Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

Photograph by Pictorial Agency SIR CHARLES TUPPER, BART., G.C.M.G., C.B.

(JANUARY, 1914)

LIBRARY

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

other countries. When the thirteen American States obtained their independence their territory was no greater than ours; they had a smaller trade, revenue, and population than British America has to-day. Their first act was to strike down the hostile tariffs which separated the provinces and open their country to unrestricted commercial intercourse from Maine to Mexico. The result was that their commerce developed with the utmost rapidity, until they soon became one of the most important commercial countries in the world.

Interprovincial union is no untried experiment. Contrast the condition of the two Canadas before and after the union. When separated by hostile tariffs and legislating against each other, the trade, revenue and credit of both Canadas were paralysed, but from the date of the union all was changed, and the country expanded with the most remarkable rapidity, until it obtained its present advanced position.

I have referred to the effect of union upon the progress and material interests of British America, but I admit frankly that there was one question that far transcended even those interests in importance, and that was the question of defence. The abrogation of the Reciprocity Treaty, notwithstanding the evidence which existed to show that it had been more beneficial to the United States than ourselves, indicated a wish to obstruct our trade with a view to induce a desire in these provinces for a political connection with that country. The Fenian raids upon the provinces also led to the belief that material aid might be found in British America by those who desired to change our allegiance to the Crown. To insure the most advantageous commercial intercourse with our American neighbours and protection from the harassing annoyance and expenditure connected with the mad designs of the Fenians, no better means could be adopted than to show the world that these hitherto isolated provinces were determined to stand shoulder to shoulder in the maintenance of our

connection with the Crown and those glorious and free British institutions which it has been our happiness to possess.

My hon. friend asks, with a sneer, where are we to obtain an army and navy, and endeavours to hold the Dominion of Canada up to the world as utterly defenceless and at the mercy of any Power who may wish to bring us beneath their yoke. My answer is, that there is a moral strength in our united attitude, which presents four millions of British freemen, devoted in their allegiance to the Crown and prepared to sustain each other in upholding the honour of their common country, which is the best guarantee for peace that we can have. But can my hon. friend be ignorant of the fact that the Imperial Government of Great Britain have pledged themselves to maintain the integrity of this Dominion with the whole power of the Empire against any assault, come from whom it may ? Had we been unwise enough to set at defiance the earnest entreaty of the Mother Country to unite our fortunes with each other, that we might be better prepared to assist in maintaining our liberties, we might have had good reason to expect that the aid of that Government under whose fostering protection we have risen to our present position might be withdrawn.

My hon. friend forgets that as long ago as 1854 he declared that these provinces could put 500,000 men in the field and, unaided by British troops, bid defiance to an invader. Now he ridicules the idea of arming the population, and thinks we must fall a helpless prey to an enemy. I have no reason to doubt the entire friendship of the United States. I hope and believe that they will be anxious to resume the most reciprocal and friendly relations with these united provinces. But, Sir, I do not think that under any circumstances that country, so recently suffering from a calamitous war and oppressed by a gigantic debt, would attempt the subjugation of United British America, protected by the mightiest empire in the world. Having thus, Sir, glanced at some of the reasons which have induced

me to advocate a union of these provinces, I will briefly turn your attention to the position of Nova Scotia.

I admit frankly that the union party have been thoroughly and handsomely beaten at the recent general election, but I am happy to be able to relieve this House from the apprehension that an overwhelming majority of the people of that province are determined to obstruct and break down the union which has been formed. It is no new thing with us to have sweeping changes on such occasions. Only four years ago my hon. friend, notwithstanding his unrivalled popular talents, went to the polls with all the power of the Government, of which he was the head, in his hands, when he found himself beaten in one of his strongholds by a majority of over 500, and 13 only of his supporters out of a household of 55 members were elected.

The Government of which I had the honour to be the leader believed that they owed a higher duty to the country than the maintenance of themselves and their party in power. The measure brought in to extend the railway to Pictou on the St. Lawrence cost us the support of the Western members known as the Yarmouth School. The measure providing for the support of schools by direct and compulsory taxation, so obnoxious to all young countries, was sufficient of itself to drive any party from power, and would have swept us aside if the union had never been heard of. The Government were charged by their opponents with having sacrificed the interests of the fishermen to a Canadian policy to issue fishing licences, and those who have heard my hon. friend to-night can form some idea of the effect of his perambulating the country with fierce denunciations of that kind, and with our having taxed the bread of the poor man in the interests of Canada, because we believed it impolitic to free their flour from the duty imposed by the repeal of the Reciprocity Treaty. The facts, however, remained that the fishing grounds of Nova Scotia were occupied by the fishermen of the United

« ForrigeFortsett »