Mr. E. M. MACDONALD (Pictou).
Mr. Speaker, permit me, before proceeding to discuss the motion which I am about to make, to extend to you my congratulations, and I may say also the congratulations of this House, upon your elevation to the honourable position of first commoner of this Dominion of Canada ; and the evident expressions of satisfaction and confidence in your appointment which have come from all quarters indicate the belief that you will fill that honourable position with honour to yourself and in keeping with the manner in which the distinguished men who have gone before you have filled it in previous parliaments. I desire, Mr. Speaker, to move that an humble address be presented to His Excellency in reply to the speech with which he has been pleased to open this session of parliament; and, I may be permitted first to express to the right hon. gentleman who leads this House my appreciation of the high honour he has paid to me in committing to me the task of making this motion. You will also permit me to say that I believe that honour is not one intended for myself personally, but rather for that famous and historic county which I have the honour to represent, and which to-day for the first time in a great many years has seen fit to extend its 'confidence to the distinguished gentleman who leads this House. Permit me also, sir, to ask from this House that consideration which always in the past has been freely extended to hon. gentlemen who venture to address it for the first time, as I am doing to-day.
Coming to the address, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that this House and this country
generally, will reciprocate, His Excellency's expression of satisfaction upon his appointment as Governor General of Canada. The expressions upon public questions and the evident intelligent appreciation of the importance and greatness of this country, which have marked the utterances of His Excellency both in the mother country and since he has come to Canada, have warranted the cordial welcome with which he has already been received, and bespeak an equal reception from all classes of our people and from all parts of the country when His Excellency visits them in the performance of the duties of his office.
Let me say at once that it is evident the speech with which this parliament has been opened is one optimistic in every line. It indicates the happening in Canada of a number of new events. First, we have the advent of a new Governor General. Then the speech announces the inauguration of a new railway. Next in order we have the announcement of the creation of a new province and the coming into Canada of a new and large population, in fact, the general tone of the speech is essentially cheerful as befits the declaration of a government and a people who have confidence in themselves, who appreciate the vastness and greatness of the resources of the country, and who are full of self reliance and of hope in the future as being teeming with promise.
Let me say at the start that I do not propose to weary the House with any figures regarding trade returns, because these can easily be obtained from the blue-books, but, it mitst be eminently satisfactory to know that the trade increases which have characterized every step of our career during the past eight years show no signs of diminution but rather of continued steady improvement. Those among us who have been frightened by the bogey of an adverse balance of trade will be glad to hear that in the month of December last, the exports of Canada exceeded by two million dollars the exports during the same month of the previous year, and the additional fact that our revenue shows continual growth must of course be a matter of the greatest possible satisfaction to all. Then, with regard to surpluses, it would indeed be a great disappointment if the speech from the Throne did not, as it has done during the past eight years, announce an increase in that respect also. All signs point to the fact that the Canadian people are weary of discussions on theories of political economy. For a great number of years some hon. gentlemen have fancied that there was some virtue in' the assertion of this or that or the other theory of political economy, but the business people of Canada have come to accept the idea that the making of a tariff is a business proposition and calls for dealing with conditions and not theories, and, as a consequence the tariff requires to be adjusted
advised upon authority which I deem to he the very best, that the investigations made by the surveyors who have gone through that country justify entirely different conclusions. The reports indicate the existence there of splendid pine forests, fertile agricultural lands, mineral fields of a great variety and richness, and a most important factor under modern conditions- water-powers of the greatest value. In a few weeks, 1 am advised, almost every foot of the dine from Winnipeg to Moncton will be covered by surveying parties. Already a great portion of that territory has been traversed and the route for the railway ascertained. We were told that the eastern section of this railway was one which should not be built;-whatever advantage there might be in building the other portion of the Transcontinental Railway this eastern portion should not be undertaken. I am sure that, on reflection, hon. gentlemen who represent the western portion of Canada, animated as we know them to be quite as much as we who come from other portions of the Dominion, with a desire to make this a self-contained country, would not for one moment hesitate to declare that it will never do for our National Railway to be cut off for six months of the year from a connection through our own country with our own seaports; and I am sure that they will hear with satisfaction the information which I am in a position to say, is authentic, that the engineers who have been making the surveys from Quebec to Moncton have found not the slightest difficulty thus far in locating the line. The grades and other features are such as to assure the construction and operation of the line in that .section under the most advantageous conditions. I am sure that the announcement will be received with satisfaction that the surveys are being vigorously prosecuted, and that it is believed that tenders for the construction of several sections may be invited during the present season. Because, as the days roll on, it will be found in the years to come, that this Transcontinental Railway will open up for us a new empire to the north, and that in ten or perhaps twenty years hence this parliament will be occupied in legislating for the inauguration of a new province in that northern country, the addition of another entity to this federation to which we belong.
The announcement that the government propose to send exhibits of our products to the exposition which is to be held in Belgium, is one which I am sure, in view of the success which has attended in the past the efforts of the Agricultural Department in that direction, will be received by the whole House with satisfaction. I did not have the opportunity, except from studying the various reports which have been made in regard to the great exhibition in St. Louis, of judging of the charac-Mr. MACDONALD.
ter of the Canadian exhibit, but I believe I am in the judgment of the House in saying that Canada did well there, that her exhibits were well set forth, and that the educative result of the efforts which were put forth on behalf of Canada, more than warrants the expenditure that has been made, and has given great satisfaction to ttyose Canadians who visited that exhibition. I am sure that in the exhibition which will be held in the Low Countries, among a class of people to whom Canada should look with deep interest for immigration, a similar success will attend' the efforts of the Agricultural Department, as has marked their efforts in the various other expositions where Canada has been represented.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not propose to detain the House at any great length. But before I conclude, I would like to be permitted' to recall one or two facts to the memory of the House. Sir, thirty-eight years ago there came to this House, in the first parliament of Canada, from the province from which I have the honour to come, seventeen out of the eighteen members who then represented Nova .Scotia in this parliament, who objected that Nova Scotia had not been treated fairly in laying down the terms of confedera-ation. Only one gentleman came from Nova Scotia who took the opposite view. That gentleman lias played a great part in the history of Canada; he was prominent among hon. gentlemen opposite, and at one time he was their leader, as premier of this country. We have sent to this parliament in the intervening time other hon. gentlemen who have led our friends on the other side of the House, one of whom filled with distinction the important post of premier of this country; and we have also given our friends on the other side another hon. gentleman who has led them in opposition. But to-day we come to this parliament from Nova Scotia, animated by very much higher and nobler motives; we come here eighteeen strong, united behind the hon. gentlemen who fill the distinguished posts of Minister of Finance and Minister of Militia and Defence of this country; we come here unanimously supporting the greatest colonial statesman in the empire. We come here to support him who, for sixteen years, has led the great party to which we belong, who found it to some extent disorganized, but who has bound it together with the strongest ties of sentiment and patriotism, and have made it the greatest party Canada has yet seen; we come as followers of the right hon. gentleman who during the eight years he has been Prime Minister, has splendidly equipped the ship of state and guided her so magnifi-i cently along the glorious way she has gone, and to whom has once more been committed the direction of her destinies. Sir, animated by these feelings, we come to this House to support the right hon. gentleman in his pol-
icy of Canada first, Canada last, and Canada for ever. Those of us who have witnessed the improved conditions in the province by the sea, from which I come, during these latter years, join hands with those who come from the province by the sea on the other side of the continent, where there is a similar absence of a dissenting voice, and unanimously we offer our devotion to the great leader of our party. Mr. Speaker, in this, the first utterance which I have the opportunity of making in this House, I desire to be understood as speaking without prejudice 'and without partisanship, as speaking with a sincere desire that all of us, whether we come from the east or from the west or from any part of Canada, and whatever our party affiliations are may he animated during the time we sit in this House by a desire to do all we can towards building up this great heritage of ours so that those who come after us may feel that we have done our part in creating those conditions which will enable it to take its rightful place among the greatest nations of the world. Sir, I beg to move that a humble address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to the speech from the Throne.