January 25, 1940 (18th Parliament, 6th Session)


Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)



I have the honour to
inform the house that when the house did attend His Excellency the Administrator this day in the Senate chamber, his excellency was pleased to make a speech to both houses of parliament. To prevent mistakes, I have obtained a copy, which is as follows: Honourable Members of the Senate:
Members of the House of Commons:
You have been summoned to the first session of a new parliament at a time of the greatest conflict in the history of mankind. Upon the outcome of the struggle will depend the maintenance of civilized society and the inheritance of human freedom for our own and future generations.
Since parliament last met, the nature of the conflict, the character of the enemy, and the perils w'hich menace all free nations, have become only too clear. In that short space of time, the world has seen the peaceful and peace-loving peoples of Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg made the victims of the treachery and barbarism which have marked the successive outrages of nazi Germany. It has also witnessed the invasion of Finland, and, despite the epic resistance of its heroic population, the partition of that unoffending country. At any time, the lust of conquest may vastly enlarge the theatre of war. These tragic events have but served to intensify our determination to share in the war effort of the allied powers to the utmost of our strength. In this resolution the government has been fortified by tire direct and unquestioned mandate of the Canadian people.
The organization and prosecution of Canada's war effort have commanded the unremitting attention of my ministers. The constant consultation and complete cooperation maintained with the governments of the United Kingdom and France have been materially strengthened by the recent visit to those countries of my Minister of National Defence.
You will be fully informed of Canada's action both in the military and economic fields. You will be asked to consider measures deemed essential for the prosecution of the war, and for the social and economic requirements of the country.
While the present session of parliament will necessarily be mainly concerned with Canada's war effort, and the measures essential to the achievement of ultimate victory, my ministers are of opinion that, despite what to-day is being witnessed of concentrated warfare, it is desirable, as far as may be possible, to plan for the days that will follow the cessation of hostilities.
As a contribution to industrial stability in time of war, and to social security and justice in time of peace, resolutions will be introduced for an amendment to the British North America Act which would empower the parliament of Canada to enact at the present session legislation to establish unemployment insurance on a national scale.
The report of the Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations, which has just been received, will be tabled immediately.

Internal Economy Commission
Members of tlie House of Commons:
YTou will be asked to make financial provision for expenditure necessitated by the existing state of war.
The estimates for the current fiscal year will be submitted to you without delay.
Honourable Members of the Senate:
Members of the House of Commons:
Since the last session of parliament, a much beloved Governor General has passed from our midst. In the death of Lord Tweedsmuir, Canada mourns one whose character and achievements had endeared him to our people; the British commonwealth has lost a wise and understanding counsellor, and the fellowship of writers a gifted interpreter of the graces and humanities of English literature. I join with you in the expression to Lady Tweedsmuir and the members of her family of the deep sympathy of the Canadian people.
His Majesty the King has been pleased to appoint the Earl of Athlone as His Representative in succession to the late Lord Tweeds-muir. The sense of duty and the public services which have distinguished the lives of the Governor General designate and the Princess Alice ensure for His Excellency and Her Royal Highness an eager and cordial welcome to Canada.
As you assume, in these dark and difficult days, the grave responsibilities with which you have been entrusted by the Canadian people, may your resolution be sustained by the knowledge that it is the liberties of all free peoples that you are helping to preserve. Unless the evil powers, which threaten the very existence of freedom, are vanquished, the world itself will inevitably be reduced to a state of international anarchy.
I pray that Divine Providence may guide and bless your deliberations.

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