January 17, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)


Eugène Paquet

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EUGENE PAQUET (L'Islet) (translation) :

Mr. Speaker, it is my great
privilege to second the motion which has been put before you so eloquently by the hon. member for the Yukon (Mr. Thompson). The honour redounds especially to the electors of the beautiful county of l'Islet, and my most heartfelt thanks go to the right honourable the Prime Minister.
In seconding the motion for an Address in reply to the speech of His Royal Highness, it is my object to rise above partisan considerations, and let myself be prompted by the truly Canadian sentiment of rallying

every member of this House, every citizen of this country, every race, every effort and every sacrifice, to the sacred cause of the safeguarding our national existence.
At the front, our gallant boys are upholding that sacred cause and giving up everything for their country's safety. We, ourselves, must be guided by the same ideals in the consideration of the measures to be laid before us with a view to secure the participation of Canada in the defence of the Empire.
On the floor of this House my hon. friend from the Yukon has expressed himself in his native tongue. I am fortunate in being able to address ^ou in the language of ancestors who lived in the fields and sunny hillsides of France. In so calling your attention to that fact, I wish to point out one of the remarkable qualities of the magnificent Empire which is ours, and acknowledge the freedom we are privileged to enjoy. His Royal Highness has stated:
Measures will be submitted for your consideration to further the effective co-operation of Canada in the defence of the Empire and in the maintenance of this war waged for liner! y and lasting peace.
The response my fellow-members will make, and that, I doubt not, of the Canadian people, must be summarized in the following words of Canada's Prime Minister :
(Text.) More than a twelve month ago our Empire consecrated all its powers and its supreme endeavor to a great purpose which concerns the liberties of the world and the destinies of all the nations.
In tbe dawn of another year our hearts are more resolute than ever to accomplish that task, however formidable it may prove. By the greatness of the need our future efforts must be measured.
Nowhere is the Canadian spirit more firm and unwavering than among the men who hold the trenches and those who will shortly stand by their side; nowhere is it more undaunted than in the hospitals and convalescent homes.
Already we have learned the full meaning of sacrifice. To all Canadian homes that have been saddened, to all Canadian hearts that have been stricken by the tragedy of this war, we pray that Divine blessing may bring consolation and healing.
Much had to be learned during the past fifteen months because we had not prepared for this war. The sttrongesi assurance of ultimate victory lies in the fact that we were not crushed in learning that hard lesson. Those who forced this war upon as may be assured by the traditions of our past that the lesson will be ' thoroughly learned to the end that there shall he enduring peace. The very character and greatness of the ideals for which we are fighting forbid us to pause until their triumph is fully assured."

In Canada, as in all allied countries, there is apparently a determination to hold fast, to suffer and to win. Sir William \\ hite, the Minister of Finance, who has just been knighted by His Majesty, will urge upon the Canadians new sacrifices for the cause of civilization and freedom, for humanity and our country's sake.
Our desire and determination to win must be persisted in. Otherwise the sufferings of our dead and our wounded would have been in vain. To allow ourselves to hesitate a single instant would amount to ingratitude towards our dead soldiers and treason against our descendants.
In 1912 and 1913, members of the House and certain newspapers scoffed at the idea of a German menace* and ridiculed those who dared mention it. On the 5th of December, 1912, the Prime Minister of Canada, after studying the situation in England with three of his colleagues, and after having been put in possession of state secrets he could not divulge, exclaimed in the House of Commons: "The need is
The Prime Minister heard then the rumbling of the distant thunder and saw the lightning flashes above the horizon. Sir R. L. Borden further declared:
The burden is so great that the day has come when either the existence of this Empire will be imperilled or the young and mighty dominions must join with the Motherland to make secure the common safety and the common heritage of all."
With the German peril so clearly shown by Canada's Prime Minister, my only duty lay in giving my support to a Government who took means to secure the safety of the Motherland, while at the same time safeguarding our country's autonomy.
In view of the German -aitrooities-, lais I learned about the shooting of priests and the burning and destruction of churches, and shuddered -at the awful blood orgies amid the most inhuman crimes, will I be blamed for having listened to the Prime Minister's call, as he pointed out the danger?
It would have been treasonable on my part to refuse my support to the Government when it requested of me sacrifices to help maintain peace between the civilized nations.
I have always claimed that it was Canada's duty to defend its own territory and its own liberties. Since the beginning of the war, the country's integrity is imperilled. Shall we wait to see the enemy on our shores? Shall we wait to see the Germans tread Canadian soil?

Before taking up arms would you wait to see the Prussian slaughter your children, ravish your mothers and shoot down your priests? Treason it would be, and I refuse to be a traitor to my country.
It has been left to these times to witness a whole nation, a huge nation, stand up to Heaven and exclaim: I alone, I alone; I
am above all nations.
_ Th.ough Belgium's land, in shameful violation of that country's neutrality, William's army had invaded French soil and in forced marches was pushing towards Paris, its objective. Convinced of their invincible superiority, their hordes hurled themselves against the allied forces with a supreme confidence born of the recollections of Sadowa and Sedan. But the battle of the Marne checked, and repulsed the onset of the German army. Not England it was that desired war. His Majesty George V and his ministers made the moist worthy efforts to preserve peace, but they could not agree to the dishonourable proposals of William II, who was violating Belgium's neutrality, spurning thereby the treaty obligations entered into by his predecessor. The Motherland has engaged'in the most terrible war the world has ever seen for the purpose of avenging Belgium, of maintaining solemn obligations and in defence of the world's liberties.
The Prussian incentive is a determination to dominate the whole world and crush it under an economical and political tyranny not to be soon shaken off. To that end, the Prussian barons are determined to use the force of arms without being deterred by formal obligations, solemn treaties and by international principles observed through centuries. Their victory would mean the defeat of civilization and the triumph of cynical brutality. Should Germany come out of this conflict victorious, how could she be prevented from putting under her tyrannous domination our own country, the most brilliant jewel in the British crown.
What would become of Canada with Germany master of the world and in a position to dictate her own terms? What of Canada's future unless France and our Motherland did raise over Germany the sword of justice?
Who can say?
Listen to the words uttered at Vancouver on the 15tli of August, 1915, by the honourable the Postmaster-General:
(Text.) It is a war in which we are deeply-interested. It is as much Canada's war as England's war. It is your fight, it is my fight, it is the fight of every free citizen of this country, and let me again repeat that, speaking to you as one of the Ministers of the Crown. I have this message to give to you: We will
leave no effort untried, no resource untouched, no nerve unstrained, before we have done the very utmost in this struggle in which the life of the Empire and the liberty and free Insti-tions of Canada are at stake. Then only will our task be accomplished.
(Text.) It is our duty, more pressing iron us than all other duties, at once, on this first day of this extraordinary session of the Canadian Parliament, to let Great Britain know, and to let the friends and foes of Great Britain know-, that there is in Canada but one mind and one heart, and that all Canadians stand behind the mother country, conscious and proud that she has engaged in this war, not from any selfish motive, for any purpose of aggrandisement, but to maintain untarnished the honour of her name, to fulfil her obligations to her * allies, Jo maintain her treaty obligations, and to save civilization from the unbridled lust of conquest and domination.
The Canadian people have been consulted in the most solemn manner. The call to the colours has assembled from the Atlantic to the Pacific 240,000 sons of Canada, full of patriotism and firmly convinced that they were fulfilling a national duty.
Without compulsion, our brethren take part- in the conflict in order to ensure its victorious issue, and to secure the maintenance and unity of the British Empire, which Empire they feel sure shelters and safeguards Canada's autonomy.
With all of you, I pay my tribute to our fallen heroes. The Canadians who were killed on the battlefields of Saint-Eloi, Langemark and Festubert have' won undying fame. They have given their blood to become our saviours.
In the province of Quebec, church and state are united in their support of the Allies' cause. We have heard the noble words uttered by the political leaders of French origin. You have all witnessed the noteworthy stand taken by our bishops. They assembled and prepared a most cordial endorsation of the attitude of England and France.
Hear now what -says the episcopacy of the province of Quebec:
It cannot be ignored that this conflict, one of the most terrible it has ever been given the world to witness, cannot fail to have its repercussion in our own country. Great Britain is involved and who can deny .that the fate of all parts of the Empire is bound in the issue of its struggle?
Rightly Great Britain looks to our help and that help, we are glad to say, has been generously offered in both men and money.

Air. Speaker, I have the honour to second the motion, dn favour of the address.

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