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The advocates of reciprocity say to us that it will give the Canadian farmers ninety millions of Americans to whom they can sell their products. In answer, we say that these ninety millions produce more agricultural products themselves than we do. For instance, in 1909 the United States exported over $400,000,000 of food products, the chief items being $216,000,000 breadstuffs and $156,000,000 animal products, both of which products are exported by us.

In this export the United States is our stiffest competitor. I do not think that any business man would succeed for long who let a rival run his factory.

One of the effects of reciprocity is that it puts a premium on bad farming by encouraging shipping raw products of Canada to a foreign country, there to be worked up at a profit, and sent back to us at an advanced price. Now there is no country in the world that ever made a practice of continuously shipping raw products of the farm to other countries, and at the same time succeeded in retaining its own country in a condition of agricultural prosperity.

Mr. Sifton then spoke of the manufacture of paper, which under the fiscal policy of the province of Quebec was developing there to the great advantage of the laboring people, and claimed that this industry would be ruined by reciprocity.

The newspaper association of the United States wants to get our pulp wood. The publishers do not want paper so much as pulp. Now it has been shown in the debates at Quebec that the province gets ten times as much benefit from the manufacture of paper as from the export of the raw material. We are satisfied to let the American publishers get cheap paper, but we want the mills to be located here. [Applause.) ]

Mr. Sifton then dilated upon the power of the great flour mills of the American Northwest and of the Chicago meat-packers, and claimed that it would be impossible for the small Canadian enterprises in these lines to maintain their existence against the competition which reciprocity would afford. Of the packing business he said:

The meat trust may think for diplomatic reasons it is advisable to let a meat establishment live in Canada for a little while, but so far as living in competition with them is concerned we have not the slightest chance.

Of the railways he said:

The Canadian roads spend about fifty per cent. of cost of labor and materials in Canada. We are going to cut this off. By this treaty, which will carry trade north and south, we are going to take off a large slice of the earnings of our railways, and give it to the railroads of a foreign country.

Mr. Sifton next remarked upon the danger of entering upon a policy the continuance of which depended upon the will of an independent second party. The United States might abandon reciprocity.

Then we will have to go back to where we were twenty years ago, and start off all over again to build up our trade.

The President of the United States tells us that we are “at the parting of the ways." Let the people of Canada decide which way they will take, that toward dependenec or that toward independence. Let them record their franchise on this question, and do their duty by burying this proposition so deeply that no government in Canada will ever again make the mistake which our friends in the present government have done. [Tremendous applause.]

On March 25 a meeting in favor of reciprocity was held in the same hall. The speakers were W. S. Fielding, Minister of Finance, and one of the two negotiators of the treaty at Washington; Ralph Smith, M. P. for Nanaimo, B. C., and Sydney Fisher, Minister of Agriculture.

Mr. Fielding began the discussion. He first denied in toto the statement of Mr. Casgrain that he, Mr. Fielding, a member of the Canadian Government, was an advocate of annexation to the United States. Reciprocity between the two countries was simply a commercial affair that would be to the advantage of every section of the nation, and so bind its parts together. Montreal, for example, was interested in building up western Canada and so making a market for the manufactures and importations of the eastern metropolis. How would reciprocity make the west more prosperous? The miners of British Columbia were in favor of the measure since they would have a new market for their coke, this being admitted free of duty into the United States. The prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, it was admitted, were solidly in favor of reciprocity for the benefits to the farmers it was expected to confer.

Mr. Fielding then replied to the criticism that the Government had received no mandate for making the reciprocity treaty.

Sir, we have a mandate. (Cheers.) We have the mandate of fifty years of Canadian history. There is a dividing line; there is a point at which the history must begin. That point has been chosen by one of the opponents of reciprocity, and I will take him at his choice. You have all read, I am sure, the letter of an enterprising citizen of Montreal, and one whom we all respect as an enterprising citizen, Sir William Van Horne. [Cheers.] Sir William Van Horne said:

"The other day, Mr. Fielding in a cable dispatch to the Canadian High Commissioner in London, said that for fifty years the people of Canada, in both political parties, had wished for reciprocity. That was true"

But you must let me finish that sentence.

"That was true,” said Sir William, “in the sixties and the seventies, but it has not been true since."


I am glad there are some to applaud because I want to hold them responsible for Sir William Van Horne's words.

Against that statement of Sir William I read the following clause from the Statutes of Canada in the year 1880:

Here Mr. Fielding read a standing offer to abolish the duty on virtually all important agricultural, animal, and sea products imported from the United States when that country abolished duties on similar Canadian products.

In 1886 the Statutes of Canada were revised, and that standing offer was crystallized into a permanent law. Yet Sir William says that nobody wanted reciprocity in the eighties. Which testimony will you receive, my good friends—Sir William's or that of the law books of the Dominion of Canada.

In 1888 Sir Charles Tupper went to Washington in behalf of the Canadian Government to seek reciprocity. So anxious was he for the agreement that he offered, as an extra inducement, free fishing privileges in Canada. But he was turned down. At this time we have formed a treaty without this concession on our part. [Cheers.)

Sir William Van Horne says that nobody wanted reciprocity in the nineties. Well, in a speech from the throne at the opening of Parliament, April 3, 1894, I read as follows:

My advisers, availing themselves of opportunities which were presented in the closing months of last year, caused the Administration of the United States to be reminded of the willingness of the Government of Canada to join in making efforts for the extension and development of the trade between the Republic and the Dominion, as well as for the friendly adjustment of those matters of international character which remained unsettled. I am pleased to say that these representations have resulted in the assurance that in October next the Government of the United States will be prepared to consider the best means of arriving at a practical solution of these important questions.

That was the last speech Sir John Macdonald ever put in the mouth of the Governor-General. Not many weeks later he passed away, and others took his place. Again we find that the Conservative Government lived up to its traditions on that question, for they also declared that they were anxious for reciprocity. In the tariff act of 1894, the last tariff act of the Conservative Government, they put on the Statute Book another standing offer, not so broad as the previous one, but of very much the same kind.

And so we have this conclusively proved that, not in the ancient history of Canada, but down to the last day upon which the Conservative party ruled this Dominion, they were and proclaimed themselves to be advocates of reciprocity. In the elections of 1891 Sir John Macdonald criticized and assailed the wider policy of his opponents, but the Conservative party at that time declared everywhere that they were the champions of reciprocity, and in that campaign the chief Conservative organ, the Toronto Mail and Empire, made the statement that there had been ten offers of reciprocity to the United States, and nine of them had been made by the Conservative Government.

Well, the Conservative Government passed away and the Liberal Government came into power. (Cheers.] The Liberal party had, at its convention in 1893, declared in the most positive terms that one plank in the platform of the Liberal party was that they wanted reciprocity. Here are the words of the resolution passed at the Liberal convention in 1893:

That a fair and liberal reciprocity treaty would develop the great natural resources of Canada, would enormously increase trade and commerce between the two countries, would tend to encourage friendly relations between the two peoples, would remove many causes which have in the past provoked irritation and trouble to the Governments of both countries, and would promote those kindly relations between the Empire and the Republic which afford the best guaranty for peace and prosperity.

That was the Liberal policy on reciprocity. But it has been said in a meeting held last week in this hall that the Liberal party had abandoned reciprocity in the tariff of 1897. Well, sir, the Liberal party at that date did not adopt the policy of the standing offer, because they did not think that was the best way, but in the very speech which, as Minister of Finance, I had the honor to make in bringing down the tariff of 1897, I said:

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The Ottawa platform pledged the Liberal party to use all honorable efforts to bring about better trade relations with the United States. We have already taken the first step in that direction by commissioning two ministers of this government to visit Washington and make known the fact -if it is necessary to make it known-that Canada is willing to negotiate with our American neighbors for a fair and reasonable reciprocity treaty.

Was that abandoning reciprocity! (Cries of No.] Then I went on to say:

If our American friends wish to make a treaty with us we are willing to meet them and treat on fair and equitable terms. If it shall not please them to do that, we shall in one way regret the fact, but shall nevertheless go on our way rejoicing and find other markets to build up the prosperity of Canada independent of the American people.

Now, I have shown you that, through all these years when our good friend Sir William Van Horne said nobody in Canada wanted reciprocity with the United States, every public man of prominence on both sides of politics was declaring that he desired it. (Cheers.] Our American friends did not meet our advances in the spirit in which we thought they were entitled to be received, and there grew up in Canada a feeling, first of re

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