signed was one advantageous to Canada, not to compel us to take such strong grounds as would be used against us when that arbitration, at a subsequent time, should take place. Well, Sir, I am sorry to say that my appeal on that occasion was not as successful as I trust it will be on this occasion ; I am sorry to say that we were forced to make some very strong and very clear statements to the House in justification of my right hon. friend for putting his name to the Washington Treaty of 1871. Well, just as I expected, and nobody knows better than the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Jones), who sits oppositefor this arbitration took place in the city where he lives— no person knows better than himself that one main element of the United States case was the production of the very speeches which we had been compelled to make on the floor of this House in defence of that treaty. Every word that we uttered on that occasion was used to our disadvantage and to our detriment. I will not say that it was very successfully used, because I do not think that Canada has any right to complain of the amount that was awarded on that occasion-$5,500,000 for the period during which the treaty was to last, for the benefits derived by the people of the United States over and above those which were conceded by removing the duties on fish. Many persons have said, Sir, that we were not only successful in that arbitration, but that we were too successful; that, in fact, the award that was made was the main reason why the United States took the earliest possible moment to denounce that treaty and to terminate it. I do not believe, myself, that the award was too great. I believe it is almost impossible to over-estimate the advantages of enjoying the fisheries that, unfortunately for us, are contained in the jurisdictional waters of Canada. But, unfortunately, that treaty was abrogated. And, Sir, I must, in passing, pay my tribute to the hon. member for East York (Mr. Mackenzie), who at that period led the Government of this country. It is well known that that hon

gentleman, in the discharge of what he conceived to be, and what undoubtedly was, the duty that he owed to Canada in the high position he occupied, adopted measures to prevent that question of money ever being over considered. The hon. gentleman sent one of his colleagues, or, if not one of his colleagues at the time, a gentleman belonging to his party, of great ability and of great attainments, the late Hon. George Brown-he sent him to Washington to co-operate with the British Minister at Washington, and once more a strenuous effort was made to settle this question of the greater value of our fisheries over those of the United States, and over the advantages to be derived from having an opportunity of entering our fish free in the American market; I say, he obtained the appointment by Her Majesty's Government of the Hon. George Brown as a plenipotentiary, and that gentleman exhausted every effort in his power to carry out the views of the hon. member for East York, and again revive the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854. As that treaty had been refused on a former occasion, he went further than the lines of that treaty, and by introducing a certain number of articles to be passed free between the two countries, as well as the natural products of the two countries, he endeavoured to enlarge and expand what had been obtained by the treaty of 1854. I believe there was not a single item that was free under the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 that the Hon. Mr. Brown did not embody in the treaty which he signed as to be made free between Canada and the United States, under the treaty of 1874, which draft treaty was arrived at between the two Governments. As I said before, and as I said the other day, I feel that it is only right, in passing, to say, that the effort to obtain the freest possible commercial intercourse between Canada and the United States, consistent with the rights and interests of the two Governments, is a policy that does not belong to one party only, but it is the property of both parties in this country. The hon. member for

East York showed his hearty appreciation of the value of such a policy, when he was leading the Administration, just as much as my right hon. friend showed it on the occasion of going to Washington, in 1871, and on all and every occasion when that question has come up for consideration. But the Senate rejected that treaty, or, at all events, did not take it up, and consequently we were thrown back upon arbitration; and I think it is a matter of sincere gratification, and always will be to the people of Canada, to know that after the most careful and painstaking examination, after taking all the sworn testimony that could be adduced on the side of the United States, and by Canada, and after the most careful consideration of that testimony, and the fullest consideration of the whole question, that International Commission awarded no less than $5,500,000, or something approaching $500,000 per annum, as the value of the fisheries of Canada over and above those of the United States and the additional advantage of a free market in the United States for the fish of Canada. Now, Sir, under these circumstances, that treaty of 1871 was abrogated on July 1st, 1885. But I must do the Government of the United States the credit to say that they seemed to be equally impressed with the Government of Canada as to the importance of avoiding the difficulties and collisions that were likely to arise out of the abrogation of that treaty, and as those difficulties were likely to again present themselves a measure was arranged jointly between the Government of the United States and the Government of Great Britain, on behalf of the Government of Canada, for the purpose of endeavouring to prevent those difficulties again presenting themselves. Past experience had shown both countries how exceedingly undesirable it was to have men like the fishermen of the two countries, who were away from home, who were not under such easy control as persons on land are, carrying out measures the end of which it might be very difficult to foresee ; and at the suggestion of the British Minister,

Mr. Bayard, then and now the distinguished Secretary of State of the United States, entered into a temporary arrangement whereby American fishermen were allowed the privileges of the treaty during the remainder of the seasonthat is, the season of 1885—with the understanding that the President should bring the question before Congress at its next session and recommend a joint commission by the Governments of the United States and Great Britain to consider the question "in the interest of good neighbourhood and friendly intercourse between the two countries, thus affording a prospect of negotiating for the development and extension of trade between the United States and British North America.” I use Mr. Bayard's words. The Government of Canada most readily assented to this view, and true to the policy that had been invariably pursued on both sides of this House, that of doing everything possible to promote trade relations between the two countries and to remove difficulties connected with the fisheries, the Government at once agreed that if the President would send to Congress a recommendation for the appointment of a commission having such objects in view, they would allow the American fishermen to have the same free access to the fisheries of Canada as they had enjoyed during the continuance of the treaty. President Cleveland, keeping good faith with the Governments of Great Britain and Canada, sent a message to Congress on December 5th, 1885, premising that :

“In the interests of good neighbourhood and of the commercial intercourse of an adjacent community, the question of the North American fisheries is one of much importance."

He recommended a commission :

“Charged with the consideration and settlement, upon a just, equitable, and honourable basis, of the entire question of the fishing rights of the two Governments.”

Unfortunately, the Senate did not approve the recommendation. The fishermen of Gloucester, who naturally,

I suppose, confined their attention to their own interests, and regardless of the effects of the course they proposed to pursue, at once petitioned Congress in the most earnest manner against any such proposal. They declared that they did not want to have anything to do with the fishing grounds or the waters of Canada, and they induced the Senate to reject the proposal by a vote of thirty to ten, and the proposal was rejected accordingly. We were then thrown back, necessarily, upon the only means of protecting the rights and interests of Canada. I may say that a very mistaken apprehension has arisen from the continuous exertions of all parties and classes in this country to obtain reciprocal trade relations with the United States. The policy of obtaining the free interchange of the natural products of the two countries, the products of the sea, of the forest, of the farm, and of the mine, as I have said, has been continuously the policy of both parties in this country, and they have pressed that in season and out of season upon our great neighbours to the south of us. And that, unfortunately, has led to a very erroneous impression. When my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries was compelled to adopt the same policy his predecessor had adopted under like circumstances, and took such measures as were absolutely necessary and indispensable for the protection of the rights and interests of the fishermen of Canada, the United States complained bitterly. Difficulties again took place. Fishermen, perhaps, are the most intractable and uncontrollable people in the world, and when a fisherman gets on board his little smack he thinks he is monarch of all he surveys, and he can go where he pleases, and do what he pleases. The result was that, as before, collisions occurred. Those parties brought themselves under the operation of the law, and it was absolutely necessary, as I have said, in defence of the rights of Canadian fishermen, to make examples of those parties who showed that disregard for the law. The result was an entirely erroneous impression grew up throughout the United States. It

« ForrigeFortsett »