- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 27 Mar 1919, p. 191-215
- Cahan, Chas. H., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The request by Sir Robert Borden that the speaker examine propaganda carried on through Canada by certain foreign elements for the suspected purpose of weakening the efforts of the Canadian people in carrying on the war. Some background history to this propaganda. The belief, as stated by a German official to the speaker, that if England ever became involved in a European war, Canada and the other Dominions would undoubtedly remain quiescent. German propaganda which began to spread from the United States into Canada by the beginning of 1915. The nature of that propaganda. Printing establishments and book stores set up in Canada to assist in this propaganda; for publishing and distributing pacifist, socialistic and revolutionary literature in Russian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Finnish and other foreign languages. Reasons for this propaganda. The seeds of industrial unrest sown in Canada many years prior to the war, which the speaker believes were, directory or indirectly, of German origin. The Socialism of Germany and its origins. German propaganda carried on for the past 20 years in the United States and how it is organized. Beliefs of the advocates of International Socialism. Purpose and proposals of these advocates to remedy existing social evils and the conflicts between the workers and the capitalists. The nature of the Socialist. The structure of a Socialist society. The purpose of Socialist propaganda during the war. The organization of Socialists in Canada. The relationship, or lack thereof, between the Socialists and the Trade Unions. Recently formed, so-called Political Defense Leagues in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and elsewhere which are avowedly radical and revolutionary. A review of some of the information obtained through the speaker's investigations into the extent of Socialism and Socialist propaganda in Canada. Who is effected by this propaganda in Canada. Membership, characteristics, purpose, and propaganda of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.). Labour action advocated by the I.W.W. Several quotations from the publications of the I.W.W. Details of activities of the I.W.W. in Canada. Indictments against Members of the I.W.W. in the United States under the Espionage Act. Recent laws in the U.S. and Canada which provide for the expelling of Socialistic agitators. Recruitment from the I.W.W. to the Bolshevik movement in Russia and Finland. Financial support from Russia and Finland for carrying on this propaganda in the U.S. and Canada. Remedies suggested by the speaker for existing conditions; a response to the arguments of the Socialists. Concluding remarks include a statement that it is "your duty and mine to study the existing conditions, to ascertain the facts, to make known the elements of economic laws, to assist in remedying all reasonable grievances, to ensure as far as we may that the social and industrial progress of Canada shall be based on the due recognition of the rights of all its citizens."
- Date of Original
- 27 Mar 1919
- Language of Item
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- Full Text
- A PERNICIOUS PROPAGANDA
AN ADDRESS BY CHAS. H. CAHAN, K.C.
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
March 27, 1919.
PRESIDENT STAPELLS : Gentlemen, I attended a banquet in Montreal a short time ago when one speaker referred to Toronto as "Eatonville," and still another as "Hamilton Annex," and a third speaker-and if I mistake not, our distinguished guest of today-spoke of Toronto as the "Holy City." (Laughter.) Now, I was puzzled to know just what that meant, but last week, coming downtown, I met a friend, an architect. I asked him, "How is business?" He replied, "Why, it's fine." I said, "Good, how do you account for it." He replied, "It is better than it has been ever since war began. I have so many of those Montreal fellows coming up here asking for modern burglar-proof plans of cellars." (Great Laughter.) And he added, "Do you know the remarkable part about it is that they want them before the first of May this year!" (Laughter.) So you see just why Toronto is the Holy City. However, it is only history repeating itself as our good friend judge Riddell, with his biblical knowledge, would say that the wise men from the east
Mr. Cahan is a native of Nova Scotia, and was at one time Leader of the Conservative Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of that Province. He is a graduate in Arts and in Law of Dalhousie University. He has had almost a worldwide experience in Corporation and Commercial affairs; but during the past ten years he has practiced his profession in the cities of Montreal and New York. At the last General Election he contested Maisonneuve Division of the City of Montreal as Unionist Candidate. From June, 1918, to February, 1919, he made an investigation of Enemy, Socialistic and Revolutionary Propaganda in Canada, and for some time acted as "Director of Public Safety."
journeyed to the west, and there got . . . . Well, you have had two announcements regarding our guest, gentlemen, and therefore you know that he is a distinguished member of the Montreal bar, has had a remarkably brilliant public career, has rendered Canada, during the war, yeoman service; he is an author on the subject on which he will address us, and he will give us first-hand facts, therefore I am sure we are going to have a very, very interesting address.
MR. CAHAN pleasantly introduced himself by disowning the authorship of the title "Holy City" as applied to Toronto, which he never felt to be such a Holy City. Aside from the badinage that passes between Montreal and Toronto, he thought there was sometimes a misapprehension in regard to the feeling and attitude in Montreal. (Hear, hear.) He assured Torontonians that there could not be found in the Province of Quebec one leading English or French-Canadian family, whether Protestant or Catholic, that was not giving the best of its sons as a sacrifice for the cause in this great war. (Applause.) He added that at the last Federal election he was a Unionist candidate, having given four boys of his family, all broken in the war, while his opponent, Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, gave his only son, and no greater sacrifice could he have given. (Applause.) "For God's sake, for the sake of Canada, for the sake of our provinces, let us, on both sides, put aside our petty bickerings and banterings, and let us realize that the best of Canadians of every race and every religion, have given their heart's best treasures. (Hear, hear, and loud applause.) Early in May last I was asked by Sir Robert Borden to examine into propaganda carried on through Canada by certain foreign elements for the purpose, it was, suspected, of weakening the efforts of the Canadian people in carrying on this war. I gave from May until January last to this investigation-three-fourths of it carried on entirely at my own expense." (Applause.)
MR. CAHAN then turned to the subject of his address as follows
Those of you who have read the recent work of Morganthau, recently United States Ambassador to Constantinople, dealing with political events at the Turkish Capital, during the early years of the war, will recollect the vivid portrait which he draws of Baron Von Wagenheim, the German Ambassador at the same capital. Baron Von Wagenheim was an intimate friend of the German Kaiser, and he formed one of the coterie who were summoned to Berlin in July, 1914, to confer with respect to the prosecution of the war, then already decided upon.
For several years, I knew him well, when he was German Minister to Mexico; and in frequent discussions he always insisted that if England ever became involved in a European war, Canada and the other Dominions would undoubtedly remain quiescent.
I have no doubt but that such was the opinion entertained in German political circles when war was decided upon; and even when the first Canadian contingent was sent overseas, though it was undoubtedly a surprise to the German Government, it was probably regarded as a spasmodic effort and of no real influence upon the result of the war.
But by the beginning of 1915, the German propaganda, which had then been very thoroughly organized in the United States of America, began to spread across our southern border and to influence certain classes of Canadian opinion. It was at first almost entirely pacifist and only mildly socialistic in its character, and made its influence chiefly felt among the alien population of Canada.
To assist in this propaganda, printing establishments for publishing pacifist, socialistic and revolutionary literature in Russian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Finnish and other foreign languages, were subsequently created in several Canadian cities, such as Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg; and book stores for the distribution of pacifist and socialistic books, pamphlets and leaflets in Ukrainian, Russian, Ruthenian, Finnish and other foreign languages sprang up as if by magic in various industrial centres in which these alien peoples were employed.
It was undoubtedly the propaganda of a foreign and hostile government carried on for the express purpose of creating in Canada domestic difficulties and general opposition to the active participation of Canada in the war. No such extensive propaganda had ever been carried on before, and the laws of Canada then in force were not sufficiently broad and explicit to deal with it effectively.
But during many years prior to the war, the seeds of industrial unrest had been sown in Canada by socialistic organizations, which included ,not only considerable numbers of unorganized workers, but also a radical And extreme element, though always a minority in the recognized Trades and Labor Unions.
It is undoubtedly a fact that this Socialistic propaganda is largely, directly or indirectly, of German origin.
In Germany itself, Socialism is based on the doctrines of Karl Marx, who published there in 1867, the first volume of "Capital," in which he enunciated that the power to work or labor is itself a commodity, which the laborer sells to the capitalist who employs him, under conditions whereby the surplus value produced by the laborer accrues to the capitalist alone.
The Socialism of Germany which was at first sternly repressed in that country, soon overspread its borders and pervaded France, England, Austria, Italy and Russia, becoming most revolutionary in its character in those countries in which autocratic governments then obtained; from these European countries it has reacted upon the polyglot peoples who inhabit the United States of America.
Their propaganda, which has been carried on for the past twenty years in the United States, by the International Socialists of that country, is organized by various associations known as The Socialist Party, The Socialist Labor Party, The Industrial Workers of the World, and the like; and, for several years prior to the outbreak of the war, these organizations had spread across' the border into every industrial district of Canada.
Since 1890, the literature of International Socialism, composed chiefly of translations into English from German and other European writers, chiefly and essentially German, however, has been disseminated by the millions of copies from one end to the other of-this continent.
The advocates of International Socialism assume that, under the conditions in which organized society now subsists, there is inevitably a state of war existing between the workers, or wage earning class, and the capitalists or profit-receiving class; that the wage earners are in a condition of industrial slavery, quite as oppressive as the system of human slavery which at one time or another has existed in almost every country of the world. Their rallying cry is: "Workers of the World Unite; You have Nothing to Lose but Your Chains, and a World to Gain." As an incentive to this organization as a class, they vividly portray all the evils that, are associated with war, poverty, sickness and toil as directly resulting from the tyranny and oppression of the capitalists or property owning class; and thereby they seek to arouse, in the minds of the workers, a class consciousness, which finds its chief expression in envy and hatred of all who have acquired property of any kind whatsoever.
To remedy existing social evils, they propose to substitute for the existing industrial system, based on private ownership of capital, on individual enterprise and personal responsibility for the maintenance of the family, the collective ownership of all material instruments or means of production and distribution, public enterprise and social responsibility for the maintenance of all persons born into the world.
The Socialist recognizes no political or constitutional system of government, no political or State boundaries, no national objects or aims, no international rights or obligations, except the right and obligation of all members of the working class, of every race and language throughout the civilized world, to unite in a revolutionary movement which shall eradicate the existing political and social systems and establish a new social order, in which the collective social capital of the world shall be administered by .the workers of the world for the benefit of the workers, and for no other existing classes or members of society.
Under the hoped-for Socialistic regime, the State, as we understand it, is to be abolished; and all factories, farms and mines, all railroads, steamships, telegraphs, cables, telephones, or other agencies of transportation and communication, all banks, or other financial institutions, mercantile establishments, or other agencies or means of carrying on trade and commerce, are to be owned and operated by a co-operative commonwealth, in which the workers shall alone participate, and under which the former members of the Capitalistic class, stripped of their property rights, shall again become workers, or be extinguished by starvation.
As a recent critic not unfairly states the Socialistic program: "They would appropriate the world and all that it contains for their own class, and let the Devil take the rest of us."
They also claim to establish an international comradeship; to have a monopoly of the brotherhood of man; which recognizes no existing state and no national boundaries. They plan, in the meantime until all national governments are overthrown, to establish their inner government within the national government, and to arrange that their inner government shall hold- international relationships with similarly constituted inner governments in all other countries, and thereby consider, discuss and decide all socalled international questions.
It is on this basis that the Socialists of Russia, or of Germany, have proposed to negotiate with the Socialists of England or of France, as to the terms on which all international strife shall be adjusted and settled; in fact, as to the terms on which peace shall now be established.
So soon as Great Britain entered into the war with France against Germany, the Socialists of the United States of America, who had obtained their literature and derived their inspiration chiefly from German sources, increased their activities with the twofold object of hindering Great Britain and France in the prosecution of the war, and of presenting the participation of the United States in the war on the side of the Allied Governments. Although their philosophy, and teachings, and, in fact, all Socialistic activities, are based on the alleged existence of a state of war, within the country, between the wage earning and the capitalistic classes, they immediately manifested extreme pacifist tendencies, and sought by every means in their power to paralyze the efforts of the Allied Nations in carrying on the war; and naturally their own activities, encouraged and assisted by German agents and German money in the United States, were at once extended into Canada, where their propaganda has been conducted, more or less secretly, with an energy and vehemence that was for a long 'time not even suspected by the Government nor by the people of this country, who, inspired by their recognition of the vital interests at stake, have sought to utilize to the uttermost our national resources in order to bring the war to a successful conclusion.
In Canada, the Socialists have organized chiefly under the auspices of the Industrial Workers of the World, of the Socialist Party of Canada, with headquarters in Vancouver, and of the Social Democratic Party, with headquarters at Toronto, and with branches in nearly every industrial centre from Montreal, through a chain of Ontario towns to the Sudbury and Porcupine mining districts, in Port. William and Port Arthur at the head of lake navigation, into Manitoba, and through other similar associations into the Prairie Provinces and into British Columbia.
In several instances this propaganda has been endorsed by branches of Internationalist Trades Unions established in Canada; though the recognized leaders of the Trades Unions of Canada, such, for instance, as Tom Moore, who is one of the sanest and most patriotic leaders in 'the Trades Union movement, have vehemently opposed all radical and revolutionary tendencies.
More recently, so-called Political Defense Leagues have been formed in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and elsewhere, which are avowedly radical and revolutionary.
During the past year, while making personal investigations of the extent of this propaganda, I found upwards of sixty branches of the Social Democratic Party of Toronto established among the Finnish settlers in Canada, and an even larger number among the Ukrainian settlers, with lesser numbers among other foreign elements of our population.
I have in my possession lists recently compiled from the returns of the Canada Registration Board, giving the names and addresses of 63,784 Russians of the age of sixteen years and over, now resident in Canada. Of these about 11,000 are resident in the city of Montreal, 10,000 in the city of Toronto, 2,000 in the city of Hamilton, and about 3,000 elsewhere in towns of Ontario.
In Manitoba, there are 10,300, Saskatchewan 16,650; and in Alberta, 6,500, but there are comparatively few in the Maritime Provinces.
Of the Austro-Hungarians about 70,000 registered as enemy aliens; the cities of Montreal and Winnipeg containing the largest numbers.
There are comparatively few who are not affected by this propaganda, carried on in Canada in their native languages.
But, lest you may be misled by a statement of these facts, I wish to say that the brains of the entire movement, in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria and elsewhere in Canada, are largely English, Irish and Canadian; and that although in the city of Montreal there are probably fifteen to twenty thousand adherents of radical Socialistic Associations, the French and Catholic population of the Province of Quebec has never been inoculated with this virus.
The office of the Canadian Forward, in Toronto, which has been the chief organ of the Social Democratic Party, was during the first years of the war one of the most active agents for the publication and distribution of radical literature printed in the English language; and the editor probably has had the largest personal following of any single individual engaged in this propaganda among English speaking workers in Canada:
But in addition to the Canadian sources of propaganda, the Industrial Workers of the World, which was organized in the United States in 1905, and the Socialist Party and Socialist Labor Party of the United States, have recently deluged this country with their publications.
The membership of the Industrial Workers of the World, I.W.W., as it is familiarly called, is limited to wage earners; no member of the military, naval or police services is eligible for membership. This organization has twelve weekly and two bi-weekly publications; in English three, and one each in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Slavish, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Swedish and Jewish; and there are also affiliated with the organization a Spanish, an Italian and a Russian weekly and a Finnish daily paper. It issues scores of booklets, pamphlets and leaflets, which are distributed throughout the entire country disseminating its teachings and advocating its doctrines.
It recognizes no laws which the organization is bound to observe. It advocates the solidarity of the working class, and insists upon resistance and revolt as the approved methods of attaining its declared purposes. It is opposed to wage agreements between employers and employees. "There is only one bargain," declares the I.W. W., "'that we will make with the employing class: Complete surrender of all control of industry to the organized workers." No committees of workmen are permitted to meet committees of employers. Its unions adopt wage scales and post them on bulletins, and for them, these bulletins are the law. "We look forward," says the I.W.W., "to the time when the organized proletariat will meet in their union the world over, and decide how long they will work, and how much of the wealth they will give to the boss." It boldly proclaims that it is a government within a government, a law unto itself. For every striker killed by the military or police forces, it demands a life for a life. At a strike of the employees of the Pressed Steel Car Company at McKees Rock, Pennsylvania, fifty strikers were killed; in retaliation the I.W.W. killed fifty police, and wounded fifty others.
Pamphlets have been published by the I.W.W. and circulated in Canada, advocating the "general strike" as one of the most effective weapons in the hands of the workers. There are three phases of a "General Strike," says William D. Haywood, the Chief Executive of the I.W.W., in his work on this subject, viz.:
"A general strike in an industry;
"A general strike in a community; or
"A general national strike.
He says: "I believe that we can agree that we should unite in a great organization-big enough to take in the children that are working; big enough to take in the black man, the white man; big enough to take in all nationalities -an organization that will be strong enough to obliterate State boundaries, to obliterate national boundaries, and one that will become the great industrial force of the working class of the world."
He advocates an organization, and such is the aim of the I.W.W., as will include all producers, all employees of railroads and other means of transportation, and in fact, of every branch of industry, such as will enable the workers, of all classes and conditions, to paralyze all the activities of the nation and of every nation by merely ceasing to work, until such times as their demands are fully and effectually conceded.
"That," he says, "is what I want to urge upon the working class; to become so organized on the economic field that they can take and hold the industries in which they are employed. Can you conceive of such a thing? Is it possible? What are the forces that prevent you from doing so? You have all the industries in your own hands at the present time. There is this justification for political action, and that is, to control the forces of the capitalists that they use against us; to be in a position to control the power of Government so as to make the work of the army ineffective, so as to abolish totally the secret service and the force of detectives . . . . So the general strike is a fighting weapon as well as a constructive weapon." '
But not only does the I.W.W. advocate the general strike, and the use of "direct action" or force, but it and other agencies have circulated throughout Canada, pamphlets advocating the employment of "sabotage," and instructing workmen in the various ways that sabotage can be employed, from its milder forms of "Slowing down upon the job," to its more violent forms of destruction of the machinery of production.
The works circulated in this country include those of Emile Pouget, Walker C. Smith, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and others.
"I am not going to justify sabotage on moral grounds;" writes Miss Flynn. "If workers consider that sabotage is necessary, that in itself makes sabotage moral. Its necessity is its excuse for its existence. And for us to discuss the morality of sabotage would be as absurd as to discuss the morality of the strike or the morality of the class struggle itself. In order to understand sabotage or to accept it at all it is necessary to accept the concept of the class struggle . . . . Sabotage is to this class struggle what guerilla warfare is to the battle. The strike is the open battle of the class struggle; Sabotage is the guerilla warfare, the day by day warfare between two opposing classes."
I may add a few excerpts from the work of Walker C. Smith
"For poor wages-bad work."
"Working Class Sabotage is right because it aids the workers."
"Sabotage is a direct application of the idea that property has no rights that its creators are bound to respect."
"Why expect those who have no stake in society, as it is now constituted, to continue to contribute to its support?"
"The question is not, Is sabotage immoral?--but, Does Sabotage get the Goods?"
"You are destroying civilization is likewise hurled against us, to which we reply in the language of the street: We Should Worry! Civilization is a lie. A civilization that is builded upon the bended backs of toiling babes; a civilization that is reared upon the sweating, starving, struggling mass of mankind; a civilization whose very existence depends upon a constant army of hungry, servile and law-abiding unemployed, is scarcely worthy of consideration at the hands of those whom it has so brutally outraged. The saboteur carries on his work in order to hasten the day of working class victory, when for the first time in human history, we shall have a civilization that is worthy of the name."
"Law is a thing in which the wage slaves play no part, but industry is the place where the employers are impotent when the workers decide to act."
"Every toiler in the industries has sabotage at his command. Let the masters know that henceforth they must deal with industrial mutiny. Labor produces all wealth -all wealth belongs to labor."
"For Sabotage or slavery-which?"
The works mentioned contain illustrative examples of many forms of sabotage; slowing up work, while keeping on the job; putting preparations in steam boilers to prevent their efficient operation; sand and emery dust in machinery to make it slow down or cease running. Sabotage they term "Labor's Winning Weapon," "Putting the machinery on strike," "Letting the gold dust twins, do the work," referring to the use of emery dust or fine sand in machinery, to impede or to prevent its operation.
"In case of wars," writes Smith, "which every intelligent worker knows are wholesale murders of workers to enrich the master class, there is no weapon so forceful to defeat the employers as sabotage by the rebellious workers in the two warring countries. Sabotage will put a stop to war and revolutions; parliamentary appeals and even a call for general refusal to serve are impotent. But, as stated before, sabotage is but one phase of the question. Anti-military and anti-patriotic agitation must also be carried on."
The I.W.W. had been quite active in Canada prior to the outbreak of the war; but no sooner was war declared than its anti-military agitation, both in the United States' and Canada, became more violent and reactionary. It sought to prevent the sending of supplies from the United States to the Allies. It attempted, through agitation among the farm laborers of the Mississippi and Missouri valleys, to prevent the harvesting of grain crops. It organized the lumber camps to limit the output of timber required for aeroplane construction. For a time, it practically paralyzed the production of lead, copper, zinc, and other basic metals required in 'the production of munitions of war. The circulation of its literature vastly increased its membership; which reached its zenith just after the United States entered the war.
In Canada the I.W.W. has been active in the lumber camps and mining districts, and particularly so in Northern Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
In September, 1917, some 166 members of the I.W.W. were indicted in the United States District Court of Chicago, Illinois; among them were twenty-nine Englishmen and two Canadians. Of these ninety-five were found guilty in August last. The two Canadians, Herbert Mahler and Archie Sinclair, were both convicted; the former being sentenced to imprisonment for five years and fined $25,000.00; the latter to imprisonment for ten years and fined $35,000.00. Of the Englishmen convicted, James Rowan, who, in 1914, was Secretary of Local No. 82 of the I.W.W. at Edmonton, was sentenced, to imprisonment for twenty years and fined $20,000; and George Hardy, who formerly resided in British Columbia, was sentenced to imprisonment for a year and a day and fined $30,000. But no such vigorous enforcement of law has been authorized or permitted in this country.
More recently, I.W.W. and Socialistic agitators have, under the Espionage Act, been indicted in other parts of the United States; and recently the United States Congress enacted a law under which alien agitators of this class may be summarily expelled from the country. Other stern measures have recently been taken in Seattle, in Buffalo, in Philadelphia, in New York and elsewhere, to eradicate the most vicious forms of this propaganda.
No sooner had Kerensky been raised to power at Petrograd, in May 1917, than the Socialistic agitators and I.W.W. workers in the United States flocked back to Russia, and profiting by the experience in organization which they gained in the United States, they soon assumed direction and control of the Bolshevik movement. Trotzky, Shatoff, Martoff, Volodarski and other leaders from the United States became members of the Council of the People's Commissars, at Petrograd and at Moscow, and have become the most forceful dictators of destruction.
The leaders of the Red Guard, or the revolutionary movement in Finland, were chiefly recruited from the I.W.W. organizations of the United States and Canada; and thousands of dollars have been contributed from the, United States and Canada to support this revolutionary
movement in Finland.
Publications of Lenine and other Russian propagandists have been circulated almost as widely in Canada as in Russia itself. Pamphlets in foreign languages which have circulated notably among the Finns of Canada, contain not only obscene and irreligious, but seditious and disloyal matter, unfit for publication.
During the past year, large sums of money have been sent from Russia and even from Finland for carrying on this propaganda in the United States and in Canada. I have personally conversed at length with one of the most active foreign leaders of the Bolsheviki propaganda in Canada; and I found him one of the adroit and subtle men that I have ever met.
All these radical elements are now associated for the purpose of creating in the industrial districts of Canada, and even in some of the agricultural districts of the North Western Provinces, a spirit of dissatisfaction with the economic and political conditions under which we now live. It would be easy to exaggerate the importance of the facts which I have presented.. The majority of the people of Canada are not likely to be contaminated by these vicious doctrines; although the extent to which the milder forms of Socialism permeate our social life was recently disclosed by a resolution adopted almost unanimously by the Methodist Church Conference at Hamilton, committing that large and representative body to what it in express terms declared to be "nothing less than social revolution."
There are certain remedies for existing conditions which I would like to suggest.
First, we must revert to the reign of law in this country. At present laws almost innumerable appear upon the Statute books, laws enacted by the several Provincial Legislatures, laws enacted by the Federal Parliament, and last, but not least, laws enacted by the Government sitting in Council.
But many of these laws remain as dead letters; they are never enforced; and the country is sadly deficient in the means for securing their enforcement until now the laws of the country are often treated with more or less of indifference and contempt.
The criminal laws of Canada are within the legislative jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada; and the parliament that enacts such laws is in duty bound to provide effective means for their enforcement, or else it should obliterate them from the Statute books, and not permit them longer to remain as objects of disdain and ridicule.
This is a democratic country, in which the majority rule. There is no law upon the Statute books of Canada, which cannot be repealed by the will of the majority expressed at the polls. In so far as this propaganda exercises force and violence, in so far as it advocates the use of force or violence to obtain political or economic reforms, it should be suppressed by the enactment of criminal laws by the Federal Parliament, and by the judicious enforcement of those laws by the Government representing the parliament which enacts them.
The-efforts of the Federal Government of the country to escape the responsibility of enforcing its own laws by open or covert attempts to place such responsibility upon the provincial and municipal authorities, can only result in bringing federal laws into deserved contempt.
I do not advocate arbitrary punishment of offenders for mere technical offenses, or for alleged offenses in which criminal intent is assumed. Discretion can be exercised most freely and justifiably by the Government representing the parliament or legislature by which the offenses are created.
But the vicious policy of reprieving offenders, at the dictation of or in response to threats of strikes or violence expressed by any class or association of citizens, inevitably tends toward anarchy.
Capital and labor have vast interests in common; and, no difficulties can arise between them that cannot be solved, in a manner reasonably satisfactory to all, by careful study and investigation, and by our constant application of the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have others do unto us. Those who teach others that there is in the very nature of things an inevitable and never ending conflict between capital and labor, and who advocate the use of physical force and violence to accomplish political or economic ends, are precipitating a civil war which can only result in the destruction of the foundations upon which our individual liberties and democratic institutions have been slowly but surely established. Their propaganda must be met by the removal of real grievances, by providing instruction and education with respect to basic economic laws; and, so far as their activities are criminal, by the firm and impartial enforcement of the law.
For years the industrial workers of Canada have been fed upon diet of economic fallacies, expressed in hundreds of thousands of pamphlets and leaflets scattered widespread throughout the country, which could not have had such disastrous effect if the educational institutions of the country and the public press had informed our people of the simple elements of economic laws. The President of the National City Bank, of New York, recently referred to the people of that country as a Nation of Economic Illiterates; and the remark applies equally to the people of Canada. The remedy for ignorance is accurate information and education. That the basis of National prosperity is Production, is an elementary truth. The gross production of Canada must be sufficient to house, clothe and feed and otherwise maintain its people, to provide the cost of federal, provincial and municipal governments, to provide more than a mere living wage for labor, and to yield such return to capital as will ensure its continuously increasing investment in the industries of the country. There is need of an intelligently directed educational propaganda to convince a large body of workers in Canada that capital and directing ability and inventive genius are as necessary as labor itself, to provide a surplus of production out of which labor may receive a larger share in the form of increased wages.
In carrying on the war, we have increased our national debt to nearly two billion dollars; and the result is well worth the immense sacrifice. But to carry the burden of the present and prospective war debt, to provide a surplus out of which high wages may be maintained and invested capital suitably rewarded, every healthy man and woman in Canada must put forth increased and intelligently directed energy. Our national resources, and particularly our coal mines and water powers must be utilized as never before. Steam power and electric power, improved machinery, and more expeditious processes and methods, must be utilized to enable each worker to produce at least twice as much as he ever produced before. We have enormous national wealth, which must be rapidly transformed into saleable commodities in such volume as will insure the prosperity of every worker in the country. We must depend upon individual effort; we cannot depend upon the Government, since all governments seem necessarily doomed to inevitable and permanent inefficiency.
We must eliminate waste, waste in national expenditure, waste in industry, the waste of families and individuals. Our accumulated wealth is what we save out of what we produce. We cannot obtain financial prosperity by juggling with the currency, employing engravers and a printing press to manufacture legal tenders, or by piling up book-entries of inflated credit. Our prosperity in the final analysis depends upon the people of Canada having a surplus of income over expenditure, of production over consumption.
The theory of a restricted output is a lie; and if followed, must inevitably result in poverty and misery. If Labor, thinking only of the fair distribution of the prospective surplus, retards an increase of the present production, its wages will inevitably suffer permanent and disastrous reduction both in nominal amount and in real purchasing power.
During these coming years, you men of wealth, or of considerable income, must discard all luxuries. Every dollar which you spend on an article of luxury increases the price to the poor of articles of necessity. I have no envy or jealousy of those who by their industry and intelligently directed activity made profits out of the war. The bulk of the profits made in industry were probably a legitimate return for the capital invested and the risk incurred. There are probably some exceptions, but if profits were excessive it was the duty of the Government to confiscate them for the general benefit by imposing suitable taxation on such excess profits.
But I do denounce those who made profits and expend their profits upon luxury. Capital arises solely out of savings. Capital is indispensable for the increased and cheaper production of the necessaries of life. Expenditure upon luxuries is an economic waste of capital. The extravagance of the rich increases the poverty of the poor. On the other hand, sensible spending upon actual necessaries increases the production of necessaries, cheapens the price of necessaries, and ensures good wages to the producers of necessaries. The importation and domestic manufacture of luxuries should be restricted; and every dollar of savings should be invested in reproductive machinery. Only in this way can we ensure prosperity. We should keep constantly before us the precept that spending upon luxuries is one way of grinding the faces of the poor.
For several years we nust rely less than ever before the war upon importations of capital from abroad. Probably one-fifth of the accumulated capital of the combatan,t countries has been depleted by the war; and the life-time of a generation is necessary to replenish the losses. Yet, in Canada, on 'the average, for every 100,000 of increase in our population, we require an increased investment of at least $50,000,000 of capital to furnish them with constant employment at living wages.
Moreover, sound finance is the only foundation for sound political policy; and yet it seems impossible in a democracy to obtain wise and efficient government. Socialism will only justify its program upon the arrival of the millenium, when an ideal government rules an ideal people; for a century or two we must deal practically with actually existing conditions.
But all the industry, activity and economy of the individual citizen are of slight avail, if the Government in time of peace continues to deplete the country's accumulations of capital to provide expenditures upon public works and services which have no re-productive value. The diversion of capital to unproductive uses inevitably reacts injuriously upon the wage earners of the country. Money is bound to be dear for along time to come; and all national expenditures must be restricted to those absolutely unavoidable. The extravagance of war finance is notorious; but, in addition to this we have increased our financial difficulties by diluting unnecessarily the legal tender currency of the country, thereby decreasing the purchasing power of the wages, salaries and limited incomes of a large number of our people; or, in other words, we have thereby inflated the prices of all commodities vitally necessary to support human life.
Is it any wonder that the worker complains when he is told, and 'truthfully told, that a very considerable portion of the increase in the prices of his vital necessities is due to the fact that a somewhat inefficient Government, struggling with a task beyond its powers, adopting a weak and neffective rather than a strong and courageous financial policy, has been using the engraver and the printing press to manufacture its funds and pay its obligations rather than resort to the taxation of those well able to pay; or even rather than borrow from the well-to-do on the promise that to the extent of their loans they would be relieved for many years of 'their proper share of taxation by the imposition of heavier burdens upon those less able to bear them? It is no use now crying over split milk. Nevertheless, existing evils must be remedied; and a depreciated currency implies an increase in the cost of living, and the imposition of increased burdens upon the pockets of the poor. Labor unrest can only be relieved by a square deal in Government finance and taxation, as well as a square deal in industry.
The new national spirit must be more self-reliant and more energetic. We must attain a national consciousness, so clear in vision and so productive in joint endeavor that class consciousness will be entirely obliterated. Each must contribute his own special skill to increase the production and thereby the prosperity of the whole people. The increase of taxation necessary to carry our national debt will tend to reduce the surplus available for distribution. But a just distribution between Capital and Labor must be made of the actual surplus; and the habits of economy and saving which will be forced upon us by after-war conditions, will ensure accretions of capital which, if properly applied, will furnish ample employment for our people at fair and equitable remuneration.
There are other evils which exist and which call for a remedy-festering, irritating evils, of which Socialism bitterly complains; there are other evils which create, in Canada, a fertile field for Socialistic propaganda, of which Socialism does not complain; for all of which the State must provide efficient remedies. Dealing with the last class first, there is the evil of the indiscriminate admission to Canada of foreign immigrants, without making adequate provision for the instruction and education of these polyglot peoples, so that they may become acquainted with the political and social conditions of the country, and be inspired by our ideals of individual liberty and individual responsibility.
With those who, upon our invitation, have already settled in Canada, we must deal honorably and justly. They have performed highly necessary work during the war; they should be protected from all semblance of injustice now- that the war has ceased. Schools must be provided, and the children of the foreign immigrant should be compelled to attend schools in which French or English is taught, so that the native born of foreign stock, at the close of at least one generation, shall have a practical knowledge of one of the official languages of the country, and thereby be enabled to acquire a clearer and less distorted insight into the social, political, and industrial conditions which prevail in this country.
A fair acquaintance with either the English or French language should be made a condition precedent to full Canadian naturalization and to the right to exercise the political franchise in any Province of Canada.
But especially the labor question demands serious consideration. Experience has proved that the exercise, by the employees of industrial establishments, of the right of association and organization for the purpose of representing their grievances and presenting their claims for improved working conditions, rates of remuneration and the like, is, under existing industrial conditions, the only efficient means of securing public recognition of existing grievances and their effectual remedy. Such labor associations, whether representing individual trades, or those which are interrelated or allied, should be encouraged rather than repressed.
But their international relations and alliances should be restricted. If Canada is to develop as a nation, and as a nation it must develop, if at all, the administration of the political affairs of the country, whether internal or external, can only safely be vested in the elected representatives of the whole people. Neither the Labor group, the Socialist group, nor any other minority group within the nation, can be permitted to dominate the Government of the country, nor to form alliances with a similar, inner group in any foreign country, for the purpose of thwarting any policy of the Government of Canada which expresses the will of the majority of the people of Canada. The teaching of these times is that internationalism, as it appears in the socialistic movement of the day, is inimicable to the material interests of the Canadian people; that it is destructive of the spirit of patriotism which is essential to the establishment and maintenance of a democratic government in this or any other country; and that it inevitably leads to national disruption and to political anarchy. The international relations of Canadian labor or socialistic associations must be carefully watched and closely restricted.
And while free associations of workers of all classes within Canada should not only be permitted but actively encouraged; no such association should be allowed to trespass upon the rights of the individual worker and to exclude him from employment, except on condition that he shall become a member of some particular associaton or union. It cannot be tolerated that any free association of men in Canada shall arbitrarily and despotically deprive any individual of his right to earn an honest living in Canada for himself or his family in any employment for which he may be qualified, simply because he refuses to become a member of any particular trades-union or labor association.
Moreover, in respect of all grievances, real or imaginary, existing or alleged to exist between employees and their employer, it is absolutely essential that means should be created and maintained for securing a competent and thorough investigation of the facts, and an impartial arbitration or determination of the dispute.
I believe that it is certainly possible to obtain such an investigation and such a decision with respect to every condition of employment, whether it be hours of labor, rates of wages, costs of living, proper protection of health and life, or whatever may be the subject matter of the grievance expressed; and I can see no reason why such decisions should not ultimately command public respect and be enforced by public authority.
Individual workmen have the right, and, under existing conditions, must have the right definitely to abandon their employment, upon notice, except in breach of the contracts of employment into which they have freely entered. Breaches of contracts are matters within the jurisdiction of the law courts of the country.
But the conditions on which labor shall be employed demand more serious scientific investigation than has yet been provided. There must be investigation, by impartial experts, to establish the principles upon which rates of wages shall be established from time to time. A new jurisprudence must be developed for the guidance of the arbitration boards, or other judicial authorities to which such disputes shall be submitted for settlement. The doctrine that the workman is entitled to a living wage has become obsolete. He is entitled to that plus; and it is possible that the plus may best be determined as a portion or percentage of the profits which accrues to the employer, in part, at least, as the result of the work of his employees.
Strikes and lock-outs are both harmful to the interests of the State, as-well as to the individuals immediately and directly concerned. If and when the State shall establish the just principles upon which labor disputes shall be decided, and impartial tribunals to investigate the facts and to render decisions in accordance with such pre-established principles of justice, as I have suggested, then both strikes and lock-outs should be prohibited by law, and offenders against this law should, in the interests of the whole nation, be subjected to severe penalties and punishments.
And in like manner, "striking on the job" which implies slowing down production, destruction of the machinery of production or injuring the articles produced, these and all other forms of sabotage should be absolutely prohibited, and included in the criminal offences for which severe penalties should be enacted.
But such proposals, which imply substantial reforms in our legal system, are not alone sufficient. Other reforms are vital to the success of our political and social system.
The health of the soldiers who enlisted for service in the present war has been made the supreme care of the State. The same care should be continued with respect to the health of the entire population. Free medical advice and medical attendance should be made available for every member of society; and free hospital service for all who require nursing and attendance as a means of restoration to health. The nation can well appropriate sufficient funds to eradicate tuberculosis, typhoid, pneumonia, syphilis, and all other preventable diseases, which in each and every generation claim more victims than war itself.
The Government must establish healthful conditions of living in Canada, even if additional taxes be levied upon industry for the attainment of that end.
The housing of the people in families, under conditions which ensure health -and a certain degree of comfort and of intimate family life, is also a supreme concern of the State. The hovels which germinate and disseminate disease and death must be wiped out; and since private funds do not seek investment, in sufficient amounts, to provide homes for all, the State must intervene and supply the deficiencies. Work of this kind cannot be left to sympathy and the good offices of the philanthropists: Every Canadian child born into life has the right to such careful medical supervision, to such sanitary surroundings, and to such home comforts, as will best ensure his reaching a vigorous manhood, and acquiring such qualities of mind and heart as are necessary for performing the duties of Canadian citizenship.
Moreover, reforms or improvements are necessary in our educational systems. We are very backward in much of our educational work. Improvements in our educational system, especially in branches which must be provided to give special technical training, such as agriculture, mining, metallurgy, chemistry, engineering and the like, in all their practical applications, will cost money and require time to bring them to a high standard. But the demand must be met, and the money provided by the State and not left to the precarious generosity of individual contributors.
In the short time at my disposal, I have endeavored to give you an idea of the milder forms of the propaganda, which has covertly been carried on throughout Canada, with the evident object of weakening the will of the Canadian people to carry on the war to a successful conclusion, and, more recently, to create difficulties and dissensions within Canada so as to hinder the attainment of a satisfactory peace. I say milder forms of propaganda advisedly; for, if I were to quote at length the quantities of obscene, profane and seditious pamphlets which have been circulated throughout Canada by the Social Revolutionists, it would only serve to excite your bitter animosity, and perhaps lay myself open to the charge of disseminating sedition, though merely repeating it for your information. Tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent in Canada during the war in support of this propaganda, and these expenditures will no doubt be continued with the same object until peace is finally proclaimed, and then, the seeds of revolt having been sown, the country will for a long time reap harvests of discord and discontent, unless preventative measures are now taken.
It is your duty and mine to study the existing conditions, to ascertain the facts, to make known the elements of economic laws, to assist in remedying all reasonable grievances, to ensure as far as we may that the social and industrial progress of Canada shall be based on the due recognition of the rights of all its citizens. Orderly progressive evolution will ensure security and prosperity for all; revolution will inevitably result in the wanton destruction of the very foundations of our national life. We are even now experiencing the ardently desired transition from the activities of war to the activities of peace, a change which will undoubtedly cause great anxiety and acute distress for thousands of war-wearied men returning home from the front, and for thousands more who, at home, have carried on the industries necessary for the successful prosecution of the war, all of whom must now seek other avocations and adjust themselves to new conditions of life. Their problems are not theirs alone; they are mine and yours as well; and it is only by mutual understanding and sympathy, by cordial co-operation and an abundance of good-will, that these problems can successfully be solved.