March 3, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)


Before six o'clock I had been dealing with the disparaging remarks made by the premier and others in regard to British diplomacy in connection with Canadian interests, and I had shown that by the Ashburton treaty and the Oregon treaty, Canada had really gained enormously. By the Oregon treaty we gained the absolute title over a very large and valuable province, British Columbia. Although the line between the United States and Canada west as far as the Rocky mountains had been fixed at the 49th parallel, and Great Britain had offered on different occasions to fix the line west of the Rocky mountains upon the basis of the 49th parallel, yet the United States refused to accept that offer and contended that their territory extended up to 54-40; their slogan was * fifty four forty or fight '. Great Bri-

And in the German treaty, article 2 provided :
That no other or higher duties shall be levied in the Zolverin on the exportation of any goods to the Dominion and possessions of Her Britannic Majesty, nor in the dominions and the possessions of Her Britannic Majesty in the exportation of any goods to the Zolverin than are or may be levied on the exportation of the like goods to any third country the most favoured in that respect.
Article 5 of the German treaty provides:
That in favour, privilege or reduction in the tariff of duties of importation or exportation which either of the contracting parties may concede to any third power shall be extended immediately and unconditionally to the other.
.And article 7 provides:
That the stipulations of the preceding articles 1 to 6 shall also be applied to the colonies and foreign possessions of Her Britannic Majesty. In those colonies and possessions the produce of the states of the Zolverin shall not be subject to any higher or other import duties than the produce of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland or of any other country of a like kind, nor shall the exportation from the colonies or the possessions of the Zolverin be subject to any higher or other duties than the exportation to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
One would have thought that that language was so explicit there could not be any" doubt as to its meaning. One would have thought that it clearly enough provided that no preference could be given by either of these countries to any other without that same preference being extended to the other contracting party. Such a meaning had in fact for a long time been attached to those treaties, and had been recognized on various occasions by the government preceding this one, notably in the joint address passed asking for denunciation of these treaties in 1891 in order that preferential trade within the -empire might be obtained; also when the French treaty of 1894 was adopted, and again in 1895, when the Act respecting commerical treaties was passed. With these before this government, one would have thought it would have been wholly impossible for them to have misconstrued or misunderstood the full effect or meaning of those treaty provisions. But in the first year this government was in power, they placed Canada apparently in total ignorance of these restrictions, in a very peculiar position. By a resolution introduced in connection with the tariff, they attempted first to grant to Great Britain a preference that would not apply to Germany or Belgium. But when that resolution was discussed, the full intent and scope of those two treaties was pointed out. So forcibly was the matter brought to their attention at that time, that

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