Mrs. MARTHA LOUISE BLACK (Yukon):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to add my word of congratulation to the mover and the seponder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. Especially do I wish to congratulate that younger member, the hon. member for Stormont (Mr. Chevrier). It has been my good fortune to know the hon. gentleman rather well, and when I see a young man speaking with equal facility in both French and English I am really consumed with envy. Ever since I have lived in this country, which has been for forty years now, and have known it as a bilingual country, I have felt it a shame that the young people of this day and age, as of forty years ago, have not been taught to speak both French and English. We have in the hon. member for Stormont a shining example of what the young people of to-day should know.
Perhaps it is unnecessary for me to touch upon the trade agreement. More and more as I come here each session I have a feeling of isolation; I feel more and more that I am alone. It is not that every individual member is not exceedingly kind and courteous; it is because of the fact that my constituency is so isolated and so far away from the rest of Canada. The trade agreement affects us not at all. In that north land we produce only the mediums of exchange, namely, gold and silver. When times are prosperous in Canada-or, as we in the north call it, on the outside-we pay higher prices for the goods we purchase. When depression is rampant throughout the country we are able to get our goods for less. So I think hon. members will understand when I say that from a selfish standpoint the trade agreement affects us not at all.
It seems to me that we on this continent are singularly blessed in the peace that we have, outwardly at least, throughout the country. We are free to use our own language. We are free to worship in whatever church we choose. We are free to move about whither we will. There is no one to say us nay, no one to regiment us as the peoples of Europe are regimented. I have been both shocked and surprised in reading papers throughout Canada
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to see that other people are demanding the rights of -their languages. I have not been afraid that either this government or any future government will listen to those demands, because any government must have before it the horrible example of the continent of Europe, with its multiplicity of languages, which has become a modern tower of Babel. That factor must account for much of the trouble taking place in Europe at the present time.
During the September crisis we in the Yukon heard the voice of the world over the radio. We were thousands of miles from London, the heart of empire; yet there was not a heart in the Yukon but beat in unison with the tragedy which was taking place overseas. There was no one who did not feel the greatest amount of sympathy for that Prime Minister, Mr. Chamberlain. Not only did he turn the other cheek to the enemy but he turned it several times. Certainly he must have suffered the greatest agony of humiliation when undergoing what he did. But in undergoing that, while thoughtlessly many people have said -that he gave away much that he should not have given away, for the time being at least he saved the world from a horrible slaughter.
Yesterday afternoon when the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) spoke, I heard him say that the danger was not past, a fact which I believe we all realize. Only the cool heads will be able to stave off the danger a little longer, and yet a little longer, until possibly the world may realize the utter madness of another holocaust such as those of us who are older went through between 1914 and 1918. There is nothing for a government to do but to do the best it can in times of such anxiety. Those of us who are not responsible can sit on the side lines and criticize. It is very easy to find fault; it is easy to criticize. But I sometimes wonder how much better we could have done ourselves. I doubt if there are many of us who would have done even as well. During the crisis the Yukon was deeply interested, dreading the thought of war. Yet at the same time every heart beat in unison with the empire and every person was willing to do as was done in the days of 1914, 1915 and 1916. If needs be, they were ready to answer the call of king and country.
Changing the subject very quickly, we come to the pleasant thought of the visit of Their Majesties, the King and Queen. In 1937 I had the privilege of suggesting to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) that silver coinage be issued by the government to
commemorate the coronation. Not for one moment do I intimate that the minister followed my suggestion. But the fact remains that silver coinage was issued, and among my few souvenirs I cherish the coin issued at that time, as well as the silver dollar issued at the time of the silver jubilee.
We see by the papers the government will again issue souvenirs by way of silver coinage and stamps. I am particularly interested in the issue of silver because in the Yukon there is a large territory in the Mayo district devoted to silver lead mining. As hon. members from British Columbia will no doubt point out, that province also is interested in silver mining, and anything that can be done to encourage our miners will surely be of infinite help to that class of people, upon whom many governments depend.
In the royal couple about to visit this country we have a fine example of manhood and womanhood in the British Empire. Suddenly these two people were called upon to fill a staggeringly difficult position. Neither one of them had trained deliberately to occupy a throne. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is a commoner, though of royal descent through the female line. The king was a prince occupying a secondary position. Yet in the twinkling of an eye those young people accepted a huge responsibility. No one in the world can say they have not filled the position thus far with grace and dignity not only to themselves but to the empire at large. Courageously and prayerfully they are carrying on. We owe them a great debt and our best efforts to make their lives happier and easier. They are coming to Canada and from one end of the country to the other every respect is to be shown them.
Unfortunately the Yukon is not to be visited by the royal couple, but I am free to say that Yukoners one and all feel a steadfast loyalty and fealty to- those young people who are carrying on so bravely and so well. Possibly they are fortunate in the example which has been set them by the late King George Y and his royal consort Queen- Mary for whom the world has the greatest affection. Although I was born and brought- up in the republic to the south of us, from girlhood I was trained by a grandmother who had strict old country ideas, and later by the sisters of the Holy Cross I was taught to look on England as-a shining example of what royalty could show to the rest of the world. That was taught, despite that conduct of England towards the colonies which made them rebel. Queen Victoria, later her son, then her grandson and then her great grandson have all been
The Address-Mrs. Black
familiar figures to me, both from reading and through conversation at home and at school. I have lived here now for forty years and have grown to realize what this country can be, what it has been and, pray God, what it will be for many years to come.
It is possible that the most interesting thing to us in the Yukon at the present time is the Alaska-Yukon highway. Many years ago the building of the road was advocated, and I well remember when Mr. Tolmie, the then premier of British Columbia, in the company of his ministers, took a trip as far as he could in northern British Columbia. My husband was appointed a member of the Canadian commission, and he now has in his office hundreds of photographs, surveys, letters and reports dealing with that road. I could give to the house a hundred reasons why the road should be built, and possibly I could give as many why it should not. If the road is built, I trust that men who know that northern country will be put in charge. It will be an enormously expensive work. The government of Canada cannot afford it, and certainly the government of British Columbia, debt-ridden as it is, cannot afford it.
We are told by the public men of the United States that that country wants this road for defence purposes. We have to face the fact that should- the United States be at war, Canada would be at war. We have to face the fact that if any untoward incident brings Canada into a war, the United States will be at war. That country could not stand by and see Canada fall. That would be impossible. She would not allow foreigners to touch Canadian territory any more than we would feel that we could allow foreigners to touch United States territory. The United States wants the road, and if the government is going to allow it to be built, I would urge that the United States be asked to pay every cent of the cost of building the road through Canadian territory, employing only Canadian labour and giving to Canada a free port of entry at Skagway. Some hon. members may smile at the mention of a free port of entry at Skagway, but we have a precedent. A free port of entry was allowed during the reign of Queen Victoria at Sault Ste. Marie and in the Gaspe.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY