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a foreign State, and giving him a facility of access to the British Government.” Who, with all this evidence before them, can doubt the advantage to the Imperial Cabinet of the fullest and freest consultation under the confidential regulations of the Privy Council with the representatives of the Governments of Canada, Australasia, and South Africa ? If anyone is able to propound a more practicable means of mutual co-operation and concert in the interests of the Empire his suggestions will be welcomed.
I now come to the question of defence. Well aware that the policy of levying a large tax upon the colonies for the support of the army and navy of England was one of the principal attractions of Imperial Federation with many in this country, and believing that policy to be founded on misapprehension and fraught with danger, I stated my opinion that the strength of the Empire would be better promoted by the resources of the colonies being utilised in the future, as they had been in the past, in opening up the great fields of colonisation possessed by Great Britain in Canada, South Africa, and Australasia, and providing for their local defence. As an illustration of what could be done in that way I referred to the construction of a transcontinental line of railway by Canada at a cost to the country of over twenty-five millions sterling, and for which the people are now taxed nearly a million sterling per annum. I referred also to an average annual expenditure of fourteen hundred thousand dollars for the permanent force, for the training of 37,000 militiamen, and for the Royal Military College, which has already pro
vided some seventy officers for the British Army. My critics have misconstrued what I said into a statement that the construction of this great line of railway communication was to be taken as a sufficient contribution by Canada to the defence of the Empire, and, while not venturing to deny its Imperial importance, have reminded me that it was built for commercial purposes, and that the capital was obtained in this country! The Intercolonial railway was lengthened and its
and its cost greatly increased at the instance of Her Majesty's Government, for strategic purposes, and without the Canadian Pacific Railway there could be no communication through British territory between the older provinces and the North-West and British Columbia. It was indispensable as a means of defence and mutual support. Its Imperial value is not, I submit, lessened because it opened up to settlement the great prairies of the Canadian North-West, where forty millions of British subjects may find employment in providing bread and meat for the people of this country. I can bear the taunt that the capital for the Canadian Pacific Railway was found in this country when it is remembered that those who supplied it have been paid the highest rate of interest, and thus enriched, whilst those who sent their money to South America have lost it. I may say, however, that I did not refer to what Canada had done to promote the security of the Empire as in any way absolving her from further expenditure, but as an indication of her readiness to discharge her duty in this regard.
may say that I differ toto cælo with those who are apparently striving to convince the British public
that Canada is a burden to the Empire. One member of the House of Commons has avowed the opinion that the sooner England can rid herself of such an incubus the better, but I feel confident that that sentiment is not shared by half a dozen of his fellow-members. The views of the great body of the public men of all parties in this country on this point were well stated by Lord Rosebery in his address to the Chamber of Commerce at Leeds :
“It is not merely the commercial interests involved, it is a narrowing down of this country to its European possessions. Do not flatter yourself that if Canada and Australia were to leave
you you would retain your smaller colonies. The West Indies would go with Canada; Australia would take in Australasia. As to the Cape, I think you might well make up your mind for the secession of the Cape under circumstances such as these. Well, if you wish to remain alone in the world with Ireland you can do so."
Also by Lord Salisbury in his speech at Exeter in February :
What is it that gives to this little island its commanding position ? Why is it that fleets from every nation, from every quarter of the globe, come into your ports; that the products of countless regions are subject to your industry; and that the manufactures which the industry of your people complete are carried to the farthest corners of the globe ? What is it that gives to you this privileged position ? It is that your flag floats over populations far more numerous and regions far vaster than your own, and that upon the dominions of your Sovereign the sun never sets.
I yield to no one in a due appreciation of the great value to Canada of the army and navy and diplomatic service of England. But I deny that any additional burden is imposed upon this country by the possession of Canada. If the United States could accomplish their desire of having one Government from the Equator to the North Pole, and England were left without a harbour in North America into which her ships could enter in time of war, and deprived of her invaluable coal supplies, both on the Atlantic and Pacific coast, can anyone pretend that she could reduce her army by a man or her navy by a ship? What would then become of her trade with China and Japan, and to what extent might not her Indian Empire be thus imperilled ? Canada has shown in the past the value she attaches to British institutions, and will every hour become a still greater strength to the Empire by building up and training a powerful British community to defend the connection of which she is so proud. Commercial principles and defence may be combined, as in the case of her canals-on which she has already expended over eleven millions sterling, and has incurred further liabilities—which provide the most magnificent inland navigation in the world, and will enable gunboats of large size to reach, in case of war, the head of Lake Superior.
Among the measures recently sanctioned by the Parliament of this country to increase its naval strength, it will be generally admitted that the policy of securing the construction of armed cruisers like the Teutonic and Majestic, built under Admiralty supervision, of great speed, provided with armament,
and subject to appropriation as cruisers in time of war, promises the best results in proportion to the expenditure. Canada is now pledged to appropriate £165,000 sterling per annum to provide such a service from England to Canada, and between Canada and Australia. She has already given £15,000 a year to the steamers between Canada and Japan and China, making a total annual sum of £180,000 for the best form of naval defence. At a time when Canada has accomplished so much for the security of the Empire in the past, and is now struggling to secure at great cost such an important enterprise, is she to be held up to the contempt of the people of this country as not taking her fair share of the burdens of the Empire? Let me say to Sir John Colomb, who criticises in his “Survey of Existing Conditions” the issues which occupied the people of Canada at the late general election, that when the Opposition propounded to the country, then smarting under the McKinley tariff, the policy of consulting their own interests by supporting free trade with the American Republic, involving the adoption of their prohibitory tariff against England, the Government of Canada joined issue with them on that point, and went in to the battle with “British institutions, and no discrimination against the Mother Country inscribed on their banners. Their great leader, Sir John A. Macdonald, who in his seventy-sixth year braved the inclemency of a Canadian winter, fell a martyr in that struggle, but not until he had planted that flag securely upon the ramparts of his country, and had his dying hours cheered, like the immortal Wolfe, by the consciousness that