July 1, 1947 (20th Parliament, 3rd Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)



Mr. Speaker, hon. members, I am sure, will be interested to know that, on this the 80th anniversary of confederation, many communications of greetings and congratulation have been coming to Canada from different parts of the world. Among the number are some that have been received by His Excellency the Governor General, some by myself as Prime Minister and others by the Secretary of State for External Affairs.
It will be of interest were I to mention some of the communications that have been thus far received. There are, I understand, others on the way, and probably there will be many more before the day is over.
Among those already received, there is a communication from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. Her Majesty has sent a message of best wishes for the well-being and prosperity of Canada.
His Majesty King Paul I of the Hellenes extends congratulations and best wishes in the name of the people of Greece. A message has also been received from the Prime Minister of Greece, M. Maximos, conveying warm wishes for the prosperity of Canada, and a similar communication from the Greek Ambassador resident in Ottawa.
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of China extends best wishes for the welfare and happiness of the Canadian people.
The President of Argentina, General Peron, has expressed good wishes from the government and people of Argentina for the well-being and prosperity of Canada. Other messages have been received from the Argentine Foreign Minister and the Argentine Ambassador at Ottawa.
From Premier Ramadier of France there is a message expressing "most cordial wishes for the future of the great Canadian nation to which we are linked by so many' bonds of friendship".
There is also a message from M. Unden, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden who expresses "best wishes for our friends the Canadian people". Mr. Jan Masarvk, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia, sends good wishes, at the same time recalling wartime contributions "which are being continued and which can never be forgotten". There is also a message from the Minister of Czechoslovakia resident in Ottawa. In addition to greetings received from ambassadors and ministers already mentioned, messages of greeting have also been received from the following ambassadors and ministers resident in Ottawa: the Ambassador of France, the Ambassador of Brazil, the Ambassador of Chile, the Minister of Cuba, the Charge d'Affaires ad interim of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Charge d'Affaires ad interim of Switzerland.
Had it not been that a week or two ago an arrangement was made in pursuance of an agreement to take every possible means to expedite the business of the session. I would have been tempted to introduce in the house this afternoon a resolution with respect to this 80th anniversary of confederation, to which all 'hon. members might have felt free to speak. But I have assumed that by proceeding with the business of the house as rapidly as possible, particularly considering the length of the programme still to be overtaken, we would be discharging our duties in a way more acceptable to those whom we represent. At the same time, I should like in a word to say what I think must be much in the thoughts of all hon. members today.
Dominion Day

Had time permitted, we should have been, glad to review the eight decades which have passed since confederation and to have dwelt with pardonable pride upon the manner in which, from a few scattered communities, Canada has developed in that time not only into a great nation but as well into a world power. I believe.that at this time hon. members will have a feeling of great thankfulness that our country on this anniversary is perhaps more united and prosperous than it has been at any time in its history; that we have been spared the calamities and disasters which have overtaken so many of the nations of the world; and that our relations with other nations almost without exception could not be happier than they are. I recall that the last time this house was in session on July 1, which was five years ago, the world was in the midst of the great war, and at a very critical stage of the war. At that time it was by no means certain what the outcome might be. I am sure I speak for all hon. members when I voice a feeling of thankfulness for fihe part which Canada was privileged to take in helping to preserve the freedom of mankind in that great conflict. We look back with justifiable pride on the part which our defence forces were able to take, along with those of allied and associated forces; the contributions made by our army, our navy, our air force and the merchant marine; what was done in the way of assisting in supplies of munitions and food, in finance, in organization for all kinds of patriotic activities; the work of the women as well as of men and our young people in that terrible period. It is a source of tremendous pride to us all that today we can rejoice in having participated as we did and helped in the winning of victory. Nor do we forget that in our own generation a like service was rendered by Canada in another world war. There is an equal cause for rejoicing at the part which Canada has since been privileged to take in its postwar work, in helping to relieve the suffering of and to rehabilitate those nations which were so terribly devastated by war; in being able, as we have been, in her hour of great privation to assist Britain financially; and in being able to assist the starving peoples of Europe in the liberal manner in which we have.
I think what perhaps will be a source of increasing pride to the people of Canada, and in particular to their representatives here, is the extent to which Canada's voice and influence has come to be felt for good in the many relations of nations; particularly is this true of relations within the British commonwealth, where Canada's part in the development and

shaping of the commonwealth and its spirit has been what it has; and also the very important part which our country has taken in the work of the great new world organization, the united nations, in which humanity at the moment is placing so largely its hopes for the future. Indeed, as I have said, Canada's voice has come to be the voice of one of the great powers in the world; and wherever it has been expressed, it has been expressed for the good of other nations as well as our own. In our relations with our great neighbour the United States, we have together worked out methods of understanding and cooperation which are an example to nations everywhere.
In conclusion may I draw attention to the rather unique circumstance that while eighty years ago four provinces were uniting to form confederation and to fulfil the dream that some day there might be a vast power of the combined British communities in the northern half of this continent which would strike across space and) time and include all the territory between the waters of the Atlantic and those of the Pacific, today we not only have the nine provinces united as they have been over a number of years but we have in our city a delegation of distinguished gentlemen from the island, of Newfoundland, who are examining and exploring with officials of the government of Canada and its ministers, the possibility of arriving at an agreement which would be to the mutual advantage of Newfoundland and Canada and which might serve to bring that island also into confederation. These are only a few of the many things for which we, as Canadians, have reason today not only to be proud, but also to be profoundly thankful.
In conclusion, may I express the hope that Canada throughout the future may be true to her great past, to which I have made scarcely more than a passing reference, and that our country may go on from year to year, over the decades and over the centuries, ever using her influence in a wider way to promote the cause of w'orld order and to further peace and good will among men and nations on this earth.

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