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in this programme of 1893 that the Liberal party Canada, as a Dominion-wide organisation, defined attitude towards the National Policy of the Conservativ The Liberal party, it is well to point out, did not prom to open the ports by abolishing all import duties. Imp duties have been continuously levied in Canada since 18 when, by the Enabling Act of the Imperial Parliament, t Legislatures of the old British North-American provin were empowered to enact their own tariffs. In the Otta Liberal programme, there was no promise to establi free trade as it existed at that time in the Unit Kingdom. Exigencies of revenue made impossible a such sweeping reform of the fiscal system, as it h existed since 1879; but the party gave an unequivoc pledge to the electorate that it would, if returned power, eliminate the principle of protection from ti fiscal system of the Dominion. With this object widely-extended propaganda programme was carried during the next three years. Laurier, as leader of t Opposition, was at the height of his popularity, ar spoke frequently in the constituencies. In 1894 he we as far afield as Winnipeg, and it was in that city that held protection up to odium as a form of slavery.
There was no surprise in Canada, not even amon Ministers at Ottawa, at the success of the Liberal part at the general election of 1896. The party was ably lec Laurier was popularly regarded as the Gladstone of th Dominion. Cartwright had a strong hold on Ontari Mr Sifton (now Sir Clifford Sifton) was then a power i Manitoba. The late Israel Tarte, editor of a French Canadian weekly newspaper of wide circulation, wa Laurier's lieutenant in Quebec; and down by the sea in the Maritime Provinces, Mr W. Blair, Premier of Nev Brunswick, Mr Fielding, then Premier of Nova Scotia and Mr Davies, an ex-Premier of Prince Edward Island were acceptable and able leaders. Moreover, the three years' campaign in support of the Ottawa programme infused more enthusiasm into the Liberal party thar had existed at any time since Confederation, or has existed at any time since 1896.
The Conservative party, on the other hand, had manifestly been running to seed since the death of Macdonald in 1891. Its strength and cohesion in the years 1878-1891, and its successes at the election in 1882, 1887, and 1891, were due to the personality of Macdonald, and to the support it received from the protected manufacturers. Since 1891 the party has never developed a leader comparable in any degree with Macdonald, whose personality in the House and on the platform was quite as attractive and quite as holding as that of Laurier. From the death of Macdonald to the end of the Conservative regime in 1896, the Conservatives had had four leaders-Abbott, Thompson, Bowell, and Tupper; and in the last two years it was lamentably short of men of Cabinet rank. Moreover, its leaders had been quarrelling among themselves; and, what was worse from the point of view of the party as a whole, they had been taking the Dominion into their confidence regarding the causes of these quarrels. Bowell, who succeeded Thompson as Premier at the end of 1894, resigned in April 1896, because of difficulties with several members of his Cabinet, whom he publicly denounced as traitors. He was succeeded by Tupper, who had been High Commissioner for Canada in London. Tupper hoped to retrieve the fortunes of the party, and secure for it another lease of power; but the electorate was thoroughly weary of the Conservative regime; and the Liberals had a majority of 34 in a House containing 230 members.
The Laurier régime extended from July 1896 to October 1911. There were four general elections in these fifteen years—1900, 1904, 1908, and 1911. On the first three of these occasions the Conservative Opposition made DO additions to its strength in the House of Commons; and the hold of the Liberals on the constituencies was well maintained. Trade was flourishing. Two additional trans-continental railways were under construction. Tens of thousands of people were acquiring fortunes--on paper
from the long-continued boom in real estate in the provinces west of the Ottawa river. Immigration from England and Scotland, and from several countries of Continental Europe, was unprecedentedly large. Most satisfactory of all, the graingrowing industry in the prairie provinces--the mainstay of Canada, as regards export trade-was being greatly extended, to the manifest advantage of Ontario and Quebec, the central and pre-eminently manufactur mercantile, and money - handling provinces of Dominion.
At the end of 1910, when Fielding and Paterson negotiating for reciprocity with the United States by agreement which both political parties would have b eager to conclude at any time from 1866 to 1910 seemed as though the Laurier regime might continue years to come. But there was an unexpected deve ment in connexion with the agreement. The protec manufacturers and the financial and transport inter strongly objected to it. All these interests were api hensive that reciprocity * might weaken the tie betw the Dominion and Great Britain. Above all, the ma facturers and the banking companies, whose inter are closely interwoven with those of the manufactur were in dread of the inroad that reciprocity mi ultimately make in the policy of the Dominion.
The Liberals, it will be recalled, had, thirteen ye earlier, abandoned their old fiscal principles and a their former hostility to bounties. In 1897, they ma the National Policy their own; and, by the enactment higher duties in that year and in 1907, they made it more service to, the manufacturers than it was fr 1878 to 1896, when the Conservatives were in pow The only innovations in the National Policy ma by the Liberals were (1) the introduction of anti-dun ing sections in the Tariff Acts of 1897 and 1907innovation manifestly in the interest of the protect manufacturers; and (2) the enactment of the Briti preferential tariffs of 1897 and 1898. Now the mar facturers never liked the preferential tariff, The were woollen manufacturers who, in 1897, threaten to close their mills because concessions had been ma to British manufacturers. At no time, moreover, fro 1897 to the beginning of the war, did manufacturers Canada conceal the fact of their dislike. Their persiste demand was for adequate protection against competitie whether from Great Britain or from the United Stat They regarded such protection as essential to
* There has been reciprocity in wheat and wheat produce since Ap 1917, and in potatoes since June 1919.
continued prosperity of manufacturing enterprises in Canada ; and, in response to their demands, material curtailments of the preference were made in 1904, and again at the general revision of the tariff in 1907.
But, except as regards the preference, from 1897 to the introduction of the reciprocity resolutions into the Canadian House of Commons in the session of 1911, the protected manufacturers were as well satisfied with the fiscal policy of the Liberals as they had been with that of the Conservatives from 1879 to 1896. The clash between the Laurier Government and the protected manufacturers and the financial and transport interests arose entirely over the proposed reciprocity agreement. The Government, apprehensive of incurring the hostility of the organised grain-growers and farmers, was compelled to adhere to its policy. The opposing interests insisted upon the abandonment of the agreement. The result was that at the election in September 1911, the Liberals were defeated; and the Conservatives, who had suddenly and unexpectedly abandoned their old attitude towards reciprocity, and espoused the cause of the manufacturing, financial, and transport interests, were returned to power with Sir Robert Borden as Premier.
It has seemed expedient to recall these details of the fiscal and trade policy of the Laurier Government for an obvious reason, Laurier gave hearty and loyal support to the British Government during the Boer War of 1899– 1902; and in 1910 he was responsible for an act,* which went into effect only in part, for the creation of a Canadian War Navy, which was to be under control of the Dominion Government. The raising and equipping by the Ottawa Government of volunteers for the Boer War, and the Naval Act of 1910, afforded proof that the Dominion, under Laurier, realised and was ready to accept its imperial responsibilities and obligations. But it was manifestly through his fiscal and trade policy that Laurier permanently influenced the relations between the
* The Naval Act was passed in March 1910, but only part of its provisiods went into effect, because in the winter of 1910–1911 there came the contest in the House of Commons over the reciprocity resolutions; and in September 1911, as has been stated, the Government was defeated at the general election, and the Laurier regime came to an end.
Dominions and Great Britain, and indirectly influen the trade relations of all the Dominions, except N foundland, with Great Britain, and also the commer diplomacy of the mother country.
All the influence in this direction that Laul exercised—and it was undoubtedly a greater influe: than has ever been exercised by a premier of Canada by a premier of any other Dominion-developed out the British preferential tariff of 1897. The Canadian ta of 1897 was not the first preferential tariff enacted i colony that is now of the Dominions. For two or thi years after the Enabling Act of 1846 was on the stati book, the Legislature of Newfoundland passed Ta Acts in which there were preferences for imports fro the United Kingdom. But these Newfoundland Tar Acts of 1848-1850 had been long forgotten when t Parliament at Ottawa, in April 1911, enacted the fi preferential Tariff Act of the Dominion.
The Act came as a surprise to Canada. It was qui as much a surprise to the people of the United Kingdo and to the Australasian and South African colonies. can now be stated with authority that even the Coloni Office had had no intimation through the Governo General that in the first Tariff Act of the Lauri Government preferential terms were to be conceded imports from the United Kingdom. It was apprehende by the Cabinet at Ottawa that the Colonial Office wou object to the new departure because of its disturbin effect on the commercial treaty with Germany, and als on some twenty other commercial treaties which we in force in 1897. Hence, contrary to usage, no summar of the changes made by the new tariff was communicate by cable to the Colonial Office before Mr Fielding, th Minister of Finance, submitted it to the House Commons. The Fielding tariff had the effect that had been for
It brought about the immediate denunciation all the older commercial treaties; for, with these treatie in operation, all the countries which were parties to the could have claimed-as Germany did claim—the right t the same tariff concessions as were made to th United Kingdom. Laurier's name must consequentl always have place in the history of the commercia