that we should have the legal power to assert our neutrality, without commenting in any way as to any given event in regard to which we might exercise that right. My submission is that the Foreign Enlistment Act passed in this house in 1937, the amendment to the Customs Act of last year and the proposed amendment to the Shipping Act now before the house, clearly indicate that the administration has no intention of becoming entangled in foreign wars.
Speaking in this house on June 18, 1936, I made the plea that has been made by the hon. member for Vancouver North. I then asked that we should acquire the legal right to declare a position of neutrality if we so desired. On that occasion I quoted the words of the Prime Minister regarding neutrality in terms of constitutional and international law. Those words deserve to be repeated here to-day in order to remove what I think is a misconception on the part of the hon. member for Vancouver North when he discussed the position Canada would occupy in respect of a war in which Great Britain was involved, and in which we might wish to assume a position of either passive belligerency or complete non-participation. I repeat the words of the Prime Minister at this time, words uttered in 1926 and referred to by myself in this house in 1936, because I think they will help, as I have noted, to clarify the issue:
There is a distinction to be drawn between the purely legal and technical position in which this dominion may be placed and the moral obligations which arise under treaties, depending upon the manner in which such treaties are entered into, upon the parties who are present, and the representative capacities in which they acted while negotiations were proceeding. Legally and technically Canada will be bound by the ratification of this treaty.
The Prime Minister was referring to the Lausanne treaty.
In other words, speaking internationally, the whole British Empire in relation to the rest of the world will stand as one when this treaty is ratified. But as respects the obligations arising out of the treaty itself, speaking now of inter-imperial obligations, this parliament, if regard is to be had to the representations which from the outset we have made to the British government, will in no way be bound by any obligation beyond that which parliament of its own volition recognizes as arising out of the situation.
Somewhere Sir Arthur Berriedale Keith has expressed the view that this is a correct statement of the position. Let me remind the hon. member for Vancouver North, as he has been reminded already: assuming that in a given event we wish to be neutral, I trust he will appreciate the full significance of that desire in respect of the use of force. There is
every bit as much likelihood, if not more, of our being called upon to use force to protect a neutral position, as there is if that neutral position be not asserted. Last year his leader, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) moved in this chamber the following resolution which I give in part:
That in the opinion of this house the foreign policy of Canada should conform to the following principles,
(1) That under existing international relations, in the event of war Canada should remain strictly neutral, regardless of who the belligerents may be.
In other words, regarding any conflict we should assert a position of neutrality. But the hon. member for Vancouver North, if I interpret correctly his speech of last Friday, does not agree with the statement made by his leader, because at page 1728 of Hansard he is reported to have said:
I am not suggesting that we should attempt to make a prior declaration of neutrality and bind parliament.
So that at any rate we have this difference in the points of view of the hon. member for Vancouver North and the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre on this issue. In this particular the hon. member does not agree with his leader, and I think it should be stated whether or not, when the hon. member for Vancouver North was speaking, he was declaring his own position or that of his party.
With regard to this question of neutrality one should not forget the experience of the United States. It is significant that a former president, Mr. Hoover, recommended only the day before yesterday, following a return from Europe, the abrogation of the existing neutrality legislation of the United States. And there are growing evidences, in congress itself, of a change in this particular.
One should mention here, I think, that the anomalous position in which Lord Atkin has put us as a result of his judgment in respect of Canada's treaty making power. In passing I suggest this should be remedied at the earliest possible moment.
Speaking of the foreign policy of this country, which I now intend to discuss, I think one might well say by way of preface, that if a government party is expected to have a foreign policy, so, too, should all the political parties in this house. One wonders, for instance, if the speech delivered by the hon. member for Argenteuil' (Mr. Heon) the other day in Montreal, represents the point of view of the party of which he is a member, or whether one is to take the speech of the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church)