House of Commons, 19 June 1948, Canadian Confederation with Newfoundland

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[...] thing that, rightly or wrongly, either party might regard as making any change prejudicial to it, while the truce is in operation.
Mr. HACKETT: Has Canada sent any personnel to Palestine and, if so, under what conditions?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: No, Canada has sent no personnel to Palestine. So far as I am informed, a very small guard of fifty is being recruited voluntarily from the ordinary staff of the secretariat of the united nations, and I believe that that guard was being flown from New York today. It consists of fifty of the regular personnel of the secretariat of the united nations, who volunteered to act as a token guard to assist the mediator in his undertaking to bring about a settlement there.
Mr. HACKETT: Have any Canadians joined that unit?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: No Canadians have joined that unit. My information is that all but five are United States citizens. Two are French citizens who were in the employ of the united nations at Lake Success; one is of Swedish origin, and another is of Danish origin.
Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario): Do they go as civilians?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: They go as civilians employed by the united nations in a custodial capacity. They were guards of the premises at Flushing Meadows and Lake Success, and they probably went in the uniforms they wore as members of the custodial staff of the secretariat, but about that I am not sure.
Mr. JAQUES: Will those fifty people who are going to Palestine be the nucleus of an international police force?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: I do not know that there is any international police force other than the custodial force the united nations have at Flushing Meadows and Lake Success. They go as bodyguards for the mediator and to assist him in the organization of his office on the island of Rhodes. I think it is for the purpose of bringing together the parties to this dispute and trying to get them to recognize that certain solutions are inevitable and should be accepted without bloodshed.
With respect to the constitution or semi- permanent constitution for the three zones occupied by the forces of the United Kingdom, the United States and France, as I stated some time ago in the house we did not ask to be invited to attend the discussions which took place in London, although we were kept informed of everything that was going on.
The reason we did not insist upon being brought in at that time was our recognition of the fact that if we had been brought in, a great many others would also have been brought in and it might have hampered the negotiations which were taking place for this semi-permanent solution. However, we reserved our position that when the peace treaty was being considered we wished to have a role commensurate with the role we had in carrying on wartime operations.
Mr. HACKETT: I understood that Canada has submitted a. memorandum suggesting a form of government based on the principle of federalism which might be applicable in Trizonia. The suggested form of government differed slightly from that of our own system, in that the component states were to be the residuary legatees of all power, whereas here the dominion is. If my information is accurate, I should like to know whether we submitted that memorandum on our own initiative or upon invitation.
Mr. ST. LAURENT: It was submitted to the officials of six governments participating in the London talks, as a comment upon the information that was 'being communicated to us. We have not published the memorandum we submitted, because we thought that, by doing so, it might further complicate the negotiations which were being held. We had nothing of a serious consequence to comment upon in the drafts that we were receiving as being then under discussion in that meeting.
The hon. member asked when we might expect the Canadian representative on the war criminal court in Japan to return to Canada. I am not able to give the exact date, but I may say I had the privilege of having a long conversation some days ago with Brigadier Nolan, who had acted as Canadian prose— cutor in these trials. He informed me that the trials had been completed and the cases taken under advisement. He told me that the mem— bers of the tribunal would be there only as long as may be required for them to prepare their judgment and reasons for their judgment. I hope that Within weeks Mr. Justice McDougall will be back in Canada. At that time I am sure he will be glad to take up his ordinary duties as a member of the court of appeals of the province of Quebec.
The hon. member asked about Canada's relations with China at the present time. There have been no recent developments in that regard.
Then he asked as to what steps, if any, were being taken with regard to the entry of Newfoundland into confederation. As hon. members know, the first vote was not decisive and 5544Supply-External AffairsCommons the second vote, which will be held on July 22, is to be on two questions only, responsible government and confederation. We have maintained and are maintaining the attitude that, after having made what we consider is a fair offer, it is exclusively the right of the people of Newfoundland to express their acceptance or rejection of that offer. We have been most careful to avoid doing anything that either party might regard as an attempt to influence the votes of the inhabitants of Newfoundland.
Mr. DIEFENBAKER: During the past couple of days I have received a number of representations from Newfoundland in regard to the question to which the minister has just referred. I should like to refer to these and then ask a question. The first representation is in the form of a telegram which was sent to the Hon. the Secretary of State for Commerrial Relations in London, and reads:
The undersigned members of the bar of Newfoundland are of the considered opinion and firmly maintain that the address to His Majesty by the Newfoundland legislature and the Newfoundland Act of 1933 enacted by the British parliament provided specifically that Newfoundland's constitution would be merely suspended and would be restored to the people at their request when the country again became self- supporting. As the national convention has decided that Newfoundland is self-supporting, therefore only two forms of government can be considered and submitted to the people in the referendum, namely, responsible government and commission government.
That was signed by what I am informed is a majority of the members of the bar there. Today I received a telegram which I should like to bring to the attention of the minister. This reads:
Forwarding information King stated Newfoundland should "indicate clearly and beyond all possibility of misunderstanding their will to become a province."
This telegram then asks if 50 per cent of total electorate or 70 per cent, of vote cast would be considered sufficient on the part of the government of Canada to warrant their accepting Newfoundland's application to join the Dominion of Canada. At what point will the government consider that the Newfoundland authorities and the people as a whole desire to be included within the Canadian confederation ?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: Mr. Chairman, I cannot say anything that would be binding in that regard. I do not think the government of Canada will attempt to examine the various representations that may be made to the commonwealth relations office or that may be made to others.
There was received from the Governor of Newfoundland a communication asking us to receive a delegation from the national convention and then submit such conditions as we would consider fair for the entry of Newfoundland into Canada. Those conditions were submitted. If the authorities recognized as speaking for Newfoundland report that the people of Newfoundland wish to join Canada on the conditions expressed» in the proposals that were submitted, it will then, I think, be the responsibility of the government to bring to parliament a recommendation that those conditions be made available to Newfoundland, and it will be for the commission of government or the parliament of the United Kingdom under which that commission of government functions to complete the arrangements, which will in my view no doubt require legislation by the parliament of the United Kingdom and possibly also by the Canadian parliament.
Mr. DIEFENBAKER: It would require legislation by the Canadian parliament to be consummated?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: It would require action by the Canadian parliament. I do not think this government or any other government would venture to consummate a thing of such magnitude without having it decided by the parliament of Canada. It will be the responsibility of the government to make a recommendation to parliament, and the government, of course, will have to accept responsibility for the acceptance or the rejection by parliament of its recommendation. But the government will not attempt to say that it could complete the union without the approbation of parliament.
Mr. DIEFENBAKER: Would the minister not say it would require an almost overwhelming vote of the people of Newfoundland in order to justify Newfoundland being joined to Canada?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: The degree to which the consent of the population of Newfoundland would require to be expressed would have to be appraised by those who are responsible at the present time for Newfoundland affairs. If the government of Newfoundland, having consulted the population, represented to us that the population wished confederation to be consummated I think we would not go behind that declaration to examine to what extent they were justified in making such a representation.
At the present time the constitution of Newfoundland is still suspended, and it is the parliament of the United Kingdom that has legislative jurisdiction over Newfoundland. It JUNE 19, 1948Supply-External Affairs 5545 exercises that through a commission of government, but it is under the legislative jurisdiction of the parliament at Westminster and I do not think the British government or the British parliament would act in a manner that it did not feel was proper in the interests of the inhabitants of Newfoundland, after consulting them in these two plebiscites.
Mr. HACKETT: I understand that the government might wish that a statute express the will of parliament on granting to Newfoundland access to the dominion. Does that mean that the minister considers that the provision in the British North America Act concerning the admission of Newfoundland into confederation is but a power to be exercised in the ordinary way, that is, by legislation enacted by parliament. I do not recall the exact words of the British North America Act, but it contains a provision which anticipates the possibility of Newfoundland becoming a province of Canada, and my query is: Does the minister consider that enactment merely as a power which parliament may exercise, or is it something more than that which would only require executive action to carry the admission into effect?
Mr. POULIOT: What difference does it make?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: It makes a difference as to the proper procedure to bring it about. The British North America Act contemplated that there might be union between Canada and Newfoundland on a joint address of the houses of parliament of Canada and the legislature of Newfoundland. That principle could be resorted to; but it would require, in order to be resorted to, the restoration of self- government in Newfoundland, and then joint addresses under the terms of section 146 of the British North America Act. On those joint addresses, union could be consummated by order of His Majesty in council without legislation in the parliament at Westminster or legislation in the parliament of Canada. But if that method is not. resorted to, the matter is not expressly provided for and would have to be accomplished by new legislation that could, I suppose, be adopted only by the parliament at Westminster if there were joint addresses from the houses of the Canadian parliament asking that it be done. The parliament at Westminster amends the British North America Act and makes provision with respect to Canada, but only on the request of the houses of the Canadian parliament; and that could probably be the method adopted. The one provided for in the British North America Act would require, as a condition precedent, that self-government be restored to Newfoundland, that a legislature be elected in Newfoundland and that there be an address from that legislature as well as from the Canadian parliament for an order in council.
Mr. HACKETT: I had a little difficulty in following the minister when he seemed to consider the disability of Newfoundland as creating a disability in Canada. I readily understand that the government might wish to pass a statute. I understand that, but I was not certain whether or not it would be necessary in order effectively to carry out the union to do more than pass addresses in Canada; it, of course, being necessary that Newfoundland, in view of the suspension of parliamentary life there, go to Westminster for the authorization which results—I do not say this in any disrespectful way—from its temporary tutelage.
Mr. ST. LAURENT: I think the hon. member is technically right. that it would be sufficient to justify legislation by the parliament at Westminster placing Newfoundland within Canada to have addresses from the houses of parliament in Canada, and the agreement of Newfoundland to the legislation would be a matter that would be the responsibility of the parliament at Westminster.
Mr. DIEFENBAKER: One question arises from that. Has the minister given consideration to the Newfoundland Act of 1934? A perusal of that act would indicate that the United Kingdom pledged itself to restore self- government there at any time that Newfoundland became self-supporting. In view of the section of the British North America Act which the minister has just read, and having regard to the Newfoundland Act of 1934 that self-government is to be restored in Newfoundland, would it not be a condition precedent before confederation between the nine provinces of Canada and Newfoundland could be consummated?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: No, I do not think so. I think all we have to do is to look after our responsibility, and leave it to those who have constitutional responsibility for the fate of Newfoundland to ascertain whether they are fulfilling their obligations, whether the obligations arise out of the Newfoundland Act or otherwise. I think we can in perfect confidence leave it to the Newfoundland and British authorities to clear everything required on their side to enable a proper union to be consummated.
Mr. DIEFENBAKER: Has the minister received any representations from Newfound— land, or the peOple of Newfoundland or any group in that country, against any action on the part of Canada?
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Mr. ST. LAURENT: The department would, of course, receive courteously and file anything that would come from any group in Newfoundland, but the department would not act on anything that does not come from those who have the constitutional responsibil— ity for the government of Newfoundland at the present time.
Mr. MacINNIS: With noted lawyers on my right, I was wondering, since the position is now that a referendum is to be taken on two questions—union with Canada or responsible government—if the vote decides for union with Canada it decides against responsible government. Surely the United Kingdom would not then insist that Newfoundland should have responsible government before it could have union with Canada. It seems to me that the question we are discussing is purely academic.
Mr. DIEFENBAKER: It is not academic so far as the people there are concerned.
Mr. MacINNIS: But the people there are going to decide. If they decide by whatever majority they do decide I do not think Canada can say to the authorities in Newfoundland or to the authorities in the United Kingdom, if they should be acting for Newfoundland, that we cannot accept Newfoundland as a province because the decision of the people has not been decisive enough. I claim that this discussion is purely academic until such time as the referendum is taken and we begin to work it out. Certainly we cannot do anything about it tonight.
Mr. CHURCH: I wish to say something on the administration item.
The CHAIRMAN: Order. The discussion is on Newfoundland. We should try to complete that discussion before discussing other subjects. If the hon. member is to speak on Newfoundland it will be proper for him to speak now. If not, would he mind waiting until we have exhausted the discussion on this subject?
Mr. CHURCH: I do not wish to be here all evening waiting for others to speak. I have made a study of this question since I came here in 1921, and am not like some of the amateur diplomats who are now appearing on the scene. I have been following this situation for many years past. I want to find out from the Secretary of State for External Affairs what is or What is not the policy of the government at the present time regarding foreign affairs. We may have an invasion just like a thief in the night, the way it came at Pearl Harbor. What are you going to do about it? There is no use in our pretending that we are a first-class power when we are not. I have never been at one of those UNO conventions because I do not believe in them.
In his opening address this session, the minister said that the foreign policy of Canada was wrapped up exclusively with the UNO. That is the present policy of the government. There is no use in our pretending that we can rely on such agencies any longer. That was shown by the action of Gottwald regarding Czechoslovakia in the deposing of the late president. It shocked the whole human world, and shows us the grave danger we are in. What is this famous UNO in which the minister has confidence? We used to have an empire parlia— mentary association. They safeguarded our interests so far as foreign affairs were concerned. They forgot all about the empire and became pan—American. We are not a first-class power. We have had two wars to teach us that lesson. You have had this second UNO league of nations. We had the first league of nations on which this country expended nearly $5,000,000 in sending deputations over to Geneva. They built buildings costing fabulous sums of money, millions of dollars in Switzerland and Geneva, and, after that was done, it was found that it was a hollow mockery, a sham and a humbug, and drove us into a second war.
There was not a newspaper in the country except one or two which had three or four lines about the collapse of Geneva, and- the buildings there are wasted. We sent these deputations over there, which was supposed to be a consolation prize for those members of the government and others to have a little side trip after the session was over. My hon. friends to the left believed in it. My hon. friends to the left, away back in 1938, six months after Munich, right up to the opening of the war years, asked what was the use of depending on Glasgow and London for defence, when we would get all the defence we wanted in Washington; but we had a rude awakening in 1939.
The second war was caused by whom? It was caused by the very people in England, in Canada and in the other dominions who were members of What they called this league of nations society, which we are now recommending for a $5,000 grant, consisting of wellmeaning highbrows, parlour pinks, professors, and; others. Britain will come to life again in Canada. There is no use in our depending on any such agencies as UNO and similar societies. It was the proposal of the late great president of the United States to bring Geneva to San Francisco, and New York to Lake Success. Now the congress at Washington wishes to get rid of the UNO. Congress wants JUNE 19, 1948 Supply-External Affairs 5547 to get it out of the country. Next week a Republican convention is to be held in Philadelphia for the purpose of selecting a candidate for the presidency. Opinions were expressed in congress in favour of getting the UNO out of the country. The second world war had hardly ended when people started their efforts once more to establish a second league of nations, now known as UNO. There was, as everyone knows, a great gathering at San Francisco, and we had our own ambassadors there, ambassadors from our own party and others. They were there trying to learn diplomacy in a day, just like this magnificent institution. that the minister has at the present time at Lake Success.
The government has been spending vast sums of money on this UNO institution. It has gone up to nearly $10,000,000, there being an increase this year of $1,074,974 for salaries alone, or a salary total of $5,083,082. Just imagine that! And What did they do at San Francisco? They divided the nations into powers, large and small, and our own representatives were there and agreed to give the Big Five a veto power. Foreign affairs will always be a political issue in this country. It always has been and it is a blessing that it has, instead of a non-party one, by giving a few a trip to such farces as Lake Success. Canada's policy in foreign affairs is the UNO, and "Let us pretend".
In the first war we were not prepared, and yet a million men went from the dominions to participate in the first war. They went under the individual sovereignty status and autonomy of every dominion, and of those men 130,000 fell on the field of battle. Those men enlisted and died of their own volition, and the men of the dominions repeated it in the second war in five times the number. But in the period between the two wars another organization was started up. Efforts of this kind in league of nations societies or peace societies have been a failure for 100 years or more. We remember the concert of Europe from 1815 to 1823, when Russia, Prussia, and Austria formed what was known as the Holy Alliance. They were going to survey conditions in Europe every five years and when war seemed- imminent they would endeavour to bring about peace. It was such a humbug that a great prime minister, George Canning, proposed that Britain get out of Europe altogether. It simply led to the Monroe doctrine. The Holy Alliance lasted from 1815 to 1823 and culminated in what has come to be known as the Monroe doctrine. What was that doctrine? In a word, Mr. Chairman, it was nothing more than the supremacy of Britain on the seas. And that is what has maintained the peace of the world for 100 years from 1815 to the great war of 1914— British supremacy on the seas.
There has been talk, since the end of the second war, about a new UNO, and they have opened up in New York, at Lake Success after San Francisco. They have opened up another agency there, and two of the principal supporters and boosters of UNO, the London Economist and the London Times, have been compelled to say recently it has been a disappointment and a failure, and to demand an end of it.
The fact is that there is no use in our depending on that organization any longer. Are we going to spend another $10,000,000 this year on that organization? What is the use of deceiving ourselves? Why cherish the delusion that UNO can keep the peace? We are as close to war as Churchill has said, as Truman has said, as General Bradley, before the congress committee at Washington, has said, and as the admiral of the fleet at Washington said not so long ago. We are as close to war today as we were in August 1939. We are back where we were then. Conditions have not changed a particle. There is no use in pretending that we can depend for peace on any such agency as the united nations organization at Lake Success. I call it a Lake Failure.
I have been trying to find out what the foreign policy of this country is and I am bound to say that I have failed in the attempt. We have no foreign policy and we never did have one. The foreign policy the minister announced earlier in the session was simply dependence upon the united nations organization. That was the cornerstone of our policy, and if it is the cornerstone of that policy, then I regret to say that I fear invasion. We did nothing to encourage parliamentary association within the empire. We tried to bring on a debate in the spring of 1947 regarding the scuttling of the empire. The empire has been cut to pieces. We have seen what happened in Egypt. We lost our lifeline in the Mediterranean; we lost the Suez canal. And there is Palestine. I will say nothing about that tonight, because we all know what the situation there is.
I repeat, Mr. Chairman, this government has no foreign policy and never did have one; neither did our delegates to the UNO in New York have a policy. Not a soldier was to be sent by Canada or the United States to fight in Palestine. What is the use of Trygve Lie and all his works at the UNO? This second league of nations has tried many agencies, and what does Trygve Lie say about it all?
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In my opinion we are simply wasting the people's money at Lake Success. We are throwing $10,000,000 into the sink-hole.
The situation in the Atlantic today is dangerous. The British government, Canada consenting, gave up all its bases from Newfoundland to British Guiana to the United States for ninety—nine years. I pointed out at the time what the result of that would be. I pointed out the eflect it would have upon Newfoundland's joining confederation, and my predictions have been justified. What was that lease for? It was a 99-year lease, practically a freehold lease, entered into for a consideration that proved of very little practical value. The lease should have been cancelled long ago and charged up to lend-lease. It was entered into in the darkest days of the battle of the Atlantic, and in return for that lease Britain was given some fifty old, out-of-date ships. Many of them had to go into dry dock, being of no use. Others had no coal. Then Pearl Harbor broke and we got a lesson, and Canada was nearly invaded.
I have been talking about a foreign policy. The United States has never had a foreign policy any more than we have had. For 100 years it has been without such a policy. Its foreign policy was that of Andrew Jackson, George Washington and Madison. And what was the essence of that policy? Simply this: no foreign entanglement unless the shores of America are invaded. When the United States fought the Spanish-American war in 1898 that was the ground they took. Afterwards they wanted to abandon Manila. Our foreign policy now is to depend upon the league of nations at UNO and that we have no commitments; we simply yet take the attitude that "Parliament will decide" if war comes. That attitude, as I have pointed out before, has led to the scuttling of the British empire during the past two years. Britain, together with the dominions, stood' alone for two and a half, nearly three years, from 1939 to 1942, against the mighty forces of the enemy, and if the war was to have been lost, then surely it would have been lost in those three years, before aid came. But Britain weathered the storm. If Britain and the dominions do not hang together there is little hope for peace so far as the British empire is concerned.
But not only have bases been given up in the Atlantic; we have given up bases in our own country, Canada, to the United States. Why, I do not know. Surely the United States have enough to do to look after their own country. We have a great ally in the country to the south of us. The Anglo-Saxon race, the British peoples and those of the United States, are the hope of the world for peace in the future; but they must be up and doing, because we are living in an armed world in which there has been no peace and in which there is no real peace now. This will prove to have been a forty-year war before it is all over, from 1914 to 1954. Let us not talk about peace when there is no peace. Look at the situation in India where millions of people are left to be massacred. Look at the situation in Palestine. Look at the Suez. And we know what the consequences were from the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Thousands of men in the Russian satellite countries in the Balkans and eastern Europe are being put to work on dry docks and more are sent to the Arctic circle as slaves from Russia's satellite states. It is impossible to find out from the united nations organization how many people are so treated. No one can find out anything about them, so what use is the UNO? Roumania is gone; the Balkans are gone and all that kind of thing. I am far from satisfied with what has been done in the British corridor over in Germany. Canada has no say over there. We are just a. minor power. We consented to be a minor power at San Francisco when the Big Five insisted on and obtained the veto power and all that kind of thing. You will have nothing to say about the peace plans whereas, if you had hung together with the mother country, you would have something to say about them. The situation in South Africa is hopeless. There are those in this house—and I have never been one of them—who speak in eulogy of the late prime minister, Lieutenant General Smuts, of South Africa. He is a republican. He has all along wanted to set up a republic in South Africa. He has always been against having a British governor general, and would not give the ballot to the black troops who marched across the desert with Alexander and Montgomery. He was one of the cabinet of the pro-Germans there before world war II. He also signed the charter of the league of nations. Yet he says now the UNO have no power and no jurisdiction over the colonies.
No country in the world is going to give up its control of its own affairs or sovereignty to any foreign power or any foreign body like the UNO, unless the country is so small or has such poor defences that it could be captured in any event. Who is going to give up his sovereignty? Are we in Canada to do that? One of the minister's deputies went away down to Lake Success and Washington. He has been making some speeches and he is in favour of giving up sovereignty over our bases in Canada to the UNO. Where would we have been in the first war if Britain had given up these bases at the Cape, at Gibraltar, at Suez, or at Hong Kong to a foreign country JUNE 19, 1948 Supply—External Affairs5549 or a league of nations? We would have had to remain neutral also in the first and second wars and we would have lost both wars. That is what giving up bases would have meant. Yet we have mischievous representatives away down at the UNO at Lake Success telling us to give up our sovereignty and to let foreign powers establish bases here in Canada and to let them keep the bases they have.
I think that is about all I have to say about that, but there is another point I wish to mention. The minister has referred to the situation in the Suez, in Palestine, in Germany, in China and in India. It is a tragedy. Wait till history is written about the situation in India and all these places. Britain maintained peace, justice and freedom in India for over one hundred years. She did the same thing in Palestine. She took a mandate there. As I said the other evening in the house, there are about eighteen powers claiming a say in the Palestine situation. The Arabs have been there for hundreds of years. Turkey had it. When the first war broke out, Turkey was opposed to us. The Arabs had it. Egypt had it. Rome had it. Persia had it. Greece had it. Syria had it. All these nations have ruled Palestine.
A great mistake was made in what was done at the close of the last war, after General Allenby marched into Palestine. I was on the same platform when he spoke at the exhibition a few years ago and explained the situation. If you are depending on the UNO, you are depending on something that does not exist. It has no defence force. Who is going to be in a defence force to go to Palestine in a situation like that? If you read the articles in the papers and know the truth about it, you will realize the situation.
Wait till the truth is known about the scuttling of the empire in India and the Suez, giving up the whole lifeline through the Mediterranean to a foreign power and the UNO, so that we have no control at all over the Mediterranean. If war came, the enemy could come down through the Red sea and right across into Canada in about half a day. I can tell you this: We are just pretending. What is being done in Germany? Nothing. In Japan the situation is the same. China is on the verge of civil war.
What are we going to do about the title of the king? It is not divisible, in my opinion. We have had legal authority for that. The king is now king of Canada, but no longer is he emperor of India. The scuttling and the dissolution of the British empire have gone on. A large body of public opinion in this country thinks the same way as I do about the state of affairs.
Canada, which was first in the diamond jubilee procession, is today nowhere. We have no foreign policy except that of the UNO, a sham organization, with the extravagance of the external affairs department that goes on down there, $9,000,000 or $10,000,000 being spent in this work, and no security at all. If you look over the estimates you find that thousands and tens of thousands of dollars are just wasted in administrative offices.
Just recently in the city of Toronto we had a trade exhibition to which came people from the seven seas. It was magnificent to see what these trade agents had done the world over, long before we ever had this magnificent organization of ambassadors and consuls general. Wait till the return is brought down for the travelling expenses. Here is a new group of seven or eight of the health department now on the ship bound for Geneva. Several hundred thousand dollars are being spent in one department on travelling expenses. When it is all added up it amounts to $1,000,000, $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 for Canada's travelling expenses. Canada, a small nation with ten or eleven million people, cannot stand that any longer.
There should have been a conference of Britain and the dominions long ago. Mr. Curtin and Mr. Fraser from New Zealand and Australia, from where the Deputy Speaker is now sitting, addressed this house. They wanted to have an empire conference like the ones we used to have every ten years, to take up questions of trade, defence and migration. Sir Wilfrid Laurier had one while he was in power. He proposed a policy for this country that when Britain was at war, Canada was at war also. That was the policy we had in two wars. I have referred to the first war when a million men went voluntarily, under their own status and autonomy, and 130,000 fell. In the second war the situation was the same, except that ten times the number went. That was the policy : when Britain is at war, Canada is at war. If we go into a third war I venture to say the policy will be the same.
Are we to wait until the enemy sails up the St. Lawrence? They were pretty close to it the last time, in 1943, 1944 and 1945. They were up to the St. Lawrence when a secret meeting was held in this chamber in the second war, and they came up fairly far. Thousands of us, if not the whole House of Commons, might have been carted away overseas. They got a long distance up the St. Lawrence. Are we to wait until that happens again? I say no. The way to avoid it is to pretend no longer. There is no use in spending any dollars on the UNO at Lake Success. As I have said before, if they would only close up for about a year, and Canada 5550 Supply—External Affairs COMMONS get out of it altogether, we would be better off and have a chance of peace and security. ERP or the Marshall plan is just a blueprint. As the Archbishop of Canterbury said the other day in England, he was greatly disappointed in Lake Success and the way the empire had been dissolved. I quoted his remarks in the house the other night and I will not do so again.
I am absolutely opposed to the policy of this government on foreign affairs. I believe that this item should be reduced to reasonable proportions, to about $1,000,000 a year. That would be plenty to spend on such agencies as are now proposed, because you have no foreign policy except the UNO. That is the cornerstone of it. What has the UNO done? It has just dissolved the whole British empire. They want us to give up our bases on the seven seas. If we do so, you know what will happen. We shall have the enemy out here. Owing to this league of nations, we lost two of our great allies in the first war. In the second war you have lost one of them already. I can tell you this, that if you just keep on pretending for another year we shall be just as close to war as we were in 1939, when the second war broke out.
Mr. ST. LAURENT: I believe I had the floor, but I took my seat to allow the hon. member to ask a question—and with the result the committee has seen. However I am quite willing to sit down again if the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario wishes to ask a question—because I hope it will be a question.
Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario): It will be a question, and one in regard to Newfoundland—which I take it we can now return to. I wish to ask this question on the point made by the minister as to the constitutional position. I understand that position clearly, and I would ask another question, which, it seems to me, is relevant.
Supposing in fact that the constitutional requirements the minister has outlined are complied with, but that nevertheless we know there is a strong minority—perhaps almost half the people in Newfoundland— who are opposed to any union with us; in the minister's opinion would that be a matter of indifference to us?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: No, I do not think it would be a, matter of indifference to us. But. we have made an offer to the consti— tuted authorities of Newfoundland, and I do not think we could back away from that offer if the constituted authorities came to us and said, "The majority in Newfoundland want confederation." Of course this parliament might be disposed to say there is not such a decisive majority, in spite of the statement made by the constituted authorities, as would require or justify the carrying out of the offer we made.
My own personal view with respect to these negotiations has been that it would be a serious responsibility to do or say anything which would prevent the entry of Newfoundland into Canada. I may be an optimist, but I do believe that the Canadian nation is destined to occupy an important place in world affairs. I do believe, further, that that place in world affairs would be better preserved by a territory which extended right out to the broad ocean and if access thereto was not closed to Canada by another sovereignty over the territories of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Because of that attitude, we made offers which would involve quite costly requirements from the Canadian people at the present time. But I think we would have been remiss in our duty to future generations of Canadians not to have done so. That offer having been made, if there is a desire on the part of the people of Newfoundland to accept it, I think the government will be disposed to recommend to parliament that it be implemented.
It might be that there would come about in Newfoundland a division of opinion that would show that the time was not ripe for union to take place, and that it would not be easy to have it work satisfactorily in what would then be a new province. That is something which I hope we shall not have to face, and about which I would prefer not to have to express any views, unless we do have to face it. I hope there will be a clear- cut decision in this second vote. I hope it will not be so close as to leave us in the embarrassing position of having to take in a large group of recalcitrants, or having to renounce the opportunity of completing what the fathers of confederation originally intended.
Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario): One further supplementary question, if I may. I did not understand the minister to say— at least I hope I did not—that by our action we have put it beyond our .power to go back if, in fact, there is now a legal acceptance, legally given to Newfoundland, but with a strong and large dissenting minority.
Mr. ST. LAURENT: That matter would be one which would have to be faced in a statesmanlike manner by the authorities in the United Kingdom and those in Canada. They are the ones who have legal jurisdiction. I am reminded of the view I expressed about demo JUNE 19, 1948 Supply-External Affairs 5551 cracy. In a democracy the will of the majority must prevail; but a majority should not impose a decision that is not in the real interests of the community, or without giving careful consideration to the views of the minority and the reasons for those views. And I think that when the time comes for a decision as to whether this will he proceeded with or not, the Canadian government and the United Kingdom government will have to take into consideration the facts as they will have appeared from the vote of the people of Newfoundland.
Then the hon. member for Stanstead asked me to deal with two or three other questions, one of which had to do with the St. Lawrence seaway. Members of the committee will recall that the basic agreement was signed in March, 1941, was referred to the senate committee on foreign affairs in the United States, and favourably reported upon this year. But it was recommitted to the committee on foreign affairs by a vote in the senate of the United States on February 27, 1948. That was a vote of fifty-seven to thirty. It is therefore not being proceeded with expeditiously by the United States senate.
There have been reports in the newspapers as to the desire of Ontario and the state of New York to proceed with certain power developments; but there have been no official communications to the government of Canada in that regard and, so far as I know, no application to the international joint commission with respect thereto. There is nothing I can communicate to the committee beyond the information I have obtained from the reading of reports in the newspapers.
Then the hon. member asked me about the royal style and titles. As hon. members will recall, an act of this parliament was passed last year expressing the acquiescence of Canada in the dropping from the royal style and titles of the words, "Emperor of India". We are informed that a proclamation will be issued by His Majesty fixing June 22 as the date from which those words will be dropped from the royal style and titles in the United Kingdom, and the governor in council has adopted a minute of council to have a notice to that effect published in the official gazette, when we get confirmation that that is the date to be acted upon in the United Kingdom.
The hon. member asked if there had been any changes in our relations with the South African government since the election. There have been no changes.
Then he asked what has been done toward building up our relations with western Europe and other members of the commonwealth. There has been nothing accomplished, but what we have been doing was recently reported in the Ottawa Journal as a crusade by Canada for the completion of a western union or north Atlantic regional pact. I think that title, of course, perhaps justly describes the attitude we have adopted. We feel that, should war break out that affected the United Kingdom and the United States, we would inevitably be involved and that there might be great value in having consummated a regional pact whereby these western European countries, the United Kingdom and the United States and ourselves, would guarantee each other's security.
We had hoped that the united nations would guarantee the security of all of us, but that has not been accomplished, and we think there would be value in a regional pact whereby these western European democracies, the United Kingdom, the United States and ourselves agreed to stand together, to pool for defence purposes our respective potentials and coordinate right away our forces, so that it would appear to any possible aggressor that he would have to be prepared to overcome us all if he attempted any aggression.
We do not think a pact that did not include those major powers would be sufliciently impressive to require us to be a party to it. We think this western union is a good thing, but our adhesion to it without the United States would add very little to it. We are hopeful that it will develop into something which will comprise the United States along with those who are already members, and in that event we think the people of Canada would wish that we also be associated with it, not because we want to assert domination over anyone, but because we realize that if the group in this regional pact became involved in war we would necessarily be involved with them.
That is something that the people of Canada might prefer to avoid, but it is something which they could not avoid even if they wished to. That being so, if there is any value in preparedness we think the people of Canada would be glad to see us making that preparation in a co-ordinated fashion with others whose way of life is the same as ours and whose security is part of our own security. That has not proceeded very far, although there has been the adoption by an overwhelming majority in the United States senate of Senator Vandenberg's resolution recommending the setting up of such a. security group.
The hon. member asked what our relations were with the members of the commonwealth. Our relations with the members of the commonwealth revolve around the United Kingdom as being the pivot of the commonwealth. We do not think anything that the United [...]


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1875-1949. Provided by the Library of Parliament.



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