Retrospect and Prophecy
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The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 21 Dec 1939, p. 210-226


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Bennett, Right Honourable R.B., Speaker
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Text
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Speeches
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A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and The Canadian Club.
Reasons for Mr. Bennett's move to England. Canadian concern for the British Empire. The British Empire as the bulwark of Christian civilization. Some words about the history of civilizations, and civilization. Why the British Empire has been so successful. The challenge today from Russia and Germany to our civilization, to our Christian civilization. Accepting the challenge. The defence of Poland and of our own civilization coinciding. Fighting for freedom and liberty. Britain building her sea strength by one war vessel a week now. The extent to which the British Isles are dependent on transport for their existence. The necessity to keep the sea routes open and safe. The appreciation in Britain for those who go down to the sea in ships and do business among the great waters. Activities of the British Army. The Military Service Act in Great Britain and the way in which men were called up. Equality of service and of sacrifice that the speaker has witnessed in Britain. The question of the "Conscription of wealth" and what that means. The British air force. The question of supply of machines. The plan for training pilots in Canada. The importance of a continuous flow of trained men. The effect on the German mentality of this training plan. Contributions by Canadians. Canadians joining the Royal Air Force. Some facts and figures to show what is needed for the war effort. Sources of funding. The need to buy British goods to the fullest extent possible, in order that they will have the money to buy supplies from us. The non-existence of international trade in the broad sense now. The role to be played by business men. The speaker's response to those who say that because we live on the North American Continent we should not be engaged in this conflict. Answering the challenge to our civilization.
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21 Dec 1939
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English
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Full Text
RETROSPECT AND PROPHECY
AN ADDRESS BY
RIGHT HONOURABLE R. B. BENNETT, P. C., K. C., LL. D., D.C.L.
Thursday, December 21, 1939

A Joint Meeting of The Canadian Club and the Empire Club of Canada was held in the Royal York Hotel, Toronto, on Thursday, December 21, 1939. Professor Norman A. M. MacKenzie, President of the Canadian Club, presided.

PROFESSOR MACKENZIE: Mr. Bennett's presence with us today is in the nature of an unexpected Christmas gift for which we are duly thankful. (Applause) When Mr. Bennett announced, not so long ago that he was leaving Canada, a great many of us were somewhat disappointed and even regretful, because Mr. Bennett is a great Canadian. (Applause) There are all too few Great Canadians for us to spare even one. When I say "great Canadian" I mean it, not only in the sense of his distinguished record, but in the sense that I know no other Canadian in public life who has made such personal sacrifices for Canada, without regard to his own welfare or interest, as Mr. Bennett has done. (Applause) I wondered at the time he left why he left. True, I did not see the report that he was kissed by all of the Co-Eds in my old College, Dalhousie University, and I can assure you, Gentlemen, that that prospect would tempt the strongest among us to come back again. I suspect, however, that it was because Mr. Bennett believes in and loves the Empire so much, the Empire of which Canada is a part, and he believed that he could best make his contribution to that Empire and to Canada that he decided he would reside in the United Kingdom. My regrets were tempered, too, by my conviction that Mr. Bennett couldn't stay away from Canada very long, particularly if there was work to do. The war has brought that work and Mr. Bennett, as in the last war, is giving to that work all his very distinguished talents. For that, too, we are grateful.

So, Mr. Bennett, the Members of the Empire Club and the Canadian Club are grateful to you for coming to us at this time, for agreeing to give us a report on the conditions abroad in the world today. Gentlemen-the Right Honourable R. B. Bennett. (Loud applause)

RIGHT HONOURABLE R. B. BENNETT, P.C., K.C., LL.D., D.C.L.: Mr. President, Your Honour, Distinguished Guests, and Gentlemen: Your Chairman has made some references to the causes that induced me to take up my residence in the United Kingdom. I think perhaps I should relieve you of any further curiosity in that regard. I use the word curiosity, as distinguished from interest, for the manifestations of your interest were all too clear. The truth is that I had a bit of trouble with my heart and I had to retire from very active work and, to be very truthful with you, found it impossible to remain in this country and not be worried to death, so I had to seek some other place to live. I found it incompatible with my general viewpoint to remain on this continent, so I decided to go to England. That is the story.

It is very fitting that we should meet here today with the Empire Club and the Canadian Club for, after all, there has never been a moment, in my judgment, from the days of Elizabeth when Canadians were more concerned about the British Empire, or when its fate and destiny were more in the balance than at this time. That is a strong statement and yet I believe it to be a true statement.

The fact is that the people of the Motherland number about 44 million, and that the white population of the British Empire is about 70 millions of people. We govern a quarter of the world's population, inhabiting a quarter of its area, and I trust I might not be guilty of exaggeration when I say we are and have been the bulwark of Christian civilization. Gentlemen, our civilization has been built up slowly, patiently, laboriously.

If you young men desire to interest yourselves in something that will really interest you during the long winter evenings, read something of the course of the development of civilization, of the forces, at least, of ancient countries, of Babylon, of Egypt, of Greece, and Rome, and then realize that they reached the summit of their greatness and disappeared, leaving behind them the legacies to all mankind that we so much enjoy. We have survived. The British Empire has survived, and why? Shall we become one with Ninevah and Tyre, in the words of Kipling, or shall we continue to survive and continue to pay, or, shall I say, make our contribution to the history of the world? We are a Christian civilization, although the non-Christians outnumber Christians in the world and in the British Empire, it is needless for me to say to you, there are more non-Christians than Christians. Yet, the Christian thought or concept has dominated the civilization of the world and that has not been by reason of force being applied to compel people to accept it.

You remember that 250 years ago, the King of Poland swept down to Vienna to save the Christian civilization of that area against the onslaught of the alien. Prussia was too busy about something else, too concerned about something else, and it remained for the Poles of that day, 250 years ago, to make that contribution to Christian civilization. That doesn't explain why our civilization, our Christian civilization has survived. If I am right in believing that this Empire is the bulwark of that civilization I look for something further. I look for the reason why we have survived in the justice that we have given to the peoples that we have governed; acquired great territory, whether by settlement or conquest, or by discovery, wherever we have gone, we have done one thing. We have always treated the people as trustees. Our obligations have been obligations of trustees and we have endeavoured to lead them up to the time when they would govern themselves.

Look back upon your history of our own country, and the great nations where our flag flies. They are nations now-and the great Crown Colonies, the vast Dominions. You will find in every instance it is because we have endeavoured to create conditions under which people by discipline and self-restraint would govern themselves and make their own institutions and their own laws. That is the proud history of those who left the shores of the little island in the North Sea and planted colonies in remote parts of the world, and today have reaped and are reaping the reward of their confidence and their faith and their courage when their sons and daughters come back home to give their help and assistance to the descendents of those pioneers.

Hence it was you had yesterday and the day before, and every day this week, rejoicing at the arrival of the Canadian Contingent. That arrival signifies something more-than the mere arrival of troops to assist in a great war. It indicates that the great principles of justice, liberty, and the rule of law and reason have dominated the thoughts of men in this part of the world, and when the moment came that civilization was threatened, they responded with all the power and strength in their command, to do their bit for the descendents of the pioneers who left those shores and planted their institutions in the far-off parts of the world. That is the reason.

So, today, we have been challenged-challenged as never before. The challenge has come from the great powers, Russia and Germany, a challenge to our civilization, to our Christian civilization. The challenge has come to us in terms that we cannot disregard, and the test of any civilization or any conviction is always found in the response that men give when they accept that challenge. We have accepted the challenge. We, the British Empire, have accepted the challenge because there was nothing for us to do or abandon the civilization we have built. That is the real issue. That is the reason why I am so deeply concerned, and you are, about all that has to do with the conduct of this great war.

I shall never forget that Sunday morning when Mr. Chamberlain made the declaration of war. There are many people who say, "Why should we fight for Poland? What interest have we in Poland?" Poland is but an incident. The issue, as I have said, is the challenge to a Christian civilization and the defence of Poland and of our own civilization happily coincide. That is the real reason. When on that Sunday morning Mr. Chamberlain made the declaration of war it was a sober people that received it. It was a serious people that received it for they realized-by some strange process that one cannot describe the change came over them during the last week of August and it was quite clear to everyone that war was inevitable. Serious minded young men and elderly men, going about their work realized that this was a conflict, a conflict of all the ages, so far as civilization was concerned. The non-Christian Russia and the Germany endeavouring to destroy Christianity, these two forces were forces which if they prevailed would spell the end of that civilization.

Men, no more serious matter ever engaged the attention of a free people. Freedom is something that men and nations little realize until they have lost it, and liberty we in Canada enjoy to such an extent that sometimes it degenerates into license, and we have little appreciation of the restraints that are necessary to maintain liberty, because restraints are the price you pay for liberty. There can be no real liberty without restraint. That, I think, we must all keep in mind. You saw the evidence that morning and the succeeding days among these people. Serious, determined, realizing the magnitude of the task which they had undertaken, they at once devoted all their energies to the defence of the civilization which was at issue-in the navy, the army, the air.

Of the navy, it is only necessary to say that the slackening of effort that came about when we endeavoured to disarm left Britain short of four or five capital ships. It is no secret, it has been said frequently by Admirals of the Fleet, and those able to speak in the last few weeks, that we were short of capital ships. We were short of cruisers. Britain is adding to her sea strength one war vessel a week now. It may be a destroyer, it may be a cruiser, it may be the reconditioning of a great battle ship. This navy that has protected us and enabled us to sell our products in the markets of the world, keep the great sea routes open that we might sail in safety on the seven seas, this fleet has cost millions and hundreds of millions of pounds. When the call came as it did on that Sunday morning, they had all arranged the places that would be taken up .as their battle stations, and from that moment until this, their supreme purpose has been to make safe the sea routes, to protect the island from attack, and to see to it that the enemy is located. That in itself is a great task. Imagine what it means for a ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Four great liners with the first great Division went from here, there was the defence of it with the enemy ever watchful, desiring to destroy it.

What is true of this is true of every part of the Kingdom, the East Coast, the Channel. There are the submarines, the mine sweepers and added to that, the merchant marine. We have lost 400,000 tons of shipping since the war began. Yet, with the new ships consequently 'launched, some being acquired by force from the enemy, today there are 21 million tons of British shipping on the sea, just as there was 21 million tons the day the war began.

But I sometimes wonder if my fellow-Canadians realize the extent to which those islands are dependent on transport for their existence. I was at a meeting in a man's home one afternoon and to my surprise, the gentleman presiding, speaking on behalf of the Merchant Marine, said, "It is necessary for us to import 100,000 tons of commodities per day". I said to him afterward, "Is that accurate? Did you mean that?" He said, "Just that." Well, now, men, did you ever think what that means in terms of ships? Did you ever think what that means in keeping the sea routes open and safe, that men may be fed and clothed, and that troops may be trained and, in the cold-blooded material side, that we may find a market for our wheat, or our bacon? The bacon growing on your farms, you know, isn't very much unless you can sell it. The one customer we have to buy it is the United Kingdom, and how does it get there? It gets there because the strong right arm of the navy protects the ships that carry it across the Atlantic Ocean. (Applause)

I would like to say that no word of mine can adequately express the appreciation that is held by every man, woman and child with whom you come in contact in the Old Land for those who go down to the sea in ships and do business among the great waters. Their courage is beyond all words and it is not the navy alone that has given such a magnificent report of itself during the last week, but the merchant marine, the people enduring the hardships of mine-sweeping, patiently trying to make the channels safe. All these men should have from us our warmest commendation and support and anything we in this far-off country can do to improve their lot we should do, gladly and proudly, because they make it possible for us to be solvent at a time such as this.

About the army I have only to say this. They moved 158,000 men across the channel without the loss of a single person, or an injury to a man, and all the mechan ized machinery, the heavy artillery and guns. It was quietly done, no one knew it was being done until it had been done, quietly and calmly. The number has been increased greatly. Aeroplanes have been flown, as I shall presently indicate, and the Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces is of the opinion, which is shared by those well able to speak with authority, that this is as fine an army as ever left the shores of England. I can only say this to you, Gentlemen, when you look upon the faces of these younger men, see their fine bearing, see there the evidences of their grim determination, you realize it is not an adventure, but the performance of a sacred duty they believe rests upon them, the children of the children's children that made equal sacrifices in days long since past. That spirit is so fine.

As a Canadian I was struck with one thing more than all others. That was the method of calling men to the colours. England has never believed in standing armies since the days of Cromwell, and it is a word I dislike-the word Conscription, because it is a nasty word, connected with conscription in the days of Imperial Lords, but for lack of a better one we sometimes use it. They passed a Military Service Act in Great Britain, by which men could be called up in time of peace to serve in the army, for the first time since the days of Cromwell. When that was done, the orderly manner in which these men were called up would have met with your warm approval.

What happened? A proclamation was issued that a class of men between given ages would be called to the colours, and that they would register on a given date, and they registered. They didn't seek excuses not to, but they registered because they were within that age. They obeyed the proclamation with pleasure and pride and made no apologies in an endeavour to escape. There were conscientious objectors, of course. They set up tribunals to deal with them. Some were conscientious when they started and before the hearing had finished they had concluded that conscience bade them attach themselves to a regiment, and they did. They went into uniform, quietly and calmly, rich and poor, peer and peasant. I said the other day, and one of the newspapers commented on the fact, the richest Earl of England found himself going to the depot with the village barber. Equality of service and of sacrifice--that is all.

And the choice of classes was done with great care so as not to disrupt industry, if at all possible, and if it could be done, insure the continuance of the supply of munitions.

Now, that struck me as a most remarkable thing in this great effort-equality of service and of sacrifice. I need hardly say to you, my fellow-Canadians, on the Statute Books of this country, since the days of Confederation, there is a provision for the calling, en masse, of men of 19 to 45. It was placed there by the genius of Sir George Cartier, and continued on our Statute Books, and in the days of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Minister of Justice, Sir Charles Fitzpatrick was in charge of the measure, so we have not been unmindful of the fact that there might be a time when it would be necessary for us to share equality of sacrifice and service.

Then there came the question of what some friends of mine in Canada used to describe as "Conscription of wealth". Ever hear that word? Well, the British Government was confronted with a task involving an expenditure to which I shall presently refer, and it became necessary to get money. Therefore, they took it out of the people by taxation. When I say to you that the taxes are so high that in some cases a man has thirty cents left out of a pound, a shilling and a half-and that my small income involves a payment of between seventy-three and seventy-five cents out of every dollar, you will understand how England meets war. That is how wealth is conscripted. That is how the appeal is made for equality of service and sacrifice on one hand and of wealth on the other. (Applause)

I remember one of the richest men in England saying to me that he didn't think he would have more than something like fifty cents, converted into our money, left out of his income after paying his taxes that year. Now, that gives an idea of what I have in mind.

So much for preparation with respect to navy and with respect to our army. Then you come to the new arm with which the people are defending themselves, and that has never been used to the same extent in days gone by-the air. Well, there is one thing about it, Britons have demonstrated, as have men from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, that in the air they have no peer, and today they feel completely masters of their enemies in the air.

Of course there is another side to that. That is the question of supply of machines and that has dragged a bit. It has been delayed a bit, but nothing, I am told, filled our enemies with greater fear than when some weeks ago they read that the British Empire had combined together to train a line of pilots in Canada, by which there will be a continuous flow of trained men to see to it that we could not only defend our positions on the shores of England and the United Kingdom and Canada, if need be, but also that we could express our superiority by successful combat with our enemies in the air. Nothing is more important than a continuous flow of trained men, not a spasmodic but a continuous flow, and there is no part of all the world that is near Great Britain that is nearly as good for training as Canada. These blue skies and great distances make it a very simple thing, as compared to an effort to train in old England, where you have a long line of towns. Really, that is all it is going up to Midland, a long line of towns, and you cannot train men as you should in the air if you have underneath, these towns and these villages, because it makes it very dangerous for those who live in ahem and very difficult for those being trained. So we make it a matter of great rejoicing that we have combined, at last, as an Empire. (Applause and laughter)

(I confess I am not conscious of having said anything that should meet with such warm approval. I hope you are not laughing at me, because I assure you, to me that is no laughing matter.)

I was told by one who had recently been in Germany that when that was published it had as profound an effect upon the German mentality as anything that had happened in the early days of the war.

I do not know when the flow will begin but all I can say is that nothing must stand in the way of it, in order that we may secure victory by a continuous flow of trained men from this country, not from Canada alone, but from every part of the British Empire, and probably in the end fly the machines across the Atlantic Ocean. You can see how important that might be if the enemy attacked with thousands of machines. It would be a great thing to have a reserve behind in Canada to fly across the Atlantic and take the appropriate action.

Gentlemen, some of our Canadians have made great contributions. I think perhaps you little realize what magnificent pilots our Canadians have been. We had Bishop and Barker in the last war, of course and all their magnificent achievements, but the men who quietly have been joining the Royal Air Force during the last six months, and in the last year, have made a magnificent contribution. You go and ask anyone connected with the British Air Force and they will tell you how magnificent Canadians have been, and out of compliment to them and to their number the British Government have recently created a Canadian Squadron. It is a Canadian Squadron, paid for by the British taxpayer. That is only incidental. They have done that out of compliment to what Canadians have done in that Air Force and the Canadian Squadron are Canadians who have enlisted with the Royal Air Force, Britain providing the machines and uniforms and the pay, as they did in the Boer War. So much for that, without going into details.

Gentlemen, it is essential that there should be no shortage of machines as well as of men. It is not for me to say how many machines the enemy has. A distinguished American three weeks after finishing his tour in Germany, estimated a very vast number--I will not mention it to you because it seems so large--at the beginning of the struggle. I can say to you in perfect frankness that the production of machines in France in August was very small. It has now gone up to a considerable number. In Great Britain the production was very limited. That is the reason they were looking overseas for supplies and machines, but today, I think I could say, without being regarded as having violated any censorship or any Act regarding secrecy, that there is no doubt in the month of November they were making over a thousand machines in Great Britain. That number is going up so rapidly that it is almost incredible what will be produced in the next few months and they are the best machines in the world. (Applause) The facilities with which they have been operated and flown and the victories that they have achieved are best illustrated by the false statements made by the enemy as to the result of those conflicts.

The Navy, too, has its own Air Force now. The Navy for many years has been struggling to get its own Air Force and it now has its own Air Force, as distinguished from the Royal Air Force and that has, of course, contributed greatly to the defence operations of the fleet. Now, Gentlemen, how much do you think is involved in this? I have indicated just roughly some of these things, because I would like you to get something in your mind about it.

About munitions. Never since Britain has been engaged in a war has she been as well supplied with munitions as today. Never. At the peak of her production in the great war it wasn't equal to what it now is. That is what has been going on. Factories everywhere are manufacturing munitions--a munition plant here, another there. Industry is turned into the production of munitions of all kinds. That has been going on steadily and continuously, and the zeal and enthusiasm with which men work! What do they care for overtime as long as they may save their beloved land from attack, and defend their rights and liberties! They ask nothing better than the chance to do it. So they are taken from the army-skilled men are not allowed to enlist. Everything is being done by methods suggested for the purpose of securing the production of munitions.

I can only tell you this, in great guns, in the air defence guns, in rifles, in Bren guns, in everything that is to enable men to fight, the supplies are beyond all description. But, Men, it all costs money. How much do you think Britain is spending a day? For the last two weeks before I left (there is no relation to the two things) the expenditure was £6,000,000 an incredible thing that such a sum as that could be spent, but it is being done and the result, of course, is what I have indicated. So much for that, and that phase of it.

But, Gentlemen, taxation alone will not do it. Money must be borrowed and the British people are not as wealthy as they were at the beginning of the war of 1914.

They had a dead weight then of £620,000,000 and they now have one of £8,000,000,000. They have taxed themselves to an extent that you little understand over here. Then, they have resorted necessarily to one other means of defence, and that is to do what I have described in the economic situation. They have blockaded the enemy's ports. They have prevented supplies reaching the enemy. Now, and then you find some snivelling person going around saying, "Why deny women and children the right to get enough to eat? You might just as well kill them." Ever since civilization began blockade has been one of the means of bringing defeat to the enemy, and it is essential that we should maintain blockades against the enemy. But there has been resistance against the people blockading them and it has been a great task. It is 400 miles across from Kirkwall to Norway in the North Sea, and there is the narrow Channel. All these ships must be there to blockade and prevent essential supplies reaching the enemy. Don't for a moment be misled. Germany is well supplied with many things. She has food for a year, rationed as it is. She has supplies of copper and of zinc and of lead, beyond reasonable computation. These things were laid away long months and months ago, but we are blockading and will continue to blockade. If the declaration of the Government can be taken as meaning exactly what they have said, we will blockade these things for the purpose of preventing them being able to produce the kind of materials that are essential for the purposes of maintaining war.

Recently, owing to the strewing of mines heedlessly among the seas, we had two hundred mines thrown up against the shores of England, floating loosely, the week I came away. These things we have met with the reprisal that international law accepts, namely, the attack against the exports of the warring country. That enables me to say something I wish to say to you very clearly. How can you help England in this situation? England can only get money with which to carry on by taxation, and she can only pay Canadians in Canadian dollars, and Americans in American dollars, if she is able to sell to Canadians and to Americans, goods which she produces, in order that she may have the dollars with which to pay, for international trade, as we understand it, is a thing of the past. When we had a balance cheque, one against the other, on Japan and Canada, the United States and Canada, and so on, it was a simple thing. Now, there is no such thing as international trade in the broad sense, and if we buy British to the fullest extent possible, we have made it possible for Britain to buy supplies from us.

Why is it? Why is it, my friends, that you found Argentine selling our wheat and our meat? Why? Because the only way in which the interest can be paid to the

British who have their investments in Argentine is by their selling their products there and producing the money to do it. That is the reason, and I say to you, in all sincerity, that it is of the utmost importance that we should, whenever we can, when we are buying abroad, buy British goods, in order that we may be able to supply them with what they want from us and they can pay for them.

Now, one step more. This is a very delicate thing I am going to touch upon. Many of you gentlemen here are business men. You are business men of great reputation. We are living side by side with 140 millions of people and the commodity balance against us has always been very great. But the civilization we are endeavouring to preserve . is. the same civilization as they enjoy and they are deeply interested, Gentlemen, in my judgment, in our being able to succeed in this great conflict. Well, the other day I was in New York, and I have a habit sometimes, of going into large offices for the purposes of seeing how Canadian securities are regarded. I picked up the daily issue of one of their financial papers and I looked up International Nickel. Well, it is not the kind of security to buy down in the United States. They say, owing to taxation and exchange difficulties, though this Canadian company is well managed and has got some money, we cannot recommend this either for investment or speculation to Americans. And I could give the names of three or four more, one after another.

Go and look at them, some of you newspaper men, and see what they say about your country's credit, and what they say about the kind of securities we are creating in this country.

Now, I hope my voice will reach some of you business men. Suppose you get a bit busy here and ask yourselves this question. The paper mill is Wisconsin, that is living on the pulpwood sent from Ontario is a fine investment, but if it is up here producing newsprint from Canadian wood, you had better look out about it. Are you going to stand that? I just leave that thought with you. If they didn't have the 400,000 cords of wood from this Province, there wouldn't be any industry down in Wisconsin, and if there is going to be an industry in Wisconsin in Canadian wood, suppose you say a kind word about what Canadians are doing in defence of civilization you are interested in. Business men, this is a crisis in which you ought to make yourselves felt, and make your influence felt and make it known to our great friends. The credit of this country should not be lightly attacked and destroyed. An insurance company should not be compelled to make all its investments in securities of a particular country because they do business there. We have not been that kind of people. Neither has Great Britain, and in our time of peril, when the things we hold most dear are threatened, and they are common to you and you enjoy them as well as we, you are as interested as we are-give us a hand, give us a hand. (Applause) In making that observation, I wish to say that I do it in no censorious spirit. I do it as a Canadian. I do it as a Britisher. I do it because I believe with all my heart that unless we win this great conflict, that Christian civilization, for which we have stood, is no safer on this continent than it is in Europe.

I want you to get that clearly in your mind. I know that a ship off Halifax in the last war was destroyed by a German mine. It is not so far across the Atlantic Ocean now, as aeroplanes fly, and I wouldn't be surprised if within the next few months you may have reason to believe that the Atlantic Ocean can easily be crossed-by enemies.

Now, my friends, Canadians have discharged and performed great tasks. There is nothing that they have been asked to do that they have ever failed to do. There is nothing they will ever fail to do that they are asked to do that involves the defence of the Christian civilization. We have to decide-we have decided. There used to be three avenues down which we could walk. They are now narrowed into two, and we have chosen of our own free will that we will march with our own people within our own Empire, and we have chosen so to do, and every Canadian is proud of the fact that our Parliament unanimously adopted that view. It was a very great thing indeed to see that Parliament unanimously decide that we should walk with the other Dominions of the Empire in the great struggle in which we are engaged.

Men, the struggle will be long, according to present indications. Beware of the people who tell you that a peace is not far off. That is German propaganda. I could tell you something of where it originated. There are those who think that because we live on the North American Continent we should not be engaged in this conflict. There are men of that type and there are men who wish we were out of the conflict and who desire to get this country out of the conflict because we are on the North American Continent. Men, what is life worth if it is life without self-respect? What is life worth if, when we are challenged in our dearest beliefs, we are such cowards that we will not accept the challenge? What is it worth? What has it ever been worth?

There is a pride that comes to men who land upon the shores of England, who walk in the old, historic streets and look at the old buildings-these are mine and yours not yours alone. These great fabrics, this fine structure of parliamentary government and of institutions that have been builded, they are mine. They are every Canadian's. They are every Australian's. They belong to every man who has descended from those who left the shores of those islands centuries ago and laid the foundations of our great dominions. Shall we disregard the challenge to our own Christian civilization? You have answered it, you have said we shall not. Then, having embarked upon the struggle with every ounce of energy, with every force and power at our command, see to it, see to it that the struggle ends as soon as possible, for there can be no defeat in this war. It is a word with no other dimensions--defeat is impossible. We struggle not for territory, we seek not to add to our domain, we seek not to add population. We stand for the validity of treaties, for the solemnity of promises, and if the world is in the condition it is today it is largely, as has been pointed out, because men have broken their word, nations have broken their word. Instead of repudiation, we hope this war will establish once more the reign of law, once more the rule of reason, once more negotiation for, while force cannot create civilization, force can sustain it. That is the reason that we throw all our might and power to sustain and support and maintain the integrity of our institutions, our own country, our own Empire, that has made the greatest contribution in the history of mankind to freedom among the people and the liberty of the individual. (Prolonged applause-and Cheers)

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Retrospect and Prophecy


A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and The Canadian Club.
Reasons for Mr. Bennett's move to England. Canadian concern for the British Empire. The British Empire as the bulwark of Christian civilization. Some words about the history of civilizations, and civilization. Why the British Empire has been so successful. The challenge today from Russia and Germany to our civilization, to our Christian civilization. Accepting the challenge. The defence of Poland and of our own civilization coinciding. Fighting for freedom and liberty. Britain building her sea strength by one war vessel a week now. The extent to which the British Isles are dependent on transport for their existence. The necessity to keep the sea routes open and safe. The appreciation in Britain for those who go down to the sea in ships and do business among the great waters. Activities of the British Army. The Military Service Act in Great Britain and the way in which men were called up. Equality of service and of sacrifice that the speaker has witnessed in Britain. The question of the "Conscription of wealth" and what that means. The British air force. The question of supply of machines. The plan for training pilots in Canada. The importance of a continuous flow of trained men. The effect on the German mentality of this training plan. Contributions by Canadians. Canadians joining the Royal Air Force. Some facts and figures to show what is needed for the war effort. Sources of funding. The need to buy British goods to the fullest extent possible, in order that they will have the money to buy supplies from us. The non-existence of international trade in the broad sense now. The role to be played by business men. The speaker's response to those who say that because we live on the North American Continent we should not be engaged in this conflict. Answering the challenge to our civilization.