Joseph Henri Napoléon BOURASSA

BOURASSA, Joseph Henri Napoléon

Personal Data

Labelle (Quebec)
Birth Date
September 1, 1868
Deceased Date
August 31, 1952
journalist, newspaper editor, newspaper owner

Parliamentary Career

June 23, 1896 - October 26, 1899
  Labelle (Quebec)
January 18, 1900 - October 9, 1900
  Labelle (Quebec)
November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
  Labelle (Quebec)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
  Labelle (Quebec)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Labelle (Quebec)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Labelle (Quebec)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Labelle (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 285)

April 17, 1935


Yes, they have one, but there were no copies left in the department, and they told me we would have to wait for the consolidation. I hope the French text will be ready as soon as the English text.

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April 17, 1935



may I add that I hope it will be in both French and English. The other day I went to the department to get a printed copy of what exists at the present time, but they had none.

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April 9, 1935


That is too long.

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April 1, 1935


Oh, pardon me.

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April 1, 1935


Before we proceed with this order of business I would ask the patience of the house while I endeavour to impress upon hon. members, irrespective of party, the gravity of the situation that now exists in Europe, threatening the peace of the world, with its possible consequences to our own country. In the name of all the true friends of peace in Canada, I thank the acting Prime Minister (Sir George Perley) for having given me this opportunity. I wish it had fallen to the lot of one higher in authority and with more power; though perhaps that defect will be compensated by the fact, which I think is generally acknowledged now, that, being detached from all parties, I am perhaps in a better position to submit this question to the house without any party consideration, either for or against the government or for or against the opposition.

European Situation-Mr. Bourassa

Ever since the opening of the session I have received communications from various provinces of Canada asking me to take this initiative. Some of these communications. I may say, are from men who played a valorous part in the last war, both officers and privates. Had I followed their advice, the motion that I am going to present would be couched in much stronger terms. However, I thought it preferable, while making clear the object in which I will crave the concurrence of the house, to put it in the mildest terms possible, so as to make it easy for all men of good will to cooperate towards-the end I have in view. The motion I will submit at the close of my speech will read:

That all the words after "That" be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

"this house reiterates the adhesion of Canada to the general treaty for the renunciation of war signed at Paris on the 27th day of August, 1928. and approved by this house on the 22nd day of February, 1929."

It invites the government to lend its support to all effective measures to ensure the world's peace, either through the League of Nations or otherwise, in cooperation with other governments pledged to the cause of peace.

That Canada stands pledged to the cause of peace need not be argued. At almost every meeting of the League of Nations, the authorized representatives of this dominion have asserted unequivocally, not only the wish, but the decision of the Canadian people to renounce war. May I mention the remarks made at the first meeting of the league, in 1920, by Mr. Rowell; then a pronouncement by Mr. Doherty at the second meting in 1921; declarations made by Senator Dan-durand, as a member of the government, in 1924 and 1925; then after the signing of the pact, remarks made by Sir George Foster in 1929 and by Sir Robert Borden in 1930. But I wish especially to quote, unfortunately not as much as I would like, parts of the very eloquent speech delivered at the general assembly of the league on September 27, 1933, by the present Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion):

It appears to me that at no time in the history of the world have so many agreements and pacts guaranteeing the security of nations been in existence; and yet it also appears to me that at no time since the armistice has there been quite so much uncertainty and fear in the world as there is at the present moment.

Could not those words be repeated to-day?

The pact of Paris expresses the Canadian attitude towards war almost completely. In other words, we believe that war as a method of settling international disputes should be outlawed. and that all disputes, whatever their kind, should be settled by pacific means. Until that pact is accepted in principle and adopted in practice among the nations of the world, it

would appear that civilization as we know it is in great danger of complete destruction....

Canada., in its dealings with the league, has been in the habit of putting first things first, and it is felt very generally among Canadians that, while there are both primary and secondary functions of the league, the primary function, the main objective, the real goal of the League of Nations is to preserve international peace; in other words, to prevent war among the nations of the world.

And then he said, I think, in conclusion:

Let us remember this individually, and let us at the same time keep in mind as a motto among ourselves these splendid words of Goethe written from Rome over a century ago: "I am a man of peace and I want to preserve peace constantly."

But, without being unjust to anyone, may I say that the one Canadian statesman who has done most for the cause of peace, not only in words but in deeds, is the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King), when he was Prime Minister of Canada. Is it necessary to refer to his firm attitude at the time of the Chanak incident, in 1922, when he resisted on the one hand the frantic appeals of two ministers of the crown in England, and on the other an equally frantic appeal launched in Canada, an appeal which I might call the last cry of blatant imperialism? In doing so, the then Prime Minister, not only did his duty by Canada, but rendered to Great Britain, the British empire and the world at large the best service that it was in his capacity to render; and all leading men in England, irrespective of party, have since admitted that.

Not only did he assume that attitude then; but when the terms of the then so-called Briand-Kellogg pact were being discussed, be-for the signing of the treaty, the Prime Minister, in his capacity as Secretary of State for External Affairs, wrote to the United States minister at Ottawa, Mr. Phillips, to express his unreserved adherence to the proposal. From that letter I want to extract and put on record these two short sentences:

The preeminent value of the league lies in its positive and preventive action. It is true that the covenant also contemplates the application of sanctions in the event of a member state going to war, if in so doing it has broken the pledges of the covenant to seek a peaceful solution of disputes. Canada has always opposed any interpretation of the covenant which would involve the application of these sanctions automatically or by the decision of other states.

In that short sentence the Prime Minister of the day took away from that covenant one of its most equivocal and dangerous dispositions, as far as Canada and other countries were concerned. In that respect also he has deserved the gratitude of the people of Can-

European Situation-Mr. Bourassa

ada and of all friends of peace in the world. That unequivocal acceptance of the spirit of the pact, on the part of the then Prime Minister of Canada, stood in contrast to a singular reservation expressed by the Foreign Secretary in London, Mr. Austen Chamberlain, to which I shall refer in another part of my remarks.

The treaty was signed at Paris on August 27, 1928. A few days later the League of Nations was again convened, and on the 7th of September, at one of the plenary sittings, dealing. I think, with the arbitration court, the then Prime Minister, who represented Canada at that meeting, made these statements:

Our country is a land of reconciliation. In achieving racial concord within our borders, we have for more than a century successfully exemplified the fulfilment of at least one fundamental principal of the league.

In another particular, namely, in achieving international peace with our great neighbour, we have fulfilled for more than a century another fundamental principle of the league....

For a distance of over three thousand miles, stretching from the waters of the Atlantic ocean on the east to those of the Pacific ocean on the west, the frontier of Canada is divided from that of the United States by a boundary which is undefended from coast to coast....

Of that undefended frontier of more than three thousand miles, I should like to say just a word, for it is intimately related to the subject matter of the treaty recently signed at Paris. It symbolizes the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy.

And toward the conclusion of his remarks, he said:

There, I believe, is the key to our prosperity. That is why we believe as we do in disarmament. not only as a means of preventing war and maintaining peace, hut as an essential of prosperity. It is the reason why we are proud to he numbered among those nations which belong to the League of Nations which aims at providing effective guarantees for the peace of the world; it is the reason why we welcome, from any and every source, any and every instrument which gives promise of eliminating fear and establishing confidence in the relations of nations with each other.

I just mention in passing, because quoting it would carry us too far, the speech delivered by the then Prime Minister in this house on February 19, 1929, when he moved that the house approve of the treaty. Now let us come to the treaty itself, the gist of which is contained in two short articles:

I. -The high contracting parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies and renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.

II. -The high contracting parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be solved except by pacific means.

Now, sir, to that solemn profession of faith in peace we have committed ourselves, first by the signature of the Prime Minister of Canada given at Paris on the 27th August, 1928, then by the formal and unanimous approval of that treaty by the Senate of Canada on the 15th February, 1929, after six months of reflection, and again by the unanimous approval of this house on the 22nd February, 1929. If those speeches were made in all sincerity; if the Prime Minister of Canada spoke for the Canadian nation at Paris and Geneva; if the Senate and House of Commons spoke for this nation, through the speeches of some of their members and by their unanimous votes, when they declared that this country renounced war forever and never would have recourse to war under any pretence, whatever the cause or the origin might be, I say the time is upon us when those words must be made good and declared to the world as being the standing policy of Canada and the declared policy of its government, or rather of its parliament as representing the will of the Canadian nation. If we were sincere, and I believe, I know, we were sincere, we must do all we can in our humble capacity as a weak nation, but in our strength as a nation unfettered with any alliance, holy or unholy, for war, to take means or help other nations to take means to prevent war.

If that cannot be done we have another duty to perform; it is to take means now to preserve Canada from being engulfed once more in the turmoil of war. To accomplish that purpose we have four methods to pursue, not parallel, not divergent, but converging. The first method is to define and frame our own policy for peace. The second is to cooperate as much as we can with the government of the United Kingdom, provided, of course, we are sure that the government of Great Britain works for peace. The third is to cooperate if possible with the government of the United States, with the same object. And the fourth is to do all we can, through the League of Nations, to attain that same object, if that league is still willing to maintain and capable of maintaining peace.

With regard to Canada's policy I will state my views quite simply; but in order to make them more acceptable I will express them in the terms used in the Senate last year by a gentleman who once occupied a seat in this house, a gentleman who I think is still one of the leaders of the Conservative party and who, which is more to my purpose to-day. proved on the field of battle that he was not a slacker. I am referring to


European Situation-Mr. Bourassa

Senator McRae, who on the 17th April, 1934, in one of the most eloquent denunciations of war I have ever read, made this statement, to which I direct the attention of all hon. members of this house:

The horrors of the last war have not been forgotten. That the next war will be infinitely worse is generally appreciated. People, as always, have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, and in the circumstances there will be war in Europe. The situation presents this remarkable paradox, that while the nations all agree that another war will mean the end of European civilization, the same nations are to-day preoccupied in preparing for that war!

As I said a moment ago, in referring to the speech delivered in Geneva by the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion), could not those words be uttered this week? Then General McRae went on:

Doctor Nicholas Murray Butler says, "The safest nations in the world are the unarmed nations, the Switzerlands, the Denmarks, the Norways and the Swedens."

To which he added these few but pregnant words:

Let us add Canada to the list.

If there are any members of this house who are disposed to be astonished at the suggestion that Canada should proclaim her neutrality to the world at large, may I remind hon. members that this is no new suggestion. As far back as 1862. one of the founders of confederation, to whom a monument has been erected at the back of this building, facing the Ottawa river and the Laurentian mountains, looking over a broad horizon on which his eagle eye gazed as he thought of the great future of Canada, brought forward this suggestion. I am referring to D'Arcy McGee. What did he suggest as a counter-proposition to the proposal of the then government to organize the defence of Canada? He suggested that Canada should proclaim her neutrality to the world at large, and on that stand he was reelected for his constituency of Montreal West and invited by John A. Macdonald and George Etienne Cartier to become a member of the coalition government which brought about confederation. Surely if one of the founders of confederation could propose Canada's neutrality in 1862, and if in 1934 one of the most distinguished officers of the Canadian army could proclaim the same thing, are we not on safe ground in saying that this should be the basis of our national policy?

For a century after the conquest of Canada by England, the whole policy, first of England, and then of the growing co'onies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, then Lower and Upper Canada, was directed with one thought in mind: arming Canada to

defend herself against the United States. That was the idea that D'Arcy McGee denounced as being both absurd and irrational. His voice remained unheard at the time, but as time went on common sense prevailed. To-day it has come to the point when all parties, all governments, all leaders boast of the fact that as against the only powerful nation whose attack we may dread we have not a single fort, not a single cannon, not a single arm of defence. Again I could quote the leader of the opposition, when in Geneva he cited that example as being an illustration, a century in advance, of the attitude of Canada with regard to the renunciation of war. Why not make this true for the rest of the world? If it has been found that the safest defence for Canada against the only nation which may think of attacking us is to disarm, why should we arm against Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, China or any other country?

Suppose we had in the last fifty years educated and directed the public opinion of Canada towards the goal which has been realized on paper-but I am afraid not otherwise-in the terms of this great treaty; had we thus directed the thoughts, the aspirations and the common sense of all classes of Canadians, do you not think, sir, that we would now be proud to boast that Canada stands disarmed in the midst of nations armed to the teeth? Had we done that, had public opinion been educated along those lines twenty years ago, would 50,000 of the best sons of Canada lie buried to-day in the soil of Flanders? Would hundreds of thousands of Canadians, young men and women, have been unrooted from the fertile soil of the plains of Canada to become human wrecks and dole receivers in our large cities? I was going to say it would take fifty years to repair the evils-but no, the evil will never be repaired. Those dead men will never resurrect. Those hopes will always be buried in the soil of a foreign land with which Canada had nothing to do. Generations of Canadians will remain under the yoke of debts, public and private, which we have incurred to kill, to destroy, to brutify the world.

But at least, if we cannot repair the past, shall we not think of the future? I appeal to the fathers of families, inside and beyond the walls of this house, to the hearts of the mothers: Shall we not do something now tc save our children and our grandchildren the agonies through which the generation of today has passed? Yes, let us here and now signify to the world that the words pronounced a year and a half ago in Geneva by the Minister of Railways and Canals were true, that we stand by them, that we are

European Situation-Mr. Bourassa

men of peace and that we are ready to help maintain peace. Let us also serve to the world as a notice this second declaration of Senator McRae:

It is bad enough to send our boys to kill in defence of their country. It is unthinkable that Canadian sons should be sent to Europe to war with these nation-mad sons of a decaying civilization.

Had I to express those words in my own terms I would change the two last words. I do not believe European nations are any more decayed than we are. Those who know the circumstances-historic, geographic, ethnical, economic-through which those great and antiquated nations have passed in the centuries should be sober in the judgment they pronounce. But surely we ought to stand behind the rest of the statement and say that we have no reason to risk the lives of our sons and the future of our country through quarrels in Europe over which we have no control whatever-in their origin, in their direction or in their conclusion.

My second point is that in order to accomplish something we must as much as possible cooperate with the government of Great Britain. For years I have been depicted as an enemy of everything British because, forsooth, when I had to choose between the interests of Canada and those of Great Britain I stood by Canada; or because, again, when I had to choose between the principles of English Liberalism, in the broad sense of the word, and the ambitions of English Toryism, I preferred to stick to the traditional policy of the Brights, the Gladstones and the English Liberals rather than to become an instrument of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain or any other new imperialist of Great Britain. That was a matter of choice, and I still think the best homage I could render to Great Britain was to act as a free British subject and to choose for my country the policy I thought best.

It is said frequently that the British empire is the strongest bulwark of peace. Well, this is partly true and partly false. I think it would be more accurate to say it is alternately true and false. As a matter of historical fact, not to go beyond the end of the eighteenth century, namely, during that period of transition from the old world preceding the French revolution and the new chaos which is still in process of readjustment, Great Britain has waged, provoked or sustained more wars than all other nations of Europe combined. Of course that is easy to explain. It is not that the British people like war any more than any other nation. Instinctively the average Englishman is a lover of peace. But because of the extension of the British empire, Great

Britain had more causes of war the world over than any other nation. Then her pretension, justified or not,-I am not disputing it at the moment-of commanding the seas and of being the sole arbiter in respect to neutral trade during all wars, was in itself a constant provocation and brought England into war or to the verge of war alternately with Spain, France, Denmark, Holland, Russia and the United States. But, fortunately or otherwise, that phase of British history is passing.

What is better for our present concern is this, that after every great war in which England took a share, either directly or through subsidized armies on the continent, the British government has always stood for peace, and this for several reasons. At times it was to digest the conquests she had made, either by herself or through her allies. At other times it was because, with their solid common sense, the British realized that it was not sufficient to claim and enjoy victory, but that the economic balance of the country must be restored. That was the part played by Castlereagh and by Wellington at Paris in 1814 and at Vienna in 1815. Lloyd George himself, at Genoa, was proud to declare that he was simply going back to Castlereagh's policy in his endeavours to conciliate Germany and prevent France from crushing her under impossible conditions of peace. I do believe that the English government and the English nation are still in that mood, but I also believe it is passing.

The reservation made by Mr. Austen Chamberlain before the conclusion of the Paris pact is ominous. Under paragraph 10 Of his note delivered to the American ambassador in London on the 19th of May, 1928, he says:

The language of article 1-

Which I read a moment ago:

-as to the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy renders it desirable that I should remind Your Excellency that there are certain regions of the world the welfare and integrity of which constitute a special and vital interest for our peace and safety. His Majesty's government have been at pains to make it clear in the past that interferences with these regions cannot be suffered. Their protection against attack is to the British empire a measure of self-defence. It must be clearly understood that His Majesty's government in Great Britain accept the new treaty-

The treaty for the renunciation of war:

-upon the distinct understanding that it does not prejudice their freedom of action in this respect.

European Situation-Mr. Bourassa

In other words, under this extremely important statement, the foreign secretary, speaking for his government and for the English nation, reserved to England the right to designate at her choice, upon any future occasion, which parts of the world where she would renounce war and which parts of the world where she considered herself free to wage war without defining them at all. It might be Egypt one day, the sea of China another day, the Straits Settlements another -there was no definition. The minister reserved to bis government complete freedom of action. It might be Copenhagen one day, where a fleet might endanger the British empire. Nobody knows. He never defined it.

It was then, I repeat, that quite rightly, the Prime Minister of Canada adhered to that treaty without such a reservation. But I hope that we owe it, to ourselves first, and secondly in due loyalty to the British nation, and thirdly in due loyalty to the other signatories of the pact, to declare that we are not committed by that reservation, by that undefined reservation. In other words, we should signify politely but firmly to the British government that we are prepared to stand by them to help the British nation carry forward all measures for peace, but also that we are prepared to act according to the word given by Senator McRae last year, to stay at home if England chooses to go to war for causes which are foreign to Canada.

Now on the question of enlarging the scope of our relations with Great Britain in matters of peace and war, may I repeat here in my old days what I began stating some thirty-five years ago: Beware of undefined obligations, so-called moral obligations. Remember what effect they have had upon the British nation herself. There is no book I have read on the war or the policies connected with it which I have found so poignant as the Twenty Years of Lord Grey of Falloden. Here I believe was one of the most honest men that has ever played a prominent part for a long time in public life. Nevertheless, because of the lack of clarity of his mind, the lack of decision in his will, because of that misty atmosphere in which he entered the foreign office and which he kept more misty still, he came to the point of deceiving his colleagues, of deceiving the House of Commons, of deceiving the people of England, and of deceiving alternately the Germans and the French. No man has put it, I think, in clearer form than one of his colleagues, of an absolutely different type of mind, but an equally good

servant of the British crown, I refer to Lord Loreburn, who resigned1 from the English government about a year previous to the war. In his book he analyses the policy of Sir Edward Grey, as he was then, by saying in substance that there were two policies open to the government on the eve of the war. He states that the French and Russians could have been told that England had no commitment to stand by Serbia or Russia as against Austria and the Balkans. That might have stopped them, or at least it would have saved us. On the other hand England could have served a clear notice to the Germans that whatever the cause of the war might be, she would be on the side of Russia and France. That could have been done with the assent of a majority in the house; but unfortunately, for nine years, half the members of the government were ignorant of what the other half knew. If Sir Edward Grey did not think it necessary to inform one half of his colleagues, did he take the trouble to inform us? Of course, he did not. Neither did he inform any other chiefs of tribes. The only thing that was done was to sound the bugle of war, in August, 1914, and issue a declaration which called us to go and kill the Huns, those barbarians who threatened the peace and the liberties of the world.

There was an undefined obligation. Here is another. The house will remember articles 10 and 16 of the covenant of the League of Nations. Explanations had to be given as to why we dissented. It was Sir Robert Borden first, then Mr. Doherty, and then the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King), in the very letter of which I read an extract a moment ago. I think it is better not to sign than to be obliged to erase our signature later on.

Then, I would refer to the imperial conference of 1926 at which our representatives, along with the representatives of the rest of the empire, acknowledged that the question of Egypt was one of imperial concern. Of course it was of imperial concern to England, to Australia and New Zealand, but was it of imperial concern to Canada or South Africa? Mr. Amery, a shrewder politician than Sir Edward Grey ever was, had prepared a series of resolutions. One of these resolutions was very strong in support of the English policy in Egypt, but he had milder resolutions up his sleeve. He kept presenting these until he got adopted the one he wanted adopted. Fortunately, a year later, occasion was granted to our Prime Minister practically to erase that moral engagement. This appears in the correspondence with Lord Salisbury of which

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the house was made cognizant during the session of 1928.

Shall I refer to Locarno? I intend to do this for two reasons. First, I should like to know where is the spirit of Locarno, as between France and Germany, or as between England and Italy? I am afraid the only answer that can be given to this question is that it lies in the tombs of those two great men, Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann. After years of slaughter and distrust, these men attempted to repair in a few months the evils which had been accumulating for years. They succeeded on paper, but it was not long before they were denounced by the public opinion of their respective countries as traitors. This is what happened because they dared attempt to counteract the spirit of narrow jingoism and nationalism which has been prevailing in Europe ever since the war.

We hear to-day of a Locarno of the east. I have spent forty years in the reading of history and diplomatic documents; and perhaps I may also take advantage of the knowledge I have gained of some of the men who have formed public policies during the last half century, to tell this government or the next government-it does not matter:- Beware of the Locarno of the east. Keep aloof, for heaven's sake and for the sake of. Canada. Perhaps it would be out of place to indicate what it would mean although I have a pretty clear idea of what the end will be.

But I should like to show the danger of following blindly any lead which may be given by London in these matters, especially in matters far away from the land of America. I would remind the house that in 1921, when the British government made an agreement with the Soviets, we adhered to it and representatives of the Soviet were accredited to Canada. In 1927 Mr. Joynson-Hicks, more commonly known, in London as Jix, in order to please his friend Sir Henry Deterding, found a great conspiracy in the offices of the Arcos. Raids were made, and after this action the government of Canada expelled the representatives of the Soviet from Montreal. This was done in spite of the fact that in. the official letter sent by the Canadian government to London it is admitted that we had no reason for doing this. Then we come to September, 1934, when it is learned with the greatest surprise that in Geneva we embraced the murderers of the Czar and voted to get the Soviets into the League of Nations. Again this was done because the British government had changed their policy.

In all fairness I ask the hon. members of this house: Do you think this process of kicking and kissing alternately is doing our 92582-146

country any good? I have nothing but admiration for the manner in which the English government conducts its foreign- policy. They have to deal with all the nations on earth, and the problems facing their government have been- the most difficult in- the history of humanity. The policy must be changed from year to year, they must kick and they must kiss; but they do it at normal level. Must we follow behind like a puppy and bite or kiss the toes of those nations which the British government finds itself big enough to kick or kiss in the face? Such a practice is undignified, it is dangerous, it is full of possible misunderstanding. These misunderstandings may occur, first, between Canada and Great Britain; second between Canada and the United States, and third, between Canada and the rest of the world.

I sum up this whole chapter by saying: In our dealings with the British, let us try to show the same firmness, the same common sense, the same sense of give and take which the British show-and it is the most admirable trait in their policy, both internal and external. But let us at the same time realize that the consequences of an error may be much less dangerous to the British nation than the consequences of the same error might be so far as Canada is concerned. In other words, a nation with the wealth, the power and the prestige of England can run risks in war or in peace, on land or on sea, which we have not the right to make our people incur. Let us be modest and sensible; let us be dignified and respectful, but let us reiterate in perfect truth the old saying, that while a daughter in our mother's house we are mistress in our own, especially since we have proclaimed to the world that we are a nation and that we can frame our own policies, internal or external, just as we wish.

And mind you, that is exactly the attitude which the British appreciate. I was never so struck with the truth of this thought as in my short stay in London in the week which preceded the conference of 1926, when I met one of the leading Tory publicists of Great Britain, one of those who shape public opinion in Great Britain, but especially Tory opinion. He asked me, "What will be Mr. King's attitude at this conference?" I replied, "I have no mandate to speak for Mr. King; but if he rightly interprets the mandate which he has just received from the people of Canada he will tell you-politely enough, because he is a gentleman-Mind your own business and I will mind mine." And this gentleman said to me then, "I hope he will do so; but I am afraid that Amery will circumvent him and make him admit things which he should not.


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Between ourselves, we British are rather tired of colonial loyalty. We like to be friends with you, but we do not like flatterers. It is enough to receive the homage of the black and brown tribes of Africa and Asia; but we like men of white skin to stand erect in our presence and talk to us as we talk to them." I thought that was a very good lesson which Canadians should take to heart.

With regard to our cooperation with the United States, I am here perhaps on more delicate ground, but I make this statement at once-that there is no great problem of policy, internal or external, which we can solve in Canada without regard to the policy of the United States. What is the use of being childish and boastful? Can we pretend to rule North America as against the United States? What I think is desirable, and what I think we should always cultivate, is friendly cooperation with the Americans and as much as possible simultaneous cooperation with the United States and Great Britain.

I hope that hon. members of this house have not forgotten the sound advice which was given once by Sir Esme Howard when he was British ambassador in Washington. Without too much flattery-just enough to satisfy Canadian vanity-not too much, just one or two cocktails-he said: "Your part in the policy of Great Britain, especially in America, may be a very useful one; it is to be the interpreters of affairs British to the Americans, and the interpreters of American opinion in England." Between ourselves, I think that the English and the Americans can correspond with each other without having recourse to Canada. Nevertheless there is something in that bit of advice. I suggest that we should make it clear to the Americans that we stam, loyally by Great Britain so long as Great Britain stands for peace; and we should intimate to the British government that if England chooses war and the United States decides for peace, then we also shall decide for peace.

But it may be said that I am raising the Monroe doctrine once more-that bogey! After fifty years' reading of history, one of the things that astonish me most is the absolute contrast between the way in which the Monroe doctrine is viewed in England and the way it is viewed in Canada. As our late lamented friend, Mr. John S. Ewart, once wrote picturesquely, "The Canning policy is sometimes called the Monroe doctrine." Anyone who has read the elements of history should know that it was George Canning who prepared the so-called Monroe doctrine. After Spain and Portugal had lost their colonies in America, with a stroke of genius, Canning, to

whom I think only one man can be compared among modern Englishmen, and that is Joseph Chamberlain, understood that if the United States could be got to proclaim to the world that no European power should be allowed to make conquests on the free soil of the two Americas, then the United States would become the willing policeman for Great Britain as against the rest of the world; because, of course, it was understood that those possessions of Great Britain which remained under the British orown were excepted, or rather that the Monroe doctrine was against any future acquisition of territory, while it respected actual possession. And as England alone was left with possessions on the American continent, the proclamation by President Monroe of Canning's policy was perhaps the greatest diplomatic victory of the British government in the last century. And it has remained the basic policy of the British government. I remember a statement made by Sir Edward Grey not ten years prior to the war. Speaking at one of the Guildhall banquets, if I remember aright, he said that ever since the time of George Canning down to his own regime, the Monroe doctrine had remained the mainstay of English policy. It is perhaps the only point in English policy _ that has not changed in a century, and it is more than ever England's policy.

Now why should we choose to be more sensitive of British honour than are the king and the government of England and the British parliament, representing all the people of the British Isles? Of course, I acknowledge a difference. We are a small' nation with an immense territory; and it was natural that we should have a certain dread of that fast growing giant occupying the rest of the continent. Then there was also the colonial vanity, a plant hard to destroy; in fact, I think it is indestructible. And then there was blind reliance on the power of England-a dangerous illusion! Never was it brought so clearly to my mind as in one of the most interesting conversations I have had in my life.

In the month of June, 1914, I was passing a forenoon with dear old Lord Fisher, then retired. War was declared before he was called back to the head of the admiralty. He was a very easy talker; he talked quite freely. This was just after the defeat of the naval policies of both parties in Canada; that is, the building of a Canadian navy as proposed by the Laurier government and a contribution to the British navy as proposed by the Borden government. I asked Lord Fisher what he thought of them. "Oh," he said, "they are equally stupid. What need have you of a navy?" "Well," I said, "I always

European Situation-Mr. Bourassa

thought so, but you ought .to know; you know something about naval matters." He said: "Any fool knows it is as ridiculous for Canada to have a navy as it would ibe for Switzerland. Only one country on earth can attack you, and that is the United States. What can you do with a navy against the United States?" "Well," I said, "what about the British navy and Mr. Borden's contribution?" "Well," he said, "that is equally foolish, because put in your .mind that whatever number of ships you give us, Great Britain will never fight the United States for Canada or for any other cause. We will not do it, not because we are cowards, but because it would be foolish and criminal. We cannot fight the United States and the United States cannot fight us. Therefore if you want to arrange your own defence, do not come to London; go to Washington." "Oh," I said, "but that would never be accepted by the Canadian people; they would consider it an affront to their dignity." He said: "Are they really as foolish as that in Canada? Do you not realize that interdependency is the basis of policy all the world over? We British people are as proud as any people are, and yet we rely on the strength of .the French Army to defend us against Germany, just as many years ago we relied on. the Prussians and Austrians to fight against France for us. The Belgians rely on both the British fleet and the French army to defend their country against Germany, just as in the time of Napoleon they relied on us and on the armies of Prussia to resist their conquest by France. Likewise the French nation, which is as proud as any other on earth, expects us to defend her coasts against any other fleet in the world. You should come to your senses; your best arm of defence is to have none." Therefore, when I have on my side the opinion of a man like Lord Fisher and a more recent opinion expressed by General McRae, I say: Let us go straight to the root of the question, and let us proclaim to the world that we are disarming, as the best means of defending Canada.

Some people may say: But that exposes us to absorption by the United States. Yes, but we have no means of .preventing the absorption of Canada by the United States, should they want to absorb us. So long as we kept up armaments against the United States, there were always currents of opinion in favour of the annexation of Canada, but ever since we have declared that state of permanent and complete disarmament, where is the current of thought in the United States favouring the annexation of Canada? Busi-92582-146}

ness men as well as statesmen in the United States know that they have for many years to come sufficient problems to solve within their own borders; they would not complicate their situation by annexing the rest of the continent, with all our own problems of race, religion, provinces, east and west, and so forth. No; better rely on the common sense of the United States as our best preservation.

I conclude this third chapter by saying: Let us stand without shame by the Monroe doctrine, well defined and enlarged as they understand it in England. In order to accomplish that, why not join the Pan-American union, in which we would be far more at home than we are in the League of Nations? There we would meet the representatives of all those states of South America which, in some respects, are in close understanding with the United States, but in others have the same feelings of diffidence that we have and which are natural in small or weak nations toward a very large one, dominating the continent? We would go there, on the one hand, as friendly to the United States and, on the other, as allied to that galaxy of young and gallant Latin-American nations whose influence we would strengthen and who also would strengthen our hand by exercising their influence in the sense of making peace a reality, at least in America.

We must not forget that we are an American nation. Whatever flag floats on our parliament buildings or on our fortresses, no conquest, no treaty, no acknowledgment of this or the other country, will ever change the fact that it was decided by God at the time of creation that America is America, Europe is Europe, and Canada is a nation in America and not one in Europe or Asia. Let us first base our policy on that permanent fact and then adapt ourselves as much as we can to the passing facts of conquest, domination, alliances and so forth.

Finally, I come to the League of Nations. I must admit, I suppose with the rest of the world and probably with this house, that my confidence in the league is somewhat shaken. Last year, as a conclusion to the speech to which I have alluded, Senator McRae moved that Canada should step out of the league. His motion was defeated. Had it been proposed in this house I suppose I would have applauded the speech with both hands and voted against the motion. I am not quite sure that I would do the same this year; and I presume any responsible man who has followed the trend of affairs in Europe and who is following events as they develop from day to day and from week to week will come

European Situation-Mr. Bourassa

What was the answer? Russia entered supported by thirty-nine votes, mostly of so-called Christian nations, and opposed by only three votes of small nations. What was the answer? What was the answer of Mr. Lit-vinoff to the invitation of Canada, Portugal, Switzerland and even of France to respect conditions of other countries and to come nearer the articles of Geneva? Here is the answer:


And he was referring to past enemies of the Soviet, as well as to present opponents-

To-day we are happy to be able to state that the exponents of those utopias-

Utopias! your principles and mine-

-and the advocates of the policy of ignoring and isolating the Soviet union are no longer to be met among broad-minded statesmen, among the representatives of the more important states moulding international life who think on realistic lines and understand the needs of the present day, but must be searched for among narrow-minded politicians-

That was thrown in the face of Mr. Motta, Mr. De Valera, and even in our own face.

-unable to rise above their petty political passions and strong prejudices and deriving their knowledge of countries and peoples from muddied sources.

Note the expression, "muddied sources."

It remains only to pity such people and to wish them a speedy enlightenment and a return to more reliable sources of information.

That was the language of contempt. Note now the triumphant rebuke. Did he agree to establish in Russia liberty of conscience as it exists in England and in the United States? Did he promise to stop propaganda? No. Here is what he said:

The Soviet union is entering into the league to-day as representative of a new social-economic system, not renunciating any of its special features, and-like the other states^ here represented-preserving intact its personality.

That is the nation we have kissed on both cheeks, we, a Christian nation, we a nation whose government and policy repose on old .traditions, on the liberty of conscience, on respect for the dignity of man and the divinity of God. That humble attitude, that crouching attitude of 38 so-called Christian nations before the outstanding apostles of atheism, will it make for .peace? Read the papers from day to day. The answer has been given in a brutal form, but better have it that way than to go on with the hyprocrisy which has prevailed for years. The answer has been given by Adolf Hitler. True, Hitlerism is to-day perhaps the most outstanding menace to peace. Why? First, because of the

[Mr. Bourassa.J

iniquities of the treaty of Versailles, to which we have affixed our signatures and crucified the honour of Canada. Secondly, because we dared not protest against the obstinacy with which the French government, more or less supported foy the British government, refused to correct those inequalities. I was forgetting about the one British representative who protested, namely General Smuts, who in the1 glass gallery at Versailles, before affixing his signature to the historic document, had the courage to stand up and say, "I sign, but peace will not come out of these treaties." He was the only one who dared open his mouth. Surely if the Prime Minister of South Africa could speak out, had not the Prime Minister of Canada, to whichever party he might belong, the same liberty to speak frankly and openly? The attitude of the allied countries made Hitlerism, because that attitude played into the hands of those young men in Germany who for years had been looking for an understanding or possible agreement with France, England and Italy. Seeing that their efforts were in vain, and that from day to day the Locarno treaty was becoming dilapidated, in despair they finally threw themselves into the hands of Hitler. That made the success of Hitlerism. But what has confirmed it and strengthened it in the last six months more than anything else is the admission of Russia into the League of Nations. It is that coquetting attitude of France, Great Britain and Italy towards the Soviets. I am surprised that Britain especially should have forgotten the sound advice of a man whose policy I have opposed very frequently in my public life but who was at times truly a man of long vision. I refer to Joe Chamberlain, who said once, speaking of Anglo-Russian relations, "When you sup with the devil take a long spoon." Now not only are they supping together, they are even drinking out of the same glass. For my part I am not prepared to put my lips on those soiled cups, nor do I believe that the vast majority of Canadians, to whatever creed or race or party they belong, are prepared to follow suit because, at the present time and for this year, it suits the British government and the French and the Italians to try once more to encircle Germany. And for what purpose? To enhance civilization? To preserve Liberty? To save small nationalities? No. But to make Soviet Russia the arbiter of the whole world, to strengthen the hand of the Soviets in such a manner that Russia will be the dominating power of the east of Europe and of the west of Asia. I remind you of those somewhat Obscure words of Mr. APRIL 1, 1935

European Situation-Mr. Bourassa

Motta: Think of the far east. Read the despatches of to-day, and see what game is going on now between London and Moscow, Warsaw, Paris and Rome. Poor Poland is once more being dragged from right to left, from north to south, by the Teuton, by the Slav, by the Italian and by the French, with the English putting up a protecting hand, yes, a protecting hand for English interests. I do not blame them, but I pity the poor nations of Europe who are kept in that state of chronic fever; and for heaven's sake, I say, let us preserve our people, let us preserve our youth, let us preserve our nation from the consequences of such intrigues, such changes in policy and such threats of war!

But worst of all is what I call the apostacy of so-called Christendom. I deprecate the introduction of religion into the discussion of puiblic affairs; but after all one should not hesitate at appealing to what is best in men's souls and hearts. You cannot rule the world, you cannot rule a country, any more than you can rule an individual, without appealing to religion, without appealing to faith. Last year I ventured to predict that we could never succeed in solving our social and economic problems until we had restored in our community and in the soul of each of us, in each family and in each class of people, respect for God and for God's laws. Likewise you cannot restore the law of nations; you cannot by law and by treaties, by force of arms on land, on sea, in the air or under the sea, you cannot by brute force or by deceitful diplomacy bring order and peace into the world. Here again I quote an authority who did not belong to my church or my creed. I have always been struck with these lines, ever since I read them for the first time in Morley's Life of Gladstone. Gladstone was a devout son of the Church of England, and his life was written by a nonconformist who had become an avowed rationalist. Referring to one of the first incidents in foreign affairs in which Gladstone was called upon to play a part, Morley says of him:

Mr. Gladstone had not read history for nothing. He knew the evils that followed in Europe the breakdown of the great spiritual power-once, though with so many defects, a controlling force over violence, anarchy and brute wrong. He knew the necessity for some substitute, even a substitute so imperfect as the law of nations.

Eighty years ago Gladstone realized the necessity for a law of nations even though it was imperfect compared with the unity of Christendom as it existed1 in the middle ages. He realized, although he did not say so expressly, that in spite of religious schisms, Christianity remained the one great basis of

social order; and as another great Protestant statesman, Burke, had said a half a century previous: Whatever may be our creed and

sectarian views we must acknowledge- that the Pope remains the head of Christianity.-Now if that was the opinion of "a great Christian statesman," as Gladstone was described by Lord Salisbury after his death, can we not take cognizance of it and act somewhat accordingly? But what did we do? We tacitly acquiesced in the secret treaty concluded in London in April, 1915, by which England, France and Russia decided to exclude the Pope from all their deliberations on the affairs of this world. Why? Because in those days the Italian government was afraid that the Pope might raise the question of temporal power. Now that difficulty has disappeared, because the Holy See has made peace with the Italian government. Is there any reason which remains for the temporal rulers of the so-called Christian nations to go on excluding the Pope from their counsels? I do not say from their government, I do not say from their policies, because no sane Catholic to-day and no Pope would claim any such power similar to that which the papacy exercised in the middle ages; the situation, religious, political and social is entirely different. But surely there is no man, however sincere a Protestant he may be, no matter how much of an enemy he may be to what was the rule of the papacy five hundred years ago, or even what it -was sixty-five years ago, when Gladstone denounced the Vatican and Vaticanism, who will not admit, if he has a mind big enough to overcome his prejudices, that the papacy and the Holy See remain the greatest moral force there is in the world to-day. The British government, in spite of all opposition, have reestablished relations with the Holy See. More governments have established relations with the Holy See since the war than for a century previous. Are we going to sit aloof? Are we going to refuse to learn anything from that- great seat of learning?

Last year, referring to social and economic conditions, I pointed to these men in this corner of the house who are neither Catholics nor, some of them, very ardent Christians, I believe; nevertheless they were the only members I heard quoting the Pope's encyclicals and making use of them to foster what they considered to be social reforms. A moment ago I said that we cannot solve any problem in America without the cooperation of the government of the United States. Likewise do I assert that the world cannot solve its problems without the cooperation of the greatest and most permanent spiritual power which exists. I am an old man


European Situation-Mr. Woodsworth

as compared with the newer generation. Why is the world in its present condition? It is because everyone has been looking to wealth, to industry, to trade, to power, to diplomacy, to brutal arms to solve their problems. It is 'because each nation has cultivated within itself self-admiration and self-tpride; it is because these things have been set up as idols. The main occupation of the world prior to the war, during the war and since the war has been to paganize its morals, its habits and its standards; and we are to-day reaping the result. The more we worship at the altar of the golden calf, the more lack of respect we show for everything spiritual, the harder will be the solution of our problems. I sum up these rambling remarks by making the same appeal I made last year: If you want to reestablish the brotherhood of man, begin by proclaiming the fatherhood of God.

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