Canada and the Empire of Tomorrow
- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 14 Oct 1943, p. 32-49
- Murray, Major Gladstone, Speaker
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- A stage in the war when the future must be considered. Justification now for certain conclusions; the victory of the United Nations assured; the collapse of Germany; the reduction of Japan; afterwards, a period of uncertainty. A discussion proceeds under the following headings: The German Problem; Hitler; Episode Two; Dodging Defeat; The Weapon of Revolution; The Communists; The Empire After the War; Canada's Population; English-Speaking and French-Speaking; Towards Better Conditions; The Way of Freedom; The Wrong Way; The Bulwark of the Future. Many subjects are addressed during this discussion, including the following. Understanding the German problem, and why complete victory in the war, accompanied by the unconditional surrender of the enemy will not in itself solve the chief problem of the century. The conspiracy for world domination. How the Grand Alliance of victory fell to pieces following the first World War. Sabotaging the League of Nations. The German General Staff moving ahead, defining the years after 1918 as the "period of suspended hostilities." Hitler as part of the Master Plan. Foiling the first attempts of Episode Two, or World War II. Mistakes made by the Germans. Underestimating the British Empire. The reluctant tribute to Canadian arms in the reports of the German General Staff. The German General Staff acknowledging the end of Episode Two, and planning Episode Three. Encouraging dissension and revolution in the United Nations. Russia's changing alliance; abandoning the Communists. The German General Staff now concentrating on weakening, and if possible breaking up, the British Empire. An alliance of the big three—United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom—still to be made for the postwar world. The questions as to whether or not the British Commonwealth and Empire will become still more closely knit together. Canada, emerging as a strong world power, a factor in this strengthening of Empire. Canada's internal problems. The need in Canada for a bold immigration policy. Relations between French and English Canadians. Bettering conditions after the war. Ways and means of bettering conditions. Evolving and reforming on the basis of enlightened citizenship; building on the best of the past shaped to new needs and new ideals. Canada's internal problems and external relations.
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- 14 Oct 1943
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"CANADA AND THE EMPIRE OF tomorrow"
AN ADDRESS BY MAJOR GLADSTONE MURRAY, M.C., D.F.C.
Chairman: The President, Mr. Eason Humphreys.
Thursday, October 14, 1943
MR. HUMPHREYS: Grace as we have just said it is collective acknowledgment of God and His goodness. Of lesser, although related importance, is collective allegiance to our flag and what it stands for.
A member of the club has received permission from your Executive Committee to present the club with a miniature flagstaff on which to display the Union Jack, and, when necessary or possible, the flag of our guest, should he hail from outside the Empire. By so doing, we hope to make him feel that warmth which comes from the sight of the flag of one's own land. The miniature flagstaff also commemorates the fortieth year of The Empire Club of Canada.
Two friends of the member have made this miniature flagstaff. Mr. Ralph Giles developed the mechanical apparatus and Mr. Robert Allworth constructed the base. I will now ask Mr. Ralph Giles to switch on a motor which will cause the Union Jack to flutter in a man-made breeze.
Today The Empire Club of Canada opens a new session which terminates in April, 1944.
If members present here today will permit it, may I in their name say a word of greeting to those listening to the Club's proceedings by radio. (Applause.) Then to you, ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience, The Empire Club of Canada sends greetings.
The Empire Club has been so impressed with the extent of its listening audience that consideration was given to what one might term the club's friendly obligation to you who listen. Many who are not members of the club who live at a distance would, we find, like to know in advance something about our guest and the subject to be discussed.
And now about today's guest of The Empire Club From a distinguished career, one accomplishment of Major Gladstone Murray is, I think, of special interest. Major Murray was the first man to successfully direct artillery fire from the air by the use of wireless. Then again, it is interesting to note, in these days of intensive combined operations, that military manuals for the British War Office on the subject of artillery and infantry cooperation with aircraft were written by our guest many years ago. He did 3,000 hours of operational flying with Royal Flying corps and was twice wounded.
With Mr. Winston Churchill, Major Murray and one other, were in charge of publicity during the general strike of 1926 in England. When there were no news papers printed, Radio was virtually the only means of communication between government and public. It was in no small measure due to Major Murray's work that a basis for settlement was reached.
Among many other attainments of our guest, I am sure you already know of his distinguished service with the British Broadcasting Corporation and with our own Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
I have learned something about our guest which seems to me a fitting conclusion to this short introduction. His first feeling of inspiration about the Empire was stirred by hearing his mother read Queen Victoria's message to her people at the time of the Diamond jubilee in 1897. With that, I have pleasure in introducing Major Gladstone Murray, M.C., D.F.C., Croix de Guerre, Italian Silver Medal, who now addresses us on "Canada and the Empire of Tomorrow".
been reached when we must consider the future. True, the struggle continues, and has yet to reach its ultimate phase of destruction; but a spectator from Mars, detached in sentiment and interest, would be justified now in certain conclusions. The overwhelming victory of the United Nations is assured; the collapse of Germany will happen suddenly and from within; the reduction of Japan will be a longer ordeal but hardly as long as the experts now prophesy; when Germany collapses there will be a universal sense of relief but no clear-cut and generally acceptable plan for dealing with the countries prostrated by war. Afterwards there will be a period of uncertainty. Such would be the probable reflections of a discerning resident of Mars.
THE GERMAN PROBLEM
The first thing important to remember is that complete victory in the war, accompanied by the unconditional surrender of the enemy, will not in itself solve the chief problem of the century. To understand the reason for this it is necessary to understand the German problem. The greatest conspiracy for world domination was conceived in the early years of this century by the German General Staff, which has consisted, and continues to consist, not of swaggering comic-opera Prussian officers, but the elite of German intelligence, knowledge, and fanaticism. The "Master-Plan" certainly had taken shape by 1910, since when it has been applied with clock-work precision. There have been setbacks, serious ones, but these were allowed for in the beginning. The First Episode of the Master-Plan was World War I. Well, that didn't come off; but there was provision for this eventuality. Also there was recognition of why it didn't come off. In the German General Staff analysis of World War I, prepared in 1920, it was set out clearly that the chief reason for the set back was the unexpected unity and military might of the British Empire. Following their Plan, the German General Staff stage-managed the suspension of hostilities with skill. They signed the Treaty of Versailles or rather gave instructions for it to be signed by their "stooges"; they would have done the same with any other peace terms. They then permitted the setting up of a tame republic, carefully controlled. Simultaneously they staged an enquiry into the reasons for the loss of the war, and the published propaganda verdict put the blame on the home front, the communists, and the blockade. They succeeded in convincing the German people, and many people outside, that the German army was not defeated; that it was tricked and let down. Fortunately our intelligence service has had access to the real views of the German General Staff; what thwarted their first attempt was the unity and military power of the British Empire. Of course there were other important factors but this was the decisive one, as selected by the German brain-trust itself. We could not expect the Germans to use quite the enthusiasm of Mr. Lloyd George when he put it this way in 1918:
"This war has taught us many lessons, but no lesson more striking than the lesson of the reality of the power of the British Empire. What would have happened to the world had the might of the British Empire not been maintained and had it not been thrown into the conflict? Military despotism would have triumphed throughout the world."
Having fooled the German public, the General Staff proceeded to fool the Allies by sabotaging the Peace Treaties and encouraging disunity among their enemies. The Grand Alliance of victory fell to pieces. The United States withdrew from responsibility for keeping the peace in Europe. With the United States out, Britain felt unable to go the full distance in co-operation with France. The League of Nations made a gallant effort but it was sabotaged. In the general welter of divided counsels and disillusionment, the German General Staff alone moved steadily and consistently towards their goal. It is noteworthy that in the documents of the General Staff the years after 1918 are defined as the "period of suspended hostilities."
A popular fallacy is to assume that Hitler represents an isolated phenomenon superimposed on Germany. He is nothing of the kind; he is part of the Master Plan. Hitler is the convenient "stooge" of the time, as The Kaiser, Ludendorf and Hindenberg were before him. Blindly obedient devotion, insatiably bitter hatred had to be incubated. The whole youth of the nation was taken in hand and saturated with perverted patriotism. In this mass nourishment of hatred the Jews were the most convenient victims. The General Staff rightly calculated that they could do anything they liked to the Jews without risking the premature armed intervention of the powers. In that kindergarten of hell's kitchen it was easy to lift the sights to the democratic world. So there grew up a whole generation of Germans fashioned in the deadly fanatic mould designed by the General Staff.
In due course, episode two was launched. We are now in the midst of it. It has come nearer to success than episode one; and what was the chief reason it failed? Anyone aware of the facts realizes that with the fall of France, the Dunkirk evacuation, and "the stab in the back" by Italy, the cause of civilization was in graver jeopardy than at any time since the collapse of the Roman Empire. It is known that the German General Staff suffered from over-confidence. They thought that Britain would yield to powerful air assault. This mistake cost them the first chance of victory in episode two of their Master-Plan. What was it that foiled their attempt? As in episode one, it was the British Empire,--this time by its unity and steadfastness, I do not say its actual armed strength because that was not a determining factor then. The endurance and capacity of resistance of the people of the United Kingdom in 1940 and 1941 marked a turning point in history. And when the record of these tremendous times comes to be written in an atmosphere of detachment, Canada's part in saving the embattled citadel of civilization will be fully acknowledged. If we do not rate our prowess in arms sufficiently high, the German General Staff make no such mistake. Their reports on the operations of 1914-1918 are full of reluctant tributes to Canadian arms. The presence of our forces in the United Kingdom is already known to have been a deterring factor to the immediate extension of land blitzkrieg operations after Dunkirk. It may be it was the determining factor.
And now there is the Grand Alliance. of freedom with its powerful armies, navies, and air fleets bearing from all points of the compass upon the Fortress Europe. Let no one imagine that the General Staff are under any illusion as to the probable outcome. They admitted frustration as early as the end of 1941. And so the present war is already being referred to as episode two in the Master-Plan; already episode three is taking shape. What is happening now is a gigantic and well-conceived delaying action, while attempts are made to divide the United Nations. Failing this division, there is the alternative hope that war weariness and internal dislocation will produce an atmosphere favorable to stalemate. Failing this again, the German General Staff will try to re-enact their famous bluff of 1918 and 1919. They will instruct their "stooges" to surrender unconditionally and to sign anything that is put in front of them. Mark you there will be the same attempt as in 1918 to get the surrender and treaty signed by people who afterwards can be disavowed by the General Staff. Similarly there will be an attempt to set up a puppet regime in Germany. These devices the United Nations no doubt will detect and foil. But whatever regime is set up, when the time is reached for a measure of self-government, great vigilance will be necessary. The General Staff, again driven underground, will pursue their dark designs.
The re-education of German youth will have to be tackled. It will take much longer to exorcise the spirit of Nazism than it did to implant it. We shall not be out of the woods for fifty years. The average German under thirty-five has become different from the average individual of the rest of mankind. Not much can be done with the perverted generation but we can halt the transmission of the virus to the next one.
THE WEAPON OF REVOLUTION
The architect's of the German General Staff's MasterPlan, and its custodians after this war, know full well that the purging of Nazism, the re-education of German
youth, and the other measures will take time. They count on their machinations in the years after the peace to get a fresh and final grip on the means to achieve their design. Their trump card is the encouragement of dissension and revolution in the United Nations. Those who follow international affairs closely will recall that as soon as the pact between Russia and Germany was signed in August, 1939, the "party line" to all the Communist organizations affiliated to the Central Comintern was to assist the Germans in every way possible. Thus, when the war started, and right up to the time of the German attack on Russia, the Communists, their fellow travellers, and the deluded pinks hanging along, considered it their duty to sabotage our war effort. Hence the necessity of interning the Communists. Of course, when Russia was attacked, the party line changed overnight. What in 1939 and 1940 and in the first half of 1941 was just a "capitalist war for markets and grab" suddenly became a sacred crusade. The Communists and the fellow travellers became fire-eaters; indeed so much so that they agitated for a second front when it would have been a useless massacre.
And then a few months ago, the Government of Soviet Russia dissolved the Central Comintern and disavowed any further responsibility for the subversive activities of Communists in other countries. That was all to the good. They are wrong who say the disavowal was not genuine. Although I have no use for the Communists and their activities, I can understand the attitude of the Russians when they used the Communists. In its early stages the Russian revolution felt that it was subject to the danger of encirclement by powerful and hostile neighbours. Until its own military strength had been developed, it depended for help upon the Communists in other countries. It was a policy of prudence and "real politics". As soon as Soviet Russia had demonstrated her power, and had gained confidence in her Allies, her connection with Communists in the United Nations became an embarrassment; hence it was abandoned, and, so far as Russia is concerned, is unlikely to be resumed. But no such policy of forbearance will be observed by the German General Staff; indeed there is evidence that subversive movements in the United Nations will be used by the Germans to upset the peace and to weaken their enemies in advance of episode three of the resumed struggle for world domination.
THE EMPIRE AFTER THE WAR
Without the British Empire the Germans would have won the first World War; without the British Empire they would already have won the second World War. So the chief objective of the General Staff's guiding minds in the peace to come will be to concentrate on weakening and, if possible, breaking up the British Empire. We all hope profoundly that from this war there will emerge a firm policing of the world by the big three, Britain, U.S.A, and Soviet Russia. But this alliance has yet to be made; moreover its strength and duration will be governed by internal conditions and politics. On the other hand, the alliance of the British peoples is already firmly founded, it has stood repeatedly the fiery test of war, and it will remain in existence. What we do not know is whether the British Commonwealth and Empire will become still more closely knit together to the abiding advantage of world freedom.
Much depends upon Canada. The war effort has brought us forward to a place in the Empire and in the world far beyond our pre-war position, far beyond what might have been expected of our relatively small population. Have we the maturity to maintain and justify our position? Knowing, as we do, that the tactics of the enemy will be to encourage every element of internal dissension, will we have the wisdom so to conduct our affairs that these evil contrivings will be discomfited?
Take internal problems. Owing chiefly to the war, we are in arrears in their settlement. The relations between the Provinces and the Dominion, the relations between French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians, and so on. While there should be no throttling of free speech or of open discussion, is it too much to ask that our controversies should be conducted with forbearance and understanding. In striving for this alone, we shall be more than deserving our new rank in the world; we shall be thwarting evil designs from without.
Take some of our problems in review. And first, population, concerning which there is far too little discussion. A bold immigration policy is essential. Post-war responsibilities to ourselves, to the Empire, and to the world at large, will be those of a nation of twenty-five million people; this is the position we are earning in the war. Conditions are favorable to an era of tremendous development. We occupy half a continent with a population little bigger that that of London. This is no time to listen to the counsels of the timid little minds who would have us turn away from the vision ahead because of the difficulties, dangers, and risks attendant upon all great and glorious adventures. Let us regain the invincible spirit of the pioneers, always pressing forward to new achievement.
The right way to get better conditions for our present population is through expansion and development, not through trying simply to "stay put" by restrictions, regimentation, and bureaucratic tyranny.
I believe that abundance for all and to spare is round the corner, if we have the faith to look clear-eyed ahead. Let us determine to double our population in the ten years following the war. A decision of this kind would mark the next turning-point of our history, comparable with the decision to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Students of history will recall how the timid little minds tried to kill the project of the C.P.R. They said Canada was then big enough. We should not venture west of the Great Lakes. Where would we be today if the C.P.R. had not been built at the time chosen? That decision was a test of the kind of faith we need again. Our achievement so far, great and worthy, is but a preparation for the development ahead, both in industry and in transport, as well as in agriculture. If Canada reasserts her bold and venturous spirit, there will be no lack of means. Venture capital is ready in abundance; Canada's credit is high; the way is open; shall we go resolutely forward or slink timidly into stagnation and obscurity. I for one believe we shall not betray the trust bequeathed by the pioneers.
ENGLISH-SPEAKING AND FRENCH-SPEAKING
There are other problems relevant to this discussion. Take the relations between English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians. In all fairness, I should remind you in the beginning, that, as things are, Canada is regarded by the world at large as having done a better job of dealing with language and racial minorities than most other countries have done. And in this I speak from personal knowledge and experience with the League of Nations at Geneva. But perhaps that is not high praise, considering what happens in some other countries! In the relations between English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians there are of course faults on both sides; but we shall never get real improvement until there is among English-speaking Canadians a more general appreciation of certain fundamentals. And the first is that French-speaking Canadians do not share and cannot be expected to share the sentimental link that exists between most other Canadians and the British Isles. For that matter there is no corresponding sentimental attachment between French-speaking Canadians and France herself. Our fellow-citizens of the Province of Quebec are 100% Canadian. But while they have no sentimental ties with any European country they certainly share the inherent logic of their French forbears. Their sentiment is for the soil they occupy; their appreciation of the British connection is intellectual. Moreover, their sense of logic recognizes that in our kind of democracy they must bow to the will of the majority. But they should not be blamed for indulging their strongly developed political instinct to get their own way before they have to bow to the will of the majority if it goes against them. When fundamentals like this are realized, above all when the intense Canadianism of our French-speaking fellow-citizens is acknowledged,--we shall have gone some way towards smoothing out the remaining causes of friction. While they may not rhapsodize about things British, they know full well that the protecting charter of the way of life they cherish is British in origin and in guarantee. Intimate contact with French-speaking Canadians has convinced me that they have a distinctive contribution to make to our evolving civilization. If our mood cannot be that of gratitude, it should be at least of understanding and not of resentment and prejudice. I submit that the response to a more realistic approach will be equally realistic, to the general advantage.
TOWARDS BETTER CONDITIONS
The second problem I would raise--also internal--concerns the road we shall choose for the betterment of our conditions after the war. Amongst men and women of understanding and goodwill there is not much difference of opinion as to what kind of conditions we seek. For the demobilized men and women of the armed and auxiliary services, general protection and provision. We want prosperity more widely diffused, better education for all, irrespective of rank or money, we want reasonable security of employment, more leisure and better ways to use it; we want humane and just measures to safeguard those who are unemployed through no fault of their own; we want improved health protection within the reach of all; and along with these things we want opportunities for ourselves and our children to get on in life and to share in the great era of expansion which awaits Canada; and do not forget we want our individual freedom as much as anything else, the right to criticize, question, complain, argue and to change our rulers when we feel like it. To achieve these things we accept--the certainty of continued high taxation and we know that hard work is in store for all of us. We feel sure however that if we are not hampered, harassed and thwarted by futile restrictions we can get along well enough to make possible improvements we seek.
THE WAY OF FREEDOM
There are two main ways to go about getting these desirable things. One way,--and that is in the line of the British tradition,--is to evolve and reform on the basis of enlightened citizenship, building on the best of the past shaped to new needs and new ideals. This way assumes the sanctity and supremacy of the individual citizen but exacts from him a high standard of social conscience. Consider how this conception works in that all important field of management-labour relations. The owner or manager, eligible for our enlightened citizenship of tomorrow, has little in common with his caricatured predecessor of the industrial revolution, whose religious professions did not discourage him from making high profits from low wages, from opposing trade unions, and the justifiable public control of industry. The proportion of such people has always been exaggerated but their shortcomings have not suffered from lack of advertisement. Their attitude is as much out of date as flogging. No one should complain of righteous indignation against real injustice and real wrong-doing; but it is another matter with the indignation based on untruth. The advocates of regimentation make much noise and bluster about the alleged wickedness of the leaders of industry, and of management generally. Conscious of the necessity of obscuring the real nature of their attack on our freedom, they try to outlaw all who have been in some measure successful in the world of business. "Smearing" is a good old revolutionary custom; our brand of fellow travellers have become adept at malicious and envious invention. Nor is the imagining and misrepresentation all on one side. Unfortunately there are still a few in the ranks of management who are reluctant to admit labour to the place it has won; but their number is few and rapidly diminishing.
Let us deal with facts. Take possessions, for example. High taxation is a great leveller. Ample means, when they still exist, are normally regarded not as an instrument of personal power or extravagance but as a trust. A new standard of social conscience has been set. Similarly with organized labour. It has rightly rejoiced in emancipation to maturity. Its growing pains of jurisdictional strife soon will be resolved. And with the confidence of maturity will come a recognition of a new sense of responsibility in accepting working partnership with management. That is the method of improvement by evolution through the exercise of the social conscience. Freedom of initiative and freedom of choice are retained and strengthened. Management and labour co-operate in the common task of mastering the art of living.
THE WRONG WAY
The other way, recommended by some as the best way to get the desirable things we all want, involves an important departure from our traditions. Its advocates ascribe our ills to the profit motive. They would like to get rid of free enterprise and concentrate nearly all our activities in the state through the government. There is a striking parallel with the arguments used for National Socialism in Germany in 1931 and 1932.
It means regimentation, which involves an upsetting of all our affairs for lavish promises that are a snare and a delusion. Those who advocate this way boast a mystic faith in the magic of government to be a fairy-godmother to all of us. They conveniently ignore the fact that Government can honestly create nothing by itself and apart from the productive work of citizens. Trickery and legerdemain will land us all in a complete mess. The road of regimentation is the road to tyranny; the slope is slippery and seductive; the destination is disillusionment, disappointment and collapse. The road of individualism based upon enlightened citizenship, and in tune with our free traditions, will yield the maximum dividends in happiness, prosperity, and spiritual satisfaction. A great statesman whose inspiring leadership is still at the helm, once used these words:
"When we are told to exalt and admire a philosophy which destroys individualism and seeks to replace it by collectivism. I say that is a monstrous and imbecile conception which can find no real foothold in the brains and hearts--and the hearts are as trustworthy as the brains--in the hearts of sensible people.
The collectivists put before us a creed of universal self-sacrifice. They preach it in the language of spite and envy, of hatred, and all uncharitableness. They tell us that we should dwell together in unity and comradeship. They are themselves split into twenty obscure factions who hate and abuse each other more than they hate and abuse us. They wish to reconstruct the world. They begin by leaving out human nature.
'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.' How nice that sounds. Let me put it in another way. 'You shall work according to your fancy; you shall be paid according to your appetite.' "
THE BULWARK OF THE FUTURE
The internal problems, mentioned, have their bearing upon our place in the Empire and in the world of the future. And now specifically with regard to the pivot of our external relations.
In a considerable experience of personal contacts with the public men of the Empire, two incidents stand out in my memory. The first was a conversation with Lord Milner in Montreal in 1911 when I was an undergraduate at McGill about to be nominated for a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. Lord Milner, as you will recall, was a great Empire builder, administrator, and statesman. Through his inspiration of the group of young men he gathered round him in South Africa, (Lionel Curtis, Philip Kerr (afterwards Lord Lothian), John Dove, founder and first editor of the Round Table Review, Geoffrey Dawson, for years the Editor of The Times, Lionel Hitchens, who became head of Cammell Lairds the great ship-building firm, and others of the same high vision and idealism) there emerged the conception of the British Commonwealth and Empire of today. Lord Milner was talking to me about Empire ideals and responsibilities, and I secured his permission to take a verbatim account of his wording of the central thought. Here is the note then recorded:
"We are embarking upon a great experiment, something new in history. We are trying to apply the democratic principle to a world empire. The attempt is based upon firm belief in the integrity and vitality of citizenship for service which is fundamental to British thought. Our Empire has grown partly by accident, partly through the enterprise of our traders, very little through calculated national aggrandizement. Many of our world responsibilities were unsought; but it is not of our nature to evade or to retreat. Some day we shall be challenged by those who envy our place in the world, not because they think they can do a better job for humanity but because they seek power and profit through aggression. I am firmly convinced that our free association of peoples under the Crown will accept the challenge and will save the world from tyranny. I am convinced also that no other means can save the world. It is your duty as a Rhodes Scholar to accept responsibility for doing your share in preparing for the test to come. In Oxford, elsewhere in England, and perhaps in Canada, you will encounter those whose lack of knowledge or failure of understanding would break up our heritage. Lose no chance to reveal to them their error and to counteract their mistaken activities."
The other incident took place twenty-five years later, in September 1936, when I visited Lord Snowden in Surrey to say good-bye before returning to Canada. Philip Snowden, as he was better known, was a staunch Labour leader who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Mr. Ramsay Macdonald's administration. Having come across the note on Lord Milner's observations in 1911, I showed it to Lord Snowden and asked him for his opinion as well as for his permission to record it. Here it is:
"Milner and I were poles apart in public affairs, although I respected his integrity and distinguished service. During most of my life the affairs of the Empire held no attraction for me; I concentrated on the improvement of social conditions at home. It was not until I found myself a Cabinet Minister that I became aware of the value and significance of the British experiment. I had hoped that the League of Nations might make our Empire unnecessary; but I soon discovered that the British Empire was the only real League of Nations in existence. Let us treasure it at least until we have something better."
In the period between the world wars, the period of suspended hostilities as the German General Staff calls it, Canada was not alone in listening sometimes and too often to the counsels of timidity and misgiving. Similar voices were raised in other parts of the Empire. But fortunately the instinct of self-preservation prevailed, and we were not persuaded to deny the supreme challenge when it was renewed in 1939. While there was never any real doubt that Canada would do her duty, it is of value to recall that those who, in the years between the wars, had tried to weaken our ties with the Empire and to sabotage measures of armed defense, did their best to keep us out of the war, and when this failed, tried to limit our contribution to the profitable sale of our natural products. During the week that elapsed between Britain's declaration of war and the meeting of Canada's Parliament to approve our Government's commitment to war, the most strenuous efforts were made to change the decision. As General Manager of the CBC I was the point of impact of pressure when an endeavour was made to use the national radio for the purpose of stampeding public opinion in advance of the meeting of Parliament. Needless to say the conspiracy was detected and defeated. I make this reference to what is past not to stir up old controversies but to emphasize the need of vigilance in the future. The party line to the subversive influences will remain with us, as will the malicious and envious creations of our brand of fellow-travellers.
As a mature and trusted partner in the British Commonwealth and Empire, and with the respect and comradeship of the great Republic to the South, our future unfolds in a way unexampled in history. Time is bound to bring its changes; its shifts of the centres of power. It may be indeed that Canada is destined in due course to relieve the United Kingdom of the main burden and responsibility of the British Commonwealth and Empire. Gentlemen, I suggest to you that is a better road than the way to the isolated obscurity of a tiny and remote republic, a playground for Marxian experiments, a nursery of frustration.
Now as to the proposal that we should cut the painter with Britain to navigate as a member of a still shadowy world federation. It may be that an effective and complete world federation will come to pass, with the spread of
civilization and enlightenment. That objective is not to be ignored or neglected. But, for the present, it is surely our duty and our interest to do all we can to maintain and strengthen the only considerable world federation which has stood the test of time and war: The British Commonwealth and Empire.
In conclusion permit me to borrow a thought from the message which I heard the former Lord Birkenhead give to the students of Glasgow University in 1923.
For as long as the records of history have been preserved human societies have passed through a ceaseless process of evolution and adjustment. This process has been sometimes pacific, but more often it has resulted from warlike disturbance. The strength of different nations, measured in terms of arms, varies from century to century. The world continues to offer glittering prizes to those who have stout hearts, sharp words and predatory instincts; it is therefore extremely improbable that the experience of future ages will differ in any material respect from that which has happened since the twilight of the human race. It is for us, therefore, who in our history have proved ourselves a martial rather than a military people, to abstain, as has been our habit, from provocation; but to maintain in our own hand the adequate means for our own protection, and, so equipped, to march with heads erect along the road to our Imperial destiny.