Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
than that, we find a statement in the despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Governor General of the Australian Commonwealth, which is significant. perhaps, in this connection. On the 25th February, 1901, Mr. Barton presented a memorandum to His Excellency the Governor General of the Commonwealth and asked him to communicate that memorandum to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. I will not read the memorandum, but I may say, in a few words, it was for the purpose of ascertaining wliat would be the probable result if the Commonwealth of Australia should enact a tariff granting a preference to the mother country. The inquiry was whether or not it would result in the Commonwealth of Australia being excluded from the most favoured nation treatment by the German Empire. And the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in dealing with that question in the despatch to the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, uses these words :
A copy of the 'correspondence will be forwarded to the Governor General of Canada with the request that he will ask his ministers for a report as to the consequences of the action taken by them not merely as regards their trade with Germany, but also as regards Iheir trade generally with the rest of the world.
And I suppose that a communication of that kind has been received by this government, and that an answer has been sent to that communication. But we can only know the fact of such communication having been received and an answer having probably been sent by referring to documents that, three months ago were laid on the Table of the Australian Commonwealth, and which, at the commencement of this session, should have been laid on the Table of this House. It would be interesting to know what the answer of the government is with respect to this question. I presume that this government has received the request of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and has sent some answer, but this House, up to the present time, is absolutely ignorant on the subject.
Now, let us see on what grounds the action of Germany has been based in excluding Canada from the treatment that Germany extends to the rest of the British Empire. The despatches are not upon the Table of this House, but upon the Table of the Senate of Australia. I will not trouble the House with reading the des patches in full, but may quote a line or two from them which indicates as distinctly as possible that the denunciation of these treaties and the consequent result that the preference of 1897 extends to Great Britain and other portions of the empire and not to Germany and Belgium are solely responsible for the circumstance that Canada, at the present time, is excluded from the advantages of the most favoured nation treatment by Germany. Since the denunciation
of the treaty of 1865 between Great Britain and Germany, the latter country has granted to the United Kingdom and to other British colonies the same advantages as are granted to the most favoured nations, but has excluded Canada by name from such advantages, and has assigned as the reason that Canada-and now I quote the language of the German Chancellor-
Has accorded to imports from Great Britain customs advantages which she is not prepared to extend to imports from Germany.
Now, what does that amount to ? It amounts to this-that Canada is excluded from the favoured treatment accorded by Germany to other British colonies. Yet that has been occasioned by the denunciiftion of these treaties, which denunciation was carried out, as Lord Salisbury stated twice in his despatches, not in the interests of Canada but in the general interests of the empire. Would you not suppose, Mr. Speaker, that a fact such as that would have justified this government in making the strongest possible protest in being thus excluded by Germany from the treatment which she affords to the other portions of the empire ? Would you not suppose that not only this government but the imperial government as well, would have taken the strongest and most vigorous measures to assert that a policy of this kind adopted in the general interests of the empire, should not be made occasion for excluding one portion of the empire from the benefits that other portions receive ? These treaties may have been denounced at the instance of Canada, but not of Canada alone, for, if I remember the facts correctly, Canada had the support of other portions of the empire in the position she took. As a result of the denunciation of these treaties and of the legislation proposed by this government in 1898. Canada is excluded from the most favoured nation treatment, and remains excluded until this day-and remains excluded, so far as any information before the House shows, without a single word of protest by this government, without a line of which we have knowledge from any official document, making the vigorous remonstrance which should have been made as soon as these facts came to the attention of the government.
But this is not the worst of this matter. The government so framed their tariff of 1898, following in that respect the lines of the tariff of 1897. that Germany, while holding up this Canadian preference to imports from Great Britain as a reason for excluding us from her markets, has practically enjoyed a great measure of the advantages of the very preference of which she complains. We are excluded by Germany from the advantages of the most favoured nation treatment and are subjected to the effects of the maximum tariff of Germany. Yet Germany, at the same time, is sending her goods to Great Britain
in large quantities, and these goods, after receiving in the mother country the addition of a small percentage of work and some trifling additions of material, are coming into Canada by hundreds of thousands of dollars worth every year under the advantages of the preferential tariff. It seems to me that this is a very serious condition [DOT] of affairs. It is sue result of the policy of this government with regard to preferential trade, but it is not the only result, as I am about to point out. The next result of the making of this preferential tariff in 1897 was this :
The right hon. gentleman who leads this government went to London in 1897, and he delivered a number of speeches in various cities of Great Britain, more particularly in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, and also at Birmingham, I think. He went to England after having been elected upon his pledge to this country that he would send commissioners to the mother country for the purpose of securing preferential trade wthin the empire. Yet, while in Great Britain he took the ground there that we did not desire preferential trade at all. that we had no desire whatever for any preference in the markets of the mother country. Now the language of the right lion, gentleman in Great Britain, which lias been often quoted, is as follows
I claim1 for the present government of Canada that they have passed a resolution by which the products of Great Britain are admitted on the rate of their tariff, at 124 per cent, and next year at 25 per cent reduction. This we have done, not asking any compensation.
There is a class of our fellow citizens who ask that all such concessions should be made for ' quid pro quo.'
And that was an expression which the hon. gentleman used in a great many speeches on the other side, I am only quoting one.
The Canadian government has ignored all such sentiments.
We have done it because we owe a debt of gratitude to Great Britain. We have done it because it is no intention of ours to disturb in any way the system of free trade which has done so much for England.
I could quote from a great many speeches of the hon. gentleman on the other side, if there should be any denial on the subject, in which he said that free trade was to be upheld in Great Britain at all possible hazards, that Canada did not desire anything in the world which would in any way affect the stability of free trade in the mother country, and that Canada generally speaking did not desire any return whatever for the preference which we had given to the mother country. Well, the right hon. gentleman continued :
What we give you by our tariff we give you in gTatitude for the splendid freedom under which we have prospered. It is a free gift. We ask no compensation. Protection has been the curse of Canada. We would not see you
come under ita baneful influence-for what weakens you must weaken us.
I am sure that when my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works realizes the full force of that language he will experience a shock which will incapacitate him from any further work in this House for two or three weeks at least. The right hon. gentleman thus deliberately renounced the intention he had expressed to the people of this country that he would do his utmost to procure a system of mutual preferential trade within the empire, and as a part of that system, a preference for Canada in the markets of the mother country. He did that without any mandate from parliament. Parliament had not passed upon the subject at all. He did that coming fresh from the people in a campaign in which he had given his pledge that he would do his utmost to secure this preference. And so far as we were able to judge at the time, he even did this without any mandate from his colleagues ; because, if report is to be believed, some of his colleagues were not particularly pleased at the very extreme way in which he expressed himself on that occasion with regard to this matter. The hon. gentleman, on his return to Canada, took an entirely different position. You will notice, Mr. Speaker, that in England he said he did not desire any preference in the markets of the mother country, he did not desire any return for the preference we had given her, that we had done this as a free gift. The right hon. gentleman came back to Canada and went to Toronto, and what did he say there ? He told the people of Toronto that the reason he did not make any attempt in the mother country to obtain a preference, was, not because he did not want it, but because he knew he could not obtain it-a very different reason altogether. His language at Toronto was reported as follows :
If I had thought I could have obtained for the products of Canada preferential treatment in the markets of Great Britain, not only would I have been wanting in patriotism, but I would have been wanting in reason, I would have been simply an idiot if I had not obtained such preference for the products of Canada. ******
The treaties have been denounced, there is nothing in the way now, the coast is clear, the ground is ready for discussion.
While the hon. gentleman's position as expressed by him In Great Britain was that Canada did not want any preference, his position as stated in Toronto was that he did want a preference very much, but that he did not make any attempt to obtain it because he knew that he could not get it.
Now apparently the expression of opinion which he gave in Great Britain during 1897, is that which is entertained by some members of his cabinet up to the present time, because I notice that the Minister of Agriculture, on two or three occasions during the past year-I am quoting from newspapers Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
sent out under his own frank to members of pai'liamenit, anid I assume they contain a correct statement of his utterances- the Minister of Agriculture has taken upon himself in Great Britain during the past year, to tell the people that we wanted in return for this preference no preference in the markets of the mother country. ' Canada asks for no preference,' was what the hon. gentleman stated in Eiverpool on one occas-sion. He repeated the same thing in Manchester : * He was not going to ask for any advantage in their markets ' and so on. So the view which the right hon. gentleman expressed in 1897 seems to be the view of some of his colleagues at least even as late as 19Q0, because we have the Minister of Agriculture expressing that view to the people and the statesmen of the mother country during that year. Now would it not have been worth while for the hon. gentleman to have made some effort at least in the line of obtaining this preference in 1897 ? What have we been told with regard to the disposition of the mother country towards us at that time ? Why, we have heard the statement over and over again in this House and in this country, that the granting of this preference to the mother country caused the people and statesmen of that country to be very well disposed to us, to such an extent that we had practically a preference in the British market by reason of the fact that British consumers looked for Canadian goods instead of goods from other countries. Well, some figures which have been given to the House during the present session on the budget debate indicate that there was really nothing whatever in that idea. As a matter of fact, while imports to Great Britain from other countries have increased during the past years, imports from Canada in exactly the same articles have decreased during the past years. If the people and statesmen of the mother country had that favourable sentiment towards Canada in 1897, was it worth while for my right hon. friend to take the ground that he did, and to mislead the people in the mother country by telling them that Canada did not want any preference ? The *right hon. gentleman surely might have stopped short of that; he might at least have told the people of the mother country that he was elected upon a pledge to do his utmost to obtain a preference for Canada in the markets of the mother country, and that, provided the people of the mother country were willing, he was ready to discuss that question with them, and to do everything in his power to obtain that great boon for Canada. The hon. gentleman was very generous in giving away something which really did not belong to him. He was bound to protect Canada's rights in that respect, but he had no mandate from this country he had no mandate from this House, and I venture to think he had no mandate from his colleagues to give away the rights of
Canada in that respect by making the statement which he did in the mother country.
Now, since the right hon. gentleman took that course, the Liberal-Conservative party in this House have on various occasions affirmed its belief in the advantages of mutual preferential trade. On the 30tli day of March, 1900, Sir Charles Tupper moved the following resolution in this House :
This House is of opinion that a system of mutual trade preference between Great Britain and Ireland and the colonies would greatly stimulate increased prod action in and commerce between these countries and would thus promote and maintain the unity of the empireand that no measure of preference which falls short of the complete realization of such a policy should be considered as final or satisfactory.
The government did not accept that resolution and it was defeated. In 1901 I moved the following resolution in this House :
That in the opinion of this House the adoption of a policy of mutual trade preference within the empire would prove of great benefit to the mother country and to the colonies and would greatly promote the prosperity, unity and progress of the empire as a whole, and that the present time when the Commonwealth of Australia is laying the foundation of its fiscal system, Is particularly opportune for taking prompt and energetic steps towards the furtherance of this object.
This House is further of opinion that equivalent or adequate duties should be imposed by Canada upon the products and manufactures of countries not within the empire in all eases where such countries fail to admit Canadian products and manufactures upon fair terms and that the government should take for this purpose all such available measures as may be found necessary.
This resolution was not accepted by the government and was voted down. Tbe main grounds which the government and their supporters took in voting down this resolution were twofold. In the first place, they put forward the absolute hopelessness of expecting the mother country to Impose duties on foodstuffs. I will not weary the House by going over the debate and pointing out," in the language of almost every one of these hon. gentlemen, the argument which was based upon that supposed aspect of the question. But, I will quote from the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) who said in his speech in 1897 : All the advocates of preferential trade, at all events all who have taken an active part in that movement, have assumed that,, as the first step, England must consent to put a duty on corn. We know that England does not view that project with favour. We know that no more unpopular project can he offered the English people than to ask them to put a duty on bread-stuffs.
In 1900 the hon. gentleman, in an interview in Montreal, I think, said :
There are three points which Sir Chirles Tupper would like to make, but In not one of them is there any foundation for his efforts. He continues to talk about the Conservative party obtaining a tariff preference for Canadian products in England ; that Is to say, that Great Britain would impose duties on foreign foodstuffs while admitting those of Canada free. Thi3 13 an old cry with Sir Charles Tupper, but no one knows better than he does that it is arrant humbug.
Everybody who has had a correct view of English public opinion has been and is still aware that such tariff legislation in Great Britain for the present or the early future is impossible.
Well, our position in regard to this matter was that the policy of Canada should be a policy of action and not a policy of inaction. We did not believe it as impossible as hon. gentlemen argued on the other side that Great Britain would be disposed to impose a tax upon foodstuffs and upon corn.
At all events, we said, it is in tbe interests of Canada that efforts should be made for the purpose of inducing Great Britain to grant us a preference in her markets. It may be true, we said, that the project does not meet with favour in Great Britain at the present time, but what we read in the press of Great Britain, and of the utterances of statesmen in Great Britain at the present time leads us to suppose that a change in public sentiment in regard to that particular matter is rapidly coming about in the mother country. And it is the duty of this government, we said, having regard to that probable change, not to sit supinely in a state of inaction and say it is impossible, but to make some effort in the matter, because Canada will be none the worse off if you do make some effort and take some action, while on' the other hand it may result in some very material advantage to this country.
Even more significant is the language which the right hon. leader of the government used in this House in the debate of 1901 in which debate be put forward the other argument which has been used against this proposition-the other argument which is that unless Canada is prepared not only to give up her policy of protection, but her customs tariff also, it is absolutely hopeless to suppose that you can ever obtain a preference of this kind or any system of mutual preferential trade within the empire. I was surprised on looking over the debate to find the extent to which the right hon. gentleman had gone in making an assertion of that character and I find that the position he took, as the leader of his party, supported by many statements of lion, gentlemen who followed him in that debate, was this. In the debate upon a resolution introduced by me in 1901, tbe right hon. gentleman used this language :
Allusion has been made very often to my trip to England and to the position I took there. The position I took there was this : I acted like a reasonable man, I saw at once that it could not be possible, so great is the free trade sentiment in England, to have a mutuality of preference so long as we continue to levy customs duties upon English goods. But the moment we are ready-it may take a long time, but I hope some day it shall come-to discard our
tariff, the moment we come to the doctrine of free trade, then it is possible to have a commercial mutual preference based upon free trade in the empire.
The right hon. gentleman continues even more strongly. Referring to the Conservatives' quid pro quo argument, the premier said :
Such a policy would not be received in Great Britain, it is not to be taken seriously. It is
not a thing to be discussed seriously
If we are at any time to obtain mutual preferential trade between Great Britain and Canada -and more thah once I have stated that for my part, I think it would be a great advantage for Canada, but if we are to obtain it, upon what condition can we have it V
I would like to call the attention of the House to what the right hon. gentleman stated to be the condition :
We can have it perhaps upon one condition, but we cannot discuss it unless we have that condition.
Mark you, we cannot discuss it even unless we have that condition.
We cannot even discuss it as long as we have a protective tariff or a customs tariff in Canada. That is the position which I have taken again and again.
That is the right hon. gentleman's language used only last year. He says that we are pointing in the direction of free trade. We have not absolutely got free trade but we are pointing in the direction of free trade. I believe that the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Tarte) is pulling back in the traces upon that particular question, as hard as he can, but the right hon. gentleman who leads him tells us that we are pointing in the direction of free trade. We are not even in a position to discuss mutual preferential trade with the mother country unless we give up, not only our protective tariff, but even our customs' tariff as well. The right hon. gentleman has told the right hon. Secretary of State for the Colonies that he wants to discuss the question of commercial relations within the empire. That is the only subject mentioned by the Secretary of State for the Colonies which lie thinks it will be useful or profitable to discuss. What does he mean by commercial lelations within the empire ? If he means anything surely he is alluding to a mutual preferential trade within the empire. If he was alluding to anything else, when he used the expression ' commercial relations within the empire ' as a subject for discussion perhaps he will be good enough to tell us what it was, and until he does so I shall assume that he had reference to that subject. But. lie lias told us that we cannot even discuss it at the present time unless we are ready to give up, not only our protective tariff but our customs tariff. These were not light words which the right hon, gentleman i used in the debate last year. These were well-matured views. These words were , considered, no doubt, and these are words
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