Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

What shall we do?” asked our leader.

Why, congratulate him, of course," I advised. Unfortunately for the Liberals, they failed to realise their opportunity. When the Hon. A. G. Jones, a member of the Government, arrived from Halifax and learned of Cartwright's tariff proposals, he raised a storm of protest and threatened to bolt. That settled the matter. Shortly after the dissolution of Parliament I called on Lord Dufferin, and in answer to his questions told him that the Liberals did not have a leg to stand upon because their party had started to die the very day it had begun to live. The Government majority had at that time dwindled to about forty from over eighty in 1874, the year of their tidal wave. As I was leaving Lord Dufferin, who should enter but Mr. Mackenzie.

“Tupper tells me that the Conservatives are going to win,” observed Lord Dufferin, addressing the Premier.

“Oh, he's a little too sanguine," dryly commented Mackenzie.

But he misjudged public sentiment, for in the following public election we routed the Liberals, horse, foot, and artillery, returning to power with a majority of over eighty. Sir John was, of course, called upon to form an Administration, in which I accepted the portfolio of Public Works. I subsequently had the department divided, creating a new department—that of Railways and Canals, of which I took charge. To this day that arrangement still exists, other public improvements other than railways and canals being under the direction of the Minister of Public Works.

The next four years represented years of ceaseless activity and constructive statesmanship, inuring to the agricultural and industrial development of the Dominion. True to our promises, we adopted the National Policy at the earliest moment, got under way a vast programme for the deepening of the waterways and canals of the St. Lawrence system, and after the completion of surveys, entered into an agreement for the building of a national transcontinental railway from Eastern Canada to the Pacific coast.

The effect of the substitution of a protective tariff for the Mackenzie revenue law proved magical. It restricted the exodus, gave employment in the factories to our own idle working man, stimulated every branch of manufacturing, led to the establishment of many new industries, and preserved the home market for our own people. The farmer was also given substantial protection. During the Mackenzie Administration Canada became the dumping ground for the surplus manufactured products of the United States, which, enjoying the benefit of a high tariff, rigidly excluded Canadian products of every description.

The National Policy, in my judgment, is one of the bulwarks of Canadian national life. It made possible the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, stimulated inter-provincial trade, and developed a solidarity of sentiment that has been growing stronger since Confederation was brought about.

We are to-day a self-contained people, and recent years have witnessed the spectacle of millions of foreign capital being invested in Canadian manufacturing industries. The farmer, too, enjoys his

home market. Earlier experiences of Canadian statesmen showed the futility of efforts to induce the United States to negotiate an equitable reciprocity agreement. Our tariff, while ensuring reasonable protection for all our people, has never had the almost restricted character of the American fiscal system.

It was a great day for the Dominion when the people rejected the Taft-Fielding reciprocity agreement, for under the radical revision of the United States tariff Canada, without giving any equivalent, will reap enormous advantages. As a people we have demonstrated to the world our ability to develop

along national lines. Who is there that does not recall with pride the attitude of Canada at the time of the enforcement of the McKinley tariff, many of the clauses of which were specifically aimed at our common country ?

The following quotations from my speech in the Dominion Parliament in February, 1870, throw some light upon the origin of the National Policy.

“But this country is so geographically situated, and so varied in its produced and natural resources, that nature has placed it in our power to protect ourselves by a policy not retaliatory or vindictive, but by a national policy which shall encourage the industries of this country. By proper attention to the development of our resources we shall have an interchange of products, and in two years I believe we shall be utterly indifferent as to whether we have a treaty or not. .

“I would ask whether the policy which will bring the people into the country, which will stimulate every industry in the Dominion, is not one

[ocr errors]

that is worthy of the attention of this House, irrespective and regardless altogether of its effect upon the United States; and I have no hesitation in saying that under the effects of a policy such as this that would restore greater prosperity in this country than we had under reciprocity, we shall not need to go to other countries nor to the United States for a renewal of reciprocity or improved trade relations, because they will be coming and seeking it at our hands.

“Is it not worth while to try and see how far we may increase these native enterprises, and give prosperity to the country by adopting a policy which will meet the unfair opposition by which the Canadian manufacturer is met from other countries? ...

“My honourable friend the Secretary for the Provinces has relieved his mind to some extent, but I may tell him that this Canadian policy—this national policy—this rational policy—will stimulate the enterprise of all the provinces, and will aid in and assist in building up this great Dominion. And I may further tell the honourable gentleman that so friendly is Nova Scotia to this policy of building up our own interests that there has not been one single newspaper out of the eleven newspapers published in Halifax that has raised any objection to it, and some have come out warmly in its support.”

CHAPTER IX

THE NATIONAL EVOLUTION OF CANADA

The national evolution of Canada in its diplomatic position has undergone many important changes during the past thirty years. The Canadian Government in 1879, having appointed Sir A. T. Galt High Commissioner for Canada in London, applied to Her Majesty's Government to have him appointed Commissioner where treaties were being negotiated in which Canada was interested.

Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, then Secretary of State, in a dispatch to Lord Lorne, said :

“In reply I have to inform you that it is not thought desirable to appoint a Canadian Commissioner to take part in the negotiation of any treaty, but if your Government desire to send a person enjoying their confidence to advise with Her Majesty's Government, or with the British Ambassador, on any questions that may arise during the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government will be happy to give attention to his representations."

Having been appointed to succeed Sir A. T. Galt, I took up the question with Lord Derby, Secretary of State for the Colonies, and with the assistance of Lord Fitzmaurice, who was then Under-Secretary in the Foreign Office, and of the late Sir C. M. Kennedy, then at the head of the Commercial

« ForrigeFortsett »