THE CHALLENGE EVE FACE
AN ADDRESS BY MR. DONALD M. FLEMING, B.A., LL.B., K.C., M.P.
Chairman: The President, Mr. Eric F. Thompson
Thursday, April 4, 1946
MR. THOMPSON: Gentlemen, the Empire Club is very proud of having the privilege of bringing to its platform, today one of it's own members and, one of Toronto's distinguished citizens.
Our guest of honour like many of Canada's leading man, is a product of Ontario, having been born in Exeter.
He received his early education in the Public Schools and Collegiate Institute of Galt and entered the University of Toronto with the reputation of an outstanding student. He graduated from the University with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws and a brilliant record of scholarships. Among the many honours he earned was the GovernorGenerals Gold Medal for general proficiency, the highest award in the Faculty of Arts, which was presented to him on graduation in 1925.
Called to the Bar in 1928, he has since practiced law in this city as a member of the well known law firm of Kingsmill, Mills, Price and Fleming. He was created a Kings Council in 1944 and has made many important contributions to his profession, being the author of a number of authoritative articles on legal subjects.
As a leader in public affairs, he has given unstintingly of his time and talents. As a churchman and an educationist he is in the front rank, being President of the Upper Canada Bible Society and a member of the Senate of the University of Toronto. He has as well been very active in the promotion of youth activities and is today President of the North Toronto Y.M.C.A.
After membership in the city council for six years, he offered himself as a candidate for the Federal House in 1945 and was elected with a handsome majority as Progressive Conservative member for the riding of Eglinton.
As in our own city council he has in the Dominion House, come to be recognized not only as a sincere student of public problems, but one who has the courage to express himself publicly and the soundness of his view have earned him high respect. A holder of profound convictions on Canada's position in the World of today, in relationship to other nations, he will address us on the subject "The Challenge we Face".
Gentlemen, it is with the greatest of pleasure that I introduce to you, Donald M. Fleming, B.A., LL.B., K.C., M. P.
Mr. DONALD M. FLEMING: Mr. President and Fellow Members: It is a very high honour that you, Mr. President, have done me by your invitation to be the speaker at today's meeting of the Empire Club, and a high honour that my fellow members have done me in being present at the meeting. I think that when this honour is done to a local person, and particularly a member of the Club, it is proof abundant that I am not a prophet, and I need hardly add that, in the language of the movies, "any resemblance between the man you see before you and the man whom the President introduced in such glowing terms is purely coincidental."
The subject which I have been invited to speak to you on today, is "The Challenge We Face". I suppose, among all the numerous hackneyed words in the English language, there is none that has become more hackneyed than the word "challenge".
I took the trouble to look up the dictionary definition of "challenge", in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, and this is what I found: "A call to account, a summons to trial, or contest."
In this subject, when I sneak of the challenge we face, I mean we Canadians. Now, to speak of the challenge that Canadians face is to give a very imperfect conception of one's thought. It might be more accurate
to speak of the challenges that Canada faces, or in any event the many-sided challenge which Canada faces today. The gauntlet has been thrown down to us by Destiny. The gauntlet thrown down by a needy world, a world that Mr. Churchill has described as "this haggard world".
If we as a nation didn't have a challenge, weren't conscious of one, then we ought to invent one, because without a sense of challenge thrown to us by Destiny, I question whether we will progress toward fixed national goals or objective's. We must have a national vision if we hope to progress as a nation.
Now I believe that we have a challenge, a challenge that all may see, and we need as a nation to discern that challenge and to recognize the fact that we have been challenged by Destiny.
It involves, of course, the element of choice. We have before us opportunity. It rests with us as Canadians to say whether we shall accept the gauge cast to us by Destiny or reject it.
We may say, on the one hand, well, we are not ready yet-we are a young nation, we may think we are not quite mature enough--we may say let us mind our own business as individuals and a nation--we may say well, we will think it over, we will let you know later.
The fact of the matter is there is a choice open to this country today which if not made the subject of firm decision by this country will not be offered to us again.
I don't mean to suggest by that that we are going in this year 1946, or the year 1947, to settle every problem that will face this country in the years to come. But I do say that the thing that is open to us as a nation may not be open to us at a future date and our conception of our calling as a nation and broad decisions in the light of that conception which should be made now will determine for years to come the broad line of our national development.
We need, it seems to me, two things. First a sense of our Destiny as a nation, and in the second place a sense of urgency in pressing toward our objective.
What is Canada's position in the world today? I think it might be described in two terms. First it is a strategic position, and in the second place it is a position that is expanding in importance and in influence. That fact is recognized abroad. We have ample evidence of that on every hand today. One wishes at times there were more evidence of recognition of that fact in Canada.
Now we have had some setbacks. I am not pretending for a moment that Canada's progress toward a world position is a progress that has not been marked by setbacks and disappointments. As a matter of fact we have had some within recent months. It was no little disappointment to this country not to be elected to a place on the Security Council of the United Nations Organization, but our failure to achieve that position was due to international politics.
What are the factors that have entered into the creation for Canada of this strategic position, this position of expanding importance and influence in the world today r Obviously, one factor is our geographic location. We are a North American Nation, and more and more the centre of world power has been shifting westward. The rise of the United States to a position of tremendous importance in the world has brought with it, necessarily, a place of increasing importance for this country as the principal neighbour of the United States. Yes, situated as we are alongside a nation which, if it rises to its opportunities, can be the world's leader today along with the British Commonwealth, our position is a happy one indeed.
We are also a land whose borders are washed by both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. I mentioned the shift of what one might call the centre of world gravity westward. While whatever importance is retained by the Atlantic, and those nations whose lands are bordering on the Atlantic, we shall retain, but as well, with the shift of the centre of gravity toward the Pacific, our position as a Pacific power is bound to increase greatly.
The fact that we are a neighbour of Russia is also a factor of high importance in the developing world politics that we see today. We haven't been conscious in this country until recent months of the fact that we are a close neighbour of Russia. It is a fact that is bound to have very considerable importance in shaping the views and the policies of this country in years to come, and while one doesn't want to talk about wars, the fact of the matter is that those who are talking about war today are talking in terms of war that might involve Russia, on the one side, and the United States and other Western powers on the other. If that should happen, and God forbid that it ever should, Canada may expect to be the Belgium of the next war. I am not talking war. I say those who are talking war today, and are talking about the possibility of it, must face up to that unhappy situation.
Another factor of great importance has been our contribution to the winning of the war, both in human and material terms. That has had much to do with the world recognition of our increasing importance as a nation.
One might mention in the third place the intelligence and initiative of our own people, again our natural resources, and particularly in relation to the world situation today and the sad lack of foodstuffs in at least two continents of the world today.
Next, and I am not putting these in the order of their importance at all, our place within the British Commonwealth. It is the first factor in our relations with the world.
Next, the fall of three enemy powers which were before the war ranked as first class powers, to the level of second rate powers. Our three enemies during the past war were recognized prior to the war as three of the seven first class powers in the world. Three of them have disappeared as first class powers, and the plight of France has threatened to deprive her, for at least a time, of her position as a first rate power.
Next, our international trade.
Next, our possession or participation in, because we are not quite sure, apparently, of the secret of atomic energy. I think a number of people thought we shared in the secret of the atomic bomb. There seems to be some doubt on the point at the present time. At any event we have some assurance that we participated in the secret of atomic energy.
And then, last, and I think this is a factor that is worth mentioning, is the fact that as a nation we are a young nation. The older nations of the world have always had to live down some of the things in their long past, factors that have contributed to neutralize in some respect their influence in the world. Now, at least this can be said for Canada, that we have a short history as a nation, and "•e don't face any handicap of having things to live down.
All these, I suggest, are factors of first rate importance, and factors whose importance will continue to expand and exert a greater influence in the days to come.
Canada has emerged as a leading middle power. What is her future?
Well, there are a number of factors that have to be taken into account if we are going to take stock frankly of the situation confronting Canada today. In the first place, our population is small. Nowhere else in the world will you find the same low relationship of population to national heritage. We have great national handicaps to overcome. Geography has given us great advantages, geography has also created for us serious handicaps. Need I mention the Rockies? The great rock land of Northern Ontario, and the distance and the geographical barriers which separate the Maritimes from the rest of Canada?
One doesn't have to be in Ottawa very long to have an increasing appreciation of the courage and the foresight of the Fathers of Confederation. As a matter of fact one wonders, as one listens to some of the talks that certain persons engaged in there, whether the Fathers of Confederation if they could have foreseen, and could have heard in advance everything that has been said and done since, would have had the courage to go through and realize the dream of Confederation.
Well, in any event, our main need today is for the kind of courage that those Fathers of Confederation displayed. The challenge we face--we--who are we? We are Canadians. Canadian citizens? No. At the moment there is no such legal creature as a Canadian citizen. There may be before the present Session of Parliament has concluded. We are Canadians, that is to say we are subjects of His Majesty, who make our homes in Canada.
One of the things I suggest in thinking of the relationship between ourselves as British subjects living within Canada and the creation of a Canadian citizenship must be this, that in moving forward to the one sense of Canadian citizenship, we do not lose our sense of an Empire citizenship, if that is, the price to be paid, the net result will be loss and not gain.
Where does this word "Canada" come from? Well, it comes from the word "Canadienne". It is not an English word to begin with. "Canadienne" was, the name applied even before the fall of New France to the native born residents of New France. You will find a distinction drawn in the Articles of Capitulation of Quebec in 1759 and Montreal in 1760, and the early constitutional -documents of this country between the French, meaning those born in France and living in New France at the time, and the Canadiennes who were the native born inhabitants of New France, and of course the name was taken over when, with the Constitutional Act of 1791 two provinces, Upper and Lower Canada were established, to be followed in turn, in 1891, by the Province of Canada.
One often wonders why when Confederation was brought about the name "Canada" was chosen. After all it was the name of only one of the provinces which were seeking to bring about Confederation.
Had the same situation prevailed in the thirteen colonies we might, for instance, have had given to the citizens of what is now the United States, for instance, the title of New Yorkers, if the principal colony at that time had lent the name to the new Confederation.
Now it was an easy enough matter for the residents of Upper and Lower Canada in 1867 to accept the name "CANADA" and the "Dominion of Canada". It wasn't quite so easy for the inhabitants of the Maritime Provinces, and consequently you will find, even today, Maritimers who speak of the rest of this country as Canada. They say "up in Canada", as though there were a difference.
Similarly, it has meant this as an historical nation, that those who first possessed the name "Canadienne" feel that they have some prior title to the name.
May I say a word about those who are our Frenchspeaking compatriots. At the fall of Quebec in 1759 they numbered 60,000. Today, they number 3,000,000. It is one of the miracles of modern days, the expansion of that original body of settlers, then numbering 60,000. There has been from that time to this practically no immigration whatever from France, and consequently those who inhabited the country at that time and spoke the French tongue were linked to the France of pre-Revolution days and they have in one sense been cut off from the land of their ancestors for nearly two centuries. Because of that fact, and because of changes in the form of government of France, and because those who inhabited New France were principally from Normandy, there has not been and is not today the same sense of racial and spiritual ties of lineage between our Frenchspeaking compatriots and France as there is between those of us whose mother tongue is English and the British Isles. For most of them there is no country but Canada.
As a matter of fact, one of the leading French Members of the House of Commons said to me a few days ago, "apart from Canada, I am a man without a country". It sometimes is hard for them to understand and appreciate the feeling which English-speaking Canadians have toward those little Isles in the North Sea, which have meant so much to civilization, to democracy and to the preservation of freedom.
I have had jarring experiences since going to Ottawa as a Member of Parliament first in the Fall of last year. One of the things was this. It was an expression coining from some of my French-Canadian colleagues in private conversation of a fear of absorption. Now, I indicated to them that as far as I was concerned I thought that was an ill-founded fear when one looked at the expansion in numbers from 60,000 to 3,000,000, but somehow or other the fear of absorption continues to exist.
They have been free to develop their own culture, their own customs, their own civil law, their own language, their own religion in perfect freedom. As a matter of fact, they enjoy freedom to practice their religion long before there was similar freedom in the United Kingdom.
Their language has been guaranteed to them from the time of the fall of New France, and their right in respect to their language has been written into all the leading constitutional acts-the Quebec Act of 1774, the Constitutional Act of 1791, and the British North America Act. You will find in section 133 the clear expression of one factor which was a leading factor in bringing about Confederation-the recognition of two official languages for debate in both Houses of Parliament, in all the Federal Courts and in the Legislature of the Province of Quebec.
This is not a bilingual country, but it is a country which in its Parliament and in its Federal Courts has two official languages.
Now, to those, and I don't think they are numerous, who keep on talking about what they think would be the, gain to Canada of elimination of the second official language, I have only this to say, that they are whittling at the foundation of Confederation, 'because apart from that section of the British North America Act there would have been no Confederation, and without it today Confederation would not have survived.
I wish that some people would stop talking about that because that kind of talk creates only mischief, and what is more, it gives rise to fear on the part of our French-speaking compatriots and fear begets suspicion, and suspicion begets distrust, and sometimes distrust begets even worse things.
I said something a moment ago about the fact that our population in this country is so small. Immigration is bound to be a leading issue in our thinking before very many months have passed. Immigration is a matter on which the lines of view in this country has sometimes been drawn on racial grounds. Those who tell me, among our French-speaking compatriots that they fear absorption, say also if they could be persuaded that the purpose back of a large scale immigration policy was not absorption of them as a race, with a distinctive language, then they would not oppose immigration, certainly on a reasonable scale, and it may be that there is a work to be done in breaking down that fear of absorption if we have any hope at all of encouraging immigration to this country on any large scale.
May I say to you that I think that incredible harm has been done, incalculable harm has been done in this country by emphasis on race. There has been altogther too much emphasis on race and a great deal of damage has been done by it. I hope that before long we will be able to eliminate the hyphenation in our description of ourselves as Canadians, whether as English Canadians, or French Canadians, or Scottish Canadians, or Irish Canadians, or Ukranian Canadians or so on. I don't think we are going to develop a fully integrated sense of national purpose or national unity unless we make a determined effort to eliminate that hyphenation. It wasn't on the shoulder badges of our men who fought in this war or the last war (applauses). That too strong sense of or emphasis on racial origin have, I think, obscured our sense of a common nationality and a common national purpose. We can be just as British, we can be just as proud of our British heritage while at the same time eliminating this hyphenation, as we can going on putting stress on race.
Race has been exploited in this country for political purposes and that, I say, has been a crime against Canada.
There must be a determined effort in this country to concentrate on those things which citizens from coast to coast possess in common.
Now, as a nation, we are not alone in facing a problem of this kind. I was looking over yesterday and the day before some of the statute books of the Union of South Africa, and it was a reminder to me, with the statute there printed in two languages, that they have a language problem and a race problem, just as we have, and in addition they have a serious colour problem as well.
The work of reconciliation for which I am appealing today must begin at Ottawa. It has got to be based on understanding, far more understanding than has existed hitherto.
At lunch yesterday in Ottawa, with a group of my French-speaking compatriots and colleagues in the House, we were talking about the necessity, and the gain that would accrue to both of us of closer knowledge of conditions in each others part of the country, the stress must be placed on travel and knowledge.
Sir William Watson quoting this verse, applied it to the relations between England and Ireland some years ago:
Hate and distrust are the children of blindness,
Could we but see one another t'were well,
Knowledge is sympathy, charity, kindness, Ignorance only is maker of hell.
I think that harm will continue to be done to any sense of national unity and development of a Canadian individuality if we are going to aggressive minorities and aggressive majorities seeking to pit themselves against one another.
There is a factor that we ought to bear in mind; 1 think, as this nation grows towards maturity. It is the fact that we are rapidly becoming a nation of Canadian born. In 1941 the census showed that of the 11.5 million people of this country, no less than 9.5 million are Canadian born, and of the remainder, 1 million were born in the British Isles and something over 300,000 were born in the United States, and just over 700,000 are classified as foreign born.
The percentage born in Canada in the different parts of Canada is also I think worthy of mention. In the Maritimes, 95 percent; in Quebec, 93 percent; in Ontario 81 percent; in the Prairie Provinces, 71 percent; and in B. C., 63 percent. Those, I think, are significant factors because they point to the possibility of our developing a distinctive Canadian nationality in no sense inimical to our proud possession of the British heritage.
A word of opposition, Mr. Chairman, with reference to the world about us. I said earlier that I conceive our partnership in the British Commonwealth to be the first fact in our external relations. We possess complete sovereignty. There is in no sense subordination in our relationship with the Commonwealth. We are the senior Dominion. That places us in a position not only of power, but of great responsibility, because the trend that Canada marks by her development is likely to have a profound effect on our sister dominion, and with three great powers of the world having dropped out of the race of civilization during the recent war, more and more the British Commonwealth is going to have to carry the load of world leadership along with the two other great powers which have emerged from the war, and the senior Dominion in this Commonwealth is going to have to carry a greater share of the load of world leadership.
Our relationship to the world must, since last fall, be interpreted in terms of our part of the United Nations Organization. Canada took a great constitutional step in 1919 when, for the first time she signed in her own right, through her own appointed representative, the Treaty of peace. It marked a great step in the constitutional development of this country under the leadership of the wartime Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden. Canada played a part of leadership of which I think we may properly be proud at San Francisco, in working out the provisions of the United Nations Charter. As a matter of fact much of the draughtmanship of the United Nations Organization Charter comes directly from some of the full time officials in the service of the Canadian Government.
Canada took a leading part especially in the framing of those portions of the charter relating to the Social and Economic Council. The provisions of the Charter are good and sound. There are serious imperfections in it, notably the veto reserved by the leading powers:
There was a great outburst of idealism throughout the world at the time of San Francisco. It had changed rather to a mood of sober realism, hopeful realism last fall. In some part of the world today that, in turn, has given away to despair.
I think we must be realistic in our approach to the world situation, and I think we must realize that this new organization is in its infancy, and it has already been confronted with very critical world problems. If the United Nations Organization, functioning especially through the Security Council Meeting now can survive the first and critical tests, then I think we may well look forward with confidence to the future. If firmness is preserved in dealing with those who are in variance in their conduct with the terms of the Charter, and if the nations speaking through the Security Council take a firm stand, based on principles and don't try to play the game of expediency, then I think we may be hopeful for the future.
The present dispute between Russia and Iran may well prove to be the turning point in the future course of development of the United Nations Organization. Success in connection with that dispute will strengthen greatly the hands of the United Nations Organization for the future. If the Security Council is not cowed by a Russian bullying and blackmail tactics.
I believe it would not be out of place for me to say a word on the subject of the recent espionage investigation in Ottawa particularly in its relation to certain principles to which the eyes of Canadians must now be opened.
In the first place, we must surely have learned this lesson, that we are in an international position, whether we like it or not, and we must be guided by the light of that knowledge. And new problems will arise. They are arising right now and they will continue to arise in consequence of that position.
There is another thing. Our possessions are envied by others. Let us not forget that in assessing the future.
In the next place, it may be that the spirit of alliance which bound together the powers during the war, as we understood it, is not, or has not been quite what we understood or hoped for, and in the next place, I hope it has opened the eyes of some people to the danger of Communism in our midst, and the fact that Communism recognizes no rules.
There was a hush in the House of Commons when the Prime Minister a fortnight ago read one passage from the second interim report of the Royal Commission. It was that passage in which the Commissioners stated their finding, that certain individuals had admitted a loyalty higher than their loyalty to Canada. Now, it wasn't a loyalty to God. It was a loyalty to an earthly force.
And, if spying is to continue, and I suggest we have got to find some better method of dealing with it, and nipping it at the source, even though it does involve a combing of the Civil Service to eliminate persons who have held places of trust and responsibility who have betrayed their trust. Surely it has opened the eyes of Canadians to this fact, that apathy in relation to the world, apathy in relation to our responsibility as citizens is a dangerous luxury in which we Canadians can not afford to indulge.
It is utterly idle for us to expect democracy to flourish in this country if there is indifference and apathy on the part of the citizenry.
That means not only active interest but active participation on the part of all citizens who value their right as citizens.
I have spoken about certain factors in relation to Canada's position. I wonder if I have yet mentioned the most important, because the far most important factor in the development of a sense of nationhood must ever be the spiritual factor. They will always be the strongest, and they must be the strongest in Canada if we hope far the development of a great nation here.
We are growing up. The fact that we are a young nation need not mean that we must be an immature nation. Though young, we may be mature in our thought and our attitude toward the world, and Canada, it seems to me, is finding her soul. It is a soul born of sacrifice. There has been a great awakening, it seems to me, in the thought of Canadians, and much of it is due to the sacrifice of our best in the war.
Can we hope to develop a great nation here unless we develop great love of Canada and a great pride in Canada. When I say pride in Canada I don't mean simply pride in one part of Canada. I mean pride in Canada as a nation, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. If we can't take pride in the whole of Canada we are going to have a very limited and imperfect love for Canada.
We have a wonderful heritage. We have the opportunity. Is there one of us who would exchange his lot and birthright as a Canadian for the lot and birthright that he would enjoy in any other part of the globe? That heritage is an expanding heritage. The heritage that we enjoy today is of greater value than the heritage our fathers enjoyed. We who have outlived the second Great War enjoy in the light of the sacrifice that our sons and brothers made in that war a greater heritage than those who did not live to see that war, to survive it. Daily this precious possession, this Canadian heritage becomes of greater and more value.
What are we going to do with it? Are we going to take it for granted? Well, Edmond Burke, speaking in the year 1790, in his reflection on the Revolution in France, said this, "people will not look forward to prosperity who never look back to their ancestors". Ours will be a greater conception of the value of our heritage as we know more about it and value more the steady accumulation of it. '
We have the priceless privilege of freedom. Will we cherish it and defend that freedom in peace as we did in war? The answer rests with us as citizens. This nation has great accomplishments to its credit, in fields other than those of government, in fields other than those of warfare for righteous causes. Think of what this nation has contributed through its leading sons in the field of literature, art, culture, medicine, science, education. We have a great role of great Canadians who have brought incalculable benefit to mankind.
Do we appreciate them? Do we appreciate adequately the fact that we share the pride in their accomplishments because we are Canadians?
Our national greatness will depend upon our service to mankind. It will mean sacrifice. In the light, for instance, of the world's crying need for food today, with famine threatening the lives of millions of people, both in Europe and in India, and other parts of Asia, it will mean sacrifice on the Dart of Canada if we are to rise to our opportunity of providing food for these countries, of casting our bread upon the international waters.
The opportunity that confronts this country today to give service to mankind is an opportunity unexcelled in the history of any nation. It is an opportunity the like of which may never be offered to any land again. Selfishness can defeat our response to that opportunity. It is a fact, but it is a sad fact, that the selfishness of the average individual is always a factor in the calculations of politicians. You never get away from it.
Now, if Canada, with this great and unexcelled opportunity offered to her is to rise to it, it will only be because enough people in this country, in the light of the world's need, in the light of the opportunity offered to our Canada, will put aside selfish personal interests, and sometimes selfish national interests.
Mr. Chairman, there is a work to be done. There is a work of spreading knowledge, there is a work of spreading pride in Canada, there is a work of spreading love of Canada. Disraeli, in 1886 said. "Ignorance never settles a question". It will be so in Canada. Perfect love casteth out fear. That, I suggest, will be the panacea to meet the problems, these great pressing national problems that confront this Canada today.
When we can love our country, this senior partner in the British Commonwealth with a great love, and put her interest and put her response to the world's need, and her meeting of the great opportunity given to her first then the heritage of those who come after us as Canadian citizens will be greater than that which we as their father: enjoy.
The same Sir William Watson to whom I referred earlier said this once, "the sense of greatness keeps a nation great". We are entitled to a sense of greatness. We ought to develop a sense of greatness, a great pride in Canada.
I suggest at the outset, Mr. Chairman, that we in Canada need a sense of national mission. We need a sense of a call from Destiny. We need a sense of knowledge that Destiny has cast a gauge or challenge to us. Can we see for Canada the vision of a beneficent mission for the service of mankind? If we can, then let us as Canadians march shoulder to shoulder to attain that goal. I, for one, believe that with courage, goodwill and infinite patience we shall realize that dream.