THE SCOTTISH LINK IN THE EMPIRE
AN ADDRESS BY MR. JOHN GRAHAM
Chairman: The President, Dr. F. A. Gaby
Thursday, September 7, 1939
THE PRESIDENT: Ladies and Gentlemen: We are indeed honoured in having as guests at our head table two overseas visitors-Miss Kaine, who is handling publicity for the Scottish Development Council, and Major Ricketts, of the Royal Marines.
At this momentous period in the world's history, your Executive has deemed it fitting that an expression of loyalty be forwarded to the Prime Minister of Canada. Accordingly, a resolution in the following words was forwarded to Mr. King on August 24th:
"The President, Executive and members of the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto, having in mind the extremely grave turn the European situation has taken this morning, and in view of the assurance of support received by the Crown from the other British Dominions, respectfully beg you to accept and to express to His Excellency, the Governor-General, our deep sense of loyalty to the Mother Country and to convey to him renewed affirmation of our telegram to you September 21st, 1938, reading as follows
'The Empire Club of Canada recognizes the difficult position in which His Majesty's Governments of Great Britain and Canada are placed by the course of events in Europe and expressed its confidence that by the loyal cooperation of these Governments, such decisions will be made and measures taken by both as will preserve at once the honour, the safety and the welfare of the British Commonwealth of Nations'."
I am sure we are all in accord with this resolution.
In these trying times I think it is in the interests of the citizens of Canada that they should take every opportunity of informing themselves, through every source available, of the great problems that are confronting us. The Empire Club is performing an unsual function in this regard by bringing the latest thought and material in Empire matters, as well as on national matters, and those of importance to our social economy.
We take this opportunity of asking our members to make every effort to enlarge this membership so the greatest number may obtain the benefits provided by our organization. The record of the meetings of the Club is furnished to each member annually in a handsome volume that will prove of historic value in the years to come. If you can give any suggestions, or names we would be very pleased to have you hand them to the Chairman of the Membership Committee.
Mr. Crawford-Brown, who was Chairman of the Membership Committee and is still on the Executive of the Empire Club, has advised us today that he has enlisted and will not be available for that particular duty in the future. We will advise of the change.
Another member of the Past Executive of the Club--Mr. J. S. P. Armstrong, has also enlisted for overseas. We urge upon you to interest your friends in the aims and activities of this Club, and the value that it means to them.
We are very highly honoured today in having as our guest-speaker, Mr. John Graham, of Glasgow, Scotland. Many of you who have visited the British Section of the Exhibition have seen there the very excellent display of the Scottish Development Council. Mr. Graham is the Secretary of this organization, which represents an independent effort on the part of Scotland to further cultural and trade relations with the Empire. We appreciate very keenly the difficult position in which the visitors from the Old Country now find themselves, and we are all the more grateful to have the opportunity of hearing Mr. Graham today. His subject is "The Scottish Link in the Empire". I take great pleasure in asking our guest-speaker to address us. Mr. Graham. (Applause)
Mr. JOHN GRAHAM: Ladies and Gentlemen: I should like first of all to say how much I appreciate the generous gesture which prompted you to invite me here today. When accepting I did not regard your invitation as a personal one to me, but rather as a tribute to the Scottish Development Council, which I have the honour to represent.
Although this is my first visit to your wonderful country, and to the Canadian National Exhibition, I should like to stress that it is not the first occasion, and I hope not the last, on which my Council has participated in that Exhibition. As a matter of fact, this is the third year in which we have taken part in your Exhibition on the lake shore. In 1936 and 1937 we had Scottish Exhibits, when Mr. W. C. Kirkwood, the General Manager of the Council, came over to take charge.
As you are perhaps aware, the Scottish Development Council promoted the great Empire Exhibition in Glasgow last year. Our hands were, therefore, more than full with that great project, and much as we should have liked to do so, it was not possible for us to be represented in Canada in 1938.
Now, I am three thousand miles away from home and many thoughts come to my mind on which I should like to discourse. Unfortunately, time does not permit me to do more than touch on some of them.
First of all, the advent of war is very upsetting, and it has upset me in a personal way, and so far as I had all my notes prepared to address you under peace time conditions. The subject matter which I had dealt with was not particularly appropriate for war time conditions, and at the last moment I had more or less to revise all the notes I had prepared. Therefore, I must ask you to make allowance for any discrepancies in my remarks.
Now, Mr. President, I consider it is my first duty to congratulate the City of Toronto on its wonderful Exhibition. Sixty-one years is a very long time and the fact that it has continued and developed throughout that time shows that it indeed serves not only a useful and practical purpose, but it is-also, and we Scotchmen think this is of some importance, a financial success. The Canadian Exhibition has a world-wide reputation and it speaks very well indeed, I assure you, for those associated with its administration.
As I say, we promoted the Empire Exhibition in 1938, and as a result of that we gleaned a knowledge of the many and diverse difficulties which confront those who want to put over a large scale Exposition. I can assure we have always been very pleased indeed with the results that have arisen from our participation in your Exhibition, and following the recent visit of Their Majesties, the King and Queen, I was confident that this year I should have been able to present a glowing report. Unfortunately, the disastrous international developments in Europe during the last few days have entirely upset the normal course. As the poet, Robert Burns, so aptly put it, "The best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft aglee". Instead of coming out here and being able to carry out the objects we had in mind when we decided to participate, I have been more or less enjoying-not enjoying, but having an unofficial holiday, because when I try to introduce the subject of what Scotland has to offer industrialists, the talk invariably turns to: "What do the people at home think of the present position, and how are they reacting to it?", and try as I would, I could not get away from it.
You will perhaps forgive a personal note, Mr. President. When I arranged to come out here, I did so thinking I would not know a soul. About two months before I
left somebody came into my room and announced that the Secretary of the Canadian National Exhibition at Toronto had called to see about the Exhibit, and when that gentleman entered, I was very surprised to find Mr. Gordon Dalgleish, a man who qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the same office as myself. Again, about the first person I met in the Exhibition was an old school friend, who is with me today. I had not seen him for seventeen years, so the world is a very small place indeed.
I would like to say also how much we, in Glasgow, appreciated the support accorded to the Empire Exhibition held in Glasgow last year by your Government of Canada. No doubt the Exhibition was visited by many of you, and perhaps it is not necessary for me to do more than refer to the fact that it was held. I venture to suggest that it served a useful purpose and left its hall-mark in Scotland and in the Empire. In regard to the financial side, when I left, all the buildings had not been disposed of, but it was possible that the Government might take over some of them as stores and training halls. If the remaining buildings are disposed of at a reasonable figure at all, we have no reason to anticipate a substantial deficit on the Exhibition at all. As a matter of fact, the guaranteed fund for our Exhibition was about £750,000, and I shall be surprised when I get back if I find there will be a call of more than three or four shillings on the guarantor. So I think we can feel quite pleased with our Exhibition.
Now, I have only been in Canada for a period of two weeks, and it is my first visit to this side of the world, and as much of that time has been spent either in the Exhibition or in the City of Toronto, I am afraid I have not had much opportunity of forming a very accurate impression of the country as a whole. Nevertheless, perhaps the impressions I have had, as a stranger in the land for the first time, will be of interest to you. I must admit, before I arrived here, I had always visualized Canada as a vast land, with illimitable tracts of rolling prairie, many lochs or lakes, and practically no industrial activity, and not much else. I was, therefore, more than pleasurably surprised, not only to learn of, but to see the extensive developments which have been made in your country in the industrial field. Again, Canada, as compared with our own small country of Scotland, gives us a totally different idea of distances. I think a parallel might be found in the remark of the old Scotsman who had been making his first trip off the beaten track. After travelling for some miles his guide pointed out to him a very, very large animal, indeed. The old Scotsman asked what kind of an animal it was. "O, that is a moose", said his guide. "By Jove! If that is a moose, I would like to see your rats", replied the Scotsman. Having regard to the comparative size of your moose and rats, I think your country compares as to distances on the same basis with ours. As regards the people of this great land, I do not think I need do more than quote the advice which the Duke of Montrose gave in 1937 to a party of Scottish hotel keepers who were about to start on a trip to Canada. Telling them what they might expect by way of hospitality, the Duke said he hoped they had all gone into training beforehand for a few weeks, and that they had made arrangements on their return home to enter a nursing home for a fortnight's rest-such being the hospitality of the Canadians. From personal experience I can endorse the Duke's sentiments and I must say how thankful I am that I had the benefit of his advice before I left home, and was thereby enabled to grace and prepare myself for the veritable onslaught of Canadian hospitality. It is overwhelming.
Now, Mr. President, many of your members will no doubt be wondering what the Scottish Development Council is and does, and why we have come to Toronto to exhibit at the Canadian National Exhibition. Well, the work of the Scottish Development Council, very briefly, is to assist all fields of Scottish industry, generally. We started off in 1931 as a very small body indeed. As a matter of fact, at that time there was only one member of the staff, the present General Manager, who was then the Secretary. Later on he acquired a Secretary and a typist. Funds are derived from purely voluntary sources, and at the beginning it was a very uphill fight indeed to carry on in a very modest and small way. However, throughout the seven years we have been in existence, we have progressed, I think, from strength to strength, with the result that including all the various organizations and projects which we have put into being, our staff numbers altogether some sixty people, and we also enjoy the confidence of the United Kingdom Government, in so far as the Scottish Office comes to us and asks us to carry out certain plans. We also enjoy the confidence of the home Government, in so far as the Exhibitions for the various areas in Scotland have also been asked to make use of our organization, whenever possible.
We have taken part in Exhibitions and Fairs all over the world, but when we come to Canada we do not feel so much that we are going to a foreign country. We feel that we are coming home, for after all we have so much in common. I might remind you that our President, Lord Elgin, is a grandson of a former Governor-General of Canada.
During my short but happy stay, up to the moment, I have been astounded by the large number of Scottish people here who have been anxious to hear of home. It is a good feeling, Mr. President, to have the opportunity of telling these Scots--now Canadians and our loss and your gain--of their native land and I submit that it is good to know that home still means something to those who left Scotland many years ago.
This brings to my mind, Mr. President, the fact that Empire history is indeed enriched by Scots and, on behalf of my native country, I make no unfair boast when I say that not an insignificant percentage of my countrymen have given to the progress of Canada. A few moments ago I mentioned Lord Elgin's grandfather who was at one time Governor-General of Canada. J. L. Morison, who wrote on Elgin's life said in the last paragraph of his book: "Through eight years Lord Elgin learned to understand and sympathize with the instincts, ambitions and powers from which the demand for self-government proceeded. Latterly he was able to anticipate his ministers' desires and to govern Canada, rather as a Canadian than as a representative of the Imperial Government. He taught Canadians the place and limits of race feeling; he led them from petty hates and obsolete political argumentation into quieter regions of practical administration; assisted them to material prosperity, and made them think of British North America as something greater than the disconnected group of jealous provinces. Faced with the turbulence and blunders of a young democracy he never lost faith or courage, and he believed that liberty might be trusted to complete the work which he had begun. Seventy years of unbroken progress have justified his confidence; and the best memorial is the young Canadian nation."
Again, the present Governor-General, Lord Tweedsmuir (I should say John Buchan) is a Scot, and, harking to the past, who could forget Lord Mount Stephen and Lord Strathcona, men who carried on the great adventure? Not only should we think of these eminent men of the past who left a living memorial to their own efforts, but also of the Bruces, Smiths, Mackenzies, McDonalds, McTavishs, Stewarts and the Frasers, and how many more names could I give to support my claim that Canada has received tens of thousands of men who brought with them the rich tradition of my race, habits of industry, honesty, piety and thrift, and respect for the law. I am confident you will support me when I claim that Scots more than any other single race have stamped their character upon the institutions of this great Dominion. I am not overlooking the great part that Englishmen have played, especially at this time when unity is so much called for, but it is with these thoughts of Scotland's part in young Canada that I now venture to express my views upon those matters which we must regard as of vital importance, particularly at this stage in the history of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
I shall refer to Empire trade and, especially shall I say, Empire consolidation. Of one thing I am firmly convinced, the British Empire today is aptly described as a family.
Long may that continue. The British Empire has been built up on confidence and trust, trust in the man on the spot, trust that he will carry out his duties. These are the unseen ties that bind us together, coupled with common kinship and the link of trade and commerce.
My own view of Empire trade under normal conditions is trading between individuals in communities, between the provinces within a nation and between nations one with the other in the Empire itself. Empire trade should not be regarded as organized or nationalized by governments. It should be trade without restriction between the component parts of the British Empire. Other nations may use certain forms of propaganda with a view to misinterpretation, yet I am thoroughly confident in suggesting that our place today is to take such steps that will safeguard "trade within the Empire".
I believe that it is a fair thing to say that the country which believes in itself, which has an ideal actuated by a principle and looks forward to the future has the opportunity of making itself fit as a nation and helpful to the great population of nations and to the great race to which we all belong.
It is certainly a proper thing for this Empire with its privileges and its opportunities to put itself in a position as strong and as developed as possible. If we do this, we are making our contribution in a helpful role in the civilization of the world.
The Ottawa Agreements laid the foundation. They brought trade within the Empire out of a deep depression, and I hope we can all look forward, beyond the present chaos to the future and make it our business to see that from this structure trade within the Empire will be fully maintained and expanded. I am also hopeful that once order has been restored to a tortured Europe we shall see a greater exchange of goods between Canada and Scotland.
Such is the Empire in peace time. But we are no longer at peace-most unfortunately we are at war. For our common safety it is doubly imperative that we co-operate and support each other. The United Kingdom now needs the support of all the Dominions and the Colonies-morally, in man power, and in essential war supplies. As regards the feelings of Canada to the Home Country, one has only to walk along any street in Toronto where there are registration depots to see the whole-hearted sympathy which the youth and manhood of the nation feel toward the Home Country and the stand she has taken against the threat to democracy. I know, too, that the Home Country can count on Canada for supplies of the essential commodities and materials-but it is not only a question of supplies. It is almost certain that as long as the existing neutrality laws continue it will be a matter of extreme difficulty for Great Britain to raise borrowings from the purchase of imports of war materials. It is therefore essential that all those who have the interests of the Home Country deeply at heart should buy as much as possible from England and Scotland to create the necessary export credits against imports which the Home Country will be making. I appreciate that as keen business men you must feel sure any orders you place will be delivered on contract date, without fail. Having regard for conditions in Europe, you may have doubt on that point. In that connection, I think I can state with absolute conviction that the United Kingdom Government has already taken steps to ensure that an adequate section of Great Britain's industrial and manufacturing resources will be continued on ordinary production in order that our export trade will be maintained. Her export trade is of vital importance to the Home Country, both by reason of the necessity of providing employment in non-war industries and of retaining our overseas markets but, above all, it is of vital importance in enabling the United Kingdom to finance imports, she requires so much.
As I have said, you may rest assured that any orders placed in the United Kingdom will be in normal trade course. Again, equally important, is the maintenance of shipping facilities to carry goods from the supplier to the consumer. That is also receiving attention from the United Kingdom Government. While, since the formal declaration of war, United Kingdom shipping has not been running to normal schedules, the convoy system as announced by the United Kingdom Admiralty is already in operation, and as a result it will be possible to maintain frequent, although perhaps irregular sailings.
Now, the British Empire was the first League of Nations and if it should fall and fail, I don't know what would happen in the world in general. I think we must all admit the Commonwealth or the British Empire is the greatest political experiment yet tried, and the success of which means so much to mankind generally. Again I would remind Canadians, particularly, of the increased responsibility placed on them under the Statute of Westminster.
Now, I have been rather perturbed these past few days at various rumours that have reached me to the effect that some Canadians feel rather insecure regarding fulfilment of future contracts placed with the United Kingdom, and I can only hope, therefore, that the foregoing remarks which I have just made will allay their anxiety in that connection. Our British exporters have been truly called front line troops. We, in the United Kingdom, can only continue to buy and pay for our vital needs in munitions, foodstuffs, and other supplies of war by selling our own goods overseas. I know that Canada feels as strongly as we do at home, the common ties of blood brotherhood which bind us so closely together, and we would ask you to support the Home Country at this grave time in her history by buying whenever possible all the things you may require from the United Kingdom, and thus make a further valuable contribution to our common cause.
I mentioned my own particular organization just a moment or two ago. I did not deal with it in any great detail. We were formed in 1931 with very small beginnings. What have we accomplished? What do we hope to do? When I came over here I hoped to be able to contact Canadian manufacturers and place them in contact with manufacturers on the other side and increase exchange of commodities, but I had also hoped, and perhaps more importantly, to contact those Canadian manufacturers who exported in sufficient quantities to the Home Country to make them give thought to the possibility of establishing factories in Scotland. Similarly, we in Scotland have manufacturers who might find it possible to establish factories in Canada. Both countries could do with the new industries. Now, to accomplish that, the first question the Canadian manufacturer asks is: "What has Scotland to offer to the potential industrialist setting up a factory in that country?" The answer is "Scotland has a very great deal indeed to offer." Some two years ago my own Council, through the assistance of the Government and the assistance of the Commissioners of Scotland, set up outside of Glasgow--a state--The Scottish Industrial States, Limited, at Illington, a mile beyond the boundaries of Glasgow. That state was laid out in the most modern, up-to-date: lines. The management of the estate provides factories, either to rent, or under option to purchase or by outright purchase. Manufacturers may require capital. The Scottish Development Council have avenues whereby we can finance anything up to fifty percent of the capital required, and finance it on extremely convenient and easy terms. Again, if a manufacturer's business has been going backward, and he feels an up-to-date factory, reorganization and so forth would pull him through, and enable him to expand, the state will further help him to do that.
Now, these are very great considerations, indeed, for any manufacturer. Once the Old Land has her house in order again any manufacturer who is considering establishing a branch factory over there would be well advised to give a thought to the Trading State at Illington. Scotland, too, has an abundant source of skilled and unskilled labour, both male and female. Local taxation is quite comparable with any place in the world, and any place in the United Kingdom. We have an abundant power and water supply. Electricity supplies are excellent and all the other amenities demanded by industry--transport by railway and sea--are there.
So, in concluding, while as I say, my main object in coming over here was to try and induce Canadians to establish factories in my country, that has been knocked in the head. However, I hope my visit has not been in vain, and once we get over the present situation you will be able to give a thought to Scotland when considering extending your business.
I thank you. (Applause)
THE PRESIDENT: I am not making any apologies, but our guest-speaker will no doubt make allowance for the attendance today, at a time when so many duties are calling our members at this serious time. You have listened to a very interesting address in regard to what the Scots are doing in their typical way, and I am sure we all appreciate the efforts being made to improve commercial relations with Canada. I, therefore, on your behalf, extend to our guest-speaker today our appreciation and thanks for his address on this occasion, and we trust that he may enjoy a very safe voyage back to his native land.