May 24, 1938

CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Well, if that is

all, then we agree; but I certainly thought the Prime Minister meant something more than that. In this connection I think he meant more than that. I am quite sure that what is in the back of his mind is more than that.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am not reflecting on the Prime Minister, and hon. members need not take me up in that way. My point is that the Prime Minister is constantly taking the position that we, a com-

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paratively small nation, must take a back seat with regard to the affairs of the empire and in the league at Geneva.

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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:

No; my hon. friend is quite wrong; I will tell him what is in the back of my mind. What is in the back of my mind is what I read in the dispatches I receive from day to day, sometimes many in a day, all of which emphasize over and over again the extraordinary and exceptionally critical nature of the European situation. That is what is in the back of my mind when I suggest to hon. members to be very guarded in what they say, lest the word spoken here may carry a very different or unfortunate interpretation in other parts of the world.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I quite appreciate

the position taken by the Prime Minister in that regard, but I should like to emphasize what is in the back of my mind.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

There is nothing.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Well, there may

be nothing, though in that case it would be hard to express it. I do urge that if the leader of the opposition is correct-and I think he is-that if Great Britain is at war Canada is automatically at war, whether or not we participate actively, then we ought, as a more or less autonomous nation and having in our population an intelligent people-

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Not

more or less, but autonomous.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Autonomous, if you like, and with a population of intelligent people. Under these circumstances we ought to be able to discuss these affairs that concern the welfare of the empire and have some part in them, at least so long as we remain a part of the empire. I do not think we can be both in and out of it; that is what I want to emphasize to-night. But as matters stand we do not quite know where we are.

So far, external affairs and military defence have been very closely related. The time may come when they will be entirely separate, when external affairs will not involve military defence; but to-day they are inextricably involved. I regret that we had the defence estimates introduced this year before we had the discussion on foreign affairs. It seems to me the proper order was reversed, and already we have had to some extent a discussion of external affairs. I will refer to some of the debates of the last few weeks. The hon.. member for Beauharnois-Laprairie (Mr. Raymond) says that he will vote for the defence estimates on two grounds. In fMr. Woodsworth.]

the first place they are $2,000,000 less than those of last year though they are still $34,000,000. I have some sympathy with him so far as that is concerned, and choosing the lesser of two evils I should have to vote with him for the smaller estimate. He refers to the Prime Minister's stand at the imperial conference and feels confidence in voting defence supply. I wish I could be so reassured. It may be true that, as the Prime Minister has said, we are under no very definite commitments; yet I can hardly help thinking that the very close relationships which exist between our departments and the British departments must almost inevitably involve us in certain responsibilities.

Take the matter of war munitions. We are now making preparations, I understand, for our Canadian factories to ship large quantities of munitions to Great Britain. It is being quietly assumed that Canada is to become an arsenal for Great Britain. That is a very important question of foreign policy, which was not touched on by the Prime Minister and has not been considered by this house. Before long we shall have vested interests at work on the side of war; Great Britain will be looking to us to carry out certain obligations. Again, I have no definite idea why all this gold is being shipped here. I can conceive that probably credits will be needed in this country. Through these international arrangements, whether we like it or not, we are already taking on obligations. Hence it does not mean a great deal that the Prime Minister of Canada says that Canada has no definite commitments. The people of this country and parliament should know definitely where we stand in regard to these matters.

Consider the statement made by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie). The Globe and Mail's summary of his speech was, "Canada must stand with Britain." I ask him, is that a fair summary of his speech? He was speaking not for himself but for the government. It is a catchy slogan. But one might ask, which Britain must Canada stand with-the Britain of Chamberlain, the Britain of Eden or the Britain of the Labour party? They represent three very different types of thought in Great Britain to-day. "Canada stands with Great Britain." Has Canada no opinion of her own? We ought to know that. Otherwise it is a case, as in the last war, of "Ready aye, ready." Is that the position at which we have arrived? Has the Liberal government taken that stand? If it has not, I would like the Liberal government to say so.

Foreign Policy

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

My bon. friend is wrong in his history. "Ready, aye, ready" arose in 1923, in connection with the Chanak incident.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I believe that is

correct.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

And the government of the day was not "ready, aye, ready."

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

That is quite true. But I say, have we reached to that point? Is that to be our policy? Let me instance another reaction to the statement of the government's policy, an editorial in the Montreal Daily Star of March 25. The article stated that we had had a formal statement of government policy, and says:

It officially recognized several definite facts which the isolationists, the purblind pacifists and the whole fat-headed fraternity of confused thinkers commonly refuse to recognize ... it is only fair to recognize the political courage of the ministry of Mr. Mackenzie King in going as far, as fast and as steadily as it is.

So apparently the Prime Minister and French Canada are no longer isolationists, but we are going as far and as fast as we can in the imperial direction. That is apparently the view of the Star, founded upon what was said here a few weeks ago. The same issue of the Star quotes Earl Baldwin:

Our frontier no longer is at the cliffs of Dover, but at the Rhine.

I would ask, Where is Canada's frontier? Is it the Atlantic or the Pacific, or is our frontier going to the cliffs of Dover, or some other external point? Is it going to be outside of our own geographical boundaries? When I study the details of our defence estimates I have to ask myself that question: Are our frontiers to be the Atlantic and the Pacific, or are we preparing, if occasion arises, again to send troops overseas? After listening carefully to what the Prime Minister said this afternoon, I confess I am still at a loss to know just what our foreign policy is.

I read again a few weeks ago that lengthy speech which the Prime Minister made last year. I shall refer to it, if briefly, rather than to to-day's because I have not the copy of to-day's speech at hand. In truth I do not see that there is any great difference in the point of view expressed this year and last year.

The Prime Minister referred to our obligations under the League of Nations, and spoke of the failure of the league. Referring to the pact of Paris, he said that the nations which were parties to that instrument agreed from that time on to renounce war as an instrument of national policy. He considered that

our relationship to the league had become a liability rather than anything else. He took the position that certain nations put no faith in contracts. "Some nations avowedly are placing their confidence in might, not in right; in force, not in reason." He then stated, as he repeated to-day, that economic sanctions would inevitably lead to military sanctions. He spoke of the league in these words:

But a league which in the light of the developments of the last few _ years continues to place its reliance on force is going to be a very different institution from that which most of us have conceived the league of nations to be.

If I understand those statements aright, the Prime Minister has come to the rather curious conclusion that since it is wrong for the league to use force it is right for the individual nation to use force. He has apparently come to the conclusion that since some nations have failed to live up to their obligations we should follow suit. I recall a passage in the book of Psalms commending the man that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. I agree with the leader of the opposition when he deprecates the way in which Canada, with other nations, has regarded her obligations so lightly. The Prime Minister I think would take this position; that since, according to Doctor Dafoe, whose words he quotes but whose advice he does not follow, we are back to a conception that excludes all considerations of morality in international relationships, we should, to use the Prime Minister's own words, take cognizance of our obligations in the light of the world situation as it is today. I confess that smacks very much of the words which were used recently by Lord Halifax in rejecting the appeal of the former Emperor Haile Selassie who came to make a last plea that the nations would honour their obligations. In that connection I noticed a remarkable statement in the Winnipeg Free Press. I have not been able to get away from the set-up of this page: Death knell of a nation.

"May God forgive them."

The garden of Gethsemane could not have been more bleak and forbidding than was the council chamber of the League of Nations yesterday when a cold and hostile "family of nations" rejected the last, cogent appeal of a fellow member for consideration at the bar of international justice-an appeal that the nations of the world keep alight the torch of collective security by withholding provision for the honourable recognition of the most dishonourable act of aggression in modern times. But the nations, with two notable exceptions-New Zealand and China turned their backs on the pathetic, despairing figure of Emperor Haile Selassie of ravaged Ethiopia, too ill himself to deliver his speech but seated

Foreign Policy

there in silent solemnity in the very place once occupied by Italy-and instead they cleared the way to extend the hand of good fellowship to gloating Benito Mussolini of imperial Rome.

And these were the words that were uttered before the blinded Goddess of Justice.

On the one side are set the words of Selassie, and on the other the words of Lord Halifax. At the foot of the special article appear these words from holy writ:

And He, bearing His cross, went forth into a place called the place of the skull . . . where they crucified Him.

This is one of the few times an the recent history of Canada when I have seen the public press take the stand that something like personal morality must be carried into the realm of international affairs. In that connection I am glad to say that the representative of one Pritish dominion did not agree. Mr. Jordon of New Zealand had this to say:

This is a return to the laws of the jungle.

[DOT] [DOT] * We sometimes seem to be but little different from brutes. . . . The plan is a direct denial of collective responsibilities which are a fundamental part of the league.

I do not know what part Canada took; so far that has not to my knowledge been divulged to us, but I wish I could have held up this paper to-night and said that Canada had stood out on that occasion as New Zealand did.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

There is

a good explanation. Canada is not a member of the council; New Zealand is.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Would the minister give us a statement as to what the position of Canada is and has been in that regard?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Make your speech.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am trying to make it, but I should like to know that. It would certainly help me to make my speech.

With regard to empire obligations the Prime Minister said to-day what he has said previously, that he was not in a position to bind Canada to anything; that each member of the commonwealth must decide the nature and scope of its defence policy. Yet the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) is prepared to accept the assistance of the British fleet, as was mentioned by the right hon. leader of the opposition. The minister declared:

[DOT] [DOT] [DOT] it is only fair to say that to-day the main deterrent against a major attack upon this country by a European power is the existence of the British fleet in north Atlantic waters.

. . . Just as the British navy on the Atlantic

is our greatest security in that quarter so I think it might be reasonable to assume that in a major conflagration we should have friendly fleets upon the Pacific ocean. . . . Our major defensive buffer on the Pacific coast is not the Pacific ocean alone but the existence there of friendly fleets.

Last year, when I attempted to suggest that Canada was particularly favourably situated and that we need not expect an attack because we had Great Britain on the one side and the United States on the other, who in their own interests would prevent any major nation from attacking Canada, the Prime Minister said we must not sponge. If my statement was an advocacy of sponging, I wonder what about the statement of the Minister of National Defence. The Prime Minister then said:

I submit that sponging by a nation is, in the eyes of other nations, exactly the same as it is in the case of individuals.

Yet the Prime Minister, who says that, looks to Great Britain and the United States to defend us in case of emergency. I quote his words:

While it is our good fortune to have both the United States and Great Britain as close friends ready to come and help us should we ever be the victims of aggression, let us realize that if we are to look to them for help all the more we must be prepared to lend a hand ourselves, and that certainly in the defence of our country.

I should like to know exactly what the Prime Minister means by such a statement. To-day he seemed to imply that we are at the end of our "crusading in foreign countries," as he put it. Well, if we are not going to crusade in foreign countries; if we are not going to come to the aid of Great Britain in other parts of the world, now is the time to say so. I do not think it is of any great help to Great Britain if we encourage the idea that we stand behind her, while at the same time in our own minds we have decided that we will do no more crusading in foreign countries. It is these positions that seem to me so inconsistent. On another occasion the Prime Minister said, "What we are doing we are doing for Canada alone." Are we going to help the other members of the empire if they are in a tight box, or are we prepared simply to look after Canada alone? Frankly, these statements puzzle me; I cannot reconcile them.

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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 ask my hon. friend if he can tell us in advance what the situation is going to be six months or a year hence, or even three weeks hence? How can you possibly decide what you are

Foreign Policy

going to do until you know what the situation is in which you are proposing to intervene or not to intervene?

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

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

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am not suggesting that we can tell exactly what we may do, but I think we can and should determine our general policy. In my judgment that is not clear to-day-despite the lengthy statement of the Prime Minister this afternoon and his statement a year ago. I for one confess my absolute inability to know where the government stands with regard to our obligations to the British Empire.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Are we to infer from what the hon. gentleman has said that he has changed the position he took last year, that in any event and in all events-

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May 24, 1938