These figures, which will be found in very much more detail in the diagrams which will be distributed, give very gratifying evidence of the great increase in trade and wealth which has taken place in Canada and of which hon. members on 'both sides of the House are, I am sure, equally proud. While the condition of the country generally has been good, we have reason to be particularly grateful for the splendid prosperity which has come to the great Northwest. All portions of our Dominion have equal demands upon us, and all portions are, I trust, receiving from the government and parliament their fair share of consideration ; but all portions have not equal inducements to offer to the immigrants who are seeking for homes. The vast territories of the Northwest offer inducements to the land hungry such as the eastern provinces cannot be expected to hold out, and naturally the efforts of my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) and the officers of his department are chiefly turned to the important duty of filling up the vacant lands of the Northwest. 4I wonder if we are able to appreciate the vast extent of land still available in these Territories. Canada is a country of such magnificent distances that sometimes it is difficult for us to understand and appreciate the vastness of that territory.
Dr. Wm. Saunders, of the Experimental Farm, in an admirable article in the April number of the ' Canadian Magazine,' has discussed the question of wheat-growing in Canada, and he has given some estimate of the available land in the Northwest Territories for that branch of farming. The figures that he gives are as follows :
It is thus estimated-
Says Dr. Saunders,
-that there are within the limits referred to, after making allowance for lands unfit for agriculture, about 171,000,000 acres suitable for cultivation, by which is meant land of such degree of fertility as to admit of profitable farming.
Further on Dr. Saunders deals with the question of the ability of Canada to supply food for the mother country, and the statement he makes on that question-perhaps hon. gentlemen have had their attention already drawn to it-is well worthy of being-repeated. It is headed in the publication I have mentioned, ' A Reasonable Prophecy ' :
The total imports of wheat and flour into Great Britain in 1902 were equivalent in all to about 200,000,000 bushels of wheat. Were one-fourth of the land said to be suitable for cultivation in Manitoba and the three provisional
territories under crop with wheat annually, and the average production equal to that of Manitoba for the past ten years, the total crop would be over 812,000,000 bushels. This would be ample to supply the home demand for 30,000,000 of inhabitants (supposing the population of Canada should by that time reach that figure) and meet the present re-uirements of Great Britain three times over. This estimate deals only with a portion of the west, and it leaves the large eastern provinces out of consideration altogether. Prom this it would seem to be quite possible that Canada may be in a position within comparatively few years, after supplying all home demands, to furnish Great Britain with all the wheat and flour she requires and leave a. surplus for export to other countries. With a rural population on the western plains in 1902 of about 400,000, over 67,000,000 bushels of wheat were produced. Add to this the wheat grown in Ontario and the other eastern provinces and we already have a total of over 93,000,000 bushels. These figures are full of promise for the future of Canada as a great wheat-producing country.
It is natural to conclude that, with such-i territory to offer to the people, all that is necessary is that its resources and character be made known, when it must attract people from all parts of the world. For a long time the hopes of the Canadian people with regard to the Northwest were hardly realized, although they had spent vast sums in opening up that territory, and every effort was made no doubt to bring people in. But for one cause or another, whatever it may have been, the rate of progress for some years was slow and unsatisfactory. But in recent years we have nothing to complain of on that score ; there has been a very gratifying increase in the influx of immigrants to that territory. My hon. friend the Minister of the Interior has spent money freely in advertising Canada, and the time has come when the Dominion is reaping a rich harvest, and when all will admit that the money he has expended for that purpose, and which, at one moment, some were disposed to look upon with doubt, is now bearing rich fruit for the building up of this Dominion. I find that the arrivals of immigrants into Canada during the past eight years appear as follows :
44,5431900 (1st 6 months)
The origin of these immigrants for the calendar year 1903 appears as follows :
Continental Europe 48,046
United States 46,183
We are glad to know that the immigration work continues actively during the present year, and no doubt at the end of the season a very gratifying story can be told.
Glance now for a moment at the extent to which homestead entries are being taken up :
As an evidence of the growth of that country, look now at the sales of land by railway companies who have had land grants, and by the Hudson Bay Company :
Year. Acres. Amount.1896.. .. .. .. 108,016 361,3381903 (fiscal).. .. 1,229,011 14,651,757
Last year, Mr. Speaker, we introduced, in connection with our tariff legislation, an important change, which we believed was rendered necessary for the defence of Canadian interests. We thought that one of the great nations of the world had not treated us as fairly as we ought to be treated, and in self defence we adopted what was called the German surtax. I have nothing now to add on that subject, except to call the attention of the House to the effect that that surtax has had upon trade between the two countries. Prior to the adoption of the surtax the imports from Germany to Canada were increasing ; under the operation of the surtax, not only has the increase been arrested, but there has been a very considerable diminution. For the ten months from the 1st of July, 1892, to the end of April, 1903, the total dutiable imports for consumption from Germany amounted to S8,-
048.000, while for the corresponding ten months of the current fiscal year they only amounted -to $5,367,162-a falling off of $3,281,438, or a decline of 38 per cent. To illustrate in a concrete way the result of the surtax, the importations of raw sugar might properly be referred to. During the last fiscal year 174,000,000 pounds of this commodity were imported from Germany, but since the surtax was applied not a pound has been imported under it from Germany. All that trade has been diverted to the British West Indies, including British Guiana. The importations o-f raw sugar from the British West Indies, including British Guiana, for the ten months ending with April of the current fiscal year, amounted to 188,000,000 pounds. For the corresponding period of the previous year the imports from the British West Indies amounted to 46,515,355 pounds ; estimated from British Guiana, 23,000,000 pounds-in all, 69,000,000, as compared with
188.000. 000 pounds for the same period of the curi'ent fiscal year. Statistics show that
the surtax has resulted also in reducing the Importations of woollens, cottons and silk goods, and articles of iron and steel. There is nothing new to be said on that question. We regret that we felt obliged to take that step, and we think that on the whole it has operated to the advantage of Canada, and it has certainly commanded the attention of the wide world. I think that the almost universal opinion has been that the action of the government of Canada was fully justified.
It is now seven years since we had a revision of the tariff. Some changes have been made, but nothing very material. That tariff, I venture to say, has on the whole proved most satisfactory. It has proved a good revenue tariff, as we are bound to conclude from the figures I have given to the House. It has included a considerable measure of incidental protection, and in that respect it will command the admiration perhaps of some hon. gentlemen opposite, who are more anxious for protection than some of us on this side of the House.
Subtopic: RAILWAY TRAFFIC-TONS CARRIED.