But we want something for what we have given; and why was the opportunity not taken advantage of yesterday ? I believe the cause of no action on England's part was the attitude of this government. The opportunity has been presented to this government time after time to open up negotiations leading to reciprocity of trade between the mother country and this country, and every time it has been thrown down. Let me read what has
taken place within a very few days. I am now quoting from a prominent English magazine. In the Nineteenth Century for March, there is an article dealing with Mr. Chamberlain as an empire builder. Speaking in Birmingham in January last, Mr. Chamberlain made this statement:
A new factor has entered into the politics of this country. In future you will have to take account of the opinion of your colonists. You will have to consult them.
Mr. Chamberlain made that statement in connection with the war in South Africa; and the essayist who is discussing the question says :
Those are pregnant words, and call to mind others already uttered by Sir Wilfrid Laurier :
* If you want our help, you must call us to your councils.'
Sir Wilfrid Laurier is quoted as having said to the people of Great Britain in connection with the jubliee celebration : ' If you want our help, you must call us to your councils.' In that very year a proposal was made to call Canada and the other colonies to the councils of the empire, and the right hon. gentleman did not accept it. The invitation was again given by Mr. Chamberlain in that speech in January last, and no response was made to it ; and on top of that the following despatch was sent to this country by Mr. Chamberlain-it was given out in this country on the 11th of March :
On the 23rd January, the Colonial Secretary cabled to Lord Minto as follows : ' It is proposed by His Majesty's government to take advantage of the presence of the premiers at the coronation to discuss with them1 the question of oolitieal relations between the mother country "and the colonies, Imperial defence, commercial relations of the empire and other matters of general interest.'
There was a broad invitation issued to the Prime Minister of this country and to the prime ministers of all the other colonies to discuss Imperial affairs ; and I believe that that invitation was given in view of the statement which was made yesterday, that England had at last come to the point when she must resort to protection; and if the proper answer had been given to that invitation, I believe that the budget speech of yesterday would have shown an inclination on the part of England to give us some kind of reciprocity in return for what we have given to England; but what put them off ? It was this reply of the Canadian government which His Excellency the Governor General on the 3rd of February cabled to the Colonial Secretary :
Referring to your despatch of the 27th December, my government accepts the invitation extended to the Prime Minister to attend the Coronation. . ,
The he goes on to say :
Referring to the several questions mentioned in your despatch of the 23rd February, the only one which, in the opinion of my ministers,
gives promise of useful discussion, is that of the commercial relations between the various sections of the empire. The political relations now existing between the mother country and the great self-governing colonies, and particularly Canada, is regarded by my ministers as entirely satisfactory, with the exception of a few minor details and they do not anticipate that in the varying conditions of the colonies there can be any scheme of defence applicable to all.
But, Mr. Speaker, is it not evident that it is just in connection with an Imperial scheme of defence, that a tariff can he arranged to the advantage of Canada ? If a tax were put on all foreign food products coming into the empire for the defence of the empire, that would give Canada reciprocal treatment, and it is because the right hon. the Prime Minister said he was not prepared to discuss the question of defence, that this proposal was made in the budget speech yesterday to tax grain coming from outside countries without extending any preference to Canada. This is only another instance of the carelessness of this government, and its lack of foresight in dealing with these great questions that concern the people's interests. They take credit to themselves for our good crops and prosperity. They are not entitled to credit for either, but they deserve discredit for having lost opportunity after opportunity of doing something to extend and promote the trade of this country, and especially to obtain reciprocity from the motherland in return for the preference we have given it. At the jubilee the Prime Minister threw a great opportunity away. When Mr. Chamberlain made the statement in Birmingham that England must call her colonies to her councils, no reply of an encouraging character was made from this side. And when an official invitation was given the Prime Minister to go over and discuss all the questions concerning the colonies and the mother country, lie replied that he did not intend to discuss the question of defence.
But, Sir, the defence of a nation should be its first consideration, and if we had a patriotic, far sighted and statesmanlike cabinet, that invitation to which I have referred would have been accepted in its broadest sense. Had it been so accepted the Chancellor of the Exchequer would never have come down and proposed to levy a tax on food products without giving a preference to Canada. This is the first time in fifty years that such a tax has been proposed in England. It lias been stated time and again that England never would give us a preference, but if we bad at the helm of state, men of foresight, that question of defence would have been coupled with England's commercial policy, and Canada would have had no difficulty in obtaining the preference we all desire. But the right hon. gentleman apparently saw no connection between the defence of Mr. MACLEAN.
the empire and its commercial policy, and lost the golden opportunity. Yesterday we had the confession made in the British House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the principle of protection is a sound one, and that protection does not mean an increase in cost to the consumer. True the statesman who said this is a Tory, but in view of the trend of events I question whether that will take from the value of the declaration in the eyes of the people. And this statesman said further that these duties never should have been abandoned, ns they were a great many years ago. Here is an opportunity which lias been, with criminal carelessness, absolutely thrown away. This is not the first time the interests of our country have suffered through the lack of statesmanship of the right hon. gentleman. As I pointed out in this House on a previous occasion, when there was first a question of the abolition of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, Lord Lansdowne declared in an official document that there should be no settlement of that difficulty until an agreement satisfactory to Canada was arrived at concerning the Alaskan Boundary dispute. That was stated in an official dispatch as the declared policy of the British government, but as far as we know the government of Canada never insisted on that position which was taken by tlie British Foreign Secretary and indorsed by the Prime Minister of England, Lord Salisbury, being strictly adhered to. A great opportunity was then lost which cannot be recovered. But I believe that if the invitation of Mr. Chamberlain, received in January last bad been fully accepted, we would have had no proposition in the budget speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to impose a tax on food products without giving a preference to Canada in return for the preference which we have given the manufacturers of England. Thus three great opportunities have been lost of improving our commercial relations with the mother country, and I have no doubt that we will have a similar course followed by our Prime Minister at the coronation conference in June next. Whatever offer may be made to the colonies by tlie mother country, no doubt we will find him using some cold blooded double meaning phrase that will effectually kill it. I make this charge to-day, that in these great questions, which call for foresight and statesmanship, the government have shown itself absolutely incapable. To show the House that the view to which I have given expression is held by leading organs of public opinion in England, let me read a few lines from a recent number of the ' Saturday Review.' In the ' Saturday Review ' of the Oth of March last, I find the following editorial remarks :
Canada, Australia and New Zealand are busyorganizing new contingents for service in South Africa. The persistence of these colonies in identifying themselves with the Imperial cause
is a proof of devotion more remarkable even than their first efforts, and encourages the highest hopes that some scheme of Imperial relations more businesslike than those which now obtain may result from the Colonial Conferences to be held in London this summer. AS New Zealand has been the most enthusiastic contributor to the colonial forces in the field, so her Prime Minister, Mr. Seddon, is easily first in his eagerness to promote the cause of Imperial solidarity. His programme is comprehensive, and includes preferential tariffs, Imperial reserves, the strengthening of the Australasian squadron, and triennial meetings between leading Imperial and colonial statesmen. Mr. Seddon's attitude is what we should expect that of other colonial premiers to be, in view of the attitude of the people they represent. Sir Wilfrid Laurier's unwillingness to consider any project of Imperial defence is intelligible only on the ground that.he has misapprehended the ideas which have been advanced on the subject. We should not have been surprised if his free trade proclivities- which he has not been able to gratify in Canada as premier-were a difficulty in the way of tariff modifications, but that he should deprecate the discussion of defence is astonishing and may prove unfortunate for himself.
It lias already proved unfortunate for tlie Canadian people. Were the right lion, gentleman equal to the situation, he would have accepted that invitation in its entirety and coupled the question of Imperial defence with that of the Imperial trade policy. The ' Saturday Review ' points that he has lost his opportunity. I only hope that he may recover it in June next, but, .judging by the experience we have had in the past, there is very little prospect of his so doing. I am not going to delay the House further on this question. I have taken the earliest opportunity of bringing it up after the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech of yesterday. Let me emphasize the great fact that there can be no discussion either of Imperial defence or of Imperial trade relations without the two going together. They cannot be uncoupled, ns the Prime Minister has sought to do in liis reply to the invitation sent to the government. When the government in England know that the colonies are prepared to do tlieir share in the way of Imperial defence and are ready to discuss what that share is and how it is to be given, you will find England ready to give a preference to colonial products in her markets recognizing fully the principle of protection, as against the outside world for that great principle the British government has this day accepted, and the recognition of it as an Imperial bond cannot but be an advantage to the farmers of Canada, especially those of our growing Northwest. The future of our North-west lies in two things-the home market, which we propose to keep for them, especially as against American competition; and the English market by way of preference over foreign food products. If there is any reason tliat will bring the American people to a sense of their duty and obligation, if there
is anything that will cause them to respect Great Britain and Canada and compel them to settle such questions as those of our fisheries and the Alaskan boundary, it will be a preference in the British market for Canadian products over the products of the western states of the union. The very form of the invitation sent to the premier, the commercial relations of the empire and the defence of the empire being coupled together, meant preference of some kind. And the Australian and New Zealand premiers saw it, and they are going to London to discuss both these questions of Imperial defence and Imperial trade policy. But our premier goes over, according to his own word, not to discuss the question of defence, but to discuss the question of trade relations. He cannot go with any authority or force to discuss the one without taking the other also. But, with these questions presented together, the parliament of Great Britain will at once see that the time has come when a preference must be given to the colonies. When that time comes, Canada will prosper as she has never prospered before, the empire will be bound together as it never has been before, and we shall be in a position, for the first time in our history, to eompel our neighbours to the south to treat us as they ought to treat us. These are great questions; these are far-reaching questions; these are up-to-date questions-and they are squarely before the people of this country and the jieople of the motherland. They are questions that demand consideration; they are questions calling for the highest kind of statesmanship oh the part of the government. I am sorry to say I have seen no evidence of statesmanship in the handling of them by this government up to the present time. All I have seen is that every opportunity presented to the government to lead in these matters has been neglected. But the empire must be led by the colonies. We are called colonists, and, used in its proper sense, I do. not resent the name. I claim this for the colonies-at least, so far as Canada, Australia and South Africa are concerned- that the clearest vision in regard to Imperial questions has been in the eyes of men who are called colonists. The day will come when all the people of tlie empire will see that the men who are leading in questions of Imperial policy, the men who are doing the work that is binding the empire together, are the men from tlie colonies. We have long had these views on this side of the House; unfortunately, we lost our opportunity to press them" forward. Hon. gentlemen opposite are in power, hut whenever opportunity has come to them, they have allowed it to pass by. As I have said, the only explanation I can give for that is their pro-United States leanings. ' The Senator from Quebec ' and ' the Senator from Ontario,' as they have been called in the United States, would not like to do anything to injure their friends there. But, if the gov-
eminent had accepted this invitation in its true significance and had said they were ready to discuss both Imperial defence and Imperial trade preference, I believe that this proposal of three pence per hundred pounds on wheat going into the motherland, would have been modified into a proposal of a duty on foreign food products with a preference to the colonies.
Subtopic: IS, 1902 PREFERENTIAL TRADE WITH THE EMPIRE.