- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 13 Oct 1942, p. 120-138
- Bennett, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- A joint meeting of the Empire Club of Canada and The Canadian Club.
Some of the impressions of the speaker with respect to the Empire affairs and with respect to Canada and its relation to the Empire. The misunderstandings of the position of Canada and the other Dominions within the Empire, and of the vast colonial possessions in the Seven Seas of the Empire. The tale of the development of governmental institutions in the British Empire. Some lessons of history. Ways in which, and historical instances of, the Empire helping nations within the Empire to self-government, often through financial aid. The generous terms that England always has exacted from those she conquered, with the Plains of Abraham as an example. How Canada's national existence has been brought about by being part of the British Empire. Examples in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa of England not as imperialist but as mother of freedom and cradle of a great Empire. How the British Empire is saving the world today; a review of war efforts by the countries of the British Empire. Conclusions of the speaker, drawn from speaking to Canadians on all political sides, and his reactions to them. Questions asked about why Canadian soldiers are spending years in Britain without participating in combat. The situation in India. Victory absolutely assured if the people of our Anglo-Saxon world and our Allies fight as they should fight.
- Date of Original
- 13 Oct 1942
- Language of Item
- Copyright Statement
- The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
- Empire Club of CanadaEmail
Agency street/mail address
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
100 Front Street West, Floor H
Toronto, ON, M5J 1E3
- Full Text
AN ADDRESS BY RT. HON. THE VISCOUNT BENNETT OF MICKLEHAM, SURREY, AND OF CALGARY AND HOPEWELL, CANADA, P.C., K.C., LL.D., D.C.L.
A Joint Meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and The Canadian Club
Chairman The President of The Canadian Club, J. G. Godsoe, Esq.
Saturday, October 13,1942
MR. J. G. GODSOE: Your Honour, Gentlemen: It is always a happy occasion to welcome back home an old friend, and particularly so when that old friend is also a very dear friend. Today this is a pleasure of the members of The Canadian Club and of The Empire Club. When one evening three years ago we bade farewell and paid tribute to Viscount Bennett in these same halls we did so with very heavy hearts because we knew we were going to miss him. Well, Gentlemen, we have missed him and we have missed him very much and I would hope, My Lord, that perhaps you also have missed us. I can say, however, that while Viscount Bennett has been away from us we have not forgotten him. Indeed, he has been ever constantly with us, not only in affection and grateful memory of what he has done for Canada but also, Gentlemen, for what he is continuing to do in his now wider work. (Applause.) We are happy to know that Viscount Bennett is doing a splendid job, a magnificent job as the London Chairman of the Canadian Red Cross. We are grateful to know that he is looking after, constantly looking after our sons who are overseas and we are proud to know that he is today considered as one of the ranking Empire figures in the British Empire. (Applause.)
Gentlemen, the Right Honourable The Viscount Bennett of Mickleham, Surrey, and of Calagry and Hopewell, Canada. (Applause.)
VISCOUNT BENNETT: Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of The Canadian and The Empire Clubs, I came to speak to you today as a Canadian-born British subject, resident in England, who has returned to his native land and who has visited all the provinces, I think, but one-Prince Edward Island-and who proposes to indicate to you some of the impressions left upon his mind with respect to the Empire affairs and with respect to Canada and its relation to that Empire. A rather ambitious subject, isn't it, to cover in a few minutes? I cannot tell you how sad at times I have been to see the misunderstandings of the position of Canada and the other Dominions within the Empire, and of the vast colonial possessions in the Seven. Seas of that Empire. I read in the press of the addresses that are made, of articles contributed, that show a complete misunderstanding of the whole fabric of Empire, and I propose to say a few words with respect to that. Some have even said that they would not have us as companions in this great war if we were fighting to maintain the integrity of this Empire. Well, we are, and please God, we will win.
I suppose in all the history of mankind there is no story more entrancing than the tale of the development of governmental institutions in the British Empire. It is a tale of small settlements, little groups of men and women, some discovering a new land and others making their initial settlement there, with comparatively few areas secured by conquest, as such. Where there has been the effort to maintain law and order and give the benefits of some form of civilization to the millions of inhabitants, you may designate that part of the Empire as having come by conquest. And it must be a matter of satisfaction to know that very early in the development of the history of our race and our Empire we realized that the people must determine for themselves the sort of institutions they would create for governing themselves.
We learned in the American Revolution that it was unwise to assert the letter of the law, which was the right of the Parliament of Westminster to legislate for the Empire as a whole. There had arisen, as the result of the establishment in the overseas Dominions of these institutions for self-government by which they imposed taxation upon themselves, a resentment against the idea of a Parliament at Westminster, in which they had no voice, imposing legislation upon them. And it will be within your memories that the greatest statesmen of that time-Burke, Pitt, Fox-opposed those measures that brought about the American Revolution and terminated in their independence.
But it might be well for us to recall that the great United States of America was founded by Englishmen and that the greatest Englishman of his day was George Washington. That is worth remembering. And in the long roll of names of those who signed the Declaration of Independence, you will find four, at least, who sat at their meetings and at their dinners in the Middle Temple in London.
So great is the contribution of this little island that I would like to refer to it as being the Mother of Parliaments. It has established in every part of the world free institutions, and enacted Constitutions that the people in those communities have themselves agreed upon, not made by them as a Parliament, but by the people who resided in the communities in question. I would like to think of that Mother of Parliaments, strong and vigorous in days gone by, and yet looking out upon the world that she has done so much for with high courage and great faith, and what is more, at the critical time in the history of this world, when the very foundation of our civilization was threatened, standing not alone as she did in days gone by, but aided, supported, by those great Dominions that she had founded, she alone defied all the forces that were making for the destruction of Freedom, of Liberty, and of Civilization itself.
I would like you, my friends, to realize, and if you do not, it is because you have not given it thought, the gradual development of these institutions from the time that men and women in small numbers settled in these overseas lands and created the institutions for their own government. They had a Governor, as representing their Sovereign, the head of the state, the Chief Executive, and after that the people governed themselves with increasing authority and responsibility, as they became better able to understand the problems with which they were faced.
For instance, England spent some ninety-six millions of dollars in finding homes for the United Empire Loyalists after the Revolution. These things we forget. She spent more money, for instance, in the fortification of Halifax and Esquimalt than we were able to do in the early days of our own Confederation. These are things ate should keep in mind.
But, oh, my friends, every Canadian, French and English alike, must have in their minds a sense of great sponsibility, of great gratitude for the generous terms that England always has exacted from those she conquered. It would be idle to deny there was a battle the Plains of Abraham. Not God himself could change the facts. It is true, British troops and forces der General Wolfe achieved a victory on those Plains, it is also important to ask what were the terms the queror imposed on the conquered, and I think you anyone else within sound of my voice would say those terms were so generous and so magnanimous, as to challenge the admiration of all the peoples of the world. When that moment came, when the capitulation was signed-did you ever have occasion to consider the generosity of their terms? Probably because both Wolfe and Montcalm died in that great battle, the terms were more generous than they otherwise would have been, but when you remember that they conceded their racial rights, the freedom to worship their God as they might please, fifty years before there was Roman Catholic emancipation in England, itself, and in respect to their jurisprudence, they retained everything that had to do with the administration of their laws-all these were conceded by the conqueror. It revealed the generous heart of a great people who have always believed that war is not unlike a great prize fight, and when it was over, they shook hands with those whom they had overcome and said: "Let us go forward now to constructive effort."
We owe England something for that, do we not?
And think what we owed when twelve years later, the colonies rebelled and attempts were made to induce the French-Canadians to rise against England. You recall the answer that was given then was: "We enjoy such freedom, such liberty, that we will not exchange them for anything that you can offer."
Why? Because they found that their life under the British flag and under the English King was as free as they ever enjoyed, if not freer than before the conquest.
You remember, Montreal fell and then the forces of Montgomery journeyed to Quebec, and Benedict Arnold reached Levis with his forces and you will recall how they attacked Quebec, the last fortress that stood between all that area, as vast at that time as it is today, becoming the fourteenth colony. But Montgomery fell before Quebec. I think it was the last day of the year 1775, he was killed. Quebec was saved to the British Crown, but within that fortress that encompassed that victory over Montgomery and Arnold, you had the English marines and soldiers, aided by the militia. And so Quebec today has right to be grateful and thankful that British soldiers and sailors saved Quebec as an integral part of the Empire.
You recall the American Civil War and the stories following it that because we showed some appreciation -it was thought undue at times-for the South, a Member of Congress proposed two Bills to annex Canada to the United States.
Why was that not achieved? Because we were part of the British Empire. Do you realize that but for that we would in six days have become part of the United States of America, for our population then was small and there weren't a hundred thousand people west of the Lakes, including British Columbia, clear through to the Pacific?
Now, that is worth thinking of as an additional debt we owe to England.
And one more. You rejoice over the richness of your mines and minerals in Quebec and Ontario. I mentioned to you the Battle of the Plains. Did England claim this rich heritage of mines and minerals and forests? Did you ever think that not one soul ever went to England-not one soul. They handed them over to the people that inhabited the Provinces and they today are the sole beneficiaries. Then they say we owe nothing to England!
I recall these things because it is important that we should keep in mind that our national existence has been brought about by being part of the British Empire.
Then think of what happened immediately after. England realized that a divided series of colonies could not possibly long survive, if the United States made up its mind to annex us, but united we would present a different picture. So we had Confederation. We had a Confederation of those small provinces by the sea, of Quebec and Ontario and we had the Dominion of Canada thanks to the genius of the great Earl of Durham. Lord Durham's Report did so much with respect to that. But there we have it-a consolidated Dominion, extending to the coast, and many and many a time since then, but for the fact that we are part and parcel of the British Empire, the integrity of this country would have perished and we would have ceased to be the Dominion of Canada.
Will you please keep in mind, my fellow Canadians, for I dislike hearing, as I sometimes have heard, attacks against what is called the Imperialism of England? I speak not of England simply as a geographical unit set in the northern seas, but of England, mother of freedom and cradle of a great Empire-an Empire that has sought to extend its citizenship as widely as possible, and to induce in every part a sense of equal possession, on which a common patriotism may be founded.
Then you have Australia, with its colonies and its difficulties, united together in one great Commonwealth under a Constitution not made by England, but by themselves, in solemn conference. That Constitution was given effect to by a Statute of the Parliament of Westminster, at the request of the Australians themselves, and it went so far as to provide that they can amend their Constitution without reference to anybody else in the world. They have the right in Australia to amend and alter their Constitution as they see fit under the conditions mentioned in the Constitution itself.
Then you come to New Zealand, that abolished its little provinces and provided for government by unitarian system that still prevails. Even the teachers are employed by the Central Government in New Zealand, its population being but 1,600,000.
Then you come to South Africa. My friends, who today stands out in all this world of ours as the great proponent of the British Empire? Jan Smuts. And who is Field Marshal Smuts? A few years ago I was down in that country and I climbed the hill, Magerfonteinn, and I realized that the Highland Brigade was destroyed before that hill, under the direction of a great military leader, General Smuts. And today, forty years after, he is the great advocate of the freedom and liberty that his people and all others enjoy within the Empire of which they became a part. Don't we owe something for that? Who speaks, then, of slavery? Who speaks, then, of Imperialism? And his troops are fighting in every one of those great campaigns that are being waged in Northern Africa and in Asia, and he is now in London, giving the benefit of his great experience and his rich, fine judgment to the British people. Yet he is the man who forty years ago commanded the forces that destroyed the Highland Brigade. My friends, can you point to anything like that in history? That is the achievement of this old England, that they say is so decadent.
Now, let us for a moment realize how these British people saved the world, not in the days of Napoleon or Louis, or of the Armada, not in the days of the Great War of 1914 to 1918, but today. Do you realize that after the fall of France, all that stood against the destruction of our Christian civilization was the British Empire? Abandoned by her former ally, with whom her plans had been completely made, both on sea and land, struck suddenly with this tremendous catastrophe, they still stood firm, but this time it wasn't England alone. It was Canada and New Zealand and South Africa, Australia, all these were standing by the side of the old Mother, and it was no longer England, or Britain, but it was that entity called the British Empire, that family, so difficult to understand, that preserved our common Christian civilization.
That fills you with a sense of pride. Of course it does.
I saw something of what they endured. I remember when the troops came back from Dunkirk. We had lost all the magnificent equipment that we had sent to France. We had to start over again to rebuild the broken fortunes of our army, and they went at it, too, in the face of great difficulties. And today, my Canadian friends, proud as I am of your great achievement, industrially, I venture to believe that Mr. Howe, after his recent visit to England and with all his pride in this country's output, felt humbled in the face of what he saw in England. He will tell you that. So will Humphrey Mitchell.
I have visited factories in which there were thirty thousand people engaged in filling shells with dangerous explosives, and eighty-five per cent. of those employed were women, facing all the risk attendant upon it. Day and night, seven days a week, the work went on so that there might be no shortage of munitions, no shortage of shells, no shortage of anything they could make.
There was the spirit of devotion, of loyal devotion, but it was more than mere patriotism, it was the belief, the very honest and urgent belief, that God had entrusted them with the preservation of the world's civilization. And if you have reason to be proud of anything in the world, it is if those magnificent achievements that have made possible the present position.
Nor am I unmindful of the fact that my fellow Canadians took part in one of the greatest epochs of all time-the Battle of Britain in the air. And, oh, there is something so inexpressibly strange about it all. You are chatting with a boy now. A few hours from now he has given his life to his country. He is up in the air--he is pursuing the enemy. He may fall into the sea or be destroyed. But the Battle of Britain will always remain one of the great achievements of the British people.
When I say the British people, you notice I didn't say the English people, for there were men from Australia, men from Canada, men from other parts of the British Empire, all together making that gallant struggle that saved this fortress, Britain, from destruction by the enemy. For the enemy cannot succeed until he has destroyed that fortress. That is something to keep in mind.
We have had discouragements. Of course we have. We haven't had great victories, but the spirit of the people, the grim determination, the loyal devotion to a cause ensures that the day of victory is not far off.
Sometimes I wonder whether there is any clear appreciation on the part of Canadians of the character of the struggle in which we are engaged. You are a bit complacent, boys. Just a bit. I have seen more cars, I think, in Toronto than I see in London. Every gallon of gasoline that goes to England goes at the risk of the lives of gallant men.
To give you some idea of the spirit over there: A mother whose son was in the navy was saving up her coupons so that she might be able to take her boy for drives when he came home on leave. He came home. He said: "No, Mother, after what I have seen of the risk of men's lives that has been involved, I can't bring myself to go on pleasure jaunts with gasoline you save.
I don't say for a moment that that is universal, but there is the spirit that you find expressed in men and women. There are eleven million women in Great Britain who are doing service for the state. Some in uniform, some not in uniform, some in mills and factories, some driving ambulances, some cooking, some doing stenography, all doing something for the state.
The call-up system has ensured that all men, whatever be their place or walk in life, shall have to respond to the call of the state. It is in common law, I think, that every man has to be prepared, whoever he might be, to offer his life, if need be, to the state. And in Canada we passed the Militia Act under Georges Cartier, that great Frenchman, who lost his place in public life for the moment because he did it; History has shown that there is only one fair way in which the citizens can serve the state in time of war and that is by their systematic registration, being called up in classes, regardless of whom they may be. That is something that cannot possibly be gainsaid in the light of experience in England.
I have travelled from Victoria to Halifax. I know a good many people in this country and they are not all on one side of politics--and those whom I don't know on the other side, know me. But, at any rate, be that as it may, I do desire to say this now. I have formed certain clear impressions. I do not know whether or not they are sound, but I am going to give them to you for what they are worth. They represent the conclusions that I have drawn from talking to men on all sides of politics. Between the Pacific and the Lakes I talked with many men, and one conclusion I arrived at I felt might be folly, and so I went to one of the leading Liberals west of the Lakes, and he not only confirmed it, but he amplified it. That conclusion is this: From what I was told--mark you, I don't say it is only my own opinions about the matter--there is a growing number of men and women between the Lakes and the Pacific Ocean who say quite frankly, for the first time I have ever heard it said in my life, that they would prefer to be part of the United States of America than to be governed by a minority. That is a conclusion I have drawn from what I have heard, and that is confirmed by one of the leading Liberals west of the Lakes. Men, that must be remedied. That must be remedied.
The freedom, the liberty, the privileges that were conferred at the time of the capitulation, so satisfied the people of that day that they denied the right, in terms of blood itself, to unite with the great people of the United States in rebellion, and that saved us and our integrity as a people, and surely it can't be said that those terms are unfair to their descendants, if their forefathers regarded them as fair.
Not only fair, but go and read the words of the great Chaplain, Father Sabourin, of Les Fusiliers, who spoke the other night in Montreal. He said: "At Dieppe we fought not as French Canadians, but Canadians. At Dieppe what we were fighting for was our religion, for our race, for our language," and he called upon his fellow Canadians to join him in the doing of it. Why? Because in the long days that have gone, when passions were aroused, when antagonisms were fresh, if they found what England did was not only fair and just, but generous, how dare those that are descendants deny that? Why should they go about this country and talk about the unfairness of England? Who dies if England lives? That is the question.
Then I received another impression from talking to various people. That was that we were suffering from bit too much bureaucracy. I am bound to say I see more of it than I have been accustomed to see. Of course, there are only 45 millions of people in England and problems are somewhat more complex, but that is not important.
The other day I wanted to find somebody in an office in Ottawa and finally, after much effort on the telephone, I was referred to the Secretary of the Controllers. That is the position with respect to that phase.
Men, the price of liberty is restraint. Always keep that in mind. And under our institutions, it is a parliamentary restraint, so we have, in the words of Tennyson, "some reverence for the laws ourselves have made".
Now, war is the negation of Democracy. There can be no such thing as Democracy in its true sense in war, and the first thing that Parliament did in this country and in England was to transfer to the Executive of the Country the legislative powers heretofore enjoyed by Parliament, so that by executive action or Order-in-Council, they can do almost anything that Parliament can do.
Never forget that once you clothe men with dictatorial powers, they feed upon it. Not consciously, necessarily, but it is a fact, justified by historic incident, that for some strange reason when you clothe men with dictatorial powers, they clamour for more.
But there is just one thing that my friends who talk me had in mind, and that is the supremacy of the Courts. For, remember this, that in England, a case the other day went to the House of Lords, involving the construction of a regulation, so in every country the exercise of power by the Executives is subject to judicial view. Provincial powers cannot be taken away by Executive action. The test is this: At what stage does it come necessary to intrude upon the powers of the provinces for the purpose of, defending the life of Canada? But if the exercise of that power disrupts and destroys the British North America Act in its granted powers to the Provinces, the Courts will hold it invalid after judicial review.
All through the ages since we established our courts we have relied upon the power of the judiciary to restrain the power of the Executive, and you history students will recall when James wanted something done, the old Chief justice told him he could get twelve lawyers to do it, but not twelve judges.
And so the right of judicial review I find is a matter that is constantly in the minds of people who speak to me about the question of bureaucracy.
I find also great apprehension on the part of people in Canada that I have talked with regarding our operations overseas. They ask me continuously. I can't answer. I don't know why Canadians will have to spend, some of them their fourth, Christmas in England without ever having fired a shot in action. They tell me in England that isn't what they went there for. They know better than I, but all I do know is Canadians are asking and re-asking, as I go about: "Why is it, why is it that a Corps was formed from a single Division, and from that we have an army--with or without adequate reinforcements?" They do not know--I cannot say. With or without adequate preparations, I cannot say--I do not know. But the people are asking questions. And they want an answer as to why the Canadian Army is idle and has been all these years in England.
I talked to a young Canadian. He came into my office and he said: "I want to get back to Canada. I have been here between two and three years. I am not improving as a soldier. I left behind me a wife and child, because I believed it was my duty to do something in my trade to help the common cause. I am now getting no better as a soldier and I am deteriorating as a citizen."
Those words burned themselves into my conscience "I am deteriorating as a citizen."
That is the reason I find these questions. They are written to me. They are asked me now as I travel over this country.
As I have gone along over this country, there is a deep-rooted resentment-deep-rooted, I say-against an article appearing in a magazine published in the United States, and I should like to say, as far as I have been able in the short time at my disposal to see, some resentment against a recent speech by Mr. Willkie, for he proposes to sabotage the British Empire and it is the first time I have ever heard the representative of an Ally indicate what he is going to do with that part of the world called the British Empire. We cannot win the war alone. But, side by side, marching together, we can win and we will win. And I think it is a very great mistake for any man occupying a great position to indicate that he proposes to destroy the British Empire.
And talk about India. Well, my friends, the greatest tribute to English greatness is the Government of India. There is a lack of understanding, a lack of appreciation of what is going on. There is a failure to understand that the British people have always set before them one goal in every land that they have occupied, and that has been: "When will come the day that you may govern yourselves?" That is the keynote. The Pax Britannica has not been "How many soldiers can we turn out?" as did the French in Morocco. No, the Pax Britannica means the Peace of Britain and the development of a people, the development of resources, order regulated under the law, and the administration of justice by the people themselves. That has been their object and their aim. When you talk about India as though you knew something about it-who knows about India more than 'do the British people? Who struggled more to give India the universities that have been established, the schools, the efforts at education? And it has been very difficult, too, because they have found it not easy to bring in a measure of education to the Indian people. You know, there are 225 languages in India. Do you know that 68 percent of the population are Hindus, 22 percent Moslems, and 10 percent all other religions? There are between six and seven millions of Christians and 66 percent of the people are engaged in making a living for themselves on the land. There are 570 Indian States. Yet Lord Simon said the other day: "We have given peace for a century. The warring elements have been held from tearing at one another's throats, and we have kept in front of them always the goal of the day when they might rule themselves."
In all these great States there are Legislatures and Governments-sometimes two Chambers, sometimes one. The great India Act of 1935 contemplated a federal union, practically, and a Government of India.
But we weren't going to make the Constitution for them. We didn't undertake to make the Constitution for India. We said: "You will make your own Constitution, as they did in South Africa, as they did in Australia, as they did in Canada, and we will give effect to it." And they are still waiting to make their Constitution.
My friends, it is so easy for men who know nothing of the problem of India to talk about freedom and liberty, and I would remind any of you that four-ninths of India is under the rule of Princes who have a Treaty with England, and that Treaty is being kept, and what numbers of Indians are fighting today! Hundreds of thousands of men from India are fighting and they are turning out munitions, working strenuously, but think what an agitator can do-think what he has done in the world! I can recollect something of one in this country. Just think for a single moment-pause for a moment and see how easy it is m passing, over a country, just as I have been doing hurriedly, moving by air and I see you, and you, and you, and you, and you tell me that people are clamouring for something. Do the voices of a dozen people represent the opinion of 400 millions? You see, it is so easy. Perhaps the impressions that I have got are wrong. I have only seen a few peoples as I have moved about. What chance has Mr. Willkie to arrive at any adequate conclusion with respect to the people of India? Four hundred millions-who speaks for them? A dissatisfied propagandist, a fanatic who says: "I can't frame a Constitution. I am not interested, but I want something else." Why cry for the moon when you can t get the green cheese here? That is the position.
And, oh, men and women, let us not be deluded into the thought that India is not well governed. Take your Whittaker's Almanac, and look down the long line of Legislatures in all the scattered 570 states, and I say to you that the proudest boast that the British can make is in reference to the Government of India. There has been justice, the reign of reason and law and an opportunity given to men to work out their destiny as free men, making their own Constitution, remembering always that something less than 8 percent of that vast number of people are able to read and write. Keep that ever in your mind.
One word more and I have finished. I know there are 3 those who talk sometimes about stalemates and those who talk about defeat and those who say the war may last long and those who talk of sacrifices that are never practised, but less than 20 percent of the world's people cannot, in my judgment, dominate by force and fear the free thought and opinion and personality of the balance of the world. It can't be done. If that is so, then our faith in the 'Christian religion itself is undermined.
When I was a child, I remember learning these words
For right is right, Since God is God And right the day must win; To doubt would be disloyalty, To falter would be sin.
And I am old-fashioned enough not to have changed my mind. That is one of the reasons.
There is another reason. There is a reason to which Napoleon referred. The forces for the defeat of Hitlerism are gathering. Across the ocean, the Americans are sending thousands of troops, realizing that their fate is not being settled in the United States, but in a far-distant country. They are sending their men by hundreds of thousands. They are sending their resources of various kinds and this country has reason to be proud, and every one I have seen is proud of our industrial output, and the contribution that we have made in food and munitions to a common cause, and I rejoice with my fellow-Canadians to that end. But all the food and all the munitions won't win the war. You have got to have somebody that eats the food and fires the guns. A silent gun won't win a war. We may indeed ask ourselves to what extent we are able to maintain the army that has been idle for so long. These are questions that you are concerned about.
Men, the struggle is, as Abraham Lincoln said, that government of the people, by the people, for the people should not perish from the earth. That is what the struggle he waged was for. Well, you are faced with it as never before, but don't put it on one man or two. When you say Democracy fails, that is a want of confidence in yourselves. You have failed, not somebody else-you. You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. It is you. In that Constitution and Democracy each one of you is a unit and if Democracy fails, you fail. Don't blame somebody else. Make yourselves effective. Public opinion is the most powerful of all factors that determine political action and you can make public opinion. You can make it. Of course you can. It has been made in days gone by, and let us see to it that we make it.
My friends, there are so many things I would like to say. I must now conclude, but there is this one word I should like to say to you. My final word is that Victory is absolutely assured if the people of our Anglo-Saxon world and our Allies fight as they should fight. That is, with all their might, with every ounce of their strength, with every man they have within their power to place, with every machine, with every ship, with every gun. We must win if we keep in mind that the price is ever continuous effort, and after all, it is the fate of a Christian civilization that is at stake.
Two thousand years of Christian civilization is culminating in this. You read it in Holy Writ. You remember what is said: "The days of anti-Christ will be upon us." To me this is just as much the struggle of the anti-Christ as anything you can ever believe in. It is our Christian civilization that is at stake.
Men, in your hands and the hands of men scattered throughout this land and other lands rests the determination of that issue. It is a pretty solemn thought, and believing as I do in actions and reactions and searching for one sentence that I might leave with you to carry you through the dark days, I give to you this: God help us and make strong our will to meet Him unashamed.
Mr. JOHN C. M. MAcBETH: Mr. Chairman, Your Honour, My Lord, Gentlemen: I am going to make use of a license, a license for which, strange as it may seem, I did not have to apply to the Wartime Prices and Trade Control Board.
It is a license that will permit me to make two or three changes in a verse of poetry which I came upon in my reading this week, a poem by Hilaire Belloc, and, in its amended form it runs like this
"If I ever become a rich man, Or if ever I grow to be old, I will build a house with deep thatch, To shelter me from the cold, And there shall the Surrey songs be sting, And the story of Surrey told."
My Lord, the last time that your lordship addressed these clubs was in December, 1939-a little less than three years ago.
The world upheaval was then but a few weeks old, and, Sir, you foretold a long, hard struggle, and warned that the Atlantic Ocean could easily be crossed by the enemy, and that the fact that we lived on the American Continent did not give us any immunity or any certain security.
Less than three years ago!
How true has that prophecy been!
And then, Sir, you left us and went to the Old Land, to Surrey, and became one of the famous Canadian Busy Bees, an exponent of the loyal and industrious spirit of the Canadian people.
You fellow citizens, Sir, are happy that merit has been recognized and that, whereas you went from us as The Right Honourable Richard Bedford Bennett, you now return to us as The Right Honourable the Viscount Bennett of Mickleham, Surrey, and of Calgary and Hopewell, Canada. But yet, withal, a Canadian.
In the fifty-first chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah, the prophet calls "Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn."
Your Lordship replies "of Calgary and Hopewell, Canada."
And so, My Lord, it is a great pleasure to have you with us today as a guest of The Canadian Club and The Empire Club of Canada.
We are grateful to you, Sir, for giving us in this address the advantage of your observation and experience your forecast is full of hope--not excessive optimism, certainly not pessimism, but may I say realism?
And now, My Lord, we wish you a fair journey and a happy landing, a journey that, I venture to hope, will be ended before the Winnipeg Convention begins.