April 1, 1938

CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I think what the Prime Minister has said is quite right; he has intimated to the house that he would like to introduce an item with regard to external affairs. But may I point out that we are not in control of the house; the government largely decides what business shall be taken up from day to day.

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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:

May I say to my hon. friend that what has prevented me from doing so for longer than three weeks has been the amendment to the motion to go into supply.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

May I remind the Prime Minister that we have gone into a number of departments already; post office, national revenue, public works and others, and I think ample opportunity has been afforded to go into the Department of External Affairs had the right hon. gentleman so desired.

The hon. member for Essex East took exception to our saying that these estimates implied certain commitments. He asked this question: Against what countries are we committed to prosecute a war of aggression? He referred to some nations which he named, and said:

The hon. member has a responsibility as a member of parliament, and in his sincere approach to his problem I think he should be

in a position to give an answer to a question of this kind.

The hon. member for Vancouver North is neither the prime minister nor the minister of national defence. If he should be expected to answer the question as against whom we are committed to prosecute a war of aggression, how much more should the members of the government be prepared to answer the question: for what purpose are these defence plans being executed or from whom may we expect aggression? I would expect an answer to the latter question much more than my hon. friend should expect the hon. member for Vancouver North to answer his question. So far, as I have said already, in my opinion we have not had an adequate answer. Again I say the defence plans must be based on a definite foreign policy, and again I ask what is that policy. Surely the government can tell us whether it is a purely British Empire policy designed solely for the development and protection of empire interests; or a policy purely of north American isolation, with Canada living strictly apart from world conflicts, commerce and considerations; or a league of nations policy based upon loyal support of collective security for the maintenance of world peace; or that of a purely autonomous state endeavouring to relate its individual policy to the other three I have named. If the last is the case we should tell the British people and the world just where we stand; for in Great Britain there are many who believe that the Prime Minister was correctly quoted when the British papers alleged that he said at Paris that any threat to England would immediately bring Canada to her side. I have that report here, appearing in the Daily Sketch of July 3, 1937. I hope when the Prime Minister speaks-as I hope he will speak-he will tell us and Great Britain and the world exactly what he said; and, what is more important, exactly what the words really imply.

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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:

If my hon. friend would like me to do so I shall give the facts right now. I have before me a communication which I recently received from Mr. George Hambleton, who is well known (o all in this house as a former member of its press gallery and the correspondent of the Canadian Press in England. Mr. Hambleton was present at the meeting in Paris at which I spoke, and he took down verbatim what I said in shorthand notes. Some time ago, I wrote Mr. Hambleton and asked if he still had his notes and if he could send me a

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verbatim account of what I said at the time. He replied to my communication as follows: Boismuir,

Chiltern Rd.,

Amersham, Bucks., Eng. Feb. 14, 1938.

Rt. Hon. \V. L. Mackenzie King,

Prime Minister,

Ottawa, Canada.

Dear Mr. King:

On my return from Ireland, I looked up my shorthand notes of your Paris speech of July 2, 1937, and enclose verbatim transcript of the passage at issue. You will notice that, in one or two places, it differs slightly from my cable to the Canadian Press but the differences are not material. They are due to my having to prepare a cable summary quickly.

My shorthand notes do not cover the entire speech verbatim but they are verbatim of the material passage. I have transcribed the material passage as I took it down at the time, with the preceding and following paragraphs.

I also enclose clipping of New York Times report of the speech, supplied to the Montreal Gazette. It generally bears out my own cable. Both the independent report of the New York Times and my orni notes are at obvious variance with the version published in London.

With kindest regards,

Sincerely yours,

G. Hambleton.

The account of my speech as transcribed by Mr, Hambleton from his notes is given by him as follows:

Mackenzie King at Paris-July 2, 1937.

"Mr. Lapointe and I have just returned from the imperial conference. There, around one table, we had together the representatives of different governments of the British Empire. I know that, to many people on the continent of Europe, it may seem that because we come, in this way, representatives of different governments and have our legations as we have in Paris side by side with the British embassy, that this is a note indicative of a desire on our part to go off on our own and possibly to separate in some way from the British Isles themselves. People who have that view mistake entirely the real bond that holds the peoples of the British Commonwealth. Freedom is the essence of our life within the community of British nations. We like to manage our own affairs. We share with other parts of the empire in discussing questions of mutual interest. The fact that we have our own representation in several countries is an evidence of that liberty and freedom which above all else we prize and were it imperilled from any source whatever would bring us together again in preservation of it.

"We are glad to have the opportunity of taking even a small part in this great cooperative effort on the part of the government of France to help to show to the modern world the development of arts and crafts in their application to modem life ..."

Such is the transcript of his notes, as taken down by Mr. Hambleton. I have here the report which was sent at the time by Mr.

T. J. Philip, another correspondent, by wireless to the New York Times. This is the report of what I said in Paris as published in the New York Times and also in the Montreal Gazette:

King Holds Canada is World's Friend.

No country more fortunate in foreign relations, premier avers.

Opens Pavilion in Paris.

Says Empire's Units are Independent but Determined to Keep Freedom Jointly if Necessary.

Paris, July 2.-Opening the Canadian Pavilion of the International Exhibition here to-day, Premier W. L. Mackenzie King said that no country was more fortunate in its relations with other countries than Canada. He had just attended the imperial conference at London where all associated dominions of the British Empire met together with the mother country in perfect freedom and independence but united in a determination to keep their freedom jointly if necessary. With the United States Canada lived on most cordial terms of good neighbourhood and between Canada and France there was a sentimental link which would never die.

Canada, he said, was proud to take a small part in the exhibition which was designed to show how the peoples of every country lived by the genius and effort of men of all races, and how essential each nation was to the other.

Then, reference is made to some observations of my colleague, the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe).

The Ottawa papers carried a report of what I said at Paris. The report appearing in the Ottawa Morning Citizen of July 3, 1937, is headed in these words:

Mackenzie King Discusses Trade Treaty at Paris.

This is a Canadian Press dispatch, via Havas, and reads:

The Prime Minister, arriving from his visits to German and Belgian leaders, officially opened the pavilion with its exhibits of Canadian industry, agriculture and mining.

He stressed the close bonds of sympathy and mutual understanding linking Canada with France, and warned his hearers to beware of any false interpretations of empire unity.

Anyone who believed that the fact Canada had her own legations in certain countries was an indication "of desire on our part to go off on our own and possibly separate in some way from the British Isles" was mistaken, he said. "People who hold that view mistake entirely the bond that holds the peoples of the British Commonwealth" he said. "Freedom is the essence of our life within the British Commonwealth. We like to manage our own affairs."

But, he added, the fact "we have our own representation in other countries is evidence of that great liberty and freedom which, above all, we prize, and wrere it imperilled from any source whatever would bring us together again in preservation of it."

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I believe the Ottawa Journal contained the same dispatch, and I have read the dispatch from the Montreal Gazette. Then I have also here the report from its own correspondent to the London Telegraph. The article is headed:

Liberty as Basis of Empire Unity; Canadian Premier's Speech in Paris; An Example for Europe.

It states:

Mr. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, inaugurating the Canadian pavilion at the Paris exhibition this morning, held up the British Empire as an example to the world of tolerance and understanding.

In an impromptu speech, he said that his visit to the coronation and his participation in the Imperial conference had convinced him more than ever of the value of freedom to the world.

Liberty, he said, was the bulwark of the British Empire. While the motherland and each of the dominions remained free, men of good will came together from time to time, talked over matters of mutual interest, and thus strengthened the union of the British Commonwealth.

His visit to the continent, he continued, had convinced him that men of good will in every country could follow this example and talk over their differences. People in Europe would make a great mistake if they concluded that, because various dominions had their own foreign legations, they lacked unity. On the contrary, this was but an example of their common freedom.

Those are all dispatches from different correspondents as to what I said, and they are in accord but differ from the one quoted by my hon. friend. There is the dispatch from our own correspondent in London who went to Paris to be present at the opening of the pavilion, the correspondent to the Canadian press. I think most hon. members know Mr. George Hambleton, and must know how accurate he would likely be in any report he w-ould send. Mr. Hambleton still has his shorthand notes, and no doubt would be prepared to produce them at any time or place if that were desired. A correspondent to the New York press gives his version, which agrees with that of Mr. Hambleton, and the version of the correspondent to the London Telegraph is also in accord with Mr. Hamble-ton's. The other report which appeared and to which my hon. friend referred, is not in accord with any of these, and contains words which I did not use.

The context makes quite clear what I was speaking about at the opening of the pavilion. I was referring particularly to the significance of legations. I spoke of legations in that way because I was speaking in the presence of

Mr. Brugere, the then French Minister to Canada and also in the presence of the British Ambassador. In some parts of Europe there would seem to be a deliberate effort on the part of some to have it appear that because Canada has her own legations in different countries, in some way or another she is desirous of separating herself from relationships with other parts of the empire.

My contention has always been directly the opposite. I have contended and believe that the bond which unites us and keeps us united is the bond of freedom of which complete autonomy is one expression, and autonomy which in Canada we enjoy in relation to foreign affairs, as well as with respect to domestic affairs. That was the point I brought out. My observations were made in the presence of my colleague, the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) and the hon. member for Belleehasse (Mr. Boulanger) who was Canadian commissioner at the exhibition, both of whom were on the platform at the time I spoke. They both heard my remarks, and both have since told me that neither of them had heard anything which could be construed after the manner of the dispatch the hon. member has just quoted. They did, however, hear me say what has been quoted in the dispatch of Mr. Hambleton and regarded it as wholly appropriate to this occasion. I have not gone out of my way to deny erroneous reports for the simple reason that I did not wish, by having people speculate on the meaning of this or the meaning of that, to embarrass the situation in Europe any more than was necessary. Sometimes it is just as well to let matters alone even if one has personally to suffer because of it. If any good purpose could have been served by making a restatement at the time, I should have made it. To have taken exception to the statement at the time might have given a significance to my words which in some quarters might have been still more misleading. I hope, however, that what I have now placed before the house will be sufficient to indicate exactly what was said and exactly what was meant.

Mr. COLD WELL; I would say simply this, that had the Prime Minister made a simple statement as to just what he had said and meant, I would have accepted it, without further evidence. I imagine the words which were interpreted in the manner I have indicated in some newspapers would be the words, "if that liberty were threatened it would bring us together again." No doubt the construction placed upon those words by some correspondents was the construction we have heard.

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Subsequently, I believe it was on July 9, addressing a Conservative meeting in London, Mr. Chamberlain referred to the "remarkable speech given by the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Mackenzie King, at Paris" and he quoted the press dispatch. That, I believe, was the construction which was placed generally upon the dispatches which appeared in the British papers. I am glad we have had the explanation placed before the House of Commons and the country to-day.

Both the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) and the hon. member for Essex East deny that in the event of war we are committed. I wonder if they will state that when Great Britain is at war Canada can remain at peace. May it not be more realistic to admit that whatever the constitutional position may be, Canada's desire for freedom of choice would not, in all probability, be honoured by a belligerent enemy of Great Britain. If that is realistic, then would not a straightforward, concrete, downright Canadian foreign policy be a step in the direction of real world peace? We believe that, and that is why we are insistent that such a statement should be made before we are asked to support military, naval and air force estimates. We felt a year ago-indeed the estimates subsequently presented confirmed the analysis made by my colleague from Vancouver North-that Canada's program was closely linked with the policy of the British national government. I make a distinction in my own mind between the British national government, the present government of Great Britain, and the aspirations of the British people. We said a year ago that we distrusted their policy because it implied a desertion of the principles of the League of Nations and of collective security. I think everyone will agree that the events of the past year have proved that our fears were amply justified, and the recent resignation of the foreign secretary of Great Britain makes that more abundantly clear than it was before. As was stated by the hon. member for Essex East, the past months have been to many of us-I include myself-months of sad disillusionment. We believe peace can be maintained by a league of nations, a league reconstructed and reconstituted. But to that belief the policies and pronouncements of the national government have given blow after blow, until a short time ago Mr. Chamberlain shattered that ideal almost completely; at least for the time being.

We can no longer dismiss the fact that that for which the great war was said to have been fought has been lost. Great Britain de-

dared through the lips of its war-time prime minister, Mr. Lloyd George, that the world must be made safe for democracy, but twenty years after we have another prime minister trying to placate the dictators who have destroyed democracy in their own countries and whose minions are prepared to destroy freedom throughout the world.

Canada is still a part of the British commonwealth. It is the senior self-governing dominion. Are we content, as it were, to simply follow along with the policy now being followed in Great Britain? If we are not, then I think we owe it to ourselves and to the British people to say so before the die is cast. Unless we do that, in the eyes of the enemy nations at least, when Britain is at war we shall be at war. As my colleague, the hon. member for Vancouver North, said the other day, this parliament may be faced some day with the accomplished fact of war.

It is well known that a large and influential section of the British governing group never liked the league and have never really been loyal to it. I believe that the uncertain attitude, if I may put it that way, of Canada, in relation to sanctions from time to time rather played into their hands. I do not think that any government in Canada wished to play into their hands. I should like to say that I believe a little more courage on the part of the Prime Minister of Canada during recent years would have done much to persuade the British government to stand by the league. The British people, through the peace ballot, and by their attitude toward the Hoare-Laval controversy and the Eden incident proved their faith in the league and collective security.

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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:

Does my hon. friend think the government should have had a policy of applying sanctions which would have involved military sanctions?

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

This government did agree to the institution of sanctions against Italy.

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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:

Economic

sanctions.

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

Economic sanctions.

Subsequently we withdrew ourselves from an advocacy of oil sanctions. My contention is that if the peace of Canada and of the world were endangered by one kind of economic sanctions, against minerals for example, then it would be endangered by all kinds of economic sanctions. We assumed some and we disallowed another.

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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:

Should this government have insisted on oil sanctions being imposed at that time?

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

Having agreed to some sanctions being imposed, the most important of all sanctions, oil sanctions, ought to have been agreed to. It may be argued that that would have led to war-

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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:

I am sure it would have.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. OOLDWELL:

I disagree with that statement. As a matter of fact the recent book by the Italian General, De Bono, in which he discusses the entire Ethiopian affair, indicates quite clearly that had oil sanctions been applied he expected to have received orders to stop the Ethiopian campaign where he was. I think that that is the impression that is quite widespread across the world. The Prime Minister has a different opinion, but my opinion is that which I have just stated.

I believe that in Great Britain the attitude of the Labour and Liberal parties truly represent the heart of Britain. British liberalism is still true to its democratic tradition, and through the lips of its leaders, Sir Archibald Sinclair, and David Lloyd George, it joins with Clement Attlee of the labour movement in denouncing the repressions and hypocrisy of Hitler and Mussolini. Thus the Liberal and Labour parties in Great Britain follow the tradition of that British liberalism which demanded years ago the ejection of the Turkish oppressors from Europe bag and baggage. That demand did not lead to war. I believe that the famous phrase "bag and baggage" was used by Gladstone in connection with the Turks and Turkish atrocities sixty years ago. How far Canadian Liberalism is removed from the historic liberalism which gave it birth its present policies mutely testify.

Canada is my home and my country, the land in which my children were born and in which I hope they will live. I have a deep affection for the land which gave me birth and education. I am of its people, bone of their bone, flesh of their flesh. But when my overseas kin elect and support a government whose policies are a dark betrayal of the democratic ideals which I regard still more highly, then I think it is my duty to urge that we tell them in no uncertain terms that we shall not stand for the type of policy which has been pursued and which I believe will eventually bring about the loss of democracy throughout a large part of the world. For these policies we in Canada must assume

no responsibility. However, due to the breakdown of the League of Nations, we in Canada are compelled to consider some measures of defensive rearmament. To that, in so far as they are defensive we in this group offer no objection; for the international scene has changed, and for the worse, since last year.

We insist also that in the light of recent events our government should make a clear statement regarding Canada's foreign policy, a statement that will leave no room for doubt in this country, in Great Britain and throughout the world. It should in my judgment be a policy wholly and completely independent of any understandings there may be between the national government and the European dictators. I believe the Prime Minister will agree with that. Until the British people have elected a government that is sincere in its attachment to collective security, we must pursue our own course, a course which looks first to the interests of the Canadian people, a course that will satisfy a democratic and freedom loving people.

By a striking coincidence, on the very day that Mr. Chamberlain deserted European democracy a United States cabinet minister, Mr. Secretary Wallace, broadcast a message to the British people. He said in part:

Totalitarianism, either of the right or of the left, is alien to the spirit that dominates the English speaking democracies of the world.

He continued:

Totalitarianism is subversive of the ideals upon which our democracies are founded.

Those of us who continue to believe that it is better to be governed even badly by ourselves than to be well governed by others must be increasingly alert, especially against insidious fascism. It seems to me that fascism constitutes the greatest threat in the world to-day.

To my way of thinking, fascism is a retrograde movement. It means a turning back of the hands of the clock. It means that liberty to live one's life, with only such restrictions as are necessary in order to assure the equal liberty of others, must be surrendered to a dictatorial power which will think and act for all.

He added that humans become economic and political robots under a fascist state, and must release "all the barbarities of supersavage modern warfare upon unoffending peoples" at the mandate of a dictator. He asked for cooperation by democracies of the world to prove the effectiveness of the principles upon which their plan of government is founded. He went on:

Certainly, with the fascist countries of the world drawing closer and closer together in an ominous and bodeful phalanx it behooves

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America and all other democratic nations to prove that under a democratic form of government the highest political liberty as well as the greatest economic security not only can, but will, be provided.

These words of the United States Secretary express also, I am certain, the sentiment of the overwhelming majority of the British and Canadian peoples. Yet the policy at least of the motherland to-day, in my opinion, is being directed by those who have strengthened fascist dictators who have released all the barbarities of supersavage modern warfare upon unoffending peoples without their borders. To me the blood of primitive Ethiopians cries aloud against it, and the wailings of Judah echo across the world in protest. Surely civilized peoples everywhere stand aghast at the barbarities recently perpetrated in Barcelona.

In common with other small nations Canada has everything to gain by the building up of a strong League of Nations. It is true that in order to achieve real collective security the pooling of sovereign rights under certain circumstances, as the member for Essex East has indicated, may be essential. The attitude of Canada in the past has not been conducive to the strengthening of the league. As I said a few minutes ago, in my opinion our attitude in connection with the Ethiopian affair and the institution of oil sanctions was in no small measure responsible for a league weakness at that time. The Prime Minister has argued that this might have led to war. We have already discussed that possibility.

But what is of more interest to us now is what, if anything, has Canada said to the British government recently. Have we tacitly or silently endorsed the destruction of the league by the present government of Great Britain? If not, do we still adhere to the League of Nations covenant with the reservations we have made from time to time? If we do, then what is our relationship to present imperial policies? I think these questions ought to be answered in the course of this or subsequent debate. The Prime Minister of Great Britain has stated in the house that the dominions have been consulted and that to some extent recent pronouncements in regard to Czechoslovakia are in part due, it is said, to the attitude of the self-governing dominions.

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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:

Consulted, did my hon. friend say?

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

Yes, consulted.

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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:

I do not believe the Prime Minister of Great Britain has used that word. I may be wrong, but my recollec-

FMr. Cold well.]

tion is that the Prime Minister said that we had been kept informed of what had taken place. But that we had been consulted, or that any advice had been given by the government, was not, I think, suggested.

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

I think in certain press

dispatches the word " consulted " was used. I know that when I was thinking of what I was going to say I took that word " consulted " from one of the dispatches. But if the right hon. gentleman says that that is not the word that should have been used, I take it that the government has been kept informed, and if there has been any actual or implied advice with respect to that information I think we should be given to understand what that advice may have been, if any has been given.

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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:

I can assure my hon. friend right away that no advice has been asked and none has been given by the present government.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I am glad to get that assurance. The purpose of my suggesting that a statement should be made was that we might get such an assurance, and I am very glad indeed to get it.

It seems to me, then, that the world is now faced with two alternatives: Either for members of the league to go to Geneva, meet there and declare that they will join in resisting any new active aggression by whomsoever offered; or for the democratic powers to declare that they will resist any aggressive action against Czechoslovakia or any others of t'he smaller nations so threatened. These are desperate alternatives, and in the present condition of the league it is unlikely that league action will be taken or, I fear, that the democratic powers will act in unison. To my mind the best thing Canada can do is to exert all the pressure possible for the reorganization of the League of Nations and for effective security by these means.

As I said before, we should assume no responsibility for the effects of the disastrous policies of the present national government of Great Britain, and a pronouncement to that effect would, I believe, have a wholesome influence upon the people of Great Britain and would be an excellent antidote to statements made by expatriated Canadians, like Beverley Baxter, who arrogate to themselves the right tp speak for this country at Westminster. In the meantime, and until the situation is clarified, Canada should confine her defence program to such arms as would protect our ports against sporadic raids; for all military authorities and the Minister of National Defence agree, as he did the other afternoon, that

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invasion of Canada is a very remote contingency. To the extent that military and naval estimates are based on the policy I 'have outlined I think the house this year should support them, but of course they should be scrutinized closely to ensure that they are not in preparation for a war which would not be in the interests of democracy and which might even fasten the evils of to-day on the generation of to-morrow.

I have somewhat exceeded, the time I intended to take, Mr. Chairman, but I should like just to add this, that I believe all across Canada men and women are looking anxiously to this parliament to-day for a lead in relation to this problem. Fear of war is widespread. Canada is a peaceful and a peace-loving nation. We are far removed from the seat of any general hostilities that may arise. We do not desire to arm ourselves for any war of aggression. I have taken in the past an attitude that might almost be described as that of a pacifist. In the light of the conditions that face us to-day I am prepared to support that which is essential to the defence of our democratic institutions. But I want to be positively assured, before doing anything of the kind, that that is exactly what is implied by the estimates. I view with some misgiving the analysis which has been made by the hon. member for Vancouver North, in which he argues the indications are that the program is built upon the idea, which is held by many of our leading military men, that in the event of war we should be compelled to send an expeditionary force abroad. I think that idea should be dispelled completely. I am quite confident of this, that a large number of the young men of this land will refuse to bear arms in a cause in which they feel they have no interest. I have moved among many young people in the last few years, and I know that there are large numbers of them who, looking at the condition of their own fathers who fought in the great war, and seeing that nothing has come to them but disillusionment and misery, do not intend to foe drawn into such a war if they can avoid it. So, in speaking to these estimates, I simply wish to say before I sit down that in my opinion Canada, as a nation at present apart from the streams of hates and fears that bring war in other parts of the world, can, if it will, through the means of an effective league of nations and the fostering of the ideal of collective security, exercise an influence towards a greater measure of peace than, perhaps, the world has ever known.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

I fail to see how anyone can seriously disagree

with any of the fine sentiments so well expressed by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) and the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin). I am sure we all agree that nobody in Canada wants war.

I am sure we all agree that we are prepared to do anything to protect democracy. I believe there is a widespread feeling throughout the dominion that we should be prepared to make our share of the sacrifices which are necessary in case democracy is threatened.

We find, however, that we are greatly handicapped because of lack of knowledge of conditions as they are. I have wondered whether, if we were all in the position of the Prime Minister of Great Britain and knew all that he knows, we would be quite so certain as to whether he was making a mistake or not in each move that he makes. That has impressed me in discussions in the press or among people on the street. I find that whenever I am confronted with a situation about which I know practically all the details, I am often considerably at a loss to know just what to do. For me, therefore, to presume to say just what a man ought to do in a set of circumstances of the details of which I know practically nothing, is something to which I would hardly like to commit myself. Consequently, I am inclined to leave the management of Great Britain pretty much to the government which is charged with the responsibility for taking care of Great Britain's welfare. They may be wrong; they may be right. I find it sufficiently difficult for me to say just what Canada ought to do.

In the first place, with all other Canadians and, I believe, British people throughout the world, I am unalterably opposed to war. So are all social crediters. I think there is not an individual in this chamber who is not opposed to war. In order to clarify the minds of men in so far as they find themselves at all interested in the attitude of social crediters generally on the question of war, perhaps it will be well for me to make a few statements so that people within the chamber and without will know what we think and why we think it.

Major Douglas is, of course, the great leader of the movement. Consequently, his pronouncements are looked upon with considerable respect by all followers of social credit. He has advocated, consistently and earnestly, patiently and long-sufferingly, such a course of procedure as would be most likely in his opinion to prevent the people of the world from becoming involved in war. The first time I knew of social credit I read a statement wherein Major Douglas had said that unless the policies he advocated were adopted,

Supply-National Defence

the world would be inevitably plunged into war of a most devastating and universally destructive nature. He therefore urged as far back as 1923 that we change our economic system with the object in view of removing the causes of war.

He has done a great deal along this line. When he was out in Alberta in 1934, he used this potential danger of war as one of the greatest motives for our becoming interested in a new economic system. I should like to read a few short excerpts from a radio broadcast which Major Douglas delivered over the British Broadcasting Corporation system in November, 1934. In these excerpts he is not stating the causes of war; he has assumed that the causes have been neglected and that the patient is about to come down with the disease. He is telling us what to do about it. That is about the situation with us. We have not taken precautionary measures, whether we foresaw the danger or whether we lid not. We are about to come down with the malady, and the question is, What to do about it all?

Major Douglas, says, first:

I have no interest, direct or indirect, in the armaments industry, but I am fairly familiar with big business, and I do not believe that the bribery and corruption, of which we have heard so much in connection with armaments, are any worse in that trade than in many others.

That is a significant statement, considering one of the great motives which have been heralded far and wide and laboured throughout the country, bearing upon the question of war.

Again he says this, and here he sets forth, by implication at least, the causes of war which he has laboured to remove:

So long as we are prepared to agree, firstly, that the removal of industrial unemployment is the primary object of statesmanship, and secondly, that the capture of foreign markets is the shortest path to the attainment of this objective, we have the primary economic irritant to military war always with us; and moreover, we have it in an accelerating rate of growth, because production is expanding through the use of power machinery, and undeveloped markets into which surplus can be poured are contracting.

That, I fancy, is perhaps the most significant remark we shall hear this day. At another place he says:

In the first place, I believe it to be, while the present financial system persists, merely sentimental to suppose that a weak nation, particularly if it be also a rich nation, is a factor making for peace. Quite the contrary. It is as sensible as if it had paper walls.

That sets forth, as well as it could be stated, my own attitude on the question of defence for Canada. I have always felt that

[Mr. Blackmore.l

if you wish to be free from war, it is a good thing either to be strong enough yourself or to be a member of a combination which is strong enough to make an attack on any of its members exceedingly dangerous.

A similar idea was advanced by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar when he advocated collective security. I am an ardent advocate of collective security, but I wish I knew with whom to " collect." And when I am " collected " with them, I should like to know exactly who would call on me to act, and upon what provocation; what kind of response he would expect me to make when he called upon me; where and when he would like me to make it, and a wide variety of other details.

Topic:   I, 1938
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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:

And what the others would themselves be prepared to do.

Topic:   I, 1938
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April 1, 1938