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fundamental conditions on which our Empire has
been built up and carried on. All those who had the opportunity of hearing Sir George Reid, the Australian High Commissioner, speak on the question of our Imperial relations will recall with what clearness and force he pointed out the difficulties in the way of any such new Imperial organization with power to exercise control over the whole Empire. Such a proposal would not be entertained at the present time by the free nations of the Empire.
(3) The Committee of Imperial Defence In view of the proposal now being made that a representative of Canada should have a seat on the Committee of Imperial Defence, it is of interest to consider the personnel, character, and the power of this Committee.
The Committee of Imperial Defence consists of the Prime Minister of Great Britain as the only permanent member, and such other persons as he may invite to sit as members of the Committee. The London Times recently pointed out that “in normal times it consists of the Secretaries for Foreign Affairs, the Colonies, War, and India, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Permanent Secretaries, and other important officers of these Departments, and one or two others—such as Lord Haldane and Lord Kitchener-specially nominated by the Prime Minister with the approval of the King." The functions of the Committee as described in the memorandum circulated to the Colonial Conference in 1907, are:
(a) To facilitate common discussion and agreement as to matters of Imperial Defence which fall within the purview of more than one Department, and which otherwise might involve long and indecisive correspondence; (b) To advise in case of any questions relating to local or general defence which may be referred to it by the Secretary of State at the request of the self-governing colonies; (c) To bring naval and military experts into direct touch with the Ministers, who are enabled to ques
tion them freely and fully, thus avoiding the misunderstandings which may arise from minutes and memoranda. The Committee is a purely consultative body, having no executive powers or administrative functions.
Questions are referred to the Committee by the Prime Minister, or by the head of a Department of State. When special information is required, the Prime Minister may summon any person who may be in possession of such information. When a colonial question is discussed, either the Secretary of State for the Colonies or another representative of the Colonial Office is
present. After the Colonial Conferences of 1907 had settled the constitution of the Imperial Conference, it also by resolution provided for colonial representation on the Committee of Imperial Defence when matters affecting the colonies should, at the request of any colony, be brought up for consideration, but under this resolution the Committee of Imperial Defence would be purely an advisory body to any particular Colony or Dominion which desired to secure its advice, as at the present time it is an advisory body to the British Government on matters of Defence.
The position of a representative of Canada on this Committee would apparently be equal but not superior to that of Permanent Secretaries or other officers of the Departments of the British Government, and it is quite clear from Mr. Asquith's statement, as well as from the recent statement in the London Times as to the personnel and functions of this Committee, that there is no intention on the part of the Imperial Government of making this Committee, even with the representatives of Canada, and the other Dominions upon it, anything more than an advisory committee to the British Government, a Committee absolutely under the control of the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
While representation on the Committee of Imperial Defence may serve a useful purpose, particularly when matters affecting Canada are under consideration, all must agree that no one would seriously suggest that
giving Canada or the other Dominions a seat on this Committee would be giving them any real voice in the management of defence or of foreign policy.
(4) The Imperial Conference The Imperial Conference, formed by resolution of the Colonial Conference of 1907, concurred in by the Governments of Great Britain and all the self-governing Dominions, is to-day an effective organization for dealing with matters of common interest to the whole Empire. This Conference was a natural development from the first Colonial Conference of 1887, called by the Government of Great Britain at the time of the Queen's Jubilee. At the opening of the Conference of 1887 Lord Salisbury stated, “We are all sensible that this meeting is the beginning of a state of things which is to have great results in the future. It will be the parent of a long progeniture, and distant councils of the Empire may, in some far-off time, look back to the meeting in this room as the root froin which all their greatness and all their beneficence sprang." Lord Salisbury little dreamed that within the short space of twenty years a truly Imperial Conference would be organized with the full assent of all the self-governing Dominions. This Imperial Conference, created in 1907, marked a new era in the national development of the Dominions, as well as in the relations between these Dominions and the Mother Country. It recognizes the national status of the Dominions, as distinct from the Mother Country. It is truly representative in its character, being composed of the Prime Ministers of the Mother Country and selfgoverning Dominions; it is responsible in that each Prime Minister has back of him a parliamentary majority, and therefore has the power to implement the resolutions to which he gives assent; it recognizes the autonomy of all the governments, and no resolution affecting any particular government can become effective unless assented to by it. It is formed for the consideration of all matters of common interest.
The Conference has already done much to promote co-operation and unity in matters of common interest throughout the Empire. It has furthered measures for Imperial Defence on land and on sea; for the development of inter-Imperial trade; for the improvement of communications and transportations throughout the Empire; for the harmonizing of our laws at important points of common interest, and for the creation of a truly Imperial citizenship.
Two Imperial organizations of equal status and responsibility are impossible. Do not let us lose the substance in grasping for the shadow. Let us maintain the Imperial Conference in its strength, its freedom, and its truly representative character as an effective instrument for co-operation in Imperial affairs. It is the organization to which the statesmen of the Empire have for years given their best thought, and which has proved such a unifying force in promoting the highest interests of both the Dominions and the Mother Land, an organization which, judged by its past history as well as its present character, is capable of developing to meet the future needs and exigencies of the Empire.
OUR NATIONAL EQUIPMENT
An Address by SIR GEORGE Ross, K.T., LL.D., before the Empire Club of Canada, on November 7, 1912.
Mr. President and Gentlemen,
It is always pleasant to meet with the Empire Club. I am something of an Imperialist myself. I must thank his Lordship for his kind words. It is a rare gift to say pleasant things, and to say them well. It is a privilege, I suppose, which he can naturally claim on account of his nationality and his kindness of heart.
If you were going to establish a great industry, a few considerations would at once present themselves. First, have you the capital to go on? That is a very important consideration. Then, could you find a proper site with sufficient room for the plant and machinery with which to carry on the industry; are you conveniently situated for the raw material which has to be employed in the industry; is skilled labour and unskilled labour, too, easily obtained; could you find a market for your products; and so on. The same general principle mutatis mutandis applies to the founding and equipping of a nation, and if I were asked to choose, from the mighty expanse of this great globe on which we live, a portion on which to found a nation, and to make the site of a great empire, having in view the considerations already given, I would choose the present site bounded by the great oceans, that bound our Dominion, and which we are proud to call the Dominion of Canada. (Applause) For situation, for climate, for resources, for accessibility to the trade and commerce of the world, I know of no nation more favourably situated than we are, and with the materials at our disposal, which I propose to discuss somewhat in detail, I hope every one of us will feel that if the nation fails it is because of the failure of our efforts, and our want of national energy.