I will deal with that in a moment. My h-on. friend from Brandon, speaking of the province of Quebec, did me the honour of saying that I knew as much of the agriculture of that province as anybody else, but I may tell the hon. gentleman that the farmers of Quebec are quite well able to speak for themselves, and the farmers of Quebec are not objecting to the free entry of their hay and dairy and other products into the New England market; on the contrary, they are delighted with the opportunity which this agreement gives them. My hon. friem-d from Brandon stated, as is quite true, that he has lived in the Northwest during a large portion of his life, that he knows the Northwest, and that he has been enthusiastic for its welfare. That may be, but I venture tb sav. that he does not to-day so truly represent the feelings and opinions of the Northwest as he did, before he left there. For many years he lived in Ottawa, as a minister of the Crown, and since he left the government
he has continued to live here, and I am inclined to think from the information I have received from the Northwest, and from the public expressions of opinion by western farmers, that the hon. gentleman has got out of touch with his people and that the views he expressed in his speech to-day, did not represent them as well as do the views of others whom I could name. I have in my hand an interview with Mr. James Bower, the first president of the Canadian National Council of Agriculture and of the United Farmers of Alberta. Mr. Bower was. a member of the great delegation that came here some time ago, and he has come again to Ottawa to specially represent the farmers and to deal further with the government and parliament in regard to their interests. Mr. Bower said, among other things:
The agreement is a good one and a wise one. By opening up new markets it will without question give a great impetus to the agricultural industry, particularly in western Canada, and will prove equally advantageous to the farmers of eastern Canada, especially in dairy products and hay.
The speeches I have heard in the House of Commons during the past week by those who are opposed to reciprocity indicate to me that the speakers are either entirely ignorant of how the agreement will affect farmers or they are trying to mislead the public. They appear to be very solicitous as to bow it will affect the welfare of the farmers, but the farmers have a few ideas of their own about tliis matter. At any rate, the anti-reciprocity speakers are absolutely wrong as to how it will affect western farming conditions.
But perhaps the greatest boon reciprocity will confer upon the farmer of the west will he its indirect results in reducing freight rates, which will mean increased production all along the line. This will, of course, mean a greater demand for manufactured articles in the west, and a greater ability to pay for them.
As far as the agreement goes, it meets with the unqualified approval of the western farmers, but much dissatisfaction is expressed at the smallness of the reduction in the duty on agricultural implements.
' What do the western farmers think of the annexation talk?' Mr. Bower was asked.
' They think it is all nonsense. If there was any danger of any of the western farmers wanting to be annexed by the United States, it would be because they did not get what they wanted. We want reciprocity, and we shall not be any less loyal if we get it.'