We shall never think much of Imperialism, under any form.
Any move, however distant, towards Imperialism or Imperial federation seems to us objectionable.
The Toronto Globe of the 5th of April. 1907, also said:
If it became necessary to participate in the active defence of the Empire, Canadians would be found ready, as in the past; but such an occurrence seems remote, and even unlikely for years to come and, in the meantime, Canadians would rather use their resources for the development of their country, realizing that thus will they work in the best possible manner to strengthen the Empire.
We cannot spend our money in building all at once railways and battleships, and even in the interest and for the defence of the Empire; the extension of our railway system, and all it means, is the most satisfactory policy.
Le Soleil lastly, in its issue of the 19th of February, 1907, stated as follows:
To attempt to draw the colonies into the turmoil of European jealousies would only result in jeopardizing uselessly their development, and draining their resources to no purpose without any certain profit to the Empire."
I shall, I hope, be excused from reading articles from other Liberal newspapers. The reply may be made that such were the opinions of mere journalists. But I say on the contrary those statements expressed faithfully the views held at that time by the Liberal leaders. I say that they reflected the opinion expressed by the leader himself and'by the hon. member for Kou-ville (Mr. Lemieux). In July, 1903, at a convention of the boards of trade of the whole Empire held at Montreal, it was declared that Canada although recognizing its obligation to aid the mother country, yet wished to maintain its right to determine for itself the manner of its co-operation. The Nationalist league held a meeting to protest against . this declaration; !Mr. Rodolphe Lemieux was invited to attend. He replied that he could not do so for purely personal reasons, but in the course of his letter he stated his views on the question and I call attention to the following extract:
Allow me, however, to express my surprise at seeing that the delegates of the Canadian Boards of Trade and particularly those of the province of Quebec, have thought fit to support a resolution which affirms an absolutely false principle, namely: that the colonies are
subject to the obligation of participating in the defence of the Empire.
I need not say that the Canadians can in no way be hound by such a declaration. Under what treaty would it he desired to add to the respective rights and duties of the Empire and its colonies? What authority is vested in our boards of trade to permit them to involve the country's future?
The Canadian Parliament alone, has the right to assume such a responsibility and I have no hesitation in declaring that the Drummond resolution in no way expresses the calm and deliberate opinion of the Canadian nation.
On the contrary, the dignified attitude taken last year (1902) at the Intercolonial Conference by the Prime Minister of Canada is that which faithfully represents the people's sentiment.
Such Weis the platform extolled in the election campaign of 1911, and which affirmed the principle that, unless urged by extraordinary conditions, such as. have arisen in 1914, Canada ought not to participate in the wars of the Empire. That policy of the Liberal party we have upheld. Whether we were right or wrong, what stands out clearly in all this matter is that the political principles of which I have just spoken were professed by the Liberal party and its leaders and equally by the Conservative party and its leaders. It still remains true that the extremely important problem of the mutual relationship of the Empire anid its colonies is awiatMmg 'Solution in the future. It will rise again for the coming statesmen to -solve in the best possible manneT. Possibly our attitude of 1911 may fee eiondjeimmed, as possibly may the Conservative viewpoint. Possibly also the Liberal position may then be repudiated. The question is merely being held in abeyance since the declaration of war in 1914- But after the war is over, after victory shall have rewarded the efforts of the allies, who daTe hold that the problem which has divided us so profoundly in 1910 and 1911 will not again be the subject of dispute? And no one can foresee on what lines a settlement may be effected. That is why I cannot abide -by the criticism proffered by some hon. gentlemen on the other side.
In 1914 the war broke out, and, as 1 stated a moment ago, there was an end to all bickerings. However, that may be stating the case too strongly, in view of the opinions which, as late as yesterday, were given utterance to by my hon. friend from Nicollet (Mr. Lam-aricthe), opinions of a sort
ter should not be left unprovided. Accordingly the Patriotic Fund was at once organized, and with what result? A keen rivalry developed between urban and rural communities in the blatter of contributions. Poor as well as rich, lowly as well as exalted, acquitted themselves creditably.
The citizens of Montreal and Toronto, who quite recently donated $5,000,000 to help carry on the work of the Patriotic Fund, are entitled to special praise.
To secure that result, the citizens of Montreal met and resolved themselves into a certain number of squads between which the work was divided, so as to secure prompter returns.
A hearty welcome was extended -to these workers wherever they showed themselves. More particularly, at a banquet given in their honour, the foremost citizens of the metropolis appeared as their patrons. That banquet was presided over by a gentleman well-known to the hon. members of this House, and whose administrative ability and devotion to the British Crown were recently acknowledged by our Gracious Sovereign; I am alluding to Lord Shiaugfbnessy of Monifereial and Ashford. At his side one could see the Archbishop of Montreal, who by his presence and his words was anxious to help in the common [DOT] cause. Allow me, by the way, to mention the glorious part taken by the Sulpicians of Montreal, unassuming priests who devote their lives to the welfare of their countrymen, who _have organized numerous benevolent institutions, have within the last year endowed Montreal with a splendid library, and in the course of the last fifteen months, have subscribed $35,000 to the Patriotic Fund.
In looking over the subscriptions of Montreal, it will be found that, out of this enormous subscription of $2,500,000, nearly $500,000 have been contributed by the working-class, by the men who win their bread by the sweat of their brow. That contribution of $500,000 is the mite of the poor man who is also anxious to do his bit in the war. The wage-earner within his limited means is giving as much as the moneyed man with his millions. In all benevolent enterprises it is not so much the amount that counts as the spirit in which it is given.
Before concluding, allow me to quote a page from a French author, 'which I am sure, will be found highly interesting. It will be the summary and the conclusion of my speech. The quotation is from the pen of Mr. Henri Lavedan;
A Day with the Dead.
"The Dead''-...Two words that already have lost their old meaning. The only plausible thought they now convey is of the victims of the war. Those soldiers, giving their lives on the battlefield, have, it seems, taken unto themselves, denying it to those who depart this life in vulgar peacefulness, the grand name of death, of which they have become, in a way, the titulars. The trivial act of dying they have exalted to the height of a distinction. For a long time to come, the term will retain the heroic meaning they breathed into it. It will be difficult for the mind to picture death otherwise than in' a soldier's uniform, facing the enemy and receiving the last sacrament of fire.
To-morrow our supreme hour in turn may come. While our loved ones, surrounding the couch of their spoiled sufferer, will vie with each other to allay the bitterness of his last moments, we shall recall the readiness and patience of our glorious departed and we shall strive, from here below, to initiate their fortitude. Their example moreover will have sustained us to the end, because their death was vivifying. Their loss of course casts over us a boundless sadness that will not fade away, but our grief is not a gloom that leads to despair and dejection, it does not beget doubt and revolt; it exalteth and appeaseth.
If it be not left to us to do in every way as they have done, we may at least think, believe, decide as they; we may perpetuate in us their healthy ideas and their honest resolutions; remodel our hearts and minds to the image of their own and strive to resemble them. . .Let us come out of ourselves a little and fashion our ideals on those beautiful models; let us follow the path they have hewn out for us; let us make ours their views and practice of life, and in so doing we shall give them that supreme joy, which they have so dearly paid for in advance, of knowing that their life is being continued in our great designs, our lofty flights, and our works. Give them the proud comfort of seeing themselves perpetuated all through the future generations and contemplating eternally the excellence of their labour. The earth holds their bodies only; their countless souls are liberated, and God does not take it all; He purposely leaves a part of it free to operate within us. Let us inhale, as a gift of the Holy Ghost, this flame which flashes out of the soldier's grave and twinkles across the glorious battlefields... "
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REFDY.