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tower which is called peace No

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"We have at the front of this building [Canada's Parliament] 
a tower which is called a peace tower.... No one who looks 
over it carefully can call it a peace chamber. It so 
clearly, one might almost say so brazenly, though 
beautifully, glorifies the institution of war. That sort of 
thing will never lead the young men and young women of 
Canada to think of new methods. It will simply lead them to 
think of the glory of the old..."

                           - Agnes MacPhail, 1928


memorial) at the bottom of the hill for the remembrance day 
ceremonies there. 

As usual, I am of two minds about attending. On one hand, it 
concerns me that the glorification of veterans' sacrifices 
n recent years is part of a return to militarism that I
abhor. On the other, it is clearly important to remember 
"man's inhumanity to man" so that we don't take that path 
again.

the government of Canada create a Peace Department. What 
follows is the text of her speech in Parliament on that 
occasion. It's what is on my mind as I make my annual trip 


MOTION FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT
Miss AGNES C. MACPHAIL (Southeast Grey) moved:
That, in the opinion of this house, the time has come for 
the establishment of a government department for the 
She said: Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak to this motion 
asking for the establishment of a department to work for 
to our country, and that any differences we have in the 
matter relate to the methods to be employed in bringing 
about peace rather than to any doubt as to the desirability 
of securing peace. I conclude that we all want to have 
everyone, possibly indeed everyone, had confidence in 
military preparedness and war as methods of bringing about 
think that no one will now deny that that confidence in 
military preparedness and in war which used to be so 
complete has been very much shaken. Still while some to-day 
method, and are relying upon the development of good will as 
the greatest security that we could find, there are others 
best to adopt. Then there are others of our citizens and of 
citizens of the world who stand between the two ideas and 
are not quite sure in which faith to rely. The last war with 
ts frightful loss of life and treasure caused all of us to
think of this subject as one of very great importance. Not 
only did Canada lose sixty thousand of her very best men, 
but the world lost ten million of its best men, and if we 
are going to view this question from the point of view of 
a dead loss and one that will cause concern to every citizen 
n the world, including the citizens of Canada.
The cost of the last war was greater than that of any 
[Page 1174 Col. 1]
and all preparations for wars in the past have been 
exceedingly costly. So great has been the cost of preparing 
for and carrying out wars that in the first twenty years of 
the twentieth century, fourteen countries spent the 
fantastic sum of $61,000,000,000 in preparation for and 
carrying out war. England alone to-day spends on war or 
$18,000,000,000 and $19,000,000,000. How much greater even 
that that—and that is a terrific increase—must be the 
ncrease in the debt of such countries as France and Germany
because of the war? In Canada the exact figures are not 
available, but certainly more than fifty cents out of every 
and preparation for wars to come. Some claim—and they may 
them under my hand—that two-thirds of every dollar of 
Canada's expenditure goes for this purpose. When one thinks 
of these figures, the amount of money involved alone, one 
thinks of what the spending of this money for the good of 
the people could have done. I have not any doubt at all that 
been spent to bring knowledge, a high standard of living and 
now not be necessary. The house, however, may not agree with 
me in that. More and more people are coming to believe, and 
even people in high places are stating quite fearlessly, 
that they believe security must come by means other than 
military preparedness. There are many statesmen one could 
quote, but I am going to confine myself to very brief 
quotations. The first one is Field Marshal Sir William 
Robertson, who was Chief of the Imperial General Staff from 
military tactics, and indeed he must have been a very 
U.F.A. of December 15, 1927, and this report appeared also 
n the daily press of a few days previous—he said:
War has become a wholly detestable thing, and is almost, if 
not quite, as disastrous to victors as to vanquished.
Never in history were preparations so complete or so 
[Miss Macphail.]
[Page 1174 Col. 2]
A little later on in the same speech he is reported to have 
Every man and woman should energetically support all efforts 
made for devising some more sensible and humane way of 
composing international differences than the destructive and 
futile methods upon which reliance has hitherto been 
unsuccessfully placed.
That is the only conclusion I can reach after a military 
career covering on Sunday next, a period of exactly fifty 
years.
So that this great British gentleman, who had been trained 
n a military school for fifty years, comes to the
conclusion, speaking first, I suppose, for British men and 
better way of settling international disputes.
Every one was sorry and grieved at the death quite recently 
of Field Marshal Haig. I wonder if we are willing to honour 
the whole world from the devastating scourge of war.
nternational spirit as was done in Great Britain by E. D.
Morrell, now gone, and as has been done by Lord Robert 
Cecil, Ramsay MaeDonald and the Right Hon. Arthur Ponsonby. 
These are all men of high standing in British public life 
and they all take the stand that we shall not get security 
through military preparedness; that we are simply wasting 
money, and that military preparedness cannot bring about the 
thing we are seeking for, namely, security at home and 
Whatever may be the opinion of members of this house as to 
the degree of military preparedness necessary, or as to the 
advisability of disarmament, I think every hon. member will 
agree that such things as ignorance, suspicion and fear must 
be got rid of before we can have permanent peace. While it 
s true that other things cause war, these three, ignorance,
the prey to the propagandist in the hours of crisis. It 
makes them willing to bear these crushing burdens of debt 
caused by armaments, because, through lack of knowledge, 
they are led to believe that they must endure this 
n their own country. We have not in Canada, and indeed not
to any extent anywhere in the world, studied constructively 
the art of making peace or the technique of peace. I think 
the technique of war has been studied by some of the most 
astute minds in all
[Page 1775 Col.1]
countries; but had the same amount of energy, had the same 
being used in Canada to promote preparedness for war—because 
on our way towards the settlement of international disputes 
by some method other than war, and it would be true to-day 
that the institution of war in Canada would not be the 
the institution of war is a most respected one which the " 
best people" like very much. I have noticed that these 
the votes of money and the comments in the house on the 
nstitution of war is still a respected one. I view this
condition with alarm.
the house and in the country who believe that that is the 
they are patriotic people, and they are working for what 
they believe is the best thing for their country. I simply 
question their wisdom, not their patriotism. On the other 
questioned. They think we are not patriotic, that we do not 
love our country. One might ask, what is patriotism? Surely 
t is loyalty to a group; but sometimes we forget that we
owe loyalty to many groups. We cannot have too much loyalty, 
either absolutely or in comparison with the loyalty of other 
forgetting the other groups to which we also belong. We are 
more and more coming to know that everyone of us belongs to1 
that group which is known as humanity, and that we do owe a 
very great loyalty to, that largest group of all—humanity.
For Canadians, for a Britisher, for a citizen who is a 
member of the British Commonwealth of nations, it should not 
be difficult to build a larger loyalty out of our present 
loyalties, because our loyalties have grown to include not 
only our own country and the mother country, but a group of 
countries which cover a large part of the surface of the 
earth. Surely then we ought to be willing, and mentally and 
t has included the whole shrinking world. It is worthy of
note, too, that patriotism is not an innate thing; it is
[Page 1175 Col. 2]
cultivated, and it will be just what we train it to be. If 
to view patriotism as a very much bigger thing than we have 
thought of it in the past, then, within one generation, if 
love of our own country, will expand to cover the needs of 
all countries.
Canada's position geographically makes her a country that is 
mportant in the history of the world at this moment.
Geographically we belong to one continent. Politically we 
belong to another continent. There is no good reason why we 
cannot be the interpreter of the one continent to the other. 
Then, too, the Canadian mind is used to a large framework. 
Canada is a large, if not too thickly populated, country, 
and the Canadian, mind can move with ease from Halifax to 
Vancouver, surely with much more ease than the European mind 
can move over the same distance. That should make it easy 
for us to give the world a lead in learning to cover 
mentally a larger space. The international mind is really 
nothing more than a mind that does not stop at the bonders 
of one's own country, but bridges that gap that lies between 
one's own country and other countries, and bridges it 
Canada is young. As countries go, we are merely a youth, and 
youth always looks to the future. In looking to the future, 
and. not to the present, we must all realize that we need to 
build the security of the world on something more stable 
than military preparedness. We have had since the end of the 
their lives in the service of their country during that 
awful conflict. My own personal opinion is that many of the 
memorials which are supposed to lead us to think of the 
of a peace department would be a fitting commemoration of 
the devotion and sacrifice of the 60,000 Canadians who died, 
f we remember what was said during the war and directly
after, fighting a war that was to end war. We have at the 
front of this building a tower which is called a peace 
tower. I was greatly interested in going through it and 
looking over it carefully, and my conclusion was that it is 
a very exquisite piece of work, but that it is misnamed. No 
one who looks over it carefully can call it a peace chamber. 
beautifully,
[Page 1176 Col.1]
never lead the young men and young women of Canada to think 
of new methods. It will simply lead them to think of the 
thing up to the young people of Canada, because the truth of 
the death, not the disease, not the broken hearts, not the 
the glory of war. I wonder who named the tower the peace 
tower. It is a queer idea of peace. A name will not bring us 
Canada since the world war has been drawn more and more into 
appointing ambassadors to the different countries of the 
league of nations. All these things show that we are, 
But up until now very little of anything has been done by 
the Canadian people or the Canadian government to prepare 
Canadians for the new responsibilities which are ours. A 
thinking and peace activities. While there are some engaged 
n peace thinking and peace activities at the present time
n Canada, they are scattered, and they have no help
from—well, I will leave it at that: they have no help. They 
are the rank and file of the people, many of them, and it is 
been no lead given in peace activities in Canada, with one 
or two notable exceptions which I shall mention later. I 
believe that under the British North America Act the 
Dominion government has jurisdiction over war and peace in 
business of the Dominion government, rather than of the 
and indeed a very honourable history in the settling of 
the Rush-Bagot treaty which was made at the end of the war 
of 1812-14. In the histories which I studied and from which 
the war and two paragraphs to the peace, but still two 
[Miss Macphail.]
[Page 1176 Col.2]
the United States, which from that time on has been an 
example in peaceful settlement to the whole world. But in 
the new histories now used in Ontario, a copy of which I now 
there is not one single line devoted to the Rush-Bagot 
treaty; it is not even mentioned. I am not familiar with the 
n the schools of Ontario reading these histories do not
know anything about the Rush-Bagot treaty, do not know 
anything about the greatest incident of that period of the 
nterested in finding new methods rather than relying on the
old. In the case of the Rush-Bagot treaty we prepared for 
dea that if you prepare for war you will have peace is a
fallacy. If you prepare for war you will have war, and if 
you prepare for peace you will have peace. The International 
Joint Commission, which has been in existence for some 
between Canada and the United States, has been mentioned 
twice, just lately, in far-flung parts of the world. I am 
quoting from an editorial that appeared in the Citizen of 
March 1, 1928:
Recently Charles Evans Hughes spoke of conciliation between 
Canada and the United States at the Pan-American Conference 
n Havana, where he submitted the plan of the International
Joint Commission as a model method of maintaining peaceful 
the League of Nations security committee at Geneva listened 
commission. The Canadian member of the committee Dr. W. A. 
Riddell, told how this model scheme of conciliation has 
last seventeen years. He recommended the adoption of similar 
frontiers adjoin.
The editorial continues:
Dr. Riddell urged that security could be increased more by 
on their behalf. If so, are not the words which he used in 
Geneva and the action of the government in straight 
contradiction? If it is true that security comes through 
been increased from eleven million dollars in 1925 to 
eighteen million dollars this year? An
[Page 1177 Col. 1]
explanation is due the country. The hon. Minister of Justice 
(Mr. Lapointe) recently addressed the Ottawa branch of the 
League of Nations Association and gave expression of his 
views. He said:
The only way of securing peace is by what is usually called 
moral disarmament, and that moral disarmament can be 
obtained only when a strong public opinion, the opinion in 
the shops, in the factories, on the farms, in the 
universities, in the schools, when opinion everywhere is 
the worst of all calamities.
These are noble words, and I feel that the hon. minister 
believes in their truth. So I am going to suggest to the 
Canada and the good of the world he request the Minister of 
Justice and the Minister of National Defence to exchange 
quite willing to accept a department of defence through 
ts head, if he is allowed to do what he wants to do. In
looking over the personnel of the cabinet I have often been 
they? They all look so peaceable that I am amazed at what is 
there is, I shall be glad to hear it—for the increase in our 
military estimates, and for the aggressive development of 
much by offering a few suggestions as to the work of such a 
bureau either in the Department of External Affairs or the 
Department of Secretary of State, but I did hot wish it to 
be shoved off into corner while a department to bring 
Already we have a full-fledged department of war, although I 
notice that in the debate on the motion of the hon. member 
for Wetaskiwin (Mr. Irvine) the Minister of National Defence 
belief, much as I should like to accept his declaration.
[Page 1177 Col.2]
A department of peace should be twofold in character. First, 
t should have general supervision of an extensive program
for peace throughout Canada. Secondly, it should cultivate 
friendly relations with other countries by promoting our 
knowledge of other people with regard to their cultural, 
moral and social achievements. This would be very 
nteresting to Canadians, and we have very much to learn
along this line. Then, too, it should encourage the work of 
nternational institutions, including the League of Nations,
and make known their work to our people, so that we would be 
made acquainted with all the machinery that has been set up 
n any part of the world for finding new methods of settling
nternational difficulties. I think that such a department
neffectiveness of war. It might also make clear to our
nations, and cannot be making any contribution to the 
and other material which it would collect. It would develop 
the will to peace through education by working with peace 
farmers' and social clubs, and any other Canadian agencies 
effective by such co-operation. The department could also 
for addressing public meetings—speakers who were authorities 
on some one phase of this great question. Our government 
and there seems to be no good reason why a department of 
Canadian people the truths regarding peace and war.
And how little money it would cost the government to make a 
be issued to our public and school libraries. We have Rhodes 
think are confined to young men, but I would want these 
[Page 1178 Col.1]
citizens and at the same time better citizens of Canada.
dea—that we might very well establish a yearly peace award
for the best work done in the cause of peace. This award I 
confined to Canadians or be made open to the citizens of any 
country. The award would not be confined necessarily to the 
We have a military college where young men are prepared to 
be warriors. Why not establish a college to train young men 
n promoting peaceful understandings throughout the world?
This would be far better work and those engaged in it would 
become much better citizens, with all respect to the 
for these grants the cadet movement would not continue for 
another five years—the government might use the money to 
much better purpose for the establishment of summer schools 
to promote the study of international friendship. I imagine 
a great many Canadians would be glad to get together for a 
few weeks to secure a better understanding than they possess 
today of the problems of the world. In fact I should think 
that the work of this department would be very interesting; 
t would be unlimited, adventurous and wholly positive
us; it would call out our mental and spiritual attributes, 
challenging them, rather than the physical, which is on the 
lowest possible plane.
My words this afternoon may seem quite futile; all words on 
this subject may seem futile. But what are disarmament 
conferences, even conferences of the League of Nations, 
conferences to promote good will, unless they are backed by 
a conviction on the part of the peoples of the world, the 
common people, the rank and file of the nations? It is my 
opinion— it may or may not be right—that the common people 
of Canada, certainly the farmers, and I believe the common 
of the glorification of it. The swank that goes with it 
to-day does not carry much force in the country. In 
nternational politics, as in every-
[Miss Maophail.]
[Page 1178 Col.2]
thing else, the misfortune is that our aim is too low. The 
latent idealism of the common people. And after all the 
latent idealism of the common people is the greatest force 
for peace in the world to-day.
matter lightly, because it is not a trivial subject; it 
ncludes within itself all others and is the most important
another twenty-five years as we have been going since 1918, 
can prevent it if we keep preparing for war.  

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