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word-there will be no superior and no inferior. All will be of equal status, as are the provinces of Canada in the Canadian Confederation, and the different states of the Union of the United States of America. The great state of New York has no right of suzerainty or superiority over Rhode Island, or Ontario over Prince Edward Island. If that is the correct basis-and that is, of course, the only possible basis-the jurisdiction of the reconstituted Judicial Committee, for the purposes of the Imperial Commonwealth must be on the footing of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities of the nations in the Confederacy-Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and in good time, India and the West Indies.
And here may perhaps be found the solution of the age long Irish question, for to this High Court of International Justice for the Imperial Commonwealth will be referred-not as questions between citizens of Canada, or between citizens of Australia, or even between different provinces of Canada or different states of Australia, (all of these will be determined finally by the supreme courts of these nations), but questions between the different nations represented in the international court,-between Great Britain, for instance, and Ireland; or between Canada and Newfoundland; or between South Africa and Australia.
Mr. Elihu Root is advocating an international court for the members of the League of Nations. The court that I am now suggesting will be a different court from that. It will be a Britannic Court, a court for the British League of Nations, another happy phrase for which we are indebted to my Lord Cave and that court is now at hand and almost ready made in the great tribunal of which Lord Cave is a distinguisned member. Mr. Root's court will be composed of judges speaking different languages and schooled under different systems of law-the Common Law of England, the Code Napoleon, the Civil Law, the Law of Mohammed and what not? But the Britannic International Court will be composed wholly of Judges speaking the English language and schooled in the Common Law of England-except when a French Judge is named from Canada, or a Dutch Judge from South Africa. This will be a wonderful advantage, and that Court, call it if you like (and there could be no better name) the Judicial Committee of His Majesty's Privy Councils (observe the plural) will be an invaluable guide and mentor to the other more cosmopolitan and less cohesive court proposed by Mr. Root, should that court be established.
Two converging events make it impossible for the public men of Great Britain and the other Britannic commonwealths to longer ignore the question of the relations of their countries to each other and to the other nations of the world. Those
two events are the consummation of the League of Nations and the British Imperial Conference which is to be held next year.
Canada claims to be entitled to representation in the Assembly of the League of Nations and her claim has been conceded. No public man in Canada or in England will question Canada's right to participate in world politics, but such participation is obviously utterly and absolutely irreconcilable with the existence of a superior authority over Canada either in the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland, or in His Majesty's Privy Council for Great Britain and Ireland.
The whole subject must be discussed at the approaching Imperial Conference and it is vastly important that it should be the subject of public discussion before the Conference meets, in order that Canada's representatives at the Conference may be fully informed of Canadian public sentiment. In this discussion the lawyers of Canada will, of necessity, take a formost part, and I am therefore making no apology for introducing the subject at this national meeting of Canadian lawyers. is not to be expected that we shall all agree. Perhaps that is not desired. But what is desirable and what is essential, is that there should be a free and frank exchange of views.
I am, of course, well aware that there are eminent members of this Association who look upon the control of Canada's constitution by the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland, and the control of Canada's Courts by a committee of His Majesty's Privy Council for Great Britain and Ireland, as links of empire. And so they were under the old dispensationunder the order of superior and inferior. But we have the high authority of the War Cabinet of Great Britain and of Sir Robert Borden and of Earl Grey and of many others, including the Prince of Wales, that "the Dominions are no longer colonies, but sister nations of the British nation." In other words, the only true bonds are the bonds of which Edmund Burke spoke more than a hundred years ago-bonds "light as air though strong as iron," the bonds of sentiment-bonds that grow stronger the lighter they are and the less they are felt. A common kingship is its sufficient expression. With all deference, I venture to suggest that those who cling to the lesser so called links of empire have their faces turned to the past.
Then there is that once large and still respectable school of political thought that looked, and still perhaps looks, for a partnership of the Britannic Dominions in an Imperial federation. I am not proposing to discuss now any of the various plans that have been put forward from time to time for a closer political union of the spots marked red on the map of the world. I content myself with pointing out that Canadian and Australian and South African national autonomy is the antithesis of imperial federation, and that imperial federation is inconsistent
with the representation of Canada and Australia and South Africa in the Assembly of the League of Nations-as inconsistent as it would be for the states of Massachussets or Texas to claim such representation. Canada has elected definitely in favour of membership in the League of Nations and by that course, she has elected in favour of autonomy and against imperial federation.
This election was not the result of argument, but of the development of events. In the language of the War Cabinet of Great Britain, the question was forced to the front by the common effort and sacrifices of the war.
When a youth attains to manhood, he assumes the rights and with them takes on the responsibilities of manhood. In assuming the rights of nationhood, Canada must accept the responsibilities. In no other way can she play her part in the great world drama, which is now unfolding so rapidly and which will continue to unfold whether any individual nation does its whole duty or not. Thus only can Canada assist in the vast schemes of world betterment whose focus at the moment is in England thus only can she be a branch of the great tree of international probity, comity and fellowship whose leaves,-. justice, freedom, right, truth and open diplomacy-shall be for the healing of the nations.
The Canadian Bar Association is honoured in having as its guests at this meeting representatives of the best traditions of the two great branches of the Anglo-Saxon race, Great Britain, and the off-spring of her loins, the family of commonwealths, known as the United States of America.
The Governor-General of Canada is, of course, one of ourselves in all things except Blackstone, and Mr. Taft was made one of us at the luncheon today, and I avail myself now of this opportunity given by the presence of my name on tonight's programme to move that Viscount Cave be also made an honorary member of this Association. (Applause).
ADDRESS BY LOUIS S. ST. LAURENT, K.C., LL.D. OF QUEBEC
THE CHAIRMAN (Mr. R. B. Bennett, K.C., LL.D.): It is now my pleasure and privilege to call upon a distinguished member of the Quebec Bar to address this gathering. Those of us who live in Canada are familiar with the great part the French Canadian lawyer has played in the formation of our institutions and in their development. We are of course thoroughly familiar with the part they played in making possible this federal union. Sometimes they think there has been a failure on the part of their Anglo-Saxon brethren to accord to them that sympathy and recognition of their services to the State to which they are justly entitled. I think they are entirely mistaken in that view, for I believe that there is no Canadian who has not the warmest sympathy, the highest appreciation and the most tolerant feeling for his fellow citizens in every part of his country. We realize that without the Province of Quebec our confederation would be impossible. We also realize that but for the part that was taken by the great French Canadian lawyers of Confederation days, the great leaders of public thought of that time, it would have been impossible to have created the Dominion of Canada. We know the part that was played at that time by Cartier and his French associates in cooperating with Macdonald and his Upper Canadian friends. But tolerance, respect and sympathy must, of course, be mutual and we ask our brethren from Quebec to have the same regard for their fellow Canadians scattered over other parts of Canada, as they hope and expect always to receive from their fellow citizens of the Anglo-Saxon race. It is an augury of good feeling that we have had the answer given by the President this afternoon to the question which was propounded to him and which, taken as he was by surprise, he answered so splendidly in the language of Quebec. It is also a matter of more than ordinary gratification to us this afternoon that we are to have to address us one of the younger and most distinguished members of the Bar of Quebec, who will speak to us, not only in the language in general use in his native Province, the language of his forefathers, but also in the language of the great majority of those present. Gentlemen, I have the pleasure and privilege of welcoming and presenting to you Mr. L. S. St. Laurent, K.C., LL.D., of Quebec.
Mr. St. Laurent:
Monsieur le Président, Messieurs:
Avec le nom que je porte et le domicile que vous me connaissez, je sais que je tromperias votre attente si je ne vous disais d'abord, dans la langue qui est celle de la grande majorité de la
population de la Province de Québec, et partant une des deux langues de l'Association du Barreau Canadien, tout le cas que je fais du privilège qui m'est accordée en cette circonstance.
Je sais que Sir James Aikins a voulu que ce privilège fut un compliment aux avocats de Québec, qui ont eu l'avantage de l'avoir comme leur hôte, il y a quelques mois.
Tout en le remerciant de sa délicatesse dans la langue de ceux à qui son compliment s'adressait, je crois que je ferai meilleure preuve de notre désir sincère de favoriser des relations plus étroites et plus cordiales entre nos confrères des autres provinces du Canada et nous-mêmes, en me servant de vocables anglais pour vous l'exprimer brièvement.
Et puisque je veux aussi vous parler de notre Code Civil et vous inviter à le considérer comme un monument de science juridique qui résout les problèmes de la vie des hommes réunis en société civile en tenant compte des attributs essentiels qui se retrouvent dans tous les individus, je vois un certain avantage à vous le dire dans une langue autre que celle dont nous de Québec, revêtons habituellement ses formules et à souligner ainsi l'intérêt qu'il peut offrir même aux avocats canadiens des autres provinces.
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:
Sir James Aikins was desirous of honouring the lawyers of Quebec who had the good fortune to entertain him at dinner some months ago and the further good fortune to meet him again, as his guests, a few weeks later, and to do so he extended to me the privilege of addressing you at this meeting.
Now, I appreciated the compliment very deeply, but I, nevertheless, felt that I should leave him the full responsibility for devoting any of your time to such a purpose, so I asked him to indicate the subject upon which I should speak.
He has suggested that I "place freely before the Association "the viewpoint of Canadian lawyers practising in Quebec about "the Civil Code and how it can be made useful throughout "Canada in development of commercial and business law; and "also how we can bring about greater unity of spirit among all "Canadian people by better understanding among lawyers.
I must confess that I make no claim of speaking for the lawyers of Quebec as a body, and I am not presumptuous enough to think that my own answers to Sir James' questions would be of any value to the Canadian Bar Association as answers. But questions of that sort cannot call for the enunciation of findings by any one individual; all any one person can do is to contribute some scanty material that may be more or less worthy of consideration. And as the majority of the lawyers practising in Quebec are just ordinary practitioners without any special qualifications to answer such questions, my view point may perhaps more approximately represent the view point of the average man than would that of more prominent members of the Bar.