arise from the relaxation of sanctions, there must be a determination of the question whether or not we are going to recognize Italian supremacy in Ethiopia. To-morrow Ethiopia, according to the dictator of Italy, must become a part of Italy, and be so recognized by the nations of the world.

Those arc- the two problems that immediately confront us. One has been answered; the other will have to be answered shortly. I have no answer to the second because for the reasons which I have indicated my mind has been very uncertain as to the answer that should have been given to the first. I am not one who believes that in this country we should not be prepared to make for ourselves a pathway in international matters. I have never for a minute thought it impossible, although we are small in numbers and far removed from the great centres of warring conflict-because it practically amounts to that in Europe to-day-for this country to play an important part. But I have been one who believes that it is impossible for us to exercise that part in the way in which the older nations have; obviously we cannot do it. The reasons given this afternoon by the Prime Minister and by the hon. member for Essex East are conclusive of that point.

But there is a path which we may pursue. There is a way in which the influence and power of this dominion can be felt among the nations of the world. That power General Hertzog proposes his union shall exercise. He may for good reason change his mind. It may be that there will be reasons of state so impelling and compelling that he will. The same is true of Canada. But the place for Canada as the interpreter on this continent of the genius, the hope and the aspirations of the peoples of the world for peace, peace, peace, can never be realized unless we follow some course that will be to the peoples of the world an example of what a free people should do when they find that there has been a violation of undertakings by one of the ancient nations of the world.

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I cannot get away from the fact that this possibly may involve the loss of a few dollars of trade, but it means more than that. It will always, as long as it continues, be an outstanding example to the peoples of the world of this attitude: Here we have a new land, a new people and a new democracy saying that when we sign a contract it means what it says and that those who violate it cannot openly do so and flaunt their victory in the eyes of the world without incurring at least the condemnation of a free people. That is the position I put to this committee.

There arises out of all this the question of the failure of the League of Nations to deal with the problems to which I have referred, its ineptness in dealing with the questions referred to by the hon. member for Essex East, its ineptness because, as he said, it is possible that if certain action had been taken at a certain date the results might have been different. I believe most men think that. Most thinking men are convinced that Mussolini thought he had a sort of tacit understanding which enabled him to proceed to extend his sphere of influence. It may have been that at the outset he did not contemplate a war of annihilation of the sovereignty of a people, but it evolved into that, with the results we now have.

Nevertheless while the league has failed- and it has-I think the Canadian people must first of all-and I hold this as strongly as I can hold any conviction-realize that the greatest assurance we have for the maintenance of our peace lies in the strengthening of every tie that binds the commonwealth of nations, the members of the British empire. That I believe firmly. I am confident that is so. And because I believe that, because I realize that and hold it strongly I still think that the League of Nations may, and I hope will, exercise a great and powerful influence upon the thought of the world.

The very fact that we find negotiation, conference and discussion among the representatives of fifty nations of the world is in itself the best assurance of understanding. There may and there will ibe differences, great differences, of opinion. But just as in this house in connection with non-political or non-partisan matters we may be able to arrive at conclusions after discussion, talk and negotiation which will result in, the common good, and will mean an advancement towards perfection, so the representatives of the men and women from fifty states, and more, by the very fact that they do meet together, the very fact that they see each other, the very fact that they hear each other, the very fact that they shake hands,

the very fact that they exchange points of view that you tell your troubles and he tells you his troubles acquire a fellow-feeling which they could not possibly get by reading history or newspapers. From such a conference much good must come.

If we remove ,the league entirely we have to ask what the result would be. That seems to be the other question we would have to ask. Conciliation would be gone; conferences would disappear and we would have no meeting together of the representatives of the peoples of the world. You cannot make the League of Nations a super-parliament or give it the power of a super-state, but it may still continue to be a medium through which the representatives of all peoples of the world can meet together. Of course this usefulness has been greatly lessened by reason of the fact that one of the leading members has withdrawn, two have withdrawn, three have withdrawn, four have withdrawn, and there is a threat of the withdrawal of the fifth. All these things lessen its possibilities for good.

Nevertheless I approve the vote for the maintenance of Canada's position at Geneva. I still believe it is worth spending the sum of money we spend. When I read, as every hon,. member has read, that in a few hours at Vimy Ridge, where shortly a celebration and memorial services will be held, millions and millions of dollars went up in smoke and carried1 devastation and death to thousands of men, I ask myself to realize how small in comparison is the expenditure of a few hundreds of thousands of dollars for the League of Nations.

Why is the expenditure made? Its supreme purpose is that of peace, not punishment. Of course we have been told in scripture about those who cry, Peace,, peace and there is no peace. Sometimes in these days we are reminded of that. This expenditure of a few hundred thousand dollars, but a fraction of the money our artillery used before Vimy Ridge, is surely warranted if for no other purpose than to indicate that the mind, attitude and purpose of the Canadian people are directed toward world peace.

I am not wholly in accord with the conclusions at which the government has arrived1, because of the uncertainty created in my mind by reason of the attitude which has been taken in a most difficult part of the British empire by one of its great statesmen. But I know this, that the preservation of a certain form of strength in foreign policy is the best assurance this country can possibly have for its continued harmonious development. In Great- Britain when that

Criminal Code-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

was departed1 from, a difficulty of the first order arose.

I am satisfied that the passing of this vote toward the maintenance of the league, although it may be shorn of great authority, will afford an opportunity for a measure of continued permanence in our foreign policy which would be otherwise lacking. I do not think it is fair to suggest that any Prime Minister in these days could outline a foreign policy for this country; it cannot be done. No other nation can outline in detail a foreign policy, except under very limited conditions. But we all can do this: We can recognize that we are one unit among the many units which constitute the world's nations, and as such we have a part to play not by force but by high example. We have not force; it would not be available from the Canadian people, in any event, unles out of a country vastly different from what this one is to-day.

But we have something more, we have a people young and virile, the inheritors of great traditions, believers in the right, and I am confident that if we so determine, by our example we can accomplish what Pitt said his country had done. Be said: England has saved herself by her efforts; she may well save the world by her example. So, small in number, we here on the northern half of the north American continent, far removed from the climatic conditions enjoyed by many countries, a virile, young people, by the force of our example and the determination to show to the world that those who break their obligations and violate their covenants have become ostracised so far as dealing with the civilized peoples of the world are concerned, may be able to show the pathway to ultimate peace and happiness among, not only our own people, but the other peoples of the world.

Topic:   IS, 1936
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-PROBLEMS ARISING OUT OF ITALO-ETHIOPIAN CONFLICT
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Item agreed to. Progress reported.


LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to move, with the consent of the house, that we revert to the order for motions, in order to file the fifth and final report of the standing committee on miscellaneous private bills.

Topic:   IS, 1936
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-PROBLEMS ARISING OUT OF ITALO-ETHIOPIAN CONFLICT
Sub-subtopic:   MISCELLANEOUS PRIVATE BILLS
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June 18, 1936