May 10, 1943 (19th Parliament, 4th Session)


Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to second the motion of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) I am sure all will agree with me when I say that it fills our hearts with joy as members of the House of Commons to realize that on such an auspicious occasion as this there can be unanimity on all sides. As the Prime Minister said, we have marked a definite turning point in the stage of our war effort as united nations. While he may not have put it in these words, nevertheless he said in effect that by virtue of the victory which has thus been achieved we have moved from the stage of actual preparation for war as united nations into the realm of actual offensive. The victory which has been achieved in North Africa will have a salutary and signal effect, not only in elevating the morale of the people throughout the united nations but also in reestablishing in the minds of many other peoples confidence in the strength of the armed forces of the united nations.
I think we ought to pay special attention to the part which has been played there by our own armed forces. The Prime Minister made reference to the navy and to the air force, and I want to reecho those sentiments on behalf of our party. One of the significant and inspiring circumstances of the North African victory is that there was a union between the Anglo-Saxon and French forces which augurs well for victories that are to come in the days that lie ahead. Without reflecting upon the sacrifices and the service and the splendid achievements of the other branches of the armed forces in Libya and in North Africa, I think most of us will want to pay just a little extra tribute to that

magnificent eighth army upon which for so long has rested so much of the onus and the burden of battle.
When we congratulate all ranks of the armed forces who took part in this notable victory, let us not forget that many homes have been bereaved because of the sacrifice and service which has been rendered. I should like to add to what the Prime Minister has said, not only words of congratulation to the armed forces who took such a valiant part in the struggle, but also words of sympathy and deep understanding for those who have been bereaved, for those whose homes have been hit so hard by the burden of the struggle in which loved ones have participated.
I should like also to offer a word of caution. Mr. Churchill said on a previous occasion with respect to the North African campaign that the people of the world must not regard it as the beginning of the end but rather as the end of the beginning. We have I think on too many occasions previously taken our victories as being the beginning of the end. I would caution this house and Canada generally that the days that lie ahead will be strenuous ones, in comparison with which the sacrifices of the past may seem small; there will be many darker days before the dawn and before world peace is actually ours. But on this occasion at least I think we may well pause to recall the sacrifices and the services that have been rendered in Africa. In comparison with them, how small do the services seem that we as civilians, whether in this parliament or outside, are rendering in our war effort; for in this campaign many have given their all in the cause of righteousness and freedom.
I take much pleasure, Mr. Speaker, in seconding the resolution proposed by the Prime Minister.

Topic:   THE WAR
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