‘An ornament to any Parliament’

Gerald Caplan revisits last month’s odd revisiting of J.S. Woodsworth’s vote against World War II.

Repeating that war settles nothing, Mr. Woodsworth declared: “I rejoice that it is possible to say these things in a Canadian Parliament under British institutions. It would not be possible in Germany, I recognize that … and I want to maintain the very essence of our British institutions of real liberty. I believe that the only way to do it is by an appeal to the moral forces which are still resident among our people, and not by another resort to brute force.”

… In the end, addressing his own historic motion for war, the prime minister said: “There are few men in this Parliament for whom I have greater respect than the leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. I admire him in my heart, because time and again he has had the courage to say what lays on his conscience, regardless of what the world might think of him. A man of that calibre is an ornament to any Parliament.”




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‘An ornament to any Parliament’

  1. I guess that would make Harper a blemish to any Parliament…

  2. Just imagine Harper uttering the second paragraph.

  3. As usual, Caplan has his facts wrong. There was no recorded vote on going to war in September 1939. A voice vote on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne was taken and the ayes had it. Several–3, 4 or more–nays were heard, one of which was presumably Woodsworth, the others likely being Quebec Liberal nationalistes.
    And, yes, the CCF occasionally supported the military. The NDP, however, has been far less supportive, consistently opposing in its rhetoric and occasional votes deployments other than for peacekeeping.

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