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National Newswatch
National Opinion Centre

It was a tough-talking Sir Wilfrid Laurier who spoke to a gathering of the  Methodist General Conference being held in Ottawa on this date in 1914. The First World War had started a month previously with the German invasion of Belgium. Germany’s attach was in violation of the Treaty of London, which guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium. Laurier told his audience that peace would not return to Europe until Germany withdrew from the tiny country.

“The sword will not be put back in the scabbard until this Imperial bully (Germany) has been taught that his scrap of paper is a solemn obligation, and that solemn obligations between nations, as between individuals, must be observed,” Laurier said in his speech. “There can be no peace until heroic Belgium has had her rights and her lands restored and her wrongs repaired. There can be no peace until the world knows that it is to be governed not by brute force, but by truth, liberty and justice.”

Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist.  He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy.  A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.
The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on National Newswatch are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.
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