Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa
That is the resolution. It is useless to talk about mutual preference and at the same time proclaim the protectionist doctrine. Suppose we should succeed in getting in the British market a preference for our agricultural products, that would no doubt be a good thing for our farmers, but would that afford the slightest protection to our manufacturers ? Would that do away with the injury which they claim the present preference is doing them? No doubt if we could obtain a preference for Canadian farm products, that would be of advantage to Canadian farmers, but would it give any relief to those manufacturing industries, of which hon. gentlemen opposite pose as being the special champions ? Not at all. A preference by .Britain to Canadian farm agricultural products in return for the preference given by Canada to British manufacturers would certainly not aid our Canadian manufacturers, whatever good it might do our farmers.
To my mind, the position taken by both parties on that question of preference to England, and the developments in that line that have taken place in the last three years, are not inspired by any Canadian sentiment or by any sentiment in favour of any class of the Canadian community, but have been forced on public men on both sides by that wave of what, I think, may be aptly described as the morbid feeling of loyalty to the empire which has become developed in this country at the expense of the true feeling of loyalty to national and Canadian interests.
In the course of my argument yesterday, I think I proved also that the preference granted to British goods has not had the results we expected, either in the matter of exports or imports; that the development of our export trade in the British market is not due to that policy, but to the intelligence displayed by Canadian producers and to the course pursued by our government in the matter of transportation and preservation of our natural products.