Yes. I read from the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier on August 19, 1914, in this very House.
When the call comes our answer goes at once, and it goes in the classical language of the British answer to the call to duty: "Ready, aye, ready."
I desire now to make some brief references to certain criticisms of myself offered by the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice complained of contradictions in my speech. I do not think the Minister of Justice saw any single contradiction. I have since asked hon. members not of my political faith if they
had observed any, and they say none. My position is perfectly clear. " Oh," says the Minister of Justice, looking across to me, "you complain about Britain having mingled in European policies, and then you complain because we do not mingle in European policies." Does the Minister of Justice really think that was fair? Does he even think it was an intelligent reference to my remarks? I did not complain of Britain mingling in European policies; not at all, never for a second; but I did advise, and I urged, that Canada should advise against special European guarantees or commitments, and I urged that the influence of Canada should have been exerted to have averted Britain from that course.
Then he says: " One minute you say that
we should approve the treaty, the next minute you say we should not." I say nothing of the sort. I do say that I believe an error was made, to the best of the information I have. I admit that not being present, not having heard all the presentation, my opinion may not carry any great weight; in fact, I may possibly be wrong, and I am open to be persuaded to the contrary, but generally speaking I do believe it is wrong policy on the part of Britain to become involved in European guarantees and commitments, to become aligned with any group as opposed to any other group, and I think it is wrong policy because it is inconsistent with her position as a world power rather than as a European power.
Then the Minister of Justice says: " Why
don't you move to disapprove the treaty, or approve it?" I would not for a moment advise this parliament not to approve of ratification. I do not see how we are in a position to do it. If we disapprove of the treaty, we should have taken our stand long ago. This government allowed every opportunity to go by. This government is estopped to-day from expressing disapproval of the treaty. This government sat at the Imperial conference and never disapproved of a single term of the treaty. It received communications every day, according to definite statements of the British government which I have in my hand, received them every day for weeks and months, telling them of the whole course of the negotiations, and they never uttered one word of protest or advice. How then could we get up in our dignity now and disapprove of the treaty being ratified?
Then he says: "Why don't you approve?" I am prepared to vote for approval, but it is no business of mine, the leader of the opposition, to introduce a motion for ratifying a treaty. What would be thought throughout the Empire of a course of that sort? Let
the government move ratification, even at this stage, and I answer them at once; we are in no position to refuse; our only course would be to accept. But this does not excuse the government. The government had the opportunity to make the influence of Canada felt, and the government ran away from that opportunity, believing though wholly wrongly that if they did so, there would be no binding force in the treaty upon us. This is the humiliating position Canada finds herself in now.
is not injured very much by that. It is injured when we have an opportunity we do not avail ourselves of. We had the opportunity all along. "Oh," the Minister of Justice says, "Great Britain without consulting us decided that we could not have separate representation at the conference." Now the first letter of October 27 simply says Great Britain, France and Italy have sent out invitations. Naturally we would not be invited by the other powers. We would only be invited, if invited at all, by Great Britain, to be represented in her delegation. We might press, and I think we might have pressed successfully, to have had the same character of representation sitting at the conference as we had at Sevres and at Paris but if we could not have succeeded in that we at least could be represented in the British delegation. This is not a matter in which France has any say; it is not a matter that concerns Italy or Jugo-Slavia or any other country; it is a matter between only Great Britain and Canada. We may not have been able to increase the number at the conference table, but we could have been represented there in a way which would have brought us close to the whole conduct of affairs and in a position to influence British policy, if we so desired, from day to day. There was nothing in the world to hinder the government, after receipt of the letter of October 27, 1922, from urging that Canada be at the table, but if they felt for the reasons given in that secret dispatch, reasons, by the way, that I do not regard as powerful at all, reasons that were surmounted before and could be surmounted again-if we failed to surmount them, there was nothing to prevent us being represented in the British delegation, and the only reason we were not so
represented was that we made no request to be represented, and Great Britain thought we did not want to be. They naturally thought we were quite content to let them go ahead themselves.
It is stated, parliament is now the only authority to say whether or not we take any part, and if so, what, in the enforcement of the treaty or in the securing of rights that arise later on by virtue thereof. Well, parliament has had that right ever since Canada had a parliament. Does the hon. member think Canada was ever without those rights? Were we not consenting parties, for example, to the Anglo-Japanese alliance? Did not Sir Wilfrid1 Laurier, when the question of the first renewal of that alliance came up, expressly affirm on behalf of Canada approval of that renewal? That is what he did, and I am not criticising him at all. Perhaps I would have done otherwise, but anyway parliament made no Objection. Now then, does the minister say that because Canada approved of that renewal, was a party thereto, if any war arose as a result, we had no say as to what participation we should have in it? We had absolute command of the whole situation. Parliament, in the light of Canada's position, could decide what we would do and what we would not do, notwithstanding the fact that Canada manfully, under the leadership of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, declared her position. Never under Laurier did we assume the position, if you call it that, the retreating, ambiguous, crouching position we took in 1922, and never did we assume the position we are now in as a result of this correspondence over Lausanne.
It is stated furthermore, and I have already referred to this statement of the Minister of Justice, that it was harder for us to be represented, owing to the different European conditions, in 1923 than it was back at the time of the treaty of Paris. He says the relations between the Allies were not so cordial-I understand his point; I did not at first-and consequently it was harder to get France and Italy to agree that we should have separate representation at the conference. I do not know that there was very much in it. I know they objected strongly in 1918, but I know that their objections were overcome, but suppose that they could not have been overcome; suppose the conditions and the jealousies were such that they could not be overcome, very well; then we could have had representation on the British delegation and could have been in a position to press the Canadian viewpoint, and to warn against courses which ultimately might result to our detriment. How did the minister know the 188
objections could not be overcome? He never tried. Hardly was the communication received than Canada sprang to the opportunity, I presume thinking we were getting out of something, and notified them that what they did was fine and that no exception could be taken to it at all.
Then it is stated-and the Minister of Justice dwelt upon it at some length, though rather cautiously-that our present relations are unsatisfactory, that they are too undefined, that our obligations within the Empire, our duties, our responsibilities and our rights have not that definiteness they ought to have; and consequently the resolution passed in 1917 at the Imperial conference, which provided that after the war there should be a constitutional conference whose functions should be more clearly to define these relations, should have been given effect to. He criticises me because I was a party to a resolution in 1921 which stated that in view of the constitutional developments-and I ask hon. gentlemen to mark the words-which had taken place after 1917 and before 1921, the relations were clear enough for the present and such conference was unnecessary.
What were those constitutional developments? Between 1917 and 1921 we acquired the right to representation in the negotiation of high political treaties. We acquired the right to representation as an individual country within the Empire. That right we did not have before. This was an achievement, and a marked achievement, and the conference of 1921 felt that, in view of this and other matters, but this one in chief, there was no more need of a constitutional conference. I am quite aware, and I admit very freely, that Sir Robert Borden has taken a position contrary to that taken by myself. I must say, by way of plea, that the entire representation of all the dominions there agreed with our position, and the resolution declaring in 1921 that the constitutional conference was no longer necessary was unanimously assented to by all present. And let me add that there may be a measure of, may I say, indefinity; there is an absence of written contract or obligation ; but if I apprehend the meaning and mission of this Empire aright, it is based on that very fact; its greatest strength is that very fact. The Empire is a growth, a development, an evolution. It is not anything that is the consequence of negotiation and written contract, and I would take this occasion to advise the administration, and I advise them earnestly, that they should not take the pathway of constitutional conferences whose purpose may be to make a brand new constitu-
tion for this Empire. Let the process continue to be a process of growth and evolution. Do not let us get into the machinery and seek to hammer nails in here and there and erect something of the nature of the constitution of the United States, for the Empire of which we are a member. However, if the government decides otherwise. I shall place no captious obstacle in their way. If they decide that the part of wisdom is to bring about a constitutional conference, go ahead. I would prefer they should be in the discussion rather than I myself. Evidently they wall be slow in coming to such a decision. They went through the conference of 1923 and never brought the question up, and I venture the prediction that they will go through another conference, if they ever live to see one, and they will not advance a proposal for a constitutional conference even then.
Now it is stated that Mr. Ramsay MacDonald clearly understands and approves of the present position of this government. Well if he does, it is in one of those secret communications which we are not allowed to see. I have not read anything from his public utterances that intimates that he either understands or approves of it. He is bewildered. Every utterance he has ever made shows that he is bewildered, and does not know what we want. No one connected with the negotiations would know what we wanted or where we were. The Minister of Justice says Mr. MacDonald is the heir of circumstances; and is not at fault because he found things in the muddle they were. Yes, he is the heir of circumstances, may be the heir of blunders, but the blunders he is heir to are the blunders of this government. He does not complain himself that he is heir to any blunders of any former British government. You do not find him complaining of the message in September 1922. You do not find him complaining that Britain's stand was not consistent from beginning to end. On the contrary he has made no complaint in relation to the conduct of Great Britain towards Canada. The blunder he complains of is the blunder which is embodied in this whole correspondence, which from beginning to end on the part of this Dominion is a masterpiece of turgidity and evasion.
that there are many hon. members in this House who would like to speak in this debate, and I do not propose to follow my right hon. friend's example and take up most of the time of the House at this hour. However,
I cannot afford to let pass a remark which he has made that the government, by the course it pursued in 1922, which I think he describes as crouching and cringing, had helped to embarrass the British government at a critical moment when it was facing the grave possibility of war. I must thank my hon. friend for raising the question of what happened in September, 1922, because I think it is well that not only the members of this House but the people of the country should appreciate just exactly what took place at that time, the attitude which was taken by this government and the probable attitude which would have been taken by my right hon. friend had1 he been in office at that particular moment.
I think it was on a Saturday, the end of the week, without any previous word whatever to members of the administration, that there appeared in the press of this country a communication purporting to have been sent by the British cabinet, asking if Canada would associate herself with the British government in sending troops to the Near East to meet the Turks in a possible conflict. That was not an ordinary dispatch. That was not a communication that could be received lightly by any government or dealt with in an offhand manner. It stirred this country from one end to the other with excitement and with questioning. The government, before indicating what position might be finally taken in the situation, asked the British government first by what particular authority or means it came about that this dispatch should have been given to the press before it was conveyed to the Canadian government; and also asked for exact information, with regard to the situation in the Near East. At the time the government asked for exact information we intimated that, in regard to the sending of troops to the Near East to take part in any conflict there, the British government should know at once that parliament would have to authorize a contingent of the kind, and that before the government could speak in the name of parliament, or before the government would feel justified in summoning parliament, we wished' to know from the British government whether the situation was sufficiently critical to warrant summoning parliament for the purpose of considering that message.
I ask hon. members of this House if that was not the proper, correct and, indeed, the only right attitude for the government to take. Happily, we are able to appeal to the facts of the situation. We are able, now, in the light of the history of events, to say
whether the government took or did not take the right attitude. What happened? Very shortly after that communication had been sent out in the supposed name of the British government, it was denounced by the one who himself became the next Prime Minister of Great Britain; it was denounced by other members of the British cabinet the Coalition cabinet of the day, as having been sent out without any authority. The Right Hon. Lord Curzon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to whom my right hon. friend has been referring tonight, in one of the strongest of his public statements said that no such communication should have been sent to any of the British dominions; that it was not justified; that it was precipitating a very dangerous situation. More than that, the late Prime Minister, Mr. Stanley Baldwin, led an opposition against the then government of which he had been a member, very largely on account of that very communication and through the general election in which the appeal was made to the British electorate by Mr. Stanley Baldwin and by the late Mr. Bonar Law, the charge against the Lloyd George-Churchill administration of the day was that by their action they had almost precipitated the British nation and the British Empire into another war; they asked the people of Great Britain whether they approved an action of that kind, and the people of the British Isles showed by their verdict in no uncertain terms that, if possible, they wanted an end put to jingoism.
My right hon. friend says: Canada's action embarrassed the British government because no answer was sent. What has he to say about South Africa? South Africa never even answered the communication. It was said that the Prime Minister, General Smuts, was away somewhere, many miles from the capital; that he knew nothing about the matter. He returned a fortnight after the communication was sent to South Africa and then replied that he was happy that the situation was now ended and that there was no need to reply. Does my right hon. friend also condemn South Africa's stand? Why does my right hon. friend condemn his own country always and have nothing to say as regards other parts of the Empire which have taken identical action, or if not identical at least, not as helpful? We said that we would place before parliament the facts and let parliament decide. We took the responsibility. Ours was the responsibility for summoning parliament. Ours was the responsibility also for refusing to summon parliament. We had to have information to decide how we should act in the light of our responsibility. Had we summoned parlia-188i
ment without information, had we called together the members from one end of this country to the other only to tell them when they met, that this dispatch had never been authorized by the British cabinet, we would have been in a fine position as a government. My right hon. friend would have had a glorious time condemning us then. We took the right, sober, sane, dignified and proper attitude of asking for information so that we could decide like reasonable, careful and thoughtful men what it was right and best to do in a very serious situation.
I may say to my right hon. friend that I have been told by members of the government of which Mr. Churchill was a member that that communication was not authorized on the part of the cabinet. That shows one of the reasons why this government or any government that may be in office in this country at any time will do well to examine critically and get exact information before committing the whole country to an attitude which may involve the country in war. More than that I have been told by Mr. Churchill himself that the communication was never intended for Canada; that it was a communication intended for Australia and New Zealand because of their special interest in the Near East, and that it was only an after-thought on his part which occasioned the sending of this communication to Canada. I make that statement publicly, because I think Mr. Churchill would be the first one to be prepared to have it so made. Indeed, he gave it to me as an explanation of what he remarked himself must have seemed to us an extraordinary circumstance, namely that such a communication should have come in the way in which I have just referred. The Prime Ministers who were present at the Imperial Conference were told in most unmistakable language that as regards the British government this communication was an unauthorized communication. Yet my right hon. friend says that we adopted a crouching and cringing attitude because we did not shout "ready, aye ready", and were not prepared to enter into a European conflict without weighing carefully the consequences of our attitude and our words.
My right hon. friend in condemnation of our attitude, quotes from the Globe the statement that the then situation was to allow "the bestial Turk to return to Europe across the Straits. I think those were the words he used in saying that we should have got into this situation and prevented "the bestial Turk" from returning across the Straits.
Yes, and my right hon. friend used them in condemnation of the government. For what is this treaty he is saying we ought to approve to-day? It is amongst other things to see that "the bestial Turk," to use the Globe's words, is kept in Constantinople, is kept in Europe. It does not matter to my right hon. friend what the merits of the case are, whether it is the bestial Turk in Europe or out of Europe; it is just a question of what government happens to be in power when these particular questions are being discussed. He is in any great question of this kind prepared to condemn the government's attitude regardless of what side we take. I think there are other observers who have a right, perhaps, to be quoted with just as much authority as the Globe in the article to which my right hon. friend referred. A minute or two ago, the hon. the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) quoted an article which, I think, was published with very good authority, an article written and signed by Lieutenant-Colonel John Bayne MacLean, Editor of MacLean's Magazine, and I think hon. members know that Mr. MacLean is not a supporter of this administration. The article appeared in the November 1922 issue. What did Mr. MacLean say, using his own words:
Some men, not Canadians, who have unusually good resources of world-wide information, whose judgment is generally sound and wthose views are held in high esteem, are positive that had our premier succumbed to the Lloyd Gttorge-Churchill demands, preceded as they were by propaganda and scheming for Canadian participation, the British Empire would have undoubtedly have been at war now with Turkey, Russia and perhaps India, Afghanistan, Persia and God knows who else or what the end would have been.
This is the position' that Lieutenant-Colonel MacLean takes in regard to a hair-breadth escape, as my right hon. friend says, which the world had from war at that time.
-had a very wholesome and restraining effect at a very critical moment, and no one can say that the attitude of Canada at that time did not avert a war in the world then. I do not go so far as to say that it did, but I will go so far as to say that such is the opinion pretty generally held by some of the best informed persons in Great Britain at the present time.
Mr. Speaker, it is my misfortune to rise to take part in a debate so far monopolised by the best debaters of this House, but I hold, on this question of our relations with the Empire, views which it is my privilege to be able to express in this House. The self-governing dominions were not invited to send delegates to the Lausanne conference. This was a departure from the practice adopted at the Versailles treaty and followed in the covenant of the League of Nations and at the Disarmament conference at Washington. The question now is whether Canadh, having taken no part in the negotiation of this treaty nor signed it by her representatives, as distinct from those of Great Britain, should ratify it. It is a question which pertains to the constitutional law of Canada; but one would delve in vain into the British North America Act and the other Imperial acts concerning Canada, passed since 1867, to find texts or some authority to enlighten him on the subject. There is fortunately another source of our constitutional rights; it is the precedents. It is stated in the preamble of the British North America Act that the constitution of Canada is based upon the British constitution, which, as you all know, is an unwritten constitution, having its main foundation on conventions, usages and customs. Though the constitution of Canada is mainly found in the British North America Act, none can deny that, since confederation, it has in many respects been altered and modified, and that many of the rights and liberties which we enjoy to-day have no other foundation than usage and custom. It is a fact that we now enjoy rights and powers which were not granted to us by our constitution, which we did not think of claiming or exercising some years ago, but which are now as fully acknowledged as if they had been granted by a precise text of our constitution. In other words our constitution has this analogy with the unwritten constitution of Great Britain, that as in Great Britain, a right repeatedly asserted, exercised and acknowledged becomes vested with us as fully as if it was embodied in our constitution. Our constitution is therefore based to some extent on precedents and it follows, necessarily, that precedents, once established, must be lived up to or followed, otherwise they will annul each other and this important element of our constitutional development will atrophy or vanish.
Permit me, sir, to shortly relate the gradual evolution of our constitution in our international relations. Nowhere are the develop-
ments of our constitution, as founded upon precedents, more striking than in this domain.
At the time of confederation it was Great Britain which, alone and without consultation with Canada, made all commercial and political treaties for Canada. That is the original stage. A first step forward was made when in 1871 Sir John Macdonald was appointed as a delegate to act, jointly with four other British plenipotentiaries, in the negotiation of a treaty with the United States. He was on an equal footing with his colleagues, but being one out of five, his participation was rather nominal; and if you look into hi's correspondence of that time, you will find that he had many complaints to lay against his colleagues and against the system.
By 1880 it is claimed by Professor Keith, a noted authority on constitutional law, the principle was' secured that new commercial treaties of the United Kingdom should not be made applicable to the colonies without assent of their respective governments, and that if a colony desired to conclude special arrangements with a foreign state, the Imperial government would use its efforts to secure a treaty to that end. It was conceded a little later that delegates of the colonies might be appointed for the negotiation of treaties of commerce for them; but these delegates were to act merely as advisers of the Imperial plenipotentiaries or in a subordinate capacity.
In 1894 at the Colonial conference which was held at Ottawa a resolution was passed asking for legislation to enable the dependencies to enter into agreements of commercial reciprocity with foreign nations, but this demand was rejected in the dispatch of Lord Ripon, dated the 29th of June, 1895, where he laid down the rule that all such negotiations must be conducted by His Majesty's representatives at the court of the foreign power, but tiiat this Imperial representative might enlist the assistance, either as a second plenipotentiary or in a subordinate capacity, of a delegate appointed by the colonial government.
The first departure from these rules occurred in 1907, when, for the first time in our history, the negotiations of a treaty of commerce with France were conducted solely by the Canadian representatives and full powers were issued by the Crown to these two plenipotentiaries alone; the participation of the British ambassador being restricted to the introduction of the negotiators and to the signing of the treaty, though the ratification by the British government was yet required.
This is the third step in the development of our constitutional right to deal with foreign nations. These negotiations were first carried on by the Imperial government alone; later Canadian delegates were appointed but as advisers or in a subordinate capacity, and now they are allowed to carry the negotiations themselves, though under powers derived from the Crown.
A further step was made when in 1910 a convention was entered into between Canada and Germany, the negotiations being carried on by Dr. Karl Lang, Imperial German consul for Canada, representing the imperial government and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), representing His Excellency the Governor General of Canada, acting in conjunction with the King's Privy Council for Canada; such being the description of the contracting parties in the agreement. This agreement referred however to trade conventions which were to be given effect to by concurrent legislation in both countries.
The most radical alteration, howeverr, occurred after the war, when the prime ministers of the self-governing dominions claimed the right for each dominion to be .represented at the negotiation of the treaties which followed the war by its own delegates, appointed by the Crown acting as to each dominion on the advice of their respective cabinets. As a consequence, at the Peace conference, each dominion was represented by delegates appointed by the Crown acting on the advice of the local cabinet, each one acting for his local government as a separate unit. The same procedure was followed at the Washington conference.
This evolution which I have tried to retrace marks for Canada a most important constitutional development, which has no other foundation than precedents.
In view of these constitutional developments, I claim that this treaty in so far as it purports to impose obligations upon us, is not legally binding without ratification.
I claim moreover that if Canada were to ratify the treaty of Lausanne, a treaty negotiated only by British plenipotentiaries, who were without mandate of any kind from the Canadian government, the authority of all these precedents would fall to the ground, and moreover that it would establish a new precedent enabling the Imperial government to hereafteT negotiate treaties for Canada and impose obligations upon her without her participation and without her consent.
Some will say that Canada does participate in the treaty by being called upon to ratify
it. In the circumstances under which this treaty would) be presented for ratification to the Canadian parliament, every one knows that it would be a mere camouflage, that it would be simply a nominal formality, because we would not be at liberty to modify it, and at no time would we ever have been in a position to present our views on its terms. Therefore if this treaty was tabled for ratification, the action of this House would be a mere rubber stamping. I submit that we have passed this stage and that if we want to preserve the constitutional freedom which our past statesmen have conquered for us, we can only look upon this treaty as nonexisting.
The Imperial conference of last fall laid down rules concerning our international relations. These rules did not create a new order of things; they did not effect a change of our status; they were merely the formal statements setting forth a change of status already effected, they prescribed the formalities which should be followed as a consequence of this change of status. Resolution No. 2 states:
Where a bilateral treaty imposes obligations on more than one part of the Empire it should be signed by one or more plenipotentiaries on behalf of all the governments concerned.
Resolution No. 3 provides:
As regards treaties negotiated at international conferences, the existing practice of signature by plenipotentiaries, on behalf of all the governments of the Empire represented at the conference should be continued and full powers should be in the form employed at Paris and Washington.
A ratification of the treaty of Lausanne would not be in conformity with these rules; it would be a disregard of them on the very first occasion after they had been formulated. No one was authorized to negotiate this treaty for Canada or to sign on her behalf -a breach of both these rules. It follows that for Canada to ratify this treaty would be to sanction their violation.
If we want to preserve the new status which has been acknowledged to us, it is for us to see that this status be recognized by foreign nations. This constitutional freedom in international relations, acknowledged as belonging to the British self-governing dominions by the treaty of Versailles, received a most formal sanction in the covenant of the League of Nations, where these dominions were admitted into the League as separate states, on the same footing as the small independent nations, and were allowed in the assembly of the League their own representatives, in the same way as all the other members of the League whose sovereignty was
not controverted. It may be said that from that moment the distinct status of the selfgoverning dominions and the autonomy in internal and external affaire were proclaimed throughout the British Empire and throughout the world at large. It would seem to me unconceivable that a British dominion like Canada, admitted into the Assembly of the League of Nations with the representation and with the powers of the fully sovereign states, called upon to pay her full share of the cost of maintenance of the League and empowered to participate in the settlement of the most contentious and portentous world problems, should yet remain unable to control her own external affairs. Within the British Empire the situation is fairly well understood; there is no friction, and no fear of difficulty arises; but many of the foreign nations have yet failed to grasp the full sense of this constitutional development, because this freedom which we enjoy now is veiled by a mesh of formalities based on tradition and on the ties which bind together the commonwealth of the British nations, of which history has no precedent and which had not been foreseen by international law.
Now, therefore, the problem for the British Empire and for these self-governing dominions is to acquaint foreign nations with this new situation, with the changes that it carries with it, and to obtain for each of these new states the recognition of this sovereignty, which, in their relations with foreign nations, must be complete and unfettered, and yet, towards the British Commonwealth, remains subject to the limitations which an association or a partnership imposes upon its members in their relations between themselves. In order to obtain the world wide recognition of this new autonomy, it is essential that Canada in her dealings with foreign nations act in accordance with her status now claimed. It is only by seeing Canada and the other self-governing dominions act as separate entities and under their own authority that foreign nations will grasp the significance and the importance of the change which has occurred in our status, and will be brought to recognize and acknowledge our present freedom.
Already this assertion has been justified by the attitude of the American Senate. One of the grounds of objection of the United States to the League of Nations was the admittance of the British dominions on the footing of the independent nations. The American senators had failed to understand the importance of the change which has occurred in the constitution of the dominions,
but if Great Britain and the dominions did not claim that since their participation in the war the dominions had acquired equality of status with fully sovereign nations, and if they did not conform all their actions to this new status, the argument of these senators would be unassailable. Under these circumstances the dominions in their dealings with foreign nations are bound to base all their actions on this new status. In many cases they might, with confidence and advantage, trust the British Foreign Office to take good care of their interests, but nevertheless, on account of the misunderstanding it might create in the minds of foreign nations, they must in all cases live up to their new status. They cannot claim that they have acquired certain rights and yet act as though they did not possess them, because other people will judge them more by their actions than by their words; therefore their actions must conform to their words. If Great Britain is to continue to make treaties for them, as she did fifty years ago, who will believe that they enjoy the right to make them for themselves?
If after having claimed and obtained the right to make our treaties or to participate in the treaties which may impose obligations upon us, we ratify this treaty, we will be proclaiming to the world that the government of Great Britain is still the superior authority which makes treaties for us, we will be giving away our right to make treaties in matters which concern us, we will be assuming obligations contracted for us, without mandate; in international matters it would put us back in the position we were in fifty years ago. Of course I agree that a person enjoying full civil rights may ratify deeds done for him by others, but we are in this peculiar position, that our enjoyment of sovereign rights is not yet fully recognized by foreign nations, and, under these circumstances, our ratification would be looked upon as a denial of our claims. It is true that our relations with Great Britain might not be affected and that it might not be regarded there as an abandonment of our rights, but would not the effect on foreign nations be totally different, would it not postpone for decades and decades the acknowledgement of these rights by them?_
Besides Great Britain and Turkey, there are other nations interested in this treaty; there were obligations contracted by all the participating nations. None of them asked for our participation. How then, can they expect that we will now take up our share of the burden of these obligations for their benefit and! to their partial relief? Great Britain might wish us to assume our share of responsibility in
this matter, but it is a matter to be settled between ourselves. We do not need for that purpose to ratify the treaty, and by so doing to assume obligations toward other countries.
It has been said that as Canada was informed of the progress of the discussion at the conference and did not raise any objection, she is now bound to ratify the treaty. It seems to me an erroneous conclusion. To be informed is not to be consulted. It was proper that we should get this information on account of our association in the commonwealth of British nations, but, as we were not represented at the conference, as we were not a party to the treaty, we presumed that no one intended to impose obligations upon us when not asking for our participation in the negotiations, and it cannot follow that on account of this information we are now bound to ratify the treaty.
The effect of the treaty is to establish peace between Great Britain and Turkey and as a consequence between Canada and Turkey. It is argued from this that it is better for Canada to ratify the treaty and so have a hand in the making of the treaty of peace than to let the British government make peace for us without our participation. This argument does not seem sound to me because it confuses the international point of view with the constitutional one. From the international poipt of view there is no doubt that the signature of the king to the treaty or to its ratification establishes .peace between Turkey and the whole of the British Empire, but the question of our liability for the obligations assumed by Great Britain under this treaty is not an international one; it is merely a constitutional one and it behooves us to repudiate this liability or to fix its limits. Now there is no reason in the world why we should assume obligations under this treaty. It was considered from the beginning that Canada had no claim to make nor interest to protect, she was not invited to the negotiations, she was not consulted; no general Imperial interests were at stake; and under such circumstances there is no need to ratify it.
Let me say, Sir, in conclusion, that if it is better to withhold this ratification, it is not on account of the actions of Great Britain, it is not because we are not satisfed with what the British plenipotentiaries did at that conference; it is because we object to be subject to obligations which were not contracted by us; it is because it is not wise, after having proclaimed to the world our new status, after having been ad-
mitted to the League of Nations under this new status, that we should act as if we did not possess the rights andi liberties which it entails.
We owe it to our dignity to point out to the American senators and to the*world at large that in her relations with foreign nations Canada recognizes no obligations but those she contracts herself. The equality of nationhood between Great Britain and the selfgoverning dominions has been proclaimed to the world, not only by dominion public men but by the political leaders of Great Britain. In the words of Lord Milner:
There is no kind of authority which in practice, whatever may be the theory of the constitution, the parliament and people of the United Kingdom claim any longer to exercise over the parliaments and people of the self governing dominions-
We have accepted these declarations not with a feeling of mere national vanity, but as an acknowledgement of our majority, as putting an end to any bond of inferiority or subordination in our relations with Great Britain and with foreign nations; and this equality of citizenship, this equality of nationhood, which are the appanage of all freemen worthy of the name, must be cherished, must be guarded, must be secured and cannot be hampered by the submission to obligations contracted without our participation.
Mr. Speaker, I do not like the roundabout way by which we have at last arrived at a discussion of the Lausanne treaty, but it is possible that this roundabout way is symbolic of the manner in which, it is asserted, Canada will be held responsible by the obligations which the treaty of Lausanne itself involves. It is symbolic also of the anomalous position which Canada, budding into nationhood, finds itself in in the barren fields of imperialism. However, I welcome the opportunity of discussing our position and our status, no matter by what parliamentary circumlocutions it has come to us. I welcome it because the problem before us is fraught with tremendous possibilities for the future of our country. If it were not so I would not at this late hour inflict upon this House a lengthy speech. But I should like to add a word or two as to the character of the debate thus far and in particular as it has been carried on between the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen).
May I offer this impression which I have received, without presumption and without appearing in any way to offer advice to right hon. gentlemen who have held responsible
positions and have reputations internationally as statesmen? But they have given me the impression that each was afraid lest some imagined political prestige might be lost in this discussion. I do not suppose for a moment that that was the opinion they had or the motive which actuated them, but it appears to me that the great point of the discussion has been missed. The right hon. gentlemen will agree with me that neither this present government nor the leader of the opposition is to blame for the anomalous position in which Canada finds herself. I think they will be ready to agree that the position in which we are now placed has come to us in the process of our evolution from colonial status to the status of an independent nation. Had this been made clear, and had the right hon. gentlemen referred to tackled the real problem they would have done better service.
Of the treaty of Lausanne itself little need be said. When it was presented to the British parliament a short time ago by Right Hon. Mr. Ponsonby, he presented it, if we could gather his sentiments from Hansard, as a matter of stern duty. He had no good words to offer in its favour. The right hon. gentleman who spoke in favour of the treaty, and who was in the party in power when the treaty was negotiated, offered what was more of an apologia than a paean of praise in favour of the treaty. And then the Right Hon. David Lloyd George, in his characteristic way, speaks of it as a terrible treaty, a humiliating treaty, a cowardly treaty, a calamitous treaty. And yet this is the treaty that the right hon. leader of the opposition still expresses his willingness at this late hour to ratify, if only the government will make the motion! But I say we are not discussing the contents of the treaty itself, though if I wereas ready to ratify it as some hon
gentlemen of this House are I would be inclined to read it-to study the various clauses of it. But as Canada was not consulted in the matter at all; as she had nothing to do with signing or ratifying it, we can dispense with the discussion of the treaty itself and consider rather the principles to be followed in making future treaties so far as Canada is concerned.
It will not. be denied, I think, that our present position in this regard is a deplorable one. I should say that the position of the foreign policy of Canada, if it be correct to ;peak of Canada as having a foreign policy, is a laughing stock t'o the other nations of the world. Yet again the right hon. leader of the opposition says, in substance, that the
strength of our Imperial relations consists in their very nebulosity. Simply because nobody understands them, simply because nobody can explain what they are, therefore our position is all the stronger. I have been trying to gather from the remarks of the Prime Minister and from the speeches of the leader of the opposition what our position really is, if we could only name it or say
12 m. what it was that would be some comfort. There seem to be two positions, one advocated by the Prime Minister and the other by the leader of the opposition. So far as 1 have been able to follow the Prime Minister's position, I would say it consists in this: To say that we are
free of the obligations of the treaty, knowing very well we are not free, but bound by it. On the other hand, the position of the right hon. leader of the opposition is clear.
I do not think there is any hon. member of this House that failed to understand precisely what he means. He seems to agree that we are bound, he seems to be satisfied to be bound, and would seek to impress Canada's viewpoint on Imperial policy. That is a clear position, but in my opinion a hopeless one, and I shall endeavour to give some reasons for my view in that regard.
International relations, and diplomacy and policies regarding these, have assumed an importance in the public mind unprecedented in our history. Diplomacy has been seen, at least since the Great War, as the incubator of war, and the secrecy with which it has been conducted in the past has added much to its menacing character. Foul policies have seemed to thrive best in the dark, and because of these realizations, statesmen are being forced by the change in public opinion to inaugurate a corresponding change in diplomatic policy. Mr. Ponsonby, the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Great Britain, recently declared in the British House of Commons what is to be the policy of the Labour party with regard to diplomacy and foreign relations. I shall quote a few lines from the British Hansard in which he deals with this matter. He says:
As matters now stand there is no constitutional obligation to compel the government of the day to submit treaties to this House before ratification, except in cases, such as the Treaty of Lausanne which is now under review, where a bill or financial resolution has to receive parliamentary sanction before ratification. But as a rule formal publication of a treaty does not take place until after ratification unless parliamentary action is necessary with regard to it. I need not weary the House with the many instances of important treaties which have been signed, sealed, and ratified before this House has been afforded an opportunity of discussing their provisions.
Then he presents what henceforth is to be the policy of the Labour party. He says:
It is the intention of His Majesty's government to lay on the Table of both Houses of parliament every treaty, when signed, for a period of twenty-one days, after which the treaty will be ratified and published and circutated in the Treaty Series.
That is the policy of the Labour party of Great Britain. Is it possible for Canada to find some policy that will be in keeping with the progress made in international affairs in our time, and that will be as dignified and as creditable to Canada as a nation as the position taken by Mr. Ponsonby is to Great Britain? It will be agreed readily that only in the manner in which Mr. Ponsonby intends to deal with treaties is it possible to prepare the public mind for any contingency which might possibly arise out of international agreements. When we have a war foisted upon us out of the dark, not knowing anything of the conditions which preceded it, knowing nothing Whatsoever of the international arrangements and diplomatic juggling which took place prior to the declaration of war, we have to create a war psychology, and the only way we can do it is by an appeal to falsehood, and all nations, I think, utilized that very largely in the last great war to create a psychology which would enable the people to keep on fighting.
Now, what step may Canada take towards a similar policy to that which has been outlined by the Labour party of Great Britain? It is true, of course, that the Prime Minister of Canada has often declared his adherence to such a principle as I have just announced as being the policy of the Labour party of Great Britain. I wish to take this opportunity to compliment and to congratulate the Prime Minister for his action regarding the Lausanne treaty. I am in this happy position that I did not hear his speech this afternoon. I say happy, because after listening to the criticism of hon. gentlemen who did hear it, I am afraid if I had heard it I might not have been able to pay him the compliment I am now going to pay him. His attitude towards this treaty, and his efforts to clear the feet of the Dominion from its entanglements, have been in every way honourable and courageous, and in all the published correspondence he has stood true to his own announced principles in dealing with international affairs. In so doing he has, in my opinion, expressed a democratic ideal for all Canadian statesmen. I am referring to the published correspondence which has been laid on the Table of the House, but I have been given to
understand that there is some secret correspondence which has not been tabled, and it may oe that the published messages which have inspired me to pay this compliment were merely those which were presented for popular consumption, and that there are others yet hid from mortal eye which, if revealed, would compel me to alter my opinion of the actions of the Prime Minister. I hope that we shall be able to go this far in the future, at least, that we shall not tolerate any such secrecy as I understand the Prime Minister suggested exists at the present time between Canada and the Imperial government. But assuming that there is no such secret corr respondence which could not bear the light of day, and assuming that the Prime Minister, in taking the attitude which he has taken, has expressed the democratic viewpoint of the people of Canada, let there be no mistake, either on the part of this parliament or on the part of the people of Canada in connection with this matter: Neither a refusal to ratify
this treaty nor the Prime Minister's declaration of principle will save us from being called upon to meet the obligations of this country in the case of the violation of the Lausanne treaty by any nation concerned in the future. But what we shall do when called upon is another matter. The Prime Minister's action, as shown in the correspondence referred to, undoubtedly relieved Canada from any moral obligation, but it does not relieve Canada from a constitutional obligation. Under the present arrangements, as has been very ably pointed out by the hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Shaw), it is the exclusive prerogative of the king to sign treaties and declare wars. In the very case which made the Lausanne treaty necessary, His Majesty the King declared war on Turkey, and in declaring war on Turkey, Canada also was in a state of war with Turkey. If we are not now at war with Turkey, then it must be that peace has been arranged by the very same authority that arranged the war. If we are going to repudiate the obligations of the Lausanne treaty,
I suppose that means disloyalty to the king and the disruption of the Empire. That, as I am able to understand it, is the reason why the Prime Minister says we are bound by this treaty. But our position with regard to the Lausanne treaty, complicated though it is, is much better than that respecting other treaties which we have not discussed and other treaties which will be made in the future. Take for instance the treaty of Versailles, and clause 10 of the League of Nations; these are perhaps fraught with much more danger than the Lausanne treaty ever will be.
I say that the position with regard to other treaties is worse, because in connection with other treaties Canada is supposed to have been consulted. Canada has signed some of those treaties and ratified them. In the case of the Lausanne treaty we have at least declared our position in relation thereto. But the danger with regard to subsequent treaties that may be made, and with regard to other treaties that have already been madle, is that it will be presumed that Canada has been consulted that she understands the situation appertaining to these treaties, and as a result will be in a position to accept intelligently the obligations which may appertain thereto which is not really the case, Now a consultation which implies obligation, as the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier put it once, is the policy of the imperalist, and it is now involving Canada. This is a policy which marks at least part of our movement from a colonial status. It is a sort of halfway house between colonial bondage and national freedom, and it is this policy of consultation that the right hon. leader of the opposition wishes to sustain, and seemingly thinks is a good policy for Canada to continue to follow. I propose to show that this policy of consultation with the dominions in matters international is, first undesirable, second impracticable, and third absurd.
If a treaty ratified by the British parliament were to be binding upon Canada, would the hon. member not say that if we refused to accept the treaty after it had been ratified by the British parliament and become a law applicable to the whole Empire, it would be tantamount to a declaration of independence?
I do not see what relevancy the question has to a point I was trying to discuss. I would agree with my hon. friend that to declare our independence by refusing to abide by a treaty in the way he suggests might be interpreted in some quarters as disloyalty.
answer the question. If the hon. member would tell the House what he thinks about it when I am through, and not interrupt me while I am developing my argument, I think it would be more satisfactory both to my hon. friend and myself.
That was a very wise and satisfactory arrangement.
My first point is to show that it is undesirable to accept the policy of consultation. At the best the policy of consultation brings to Canada such information as she may get in a second-hand way. It comes from the nation concerned through a foreign office and thence to Canada, when it does come. In passing through that channel it will be necessarily coloured with certain, sentiment. It will be coloured with a certain British viewpoint, and when it reaches us it will not be just exactly what it was when it started from its main source. I do not think it is fair to Canada and I do not think it is dignified for us to be satisfied with receiving second-hand informa-ation through the admirable channel of the Foreign Office of Great Britain. If we are worth consulting at all, if we are of any value either to the nation with whom Great Britain may be in consultation, or to Great Britain, or if they are of any value to us then let us have that consultation direct with the nation concerned. Let us come to our conclusion upon whatever matters may be of mutual interest between us and other nations, and then co-operate with Great Britain afterwards, instead of having a second-hand roundabout way of bringing information to Canada. It is misleading to suggest that, simply because we are called into consultation, we have acquired a status of equality. This is the chief reason why I think the policy of consultation is undesirable. It is misleading. It is not the case that consultation means equality, but here is another reason why it is undesirable to pursue this policy of consultation. I do not think that Canada wishes to be inoculated with the inbred and chronic political diseases of Europe. True they tell us the world is a unit, that as such we must recognize it, and as a nation we must be prepared to take our part in it, but the answer to that is obviously this; that it is just because the world is not a unit that treaties of the character of the Lausanne treaty have to be made.
Another reason why this is an undesirable policy is that it takes our ministers out of Canada sometimes for three months, and during that time they are not in a position to attend to their own governmental affairs. If it is imperative that Canada should have a foreign policy, then by all means let us have that foreign policy on our own behalf, as we see fit to have it, and have direct communication with the nations concerned. There are two means of performing this policy of
consultation in practice. One is by cable and the other is by conference. I wish to deal with these separately and to show that both are impracticable. With regard to the impracticability of this method, let me quote from the proceedings of the conference of prime ministers held in June, July and August of 1921, from the opening speech of the Right Hon. David Lloyd George, and here I think he lays down the basis of the policy. He says:
The direct communication between Prime Ministers, established during the war, has, I think, worked well, and we have endeavoured to keep you thoroughly abreast of all important developments in foreign affairs by special messages sent out weekly, or even more frequently when circumstances require. Indeed, at every important conference either here or on the continent, one of the first duties I felt I ought to discharge was to send as full and as complete and as accurate an account as I possibly could, not merely of the decisions taken, but of the atmosphere, which counts for so very much. I have invariably, to the best of my ability, sent accounts, some of them of the most confidential character, which would give to the dominions even the impressions which we formed, and which gave you information beyond what we could possibly communicate to the press.
It is rather a strange fact that at this very conference the prime ministers who had been so well informed according to the statements of Mr. Lloyd George, expressed surprise, almost to the state of consternation, at the information which Mr. Lloyd George was able to give them as to what had taken place in the two previous years. Let me quote our own Prime Minister at that time, the present leader of the opposition, who, I notice, is not in his seat. He says:
The information that the Prime Minister has given as to the progress of peace negotiations, or rather the re-establishment of actual peace upon the basis of the peace treaties, is indeed encouraging. I feared myself that he would not be able to make quite so gratifying a report.
Seemingly Mr. Lloyd George brought some information that the leader of the opposition was unaware existed and that made the report very much better than he thought it could possibly be. Let me quote briefly from Mr. Hughes. He said:
I desire to congratulate you on the admirable view of the position that you presented to us yesterday. I am sure it was most valuable as well as most interesting. We were all very glad to learn from you, Sir, that though the adjustment of those matters which arose out of the war is not yet complete, all our obligations, and our ex-enemies' obligations under the treaty, were in a fair way of being fulfilled.
He goes on:
We are now asked to deal with foreign policy, and in order that we may do this, you have said that Lord Curzon would review the present situation of foreign affairs. We shall await that statement with great interest. The whole Empire is concerned in foreign policy, though this was for many years re-
garded as the sole prerogative of Great Britain. Wars are hatched by foreign policy.
And so on.
I speak only for myself, of course-I am sure you will quite understand our desire to know the reasons for your policy in Mesopotamia, in Palestine, in Russia, in Egypt, and your policy in Greece and Turkey. If I have singled these things out it is not because they cover the whole field of foreign policy, but because these matters are perhaps the most obvious.
In spite of all the information Mr. Lloyd George had sent to the various prime ministers, here was a prime minister who says that he was very anxious to know what had been and what was to be the policy with regard to Mesopotamia, Palestine, Russia, Greece and Turkey, and these he had selected merely as samples. Then he proceeds:
I come to one now.
Speaking of some objections he wanted to raise.
You yourself said yesterday, Sir. that direct communication between the Prime Minister of Great Britain and his colleagues overseas had worked well. So it has; that is to say, the principle has worked well; but I think I ought to tell you, Sir, that it is rarely that one does not read in the newspapers, sometimes a day, sometimes more than a day before receiving your telegrams, a very good imitation of their substance. This arises through the great delay in the transmission of messages.
May I recall to the memory of the committee the answer given by the Prime Minister of Canada to a question put by my colleague (Mr Woodsworth), I think it was in February, 1923, as to the Lausanne treaty? The reply which the Prime Minister gave was that he had no information but that which he received from the daily press. So, that, I think, can dispose very well of the contention that by consultation through cables Canada can be kept in touch -with all matters that require displomatic action in the world of international politics.
Rut let me add to the opinions of the prime ministers quoted, the opinions of others. Mr. Lloyd George, in his speech of August 18, 1921, which is quoted in the London Times of the day following, says:
Communications by cable are not a means by which you can have real consultation, because you may have a particular point of view and may alter it after hearing what is to be said on the other side.
Then Lord Milner expressing his view on this matter, also published in the London Times of July 21, 1921, says:
But experience has shown that the consultation which is necessary in order to keep the different interests of the Empire in line, cannot be properly effected by telegrams and dispatches, between half a dozen different governments.
That is the position. The testimony of the Right Hon. David Lloyd George, Lord Milner,
together with the confession of our Prime Minister at the conference of 1921, substantiated by the opinion of the Canadian press and by our common sense, ought to be sufficient to prove that consultation by cable in matters of international policy is folly. I have mentioned the Canadian press. Let me give the committee one quotation from the Canadian press on this point. This is from the Ottawa Journal:
The decision of the British Foreign Office, a branch of the British government, which is responsible to the electorate alone, must be final. Let us suppose, for example, that a difficulty suddenly arises between the British government and France. It is an emergency, demanding rapid decision. Does any sane person supose that the Foreign Office, compelled to act in haste, will sit idly with hands folded until it has the advice of all the dominions, thousands of miles away, and without the information necessary to form an intelligent judgment? The proposition, of course, is preposterous. In such a case, and in all similar cases, we should have no voice, even though the decision taken involved the Empire in war.
Hon. members will see very clearly that matters that are more prolonged, international matters that involve long trains of events, diplomatic intercourse and public opinion and sentiment, are even more impossible to be dealt with by means of cables than matters that require sudden decision.
Let me turn now to consultation in Imperial conferences to show that consultation is equally impracticable there. The course which seems advisable to-day on the part of any nation or of any conference might prove disastrous to-morrow and have to be abandoned. Eternal vigilance is required on the part of any nation which would keep on the top of the shifting sand heap of European diplomacy. Our imperial conference when inaugurated was supposed to meet once in four years. Now it meets when it likes. I do not think any time is definitely fixed when it shall meet. But even supposing it met annually, does any one think that the matters which it might settle at the conference can be settled finally, especially in view of the swift changing panorama of events which may force any intelligent man at the Foreign Office to take a very different action from what was agreed upon by the Imperial conference. This is not an adequate method; and it is not only inadequate but dangerous, for while it will be presumed that our ministers have considered and sanctioned the policies adopted1 by the Imperial government, in reality they will very likely be entirely ignorant of the decisions which may have been arrived at. Let us take an example: What of the events in the Near East which very nearly brought about another war and which we have heard so much about
to-day-the events that gave rise to the famous utterance of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) "Ready, aye, Ready"? The Armistice agreement signed between the Allies and Turkey on October 30, 1918, might be considered as a starting point from which to trace very briefly the change of events which led to the war with Turkey. Then on August 10, 1920, the Allies submitted a proposal to Turkey and Greece. This proposal intended as a peace treaty was signed at Sevres. I am aware I have not pronounced the word correctly; but I was afraid to say it right because hon. members might have thought I was talking about a sieve. I want to comment on this matter. Is it apparent to hon. gentlemen that this was the only parliament concerned that ratified the treaty of Sevres? The treaty itself, which I presume, we have all read, was so monstrous that no other nation would dare to put its name to it. But Canada hastened with her signature to ratify it. Now what does this indicate? It indicates to me the complete ignorance of Canadian parliamentarians of international matters.