- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 10 Jan 1952, p. 158-169
- Drew, Hon. George A., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- A good time to come to some clear understanding with ourselves about our hopes for the future of Canada, the great Commonwealth which expresses its loyalty to one king, and those wider international organizations with which we are associated. A look back to when the Empire Club was formed 50 years ago, when Canadians had a fairly clear idea in their own minds about Canada's place in world affairs and our relationship to Great Britain and the British Empire. Events and changes over those 50 years. The Communist purpose of world conquest by a godless dictatorship. Arguments put forward against Communism. What we are told is the best answer to Communism. A struggle not so much for ideas as for ideals. The success of human enterprise built on faith. The need for loyalty and faith in our personal affairs, our national life, and in those wider associations which are taking clearer form day by day. Being confronted by an evil power in this age of doubt and unbelief. The need to carefully reconsider the place of religion in the education of our youth. The real strength of our nation in the year ahead to be determined by the ethical standards implanted in the minds of our youth today. Faith in the future of our own country as an essential part of the struggle. Answering the question: "Am I my brother's keeper?" Canada's place and responsibilities in the United Nations Organization and in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Questions to consider about the changing world and the future of the Commonwealth. A quotation from Edward Murrow made in 1946. The nature of the Commonwealth association. What would happen if the Commonwealth should fail to stand together. What we should be teaching our youth. The role that Winston Churchill fulfilled. Leadership. Remembering the old call to loyalty.
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- 10 Jan 1952
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- "OLD LOYALTIES WITH NEW MEANING"
An Address by HON. GEORGE A. DREW
Leader, His Majesty's Loyal Opposition
Thursday, January 10th, 1952
CHAIRMAN: The President, Mr. D. H. Gibson.
MR. GIBSON: Our speaker will be introduced by Brig. Colin Campbell, First Vice-President of The Empire Club of Canada.
BRIG. CAMPBELL: Mr. President, Guests and Gentlemen of the Empire Club:
It is a pleasure for me, and indeed an honour, to have the privilege of introducing an old friend, not necessarily one that I have agreed with the conclusions he has taken, but nevertheless one that I have admired over a great many years.
The Speaker needs no introduction to this Club, because he is one of your most distinguished past-Presidents and most distinguished members of this Club--nevertheless I want to remind you in the study of public questions that cover a great deal of time, because it is just thirty years ago since he was first elected to public office, since that time he has served almost continuously either as an elected Member or public servant, and has been the Leader of one of our great political parties.
I know what George says is always said after giving considerable thought, and as I have said earlier, although some of us may not agree with his conclusions, we know they are always sincere.
George, it is a great pleasure to introduce you to this Club, and to you, gentlemen, it is a pleasure to introduce such a distinguished member.
MR. DREW: Mr. Chairman and Members of the Empire Club, first of all I do want to express my very real appreciation of the generous introduction given by my friend of many years, Colin Campbell. As he has indicated, we have not always shared every view on every question that has arisen, but may I take the liberty of suggesting that perhaps it is an evidence of the very kind of democracy that we are trying to preserve, that a man who is known to share different views on some questions from me should pay this very generous and very kind tribute to an old friend.
I am back with a Club, of which I have been a member for many years, and I do wish to express my own appreciation that we should have with us the Mayor of Toronto on this occasion, who, I may also say, is an old friend of mine, and I know that he has come here at a time when there are a number of things engaging his attention.
And may I further say how happy I am to be sitting next to Dr. Clouse, whose memory goes back over the whole life of this Club, who was one of its first presidents and who will be celebrating his 96th birthday tomorrow. It is not given to many to celebrate that particular birthday in any event, and to those who do, it is given to very few to celebrate them in the good health and spirits that Dr. Clouse demonstrates before us at this time.
Perhaps Dr. Clouse is one of the few doctors who has taken his own advice throughout his whole life, because a lot of our friends in the medical profession are very strict with everyone else and rather disregard the same rules when it comes to care of themselves. And that, may I say, because of the deep sense of devotion to the people whom they serve.
And may I further, on this occasion when I have the privilege of being back with so many old friends, say how happy I am to see another ex-premier of the Province, George Henry, here with us today, because he too through advancing years has kept that youth of spirit and vigor of body which has kept him active and in close touch with all those developments with which he had such a part.
Now may I come to the subject that I propose to speak to you about today. I do appreciate more than I can say the honour of speaking to this first meeting of what has become a very famous Club throughout Canada, the first meeting for the year 1952. As we start our way into this critical and perhaps decisive year, it seems to be a good time to come to some clear understanding with ourselves about our hopes for the future of Canada, the great Commonwealth which expresses its loyalty to one king, and those wider international organizations with which we are associated.
When this club was organized nearly fifty years ago, most Canadians had a fairly clear idea in their own minds about Canada's place in world affairs and our relationship to Great Britain and the other parts of what was then known with pride and respect as the British Empire. It is true that we constantly repeated the statement that the relationship between those nations and territories, conveniently marked in red on most maps, could not be clearly defined. Nevertheless over long years great events had defined that relationship much more clearly than we were inclined to admit. No matter how thin and tenuous the ties might be in written words, in action they proved to be strong as steel.
It seemed a safe and comfortable world. As we regarded the future, it is accurate I think to say that in the minds of most of us there was the unexpressed thought that "as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be." There was a comforting sense of certainty about the future. Our loyalty was expressed simply and with conviction in the words, "For God; for King and Country."
Men and women of adventurous spirit and particularly the youth, secretly, and perhaps sometimes not so secretly, regretted that they had not lived in the much more exciting days of ancient Greece, Imperial Rome, the Spanish Main, or perhaps in the days of Nelson and Wellington. Then came the days of the First World War, with its dreadful carnage, and its dislocation of the world that we knew. Later followed revolutions, famines and worldwide economic chaos. Out of the confusion and uncertainty, dictators rose to power who led the world into the holocaust of the Second World War. After the long years of the Pax Brittanica and the comparative stability, it brought to the whole world, the tension and uncertainty, which began in 1914 and followed through the years of peace, left most people with grave doubts about the future. Great powers ceased to be great. Lesser powers assumed new importance. A second world war brought new terror and greater destruction. Bit by bit a strange new pattern was formed. More and more the nations of the world ranged themselves on one side or the other; and now under the leadership of Moscow all the Communist dictatorships but one openly defied the principle of national self-determination upon which the whole Charter of the United Nations was based. Those nations possessed the advantage of unified direction and a clear purpose. That purpose was and is world conquest by a godless dictatorship.
Ranged against this force are nations with different types of government, mostly democratic, and all asserting the right of self-government and personal freedom.
We are told over and over again, that this is a war of ideas; that the issue has been joined between two ways of life. To the extent that this is true, it therefore becomes an essential part of the worldwide struggle in which we are engaged to decide what our own ideas really are and to leave no doubt about the kind of life we are trying to preserve.
Too often it seemed that the arguments put forward against Communism emphasized the fact that on our side of the Iron Curtain we are able to give our people more and better automobiles, more comfortable houses, more radios and television sets, better refrigerators, washing machines and household conveniences-and yes, perhaps even street cars. Some of the propaganda posters and also the radio broadcasts, by which we try to convince Communists of the advantage of our system, seemed to be based on the proposition that the issue is between nylon and cotton stockings, or no stockings at all, the softness and comfort of our life compared with the severity of theirs, and freedom restraint compared with the stern discipline which they are forced to accept.
We are told and with deep conviction that the best answer to Communism is food, work and good wages. In a substantial measure that is true. Most certainly it is difficult, and always will be difficult, to convince a hungry and unemployed man or woman that there is much advantage in the democratic system. But once we establish decent standards of living, the issue goes far beyond those material advantages. Surely the struggle is not merely a comparison of two levels of materialism. After all the whole doctrine of Communism is materialism. In fact we have already lost a great part of what we are fighting for if that should become a basic issue. The real test is the standard of life rather than the standard of living, as we have come to understand those words today.
This is a struggle, not so much for ideas, as for ideals. There is a challenge to quicken the pulse and warm the heart of every adventurous soul. No personal adventure can be more exciting than the supreme adventure of giving to life itself the utmost meaning. In a changing world, surrounded by so much uncertainty, we are called upon to play our part in the greatest task of all-the preservation of everlasting values and the acceptance of those fundamental loyalties upon which our civilization has been built.
Every human enterprise that is to succeed must be built upon faith. In the material as well as the spiritual sphere, man longs, and has always longed, to be able to say, "I believe." When those men of old gathered at Nicea to frame the Creed, that would express their belief in the Christian Faith, they were not attempting to define a new religion: they were simply seeking to put into words the belief which had emerged in that great doctrine. Whether it be in our personal affairs, our national life, or in those wider associations which are taking clearer form day by day, loyalty and faith are essential if we are to succeed in the task we have undertaken.
In this age of doubt and unbelief, confronted by an evil power which seeks to deny to the youth under their control the comfort and guidance of religious belief, we find that religion itself has become the most powerful influence against the godless doctrine to which we are opposed. Remembering that our own particular form of society has sought to interpret in the realm of government the religious concept of the supreme importance of each human being before God, it does seem that the religious observance of our own choice becomes the most decisive force in the struggle in which we are now engaged.
For that reason I think we should carefully reconsider the place of religion in the education of our youth. The real strength of our nation in the years ahead will most certainly be determined by the ethical standards we implant in the minds of our youth today. For that reason I do believe that religious education is an essential part of the defence of our own form of freedom. Always remembering that freedom of worship is one of the fundamental freedoms we must preserve, I think that the ethical standards of religion should be firmly implanted in the mind and heart of every young Canadian, and that it is the duty of Canadians to see that this does happen.
History clearly teaches us that all ages of belief have been great and that all ages of unbelief have been mean. Man lives by believing something. Men and nations become great only by believing in things that guide the spirit to great achievements.
When young men and women are called upon to offer life itself in the defence of freedom, there comes to their lips the prayer that has been repeated down through the ages from the days of ancient Troy, "Let but the cause seem beautiful, dear God, if we must die."
Faith in the future of our own country is also an essential part of the struggle. While material advantage must at no time become our highest aim, nevertheless it does spur the efforts of our people in preparing to defend our homeland to believe that here in this homeland of ours there are perhaps greater opportunities for personal advancement and security than exist in any country in the world today, than have ever existed in the history of mankind. For that reason it is also part of the defence of our freedom to place before our people, and particularly before our youth, the bright vision of the future which opens out before the eyes of all of us who live in this most fortunate land.
More and more, those who have the good fortune to live in Canada are called upon to answer that age old question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" More and more we are called upon to accept the mutual responsibility of all mankind, and in keeping with the acceptance of that responsibility we have taken our place in the United Nations Organization and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. As we recognize our international responsibilities, however, we can well remember the truth conveyed by those well known words, "He is the true Cosmopolite, who serves his native country best." The greater our love of Canada, the better we serve it. The greater our unity and strength, the more we will be able to help other nations and share our prosperity with them. Our belief in the great future of Canada and in the wide horizons of opportunity opening out before our people, become a very real part of the defence of our own freedom at this time.
As we consider our place in this changing world, there is another question we must be prepared to answer. What is the future of that great fellowship which we may properly describe as the King's Commonwealth? We would not be facing reality if we failed to admit that there are many outside of Canada, and some within our own country, who do not share in the same faith in the future of this great association of free men and women which was so commonly expressed only a few years ago, and most certainly in the strongest terms at the time this Club was originally organized.
There have been revolutionary changes within a single generation. Britain has suffered terribly in two world wars and in the economic storms which followed them. We hear gloomy predictions about the future of the oldest member of the Commonwealth. We would not be completely truthful if we denied that this is greatly influencing some people's thoughts about the future of the Commonwealth. There is, moreover, a tendency to think so much of the wider international organizations, that the importance of the Commonwealth itself may seem to be overshadowed at times.
What do we really believe about the future of this ancient fellowship? That is something we must answer in our own secret thoughts if we are to follow a clear course in the future years ahead. In answering that question, I would like to recall a very remarkable statement made by a distinguished citizen of the United States in February of 1946. Broadcasting from London, in the year following the end of the Second World War, Mr. Edward Murrow, whose broadcasts most of you have heard, had this to say, and it seems to me that it emphasizes one vitally important aspect of this relationship which is sometimes overlooked. These were his words:
"I doubt that the most important thing was Dunkirk or the Battle of Britain, El Alamein or Stalingrad. Not even the landings in Normandy or the great blows struck by British and American bombers. Historians may decide that any one of those events was decisive, but I am persuaded that the most important thing that happened in Britain was that this nation chose to win or lose this war under the established rules of parliamentary procedure. It feared Naziism, but did not choose to imitate it. The government was given dictatorial power, but it was used with restraint, and the House of Commons was ever vigilant. Do you remember that while London was being bombed in the daylight, the House devoted two days to discussing conditions under which enemy aliens were detained on the Isle of Man? Though Britain fell, there were to be no concentration camps here."
My friends, I think that that is a great statement of one of the real fundamental issues before us today. After all, it is the way that we govern ourselves as a people through our elected Representatives, that determines what our democracy really is, that at a time when Britain was threatened with enemy invasion, two whole days were devoted to the consideration of what they would do with enemy aliens so that there might be no limitation of the traditional British freedom.
In those illuminating words, Mr. Murrow expressed a great truth which has much to do with the importance and strength of this fellowship we call the Commonwealth, not only to ourselves but to all mankind. Other relationships may be close. Our relationship to the United States in many ways could not be closer, but the nations of the Commonwealth are associated in another way. The nations of the Commonwealth may not be partners that accept the joint responsibility of an ordinary business partnership, but those who declare their common loyalty to one King as the living and continuing symbol of their own particular form of freedom are partners of another kind. They are members of a great partnership of principles which finds expression in the same parliamentary form of government throughout the whole territory of that Commonwealth, that parliamentary form of government which history has shown to be the most responsible servant of democracy.
By all means let us extend our partnership and friendship with other nations in every great enterprise for the preservation of peace, the defence of freedom, and the advancement of mankind. But let us at the same time remember that the most effective international partnership ever created by man is the British Commonwealth of Nations. Our greatest service to ourselves, our country and mankind, may well be the convincing demonstration we give within this Commonwealth of the ability of nations to work together for their mutual advantage without sacrificing their sovereignty in any way.
Of one thing let us all be perfectly sure. If, with our partnership of principles, the same parliamentary system, and a common heritage of freedom, this Commonwealth of ours should fail to stand together, then there would be no hope for any other organization of nations in the future. If we believe, as I am sure all of us here today do believe, in the continuing strength and greatness of the Commonwealth, then let us say so in words that leave no doubt about the depth of our convictions.
That also is something to which the education of our youth should be directed. They will not grow up to believe in the Commonwealth by anything in the air they breathe. They won't believe in that Commonwealth, in its traditions and greatness unless they are taught and understand what it has meant to Canada and what it means to the world today. In every partnership, respect for our partners is an essential part of the strength of that association. For that reason let us first of all tell our children of the greatness of Canada and its limitless opportunities for the future. Let us explain to them that our unity, freedom and security came to us as a member of that larger partnership. And let us be sure to tell them of the real greatness of the senior member of the partnership which has faced difficulties before and has grown in strength and vigour every time in response to each succeeding challenge. Let us teach the historic truth that in things of the spirit no nation has given more to the world than has Britain, and that it is the things of the spirit we are striving to preserve.
Let us teach them also that there are great material advantages in extended trading arrangements within the Commonwealth which offers sure and continuing markets for most of our basic production. I shall not enter on any statistical demonstration of that truth today: the facts are there. Let us keep them before our people, and remember what the material association means as well as the spiritual association that has taken so long to build.
In all that I have said, I have not at any time forgotten our great neighbour which is bound to us so closely in ties of blood, friendship and affection. Every plan we make for the future should recognize our close association with the United States. But it is to their advantage and to ours that they should form their closer association, which I believe will come, not so much with Canada and the other individual nations of the Commonwealth as minor satellites, but rather with the Commonwealth as a whole. If there is ever to be anything in the nature of world federation, which is increasingly in the minds of the people throughout the world today, that I believe is the only practical course to follow.
I think many will also believe that in these last few days we have come closer to the fulfillment of our hopes for better understanding. Democracy does not place its faith in the indispensable individual. We have never at any time sought to place an individual on a pinnacle where we accepted the proposition that he alone could lead the democratic country in the years ahead, but nevertheless it has been part of the genius of this democracy of ours, that over and over again it has shown a remarkable habit of producing the man for the moment who gives voice to the thoughts and hopes of countless millions, not only within the Commonwealth but throughout the world. At this hour Winston Churchill is that man. It is more than possible, that history will decide that his greatest service to mankind, even greater than his immense service during the years of the war, was that he restored good will, understanding, mutual confidence and clear purpose at a time when this was so vitally necessary if the Nations of the Commonwealth and the United States are to play their full part in preserving peace and freedom. During a period of criticism and bickering, we have had reason to remember the Biblical injunction: "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who then shall prepare himself to the battle?" There is never any uncertainty about the words of Winston Churchill. With his understanding of history, his love of his own country and his firm faith in the friendship and strength of the Commonwealth, and his demonstrated affection for the United States, his can be the trumpet call to better understanding at a time when it is so greatly needed throughout the world. Again may I say, I do not seek to place one man on the pinnacle which separates him from the rest, but again I think that the man has emerged. And I am reminded of lines written by Arthur Guiterman many years ago which, at a time when faith and confidence are such powerful weapons of freedom, seem to apply so directly to Winston Churchill-
When others could falter, faint-hearted and hollow He caught up our banner, he rallied our might; And glad were the hearts of the young men to follow The leader who laughed in the heat of the fight.
We called him to aid us when evil assailed us, And still as our champion, still in the van He battles, the Captain who never yet failed us, Clear-sighted, true-hearted, Thank God for a Man!"
My friends, this is an hour of great challenge, an hour of great opportunity! It is a great time to be alive! It is a great time to remember the old call to loyalty "For God; for King and Country."
THANKS OF THE MEETING were expressed by Mr. H. R. Jackman, 2nd Vice-President of The Empire Club of Canada.