Honoré ACHIM

ACHIM, Honoré, Q.C.

Personal Data

Labelle (Quebec)
Birth Date
August 2, 1881
Deceased Date
May 14, 1950

Parliamentary Career

September 21, 1911 - June 28, 1917
  Labelle (Quebec)
June 29, 1917 - October 6, 1917
  Labelle (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 1)

June 29, 1917

Mr. H. ACHIM (Labelle) (translation):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with a great deal of attention to the hon. member for Two Mountains (Mr. Ethier) and I am happy to state that, beside all the qualities I know him to possess, he showed he was endowed with still another one, when he made a confession. It is a confession which the province of Quebec has been awaiting for almost six years. Of course, the hon. member for Two Mountains took occasion to state that all the members of this House are without a mandate. We, of the province of Quebec, have been satisfied for six years that the hon. member for Two Mountains was sitting here without a mandate. As a matter of fact, considering that the little incident I refer to is about six years old and that the member for Two Mountains has been occupying his seat in this House close on to six years without interruption, it may be assumed that he sits here by prescription, but I will not press the matter any further just now.

Being radically opposed to the principle of conscription, to the principle of the Bill now before this House, I shall not follow the hon. member for Two Mountains through the deep and detailed study he has made of it, section by section.

However, as the hon. member for Two Mountains has spoken at a certain length, what happens to long-winded orators was his lot: he has not remained throughout consistent with himself, as I shall show presently. But before so doing, let me state, Mr. Speaker, that I hold no mandate to defend the Bill, nor the Government, as

the rest of my speech will prove later on. Speaking upon the Bill, the hon. member for Two Mountains exclaims that he is completely opposed to this selective conscription measure and he asks himself what selective conscription means and, in an outburst of eloquence of no uncertain breadth, he exclaims: "I will not have selective

conscription, I want every one to go to the front, since conscription is needed."

He enumerates the different kinds of people who should go to the front and he ends by saying, with much generosity, that he wants to send overseas the "cures" as well as the Protestant ministers; but, a little further in his speech, he cries out: "What the Allies need is production and still more production."

Well, I repeat it, I have no mandate to defend the Bill, but I will .say this: That selective conscription means that there are persons whose presence in this country is more essential than that of others. For instance, the presence of a farmer is of more consequence to the country than that of a bar-tender or of a store-clerk.

That is exactly the view of my hon. friend, the member for Two Mountains, and I will not offend his legal sense or his sense of the present responsibilities by believing that he is actually ignorant of what selective conscription means. Besides this, the hon. member for Two Mountains having taken the liberty of making an assertion which, to my mind, reflects on the Bench of this country, I think it is my duty, as a member of this House, to look up the matter. It is when he says that there is some distrust against that section of the Bill which provides for the appointment of two persons in order to choose among those who will be sent to the front and those who shall remain at home.

It is most evident that one of these two appointees, if I understand the Bill, should be designated by the Parliament of Canada or by the Minister of Justice and the other one-and that is where I find a guarantee of impartiality-by one of the district judges.

The hon. member for Two Mountains is, like myself, a country lawyer and he knows that we can most assuredly rely upon the impartiality of our magistrates who preside over the administration of justice in our districts.

There is another reference, made by the hon. member for Two Mountains, which concerns me in a particular way. Not that I hold a brief to defend the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. P. E. Blondin) who is now in active service, or the hon. minister of In-

land Revenue (Mr. Sevigny), because they are members of a Conservative Cabihet, but simply because they are both personal friends of mine. It is when he says that the hon. Postmaster Genei-al and the hon. Minister of Inland Revenue, during the Dorchester election, last winter, would have advised the electors of, Dorchester, were conscription voted, to run aiway, to cross over the lines and go to the United States.

The hon. Secretary of State has made in this Houise a declaration to that effect, a declaration which, if I rightly understand Parliamentary procedure, must be accepted, which I have myself accepted, which the hon. members on the other side of this House have accepted, and which the hon. member for Two Mountains has no right to call in question.

In the absence of the bon. Secretary of State, I think 1 should defend him against such attacks, and as for the Minister of Inland Revenue, I do not believe he has ever mentioned isuch a thing itn his speeches and he has not been accused, as far as I know, rf having .given any such advice to the eiectors of Dorchester.

I would be assuming too much, at this advanced stage of the debate, if I flattered myself with the thought of adding any new fact, to the mass of information already supplied by the best speakers representing the three main conflicting views. Far from being able to aduce new facts, I believe is most difficult even to evolve from a further consideration of them arguments and conclusions different from those already stated in this House. But, coming from a province where the Bill we are now discussing has created, I shall not say more anxiety than elsewhere, but. a commotion which has expressed itself more violently on the surface and made it the object of aspersions on the part of some hon. members, I believe it is my duty to say a few words which may help t/o dispel, if possible, the prejudices of those honourable gentlemen. My name having been mentioned as a seconder of the motion for the six months'hoist, I think I should claim the attention of this House for a few minutes.

I have listened closely to all the speeches made heretofore, from the most important down, considering that no opinion is unimportant under such exceptional, circumstances-I have even read them carefully over and yon will perhaps allow me to interest myself more particularly to one of these which is not the less remarkable, both

in its substance and in its form, that of my hen. friend the minister of Inland Revenue-

My congratulations to him in the first place for having remembered that the two party leaders have pledged themselves from the very start, in their own name and that of their followers, according to the very words of the'leader of the Opposition: "That the discussion of this measure would bear the stamp of impartiality and moderation, that is would be free from all acrimony and bitterness."

While I think of it, Mr. Speaker, I may improve the opportunity to say a few words about the charges which have been made against me by the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe (Mr. Gauthier) and by the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards). These honourable gentlemen have thought fit to have this House amuse itself at my expense; the latter upbraids me for still being in this country, though an officer of the Canadian voluntary militia, I mean the 54th of Sherbrooke, an honour which I share with the hon. member for Berthier. There is a great difference between a volunteer officer and a conscript. It is true the hon. member for Frontenac is not an officer, but nothing prevents him from enlisting if he feels like it. The difierence there is between him and me is this he remains very quietly with his family and would compel all others to enlist, while I am also quietly at home, but without trying to force any one into active service.

I also wish to refer to some remarks emanating from the hon. member for Frontenac, *concerning the honour I have had, some years ago, of seconding the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

The hon. member for Frontenac has no right to represent my conduct on that occasion as being inconsistent with the one I take to-day. When I accepted that honour, I did not suspect that the military craze which has taken hold of our country would impose upon us an effort out of proportion with our strength and our resources. I also said that I was in; favour of Canada's participation in the war, on the condition that the 'Constitution be respected and that the constitutional status which binds us to Great Britain would not be violated. I was justified in taking such a stand at the time, but at the present moment, as the Bill introduced into this House tears into shreds the. Canadian constitution, I propose to oppose it, and to do so as strenuously as I possibly can. If as a member I cannot approve of the views of the hon. minister, I am proud, as a friend, to acknowledge that he has succeeded in replaeing the debate on a level where both leaders wished

it to remain, above the range of political meanness to which certain members had lowered it.

If elevation of thought and beauty of expression were the equivalent of correctness of views, my hon. friend would have made the speech of his life.

Far from me the idea of crossing swords with_the hon. minister-I have neither the inclination nor the capacity-but his stand upon this Bill being directly contrary to mine, one of us two must be wrong, and I will surprise no one by admitting that I do not believe it is your humble servant.

Were I as eloquent as my hon. friend, I would try to persuade him that the fault is on his side.

His whole speech leaves the impression that his attitude is inspired by the most disinterested sentiments, and I hasten to say that I believe him entirely sincere, although I attribute such sentiments to false ideas.

Here is what the minister says at page 2747 of Hansard, unrevised edition.

Why should our minority be isolated on this continent of America, where we are surrounded by English provinces and by the American nation with her hundred million inhabitants?

This is a sincere feeling of concern; I admit that I have myself been a prey to it and that it has caused me long hesitation in deciding what policy I shall follow.

But considering the facts, was this disquiet justifiable? in fact, is our province isolated, when the whole Liberal party has the same ideas and is ready to give the same vote as the representatives of the province of Quebec?

I do not see that the Quebec delegation is in such bad company, when it follows the leader of the Opposition, a man in whom English Canada as well as French Canada, from coast to coast, have had entire confidence during fifteen years.

Is the province of Quebec isolated when it is in such company as that of the hon. member for St. John; the hon. member for Edmonton, and the hon. member for Pic-tou?

Is the province of Quebec isolated when it seems admitted that it is of one mind with the Maritime Provinces?

If such be isolation, allow me to say, Sir, that it is a splendid isolation.

No doubt the leader of the Opposition has seen leaving him talented men whom he held dear and who could render invaluable service for the defence of his ideas. But there is still around him a solid following of English members, and after hearing the speeches of both sides, I think that the ' 183

first have sacrificed reason to sentiment, while the others have held to principles and sound doctrine.

With this theory of isolation, is it not1 to be assumed, after all, that outside of this House the majority of the electorate is in favour of conscription?

That is a gratuitous assumption, which the facts do not justify and which the hon. member for South Wellington admits to be false. Could I not answer it by the no less gratuitous but more probable statement that the great majority of the electors of the other provinces, including those of the ultra-loyal Ontario are opposed to conscription or at least in favour of a referendum?

As my opinion is well worth that of anyone else, whence he may come, I shall hold to it till the Government has had the courage to consult the people, the only one interested-the people who labour, who weep and who die in this war. No; T repeat again that the French Canadians are not alone in favour of a referendum.

Everyone outside of this House is loudly calling forjt, and the voice of a whole people, whatever is done to smother it, will at last be heard.

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June 29, 1917



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June 29, 1917


My hon. friend puts an exceedingly delicate question to which I could with difficulty reply without hurting his present feelings and without taking explicit exception to the course he has chosen to adopt. Much would have I preferred it had my hon. friend not raised the issue, but since he has, I have no option but to tell him that in my opinion it would be better.

Should ever a disruption occur in this country, Mr. Speaker, I say that it will not take place between the province of Quebec and the remainder of Canada, but between the province of Ontario and the rest of the Dominion. Yes Ontario, where the capitalists are attempting to crush the freedom of labour, Ontario whose manufacturers are attempting to restrain the freedom of trade, Ontario whose jingoes are trying to strangle freedom of conscience. I do say that if ever there is a disruption, that will be it, and the sooner the better perhaps.

Mr. Speaker, I am grieved beyond expression to have to utter such words and I pray you to believe that before bringing myself to utter them, many doleful hours have I gone through; I feel that old bonds are being severed which I had hoped would be permanent. In brief, Mr. Speaker, I must declare that in this House I shall vote on this question with the Liberal party; that at the next elections I shall vote for the anti-conscriptionist candidate, that I resign as conservative candidate in the county of La-belle and that in the province of Quebec I shall speak in favour of the Liberal party.

The Minister of Inland Revenue labours under another delusion which I should like to dispel. He gives the result of the Dorchester election as a verdict in favour of compulsory service. And such is my hon. friend's appreciation of his constituents that he argues-I epitomize-" What is the good of a referendum? We held one in Dorchester and Dorchester has spoken the verdict of all the electors of Canada. When Augustus had imbibed, Poland was full " " Quand Auguste avait bu, la Pologne etait ivre ". The argument is more creditable to the electors of Dorchester than to the Minister's powers of interpretation. The part of his speech to which I refer is to be found at page 2497 of unrevised Hansard and reads as follows:

What does the vote given at this election mean from a constitutional point of view? Does it not mean that the war policy of the Government was approved, as it has been approved by the members for the past three years, and has not this policy of the Government been to make every sacrifice to oarry the war to a successful end, as far as conscription if necessary.

I agree with the whole paragraph save the following words: "As far as conscription if necessary ", To that statement I take the most strenuous objection, because those who did oast their votes for my hon. friend had in their minds not the statement made by the Prime Minister in his letter to workmen dated December 27, 1916, but the one he made long ago on the floor of this House, which was quoted by the right hon. leader of the Opposition and which may be found at page 2497 of unrevised Hansard:

My right hon. friend has alluded to conscription-to the idea in this country or elsewhere that there may be conscription in Canada. In speaking in the first two or three months of this war I made it clear to the people of Canada that we did not propose any conscription. I repeat that announcement to-day with emphasis.

If my hon. friend insinuates that the electors of Dorchester, by their vote, wished [DOT]to approve of conscription, I must tell him

that he would not le sitting on the treasury benches if at the election he had so declared himself.

In all justice however I must say that in the whole splendid campaign wherein I had the honour and pleasure of accompanying him, I never heard the minister, Publicly or privately, oppose conscription. That is a tribute I owe to his sincerity. But my mandate is much less recent than that of the minister. I cannot oppose the principle of the referendum. My election, as that of most of the other members of this House, dates so far back that its mandate might after all be forgotten; but electors sometimes have a clearer memory that their representatives and my electors seem to stick to the motto of their province: " Ils se sou-viennent ", " They remember ".

I do not claim as many do that I know why I have been elected; I am no partisan of the doctrine that a member must in all things and ever do the will of his constituents, even if he realizes that it is founded on unjustifiable motives. My idea is that in 1911 my electors did not place in my hands a blank which I could fill as I cared.

What I do know is that, had I in 1911 stated I was in favour of conscription without the people being consulted, I should not have the privilege of a seat in this House. Now that the people's verdict has sent me here, I will not take advantage of it to rivet irons around the ankles of those who have elected me as the champion of their constitutional liberties.

For freedom, for democracy, for their brothers left behind, Canadians have equalled the very bravest at Givenchy, Langemarck, Courcelette and Vimy. They form a bulwark to our institutions those heroes of ours who live the cruel life of the trenches, writhe on a sick bed, or sleep the last sleep in the knolls of Flanders. The happy vision of a nation whose freedom and self-respect they have helped to maintain is to some a balm to their wounds and was to the others a solace at their last hour.

And that valued freedom, the freedom that inspires heroes, you now want to kill, while those young lives are sacrificing themselves for its sake; it is unreasonable and I will not be a party to it.

Mr. Speaker, I stated at the beginning of my remarks that I would take advantage of my seconding the amendment to the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Berthier in order to say a few words on the subject. Allow me, Sir, first to express my surprise at the meaning which my hon. friends of the Opposition seem to give to this

second amendment, taking it for granted that the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe has been a true interpreter of their common opinion. Howsoever it be, the mouthpiece of the Liberal party in Montreal does not hesitate to state that obviously a trap is being set for the Liberals which they are not such fools as to step into.

The best-intentioned give credit to the hon. member for Berthier and myself for a cleverness in tactics which neither of us ever dreamt we possessed. But others there are, whose opinion it would be safer to take, who do think that we are not men who would steer between two courses, but that we are perfectly sincere, honestly believing that we express the opinion of the people of this country in this matter. Every one is free to choose whichever of those two opinions he cares, but I side with frankness leaving to my hon. friends of the Opposition any pretense at astuteness. I wish to add, as the hon. member for Berthier has done, that in seconding this amendment I have not yielded to any outside influence either from the 'Government or otherwise. After hearing the statements made by the hon. member for St. Hyacinthe I did long waver as to making my mind to follow him in the mud into which he floundered; but I deemed the present crisis too acute, the present contest to bloody to ridicule a man whose shoulders are weighted under so many burdens. In any case has he not taken upon himself the task of our vengeance by branding himself with the words everybody knows and which put him in the rank of the very lowest demagogues. But let him beware, the crisis will pass and people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Our amendment is put forward in such a spirit of loyalty, and is so devoid of partisanship that it should, meseems, rally all members who are good-intentioned and sincere and I must say that whatever be the position taken by the right hon. leader of the Opposition towards our motion, I shall nevertheless vote in favor of the amendment he has moved and so will do the hon. member for Berthier. Although the amendment to the amendment has a much greater bearing on the bill than the Laurier amendment and practically means its doom, I must state that not a member of this House is prouder than I am of being a British subject and appreciates more than I do the blessing of living under the British flag and that I am not yet forgetful that the English colonial system tolerates every freedom and fosters all ideals. My present

position, whatever may be thought of it elsewhere, is that of a true Canadian.

Mr. HERME-NEGILDE BOULAY (Ri-mouski) (translation) : Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. It being so late it seems to me that we ought to be at least twenty to listen to such a good speaker as the hon. member for Laprairie (Mr. Lanctot).

Mr. ROCH LANCTOT (Laprairie) having risen to speak:

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February 8, 1915

Mr. H. ACHIM (Labelle) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, had I been inclined to-day to indulge in lengthy considerations, the very conciseness of the speech from the Throne, the tone of which strikingly recalls that of a military oration, would have reminded me that this is the time for deeds, not for words.

However, it seems difficult to abstain from glancing back somewhat wistfully at the programmes of former sessions of this Parliament replete with measures of a nature to stimulate our economic progress, measures which in several cases have been carried out, while others necessarily must await the coming of better days. Our beloved country which was striding at a young giant's pace along the highway of progress, has been checked, it must be admitted, in its ascending march. But thank God, though at rest it is not dead by any means; for a moment at a standstill, it may be compared to the fighter who, with every muscle strained, takes in the situation and gathers his whole strength to overcome the obstacle. The obstacle which confronts us in the shape of the most unjust of wars, we shall overcome or destroy.

That staunch faith in our future, is inspired in me, Mr. Speaker, by the admirable way in which our people have undergone the strain of those six months of warfare. Of the various countries engaged in this war, is it not our own that has been the less affected from the economic standpoint?

The country districts in my province- and if my information be correct, the fact repeats itself elsewhere-have not given way under the impact, and it is certainly in such places that the motto: " Business as usual " is most thoroughly adhered to. Our country folk bear the brunt of recent developments with a serene face; they are not fearful.of the present and look to the future with that assurance imparted by a conscience of youth and vigour.

"It's an ill wind that blows no good," and the increased demand for cereals and foodstuffs consequent on the war has brought about a rise in prices beneficial to them; while at the same time, by fostering the peaceful arts in the midst of bloody warfare, they are preparing to meet future demands by increased production in 1915.

The mechanic, the city workman, who is not so secure against temporary stringency as is the small farmer or capitalist, naturally were harder hit, but they hail with joy the rise of new industries, the necessary outcome of the new order of things. While factories have closed down, others have been started. The " Made in Canada " campaign, so energetically pushed on by this Government will no doubt cause other industries to spring into existence and instil patriotism into business ventures.

Those orders for supplies which have been directed our way through the skill of our representative in London and his business

agents sent by this Government to the countries adversely affected in their industries, have determined, and will continue to determine an influx of capital beneficial to the workingman.

Am I warranted in hoping that this condition of things in the country districts as well as in the manufacturing centres, will have the effect of rendering bolder Canadian capital, of instilling optimism into the management of our banks, and of getting us out of that period of stagnation which might have been.fatal to us?

Our banks have been spared the risk of being subjected to a run at the opening of the war, through the wise policy adopted by the hon. Minister of Finance dispensing them of the obligation of exchanging their notes for gold; and while congratulating the hon. minister on a measure which assuredly has safeguarded the credit of Canadian institutions, I shall take occasion of it to invite our financial in-stutions to show greater liberality in their dealings with the public.

I happened to pass shortly in front of the monument which the gratitude of a whole people has dedicated to Cartier, and noticing that the pedestal was still without the bust of that great man, and meditating over that fine work interrupted by the war, the thought suggested itself to me that this great work of Confederation which he has *bequeathed to us with the co-operation of his illustrious colleague, Sir John Macdonald, was also when the war broke out on the point of receiving its finishing touch in the full bloom of that national prosperity of which Cartier had laid the foundations as with the hand of a sublime architect.

However, even though the monument be unfinished, it is not broken for all that: the triumphant form of the great man will be seen and honoured on the slopes of Mount Royal; in the same way the work of building up this country is merely interrupted, and nothing will prevent the twentieth century from being the century of Canada.

And now, Sir, however, appropriate it may be to praise the man behind the plough or the man handling the tool, and though it behooves us to glory in those who remain at home and ensure the continuity of our economic life, is there a single hon. gentleman whose first thought is not for those who have left or who are about to leave for this great war; for those who have spilt

or are ready to spill their blood, so as to enable those remaining to carry on their labours safely.

From every quarter our boys have answered the bugler's call; from the shores of the Pacifio to those of the Atlantic, from the valley of the St. Lawrence to that of the Red river, they have taken their place under the folds of the Union Jack. All have answered: Present. With pride we have seen them depart, and presently we shall witness the departure of others. Happy to live under a monarchy which combines a greater measure of liberty than the freest republic, with the stability of monarchial institutions, they have said to themselves that if the Empire is worth while living in, it must perforce be worth while defending.

Accordingly, the appeal to arms could not be left without an answer in the precincts of this House, and the vacant seats which I see near by inspire me with greater pride than grief; for I realize that their occupants of yesterday, exchanging the gown for the sword, have courageously assumed command of their regiments. So that we have nothing to envy to countries older than ours; it is not only in London, in Paris or in Brussels that members of Parliament are willing to affront death on behalf of a great cause. Honour then to the representatives of Simcoe, of York, of Thunder Bay and of Brome. If the warm remembrance of their colleagues can be a solace to them in the performing of their tedious daily tasks, and uphold their courage in action, let me tell them that we are proud of them.

But it is not only around me that war has made vacant seats, and not far from the hon. leader of the Opposition, on the front row, I do not see any longer the' hon. member for Beauce. The declaration of war found him in the enjoyment of perfect bliss, unwilling to depart from that country of Belgium so dear to his heart, and I cannot but admire the ease with which he passed from the realm of romance to that of warfare. Accustomed as he was to be on the firing line of his party, he was incapable of changing, and he remained in the front rank; and I fancy he must he there, with a smiling face and a sharp tongue, wage war in laces as it were. He has received the baptism of fire, possibly that of blood, and I feel proud of it for my province.

Not a single one of these men has thought of arguing over his rights or his duties; not one of them has endeavoured to find out a clause of the constitution behind which he

might find refuge. They all of them have thought with the civilized world that the allies were on the side of right and justice; they applied for powder and ammunition, and I cannot blame the Government for having given them what they pay for so generously with their blood.

Let us pay a tribute, in passing, to that distinguished regiment which is fighting for its lady and its King, the Patricias, whose blood has already reddened the soil of France, and whose war cry "for Canada and the Empire" has already caused the enemy to tremble.

Neither have those remaining here shown indifference. Departing soldiers had left to our charge their beloved ones; it would have been intolerable that the latter should have been made to suffer on account of the patriotism of their natural protectors. Accordingly, contributions were in order, and money poured into the patriotic funds to such an extent that to-day those who have gone to the front need not any longer worry about those intrusted to their care whom they have left at home. In this connection as well, our people have done their duty.

On the other hand, the youthful volunteer has not been forgotten, and on his behalf there ,has been organized associations of women and girls, workshops wherein under the inspiration of patriotism, persons recruited from all classes of society work together in the accomplishment of a common task. The shop girl is there cooperating with the society woman, and while their hands are busily engaged, their lips, I surmise, utter prayers for the success of our arms. May I be allowed to do homage to the graceful fingers handling the needles as well as to the sunburnt hand which holds the rifle: both are inspired with the same patriotism. Free contributions by individuals and by this Government, such is the nature of our interference in the present conflict. Though our little country is not in immediate danger, should we wait until it has been invaded to rise to its defence? Is there any one of us, in this deadly struggle, who has not lived through the hours of the drive on Paris as mournfully as if the German hordes had been overrunning our own soil? Once the enemy is victorious on the continent, and is master of the British Isles, it will be too late to take up arms for the defence of the country.

We realized that Canada could not remain indifferent to the dangers threatening the

Empire, and it may not be out of place to quote here the words uttered by the hon. member for Kingston at the opening of the session of 1912-13 when, referring to the stand taken by the right hon. Prime Minister concerning the relation of the colonies with the mother country, he said: " There is, however, one view which he clearly expressed and it was that if Canada assumed some responsibilities, it would be under the condition of being consulted by the leaders of the nation.'' What form shall that consultation take it is not incumbent on me to say. However, the reiterated statement made by the right hon. Prime Minister, as well as those of a more recent date from the mouth of the hon. Minister of Justice, seemed to justify the belief that it will be a consultation of the representatives of the nation who are responsible to the people. If we are to assume any constitutional obligation involving our participation in the wars of the Empire, the policy advocated by the right hon. the Prime Minister, is the only one in accord with the principle of representation. But should there not be made a distinction between this war and all previous wars in which the Empire was engaged? Current events plainly show that our people know what use they should make of their liberty towards promoting the welfare of the Empire whenever circumstances warrant it. And that war having no parallel in history, cannot, according to my view, constitute a precedent involving a change in our political status, an alteration of the constitution.

I suggested a moment ago that defending the Empire under present conditions was equivalent to defending our own territory. But since every country is made up of its soil and its inhabitants as well, there is another force, invisible that one, and wholly moral, which is necessary to its maintenance, I mean the traditions of the people.

All that we have learned to love, all that we have learned to respect is found within the folds of the Union Jack and the Tricolour. Our tongue, our civilization are threatened simultaneously with those of England and France: we are defending them and a French-Canadian cannot witness without a thrill the alliance of those two nations, to one of which we owe our wholesome political institutions, while from the other we have received those characteristics of the Latin races which we deem second to none.

While France defends her territory, England defends the treaties, and 4 p.m. being unable to continue the part of peace-maker which she had assumed in Europe, she shows that while preferring peace to war, she has not forgotten how to carry on the latter.

And in connection with the part of peacemaker assumed by Great Britain, was it not Mr. Barthou, an eminent French statesman, who, a few years ago, stated that at the time of the Agadir incident, had it not been for the diplomatic intervention of England, France would have been forced into a war with Germany.

This time, having failed in her efiort to avoid such a misfortune, the mother country will not at any rate have it said that force takes precedence of right, and the stand taken by that strong and inviolate nation in extending her hand to the wounded and mutilated Belgium is one of the finest deeds recorded in human history.

May I be allowed, Sir, to halt for one moment before that country and to express to its people and to its King how highly they are esteemed and admired in this country of ours? The impartial historian will state no doubt that it was this nation of 7,000,000 people, by rising in opposition to the German colossus, gave the Allies time to get ready.

It is not my intention to recall here the opening war operations; but the whole world has witnessed that entrancing event: the German army started on its way to Paris, and nothing seemed capable of stopping it; when suddenly a man appears, a knightly King backed up by his whole people, both of whom, the Sovereign and his people, are inspired by the love of country and the sense of honour. At this unexpected juncture: a sovereign who in this twentieth century keeps faith with treaties, Germany hesitates, the Belgians strike out, Germany wavers. In vain, later on, having recovered from their surprise will the Germans dash forward, in vain will they destroy fortresses and burn down unprotected cities, the heroic defensive of the Belgians has brought out to the knowledge of the world the weak points of the German war machine. France and England have mobilized their troops and the triumphal drive of the invader will slow down, and bye and bye be turned into a retreat which closely resembles a riot.

Belgium with its citadels, Belgium with the bravery of its noble children has been

a surprise to the world, possibly it has saved Europe. A large proportion of civilians have taken refuge in London where they have been most cordially received, but, if I am allowed to express a wish, my desire would be that Canada extend a helping hand to those unfortunate people.

All are aware that previous to taking their place in [DOT] the military annals of the world, that small people ranked high in the economic scale. No doubt, and it is my hope as well as theirs, many of them will be desirous of rebuilding their homes and of returning to the spot where their ancestors have tilled for centuries past. Others, I am told, are thinking of settling in Canada. I understand the province of Ontario has started a movement towards promoting their settlement here; Quebec will not lag behind, neither should the Dominion Government leave anything undone to help the provinces in their immigration work.

It so happens that I have in my county a settlement by the name of Namur where-a number of Belgians have been living and prospering for some twenty-five years. The soil of that township is not of the richest to be found in my constituency, but that small community, through the application of scientific methods of culture and good management, has accomplished marvels. The whole northern part of my province and some other provinces, would offer to those immigrants numberless opportunities, and their presence here, their good example, would be a precious boon.

A country where co-operative credit and other associations are flourishing, a country where intensive farming is carried on, Belgium having become an exporter, has scored great successes in the markets of the world, and the cash balance in its favour fills its coffers with gold. Belgium is to-day a money lender which has $100,000,000 in Russia as against $10,000,000 here. Should a few of its people immigrate to this country, would they not draw to the Dominion some of that capital of which we are so much in need?

Our past policy of immigration has not always escaped warranted criticism in the past, and I do not propose deploring very much its forced interruption; but I think sound public opinion in this country would rejoice at seeing a current of Belgian immigration directed towards our borders. By favouring such a move this Government would be doing something helpful to Canada; while at the same time fulfilling its duty towards

those people to whom only peoples of antiquity can furnish a parallel.

While extending a friendly welcome to all those who are disposed to come here, I wish to proclaim to the whole nation that we are just as anxious as they are themselves to see the day when her soil will be rid of the German hordes and when Belgium, bleeding and mutilated, but by no means conquered, shall once more lift her head, made younger by the consciousness of her glorious and immortal deeds.

That expected triumph, the termination of that war which we are longing for, will in a large measure no doubt, be due to our land forces, but even in a greater degree to the allied fleets of France and England. As new developments come to light, it is more and more apparent that the main factor in the final result will be the navy.

As a matter of fact, all strategists, all economists agree that the final result will not depend on particularly striking and brilliant achievements, hut on the power of holding out possessed by the armies in presence, a quality which is inseparable from the possession of large means of revictualling.

Of course, I am not unmindful of the brilliant victories of the British fleet off the coast of South America or in the North sea; but I say that the greatest service our seamen did in that war was in ridding the seas of the German ships which infested them, and in carrying out with lightning rapidity that blockade which, by isolating Germany, has secured for us a new ally, famine, which will decimate the enemy more effectively than the sword or the gun.

That is why I see in the navy a token of victory, and let every British subject cry out with pride and confidence: " Britannia (still) rules the waves."

Topic:   COMMON cJ
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