« PreviousContinue »
farmer, and reduce the cost to the consumer ! You must re member that in Canada we have a great agricultural country, that we have millions of acres of the richest land in the world. The opponents of this measure say that if the United States take our natural products it is going to create a strong demand for these commodities and the result will be that these natural products will be dear. That is the argument. But you must remember that simultaneously with the finding of the market for our agricultural products in the United States you will have the greatest development of agricultural production in this Dominion that has ever taken place. The very fact that you have millions of acres of land, the very fact that you create a market in the United States, and consequently create an extraordinary demand, will bring about an enormously increased investment of capital in agricultural land and an enormously increased production of agricultural commodities which will operate in favor of the consumers of this country. British Columbia consumes thirty millions worth of agricultural products a year and she produces only fourteen and a half millions a year. If the working men of British Columbia, who are engaged in or enter into these industries can get their food supplies at less cost, they will be able to buy more articles from the mer. chants and manufacturers in Montreal.
Mr. Smith then discussed the question of annexation. He denied that an increase of commerce with the United States would tend toward political incorporation into that country. Pointing to the cumulative growth in recent years of the business transacted between Canada and the United States, even without a reciprocity treaty, he asked if it had made the Canadians less loyal to their country than when the trade with their southern neighbors was meager.
I need not say, ladies and gentlemen, that the independence of this country and our connection with Britain do not depend, as history proves, upon any principle of trade. If they did, we would have been annexed years ago. How is it that we did three hundred and fifty million dollars' worth of business with the Americans without anybody ever suggesting that we were going to have annexation, and how is it that because we prefer to get another million dollars' worth of trade we are going headlong to the devil of annexation? There is nothing in the argument. The only American of importance that I ever heard say with any emphasis that we were likely to be annexed to the United States, was Champ Clark. I beg the pardon of my friend, Mr. Foster, and of my friend Mr. Borden when I say that Champ Clark has as much right to say that as they have, and as little basis for saying it. Gentlemen, I will never think that an increase of friendliness with Uncle Sam will interfere with my respect for the old parent, John Bull, for one minute. It is a slander on the loyalty and independence of this country. Mr. Gladstone once said: “Liberalism consists in trust in the people, qualified by prudence; Toryism consists in distrust in the people qualified by fear.” That statement was made thirty years ago, and it is absolutely true to-day. Who are the fearful men in this country! [Cries of “The Tories."']
MR. SMITH.—Why, the Tories, of course. Who are the men who are willing to trust the people! [Cries of “We are” and "the Liberals.”]
MR. SMITH.-The Liberals, of course. Ladies and gentlemen, any trade arrangement between the United States and Canada is a mere incident in the great Anglo-Saxon movement. The democracy of England have three times said: We will not permit you to tax the food supplies of this country. The democracy of Germany have risen almost to rebellion because of the cost of living and the small increase in wages. The democracy of the United States have scared the Republican President, the protectionist Republican President, to look after the interests of the people, as against the trusts of that country. Will statesmen in Canada read the writing on the wall! Mr. Taft was pretty
? nearly too late, but it did not take him long to get into line when the democracy spoke. The democracy of this country insist that no special privileges shall be given to the trusts that terrorize and interfere with the rights and liberties of the citizens, and one of the best things that Mr. Fielding did was to make free the food of the people of this country. He has left the protection to the manufacturers, and they will profit by the larger production of food products.
Mr. Fisher declared that the interests of Canada had been fully guaranteed in the reciprocity agreement.
It has been commonly said throughout Canada that if the Americans wanted reciprocal dealings with us they should bring down their tariff to our tariff.
By the agreement the American duty on every article in it is brought down to the exact equivalent of the Canadian tariff. [Cheers.)
Again, this agreement has been brought about, not by a pilgrimage from Canada to Washington, but by a pilgrimage from Washington to Ottawa. We have been told that the Liberal party had deserted the reciprocity plank in their platform. We are told that since 1898, when Sir Wilfrid Laurier sent two of his ministers to Washington to obtain a reciprocity agreement, and the Americans turned the cold shoulder upon that offer, Sir Wilfrid has said : No more pilgrimages to Washington to secure reciprocity. That dictum of the leader of the Canadian people has been absolutely fulfilled. (Cheers.]
We left the American people to change their opinion of their own free will; we left them to come to Ottawa and ask us to resume the negotiations which in 1898 they had broken off somewhat abruptly. And, ladies and gentlemen, the result is that today we have reciprocity on Canada's conditions; reciprocity absolutely such as Canada has been wanting, absolutely such as Canada has been willing for all along. [Cheers.) And we have
] that reciprocity as the result of a request from Washington, and of friendly overtures which were made by the American Government to us.
Let me say a word in regard to the condition of affairs when that overture was made. The President of the United States, impressed by the agitation against the high cost of living in the United States, impressed with the necessity of overcoming in that country the mistake which was made when the PayneAldrich tariff, which was not received with favor by the people of the United States, was passed, felt it was necessary to do something to open to the people of that country the hope of lessening the cost of living, and he turned to reciprocity with this country. We have heard much about annexation. It has been held
. up to us as a bugaboo to frighten the people. This is a line of argument which is very characteristic of our friends, but I want to say in solemn earnestness, and as a warning to the men who have so recklessly and unwarrantably raised this question before the people of Canada that to-day there is no annexation sentiment in Canada. Why? Because we have a prosperous and contented people, and we know that revolution cannot raise its head where the people are well off and contented. Annexation would be revolution.
I would say, however, that, if the Canadian people are to be divided, into one class in the East, selfishly looking to their own interests, and one class in the West, and these men in the West are to be deprived of the opportunity to sell where they can sell best, they may insist on having it by annexation. I tell you that the men who are raising this cry here to-day, in the lightness of their heart, and the ignorance of their thought, are playing with fire; that, if it were once kindled, might destroy the fabric of this great and glorious Dominion, that we have been laying the foundation of and carrying on to its highest development. They talk about it being disloyal to trade with the Americans. They say that the farmer who sells a cow across the line is doing what he ought not to do in the interest of the empire, they say that a farmer who sells a tub of butter, a chicken, or an egg on the other side of the line is guilty of disloyalty to the empire. What do they do? I have a little list of some of the things in which we trade with the United States. I will give some of them. We bought one and a half million dollars' worth of automobiles from the United States. I have no doubt that the members of the Anti-Reciprocity League bought some of them.
The people of Canada bought sixteen million dollars' worth of coal from the United States. Why? It is disloyal to trade with the United States. You can buy coal in Nova Scotia, you can buy coal in British Columbia, and you can buy coal in Alberta. Why do these disloyal anti-Imperialists, and, according to this argument, annexationists, buy sixteen million dollars' worth of coal?
There are cotton factories here in Canada. Now, what do you think these people do! Do in the interest of their industry, do in the interest of their trade, do because it is the most profitable thing for them, so that they may pay larger and larger dividends on their highly protected product? What did they do? They went to the United States and bought nine million dollars' worth of raw cotton.
A VOICE.— We do not grow cotton.
MR. FISHER.—No, we do not grow cotton, but this, say the opponents of reciprocity, is an imperial question, and Egypt and India, parts of the empire, grow cotton. My friend down there is no doubt one of the Anti-Reciprocity Imperialists. He, however, cannot include the whole empire in his view. When it comes to a question of buying cotton he has no fear of annexation, and makes his purchases in the United States.
But there are other things. Of drugs and dyes we bought seven million dollars' worth from the United States, and of electrical appliances three million dollars' worth. We have a
large number of electrical establishments in Canada. How is it, then, that people go and buy three million dollars' worth of electrical apparatus from our hated rivals on the other side of the line? They are disloyal not only to the empire, but even to Canada.
Of furs we purchased three million dollars' worth, of rulber five million dollars' worth, and of hats one and a quarter million dollars' worth. I do not know whether these were men's hats or ladies' hats, but I would like to implore the Anti-Reciprocity League and the ladies never to buy their hats in future from the United States. Of leather hides we purchased three million dollars' worth, and of copper three million dollars' worth. We produce copper in Canada; we have some of the best copper mines in the world.
A VOICE.-Owned by the Yankees.
MR. FISHER.—Very likely, but still employing Canadian labor and producing Canadian wealth. We have been able to attract American capital over to Canada, and I hope to annex a very large portion of it, which, I suppose, is just as disloyal as it is to sell them an ox or a horse.
I said a few minutes ago what might happen if the question as between the East and the West were raised. It has been the glory of the Liberal party, led by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, so to regulate our policy and our administration as to bind not only different nationalities and creeds together, but to bind the different sections of this country from one ocean to the other in one great harmonious whole. When Mr. Fielding first amended the tariff of Canada fourteen years ago, we were told, even before we came into power, what folly it was for us to say that we could reduce the duties and raise the revenue. Mr. Fielding introduced in his tariff of 1897 reduced duties on a large number of individual items, and put a large number of items, chiefly the needs of the farmers and laboring classes, on the free list. When he had done that in a large measure, he introduced British preference and he cut a lot of the duties down on articles in which we trade with the Motherland, first by 1212 per cent. and then by 25 per cent, and then by 33 per cent. and produced a a constantly growing and larger revenue. We have gone on from that day to this always carrying out the principal of the Liberal party in tariff adjustment, lowering the incidence of taxation upon the consuming classes, and at the same time so doing it by a proper, skillful, and scientific adjustment of the duties on individual items of the tariff on manufactured articles and raw material, that the industrial classes have prospered,