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Bill granting relief to the Roman Catholic minority in Manitoba, Sir Wilfrid Laurier joined Mr. Dalton McCarthy and a number of members of Parliament, members of the Orange Order, in opposing the measure. The Opposition leader moved the sixmonths' hoist. Notwithstanding that I still had a Conservative majority to support the Bill, nothing could be done, as the combination resorted to obstruction. I kept the House in continuous session from Monday to Saturday. This proved unavailing, as in the absence of the closure I was helpless, and the Opposition took advantage of the fact that on a certain date the House would die by the effluxion of time.
Sir J. A. Chapleau, Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Quebec, and a former colleague, who led me to believe that he would come to my aid in the general election, was induced by Mr. Israel Tarte, M.P., to recede from that position. The school question was a big issue in the campaign. Sir Wilfrid, who had succeeded in defeating the measure in the House, carried the Province of Quebec by a declaration that his objection to the Bill was that it did not go far enough, and by pledging himself to restore the rights of the Manitoba Catholics in all their entirety if necessary. The result was that Chapleau's defection and the hostility of a large portion of the Orange element in Ontario secured my defeat.
I was induced to remain as leader of the party, and after four years' service had the satisfaction of seeing it heartily reunited. In Ontario, where Sir Wilfrid at the opening of the poll in 1900 had a majority of twelve, I reversed that, and at the
close of the poll had a majority of eighteen seats, but not enough to counteract the Liberal landslide in the Province of Quebec. In that election I sustained my first personal defeat, as I devoted practically nearly all my time to the campaign in Ontario. It is only right to say that I refused an offer to be returned with a Liberal candidate in Cape Breton county without a contest, and that provision was to be made for my Conservative colleague, Mr. McDougall.
Although we lost office we did not lose power, as we had the pleasure of seeing the protective policy, which had been bitterly opposed by the Liberals, adopted by them as the only means of remaining on the Treasury benches. When the South African War broke out, Sir Wilfrid Laurier declared his inability to do anything to aid the British Government. I pressed him in the strongest manner, and pledged him the support of my party to the policy of sending a Canadian contingent, and was fortunately able to induce him to change his attitude in regard to that important question.
My son, Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, one of the ablest men in the House of Commons, after twentytwo years' service, including eight years in the Ministry, was obliged, on personal grounds, practically to abandon public life, but he had the satisfaction of proposing the Hon. R. L. Borden as leader of the Opposition. Mr. Borden gave me able and effective support in the House for four years. I need not say that his subsequent action as leader of the Conservative party in Opposition, and his triumphant course as Prime Minister, has been a source of intense satisfaction to myself. Under
Mr. Borden's administration Canada has attained a higher position in Great Britain than it has ever before reached.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier, I need not say, is a gentleman of great personal attraction and brilliant eloquence, and I cannot but regret that he was ever induced to abandon his protectionist principles, a matter which caused him to meet with defeat in the constituency he first represented when awarded a portfolio in 1876.
I have always attached great importance to the inclusion of Newfoundland within the Dominion of Canada, and many years ago Sir John Macdonald, who entirely agreed with me on that subject, asked me to call at Newfoundland on my way from England. This I did. On that occasion I had a meeting with all the leading men of the Opposition, and a discussion with the Government of the Colony. I submitted the terms on which I was willing to recommend union. Objections were raised in Newfoundland, and the matter was left in abeyance.
On the last occasion that I saw the Hon. Mr. Bond, a former Premier, when attending the Imperial Conference in London, he said to me: “If you or your son had been at Halifax when the conference with the representatives of Sir Mackenzie Bowell took place, our island would now form part of the Confederation. We told the Canadian delegates that if they would give us the terms proposed by you we would join the union, but to this they would not agree.'
I have no hesitation in saying that Canada to-day would be justified in immensely increasing those terms to provide for the consolidation of all the