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.”