Arthur Wentworth ROEBUCK
ROEBUCK, The Hon. Arthur Wentworth, Q.C.
- Trinity (Ontario)
- Birth Date
- February 28, 1878
- Deceased Date
- November 17, 1971
- barrister, newspaper editor, newspaper owner
- March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
- LIBTrinity (Ontario)
Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 54)
August 12, 1944
All you have to do is to show that and you can cancel the Canadian nationality of the individual; but you must not punish'the innocent because of the guilty. There may be some who have dual nationality, who owe a loyalty to the emperor of Japan and who attempt to show the same attitude toward the king of England. It cannot be done. If you can show that, there is no difficulty at all in cancelling the British citizenship, and I rather think you could) cancel the nationality of even a person bom here, although I am not so sure about that. My point is that you must not do these things by rumour and assumptions. Even-handed justice requires that we prove such charges against the guilty individual and not in a broad way assume that all must be guilty because of some national characteristics. I have found even in my short experience that usually characteristics attributed to large sections of a community, to groups, to nationalities, to races and so on, have very little foundation in fact. They are usually fictions. For instance, there is a fiction that the French are excitable, the English phlegmatic, and so on; I could mention many more. Usually these are not based upon facts but upon assumptions. The French are often phlegmatic and the English excitable. So that perhaps it may be with those of Japanese origin who have had the benefit of long years of association with Canadians and of Canadian training. It may be that they are not quite so bad as, say, the military clique who guide the destinies of Japan. It is not my intention to-night to argue the question of the Japanese or to constitute myself their champion.
Subtopic: DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
August 12, 1944
Are any of these men in parliament?
Subtopic: POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT IN MAINTAINING VIGOROUS WAR EFFORT-CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION OF THE PRIME MINISTER
August 12, 1944
I have listened with a
great deal of pleasure, Mr. Chairman, to
the discussion carried on to-day on the broad questions of foreign policy. There was a time when we Canadians found it very difficult to discuss our own national problems, because in the minds of some people, whenever we asserted Canadianism we were in some way anti-British. Nothing of the kind. As Canada gradually emerges to nationhood; as the complex of the little man disappears and we become powerful and influential in world affairs; as our position becomes more clearly recognized abroad, we are approaching our national questions with a little more sanity and reason. The only vast difference that I see between the Canadianism I have heard expressed from across the floor, particularly by hon. members of the Progressive Conservative party, and that held so firmly on this side of the house is this. While we are all for Canada, there seems to be some doubt across the way as to whether or not we have grown up. They are still in the Kipling age: "Daughter am I in my mother's house, but mistress in my own." That_was a very catchy and descriptive phrase when it was written by Mr. Kipling, but that was a good many years ago. The day has gone by when Canada is daughter in anyone's house, though undoubtedly she is mistress in her own. Those were the days when Canada's right to guide her own foreign affairs was still in doubt. Then we were daughter in our mother's house. To-day, however. we are peers in the British commonwealth of nations, in which none is in any way inferior to the other in any aspect of our domestic or foreign affairs. In that attitude I -beleive we are far stronger than in that advocated from across the aisle; that is to say, an adult nationhood but in some way subservient to some other nation.
Subtopic: DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
August 12, 1944
Well, there is no question that the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) advocated it. If I understand the English language aright he desires some sort of centralization of power across the ocean. He is not satisfied that Canada should stand on her own feet, make her own decisions and, working in cooperation with Great Britain and the other members of the empire, go forward in unity, in concord and in cooperation. I heard the hon. member say that the strength of the empire is in unity, and of course with that statement I thoroughly
agree. The strength of the empire is in unity; but if that unity is to be brought about by subservience on the part of Canada to any other people, any other government or any other power, then that unity is bought at too great a price. The unity which makes for progress and influence and power is that which is manifest among free peoples, voluntarily associating in their own ways for the accomplishment of some common object.
It is obvious that we cannot have one voice for the whole empire. Each must have its own say in its own way. One is not a realist if he does not see that some of the questions which are important to Australia and New Zealand are not so important to us, while some aspects of our foreign affairs are of little interest to either Australia or New Zealand. We have a coast on the Atlantic as well as on the Pacific. So with South Africa; in her foreign affairs she would not be much interested in our relationship, for instance, with the great country of Russia. It is necessary that each portion of our great commonwealth live its own life in its own way, making its own decisions and expressing itself through its own representatives. In that way we shall develop a powerful empire.
The subject uppermost in my mind at the moment, however, is not the broad question of empire solidarity. On February 1 last I brought to the attention of the house an interesting and, I think, important subject; that is to say, the Palestine situation. A considerable section of our community is looking to me at the present time to say something about that subject, and to bring it up in the course of this debate. It is hoped that a policy will be announced by Great Britain and the United States, perhaps in the near future. I trust that it may be soon. One reason for thinking something of that kind may be in immediate prospect is the fact that Viscount Gort was recently appointed high commissioner of Palestine. Viscount Gort is known to have a sympathetic attitude not only to individual Jewish people but to the Jewish problem in general, and it is hoped that in consequence of his influence something beneficial may evolve. Unfortunately, however, there is also a rumour-perhaps it is nothing more than a rumour-that the policy to be announced will involve the partitioning of Palestine. Be it remembered that when the Balfour declaration was published it was understood to refer to Palestine as it exists to-day together with Trans-Jordania, making an area of some thirty-five thousand square miles. Somehow in the course of the years Trans-
Jordania has been dropped from the argument that centres about the Balfour declaration. And so to-day there is involved an area of about 10,000 square miles, taking in the Jordan river and the Dead sea, right up to the north. The proposal made in 1922 for the partition of Palestine involved. the creation of two states, one Jewish and the other Arab. There was to be given to the Jewish state territory comprising some 2,500 or 3,000 square miles. Excepted out of that territory was the great port of Haifa, the valley of Jezreel, which runs across the north of Palestine, and the river and valley of the Jordan and the Dead sea. So that the agricultural territory which remained was without any flow of water, other than what would be obtained from wells. Quite obviously, the area was so small and the resources so limited, particularly the resources of water, that the portion which remained was an economic impossibility. That is the proposal which is again rumoured as a possible announcement from the two governments.
I place myself, and the very large Jewish community of this country, in direct opposition to any such proposal. I hold in my hand excerpts from a brochure presented by the Zionist Emergency Council to the state department of the United States on the 7th day of this month. With the consent of the house I shall read some excerpts from this somewhat remarkable document. The committee says:
Partition is no new proposal, as far as Palestine is concerned. The Balfour declaration, with its promise of a national 'home for the Jewish people, was originally intended to apply to the whole of historic Palestine, including Palestine east of the Jordan, or Trans-Jordan as it is known to-day.
In September, 1922, however, the League of Nations, at the instance of the British government, excluded Trans-Jordan from this area. More than two-thirds of the territory originally designated as the Jewish national home was thus closed to Jewish settlement.
Further partition of Palestine proposed in 1937 by the Palestine royal commission recommended the establishment of a Jewish state on an area of about one-fifth of Palestine west of the Jordan. The remainder, apart from a small British enclave, together with Trans-Jordan was to become an Arab state. In parliament this proposal was severely criticized, among others, by Winston Churchill. No proposal for the future of Palestine can be acceptable to the Jewish people which precludes the possibility of large-scale Jewish settlement and colonization. But partition would be a severe blow to the economic welfare of the Jewish state. It would be detrimental to industrial expansion and would greatly limit the possibility of absorbing a large Jewish population.
So far as agricultural colonization is concerned, partition would be fatal to any important project for close settlement and
intensive development. For any conceivable partition of Palestine would necessarily separate the important water resources in the north from the irrigable land in the south which offers the greatest prospect of development.
Such a political separation of water and land would of course entirely preclude the development of Palestine in regional terms along these lines.
To-day Zionists are unanimous in their opposition to any partition. While some of those Jews who will survive the war will no doubt desire to return to their countries of origin, for very many emigration and in particular emigration to Palestine where alone they can claim to go as of right and will be welcomed by their own people, offers the best, if not the only prospect of a new and more hopeful future. In order to meet the needs of such a large-scale immigration it will be necessary to make use v of the possibilities as a whole, and any reduction in the area of settlement would be regarded as introducing a corresponding limitation on the numbers who may thus be rehabilitated.
The matter becomes of very great national and international importance at the present time because of the situation in Hungary. Before the war, Hungary had a very considerable population of Jews who had lived there for many centuries. The educational institutions of Hungary were known world-wide. Many of the leading Jewish people in communities all over the world have found their origin in Hungary, and their education in the institutions of that country.
When the war broke out there were about a half million Jewish people in Hungary. As the war progressed, the population of Jews increased, because of refugees. The Jewish population increased to nearly a million. I believe the figure was 900,000. To-day the Jewish population of Hungary is about 400,000. Five hundred thousand Jewish people have disappeared. Where they have gone we do not know. But we do know that 100,000 of them were deported at one time to be murdered by the nazis in Poland. We know that through Catholic sources, and also from the Polish government in exile. We know it, too, because the Pope sent a message to Admiral Horthy, Hungarian regent and head of the Hungarian state, protesting and pleading that deportations cease.
Mr. Hull, Secretary of State for the United States, as late as July 14, 1944, stated that the entire Jewish community in Hungary faced extermination. He threatened punishment to the state of Hungary if it persisted in violation of the most elementary of human rights. Partly as a result of what was said by Mr. Hull, partly because of what was said by His Holiness the Pope, and to no small degree because of the menacing Russian army near the borders of Hungary, a message has been received by the International Red Cross from Admiral Horthy that he is prepared to give
an exit permit to any Jew who can show a visa to Palestine, and to any Jewish child under ten years of age for whom entry can be secured to any of the allied countries.
We can all express abhorrence of the barbarity of the nazis. We can repeat over and over that the whole world is outraged at what has gone on in Central Europe with regard to this unfortunate population. But I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that more outrageous is to express sentiments of abhorrence while, by our actions, showing ourselves willing to do nothing. The time has arrived when the united nations-which includes Canada-must take action in this matter, and it is easily taken. We must either be rescuers or accomplices. I note that at the Burma conference on May 19, 1943, Mr. Eden made this statement:
We shall do everything in our power to help these people.
The time has come to do the helping. Trains still run from Budapest to Istanbul, from Hungary to Turkey. With Turkey now breaking with Germany it should not be difficult to secure cooperation in the Turkish capital. There are trains running to-day from the Turkish capital to Haifa in Palestine.
We have not done so very badly during the last year. Some 9,000 refugees have entered Palestine. That is a trickle, it is true, but still it is 9,000; it might be worse. But there remain only 20,000 visas, according to the white paper'against which I spoke in February last, and these are being reserved for refugees from the occupied countries. It is time that Christian nations express in a practical way what they intend to do with regard to the plight of the Jews in Hungary and elsewhere.
There is no difficulty in absorbing large numbers of these people in Palestine. I understand that discussion are now going on between the authorities of Palestine and those of Egypt to bring in 15,000 Egyptian labourers in order to meet the man-power shortage in Palestine. Large numbers of these refugees could be accommodated in Palestine to-day if the British empire governments and the United States would insist that the door be opened, as it was intended to be opened at the close of the last war, and give these poor people the haven of refuge for which they have worked and struggled and which they now need so tragically.
I once had a remarkable Jewish friend, who used to say that the mission of the Jews was to bring Christianity to the Christians. It occurs to me that if there ever was a time in world history when Christians might bring a little Christianity to the Jews, that' time is now. I know our Prime Minister is sympathetic in this matter. He has never turned a
deaf ear to any one in distress, and from his door no lame dog has ever limped unhelped. I appeal to him to give this matter the most effective handling of which his department is capable.
Subtopic: DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
August 12, 1944
Before leaving this paragraph I would ask the parliamentary assistant whether or not the decision as to the sending of a cheque to a person who, perhaps, is in a three- or four-tbousandi-dollar income tax bracket, would not depend upon the person himself. For instance, if I wish family allowances to be paid to my wife, instead of my having the privilege of deducting it from my income tax, I shall make that application. If I do not wish to have it done in that way, I will not make the application. Will not the matter work out through the volition of the taxpayer, rather than through the arrangements made by the department? If I wish my wife to have it, I shall apply for it. If I do not wish her to have it, I shall take my deduction. Is that not the way it will work out?