Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

LIBRARY

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

for us all the food which we now take from the United States. In less than twenty years the latter will have no surplus food to send, so it is the interest of England to aid the development of Canadian agriculture. New markets are springing up for Canadian produce, and the prices, even of the threatened barley and eggs, have not fallen. As Canada, like other nations, can only sell by exchange for what she buys in commodities, these will have to come from England and other markets by reciprocal trade. The natural effect of the act will be to draw together Canada and England. Trade is not conducted by sentiment. If we buy from Canada she must buy from us.

Our great colony has boundless resources in agriculture, and in mining, forest, and fishing industries, from Nova Scotia on the Atlantic to British Columbia on the Pacific. Through the latter ocean, the markets of India, Japan, and China are opened to her.”

I believe that every person who has taken the trouble to get accurate information in respect to Canada will endorse that statement, that it is only a question of time and only a question of development for Canada to be able to produce all the food, both bread and meat, that is now sent from the United States to this country. This meets the question of supply, and the competition of India, Australia, and Canada will regulate the price. Who can doubt that the Chancellor of the Exchequer of England could sit down with the then members of the Cabinet representing Australasia, South Africa, and Canada, and devise a fiscal policy, not a common tariff, between England and these three colonies that would give an enormous develop

[ocr errors]

ment and expansion to Australasia, to South Africa, and to Canada, and at the same time give a valuable stimulus to the trade of this country ?because I need not repeat the truism, which is familiar to every one, that trade follows the flag. It is only necessary to look to the statistics of the colonies, and of foreign countries, to see how very much greater British trade is, in proportion to population, with the former than with the latter. I believe that it is perfectly practicable to devise such a policy as would give that enormous development which would be required in order to enable Canada in twenty years, as Sir Lyon Playfair has said, to take the place of the United States of America in furnishing corn and cattle for the United Kingdom, not only without inflicting any injury upon any portion of the Empire, but on the other hand greatly increasing the trade of this country. If the Mark Lane prices are examined, or the report of the Board of Agriculture, it will be found that in 1890 and 1891 there was a fluctuation in corn of 1os. 6d. a quarter, and you will find that it had to reach practically ios. a quarter before it made a halfpenny difference upon the fourpound loaf.

I am inclined to think that 55. a quarter imposed upon all foreign corn would be sufficient advantage to the corn of India, Australasia, and Canada; that it would not affect the cost of bread, and that it would yet give an immense impetus and advance to the development of the colonies and of their trade with Great Britain. Let me give you an illustration with reference to meat. Canada, in consequence of the existence of pleuro-pneumonia in the United States of America,

is able to send her cattle into this country without being subjected to slaughter on arrival. Mr. Rusk, the highest authority in the United States of America on that question, has declared that it gives an advantage to Canada of from eight to twelve dollars a head-say ten dollars. The result is, that with that advantage an immense expansion of the trade took place in Canada. Last year we sent 123,000 head of cattle from Canada to England, which resulted in putting over a million dollars more money into the pockets of the people of Canada than the United States received for the same number, and yet no one in this country ever heard an insinuation that the price of meat was affected. This is an illustration, therefore, how England can give an important advantage to her colonies without affecting the cost of the consumer's bread or meat.

In support of these views, I may add that I took the opportunity during the journeys which my late lamented friend Sir John Macdonald and I made in Canada during the recent elections to discuss this subject fully with him, and I am glad to be able to say that that distinguished statesman told me he was prepared to endorse most heartily such a proposition, and that it would receive when propounded the best support that he could give to it. He is, unhappily, no longer with us to give his invaluable aid, but the expression of such an opinion will, I know, have great weight. When the founder of the Imperial Federation League, the late Mr. Forster, came to discuss the question of Imperial Federation with me eight years ago, I told him that the most careful consideration I

had been able to give the subject led me to the conclusion that the means of drawing the colonies and the Mother Country more closely together, and binding them for all time, would have to be found in such fiscal arrangements as I was satisfied could be made, by which the outlying portions of the Empire would be treated by this great country on a different footing from foreign countries. His reply was, “ Well, I am a free trader, but I am not so fanatical a free trader that I should not be perfectly willing to adopt such a policy as that for the great and important object of binding this great Empire together.”

I believe that by the mode suggested the colonies may obtain such voice and influence in the foreign policy of this country as would amply satisfy them, and that, on the other hand, an increased strength would be given to the Empire by concerting the necessary measures for the purpose of common defence. I have endeavoured to offer my humble solution of the enigma to which the Marquis of Salisbury referred. I may say that I have done so with diffidence. I make these suggestions with an open mind, prepared to abandon my own views if any better means of attaining the same object can be suggested. I shall give my hearty support to any proposal by which the great and important objects of the Imperial Federation League can be realised.

« ForrigeFortsett »