May 28, 1917



Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. ROBERT ROGERS (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that our guest of to-day, the Right Hon. Mr. Balfour, will not be here until three o'clock, I would suggest that the House rise, to meet again at that hour.


Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I declare the sitting suspended until three o'clock. Let the doors be opened.

And the sitting of the House was accordingly suspended for one hour.




The House resumed at three o'clock to receive the Right Honourable Arthur James Balfour, and to tender a reception to him by the Parliament of Canada, the members of the Senate of Canada with the Speaker of the Senate being present for the occasion in the Chamber of the Commons. The Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden, Prime Minister of Canada, and the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, leader of His Majesty's Opposition, accompanied by Colonel Harry Smith, C.M.G., A.D.C., Sergeant-at-Arms of the Commons, met Mr. Balfour at the entrance to the temporary parliament buildings and accompanied him to the Chamber of the Commons. In the Chamber, Sir Robert Borden, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier escorted Mr. Balfour to the dais and presented him to the Speaker of the Commons and to the Speaker of the Senate, beside whom he was seated. The members of the Commons, the members of the Senate, and the audience in the galleries rose as Mr. Balfour entered and joined in the singing of " God Save the King."


The Honourable EDGAR N. RHODES, Speaker of the Hpuse of Commons of Canada, addressing Mr. Balfour, said: Mr. Balfour, on behalf of-the House of Commons, I deem it a privilege as well as an honour to offer you a cordial welcome to Canada and to this House. We recognize in you a statesman who has enjoyed in marked degree the confidence of the people of the Motherland during a career of forty-three eventful years of most valuable public service, during which period you have occupied many offices of great trust, including the highest in the gift of the State. We welcome you also because of the special circumstances surrounding your mission to this continent and the representative character of your visit. It is our belief that the visit of yourself and your associates to our neighbour and ally, the United States, has been greatly helpful to the cause which we all have at heart, and our prayer is that your work there may be abundantly blessed. May I express the hope that your stay here, though all too brief, may be pleasant, that you will carry with you agreeable memories of Canada; above all, that on your return to the Homeland you will feel justified in delivering this message-that we stand firmly with Britain, the other dominions overseas, and our Allies, in fixed determination that the great principles for which we are fighting shall be maintained, and that to the measure of our ability we are prepared, willingly, to bear our full share of the common burden.


The Honourable JOSEPH BOLDUC, Speaker of the Senate, addressing Mr. Balfour, said: (Translation) Mr. Balfour, on behalf of the members of the Senate of Canada, invited for this memorable and epochmaking event, I deem it a great honour to join with the Speaker of the House of Commons in offering you a cordial welcome to Canada. In your person we greet the eminent statesman who has been enjoying, for nearly half a century, the confidence of the people of the Mother-land and who, during that eventful period, has rendered the most signal public service to his country, having occupied many offices of great responsi- 112i bility, including the highest in the gift of the nation. We also welcome you as the worthy representative of the great British Empire, in view of the special circumstances surrounding your mission to this continent. It is our belief that your visit to the neighbouring Republic, our Ally, will be most fruitful in mutual advantages to the cause which is dear- to our hearts, and we fervently pray that your efforts in that direction may be successful. We hope that your stay here, though too brief, may be pleasant and that you will take with you agreeable memories of Canada. Above all we cherish the hope that on your return to the Home-land you may feel justified in delivering this message to the people of the United Kingdom: that in common with Great Britain, and the other dominions overseas and our Allies, it is our unalterable determination to hold fast, and never relax our efforts in upholding the sacred principles for which we are fighting, and in bearing our full share of the burden of the war.


The Right Honourable ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR first spoke in French as follows: Messieurs les Presidents, honorablee messieurs du Senat, messieurs de la Chambre des communes: II m'est inutile de dire combien je suis touche de il'accueil qui vient de m'exprimer le President du Senat et le President de la Chambre. Je les remercie cordialement de leurs genereuses paroles de bienvenue. Vous me pardonnerez sans doute si je ne m'exprime pas en langue frangaise avec lo facilite qua je desirerais. Mais je m'en console en me souvenant que vous venez d'entendre un maitre de l'eloquence, le grand Viviani, digne reprfisentant de notre grande et chere alliee, de ce pays ou se bat-tent en ce moment les soldats des deux races, frangaise et anglaise, menacees d'un peril commun. Notre Canada a ete cree par le genie des deux races-anglaise et frangaise. Chacune de ces races a conserve sa langue, sa religion, son caractere national. Cote a cote, elles ont vecu, elles ont grandi, et a ce moment des milliers des plus braves parmi les fils du Canada sont alles outre-mer et ont prete leur concours pour chasser les Alle-mands de la terra de France et pour deli-vrer le monde de la menace du militarisme prussien. -


Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Gentlemen of the Senate, Gentlemen of the House of Commons: It is not necessary for me to say how deeply moved I am at the cordial welcome which has just been tendered me by the Speakers of the Senate and of the House of Commons. I thank them most heartily for their generous words of greeting. You will no doubt pardon me if I do not express myself in the French language as fluently as I would desire. But I am comforted by the thought that you have lately heard a master of eloquence, the great Viviani, worthy representative of our great and dear ally, that country where at this moment French and English soldiers, representing the two races, are fighting side by ' side and facing a common peril. This Canada of ours has been created by the genius of those two races, English and French. Each has maintained her language, her religion and her national spirit. Side by side they have lived and have thrived, and at this moment thousands of the bravest sons of Canada are over the seas lending their aid to drive the Germans from the soil of France, and to rid the world from the menace of Prussian militarism. The Eight Hon. Mr. BALFOUR then, speaking in English, said: Mr. Speaker of the Commons, Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Honourable Gentlemen: I. turn to a language which I do not admire more than the one I have been somewhat imperfectly speaking, but one with which I am very much more familiar. Perhaps you will allow me to make the rest of my speech in accents that come more familiarly to my tongue. Ladies and gentlemen, it is with the pro-foundest emotion mat I enjoy this opportunity of meeting the two Houses of the Canadian Parliament in joint session. Many of your most distinguished members are, I think I may venture to say, personal friends of my own; I have seen them and have enjoyed their company in the Home land, and now that I come here and have again the opportunity of renewing my friendship with them it is not merely a personal pleasure to interchange ideas and to come in contact with them as those responsible for the government of this great community, but there is a special emotion in feeling that I come at one of the greatest crises not merely in the Imperial history of Great Britain, but in the world history of civilization. Gentlemen, I do not believe that anything [Rt. Hon. Mr. Balfour.] more unexpected to the outside world has ever occurred than the enthusiastic selfsacrifice with which the great self-governing Dominions of the British Empire have thrown themselves into this great contest. The calculation of the ordinary foreign politician, and especially of the German politician, was that the British Empire was but a fair-weather edifice, very imposing in its sheer magnitude and in the vast surface of the globe which it occupied, but quite unfitted to deal with the storm and stress of war; destined to crumble at the first attack, and, like a house built on the sand, to fall to a great ruin. I do not think myself that that was nearly so foolish, or so obviously idiotic a miscalculation as some of those others in which our German enemies have indulged. On the face of it, to those who are ignorant of the inner spirit which animates the British Empire from one end to the otheT, it would be impossible to conceive of a great State which apparently was less well fitted to deal with the terrible stress of war.Take up the map and you see large tracts of the world coloured red. They are separated by vast oceans, they encircle the globe; and while the fact that the sun never sets upon the British Empire may be proof of its magnitude, it is no evidence of its strength. Moreover, remember what the foreign speculators about the British Empire must have thought before the war began. They said to themselves: This loosely constructed State resembles nothing that has ever existed in history before; it is held together by no coercive power; the Government of the Mother Country can not raise a corporal's guard in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or wherever you will; she can not raise a shilling of taxation; she has no power to do so. But, they forgot that power which a certain class of politician never remembers-the moral power of affection, sentiment, common aims and common ideals. Even those of us who most firmly believed that the British Empire, a new experiment in the long history of the world, was going to succeed; even those who, like myself, took a sanguine view of the future of our great Empire, must have felt-so loosely was it knit, so vast were the areas that it covered, so improbable that this immense body should be animated by one soul, or that the indirect thrill of a common necessity should vibrate, as it were, from pole to pole and everywhere meet with a response-that such a dream was difficult, and such an ideal hard to carry into effect. When, unexpect- edly, -without giving an opportunity for preparation or discussion or propaganda, war burst upon the world even those animated by such a feeling might well have doubted whether this great Empire-each unit of which had it in its power to hold aloof had it so desired-would act as one organization animated by one soul, moved by one purpose and driving towards one end. It seems to me almost a political miracle, but the miracle has occurred; and no greater event in my opinion has ever happened in the history of civilization than the way in which all the co-ordinated democracies, each one conscious of its separate life, each one not less conscious of its common life, have worked together with a uniform spirit of self-sacrifice in the cause in which they believed that not merely their own individual security, but the safety of the Empire and the progress of civilisation and liberty itself were at stake. Now, ladies and gentlemen, it seems to me to be interesting to compare the picture which I have just endeavoured imperfectly to draw of the British democracies working freely together, each under its own institutions, each according to its own lights, towards a common and unselfish end, with what is happening, and has happened, in the Central Powers of Europe. There you find also many communities, independent, or nominally independent, of any alliance, working together towards objects which they, at all events, conceive to be in their own interests. But how different is that bond which unites them, how different are the ideals which they pursue 1 At this moment, if all the stories which reach us from every source have the least grain of truth m them, you have Germany fighting for her own selfcentred ends, encircled by a set of states which she has brought under her" control, who love her not, whose interests are really not identical with hers but which she has got into her grasp, and which doubtless, if they could, would carry out their own policies in their own fashion. The greatest of all these powers is Austria; and yet we all know, or all of us who have access to authentic information know, that Austria is not working with Germany as we are working with France or as the different units and elements of the British Empire are working with each other. Germany has so contrived her diplomacy and has so arranged her material forces that Austria perhaps has not a will of her own; but, if she has a will of her own she is quite incapable of carrying it 'out. What is true of Austria is true, with qualifications and differences, of the other allies who are fighting on the side of Germany. It is true of Bulgaria and it is true of Turkey. All of these are animated not by a desire foT legitimate self-defence, not by a desire for freedom, not by a determination to reach any common end or to carry on any great civilizing work, but they, one and all, are merely pawns in the German game, moved as the German military party desires, not allowed to use their own resources for their own ends, not permitted to have ideals of their own or to pursue them for themselves, but all dragged into this great vortex of German ambition; all designed in the first place to supply the forces by which the-war may be won, and, if the waT is won, as I presume there may be some in Germany who think it will be won, by the Central Powers, then predestined to fall into their ordered places as satellites of the central Prussian sun, as subordinate powers destined to minister to her greatness, to her economic wealth, to her economic control over all other nations, but always in strict subordination to the dominant power. That is the ideal of the Central Powers, and it is because the world has begun to discover that that is their ideal; because the world now knows that the war was deliberately arranged by the Prussian military party that the provocation which was its nominal excuse was deliberately contrived; that the m.oment was carefully chosen, and that the ends were the selfish ambition of this military class-it is because the world has discovered this, that wherever you find a free democracy, wherever you find the spirit ,of liberty abroad, wherever you find that great spirit of self-development on national lines, there you will find friends of the Allies, there you will find enemies of the Central Powers. Ever as the months go on, it becomes more evident that this is a world war between the powers of democracy on the one side and the powers of autocracy on the other side. We in this room, whatever shades of differences may separate us, can, in such a contest, take only one side. We can only be on the side of democracy. We are convinced that for every human combination which has reached the degree of civilization and development that has been attained by all the great western communities, there is but one form of Government, under whatever name it may be called, and that is the Government in which the ultimate control lies with the people. We

have staked our last dollar upon democracy, and if democracy fail us we are bankrupt indeed. But I know that democracy will not fail us. I do not pretend, I do not think anybody who has ever studied the history of the past or has looked with impartial eyes upon the present which will soon be history, for a moment deceives himself with the idea that democracy is an easy form of Government. Gentlemen, it is the only form of Government, but it is not an easy form of Government. It has inherent difficulties; it has always had them, it always will have them, and I am not sure that every race is gifted enough to surmount these difficulties. That the great countries that represent western civilization not only can overcome these difficulties but have largely overcome them already, I think is assured. But do not let us imagine that the task, however successfully it may have been accomplished up to the present time, is one which does not require our constant efforts lest, where failure is easy, failure should occur. After all, when German militarism laid it down, as it has always laid it down, that democracy is not capable either of a far-sighted policy or of vigorous co-ordinated effort, it made a great blunder-but it made a blunder for which there is some excuse. It recognized how hard has always been found, -not now particularly but always,- the task of managing a great community of free men and directing and concentrating all their efforts and all their sacrifices, at any given moment, upon one great object. That can be done, no doubt, simply and effectively by a military autocracy. It can be done more easily; it can in 'appearance, (though I think only in appearance), be done much more effect-tively. But when democracy sets itself to work, when it really takes the business in hand, I hold the fa'ith most firmly that it will beat all the autocracies in the world. But, it will not beat them easily; it will not beat them without effort; it will not beat them unless it is prepared to forego, temporarily it may be, those divisions which, in a sense, are the very life blood of a free, vigorous, and rapidly developing community. That is the paradox and the difficulty which lies at the root of democracy. You cannot have a democracy without a collision of opinions-at least I think not. You cannot have a democracy without parties, because parties are, after all, but the organization of differences of opinion, and the paradox and the difficulty of democracy is [Rt. Hon. Mr. Balfour.] how this normal and this healthy habit is to be got over when, in moments of great national crises, the efforts of every section and every party must be subordinated to one overmastering purpose. I am addressing a body of responsible statesmen who know how institutions are practically worked, who get their knowledge not from books but from experience; and they are the best audience in the woUd for dealing with matters which perhaps may seem to you too abstract to be proper subjects of discussion on such an occasion as this. But I, who have seen the democracy of the Homeland at work since the beginning of the war, who have then had the happy opportunity of seeing ,on this continent another great democracy girdling itself for the struggle to which it is now finally committed,and who have the inestimable privilege of meeting this gathering of my fellow countrymen in the greatest of our self-governing Imperial elements-I Who have had these advantages am deeply impressed both with the power of a democracy to overcome the difficulties of which I speak, and of the necessity for its overcoming them. I suppose you have your difficulties, as undoubtedly the United States has had its difficulties, and as most assuredly we in the Motherland have had our difficulties. If those difficulties seem at any given moment to be hard to overcome, do not for a moment let you faith fail you. You are worthy representatives of those principles of constitutional freedom which in their modern developments are the invention of the British race, and which, on the whole, have been practised with at least as much success by the British race as by any other race in the world. That Canada is with the Allies through all difficulties to a final and triumphant conclusion of this great conflict is the message which you, Mr. Speaker of the House of Commons, and you, Mr. Speaker of the Senate, have asked me to convey to the Motherland. In the truth of that message I firmly believe. I know that the democracies of the old world as well as of the new-whether they belong to the British Empire, or are outside of it; whether they speak the English language, or the language .of other free nations-will come out of this struggle not merely triumphant in the military sense, not merely conquerors where victory is essential to civilization, but strengthened in their own inner life; more firmly convinced that the path of freedom is the only path to national greatness; and with the lesson fully learned, that patriotism will always overcome the dangers and difficulties inherent to a democratic constitution, and that the strength which is derived from having behind effort the consent of a free people, is greater than all the strength that can be secured by the most elaborate, the most tyrannical, and the most well thought-out system of military despotism. I most gratefully thank you for having listened to me. I shall carry back from this meeting the message which has been entrusted to me by the Speaker of the House of Commons and Iby the Speaker of the Senate. And I shall do more; for I hope however imperfectly, to convey to my friends in the Motherland the tidings that the spirit which animates their children here is not less ardent, not less resolute, not less firmly devoted to the achievement of a final victory than that by which they themselves are ruled.


Right Hon. S@

Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Mr. Speaker of the House of Commons: It is wholly unnecessary for me to say that the Parliament of Canada has listened with the most profound interest and the most intense appreciation to the message which has just fallen from the lips of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the Government of the United Kingdom. Perhaps we of this day and generation as yet only dimly realize the full significance of the great events which have brought about the presence of Mr. Balfour on this continent. It may be that those who come after us will see in the significance of those events something greater than we at present can discern.

It has been well said by the speakers who have extended the welcome of this Parliament and of the Canadian people to Mr. Balfour, that for many years he has given distinguished service to the Empire. We had the privilege of sitting with him in the Imperial Whr Cabinet beyond the seas, when he was called upon, shortly after the entry of the United States into the war, to undertake a mission of high importance to the great neighbouring republic. To them he has given his message many times and on many notable occasions, and on this the occasion of his\ coming to us, it is not inappropriate to say that this Parliament and the people of Canada have warmly welcomed the event which made the great neighbouring nation a participant with us in the fight for the liberties of the world. I have before referred to the fact that already in our own expeditionary forces

there are fighting side by side with Canadians many thousands of those who were born on the other side of the boundary line and who owe their allegiance to the United States. To-day I say this further; in all that tends to the vigorous and effective prosecution of the war I am sure that the Parliament and the people of Canada will be not only disposed but anxious to co-operate in every effective way with the Government and the people of the United States. As streams from both countries, the tributaries of the great St. Lawrence, cast their waters into one noble river that flows and will flow for ever to the ocean, so, I am sure, the sympathies, ideals and efforts of both countries will join in a mighty stream of united endeavour towards the great common purpose of this war.

Mr. Balfour has brought to us a message of great moment, of much eloquence and of deep feeling. He has spoken of the part which the self-governing Dominions of the Empire have taken in this war. The people of Canada did not hesitate for a moment as to the part they should take. That question was settled once for all by Germany herself. She made the issue which this country, in common with the. Motherland, the dominions of the Empire and all the Allied nations, have accepted; that issue we, in common with the other self-governing nations of our great Imperial Commonwealth, are determined to maintain until the end. The voice of this Parliament and of this people has been conveyed aptly and properly to Mr. Balfour in the message which has already been given to him by the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the Senate.

No one should underestimate the difficulty in a free self-governing democracy of concentrating, to the exclusion of ail other questions, however important, the intense effort of the people in the conduct of a struggle such ae this. Mr. Balfour has said that democracy is more or less on trial in respect of its capacity, not only to make, but to maintain such an effort. While thoroughly conscious of the difficulties to which he has alluded, and which have already made themselves manifest in the Motherland and in other dominions of the Empire, and which' may make themselves manifest in the great neighbouring republic, I am supremely confident with him that in this, the greatest self-governing Dominion of the Empire, those difficulties will be met and will be solved, and that the purpose of our people will be maintained until the cause for which Canada has entered this war has

been abundantly established and, safe-guarded. I agree with him that if democracy is not capable of that devotion and that sacrifice, then democracy will have failed to justify its existence. I agree with him also that we cannot for one moment contemplate any such event or -any such outcome.

A few weeks ago this Parliament had the privilege of listening to a most eloquent address from a distinguished statesman and orator, one who brought us a message, as it were from the very heart, of things, a message from France which has endured with such wonderful patience, such splendid heroism and such remarkable fortitude all the barbarities and horrors that this war and the methods by which it has been waged have laid upon the French people. From what I have heard of that mestsage, I am confident that it would be imperishable in the memories of all who had the privilege of listening to it; but nevertheless it was thought proper, and indeed it was most desirable, that it should be inscribed upon the records of this Parliament in order that it might remain as a witness to us and to all who come after us of what that great statesman desired to convey to us on behalf of the country and the people for whom he spoke.

And so to-day, having listened to the very moving and earnest address with which we have been favoured by Mr. Balfour, I am confident that my right hon. friend Sir Wilfrid Laurier will join with me in moving that the message to'which we have just listened shall be inscribed upon the records of our Hansard and shall in that way endure for those of the present day and for those who are to follow us as the .words of one whose great experience, distinguished ability and close association with the events of this war for more than two years enable him to speak with a peculiar authority. I therefore move, seconded by Sir Wilfrid Laurier:

That the speech of the Rt. Hon. Arthur J. Balfour, delivered before the Parliament of Canada to-day, be published in the official report of the Debates of this House.

I conclude by conveying, as I am sure I may convey, the most grateful appreciation and thanks of this House and of this country for his message. I bid him God-speed in the work which still lies before him, and I repeat once more that he may take back to those in. the Motherland beyond the sea the firm resolve and determination of the Parliament and people of this country to do our duty tc the end, whatever it may be.


(Leader of the Liberal party): Mr. Speaker, and Mr. President of the Senate, I certainly, with the very greatest pleasure, second the motion of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister. I do it with all the more pleasure from the fact that the thoughts which have been expressed in such noble language by Mr. Balfour to-day are not thoughts for this day only, but are thoughts that have laid down a rule of conduct for all Canadians, not only in this emergency, but in their every-day life. Even now, after the many ovations which have been accorded spontaneously and enthusiastically wherever Mr. Balfour has appeared, ever since he has landed upon the shores of this continent, and which have grown in magnitude from the day he crossed over the border and entered into Canadian territory-even after all these demonstrations, Mr. Balfour can scarcely realize the depth and the warmth of the feeling with which he is greeted. When a man has risen to the high position which he occupies to-day and which he has occupied for so many years in the government of his country; when he has mounted from summit to summit until he has reached the highest pinnacle of fame and reputation, he need not be surprised if, wherever he appears, he is received with pride and acclamation.

But Mr. Balfour, I am sure, would be the first to recognize that the warmth of the reception which he has received, especially in this country, is not due alone to his great name and personality, but is associated with an even greater name, the name of England, the Champion of liberty, the mother of living nations.

England, great at all times, was never greater than at this moment; never was greater, I repeat, and because of what? Because to-day England is the home of civilization and the terror of the enemies of civilization. In Germany to-day the cry is, "Gott strafe England." But everywhere else, on the seven seas, throughout the five continents, in the mansions of the great, and in the cottages of the lowly, there rises every day the fervent and ever more fervent prayer, " God bless England." God bless England for all the sacrifices she has made, for the duties she has undertaken, for the risks she has assumed.

Undoubtedly in this great war-Mr. Balfour referred to it eloquently a moment ago-the greatest sacrifice of all has been made by France. That was unavoidable, because by reason of her geographical position, France had to bear the first shock

of battle. It was the good fortune of France at the battle of the Marne to shatter the plans of Germany; though it was not to be that she should win a decisive victory there. The war has gone on since and with varying fortunes, but we have reason to believe, and believe firmly, that victory, though it a, ay be distant, is as sure as the rising of to-morrow's sun. Evidences are accumulating more and more, that after all the supreme battle, the final victory, will be won on the high seas. The strategy of Germany to-day is to starve England. The British people have accepted the challenge, and it is the British navy which will win the final victory. I pin my faith not on warships alone, but equally upon the merchant ships. Our heart goes out to the men on those merchant ships which day in and day out are sailing in and out of the ports of England with food, that she may continue her life. Every day sees these ships, insufficiently armed if not defenceless, putting out to sea regardless of the risk of being sunk by an invisible and cowardly enemy, and whenever one does get torpedoed she goes down with her sailors cheering to the last for England. This is the spirit upon which we rely for final victory, because we are confident that victory will be won not merely by cannon shots, but also by the living soul of man.

I have nothing to add to the message which you, SiT, will take back to England, and which has been expressed so eloquently by Mr. Speaker, but if I had to add one word, and one word only, it would be that you report to the people of England, to the people of Europe, to the people of the whole world that we Canadians stand to-day prouder of the British allegiance than we were three years ago.

The motion of the Prime Minister seconded by the leader of the Opposition that the speech of Mr. Balfour be published in the official report of the Debates of the House, was agreed to.

On the motion for Sir Robert Borden for the adjournment of the House.


William Pugsley



Before the House

adjourns I beg to propose three cheers for Mr. Balfour.

The members of both Houses and those present in the galleries joined in prolonged cheering.



I thank you from my


Motion agreed bo, and the House adjourned at 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 29, 1917.

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May 28, 1917