that treaty were rejected by the Senate to-morrow we have gained this vantage ground, that we stand in the position of having it declared by the Secretary of State of the United States and by the President of the United States that Canada has been ready to make, and that Her Majesty's Government on behalf of Canada, through her plenipotentiaries, have made an arrangement with the plenipo tentiaries of the United States that is fair, just, and equitable, and that leaves that country no possible cause of complaint. What is the result? The result will be this: : that let a fisherman complain to-morrow of our interpretation of the treaty, of the enforcement of our most extreme construction of the treaty, the answer to him is this : Nobody is to blame for the inconvenience you suffer except the Senate of the United States. The President, the Executive of your country; the Democratic party from end to end of the United States declared it was a fair settlement. They represent an undoubted majority, in my judgment, of the people of the United States to-day, and I believe they will represent it to-morrow. We stand in the position that instead of being alone with the whole of the United States, President, Government, and people all against us, all denouncing us as adopting a harsh and barbarous interpretation of an old, antiquated treaty for the purpose of forcing reciprocity upon them, we occupy the vantage ground of having these men out of their own mouths declaring that nothing has been wanting on the part of the Government of Her Majesty, or on the part of the Dominion of Canada, to place this question on a fair and equitable basis such as might honourably be accepted by the United States. I hold we have accomplished that without injuring in the slightest degree the fisheries of Canada, without injuring Canadian interests to any extent whatever. We have made concessions, as I have said, but we have made them with the avowed object of placing all people, not only the fishermen, but the agriculturist, the lumberman, every man in this country, in a better relation with the

United States than he was before. What is the result ? As I have said, Mr. Bayard told us, the American plenipotentiaries told us, that there was but one way of obtaining what we wished. You want greater freedom of commercial intercourse. You want relaxation in our tariff arrangements with regard to natural products in which you are so rich and abundant. There is but one way to obtain it. Let us by common concession be able to meet on common ground and remove this irritating cause of difficulty between the two countries out of the way, and you will find that the policy of this Government, the policy of the President of the House of Representatives, the policy of the great Democratic party of the United States, will at once take an onward march in the direction you propose, and accomplish steadily that which you would desire, is the only way by which it can ever be attained. Those were not empty words; those were the sober utterances of distinguished statesmen, who pointed to the avowed policy of the Government of the United States as the best evidence of the sincerity of what they say. What has happened already ? Already we have action by the financial exponent of the Administration of the United States-I mean Mr. Mills--the gentleman who in the United States Congress represents the Government of the day, and stands in the position most analogous in the United States to the Finance Minister in this House, the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, who propounds the policy of the Administration in the House. How is he selected ? The Democratic party sustaining the Government selects a man as Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is in accord with the policy of the Administration for the time being, and Mr. Carlisle, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, nominates the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means and all the members of the committee, and therefore the Chairman of that committee occupies the position of representing the Government in bringing forward such Bills as

will represent the views and sentiments of the Democratic party in the United States supporting the Administration. What have we seen ? The ink is barely dry upon this treaty before he, as the representative of the Government and Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, brings forward a measure to do-what? Why, to make free articles that Canada sends into the United States, and upon which last year $1,800,000 of duty was paid.

I do not intend to insult both the great political parties of this country, who have, since 1854 and long before, maintained that the interests of Canada--the interests of British North America—were intimately bound up in obtaining free intercourse with the United States for our natural products—I do not intend to insult the two great parties in this country by telling them that they were fools, that they did not know what they were doing. Down to the present hour we have adopted the policy on both sides of the House, and we have pledged ourselves to the people to do everything that lay in our power to obtain a free market for the natural products of our country with the United States, and I say you must answer me the question as to whether that was an act of supreme folly or whether it was wise statesmanship on the part of both parties in this country to adopt that policy, before you ask me such a question as who pays the duty ?” I say that under this Bill which has been introduced and which, I believe, will pass, for it does not require two-thirds of the Senate where the Republican majority is only one in the whole House to pass this Bill ; it requires a majority of one only, and I am very sanguine that this Bill will pass during the present session. Modified it may be ; but I am inclined to think that the amendments will be still more in the interests of Canada than as the Bill stands to-day. If this is the case, I think we may congratulate ourselves upon securing the free admission of our lumber, upon which was paid during the last year no less than $1,315,450. On copper ore made free by the Mills' Bill

we paid-or there was paid, to make it meet the views of the hon. gentlemen opposite more correctly-$96,945. On salt $21,992 duty was paid. This is rendered free by the Mills' Bill. I am sorry to find, as I hoped would be the case from the first copy of the Bill that came to me, that potatoes were not included amongst vegetables. I am sorry to find there is a doubt as to whether the term

vegetables not specially enumerated ” will not exclude potatoes. In grappling with this policy of making the natural products of the two countries free, you do not expect any person who wants to carry a Bill to put a heavier load upon his shoulders than he is able to carry, lest he may break down and do nothing. You expect him to take it in detail, and, as I believe, you will find the policy contained in this Bill of making those natural products of Canada free, carried out until you have perfect freedom of intercourse between the natural products of Canada and the United States of America. Of wool we sent last year 1,319,309 lb. of one kind, and a variety of other kinds, upon which a duty was paid to the extent of $183,852. Now, as I say, on articles of prime importance and interest to Canada the removal of duty by the Mills' Bill amounts to no less than $1,800,193. You will be glad to hear that I do not intend to detain the House any longer. In discharge of the duties—the very onerous and important duties—of one of Her Majesty's plenipotentiaries at that conference, I have steadily kept in view what in my heart and judgment I believed were the best interests of Canada. In the measure which I have the honour to submit to this House, I believe will be found embodied a Bill which it is of the most vital importance to Canada to pass. As it stands to-day the Government of the United States have only my signature to sustain the course that has been taken. I was not there as the representative of the Government of Canada, nor can my signature to the treaty necessarily imply the approval and support of even the Government of Canada. I occupied on that occasion the

position of one of Her Majesty's plenipotentiaries, charged not only with the responsibility of my duty of what I owed to Canada, but also the responsibility of my duty to the Empire. I can only say, Sir, that I felt I would best discharge my duty to the Empire by steadily keeping in view the interest of Canada. I believe, Sir, that there is no way in which any public man in this country can promote the interests of the great Empire of which we form a part, better, or as well, as by taking such a course of public action, as will build up a great British community on this northern portion of the Continent of America. I believe, Sir, that we owe it to the Empire as well as to ourselves, steadily to keep in view every measure that will conduce to the rapid progress of Canada, the development of our inexhaustible resources and the building up of a great and powerful British Dominion on this side of the Atlantic. I say, Sir, that in the discharge of my duty I have steadily kept that conviction in view, and I believe the course which has been pursued will not only commend itself to the judgment and support of the great majority in this House, but that the great majority of the people in this country will feel that in the adoption of this treaty we are taking a step that is calculated to conduce to the progress and greatness and best interests of Canada.

« ForrigeFortsett »