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It is a bill to validate a reciprocal trade agreement made by the President with certain Canadian officials so as to make changes in our revenue law. The Constitution provides "all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”
Should the pending bill be passed by a majority of the votes of both Houses, you will have as the result only the unauthorized legislative indorsement of an unauthorized executive act, and I apprehend that the constitutional powers of the House and the constitutional power of the Executive are not beyond the power of judicial definition. [Applause on the Republican side.)
In this measure, whereby you are asked—to use the language of the President—to put "the agreement in the form of a statute,” the President and the Canadian commissioners have selected the objects of taxation and also the rates of tax, and you cannot dot an “i” or cross a “t."
In all its history the House of Representatives never before knew so humiliating a day as this, called upon, as it is, to renounce its constitutional prerogative and register an executive decree.
Here Mr. Dalzell discussed at length the general arguments of protectionists against the bill. In conclusion he said:
If neighborhood and kinship of race and language and history furnish reasons why trade barriers should be removed, they furnish equally good reasons why political barriers should be removed and the two peoples consolidated under one flag. And, disavow much as we may any intention in that direction, if we adopt this measure the force of events will ultimately assert itself to that end. This bill itself in its new section proposes another step toward bringing together the two peoples under one flag, and that flag will bear the Stars and Stripes.
In the absence of any good reason why this bill should pass there are many and potent reasons why it should not.
It is unnecessary, not responsive to the popular demand, disturbing of the business interests of the country.
But, more than that, it is unfair to the farmer, whose interests in particular it attacks.
The gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Kitchin), who honored me with so much of his attentions, portrayed me as shedding tears for the farmer while I had in mind the manufacturer. The gentleman from North Carolina in part was right. I had both the farmer and the manufacturer in mind. When you direct my attention to the subject of a tariff I always have in mind the great city, dear to my heart, whose interests it is my highest ambition to serve. I recall its pillar of cloud by day, its pillar of fire by night, the roar of its machinery, its myriad workingmen in the receipt of the highest wages paid any workingmen in any place on earth (applause), a city which is a shining exemplar of the beneficent results of the system of protection. And when I have in mind the fact that if the farmer be robbed of his protection my great city will be robbed of its protection I refuse to participate in the robbery. [Applause on the Republican side.)
The Republican party as the party of protection is on trial here to-day. You and I, my Republican brethren, are on trial. As we respond, so shall we and our party, the party of McKinley, be dealt with in the great forum of the American electorate. Sometimes it is swayed by popular clamor, sometimes by the shadow of a great name, but in the end its deliberate judgment is true to righteousness; its last verdict invariably loyal to the loyal. [Applause on the Republican side.]
Mr. Underwood closed the debate. In the conclusion of a speech mainly statistical he said:
This treaty with Canada will prevent, to a large extent, speculators and manipulators from cornering markets and at times forcing exorbitant prices upon the people of the country. [Applause on the Democratic side.] That may not be a good reason from the standpoint of you gentlemen who believe in protecting profits, but it is certainly a good reason from the standpoint of men on the Democratic side of the House who are opposed to any proposition that leads to monopoly or oppression. [Applause on the Democratic side.]
The bill was passed without amendment by a vote of 267 to 89.
The Senate, on April 24, referred the bill to the Committee on Finance, which reported it back on June 13. The bill was finally passed on July 22 by a vote of 53 to 27. President Taft approved the act on the same day.
The “Farmers' Free-List Bill” was passed by the House on May 8 by the following vote: Yeas, 236; nays, 109. The Senate, on May 9, referred it to the Committee
advantages that I have described and that I earnestly and sincerely believe will follow its adoption, we must take it now or give it up forever.
The London Standard referred to the speech as follows:
It is not too much to say that President Taft's address has completely altered the situation with regard to Canadian reciprocity. If Mr. Taft had desired to urge patriotic Canadians to oppose the agreement to the full extent of their powers, he could hardly have spoken otherwise.
The same opinion was expressed by many Canadian newspapers, not merely the partisan Conservative organs, but independent journals. The Conservative papers and orators went further, and charged President Taft with deliberately planning, through reciprocity, to annex Canada to the United States. They also used, with great effect against the measure, the outspoken declaration of Speaker Clark in favor of annexation.
The question of reciprocity became the vital issue in the Canadian parliamentary elections of August. The Liberals, under the leadership of Sir Wilfred Laurier, the Prime Minister, supported the commercial treaty as a financial proposition that must operate finally to the advantage of Canada through the opening of more extensive markets for the products of field and mine, while the Conservatives, under the guidance of Richard Borden, were opposed to all forms of reciprocal trade with the United States, asserting that the adoption of a commercial past would divert the lines of trade from east and west to north and south, undermine the British influence, and result inevitably in bringing up the question of annexation.
The result of the elections on August 21 brought to naught all legislation on the subject of reciprocity. The return to the Dominion Parliament of 137 Conservatives to 84 Liberals, thus bringing the Conservatives into power for the first time in fifteen years, indicated that the elections were in effect a popular rejection of reciprocity by Canada.
RECIPROCITY WITH THE UNITED STATES
CANADIAN DEBATE, MARCH 20 AND 25, 1911
The speeches of two public meetings held in Montreal, in March, 1911, form a debate that is typical of a number of discussions which took place in Canada on the ratification of the reciprocity treaty with the United States.
On March 20 Z. A. Lash, King's counsel, of Toronto; T. Chase Casgrain, Esq., and Professor Stephen Leacock of Montreal, and Clifford Sifton, a former Minister of the Interior in Laurier's Cabinet, spoke in Windsor Hall against ratification.
Mr. Lash called the proposition a “preposterous” one, and characterized the issue it presented as “the most important in the history of Canada." The agreement, he said, was made in Washington without the knowledge of its nature being communicated to the people of Canada. Of the Canadian negotiators he said:
They told us both parties, Liberal and Conservatives, were committed to reciprocity. Gentlemen, I deny that statement. I deny that the Conservatives in 1911 were committed to the principle of reciprocity with the United States. I shall demonstrate that twenty years ago Canada was opposed to such reciprocity, and that this is still the case. As I go along I shall show the difference between Canada twenty years ago and Canada to-day.
We have heard that the treaty of 1854 was beneficial to Canada Canada in 1854 consisted of only the present provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Our efforts to create a nation began with the British North American Act of 1867, when these two provinces and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were united into the Dominion of Canada. One clause of this act acknowledged the principle which has run through all our legislation, all our public policy, from that day to this, namely section 154, which declared that the building of the Intercolonial Railway is necessary to the union of the provinces that east-and-west transportation is essential to the consolidation of British North America.
When British Columbia was admitted into the union in