March 31, 1939

SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, 1939-40


A message from His Excellency the Governor General transmitting further supplementary estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1940, was presented by Hon. Charles A. Dunning (Minister of Finance), read by Mr. Speaker to the house, and referred to the committee of supply.


PRIVATE BILLS COMMITTEE


First report of standing committee on miscellaneous private bills-Mr. McPhee.


COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT

REPORT RESPECTING MANUFACTURE AND SALE OF PAPERBOARD SHIPPING CONTAINERS AND RELATED PRODUCTS


Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour): I desire to table the report of an investigation under the Combines Investigation Act into an alleged combine in the manufacture and sale of paperboard shipping containers and related products.


EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-FOREIGN POLICY-STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE


The house resumed from Thursday, March 30, consideration of the motion of Mr. Dunning for committee of supply.


LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, the subject matter of this debate is of very great importance, and the difficulties it raises are the greater because of various conflicting views and opinions with regard to certain of its aspects. I was pleased yesterday that the keynote of the speeches which were delivered here was the imperative necessity of maintaining Canadian unity as our greatest objective. Speaking in this house at the time of the Rhineland crisis, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said on March 23, 1936, as reported at page 1333 of Hansard:

I believe that Canada's first duty to the league and to the British empire, with respect to all the great issues that come up, is, if possible, to keep this country united.

In his statement of October 29, 1935, he maintained that the foreign policies which Canada should pursue must "ensure the unity and common consent in Canada as well as the advancement of peace abroad."

Foreign Policy-

, 2465

-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

Another distinguished member of this house on the other side, my good and learned and hon. friend from St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan), speaking in the house on June 21, 1926, said at page 4770 of Hansard:

May we not reasonably hope that those who succeed us in filling the highest offices in the gifts of the people of Canada shall only undertake such inter-imperial and international responsibilities as may be undertaken with the general approval of all sections of the country, and so ensure that the action of parliament, and of the government which this parliament maintains and sustains, shall have the approval not only of a majority of the electoral constituencies throughout Canada, but also have the substantial support and cooperation of the constituencies in every important section, district or province of the dominion? I am confident, Mr. Speaker-and my sole excuse for speaking is that I feel so strongly about this matter-that it is only by restricting all our external commitments and obligations within such limits as to merit and obtain the general approval, as I said, of each and every section of Canada, that we can ever hope to have such cordial cooperation between the peoples who compose the Canadian electorate as will enable us to solve our domestic problems in such a manner and so successfully as to maintain the continued solidarity and unity of the great Canadian nation, and thereby promote for all time the peace, progress and prosperity of this country, in which we were born, in which we will die and which will be the home of our children and our children's children for all future time.

I commend those words of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George to all my colleagues and to the people of Canada. Whatever decision is reached on a question of this kind must be on the basis of putting Canada first in our national policies, as Canada should be also first in the hearts of her people. The policies of Canada must carry with them as much as possible the general support of her people. I believe that the shaping of our foreign policies is a phase of the problem of maintaining national unity.

I desire to discuss this question and to say what I have to say quite dispassionately and calmly, and, I hope, with strict impartiality. I shall not base my views on sentiment. I do not think that sentiment should be the main consideration in the discussion of a question of this kind. Reason, common sense and the interests of the country should prevail.

First let me say a word on the question of neutrality, which was discussed yesterday. There is all the difference in the world between the right to neutrality, and the exercise of that right-between the right to neutrality and a policy of neutrality. Canada, everybody knows, has gone far ahead in the march towards nationhood. She is no longer a selfgoverning colony. She is a nation in the British commonwealth. I need hardly remind

the house of the declaration of 1926 in the Balfour report:

Every self-governing member of the empire is now the master of its destiny.

And this other phrase:

Autonomous communities united by a common allegiance to the crown and freely associated as members of the British commonwealth of nations.

The crown is the bond that unites those nations. The crown is stamped on all the dominions' constitutions. It follows that the associations of the peoples of the commonwealth and their common allegiance make war between themselves impossible. The king cannot declare war upon himself. On the outbreak of such a war the commonweatlh would cease to be.

But can a dominion remain neutral in a war in which the other members of the commonwealth are engaged? The question has not been definitely settled, and opinions vary as to its solution. By far the larger number of authorities are to the effect that a dominion could not be neutral. Of course it could, because a dominion can do anything it likes now; but doing so would mean secession from the commonwealth. The weight of the authorities is on that line, and this is based on the doctrine of the indivisibility of the crown. But I must say that there are conflicting views. There are some constitutional authors and writers who state that the crown under the present circumstances is divisible. That view is entertained more particularly in South Africa and in the Irish Free State, and a certain official sanction was given to that view when the Irish Free State appointed a minister to Italy, with the recognition of Ethiopia as an empire under the king of Italy. Britain and the other dominions had refused to do so, and the Irish Free State minister was presented with his credentials to the king of Italy and as emperor of Ethiopia in the name of His Britannic Majesty; but only for the Irish Free State. This shows that the report of the constitutional committee of 1926 was right when it said that the commonwealth of British nations defies classification and is altogether different from any political organization which has ever existed. The main thing is that it has existed as such, and will continue to exist; and that after all is a sign of life.

It was rightly stated yesterday that recognition by foreign governments in a case of this kind is of the utmost importance, and, as far as I can ascertain, the opinion of all foreign authorities and foreign governments is to the effect that a dominion cannot be

2466 COMMONS

Foreign Policy-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

neutral when Britain is engaged in- a war. Foreigners say, in a pretty illustrative phrase, that the dominions "cannot have it both ways." Certain writers assimilate the situation of a dominion with regard to Britain to that of a personal union similar to that of Britain and Hanover at a certain time. My late distinguished friend, Mr. John S. Ewart, was of that opinion, and I remember having discussed that matter with him on a few occasions. It must be remembered, however, that no subject in the United Kingdom could owe allegiance or give obedience to the elector of Hanover as such; his allegiance attached only to the king of England. While British subjects in Canada possess British nationality and owe allegiance to the king, I do not think that the relations between the citizens of England and those of Hanover could very well be compared, under all the circumstances, to the relations between the citizens of Canada and the commonwealth and those of Great Britain.

The statute of Westminster never purported to dissolve -the bond between the nations of the commonwealth. Indeed, it was intended to strengthen and maintain that bond, which is the principle of unity. I have elaborated on many occasions in this house the view that the statute of Westminster, instead of being an agency of division, is an agency for unity,-unity in liberty,-without which no British nation can exist and progress.

For the purpose of reference, and rather to show what the views of others are, may I quote one extract from Keith, perhaps the leading authority on the question, in a recent book, The King and the Imperial Crown. At page 445 Professor Keith says:

Two questions, of course, arise on this theory. Is the right of neutrality possible under the constitution of the empire? Would a declaration of neutrality entitle the Union (of South Africa) to neutral rights at the hands of other powers? To the first question the only answer is that the preponderant weight of empire opinion denies the right of neutrality. It would insist on the tie of common allegiance to the crown and the voluntary association in the British commonwealth, together with the agreement to exchange information on foreign affairs, as negativing the right to remain neutral. It would stress the fact that Hanover and Britain were held by quite different titles, and that there was no common allegiance to the king. It is true that Hanoverians were deemed British subjects, but not vice versa, and the source of allegiance was quite different; moreover allegiance terminated on the accession of a female sovereign to the British crown and was always precarious.

To the second question there is available a very definite answer. The rights of neutrality can be claimed only by a power which is able and willing to perform the duties of a neutral.

IMr. E. Lapointe.l

Professor Corbett, of McGill university, in an address broadcast over the radio a few weeks ago, admitted frankly that for Canada to stand netural in a specific crisis might mean the end of our membership in the commonwealth; and he is willing to take that risk. But are most Canadians willing to take it? Let me give a few considerations which have weight on this matter.

We have, though it is of our own free will, kept the amending of our constitution in the hands of the Westminster parliament. We have not done away with appeals to the judicial committee of the privy council. I cannot say that two parliaments are quite sovereign and equal the one to the other when one of them has to go to the other to enact its most important legislation, that which relates to its own power of legislating. The same applies to the judicial appeals to the privy council. I myself have always been in favour of Canada's amending its own constitution when it sees fit. I have always been in favour, also, of having in Canada the last court of appeal for Canadian decisions. But many people in Canada are inclined the other way; and may I say that in my own province those who are most eager to declare that we would have nothing to do with any war of Britain or of the commonwealth are those who refuse peremptorily to have the right to amend their own constitution or to abolish appeals to the privy council. Surely the concept of neutrality is linked with that of a sovereign state. It is contrary to international principles to recognize the possibility of one country being neutral and another a belligerent when they are not separate sovereignties and when one is linked with the other in respect of its own power of legislation. Of course this could be changed, but it has not been changed, and I hope that some people in my province who are so peremptory in their declaration of views on the present question will help me in the future in doing away with those two things which they themselves want to keep.

We have a common national status. A British subject in Canada is a British subject in Britain. We have the use of the diplomatic and consular functions of Britain. Our criminal code would preclude, in many sections of it, any notion of neutrality. Many sections are based on the principle that Canada is engaged in a conflict when Britain is so engaged. The Foreign Enlistment Act of the United Kingdom which was in force in Canada until 1937, made it an offence to enlist Canadians for service in armies of countries at war with the king. We enacted similar legislation in Canada two years ago. In a case of neutrality

Foreign Policy-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

this would have to be changed. We could not make it an offence to enlist in the armies of other countries while Canadians could enlist in the armies of Britain.

The British preference would be another obstacle. It is a family arrangement, and if we were no longer a member of the family I do not see how foreign countries could accept a continuance of the preference.

Then, Mr. Speaker, there is the matter of shipping legislation. If Canada was neutral the entire British merchant marine could shift its registration to Canadian ports, which would be inconsistent with the concept of neutrality.

Of course, all this could be removed by the parliament of Canada if we wanted to be neutral. But would Canadians desire it? Would it be in the interests of Canada to do it? A declaration of neutrality would make it necessary to close Canadian ports to all armed vessels, including armed merchantmen. Well, the citizens of Quebec would have to close the port of Quebec to the Empress oj Britain if she carries guns during a war, and even fight her if she wanted to come in against their will.

A declaration of neutrality would make it necessary to take control of all communications which might be used for war purposes, to forbid enlistment on Canadian soil and the raising of money for war relief, and all loans to belligerents. Would Canadians be willing to do that? That is the realistic rather than the legalistic side of the question. Would they be willing to protect their neutrality even against British vessels and British sailors and practically wage war against their own king? And if they do not do that, how can they have their neutrality recognized by the enemy? This might not happen in a war which would be limited and circumscribed to a distant territory, but in any of the wars which are possible and are looming up on the horizon just now it would, of course, be unavoidable.

There is more than that. We are bound by contract with Britain to give Britain the full use of the dry docks at Halifax and Esquimalt for British vessels. These dry docks were the property of the imperial government, and when, during the time of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, in 1907, I believe, they were transferred to Canadian control, a contract was entered into by the two governments-a contract that still exists. May I read one clause of it:

The dominion government will arrange for the storing of coal or other fuel at Halifax in a suitable manner for the use of his majesty's ships and will allow their local representatives to take charge of it, the necessary arrangements being settled as occasion requires by the Admiralty and the dominion government. . . .

And so on. Of course, there again we could put an end to that contract. Would

Canadians be willing to do that? And if we did not, during a war in which we claimed neutrality, British vessels and British soldiers would come to Halifax or Esquimalt and it would be the duty of Canadians there to prevent their coming and to intern them if they came. Even if some people in some part of Canada would like to do that, do you think the citizens of Halifax and Esquimalt would fight against British sailors and intern British vessels?

This question has to be considered in the light of all the conditions that exist. Could the dominion make a treaty with a country at war with the king? Moreover, in international law, neutrality depends partly, as in practice it depends essentially, upon its recognition by belligerents; and surely a state at war with Britain would recognize the neutrality of one of the king's dominions only if it suited its interest to do so. In the present attitude and temper of dictatorial states, considerations of mere constitutional power will not count much in their decisions. Only their interest as they see it will govern.

Perhaps I might give the definition of neutrality as laid down by Oppenheim, a leading author on international law:

Neutrality may be defined as the attitude of impartiality adopted by a third state towards belligerents and recognized by belligerents, such attitude creating rights and duties between the impartial state and the belligerents.

Can such an attitude of impartiality be possible in Canada during a war in our present international situation? A neutral state, as I said, would have to intern British troops or war vessels. I ask any one of my fellow countrymen whether they believe seriously that this could be done without a civil war in Canada. A neutral state would have to possess forces sufficient to deter any belligerent power from violating these neutrality rights, which Canada would have to uphold even against Britain if it were neutral.

It is clear that under the circumstances the right itself is meaningless. There is only the policy of neutrality, which would be rather a hazardous policy, hardly compatible with the national situation of Canada.

I have sympathy, I must admit, with the bill of my good friend the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Thorson), that if Canada takes part in a war the government of Canada should itself declare accordingly. Anyway, it will be for parliament to decide what part Canada should have in the war. The present situation, I confess, is perhaps not satisfactory. It is one of the problems that remain to be

2468 COMMONS

Foreign Policy-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

solved and it will be solved as all the other problems of the commonwealth have been solved.

I read in the Magazine Digest of January, 1939, a translation of an article that appeared in the great newspaper Candide of Paris, by one of the ministers of Austria under the former Chancellor von Schuschnigg, a confidante of Schuschnigg, who gave details of a conversation that took place between the former chancellor and Herr Hitler at the famous interview at Berchtesgaden before the invasion of Austria. May I be permitted to quote these words, which appear at page 64:

Hitler spoke plainly of the danger and the eventuality of a European war. He sketched briefly the external situation of the Reich and that of the other European states. The British empire, in his opinion, is a colossus with clay feet. The dominions would not take part in an empire war. The break-up of the empire is not only possible, but extremely likely, should war come.

I have said that this problem, this last problem, would be solved. May I say to the world that it will be solved in such a way that the British commonwealth of nations will resist all attempts to break it; and if any dictator in the world has made up his mind that the British commonwealth is going to be disrupted he is basing his future projects on utter fallacy.

No text of law, no resolution, could stand before public opinion. What really counts is the attitude that Canada would adopt in the event of war, legislation or no legislation. Could Canadians in one section of the country compel other Canadians to remain neutral and take the necessary steps to protect their neutrality even against Britain?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has been criticized in some newspapers for his statement that if London were bombarded he had no doubt what the decision of Canada would be. Well, was he not right? I have been a long time in parliament; I have gone through all sorts of experiences, and I think there are not many who know the mentality and feelings of their fellow citizens in all sections of Canada better than I do. Those writers do not know the situation if they think that in such circumstances there would not be in Canada immediately a wave of public sentiment which would force any government to intervene. What is the use of closing our eyes to stern realities? I am willing to go to every town in my own province and ask if there is one of my fellow countrymen who would deny the soundness of this conclusion.

Now may I also appeal to my fellow citizens of the other provinces and ask them to understand the feelings, the mentality, the views of the French Canadians of Quebec?

Their mind is altogether different. They have only one country, one home. None of them would say that he is " going home " when he leaves Canada. It requires exceptional power of self-discipline and restraint to tolerate and understand those who are different in mind and heart from ourselves.' Magnanimity in politics is always the truest wisdom, and a great nation and little minds go ill together. Mr. E. J. Tarr, K.C., of Winnipeg, in an address on Canada some time ago, said-I will not say he is right, but there is something in it-

The loyalty of French Canadians is concentrated too narrowly, and that of many English Canadians is spread too broadly.

But if it is so, can we not be tolerant of the views entertained by our fellow Canadians of the other sections of Canada? Their mentality is different. You would never find a French Canadian of Quebec who would have the idea at any time that at the close of his life he would go abroad to end his days. I do not blame my fellow Canadians who do that, but I mention it just to exemplify the difference of mentality and of view.

In a recent book, Professor F. R. Scott writes that the relation between the French and English Canadians will prove of paramount importance in the attempt to secure unity of purpose. He says that either the two major races must cooperate in solving national problems, or they will not be solved at all.

Now I am going to touch a subject which is a delicate one. The French Canadians will never agree that any government has the right to force them to military service on the other side of the ocean. In 1917 that was my view, and I have never altered it. I believe that conscription in 1917 was a blunder of frightful magnitude, and that we are still reaping the sad and sorry results of that ill-conceived policy. I was pleased that my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) said yesterday, what I have myself learned, that the results did not in any way justify the taking of the risk; because in the end very few conscripts ever saw the front lines during the war. All should be reconciled to the doctrine which I have just expounded. The best way, the most effective way of helping is not the way that would divide our country and tear it asunder.

We are not alone in that view. Australia has always been against conscription, South Africa will never have conscription, Ireland would never have conscription. I think I am true to my concept of Canadian unity when I say that I shall always fight against this policy; I would not be a member of a government that would enact it; and not only that,

Foreign Policy-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

but I say with all my responsibility to the people of Canada that I would oppose any government that would enforce it. I agree with what was said yesterday by the leader of the opposition and the Prime Minister, and what was said by Mr. Bruce of Australia, that the time for expeditionary forces overseas is certainly past, and it would not be the most effective way to help our allies. The men would be needed here; and in any event it is parliament which will decide about it.

I am sorry to observe that my time has expired-[DOT]

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

The last part of my remarks relates to what is the interest of Canada to-day. Realities have to be faced. The ostrich policy of refusing to face dangers will not keep them away. Indeed, a deliberate policy of drift may involve a greater risk. The folly of mistaking shams for reality has been written large in the tragic history of many unfortunate countries. Canada is part of the world, and this planet unfortunately cannot be considered to-day as an earthly paradise inhabited only by benevolent and rational beings of an altruistic turn of mind. It is not an oasis rich in natural resources used only to benefit mankind but never to excite the covetousness of predatory powers. The seven thousand mile flight from Egypt to Australia of three British service bombers is fresh in the memory of everyone. It is quite evident that Canada is now well within the possible sphere of action of any military power of the first rank, should that power deem the action worth while. In this troubled period of history Canadians cannot be mere spectators; they are vitally interested in the outcome of the tragedies enacted before their very eyes. Much of the bloodshed and misery that history records has been the direct result of honest, idealistic but impractical wishful thinking. There is no reason on earth why pious aspirations, unsupported by anything more substantial, should be more effective protection for us than they proved to be for Abyssinia or China; and we must remember that even the excellent Czech army proved inadequate when left without support. So I say this, and I want my colleagues to hear and understand me: if there is one chance in a thousand that what our experts say could happen may occur, I should be a traitor to Canada, to my own people, if I would not help to provide against it.

I wish the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) were here; I would give him this review, La Paix par le Droit, the great pacifist magazine, in which

one of the greatest pacifists of the world, M. Marcel A. Bloch, of the Institute of Paris, gives his reasons why, pacifist though he is, he thinks the countries which do not want war must necessarily be equal in power to those that want war if there is to be a possible solution of the present difficulty. We cannot lull ourselves into a false security simply by making fine speeches, uttering great sentiments on the beauty of having no military expenditures, and being strong for peace. No one, I think, has worked for peace more than I have during most of my lifetime. May I quote what President Roosevelt stated in his message to congress when it opened last January:

For if any government bristling with implements of war insists on policies of force, weapons of defence give the only safety.

And he added:

Since 1931 world events of thunderous import have moved with lightning speed. During these eight years many of our people clung to the hope that the innate decency of mankind would protect the unprepared who showed their innate trust in mankind. To-day we are all wiser-and sadder.

In the present world situation the choice in matters of foreign policy is not betweei what is good and what is bad; the choice is between what we ourselves consider bac and what would be mightily worse if we took the other alternative. The real issue in Canada is security, even world security; because we cannot expect to be an oasis surrounded by troubles and disasters which we alone could escape. Who could predict how a victorious totalitarian power would deal with Canada? We are increasing our armaments, as the United States are increasing theirs, not to make war but to restrain aggressors from waging war on us. We have given our support to the League of Nations. Since the league apparently has become impotent, we are convinced, like other democratic and peaceful countries, that the most satisfactory way to keep out of war is to do our bit to ensure that no great war takes place. If Canada were neutral, if Canada were independent, it would need security; it would need greater means of defence, and that is what some people seem to forget. Canada would need alliances, more particularly with England and the United States; but if Canada has to rely on allies the natural result must be that these allies would have to rely also on Canada.

How can anyone say that to us the British commonwealth is an entanglement? In the first place there is no conceivable alliance that we could make that would protect us against the United States if that country

2470 COMMONS

Foreign Policy-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

decided upon a policy of aggression. Therefore one of the keystones of our policy must be the maintenance of friendship with the United States. But we should take reasonable measures, within our means, to protect ourselves from possible attack, at least while we are waiting for outside help; we must have some means of helping ourselves. It is true that the United States is interested in resisting any invasion of Canada, in the same way that England is interested in resisting any invasion of the coast of France, Belgium or Holland. But Canada, like France, like Belgium, like Holland, has to protect herself, to help in her own defence. And do not make any mistake about it; in case of a war in which an enemy country came to attack the United States, cooperation from Canada would be vital, and would be demanded if it were not offered. Officers of the United States air force are said to be concerned about the Canadian attitude in regard to defence in the event of an enemy attempting to enter the United States through Canada. So it is urgent in the interests of Canada that there should be a full understanding between Britain and the United States, and cooperation in coastal defence on the Pacific. But again I say, is not the British sea power an asset to be preserved in our own sacred Canadian interests?

We have to consider the situation as it is, and to cooperate with those in whom we trust, for the security of our territory and the preservation of our resources. I do not understand the mentality of those who think Canada should be neutral and who at the same time oppose military expenditure. Neutral countries are the most heavily armed and protected. The military laws of Holland and Switzerland are considered the most rigid among those of all nations. South Africa, which is a dominion in perhaps somewhat the same circumstances as Canada, is increasing its defences tremendously, much more than we are doing. Two or three weeeks ago I read the speech from the throne delivered at the opening of the parliament of South Africa, in which reference was made to the heavy increase in armaments for that country. The same applies to the Irish Free State. I have here a copy of-I cannot pronounce the name as well as my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion)- Diospoireachtai Pairliminte, which is the Hansard of the parliament of the Irish Free State, for February 16, 1939, in which I find that Mr. Dillon asked Mr. de Valera-

Did I understand the Prime Minister correctly when I believe him to have said that

if we continue to send foodstuffs to Great Britain in time of war it would be folly to pretend that we can maintain our neutrality?

To this Mr. de Valera replied:

I fear it would be so-

And mark these words:

The truth is, of course, that in a modern war there is no neutrality.

I should like to read some other quotations from Mr. de Valera, at page 719 of this volume:

Remember, however that the maintenance of neutrality is most difficult of all, and perhaps the most costly of all, because, in trying to maintain a neutral position, you have to try to envisage an attack from any quarter. If you are going to take the side of one of them -I am talking now from the point of view of expense in equipment-your problem would be easier from the point of view of envisaging the possibilities, the part you were to play would be limited, and, possibly, the expense you would have to incur would be less. It is precisely because we are not committed, and do not want to be committed, to war of that sort that we have to make the provisions we are making.

The provisions in that case were greater in proportion than the provisions which are to be made by Canada. In conclusion I should like to read part of an editorial which appeared in a great Roman Catholic newspaper published in Quebec city, L'Action Catholique. It was written by the late chief editor of this paper, Jules Dorion, who died only a week or so ago. He was a great journalist, independent in mind. He was not a supporter of this government, nor was he, as far as I know, a supporter of the party opposite. He was a great patriot and a high-minded gentleman. I consider these words of his as his last words to his fellow countrymen who are facing the issue we have to face to-day. I shall read this in French so that it will be more readily understandable to those who speak my language. The editorial appeared in the January 21 edition of L'Action Catholique, and it reads:

(Translation)

Our country is developing and growing: that is in the natural order of events.

That we should seek to determine its exact standing, to ascertain whether it is out of its leading-strings and free to direct its own destinies: nothing is more natural.

But, in this matter as in all others, we should come out of the clouds and cease dwelling in abstractions.

We are the masters of our own destinies. Agreed. But that does not obliterate the fact that we have a neighbour to the south, icebound solitudes to the north and, to the east and west, much travelled oceans beyond which dwell populous and active nations with which we cannot avoid having relations-with which we have to deal, to negotiate, to agree or to fight.

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Foreign Policy-Mr. Lawson This is a reality which we cannot ignore without exposing ourselves to a terrible awakening. We are our own masters. Agreed. But that does not prevent us from asking ourselves what are to be our relations with England, to wonder whether we can do without her or whether it would not be better for us to remain associated with her. Canada has become a nation. We must, however, recognize the fact that a nation has other obligations, other duties and other cares than a colony has, and place ourselves in a position to meet them. We must remember that nations evolve and are sometimes faced with situations not of their own making. We must understand that the shores of Asia are not sufficiently remote to justify us in showing no interest in the tremendous game which is being played there, and whose repercussions may come home to us, perhaps sooner than we think. Since we claim to be serious citizens, let us not look upon political developments in our country as mere objects of curiosity or amusement; let us rather seek to understand them and form sound and intelligent opinions about them. Let us direct our thoughts in this domain to higher levels than petty patronage or post office matters; and the interval between the sessions of 1939 will have been usefully employed. Jules Dorion. (Text) I commend these words of one who has gone to -those who, regarding themselves as having been his associates, his friends and his allies, in the face of the difficulties we have to face to-day are intent upon passing judgment on those who have the responsibility of arriving at decisions in this matter. Another word and I shall take my seat. One respectable newspaper-I never look at the little sheets which no decent Canadian would even read-has said that I seem to have modified my attitude on this great question. I challenge the writer of that dispatch, I challenge any newspaper, I challenge anyone in Canada to find in any of my statements or declarations, either during the late war or since, anything which is inconsistent with the position I am taking to-day. If anyone can find one word or one statement, then he will be entitled to criticize me. No, I have always been consistent: I am taking to-day the attitude which I have always taken. Since the war I have consistently tried to impress upon my fellow Canadians the necessity of the League of Nations and other institutions of peace. I have always told them that the only way to avoid war is t-o make it impossible, because in the present circumstances throughout the world a conflagration originating anywhere cannot fail to spread and to bring upon us considerable disaster. I have worked for peace when those who criticized me were hostile or indifferent. I shall continue to work for peace, and I contend that I am working for peace when I try to protect 71492-156 my own country. We should be ready to show the world upon which side this country stands in the international fight for freedom and liberty. I shall continue to try to impress upon my fellow countrymen the necessity of working for peace. I shall continue to try to see that our great country has those opportunities for development which she must have to fulfil her great destiny. I hope that in the future those who are criticizing to-day will help me a little more in my efforts to work for peace.


CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. J. E. LAWSON (York South):

Mr. Speaker, with much of what the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said in his speech delivered to the house yesterday I agree. As I listened intently to his very carefully prepared statement of Canada's foreign policy, there was borne in upon me at one stage of his address the realization that he made no distinction between that degree of responsibility which Canada has to the empire-no distinction between our foreign policy with respect to the British empire-and the policy we have or should have as a member of the League of Nations as applied to any other member of that league. For me that is the parting of our ways so far as foreign policy is concerned. At the outset I state my disagreement in that regard; I shall finish with the same theme after I have travelled the road of reasoning which leads to my conclusions.

The Prime Minister outlined adequately and well the history of disarmament by the democratic nations and rearmament by the dictatorships. I suggest that out of that policy of disarmament there grew up in this country, and indeed in many other countries, a spirit of pacifism which in a large measure is responsible for the position in which the democracies find themselves to-day.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-FOREIGN POLICY-STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   SI, 1939
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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 did not say

anything about disarmament.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-FOREIGN POLICY-STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   SI, 1939
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CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon. I thought it was the Prime Minister.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-FOREIGN POLICY-STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   SI, 1939
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It was the

Leader of the Opposition.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-FOREIGN POLICY-STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   SI, 1939
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CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

Very well. I am not going to speak of disarmament. But I should like to make it clear when I speak of the spirit of pacifism that I distinguish clearly between those who have the spirit of peace, and those who have the spirit of pacifism. By peace I mean the spirit which was so eloquently enunciated this afternoon by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe). By pacifism I mean the spirit of those who believe and have advocated that the greatest security for peace

Foreign Policy-Mr. Lawson

under all conditions in this world is to have no arms, no means of defence, to be helpless and useless in the face of an aggressor. Unfortunately pacifism is no factor in the consideration of a dictator. But the spirit of pacifism grew in this country until it permeated into our private and public schools, and we had the abandonment of cadet corps. Though the crises of the past year have changed that attitude of mind or that spirit of pacifism in this country, we still find it prevalent, and one very strong evidence of it, I suggest, was the speech made in this house yesterday by our youngest member, the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Pelletier), when he accused Prime Minister Chamberlain of playing with the people's emotions to gain support for an armament program. In that speech, sir, he utterly failed to realize the threat to peace-loving nations which the dictators of this world constitute.

I must confess that I have sometimes been weary of the talk I have listened to from the pacifists. None is more ready in support of his argument to call upon British freedom and British principles. I would find it extremely refreshing to hear a declaration occasionally from some of them that instead of standing for British freedom and British principles they were willing to stand, at least once in a while, for the empire which gave them that freedom, and which established and maintained those British principles.

I was very happy this afternoon to find myself in agreement with the Minister of Justice in his declarations as to the neutrality of Canada. That may not make him particularly happy. I may tell him that only my Scotch caution restrains me from saying that I found myself in agreement with a great many other things that he said this afternoon. To me neutrality, from a practical point of view, is simply an utter impossibility for the Dominion of Canada so long as we hope to remain part and parcel of the British empire. The primary duty of any neutral nation is to maintain strict impartiality in respect to belligerent nations. The leader of the opposition last evening cited some of the instances that might arise, and the Minister of Justice gave others this afternoon.

Is it realized that if we declared neutrality we could not allow goods or munitions or supplies from Australia, we will say, to pass through Canada in order to reach the United Kingdom if the United Kingdom were at war? Our obligation would be to seize those supplies and to retain them in Canada. Is it possible that such procedure can represent the thought of Canadians? Again, it would not be possible for us, if we declared neutrality, to permit troops going from one part of the empire to

another to pass through Canada, because our obligation would be to seize, arrest and intern them, and to keep them in internment camps for the duration of the war. To me it is inconceivable that we should seize empire troops passing through Canada and place them in internment camps for the remainder of the war.

We could not allow, if we attempted neutrality, any single act of war, such as the seizure and capture of any vessel within the territorial waters of Canada. If the United Kingdom were at war and a British ship attacked an enemy ship within the territorial waters of Canada, can you imagine the Canadian navy being sent out to fight that British ship, and to capture both ships, bring them into a Canadian port and intern them for the duration of the war? Let me assume that a British ship under attack by a superior force were seeking succour and put into the harbour of Halifax or Saint John. Our obligation, if Canada attempted neutrality, would be to seize that ship, and to seize those British sailors, and to intern them in Canada for the duration of the war.

No, Mr. Speaker, I submit that neutrality is an utter impossibility for the Dominion of Canada. How much respect, I ask, -would the other nations of the world have for the senior dominion of the British empire if we attempted to declare neutrality when the United Kingdom was at war? The Prime Minister in his speech yesterday made it very clear that in the event of an aggressor attacking the United States, Canada would not be neutral but would be a participant for the purpose of preventing any attacking force from passing through our country. I refer to the remarks of the Prime Minister at page 2420 of Hansard, where he said:

We, too, have our obligations as a good friendly neighbour, and one of them is to see that, at our own instance, our country is made as immune from attack or possible invasion as we can reasonably be expected to make it, and that, should the occasion ever arise, enemy forces should not be able to pursue their way, either by land, sea or air to the United States, across Canadian territory.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-FOREIGN POLICY-STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   SI, 1939
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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:

That is protecting our own neutrality. That would be necessary in the event of a war between another nation and the United States, that we were not in.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-FOREIGN POLICY-STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   SI, 1939
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CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

Right. Would anyone suggest that Canada's attitude when the United Kingdom was at war should be less impartial than the attitude it would have to take to maintain neutrality if the United States were at war? No, Mr. Speaker, I think we might as well fairly and frankly face the fact that

Foreign Policy-Mr. Lawson

a great truth was stated in. this parliament many years ago, that when Great Britain is at war Canada is at war. Having said that much, I ask, what should be the extent of our participation?

In the event of war, in the event of an aggressor nation desiring to make an attack upon Canada, we are particularly vulnerable. We are particularly vulnerable to aeroplane attack by reason of the development of our great resources. We have proceeded on a basis of developing our natural water power, and we carry the power thus generated for miles on miles to turn the wheels of important industries throughout the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. It is not difficult to conceive that a few well-placed bombs in this country might create havoc, not merely where they were dropped but upon our industrial fabric throughout the length and breadth of this country. Hence I urge, Mr. Speaker, that every hon. member, having regard to our particular situation, should realize the necessity, pointed out this afternoon by the Minister of Justice, of building up in Canada a defence force which would enable us to do something for ourselves and for our own protection and not leave us entirely dependent, as we have been for so long, upon the United Kingdom and the other parts of the empire, and, as some will say, upon the United States.

Let me ask hon. members what would happen if the United Kingdom were at war; if she were attacked; if she were defeated and beaten to her knees. What would happen? The victors would gather around the peace table to dictate the terms of peace; and do you not think that one of the first demands would be for the cession of the senior dominion, Canada? Why? Every dictator in the world to-day has declared in forcible terms a desire for colonial expansion. It is their primary objective. In Canada we have a vast territory, great natural resources, and a sparse population,-a perfect country for a dictator nation to colonize. Under such conditions what could Canada do? The United Kingdom having been defeated, we, as indeed was admitted this afternoon by the Minister of Justice, would be in no position standing alone to defend ourselves against one of the great dictatorships of the world.

Oh, some will say, the Monroe doctrine will protect us. Well, Mr. Speaker, what is the Monroe doctrine? It is not a contract. It is not a law. It is merely an expression of opinion. May I quote it? It is very brief. President Monroe, speaking in his message to congress in 1823, said this:

With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered 71492-156i

and shall not interfere. But with the governments who have declared their independence, and maintained it, and whose dependence we have on great consideration and on just principles acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling, in any other manner, their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.

That was the declaration which is known as the Monroe doctrine. True it is that in August, 1938, as stated yesterday by the Prime Minister, President Roosevelt of the United States enunciated the same principles and the same attitude. But may I invite the attention of hon. members to the fact that neither President Monroe's message nor President Roosevelt's reiteration has ever been adopted by the congress of the United States. If the parliament of Canada must determine, and we all agree it must, the extent of Canada's participation in any war, then surely the congress of the United States must determine the extent of the participation of the United States in any war. So let us not forget that the Monroe doctrine in itself does not constitute a guarantee for Canada. Our hope and our only safety is that, first, we protect ourselves to the greatest extent possible within our resources, and, second, that we bear in mind always, if the United Kingdom is attacked, what Canada's position may be in the event of the United Kingdom failing to succeed in any such war or engagement.

Let me assume, however, that, as I said a while ago, the United Kingdom were defeated. Let me assume that the United States came to our aid and protected us from foreign invasion. We then become a protectorate of the United States. In that event, having regard to the fact that sixty to sixty-five per cent of our imports come from the United States, will it not be only a question of time until Canada as a whole becomes part and parcel of the United States? To that, some people have great objection.

The Minister of Justice said this afternoon that he wanted to touch upon a delicate subject, and he did. I should like to touch upon the same subject, but I must confess that I do not regard it as a particularly delicate one. I am told by some that my French fellow-Canadians do not value the maintenance of Canada as an integral part of the British empire.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-FOREIGN POLICY-STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   SI, 1939
Permalink

March 31, 1939