Page images

so many wives, it is a very bad thing because the family is separated. In Turkey among the Mohammedans there is not what we call the family life. The sultans, who have a number of wives, can afford them, and they give every wife an apartment, and these wives have everything money can buy, and their clothes come from Paris and Berlin. But leave these rich individuals and come to the poor class; they are so ignorant that they go and marry many wives. The man may have a house of six rooms yet go and marry six and seven wives; then he has to give every wife a room in that house. The wives quarrel and fight and there is no real family life.

I have to thank you and I don't know how, so I will keep silent, and you will know what my silence means.



An Address by PROFESSOR KYLIE, Associate Professor of History in the University of Toronto, before the Empire Club of Canada, on April 24, 1913 Mr. President and Gentlemen,

I really did not know until I came here to-day that I was to be a sort of Imperial Friedmann to guard you against all possible diseases, Anti-Imperial or Non-Imperial diseases, or infections. That is a very large order, and I shall in the course of what I have to say be able merely to refer indirectly to some friends of mine who have spoken in this Club on this subject. However, possibly by means of indirect references I may be able to meet some of their arguments.

Is there an Imperial Problem at all?. We are very frequently told that those who are discussing an Imperial Problem are busy-bodies, not to say conspirators, who are always raising trouble when really there should not be any trouble. The Empire has gone on very well and is still going on very well. Is it not much, these people say, as though you approached a passer-by and said to him, “From the very good colour of your face, your very ample figure, I should really conclude that your constitution were undermined.” Well, there is something of course in that objection, but any of us would be perfectly within his rights in going to a friend and saying, "We congratulate you on your very good health and appearance, and we hope in a friendly way that you will take all precautions to ensure the maintenance, the continuance of your good health.” That is all we are doing in this case.

It is also objected at times that the British race has always muddled through with these things and that all will come right in the end if we only wait. This is a false position. I believe that in all periods of British History there have been groups of people making plans, preparing to meet changes in conditions. When these changes have come about, the plans have been ready and everything has gone so smoothly that people say, “What a miracle; no one ever thought of this before.” I think that this view is the correct reading of British History. I think that plans have been so prepared, and have fitted in so smoothly that people have not seen the degree of careful thought which has gone before. In any case, as long as the British Empire lasts, as long as Canada lasts, for that matter, we shall have an Imperial Problem or a Canadian Problem. So, there is no reason why we should not consider it.

The present Imperial Problem takes the form of a defence problem, that is, in outward appearance.

And I think I am safe in saying that most Canadians are today ready to meet that defence problem by putting ships on the sea. I have too much respect for politicians of both parties to think that they could say so much without saying that much, and I think that behind all this discussion the fact is pretty clear, that the people are ready to meet part, at least, of this defence problem by putting ships on the sea. Now, this is a considerable change. There has been a considerable growth of sentiment in Canada within the last two or three years on this subject. The growth has been due, partly at least, to our persistent little friend Mr. Tight-Money, who has been straining at every man's pocket for several months past. There is no doubt that this gentleman has done more than anything else to show Canadians that they are part of the world. They are interested even in what they might have considered before the rather petty quarrels of small European states. We are all in this aggregation of world-interests; in fact Canada has owed its financial existence in a large measure during these last few months to the skill of foreign diplomats, particularly to Sir Edward Grey, who has kept these racial feuds under. I do not think there is anything that has done more to bring Canadian people generally into touch with the financial and political world than this persistent tight money.

But there have been other things at work; the Balkan War, the Mexican Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, all show us that the age of peace, the millennium, has not yet come, that there are a great many belligerents about. We also feel more clearly than we did that Canadians have interests abroad. Perhaps in these very states we may have our own citizens. They must be looked after. The position of the Quebec Nationalists is that they are quite willing to cover Nova Scotia with armour-plate and to fill the St. Lawrence with mines, but they have never shown us what possible use those defences could be to protect the property or the life of a Canadian, say, in Mexico. So, too, the persistence of the Oriental Problem, on the western coast, has lately been brought to the minds of Canadians by this affair in the United States. It is not that we want war with Japan or any of these Eastern peoples. We must go to them and say, “We like you very much. You are a very pleasant people, but you do not mix easily with us; we shall have to ask you to restrict your emigration." Now, they will restrict their emigration, they will accept our restrictions if we are strong enough to enforce them. It is not probable that there will be any war, not at all; a great many of these controversies, as has been pointed out, do not cause war or do not result in war. A balance of forces is maintained which prevents war.

For these and other reasons the fact has been borne in on Canadians, more than was possible in the past, that if a nation in the modern world does not defend itself it must be defended by the balance of power-a very good way this second, and very pleasant for the nation—the balance of power being kept up by the great nations among themselves.

These general considerations, and I cannot go into them at greater length, have been enough to persuade the great body of Canadians that something must be done for defence.

Unfortunately, there seems to be some disagreement as to what the ships should be and where they should be and all the rest of it. I think that underneath that disagreement-and here I come to my real subject—there is a disagreement about policy or control. I do not think that people would-in spite of the tendency of some people to argue and dispute—I do not think that people would dispute so long or so bitterly, if there were not at bottom some difference between their ideas as to control and policy. It becomes evident that when you have ships you must have some control over them, and you must have some policy for them. It is not the primary purpose of ships to run aground or even to be laid up in dock-yards. There must be some brain behind them, as is now understood in Australia. Those who have gone on a short way into the subject have realized that ultimately you must have a policy for your ships. And on this question there has developed a real difference of opinion. I think it is still there. It has been said, for example, that our policy, our foreign policy-for that is what it amounts to—must be controlled in the last analysis by the Dominion Parliament, that the foreign policy of Australia must be controlled by the Australian Parliament, and that there will never be and can never be over these several parliaments a larger or central body, that the Empire will be, as is said, a galaxy of nations. The school holding this opinion is generally called the Co-operation School.

Over against this school is perhaps the school of the Federationists, who say that over these Dominion Parliaments there must ultimately be some common body or common force. This common body will of course shape the policy of the whole. The division between these schools underlies all this discussion. I do not say that opinion as regards the navy falls into these two groups, as many Federationists may support for a time the Canadian Navy. But in this discussion there is at bottom this difference between Co-operationists, and Federationists who are sometimes called Centralists. This is simple enough, but unfortunately for our purpose another circumstance makes the subject much more complex. These two groups are again divided. The Co-operationists include a group which we must call Nationalist Co-operationists, people who are willing to co-operate with the British Nation as long as it suits

« PreviousContinue »