Mr. VINCENT DUPUIS (Laprairie-Napier-ville) (Translation):
Mr. Speaker, fully
relying that the good will of the house will be graciously extended to me, I rise to fulfil the task the government has entrusted to me. In this matter, I suspect that the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie
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King) and his colleagues, while highly honouring my compatriots, wished, at the same time, to pay a mark of respect to the memory of one who, during more than a quarter of a century, was able to retain the esteem of his own people and so worthily represent them in this house. My constituents and all those who were acquainted with the late Roch Lanctot will recall that his predominating traits were, among all, an unwavering determination, a sincerity without evasion and a frankness devoid of affectation. I feel rather reticent to speak about my humble person, nevertheless I have a sacred duty to fulfil: that of
acknowledging the truth bj- stating that Roch Lanctot was for me, both a benefactor and a true friend. For three years, I had been going from door to door hoping to get sufficient influence in order that I might secure a position which would permit me to attain the goal that I had conceived of life, and during all the while I met but with rebuke or disdainful indifference from those to whom I appealed. It was then that my thoughts turned to Roch Lanctot who, immediately and without the slightest hesitation, came to Ottawa and obtained, in the Laurier government, from the Postmaster General, the present Speaker of this House, the so much sought post which afforded me the chance of completing my law studies at McGill University.
Ever since that day, I realized what was liberalism, that liberalism which affords to all citizens, regardless of their humble, ignored or poor circumstances, the opportunity of advancement in life and of seeking their legitimate share of the rights inherent to the title of citizen in a democratic country like ours.
The distinguished leader of the Liberal party had, therefore, reasons to state, when on the 31st of May last the hon. members of this house spoke in praise of my late predecessor, that he was a patriot and champion of the people's rights, especially those of the farming classes to which he w-as so much attached. How could it be otherwise, when it is known that he came from that small corner of the country which I have the honour- of representing. No doubt the whole of Canada is a land of predilection, where the most noble attributes of the soul expand as if by enchantment, however, it seems to me that nowhere else in Canada are there to be found more favourable conditions than in my part of the country for the bringing up that type of citizen which from the cradle grows up, lives and dies with but one vision before
his eyes and in his heart but one aim: the vision of a greater, more prosperous and more united country; and the aim of serving it in such a w-ay so as to give his fellow citizens a little more happiness and contentment. I need no further proof, Mr. Speaker, than your own example. It is most gratifying to your friends of Laprairie and Napierville to cherish the thought-though illusive as it may be-that if fame has spread to all parts your high reputation, if you preside with so much tact, distinction and judgment over the meetings of this house, you owe it to some degree to your maternal ties by which you are so closely connected with the old parish of Laprairie; perhaps you may also ow-e it somewhat to the fact that you passed some of your happiest childhood days in the quiet and peaceful surroundings in the midst of the good folks of St. Edouard. Knowing that I grew up in such favourable surroundings, you will not be astonished, if when I am called upon to champion the interests of my constituents and especially those of the farming classes, I appear to be tenacious to the point of seeming at times uncompromising. It will be twenty years on May the 6th next I w-as employed by a general merchant in a small American village close to our frontier, when the sad news of the death of Edward the VII reached us. I must confess that never had the burden of exile weighed so heavily upon me than at that moment, never was I so deeply wounded than when I witnessed the indifference of those with whom I was living, never had I so much longed to return to my country and find there people with whom I might sympathize and unite in prayer to beseech God to grant everlasting peace to one who had made himself the apostle of universal peace and who has since been so justly called the peacemaker King. As much as my soul w-as depressed at the time, as much to-day our hearts rejoice having the assurance that our gracious Sovereign has at last recovered his health. Allow me, Sir, to be the interpreter of his loyal subjects in this house and in Canada, by expressing the sincere wish that Providence may watch over him so that he may still preside with as much dignity during numerous years, over the destinies of his vast Empire, because to us the Crown is not only the emblem of sovereign authority; but also the safeguard of our nation still in its youth.
We were much distressed at the news of the demise of the late Hon. James A. Robb, who had shown himself so generous a neighbour towards the people of my county and especially to me. We also deplore the death
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of the distinguished member, the late Georges Doreze Morin, who unrelenting destiny so prematurely took away. I therefore wish to associate myself with the hon. members of this house who so eloquently expressed their sympathies to the bereaved families. We must, however, console ourselves at the thought that the people and the government have chosen representatives who will be able to continue the work of their predecessors and fulfil their task with honour and distinction. I shall always look back with legitimate pride to the happy event which has led to my being introduced to the house on the same occasion as the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Crerar), who has returned among us, sacrificing his personal interests in order to devote his time to public affairs.
Prosperity, sir, which has manifested itself ever since the coming into power of the Liberal party is for us an excellent reason to have faith in the future. The ratepayers of this country are aware that since that advent, deficits have made way to surpluses; that the latter have gradually increased; that our revenues have unceasingly grown, thus affording the government an opportunity of lightening the burden which weighs on the shoulders of the people, by reducing taxation and decreasing the public debt by more than S125,000,000. The same is true in other fields of national activity; and this advantageous situation is certainly well known to our opponents.
With reference to the international aspect, the progress made has not been less marked, and in numerous cases we shall have to legislate to make laws harmonize with one another so as to place us on the same level which this new international situation demands. With this aim in view the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) last autumn, represented Canada at a conference held in London. I must here add, sir, we feel highly flattered at the honour reflected on us through the hon. Minister of Justice each time his colleagues entrust him with a mission to the British government or a foreign country.
The optional clause of the statute of the Permanent Court, having been signed by our representatives, will be submitted to the house. The numerous evolutions which have taken place since-I should add as a consequence of-the war infallibly lead us further and further on the path of our international freedom. When, for instance, causes of conflict do arise with foreign countries or disputes with other members of the British Commonwealth, we shall be at liberty to submit these disputes to the Permanent Court of the
League of Nations or to a similar tribunal in order to obtain redress according to the principles of international law.
I wish to put forth, here, views which are entirely personal. I am of the opinion that the last word has not been said with reference to the dispute between Canada and Newfoundland in regard to Labrador. It being understood that the judicial committee of the privy council was but requested to pass an opinion on this matter and owing to our present status which entitles us to international independence with regard to the other dominions or colonies in the British commonwealth, I have my doubts whether this judicial committee is qualified in cases where an international question arises; I fear therefore, that it is not the proper tribunal in this matter. I am led to believe that the only tribunal having the necessary authority is truly this Permanent Court or a similar tribunal which we shall be called upon to recognize. I leave to our legal lights the (*are of looking into this question which deserves to be studied, not only with regard to Labrador, but for every dispute which might arise between the dominions, as I feel confident that, in this house as well as throughout the country, one would not wish that the judgment just handed down should serve as a precedent in other cases which might arise.
Thanks to the interpretation that the judicial committee has just given of the law, women have now the same right as men to be represented in both Houses of Parliament. We must congratulate the government on the appointment they have just made to the Senate, and at the same time pay our respects to the incumbent who, previous to being called upon to perform her new functions, had accomplished-we must highly proclaim it-the most sacred state duty, being the mother of eight children and bringing them up as our Canadian mothers know so well. We must not be too greatly alarmed of that new departure for the Canadian mother has always recalled to mind this elementary truth that the family is the' foundation of society, that she fulfils a noble duty when she gives birth even to only one child and forms its character. When I thus express myself, I am not losing sight of the fact that it is well to bear in mind the notable exception of those who sacrifice themselves by remaining single in life-and this house furnishes us with noble examples.
The success of our domestic and foreign policy affords us no doubt cause for rejoicing; however our country will certainly not
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reach its high destinies if our legislators concern themselves only with the material side of the nation, because, above the social body and more important than its functions, there is the national soul. No one to-day can deny the existence of a national soul in Canada, for its attributes are easily discernible. Indeed, we have a national conscience, we have a national pride and we also have the veneration of historical memories, and the days no more exist when we could be taxed with being a nation without a history.
The collective soul which Canadians possess is a hardy and vigorous one, having its own attributes and a unique character in the world, it will moreover be found that the Canadian soul, owing to these special and unique qualifications which it possesses, is sufficiently powerful to rise into those spheres where one's vision is not obscured by parochial considerations or by prejudices inherent to our race, but where we are able to embrace all our fellow citizens, regardless of the race or religion they may belong to, and to also include in a single glance all the beauties and wealth of our vast national patrimony ad mari usque ad mare. And since our soul can harmonize with the national soul, it is .possible for us to draw from our glorious past the lessons and strength which will guide us with certainty towards the .future which a-waits us. Endowed with this mentality which takes its roots deep in the Canadian soil, we are equally proud of-our discoveries, pioneers and toilers of the land, whatever may be their race. We love to praise the courage and, valour of those 60,000 Canadians of French origin which comprised the whole population at the time of the conquest, likewise we love to praise the dauntlessness and devotion to the British crown of those loyalists who forsook what they cherished most in the thirteen colonies so as to settle in Canada at the time of the American revolution. With equal pride do we laud the fame of the companions of Wolfe and Montcalm, whose immortality was sealed on the stone of a common monument erected to their memory near the old Quebec citadel.
To continue my argument forgive me, sir, if I appeal to the living patriotism of the citizen rather than to the legitimate sentiment of the bereaved father-to continue my argument, I say, that when we recall the victories won and heroic struggles engaged in during the last war, it is with sublime pride and loftiness of mind that we say, in speaking of those who fell on the battlefields and who now sleep their last glorious sleep on French soil: Our Canadians were there; they fell it is true,
but they fell in order that freedom might survive and remain erect such as they had dreamed of it.
We moreover admire the courage and determination of those w'ho cherishing an ideal of liberty and desirous of improving their lot, forsake their native country to come to Canada and contribute, together with us, to the building of the national edifice. May I here make a digression to state that if it were possible to choose those who cherish such an ideal the problem of immigration would thereby be solved. I avail myself of this opportunity to state how much the true Canadians admire the self-made man, the type of person I have just been referring to and to whom the right lion. Prime Minister has just entrusted the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning). His life will always be for us and for future generations a lesson and symbol.
Having thus risen, our soul has acquired such a freedom of action that not only can it develop the virtues and culture belonging to one race but it easily and without effort, so to speak, acquires the virtues and culture of the other race, convinced that these various traits coordinate and complete themselves to form that special and unique type, the Canadian citizen such as Providence has willed it and in whom I have faith. As for those to whom this duality of character is burdensome owing to the fact that they are forced to learn another language than their own, why should they not allow themselves to be convinced by this charming legend, that destiny decreed that we were in need of the most beautiful languages in the world to laud the beauties of our enchanting nature and the heroic deeds of our ancestors? These, sir, are the feelings which inspire the majority of Canadians in this country; that is the goal towards which we are inevitably moving, willingly or not.
I recall in the history of the United States that ^ymlbolic picture which an American patriot distributed to stimulate enlistment, and which represented a serpent whose body had been sectioned off in thirteen parts; and below these words inscribed on stone: "Unite or die". We also know by experience that we must unite, for God expects much from us. It is not without a purpose that He has willed that the descendants of two great races must develop this country. Destiny .points out the path to follow. "Blind, who fails to see it, and guilty who seeing fails to follow it."
No doubt, we shall always have extremists who will unceasingly advocate contrary doctrines, who will always seek to spread trouble
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and dissension among the people. Instead of wishing to destroy them, we must protect them, even love them, because they are the tools of an eternal law which exists in ethics as well as in nature, and by which it is possible for us to harness and direct the flow of energies-which otherwise would be lost,- and of no benefit to our fellow creatures. Nations of old and our ancestors well understood and often applied this law, when instead of allowing the stream to flow uselessly, they harnessed it with the purpose of putting its waters in motion towards their mill wheels; and are not the students of engineering in these modern days vying with one another to obtain water power rights, and build dams so as to multiply indefinitely nature's forces, thereby contributing to the full development of the natural resources and to the progress of industry. And in the moral sphere for twenty centuries Christianity has been teaching us its application: "Love your enemies"; " And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other"; "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled"; and, again: " Blessed are they which are persecuted". I therefore maintain that if the extremists, to whatever school or race they may belong to, play a deplorable part, we must admit that it is a necessary one, unconsciously obeying that law, the application of which I have just explained. For, indeed, when they rouse the prejudices of a part of the population against the other, when they persist in persecuting their fellow-citizen, they unwillingly build up a dam behind which our revolted feelings keep watch and form what the poet has so well described as the "eternal vigilance which is the price of liberty."
Just as the old British lion who, looking down from Westminster lends an indifferent or benevolent ear to so-called revolutionists clamouring on the public squares of London, likewise we must not be too much alarmed at the tactics of these extremists; we fully know that, our vigilance being always on the alert, there will always be found citizens right-minded enough and in sufficient numbers to turn, at the critical moment, the scales on the side of imperishable justice.
The study, sir, of political history during the last fifty years, personal experience of twenty years during which we have been privileged to follow and take part in political movements which have agitated public opinion, have firmly convinced me that the Liberal party is the best intermediary by which it is possible for us to attain this ideal of Canadian nationship such as I understand it. And if I had the right to add to it an
element of faith, I would state that I truly believe that Providence has always made use of the Liberal party to revive hope in the hearts of the people and prosperity in the country, and that Laurier was right when, in 1908, at a meeting held at Laprairie, to his opponents who charged him of attributing to the Liberal party a prosperity which they said was due to Providence, he answered by this sally which has been handed down in history: " Am I to be blamed if Providence favours us and frowns on them." This study of history and personal experience have also convinced me that the men who succeeded one another as leaders of the Liberal party were endowed with those essential principles necessary to the statesman. I could not better illustrate the character of our Liberal leaders than by giving you a description written by a great philosopher and thinker of what he considered to be a true statesman. The following is the description which he wrote:
"A politician proves his genius for statecraft by so gently guiding public sentimemt that he seems to follow i.t; by so yielding doubtful points that he can be firm without seeming obstinate in essential ones; and thus gain the advantages of compromise without the weakness of concession; by so instinctively comprehending the temper and prejudices of a people as to make them gradually conscious of the superior wisdom of his freedom from temper and prejudices-it is by quality such as these that a magistrate shows himself to be chief in a commonwealth of freemen."
That is why, sir, being convinced that in the material as well as that of the intellectual and moral spheres, the Liberal party governs with wisdom; being moreover confident that the legislation embodied in the speech from the throne will bring us somewhat nearer to our ultimate destinies, I have much pleasure in seconding the motion which my hon. friend from West Lambton (Mr. Gray) has so eloquently moved.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. R. W. GRAY AND SECONDED BY MR. VINCENT DUPUIS