Partners in Freedom 1980
AN ADDRESS BY The Honourable
Jean Casselman Wadds, CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER TO THE UNITED KINGDOM
CHAIRMAN The President, Reginald Stackhouse
Ladies and gentlemen: When The Empire Club of Canada was formed in 1903, one of its primary objectives was strengthening Canada's ties with Great Britain, the club's founders fearing--even in their time--the threat of those ties being broken.
It is therefore singularly fitting that the club should be addressed today by the Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom because one of the primary objectives of that office--according to the Honourable Howard Ferguson, High Commissioner in 1931--is to "annihilate the distance of 3,000 miles between Canada and Britain."
We are thus privileged to have with us the Honourable Jean Casselman Wadds, appointed to this senior and strategic diplomatic mission after many years of public service for Canada and for Ontario. She served for ten years in the House of Commons, as well as having been Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and a Delegate to the United Nations. From 1975 to 1979 she was a member of the Ontario Municipal Board.
When the High Commission was opened in 1882, its esteem in men's eyes was uncertain. Even though the first High Commissioner was a Father of Confederation, the Honourable Alexander Tilloch Galt, the Commission's place was more in the diplomatic shade than in the sun. Many, especially in the imperial government, were not quite sure how to assess this new and strange creation, the overseas representative of a colony. Many regarded him as little more than agent for Canadian trade, and even half a century later the High Commissioner himself could describe his role as "a glorified salesman."
Since that time, however, the High Commission has clearly established itself as a key link in the worldwide network of diplomacy that Canada has forged around the world, and an essential one for relating Canada to Britain and the Commonwealth.
Our speaker's subject today is "Partners In Freedom," and the importance of that message has been underscored in these words of a distinguished Canadian who served as High Commissioner, the Right Honourable Vincent Massey:
Our links with Great Britain are imponderable. They belong to the realm of things of the spirit--those subtle habits of mind we have in common and which elude definition. It is commonly said that such bonds are stronger than material ties--so they are, but even they can be weakened. Only through constant contact can we keep alive a sense of our kinship.
We are therefore privileged today to hear the Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, the Honourable Jean Casselman Wadds.
HER EXCELLENCY MRS. JEAN WADDS: Ladies and gentlemen: The hills of home look good. Ever since your kind invitation arrived I have been looking forward to returning to this very familiar room and to seeing so many familiar faces. This room and most of you have been, and are, a part of Canada's growth and all that is a part of me and very dear to me.
Your presence here today I find pleasing and heartwarming, but I know that to a large extent it represents your interest in and enthusiasm for the CanadianBritish connection. Likewise, the warm receptions I have been given by large numbers in Great Britain signify the interest and enthusiasm for the CanadianBritish connection on that side of the Atlantic.
It says much for the stability of our two countries, for the maturity of our leaders and our institutions, that through ups and downs, wars and peace, boom times and depressions, our relationship has exhibited unique qualities of loyalty and understanding and tolerance on both sides.
The world is sad proof, both individually and nationally, of how easy it is to break up, or to be broken, by outside forces.
Canada's reputation for reliability, for moderation, has been enhanced by her allegiance to her roots. Within our Commonwealth of Nations it has been made plain to me that Canada is looked to as an example. We have proven that we can be trusted not to panic, to use democratic processes rather than violence, and to work with others to strengthen the principles we believe in.
In the few decades past, we Canadians have been seen by others in the international community as being, perhaps, modest in character. Rightly so, I think--because we had a lot of growing to do in this immense space we have, with so few people to accomplish the task. We quite rightly addressed ourselves to our tasks at home before setting the world right.
But I wonder if we haven't matured a bit since then--at least it seems to me that we have developed a consciousness of a growing maturity. It's one thing for
travelling Canadians to be pleased at being recognized as Canadians and distinct from our American friends (not only because we wear the Maple Leaf proudly in our lapels as I do). But it's another matter to accept some of the responsibilities that go along with growing as a nation.
In the process of our development as a mature, responsible country, we Canadians have had to overcome formidable climatic and geographical difficulties so that we can live comfortably in good housing, communicate with each other over long distances and enjoy the high standard of living we now take so much for granted. The skills we evolved in this process we now export throughout the world and we are seen as forerunners in those technologies which we had to develop to deal with our own conditions.
Yet despite this, I frequently observe a certain timidity on the part of many Canadians to enter another marketplace which they consider perhaps too competitive and dominated by the international "Big Boys."
Those who look from abroad at our abundance and good fortune oft-times shake their heads with bewilderment at what Canadians regard as gigantic problems. Often I have heard overseas friends say they would gladly trade their problems for ours. But I do see many signs that our vitality and creativity are utilizing our human and natural gifts in a wide spectrum of impressive ways. And I am enormously proud of the extent to which we have been doing just that.
To see the triumph of the Canadians at this year's Edinburgh Festival, for example, would dispel most any degree of inferiority complex:
The magnificent acting of Eric Peterson in Billy Bishop Goes to War and the calibre of the play itself written by Canadian John Gray.
The popularity of the Canadian Brass, not only their music but those five superb ambassadors for Canada.
The spine-tingling pleasure that so many felt when listening to our famous Mendelssohn Choir.
The pandemonium of applause that broke out at the end of Oscar Peterson's two-hour non-stop program at 1:00 a.m., and the generosity which kept that hard-working musician standing until 3: 00 a.m. at a large reception for Peterson admirers hosted by the equally hard-working Agent General for Ontario.
The much-admired exhibition of Jack Bush paintings and the added attraction of his charming wife and son and daughter-in-law in Edinburgh for the Festival.
The appealing show of West Coast Indian Art, Legacy, drew huge crowds, not only for the beautiful pieces on display but also to watch Richard Hunt, of the famous Hunt carving family, actually working on a full-size totem pole which the city of Vancouver is giving to its twin city of Edinburgh.
The fringe shows where young Canadian talent was making its impressive beginning. I hesitate to single out from those dedicated young people, because there were many I did not see, but I cannot refrain from mentioning the young actors from the drama department of Windsor University who were, in my opinion, as good or better than many I've seen in the great and famous theatres of the world.
It is encouraging that so many of our young people are prepared to go through long gruelling years of study and practice instead of trusting their natural good looks and youthful appeal to bring them success. In this respect our modesty serves us well, and will continue to serve us well, as long as it is used as these young people are using it, and not used as an excuse to cop out of activity and competition.
The Edinburgh Festival of 1980 was memorable for me, and not least of all because all kinds of people would stop me on the street and come up to me at receptions and tell me what a fine ambassador each young Canadian was.
We found ourselves being waved to with a friendly "Hi Canada." It brought out my old political blood and it felt like the end of a good campaign with prospects for a big turnout and a record win.
I am confident those are the prospects for the Canadian arts. In fact, the Chairman of the Edinburgh Festival, in his remarks at our formal reception, said just that. "Now Canadians, you see what a success you are. Don't any longer hide your light under a bushel. Get out and let the world see how good you are."
This has been the plea to me from several experienced Canadians regarding Canadian exporters of more tangible goods than the arts. "Do try to convince Canadians, Jean, that there is room for more of them in the international marketplace." And indeed there is room, particularly for many of the special technologies we have developed to meet our special needs. Some of our developments in aerospace, telecommunications and electronics have cracked the toughest markets in the world, with notable successes in the area in which I currently serve.
We saw a perfect example at this year's Air Show at Farnborough, where the Challenger and Dash 7 were big excitement, and where Canadians were selfconfidently in the forefront of aerospace and communications technology.
Since 1962, when Canada became the third country to place a satellite in orbit, Canadians have taken to the space age with gusto. In 1976, Hermes, Canada's eighth satellite and the world's most powerful communications satellite, became a forerunner of a generation of direct broadcast satellites which will be used to beam signals directly to home receivers. The Shuttle Remote Manipulator System development program has been conducted by Canadian engineers and technologists without technology transfers from other countries. The result of this is that a world-class capability now exists in Canada for remote manipulatory systems. To be world respected in the mindboggling complexities and possibilities of the communications and space age is a most admirable achievement. We do not need to boast of it but every Canadian should be aware of it.
Canadians should also be aware that Canada stands close to the top of the list when it comes to providing good services. For example, Egon Ronay, who publishes an internationally recognized guide to restaurants, hotels and airline services, rated Air Canada as one of the two top carriers flying the North Atlantic. Since the other top-rated airline uses Air Canada as its agent in London, our team can consider itself to have won prizes all around!
I don't wish to give the impression that winning prizes is everything. How we play the game, as every sportsman knows, is just as important. All of us can be immensely proud of the contribution our teams are making to international sport. The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Expos are but two cases in point.
What I have been trying to say, and I am sure all of you will agree, is that self-confidence has a great deal to do with how well or how easily a task can be performed.
I hope I have suggested to you here today how very much we have to be self-confident about. The world as I have heard it this last year welcomes us on the international scene, in the arts, in science, in business and in education.
The same, I dare to say, is true of the international diplomatic scene. Unlike most western countries, we have no colonial past for which to reproach ourselves, no ambitions toward conquest. We could make the bomb, but we don't. We have old democratic traditions and a respect for human rights as a base for our modern society. And we have learned to blend a diversity of ethnic heritages into one vibrant nation.
Jacques Hebert, that well-known Montrealer who, as the founder of Canada World Youth has a great deal of experience with young people all over the world, put it very well a few weeks ago when he addressed the Parliamentary Committee which is looking into North/South questions:
Canada is beyond doubt one of the most respected countries in the world at the present time. People who have travelled know how much we are liked. . . . The poor countries love us! The rich countries love us! But why do we hesitate one moment to use these good feelings people have about us and to put ourselves resolutely in the service of the whole human community, and perhaps in doing so justifying our reputation? Being a country without a long history constitutes a powerful advantage and gives us the right, and certainly the duty, to involve ourselves to the hilt in contemporary history, playing a major role in it and emerging once and for all from our modesty.
What Jacques Hebert is saying is what I was taught to believe--that just as in private life, those who have the good fortune to be born with good health, good looks, good brains and a good standard of living have a responsibility to use their assets, so Canada in international life has an obligation to use her physical and human resources in the services of the larger community. In fact, whether we like it or not, with or without confidence, we are going to be asked to take more and more responsibility.
We have a great inheritance from our mother countries and I know that the country where I have spent these last several months, Great Britain, welcomes Canada as a strong partner.
We need all the strength and maturity we can jointly muster. The dangers to the freedom of the Western world are obvious. Britain, who in o4r lifetime has given so much for a free way of life, which we also enjoy, wants and needs strong partners in that continuing fight.
It is great good fortune for us all that ]British society has continued to produce strong leaders. We can see there the results of many years Of democracy in action, of respect for representative government. Many work hard and long at all kinds o f government jobs, and they feel the responsibility and the privilege of British citizenship.
The principles are worth working for. It seems to me that the British people have a capacity to almost accept automatically what we would call sacrifices in striving for their purposes. Many adrrifre the determination, the integrity, dedication and courage that British leaders are bringing to bear on the many serious economic problems facing their country. Those qualities help give the "Brits," as we affectionately say in London, a confidence essential to face the severe pain of high inflation and high unemployment, a reminder of the qualities they admire, a reminder Of their history; a history during which Great Britain has often shown the world an ability to remain confident and overcome fear, whatever has to be faced.
They are currently facing a struggle on many fronts: social, economic and political. I would like to suggest that this is not just a British struggle, but one in which they deserve our support as friends, and as part of a free social/political system, a system which we cannot afford to take for granted in the West.
We have a rich inheritance in example and in friendship from the country in which I have the honour to represent Canada. It is not only an honour but the greatest possible good fortune that arty job can have such resources from the past to draw Upon, and such a spectacular future to look forward to. As the Eleventh Special Session of the United Nations started, I read with satisfaction of the admission of Zimbabwe, in whose creation as a country Canada and Britain both played such an effective part.
I also followed the attempts of the United Nations to adopt an International Development Strategy and to provide a framework for global negotiations on international economic problems. And although disappointed that the Eleventh Special Session did not wholly succeed in the task it had set itself, we can all take a special pride in the useful and constructive role Canada played in those discussions and remain hopeful that continued efforts of a similar kind, by ourselves and by others, will lead to a satisfactory result for both the developed and developing world.
Within the Commonwealth, which evolved from the old British Empire, there is a deep mine of friendships, experience, common education, and in many, many places trust, to be used for peace and freedom.
The value of free and democratic processes is one of the principles which the Commonwealth countries hold in common and work to support.
Canada played a fundamental role in the emergence of the Commonwealth. We now have in the Commonwealth a unique organization of forty-three countries spanning the globe, and one-quarter of the world's population, diverse in race, religion, culture and language--a great countervailing force to the tensions fragmenting mankind.
Half of the world has had no tradition of democracy. Of the remaining half, fifty per cent are part of the Commonwealth, not only a Commonwealth of Nations but a commonwealth of freedom. In these uncertain and threatening times, that is a great strength and a great comfort.
Our challenge is not to depend on fancy phrases but to continue to show, by our example and by our friendship, our commitment to free and peaceful solutions. The wars and violence in many parts of the world remind us how much we have to lose.
Canada has an important role to play in the Commonwealth. She has developed from daughter in the mother's house to mistress in her own. In doing so--and I have had frequent occasion to learn this from my fellow High Commissioners in London--she has become not only the oldest sister, but frequently the leading member, the major contributor to Commonwealth voluntary programs, the Commonwealth country from which the others expect a reasoned and constructive lead.
My predecessors have all played their parts in bringing this about. My immediate predecessor was an energetic and successful promoter of all that would strengthen the Commonwealth. He won well-deserved respect and admiration for his tireless communication with his colleagues. They speak to me often of his generosity in sharing his wealth of experience, and vast knowledge of international affairs. I would like to salute the Honourable Paul Martin for the effective encouragement he gave to other members of the Commonwealth and thank him publicly for the shining Canadian image in London which he passed on to me and for his many kindnesses to me.
Canada has untapped capacity to contribute to the brightest hopes for the future. To face the future with less than confidence would betray our heritage.
The thanks of the club were expressed to Mrs. Wadds by Colonel Robert Hilborn, a Past President of The Empire Club of Canada.