Page images
PDF
EPUB

the colonies, and that is as to whether, these forces and outside circumstances conjoining together, the time is not approaching when it shall not become a question simply as to whether Great Britain shall give protection to her farmers, but when the greater problem will appear for solution as to whether the needs of the Empire cannot be best met within the Empire itself; as to whether the Empire's markets cannot be supplied by the Empire's producers, and practical independence of foreign countries in food-supplies be secured, so that in time of trial and war the Empire's producers may be rid of that great danger of the present time, in this, that the Empire itself shall be sufficient to feed and to produce for the needs of the Empire.

FOODS FOR THE HOMELAND

CLOSING ARGUMENT AND PERORATION OF SPEECH DELIVERED IN

THE CANADIAN HOUSE OF COMMONS, JANUARY 31, 1896

Is there any reason why we should change our line of

reasonable protection in order to adopt any of those

facile political faiths which have been confessed from time to time by honorable gentlemen opposite? Is there any reason for change to be found in the general circumstances of the world to-day? If in 1878 the people of this country thought that a reasonable protection was necessary to give them the vantage-ground in competing with the world and building up and establishing industrial life in this country, is it any less necessary to-day? Is the competition less keen to-day than it was in 1878? Are the tariff lines of the various countries of the world lower to-day than in 1878 ?

E-Orations. Vol. 25

Is the tendency of the commercial countries of the world changed in the direction of freer trade and lower duties? · No, sir, they have changed and are changing in the direction of greater stringency and more prohibitive tariffs and circumstances. If they have changed from 1878 to this time, they are stronger to-day in the direction of making Canada keep, for the sake of her trade and business interests, to the line of reasonable protection, instead of taking the line of free trade or partial free trade.

Why, to-day, after the Democratic administration had lowered the duties to a small extent, but so far away from free trade that they enjoy a tariff with an average of 42 per cent on dutiable articles for home consumption in that country, when they had given Canada some little better footing in their market by lowering to some extent duties on agricultural products, what to-day has happened ? A Republican majority in the House of Representatives has sent to the Senate a bill which proposes to raise the rate of taxation on all those articles, and to raise them so as to be prohibitive as regards the introduction of the products of Canada into the United States. Is that a reason why we should change our line of policy? If in 1878 there was a reason for the adoption of this policy, in 1895 there is greater reason that this policy should be continued and we should hold to it in Canada.

But there is a line which I think it is possible, and I believe it is right, that the statesmanship of this country as well as of Great Britain and other colonies of the Empire should consider and ponder carefully and well, and that is whether it is not possible for statesmanship in the colonies and Great Britain to bring about between the colonies as among themselves, and between the colonies and Great Britain, concurrent action which will be conducive to the commercial interests of both, and which will result in greater power and strength. I read an article but a little time ago in the " Nineteenth Century Review,” in which the general question which is agitating many thoughtful minds at the present day was raised and discussed, as to whether the Empire would be able to feed itself in the event of war against Great Britain which would cut off her supplies from hostile nations.

Feed itself! Why, sir, if statesmanship is not able practically to solve that question, statesmanship must find it impossible to solve any of the great questions which from time to time present themselves for consideration. The Empire able to feed itself! Yes. This article showed that 100,000,000 bushels of wheat were necessary to England other than what the colonies afforded her at the present time, in order to feed the people of the Empire there.

One hundred million bushels of wheat! Why, 50,000 Canadian farmers with 100 acres each in wheat, and raising twenty bushels to the acre, would produce the 100,000,000 of bushels of wheat needed by Great Britain. And what is 50,000 farmers cultivating 5,000,000 of acres, compared with the English farmers wanting employment and the numbers of millions of acres of good wheat land in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, which has not yet been scratched by the plow?

Meats to the value of $140,000,000 would need to be supplied by the colonies to make up for Great Britain's deficiency supplied now from foreign countries. Well, cattle and horses and pigs in illimitable quantity could be raised in this country. As to butter and cheese : 50,000 farmers owning each 150 cows, amounting to 2,500,000 in numbers, would supply butter and cheese going far to meet the demands of Great Britain for such supplies. And, with the vast lands of the Northwest, that is not an estimate which cannot be reached if adequate means were taken to bring it about.

So, sir, I might go on to amplify this. The sugar which is necessary for the consumption of Great Britain could be supplied by the West Indies, and by the East Indies, with the cultivation of the cane lands which are now going out of use, and which by its diminution is impoverishing the planters and the laborers of the West Indies. That industry might again have its period of flourishing and its reward of, remunerative production were concurrent action taken in Britain and the islands.

So all the way through. It is a problem which requires only time and good statesmanship to solve. And, as I said before, it is for Canada, for Australia, for the other colonies of Great Britain, and for Great Britain herself, to ponder seriously and carefully; to consider whether or not an arrangement cannot become to which will make the Empire and rits dependencies sufficient within themselves to feed the Empire, and by doing that add to the volume of business and to a mutually remunerative production. And, sir, the statesmanship which could formulate some such policy of mutually beneficial trade would achieve an end infinitely higher and more wide-reaching. It would evolve from the dark foreground of the not-distant future a national life of singular strength and beauty, in which Canadian Britain, and Australasian Britain, the Britain of Asia and Africa and of the Isles of the Sea, would group themselves in grand imperial unity; the old enriching the new, and the new imparting fresh strength to the old,—through whose world-wide realm the blood of a common commerce should mingle with

the blood of a common patriotism, whose power would compel peace, and whose millions of happy people would march in the van of the fullest freedom and the highest civilization.

PRUDENT COMPROMISE

[Peroration of speech on the Manitoba Remedial Separate School Bill, delivered in the Canadian House of Commons, March 13, 1896.]

FTER six years, sir, we stand here under circumstances

such as I have detailed. What is it, then, for this

Parliament to do? On the one hand, there is a wellfounded repugnance to interfere, and do what, even though clearly within our right to do, the province can do more easily and far better than ourselves. There is along with that a number of subordinate reasons arising, either from considerations of principle or of personal concern, or of party

interests that tend to induce some to vote against this bill - and against remedial legislation.

On the other hand, what is there? There is the genius and spirit of the constitutional compacts of this country. There is the splendid lesson of toleration and of compromise which has been read to you in that constitution, and which has been evidenced in its harmonious workings for nearly thirty years. There is the cry of the minority, small in the area of those who directly suffer, but large, let me tell you, in the area of those who sympathize with it in this country from one end to the other. There are the minorities in other provinces demanding of you where they shall stand and how they shall be treated if in future years their time of trial comes, and they will have to appeal to this same high court of Parliament and invoke this same jurisdiction.

« PreviousContinue »