- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 26 Oct 1926, p. 311-317
- Kirkpatrick, Colonel A.E., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The founding of The Empire Club of Canada in 1903. Adopting the motto "Canada and a United Empire." The establishment of a branch of The Empire Club in Winnipeg this year. Winnipeg's future wrapt up in the development of our Western plains. Some words from eminent visitors about this area. The ability of Canada's matchless climate to develop a hearty type of manhood, a strong type of national character that predestines Canada and her people to the dominating position of this Continent in a measurable period of time. Emigration from Canada to the United States, and why it is happening. The suggestion that a Commission be formed representing the church, agriculture, business and finance, to get in touch with expatriated Canadians of all ages to determine their motives in emigrating, what they have gained by leaving, what would prompt them to return, etc., and then to take steps to administer the correct remedies. Debate in recent months in all parts of the Empire regarding the future of the Commonwealth, especially on the subject of interrelationship between the different component parts and as to their dealings with international affairs. The result of a majority of sentiment that the Empire as an organism is of immense value to the peoples which compose it, a prime factor for peace, order and freedom in the whole world, and that its dissolution would benefit neither its members nor the world at large. Reasons why the formation of Empire Clubs throughout Canada, and indeed throughout the Empire, is a very vital need of the day. A list of six possibilities and great rewards to be gained of both a spiritual and a material nature in the united efforts of our Empire and of our Commonwealth of nations acting together.
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- 26 Oct 1926
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- Full Text
- ADDRESS TO WINNIPEG UNIT
AN ADDRESS BY COLONEL A. E. KIRKPATRICK
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Winnipeg Unit, October 26, 1926.
The Empire Club of Canada was founded in Toronto in 1903, and its growth, while at first was slow, was sure, with a steady increase in membership from year to year. The Club adopted as its motto, the words, " Canada and a United Empire, " which motto, in itself denotes in the fewest possible words the aims and objects of the organization.
During the years that have passed since then, many men of note have directed its affairs, and I naturally felt great pride when the honour came to me at the beginning of 1926, of being chosen as its directing head for the ensuing year.
I am also extremely happy that in Winnipeg--the great city of the rolling plains of Western Canada--there should have been established this year, a branch of this organization, where a worthy band of loyal men have banded themselves together in the splendid work of holding Canada as an integral part of the British Empire. Winnipeg's future is wrapt up in the development of our Western plains, and anyone who has crossed these plains from East to West and from West to East can understand the astonishment with which travellers from other lands view with wonder what has been accomplished. And when one for days and nights traverses these almost boundless fertile plains and notes the types of peoples--scattered sparsely as yet throughout the land--splendid young men, young women and children, one can well understand the enthusiasm of the famous English baby specialist, Prof. Saleeby, who, after careful observation, has stated that the pure air and the environment of the wide open places is producing physical types--and with it will produce in natural course of time, mental types--which will furnish a manhood and a womanhood probably the best the world has ever produced.
Chancellor Brown of Christchurch University, New Zealand, a recent visitor to Canada, and a famous anthropologist, goes so far as to say that even as today the Northern States dominate intellectually and physically the Southern States, so in course of time will the stern but matchless climate of Canada develop such a hearty type of manhood, such a strong type of national character that it inevitably predestines Canada and her people to the dominating position of this Continent in a measurable period of time.
No one can definitely state how many of our young men and women have emigrated from Canada to the United States in the last few years, but certain it is that we have lost many more than we should have, and, for years past, the question has been asked repeatedly by people in all parts of Canada--why is it that these young people have been willing to sell their birthright for a mess of pottage? Is it not possible that there may be something wrong with our educational system? Is it not possible that we are taking our loyalty and love of the soil too much for granted? Is it not possible that in a new country such as this, direct, determined and continuous effort should be carried on from the child's youngest days to instill into him love of the country, love of our history and traditions, and so root them to the soil of Canada that they would prefer to stay here at almost any cost in order to assist in building up this country.
Think of what Canada would be today, if we had even three-quarters of the men and women who have left Canada for the United States alone, still here in Canada working to develop this country. I have questioned many young people, among them some new Canadians, who came here as children and received their education here and them emigrated to the United States, and the opinion I have formed is, that there is a decided weakness in our educational system and that they are not taught patriotism and love of country, to anything like the extent that they should be. Of course, that is only my opinion--it may be wrong--but there is not the slightest_ reason in the world why we should not find out, and I would suggest that the Prime Minister of each Province in Canada form a Commission representing the church, agriculture, business and finance, with probably an able young lawyer as Secretary, and immediately proceed to get in touch with expatriated Canadians of all ages from youth to past middle age--secure their present addresses--get into correspondence with them and send them a questionnaire, asking their advice and opinion as to what the guiding motives were, which prompted them to leave the country and their advice as to the cure. Such a Commission could prepare a questionnaire, which would bring out very pertinent answers as to matters of youthful education and patriotism--what they have gained by their change of residence--what they have lost--and how they could be attracted to return to Canada, which needs them. Has their progress socially, physically and financially, been such as to warrant the loss to them and to their children and their children's children, of their Canadian and Imperial nationality. Let us at least endeavour to find out scientifically, as I believe, undoubtedly, it is possible, what are the causes, what are the difficulties--and then take determined steps to administer the correct remedies.
In recent months, there has been a great deal of debating in all parts of the Empire regarding the future of the Commonwealth, especially on the subject of interrelationship between the different component parts and as to their dealings with international affairs. One result of this discussion and interchange of views brings a welcome note very much to the forefront in that the majority of sentiment in all parts of the Commonwealth is just as convinced today as ever before, or as it was during the war--that the Empire as an organism is of immense value to the peoples which compose it. It is a prime factor for peace, order and freedom in the whole world and its dissolution would benefit neither its members nor the world at large.
This discussion has made it perfectly plain that our Dominion reserves the right to its own Parliament to decide its action on international affairs. There are--and must be--differences of opinion between Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and other parts of the Empire on points of a special interest to each, but there is one fundamental thought which seems everywhere to be paramount, and that is, that the various Parliaments of the Commonwealth only can speak effectively or bind the nations which elect them.
Parliament in Canada, as also in the other nations of the Empire, is simply the reflection or interpretation of the thoughts of the mass of the electors of the nations. Public opinion expresses its concentrated beliefs and desired actions in regard to public affairs, on the floor of the House, and it is there that public opinion resolves, itself into action--into legislation--which works for the weal or woe of our country's future.
There have been in the past--there are still--there probably always will be--malign subversive influences at work, which have sought--still endeavour--and will continue to seek to disrupt the Empire in the endeavour to guide Canada toward other destinies than the great one mapped out for us by our forefathers and still faithfully followed, I believe, by the bulk of the best thinking minds in our land. This is only one of many reasons why the formation of Empire Clubs throughout Canada--and indeed throughout the Empire--is a very vital need of the day.
" In union there is strength" is an indisputable maxim, and in the united efforts of our Empire and of our Commonwealth of nations acting together, I see wonderful potentialities. There are vast possiblities and great rewards to be gained of both a spiritual and a material nature.
FIRST: In religion--fully one half of the people in the world have not yet had the Gospel of Christ brought to them. His words were plain, direct--"Go ye, into all the world and preach the Gospel to all people." I think I am right in my conviction that the Mother country and her children have at least excelled the rest of the world combined in the effort to carry out that command, and has been and will be blessed accordingly. Joint effort will far surpass individual and scattered effort in this regard.
SECOND: Taken individually, the different parts of the Empire--working for themselves and for the whole have accomplished tremendous things. England gave the world transportation and penny postage--Canada gave the telephone and hydro electric development--India, Africa and Canada the science of Government of mixed races and creeds--and each section of the Empire is rapidly unveiling different mysteries of science--each year disseminated throughout the Empire by the British Association.
THIRD: The constant interchange of the thoughts of the best medical men of the Empire coupled with post graduate work in the old land in medicine and surgery and the extremely high ethical standard of the medical Men of the Empire form a united front engaged in the task of combating diseases and helping the world at large.
FOURTH: Civilizing influence--In liberty of conscience, in liberty of speech, in liberty of person, in the freeing of the slaves, in the suppression of the slave trade, in which the Motherland has always stood in the forefront, and which in her children has produced a more powerful love of liberty and through their efforts a greater spirit of civilization--we find that under our flag there is a higher respect of law and order than under any other flag that has flown.
FIFTH: Speaking of more material things--the British Empire contains within itself almost every known or required material, food, and every necessity for development that it requires. It embraces a larger part of the world's surface and more variety in climate, and is richer in resources and products, with a larger aggregate population than any other economic unit that could be created. Even if the Empire were entirely cut off from the rest of the world, we, within the Empire, could still be independent, as we have potentialities to serve generations for centuries. Much progress has already been made in Empire preference, but does anyone believe that the full potential value of the unity of Empire has been reached or even approached? Those who think in terms of Empire know that trade possibilities within the Empire are only in their infancy and should ultimately develop to an enormous proportion, bringing great wealth to the peoples who compose it.
SIXTH: Strength--It needs but a few words on this important point, the facts are so entirely self-evident that the old saying "United we stand, divided we fall" never had greater significance than with us. Wherever a Canadian, Australian, South African, New Zealander, Irishman, or whatever he might be, may go, he is a British subject entitled to that respect that a Britisher is expected to receive anywhere, protected by the full force of the armed power of the British Empire on land and sea--something tangible, definite and great, which brings a thrill of pride to each one of us almost daily on our travels abroad.
Meeting as I do, in my frequent trips across this Continent, travelers from various parts of the Empire I am struck with the feeling of "at homeness" that people of the old land, sister dominions and colonies, feel here. And, in our travels abroad, you and I have felt the same feeling, in other parts of the Empire--a feeling of "at homeness."
Is it not something of capital importance in the life of a British subject to be able to travel for countless thousands of miles throughout the length and breadth of the world, to find in greater or lesser superficial area--here-there-everywhere--from the wide-flung spaces of the great dominions to the smallest island colony--havens of rest, where above his head flies the Union Jack, the emblem of liberty--where British law and power protects and where he can proudly say " I am a citizen of the Empire, a sharer in the glories of the past, a partner and participant in its civilizing influence of today, and one of the progenitors of that greater work for the betterment of mankind, the improvement of our civilization," and we hopefully believe one of the greatest of forces for the peace of the future.
We, in the Empire Club, have a great work to do. We create a platform for the dissemination through our addresses, in volume or pamphlet form or through the Press which is far more important--a proper realization of our aspirations, obligations, duties and privileges. We all know the enormous power of propaganda. Can there be any finer propaganda than this: " Canada and a United Empire."
To the men of Winnipeg, I say--even if you cannot be a regular attendant, even if you belong to other organizations--membership in this Club adds a little to our strength, widens our field of endeavour and helps just a little to pay the great debt we owe our ancestors who builded better than they knew. Sir James Craig said, " After middle age, men are apt to look back with regret for lost opportunities for doing good." Members of the Empire Club--we will never regret in later years the time or money spent in the endeavour to keep firm and strong the foundations of the Empire, in helping to hand on to our children, untarnished and intact, the treasure we have inherited.