As an example of the perpetual apparition of new waste and self-stultifying expenses that pursue the nation bent on naval dominance the following paragraph from last year's report of the naval service is noteworthy: "Since the machinery and plant at the dockyards [Halifax] were installed by the Admiralty entirely new developments have taken place in engineering, resulting in the introduction of turbine machinery for propulsion in practically all new warships" and consequently the plant and shops are entirely inadequate.
Put in the more easily comprehended form of a diagram  the record of military expenditure in Canada in the past twenty years is as shown below :-
ANNUAL COST 0F PERM. FORCE
TOTAL MILITARY EXPENDITURE
1914 $18,792,000 [AS SHOWN IN ESTIMATES OF 1914]
The reader will see that while the population of Canada has increased by less than one-half in the two decades, the number of the permanent force has increased three times, and its annual cost over ten times. The military pension list has increased four times, and the total military expenditure fifteen times.
If these are the whips with which we are beginning to [page 10] chastise ourselves to maintain the "random boast and foolish word" of national pride, what will the scorpions feel like when our administrators have devised a "permanent naval policy".
Between the present period and the formative years of the Canadian confederation there are some notable contrasts, not only in regard to the cost of these military establishments as shown but in the general attitude of responsible public men towards military questions.
It will be observed, first, that though the war spirit had been excited by the events before mentioned and by the terrific conflict in the United States, and though at the very time when the memorandum to the British Government was being prepared in 1865, preparations were known to be afloat for the Fenian invasion of Canada, the leaders of both political parties and of both races in Canada were united in their aversion to militarism. Their words were almost a paraphrase of the logic of Cobden when he said: "It is a common error to estimate the strength of a nation according to the magnitude of its armies and navies; whereas these are the signs and, indeed, the causes, of real poverty and weakness in a people." The founders of the Confederation carried their belief into practice in spite of alarms and actual emergencies. No sooner were the Fenian raids over than the ordinary expenditure on militia and gunboats dropped to $960,940 (1868). After the first Riel rebellion the cost of the militia and permanent force dropped to $667,000 in 1881; and while it rose to $2,707,758 in 1885 owing to the second North-west rebellion, it fell again in 1886 to $1,178,659. When the invaders had been driven back or rebellion put down, the people were encouraged to go back to their peaceful labor, as the Hebrews were divinely instructed to do after like dangers were over. Up to the close of the nineteenth century there is no instance where a recognized leader of public opinion urged the people to apply themselves to the study of destroying human life as a means of securing the happiness and prosperity of their country. Within the past few years, however, thousands of leaflets and bulletins have, for the first time in the history of this country, been issued at the public expense with the object of teaching our young men the value of the art of killing their kind. Systematic efforts are being made to Europeanize our institutions of learning, from the universities down to the public schools, and inducements are held out to teachers, ministers of the gospel, Y. M. C. A. workers and others to bring the weight of their leadership to make the children believe that the drill and trade of a soldier will "uplift the manhood of the nation. [See "Memorandum on Cadet Corps Training, by the Minister of Militia," "Notes on the Relative Cost of Criminal Statistics and Liquors and Tobaccos, Compared with the Cost of the Militia Force of Canada," [page 11] etc. Another writer will explain by what means and to what extent this propaganda is being directed to poisoning the healthy fountain of life in our educational systems and what a brood is being now hatched for the coming generation to combat.]
The second feature of contrast between the policy of the fathers of confederation and recent administrators is that the former not only set their faces against the adoption of the European system of standing armies for Canada, but confined this defence within Canadian territory and by the Canadian people. The "Permanent Militia" of Canada was limited by law and common understanding to 1,000 men and that restriction was not overstepped till after the death of Sir John Macdonald. In violation of his policy the "permanent force" has become a standing army of over 3,000 at a yearly cost which has swelled from $223,000 in 1894 to over $2,300,000 in 1914; and visitors to Ottawa who meet the uniformed orderlies and officers at every turn can judge whether the pomp of military rule is growing or diminishing. The leaders of both parties were united in opposing the efforts then made to glorify the soldier's trade, and they resisted the pressure exerted in the name of loyalty to tax the people with needless military establishments.
A third point to be noticed is that while the leaders of both parties were united on this policy of peaceful development and patient reliance on the influence of good will, the actual temptations to develop the military spirit were overwhelmingly greater and the dangers of war involving Canada were more frequent and more real than now. Leaving out of account the disputes between Great Britain and the United States arising out of the fisheries and the boundaries questions, Canada had two border raids and two rebellions in this period when weak administrators would have yielded to the military pride and national feeling thus excited.
Now, in one of those strange declensions by which our political leaders seem bereft of the sagacity that had earned the confidence of the past generation, the people are being urged to run down the steep place into the sea at a time when the forces of international good will are becoming more manifest than ever, when the failure of physical force becomes more patent as the European military system begins to break of its own deadly weight, and when a conquest of Canada is a danger no more substantial than a mirage of the desert.
What we should understand by the recital of this history is that the faith of Sir John Macdonald, George Brown and Sir George E. Cartier in the ultimate triumph of intelligence and gentleness over ignorance and national pride, has been completely justified in the present amicable relations between Great [page 12] Britain and the United States and Canada. Even if we had not the analogy of European states to judge by, where one nation is adding to its burdens through the suspicions raised by its neighbor's preparations for possible war, we know that if past Canadian governments had interpreted the occasional display of American passion to be the permanent attitude of the American people and had increased our military establishments on the plea of securing our defence, Canada could not possibly have been more secure if the United States had reciprocated such a policy in kind. The mutual good will of Canada and the United States is beyond all calculation in monetary value.
The most precious legacy left by these builders of Canada was therefore that first proclamation of defence policy which, in direct opposition to the Imperial theories then current, was based upon faith in the ultimate friendship of the United States; and if the greatest asset in British foreign policy today is the good will of the American nation, Great Britain has these Canadian statesmen to thank for it.
Now let the people of Canada and the leaders of the people make no mistake - this foundation is in danger of being destroyed. If the reader will again study the extracts from the great state paper before quoted he will see that the principles laid down by Sir John A. Macdonald and his contemporary statesmen were both simple and reasonable, namely, that Canada should not create a standing army, that her defence should be by her own citizen soldiers and that that service should be confined to our own soil. It was clearly a corrollary that Canada should not interfere by force in affairs outside her own territory or be made responsible for Imperial policy over which the Dominion had no control.
It seems fairly clear that as far as Sir John himself was concerned his judgment was based on two considerations. One was a sympathetic regard for the temper of the French-Canadian people. They have been traditionally a people who, loving liberty and peace themselves, respect the liberty and peace of other people. The other was that the policy of non-interference was reasonable and wise in itself, and, to paraphrase his own expressions, the peopling of the land with an intelligent, contented and lightly taxed population was a better defence for Canada than to create those means of offence which under a heady or corrupt administration are as likely to make trouble for a country as to safeguard its holier interests. Whatever his reasons those were the principles upon which he and the other founders of this confederation agreed. It would have been well for Canada if the contents of this memorandum had been more generally known and its wisdom set forth with more zeal, for the statesmen who prepared it well knew that to force the [page 13] French-Canadian people beyond the line of defending their own land from aggression was an elemental wrong, not merely to them but to humanity at large. Had their sentiments been studied with a little more insight and sympathy the debacle of national pride by which this country was swept from its feet during the Boer War would never have occurred. As Lord Salisbury and many other public men realized that England "put her money on the wrong horse" when the Crimean War was entered on, so we Canadians of British origin are beginning to realize that in the Boer War something went wrong - that a wind was sown which may yet be reaped as a whirlwind. The later developments of the German naval policy can be as clearly traced to the Boer War as any other cause and effect, and this in turn has started Canada on the vain quest of "sea power" - that realm of national hypnotism out of which the people of Canada will one day awake to find themselves in the grip of the same kind of armament interests that are now so well represented in the legislation and the policy of Great Britain.
And so the reaction goes on while the bills, in various forms, are coining in for the people to pay. In financial cost alone the tree is bearing pretty heavy fruit already. For several years preceding the Boer War the expenditure of Canada on military affairs was about $1,500,000 a year, and but for Canada's first war of aggression that sum would have been more than ample to-day. But the excess of cost due to that departure makes a total up to this year of over $62,000,000, and the "permanent policy" has not yet been announced.
It is the writer's belief that if the conscience of the Canadian people were laid bare the true convictions of the people in 1914 would confirm, and not deny, the principles of defence laid down in 1865. It is because the frothy elements, carried away by race pride and passion, have so warped and perverted the sober sense of the people, that men are scared to utter these convictions. The responsible leaders of the two parties are afraid of this froth and noise, and therefore permit this counterfeit loyalty to pass as genuine coin. So fearful are the political leaders that every man has more of this counterfeit coin than genuine money in his pocket, that they are afraid to tell the people they must get back to a sound money basis. And so it happens that when the truth seeker asks for light, the party politician, if he is a Liberal, will tell him the salvation of the country depends on a navy built in Canada; if a Conservative, the seeker will be warned that the British Empire will fall if a contribution of $35,000,000 is not handed over to be spent by the armament rings who are sitting on the backs of the British taxpayers. In other words, so long as the party shibboleths are correctly pronounced, it seems immaterial whether the basic principles of self-defence [page 14] founded in self-government laid down at Confederation are maintained or not.
Ignoring these principles, each party magnifies its own method, and their methods are both on a false foundation, if Macdonald, Brown and Cartier were right.
In another work ["Canada and Sea Power"] the writer has discussed the question of war and the modern movements making for international co-operation, and has endeavored to show the unique opportunity Canada, of all nations, has in leading in this movement towards international good will. If Canada is now to be carried away by the fallacy of "sea power" she will be self-disqualified from taking this lead and her grand opportunity will be lost.
The illusory notion which it suits the big-gun firms, the warship firms and other armament firms so well to perpetuate is that it is necessary for Great Britain to be supreme on the ocean. It can be demonstrated that in the sense in which it is meant to be understood it is now impossible for any one power or even a group of powers to dominate the ocean, to the extent of destroying or even suspending the peaceful commerce of the world, for the reason that too much of the world is now civilised and in absolute need of maintaining peaceful trade and the whole earth would cry out against such an outrage. A hundred years ago the marine trade of the world practically centred on England, now scores of nations have direct commerce with each other which does not pass through British ports at all, and this new distribution is increasing every year. The fact is that the only part of the seven seas which Great Britain can effectively "dominate" are the home waters immediately surrounding the British Isles, Great Britain is no longer supreme, even in the Mediterranean - as Admiral Mahan, the father of the "sea power" fallacy - himself admitted the other day in a letter to a London paper.
If Great Britain agreed to the immunity of peaceful private shipping in war time - in conforming with the universally recognized rule on land - then the safety of Canadian, Australian, South African and all other commerce at sea would be assured under international law; but at the last Hague conference the British Government declined to agree to a proposal to which two-thirds of the nations represented were favorable. Among these was Germany, and when we remember that two-thirds of all Germany's foreign trade is sea-borne can one wonder that that nation felt justified in safeguarding her coasts by the same means which have been pleaded for the "supremacy" of the British navy? The moment Great Britain agrees to exempt peaceful ships from seizure that decree will automatically free Canadian ships of commerce from danger, and [page 15] hence there will be no need of a Canadian navy, except for offensive purposes, which are against the traditions of the Canadian people. Even if Canada could stand the tremendous cost of creating an effective navy, there would be no real safety in a British-Canadian fleet under a British naval policy so long as that policy is directed, as in fact it is, by the armament syndicates who are so well represented in Parliament and in the affairs of the Admiralty and who take their huge profits with Imperial impartiality out of friend or foe - Briton or Turk, republic or empire, Canadian or South American, civilized or semi-savage. While this usurpation of representative government continues in Great Britain there is nothing but danger in any naval adventure of Canada, for given a premier of the temper and disposition of Lord Palmerston, and any man with a match may cause an explosion that will incarnadine the seas. On the day when the British Government takes the control of warship construction out of the hands of private firms and makes it a Government monopoly it will be in order to consider a Canadian navy on the same plan.
We have heard the argument that Canadians are bound to this dangerous naval departure because Great Britain has spent huge sums in the past in planting and defending the colonies all the world over. Is this argument not carried a little too far? No one will deny the bravery, the enterprise and the public spirit of thousands who have led in planting colonies and carrying good British institutions over the world, but in the main is it not the cold fact that British trade at home was promoted by British trade abroad through these developments - in short, that British colonies were formed, maintained and protected because it brought material advantages to the country that planted them. If the people of one generation are bound to consider themselves under a mortgage to another people because of what was done by a past generation that obligation must go beyond mere national boundaries. The present British people themselves are admittedly under a debt to the Romans for the basis of their law as well as their good roads, but does this put the modern Briton under obligation to contribute to the octroi of Italy, or even to the Italian navy.
The British people are indebted to Greece not only for much of their culture but for an invaluable element in the strength and grace of the English language itself, but this debt, which is a real and living one still, did not influence the British armament companies or the British Government very powerfully, seeing that they have just sent a commission to reorganize the Turkish navy in order that it might deal more effectively with the navy of Greece. For its laws, its institutions and its language and literature the United States owes just as much to Great Britain as Canada does and perhaps at bottom there is [page 16] much admiration and respect for the old land in that country as in this, but do the American people recognize any obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the British law courts or the British navy? Is it not more sensible to think, as most of us will think on reflection, that each generation of civilized men is born into the world inheriting all the labors and enlightenment of all past generations, and this inheritance is free to all who can avail themselves of it, with only the duty of adding to and improving upon these gifts and with only the responsibility that pertains to their own brief day.
In the light of this responsibility for our own acts is it not bad enough that we have wandered so far from the high road of safety and moral progress marked out for us with such wisdom and foresight by the founders of this confederation? Why should we - out of a theory of loyalty which our great fathers knew to be false - and told us so in plain language - deliberately place on the backs of our children a load of the kind that is breaking the backs of the common people of Europe and taking the heart out of their lives. Let us not deceive ourselves - since the science of human government was first developed the advent of the professional soldier in government has been the source of waste of material resources, of the corruption of civic life and in the end the weakening or destruction of the people's liberties. When men say that education in the art of destroying human life is necessary to "uplift the manhood" they deceive themselves, for the highest authority to whom universal man can appeal has described militarism in a phrase which all the reiteration of nineteen hundred years has failed to deprive of its graphic awfulness and fidelity to the abhorrent fact - "the abomination that maketh desolate."
[ Back ] Footnote 1: [16pp] credit Library and Archives of Canada microfiche, Mic.F. CC-4 c.2 #84557
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