- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 31 Oct 1946, p. 57-69
- Stewart, William J., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The subject of "What are my individual rights?" Rights and duties of citizenship. Natural rights, down through the years, becoming known as civil rights. A just state one in which all individuals freely enter into agreement to abide by the decisions of the majority. The right of possession, the right of life; the indispensability of the law in order to enjoy these rights. Hence, the need for government. A discussion of the rights and duties of citizenship. Confronting the problems of peace as a challenge to our very life; a challenge that should stir to action the noblest and best that is in each one of us. Resolving to assume our individual responsibility to develop and help govern our country in the same superlative way in which so many of His Majesty's Forces fought for it. Victories in peace. Upon what peace depends. Democracy: what it is and how we have betrayed it by neglecting our duties. Some figures regarding voting activity. The greatness of any nation measured by its intellectual clearness, the moral calibre of its people and the collective loyalty to the Crown and their faith and belief in Divine Providence. Are we doing our part to have a united Canada? A look at the population of Canada, and migration to the United States. What the government can do about it. Evidence of the government's failure to enforce legislation. Sharing our privileges and opportunities with others. The imminence of immigration. The speaker's parameters on who should be attracted to Canada. What makes an immigrant a good citizen. The consequences of our indifference to newcomers. Education, not legislation as the solution. A Citizenship Committee of representative citizens, appointed by the Ontario Adult Education Board, with the speaker as Chairman, with the sole purpose of organizing for the teaching of Citizenship. Details of the plan of this Committee. Immigration figures. The need for clear thinking, and active citizenship as the world passes through this period of convalescence. An invitation to The Empire Club of Canada to participate in the doing of this work. "Faith without works is of no avail. Can we count on you?"
- Date of Original
- 31 Oct 1946
- Language of Item
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- Full Text
AN ADDRESS BY HON. WILLIAM J. STEWART, O.B.E.
Chairman: The President, Major F. L. Clouse.
Thursday, October 31st, 1946
MAJOR CLOUSE: Your Worship, Gentlemen of the Empire Club of Canada and our audience of the air
Our guest of honor today is known to a multitude of friends simply as "Bill". During the seven years in which he served this city so efficiently as Alderman we were accustomed to greet him by this appellation. In the years 1931 to 1934, during which period he served us so faithfully as Mayor of our city, we knew him as "Your Worship". From 1938, when elected to the Provincial Legislature, to the present time, when formality demands, we use the prefix "The Honorable". And at the Queen's York Rangers Regiment he is "Colonel". However, through this succession of dignities he remains to us simply "Bill", that dynamic personality who sponsored the First Canadian Corps ReUnion--who holds the Chairmanship of the Greater Toronto Veterans Hospital Committee--who advocated the teaching of citizenship to new and native-born Canadians--and who was honored by His Majesty, The King, in 1935 in being made Commander of the British Empire.
Gentlemen--it is my pleasure to present Hon. Wm. Stewart, C.B.E., M.P.P., whose subject will be "What are your individual rights?"
HON. WILLIAM J. STEWART: Mr. President, Mr. Mayor, Reverend Sir, Mr. Dunlop, Distinguished Guests, Gentlemen
I was very much interested in your introduction and I am sure my good friend, our good Mayor, will agree that when you are addressed with your titles, oftentimes the salutation is a flattering, seeking a favour. When they call you by your own name you know you are meeting a friend.
As I look about the room today and see our good Chief Constable Chisholm here, and our senior Magistrate, Bob Brown, I can repeat what Bob Brown has marry times said, "I see many familiar faces."
To many of you it is no secret that I am pinch-hitting today. I am deeply sensible of the signal honour that under the wise, progressive leadership of The Empire Club it is noted for speakers of national and international repute, and it is indeed a very high privilege, when a local member is accorded such deviation from custom.
I trust that upon the conclusion of my remarks your frame of mind toward me will not be the same as Disraeli's toward one of his followers who insisted upon speaking to the House that day, Disraeli said, "I don't think you should."
"But my constituents will be wondering why I didn't if I don't."
"Young man", said Disraeli, "it is much better to have them wondering why you didn't than why you did."
I hasten to assure you that my remarks will be nonpartisan. I speak from notes, as a safeguard, and to preserve the ancient tradition of the Office of Speaker of the House, the Speaker of the House presents no partisan views-publicly.
The subject assigned me today is "What are My Individual Rights?"
Does anyone need to be told? Each has an individual right to assume and discharge to the full the duties of Citizenship--rights, carefully established and fully observed; duties, neglected and too often forgotten. Rights are often stressed at the expense of duty.
I know of no more fitting environment than the Empire Club, such well tilled ground, to cultivate the seed of good citizenship. Down through the years the Club has consistently held for the ideals and given splendid leadership that nourishes the spirit, that strengthens the spirit of allied parts of the British Empire.
The Empire--the British Empire--a sleepless sentinel on the frontiers of Freedom. The Beacon Light of true Democracy, and you have seen to it that the salt of the Empire spirit has never lost its savour.
Rights--since time immemorial, the just state is one in which all individuals freely enter into agreement to abide by the decisions of the majority. Natural rights, down through the years, have become known as civil rights.
You have the right of possession, the right of life, and to enjoy any and all these rights, law is indispensable--tempered by reason. Consequently, government is a necessity.
If we value our rights, and if we are to preserve our well-established, time-honoured, democratic institutions, we must realize that the life blood of the body of rights is the active discharge of the duties of citizenship.
What are my individual rights? An American has said that Right is a higher law than the Constitution.
For Right is Right, since God is God, And Right, the day must win, To doubt would be disloyalty, To falter would be sin.
However, our duties, like the privileges of Citizenship are taken just for granted. Citizenship is an inescapable individual responsibility. The citizens are the city, and like St. Paul, I can say with you, Mr. Mayor, we are citizens of no mean city. We are the trustees of the priceless privileges of Canadian citizenship--a free and willing partner--forever, I pray, united under the British Empire.
Many do not know, many do not realize that we do not pay forced tribute to the Motherland. We are not bound by chains, but by silken, unbreakable threads. A trust that we, as trustees, should cherish to hand on to future generations, unspotted, untarnished and enriched.
As we turn from the conflict of war, the problems of peace confront us, as a challenge to our very life, a challenge that should stir to action the noblest and best that is in each one of us.
May we each resolve to assume our individual responsibility and with those who served in His Majesty's Forces develop and help govern this country of ours in the same superlative way in which so many of them fought for it.
Peace has her victories no less renowned than war. With privilege there are duties, rights, responsibilities, and many know their rights, Your Worship, but how few fully discharge their duties.
What price this liberty we now enjoy--many have been born into it, without any service or sacrifice. It is your responsibility and mine to teach many of us, and the rising generation that eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty. We have subtle foes around us, apparently harmless, constantly boring from within. Germany, by apathy to government, permitted the organization and the rise of the Nazi Party. Gentlemen, apathy to the Church of our faith, and apathy to duties of State is a growing national ailment in Canada. Too many people, just like pre-digested foods, accept radio comments and newspaper headlines, and accept without ever reading them through, as gospel truth. We fail in many cases to think for ourselves, and if we do think at all too many never translate their thinking into action.
Peace depends upon our way of thinking. I think we should be reminding ourselves of the fact that in the feudal days soldiers could be hired to do the fighting. That day has gone forever. In this atomic age what does war mean? It means for men, women and children, obliteration, annihilation of the whole human race.
We boast of Democracy. We have never tried Democracy in this city, in this province or in this country to the full. Democracy is the use of the franchise from which a free government is refined, and I would say to you bad government is the result of unused voting power. In a democracy the sovereignty of power is vested in the people, not the monarch or not the President, The government deriving its power by the consent of the governed.
But we have betrayed Democracy and in my opinion if we continue in this city, this province and this country to neglect our duties, it will no longer mean government for, of, and by the people. It will be government of the people by minority--if not slavery. I believe in minority rights and concede them, but I also submit for your earnest consideration, there is still such a thing as majority rights. And with rights, again I say, duties.
Mr. Mayor you have quoted the figures, that in this great city of ours, this capital, in 1946 there were 363,475 voters entitled to vote for the Council, and 25.6 cast a ballot-about 90,000 people. In other words, three out of four never bother their heads to go to the polls to elect a civic government. Just ten days ago in the riding I have the honour to represent as a provincial Member, you had a federal election and 6,225 fewer votes were cast than in the last general election. Forty-three per cent of the people never bothered their head.
In Ontario in your last general election you had, in round figures, 2.5 million votes-something over 1,700,000 were cast. Over 700,000 people never went to the polls-a population almost as great as the City of Toronto. Do you call that Democracy?
Gentlemen, war comes. Our sons don His Majesty's uniform and they go forth to serve and to sacrifice and to protect our way of life, while three out of four in this city betrayed the very thing for which they died.
You hear public men say we are going to make this a land fit for our heroes to dwell in. Have we kept faith with those who went? Have we supported any Church? Do we ever go to the polls to vote? Have you done anything in improve government? Did you exercise your franchise? Can you name any single, solitary thing that you have done in any phase of life to make this a land fit for heroes to dwell in?
I remind you of the very close relationship between national security and personal integrity. Gentlemen, surely a country worth fighting for, worth suffering for, and worth dying for is at least worth voting for and worth living for.
The war clouds are parted today, but they have not vanished. Conditions, as we know, about us today present this question: Is law and order to continue or is incipient anarchy to take its place?
This Canada of ours, from the Atlantic, from the historic Maritimes up to the wealth and abundance of the banner Province of Ontario, across the great prairies and the majestic Rockies to the Okanagan Valley and the forests of British Columbia is a mighty country. Will you deny the fact this is the prize our enemies sought?
However, the greatness of any national cannot be measured by the strength, by the wealth, by the territory or by its population. Such stand but on feet of clay. But rather it is measured by its intellectual clearness, the moral calibre of its people and the collective loyalty to the Crown and their faith and belief in Divine Providence.
Are we doing our part to have a united Canada? If we are it requires the common aim, a common vision, a common purpose, and a common loyalty. Let us awaken ourselves to our duties if we are to keep this Canada of ours predominantly British as it should be. We have got to do something to seek to attract and to hold the men who graduate from our universities. It is a great tribute to them that they are sought the world over. There must be a great magnetic power to a country lying alongside us with 130 millions against our 12 millions. That is quite natural. In the last 25 years, our increase in population has been 3,328,947, while those migrating to the United States were 3,409,184, which leaves a minus of over 80,000 people.
I find going about the population you meet people who say what is the government going to do about this? What is the government going to do about that? They are placing all their faith in legislation while we have evidence at hand of government's failure to enforce existing legislation. Yet we are asking for more--depending on the law of force--deploring regimentation, yet asking for it.
It has been stated that across this world we have 35 million man-made laws with, in my opinion, no improvement on the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.
We of a passing generation, from our experience, can say to those at present arising, if you wish something to be done the best way to have it done is to participate in the doing of it and as the shadows of evening lengthen about you and me, from the rising generation it is our obligation to the state to produce leaders and enlightened followers.
Guided by the past, from the rich treasures of spoils and memory comes a challenge to the present to preserve for the future as Canadians, the priceless heritage of Canadian Citizenship, forever in the British Empire.
Our privileges and opportunities must be shared with others. The world is not going to allow Canada to keep this land to herself. Immigration is imminent. In my opinion we should seek only to attract to this country people that we are willing to assimilate, socially, politically and economically. Clearly and fully advise them before they come what is expected of them, and then when they come, give them the right hand of fellowship and keep faith.
But there is more required to make an immigrant a good citizen than a healthy body and a job. There must be that willingness of spirit to lay aside the ideas of the old world and to absorb Canadian ideals. New Canadians with native born Canadians should side by side, strive to build a united Canada, but we, by passive acquiescence are daily contributing to the disintegration of the country we profess to love.
Gentlemen, for our own safety of life and property, and in defence of new Canadians who have made such a splendid contribution to the up-building of our country and who are good citizens and use their franchise, it is unfair we should stigmatize any race or races by referring to them as "foreigners" or holding up someone who has broken the law and saying, "There is what you get." The Naturalization Act provides a way to deal with that situation and when someone comes from another country and we accord them the high privileges of citizenship and they break the law and serve their time and are defiant, then retract their citizenship and send them back to where they came from. By example and by education we have to teach many about us that there is only one national anthem in Canada, and that is forever, "God Save The King." And in this great country of ours, with unlimited room for additional population, anybody whose mental attitude is defiant and who will not sing that anthem and subscribe to it, f or them there is no room in Canada.
A United States delegation speaker that I had the opportunity of hearing the other evening, a dignified gentlemen, made an eloquent address in which he said, "I believe the peace of the world would be assured if there was an understanding by men of each other's ideals and ideas, and the surest pathway would be to have the English language the language of communication for the entire world. Then men could understand each other."
Gentlemen, by our indifference to newcomers we force these people to continue their racial groups. It is your job and it, is my job to assimilate them and to this end, not legislation but education is the solution.
I presented my views to the Prime Minister of Ontario, who is also Minister of Education. Ile had already appointed the Ontario Adult Education Board, known for a time as Universities Adult Education, and embracing all the universities of Ontario. A false impression was created in the minds of some people that it was for the purpose of attracting only university graduates. That was absolutely never the intention. So, to correct that impression it is now known as the Ontario Adult Education Board. The plan is for instruction for all the people, regardless of their academic standing or achievements.
The Ontario Adult Education Board in their wisdom saw fit to appoint a Citizenship Committee of representative citizens, of which I have the distinct honour of being the Chairman, for the sole purpose of organizing for the teaching of Citizenship. The plan is an enlightened and educated democracy, and the approach was made to the Inter-Church Council and we have their endorsation for which we are extremely grateful, and they have made available the use of any church property for that purpose. The idea is that side by side, new Canadians and native born will sit together in good environment-not the beer parlour or the barber shop-to discuss public matters. When we get classes going they can be in the church buildings and a syllabus of training prepared by the Department of Education will be given for instruction and upon graduation those who have attended the classes will receive a certificate to that effect.
Prior to that, for new Canadians who cannot read, write or speak the English language, a splendid service has been rendered for some time past by the Toronto Board of Education, under the able and splendid leadership of Mr. Monkman--I am very happy that he is here today-in the teaching of basic English.
The Harbord Street Collegiate the other evening was thronged to the doors, and as necessity arises other centres will be established in Toronto. Then the new Canadians can come into our Citizenship Classes where we will tell them from a text book, now in course of preparation, something of the Constitution of our country, something of the systems of government and the duties of Citizenship, and this text book will hold forth to all who may read it that as a nation we believe in the Divine Providence and something of the value we place upon human life, that it is not to be taken cheaply, and something of the duties of citizenship.
It is planned in the near future to have a Graduation Day for all the native born Canadians.
Gentlemen, on what principle have we always assumed because a man or woman becomes 21 years of age they can with intelligence and appreciation use their franchise? We have done nothing to enlighten them. We sincerely hope, possibly on Dominion Day, possibly across all the centers of population, the young men and young women who attain their 21st birthday will present themselves, hear a charge delivered to them on the duties of Citizenship and be given a certificate of Canadian Citizenship. In September this year, the Legislative Chamber, the Cabinet, invited the Members of the House, the Church and judiciary and representative organizations of all classes and we had a composite choir, representing all the friendly nations of the world who rendered an anthem "One World", and the Royal Regiment band played patriotic numbers. The Prime Minister of this Province, with his customary eloquence outlined the purpose of the Ontario Adult Education Board in a most constructive address and our friend, Dr. W. J. Dunlop and his Board were present and the Doctor's inspiring address was further evidence of his able leadership. Also present was the Citizenship Council and a feature of the evening was the presence of Major Foote, V.C., of Dieppe, when he emulated the example of the body you referred to, Mr. President, the Canadian Corps, when in 1934, 150,000 people, under the leadership of Canon Scott, placed their right hand upon their heart and said, "I hereby declare my faith and belief in Almighty God and reaffirm my loyalty and allegiance to His Majesty, the King, and further declare myself for British institutions. God Save the King."
For a long time you never heard a peep out of the subversive elements. There was organized citizenry, ready to defend the things we profess to admire.
Across the province the next day after that meeting, the Director of our Council had reports back from the meetings in Sault Ste. Marie, Fort Francis also, Port Arthur has opened classes, Kenora is in process of formation. Paris is opening classes in the Art of Public Speaking. Various other groups are being interviewed and enlisted to the purposes of this Board.
Just a little local touch. One of our Directors reported to me that in the part of the city in which I live a lady born in Russia, who has been here for over thirty years, has a daughter over thirty years of age and the lady could not read, write or speak the English language until Mr. Monkton had her as a student in his class and through his instruction and guidance he has opened up a new world for which she cannot find words to express her appreciation. That was a splendid contribution.
Gentlemen, in the 1930's approximately 2,000 persons each year in Toronto applied for naturalization. In 1944 the Act was changed. It is a two-stage measure now. You file your application of intention and later on apply for naturalization. So far this year 546 have applied. What is the picture in the population of Canada. The official figures from Ottawa from 1935 to 1945 were 124,256 persons who came into Canada, of which 69,882 were English, Irish, Scotch and Welsh, and those of other countries numbered 54,374.
Now, since 1945 we have had 52,152 persons come in of which the British subjects numbered 39,469, and those of other countries numbered 12,683. The 1946 figures are not yet available, but I understand there has been quite an influx from various parts of the world.
Gentlemen, Canada as a nation, of her own free will and accord, as a partner in the British Empire, defended and preserved the Sovereignty of Truth, the Inviolability of Honour, the Sacredness of Freedom, the Majesty of Compassion, the Stewardship of Life, under the hand of the Great Architect of the Universe. While we can record the facts of the war and tell the rising generation something of the financial cost in taxes, priorities and rationing--yes, that is quite possible--the human mind cannot reduce to words and fully describe the suffering, the gallant service, the noble sacrifice, the valour and the courage. The price of war can be calculated in dollars, but no one can measure and no one can replace blood, sweat and tears.
Since the First Great War our school text-books did not carry the story of the cost of war, nor the dangers, but rather fifty-five patriotic gems were taken out--"Flanders' Fields"--"The Story of the Victoria Cross"--"Wolfe and Montcalm"--"Bruce and Douglas". You may say, what has taken their place? Well, you may be interested to know they were replaced by stories on games and pastimes. Stagecraft instead of Statecraft. Nothing of the men who served. Nothing of the men who gave their lives and of the cost of human life.
Then again in 1939, men and women donned the uniform of His Majesty the King, inspired by ideals and by active service, in combat with ruthless enemies, Gentlemen, they witnessed the eternal verities.
Gentlemen, today we are encompassed by a cloud of witnesses, Those who gave their all. They saved you and you, and you and me. And they preserved our heritage. The story of their service and sacrifice must go into our text-books, for the enlightenment of the rising generation. I have reason to believe they will.
Surely they have quickened our sense of individual responsibility, these men who wore our Majesty's uniform in war. Their leadership in war must be sought and continued in Peace.
I heard my Minister tell the story of back in 1850 in Times Square in Broadway, of Frank Mason North as he witnessed the great cosmopolitan flow of people, he went up to his hotel bedroom and looked down upon them, rushing to and fro, a great throng, and he was inspired to write that great hymn
"Where cross the crowded ways of life, Where sound the cries of race and clan"
Where? When he wrote that, he was in Times Square, Broadway. Where sound the cries of race and clan today? Around the entire world, and they are not cries of joy and gladness. Discordant notes, not harmony. And as the nations of the world struggle to emerge from the hysteria and the anaesthesia of war, from the bodies politic come the cries of discordant notes of fear, of distress and of distrust.
And as the world passes through this period of convalescence, clear thinking, and active citizenship is an individual responsibility, and, Gentlemen, I invite you, as individuals, I invite you as an organization, Mr. President, to participate in the doing of this work and to share in our work. I invite you to Toronto's first classes, their first assembly under the leadership of a distinguished soldier, an outstanding teacher, now a Magistrate-Brigadier Martin. A date will be announced. Can we count on you?
I would like to leave this thought with you: Faith without works is of no avail. Can we count on you?
Gentlemen, I am a British subject. I am proud of it. I am a Canadian, consequently I am a British subject.
"Let none hear you idly saying, There is nothing I can do, While our trust men are betraying, Duty clearly calls for you. To your task right gladly, Citizenship your pleasure be, Answer the invisible cloud of witnesses, HERE AM I--COUNT ON ME."
Gentlemen, if anyone places anything greater than Liberty, he loses that and Liberty too.