Hon. Mr. FISHER.
member had delivered a very carefully-prepared essay and that he would not undertake to reply. If the hon. member for South Grey had so arranged his faots and so prepared his figures, and if he so delivered himself to this House, as to leave himself open to no criticism from the hon. member for Guysborough, then I say he is entitled not only to the unintentional compliment paid to him by the hon. member, but to the hearty congratulations of this House at large. I should deem it far more honourable to be charged, as the hon. member for South Grey has been, with having carefully prepared my speech, having so arranged my facts and figures as not to leave myself open to unfavourable criticism, than to subject myself to a comment I have heard since the hon. member for Guysborough delivered himself-that that hon. gentleman had the faculty of opening his mouth and letting it say just what it pleased.
The hon. member for Guysborough appeared to be very much troubled over the resolution that was moved by the hon. leader of the opposition and took occasion to inquire w'hat was the meaning of the expression used in that resolution, a ' declared policy.' Well, I am not surprised that the hon. member asked that question. Associated, as he has been for so long a time, with a party which, as a party, have had no declared or definite policy, which, as a party, could not agree amongst themselves as to what their policy should be, and whose only semblance of a policy which they have ever propounded in this House or adhered to in the country is one that they7 purloined from the Liberal-Conservative party, I am not at all surprised at the hon. member being unfamiliar with the phrase 'declared policy,' or asking the leader of the opposition what he meant by it. I do not take it to be the business of the opposition in this House to formulate and declare a policy for the benefit of the government. But I do take it to be the bounden duty of the government to formulate and announce a definite, a * declared policy ' for the benefit of the country. I can well understand the anxiety of the hon. member for Guysborough to have the leader of the opposition expose in full detail what was meant by the expression used in the resolution to which he referred and to give that policy in all its details. For, no doubt, had the leader of the opposition so declared himself, straightway the Liberal party would do as they did when they came into power-they would purloin the policy of the Liberal-Conservative party and claim credit, as they do to-day, for all the benefits growing from that policy. But let me tell the hon. member for Guysborough without disclosing any party secrets that, while we had in 3 878, a national policy, we have now an international policy, one embodying the previous one, but broadening
it, extending its benefits so that it will not only be to the advantage of Canada in particular, but will be to tbe advantage of the empire in general.
The hon. member for Guysborough took occasion to shelter himself and the government he supports from the accusation made against them of neglecting the opportunity they have been afforded during the course of their administration by these words : ' The tariff is the tariff of the Conservative party; if it is unsatisfactory, they are responsible.' Those are his words. Sir,
I deny that position and declare it to be a statement that is not only not in accordance with the facts but it is a direct charge of incompetence against this government. Had he taken occasion to state that the principle of that tariff was the principle supported by the Conservative party, but that it was defective in some of its details and that the government of the day had acknowledged the principle and had acknowledged that the application of it was wanting in some details, I would not have been disposed to quarrel with him, for then it would have been in accordance with the true position.
Sir, no one can properly estimate the detrimental effect of such a hesitating course as has characterized the conduct of this government in regard to that matter. The government has put itself on record that changes are necessary in the tariff and would be beneficial to this country; but they cannot agree amongst themselves what that change ought to be, they cannot agree when that change should take place, and they cannot agree upon what lines they should alter the tariff ; and so the manufacturer, the agriculturist, the labourer, the miner, all the people of this country are left to wallow in this maze of contradiction, and it cannot be expected, so long as this hesitating course is pursued, that capital will flow into the country, or that the industries qf Canada will flourish and increase as we have reason to expect they would increase under a proper administration of the government.
The hon. member was pleased to inform this House that there were some industries that flourished under the present tariff, and he mentioned one in the province from which he comes, the one at New Glasgow. Well, Sir, I venture the assertion that if he had taken the pains to search for evidence throughout the Dominion of Canada he could have found other enterprises, other manufactures of a different character, who are to-day, to use a homely expression, standing upon their last legs for want of some change in the tariff. I venture to say further that had the hon. member taken the trouble to look for evidence, he could have discovered why the industry he referred to in New Glasgow has flourished. It is one of the bounty fed industries of this government, and I think if he had inquired into the contracts given to it by the present government, he would have discovered the cause of the prosperity of that one industry. But, Sir, I do not pretend to say, nor does the Conservative party pretend to say, that the tariff is all wrong, but we do say that it is imperfect, we do say that it requires amending, we do say that such adjustment of that tariff could be made as would be for the advantage of the industrial pursuits of this country. But while we say that, we charge at the same time that the government have not had the courage of their convictions to make such changes as they themselves know are necessary in regard thereto.
The hon. member for Guysborough next undertook to pay his compliments to the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) and the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) by soundly abusing them for having been converted to the principles of protection. In the course of his remarks he made use of this expression, referring to the hon. member for North Norfolk :
I could understand a man wavering between two opinions, but I could not understand such a deliverance as he made. ... I regret that he turned himself upside down for such a purpose.
Well, Mr. Speaker, that is pretty hard language to use towards an hon. member who has enjoyed the confidence of the Liberal party so long as the hon. member for North Norfolk. It is pretty hard language to use against an hon. gentleman who, the hon. member for Guysborough himself was forced to admit, is a pious man, a well meaning man, and an upright man. Sir, I think the hon. member for Guysborough in that statement, reversed the order of things. He has not a very clear perception of the ground upon which he was treading, for the hon. gentlemen to whom he referred, in my opinion, prior to their conversion, were turned upside down, they have now got turned right side up, but unfortunately they have left the member for Guysborough still standing on his head. After the labour of 20 years, after illustration and example were so strong that it was impossible for the Liberal party longer to resist their force, one by one they are being gathered into the fold of protection, therefore there is room for hope for the hon. member for j Guysborough.
The hon. gentleman next took occasion to refer to our relations with the republic to the south of us. and referring to the resolution moved by the leader of the opposition, he said :
Against whom is he going to put up this high tariff wall if it is not against the people of the American republic ? ... In my calmer
moments the thought occurs to me that I would be serving my country better by refusing to hit back.
He then proceeded to quote at length from the Boston ' Transcript ' an article from an American Republican standpoint, professing
to teach the people of this country how they should administer the affairs of this country, and he expressed his fears at what the result might be should the resolution of the leader of the opposition be carried in this House. Well, Mr. Speaker, for myself I desire to say, from my observation of the course of the Liberal-Conservative party in this Dominion, that while respecting, American rights, and while endeavouring to sustain the most friendly relations with them, we have never so far forgotten our personality, we have never so far forgotten the possibilities of this country as to turn to the American republic for advice as to how we should administer the affairs of our country. The hon. gentleman may have his fears, but no such feeling as that pervades the breasts of the opposition in this House. If the hon. gentleman waits until such time as the legislators of the American republic advise the government of Canada how to legislate to the advantage of Canada, he will have the privilege of waiting for a very long time ; and if he cannot dispel his fears until that time arrives, I venture to say that he will depart from this scene without bearing with him the best respects of the Canadian people.
I do not entertain any such respect or admiration for the American republic as I entertain for my own country of Canada. If it is in the interests of Canada to erect a high protective wall against the American republic for the purposes of advancing our material interests, then 1 say unhesitatingly that I will be willing to lend all the force I can to the erection of that wall-not, Mr. Speaker, in a spirit of retaliation, but in a spirit of self protection. Nor would I hesitate to apply that same principle to any other country on the face of the globe. In saying this I do not forget our geographical position relative to that republic, I do not fail to recognize that we have similar aspirations, I do not fail to recognize the fact that we are descended from the same stock, that we have in many respects similar resources. But as self preservation is the first law of nature in regard to individuals, so those who are entrusted with the welfare of Canada, or of any other part of the British empire, should realize that it is their first duty to protect the interests of then-own country. If a preference is to be given to any one, let us give it in our own family. Let charity begin at home. I have such confidence, not only in the motherland but in every colony thereof, that I believe if we approach them in a proper spirit and on a fair reasonable basis, we will not be denied an adequate compensation for any favours we may give, notwithstanding the declaration of the Prime Minister that Canada wanted nothing for the favours she had already given, and notwithstanding his rejection of the offer made at the time he made that declaration.
Just as the Act of Confederation had the effect of binding together the weak and Mr. PORTER.
struggling provinces then existing into one vast dominion characterized by strength, stability and progress, so the union of the commercial interests of the colonies with one another and with the motherland, on a mutual preferential basis will have the effect of making the weak strong and the strong stronger, for in union there is strength and will better enable us, as it will every part of the empire, to withstand the fierce competition for trade of other nations and as a matter of defence and self preservation it will take away that element of dependence on other nations and emphasize our entire independence.
Already, the republic to the south of us is claiming to have assumed first place on the commercial list of the world and boasting of its possibilities in the future and that position can only be attained by obtaining possession of the best markets in the world in which to dispose of their surplus products both of manufacture and natural products and the only way to combat that attack is to preserve our own market for our own people for the whole empire to cultivate and hold as much of the markets of the empire as possible for its own people and to shut out as far as possible foreign competition. This principle might not apply and would not apply to all nations, but with Great Britain and her colonies situated as they are in every part of the globe, with the great natural resources at their disposal, with the ability to produce everything under the sun required' to build up and maintain the greatest nation on earth, such a possibility is ours.
We need not expect any favours from the United States. The course of their whole existence has been repugnant to that idea, they are our natural rivals and so keen is that rivalry that there is not a minute to lose in putting ourselves in a position to withstand it, and that is one reason why I condemn the present government for its want of action in that direction. On the other hand, it is quite natural for us to expect favours from the motherland. We have always been in receipt of favours from her and in no branch of government perhaps has England shown more concern than for her colonies and the importance and strength of such a policy has never been so forcibly brought home as within the past few years. To-day Great Britain realizes that in the strength and prosperity of her colonies lies her strength and prosperity, and recognizing that fact, I repeat, we cannot show any favour that Great Britain will not be willing to compensate us for.
And then, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member turns his attention to his admiration for the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Tarte) and the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir Richard Cartwright).
He was good enough to preface his remarks in regard to these two gentlemen by the most ardent declarations of patriot-
ism and loyalty to our mother country. He could scarcely find language strong enough to express his admiration for British connection or to express his gratitude for the shield of protection which the mother country has afforded us. With these sentiments X most heartily agree and were it possible I would paint the picture in even stronger language than he has done. But surely, Mr. Speaker, he did not get inspiration for those sentiments from the hon. Minister of Public Works whom he set out to eulogize.
Contrast if you will the utterances of the hon. Minister of Public Works with those of the hon. member of Guysborough :
Allow me to say so, and allow me to repeat it, we have remained French ; we are more and more so; we are more French than we were twenty years ago, and more than we were a year ago. (Applause)-Hon. Mr. Tarte, at Rouen, France, June, 1900.
We represent over there the France of Europe, and I do not think I am mistaken in saying that before twenty-five years we shall form the majority in North America.-Hon. Mr. Tarte, at R< uen, France, June, 1900.
Canada is much more Fren ;h than it was thirty years ago, and if the tide of English immigration were to be directed elsewhere, the French-Canadians might recover the majority.- Hon. Mr. Tarte, in ' Le Journal de Paris" April 5, 1900.
Why should London, which is on an island, become the centre of the world, rather than Paris, the city of civilization, of liberty, of justice ?-Hon. Mr. Tarte, in Paris 'Figaro' interview, September, 1900.
The question is ;-Shall the country interfere or hold aloof in England's troubles ? I say, and without hesitation, that this is a question upon which no hurried decision should be given- ; It is not a question of money, but of principle, and before the Liberal party makes- up its mind as to the proper attitude to adopt, it should pause and consult parliament.-Hon. Mr. Tarte, at Montreal Reform. Club, October 10, 1899.
These are not the sentiments expressed by tbe bon. member and they are neither called for or excusable or calculated to have any other effect than that of weakening the allegiance of the people of whom he speaks and arousing the cupidity of Britain's possible enemies. The speaker then thought the highest compliment he could pay these good men was to say that there was no evidence before the public accounts committee to show that the Minister of Public Works had ever used a cent dishonestly, and that no corruption had been shown against Sir Richard Cartwright, the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce. Well, Sir, X then for the first time learned that in the opinion of a Liberal you must convict them of theft before you have a right to condemn their political action. But, Sir, did the hon. member, when he was uttering these words of praise, forget that scandal known as the Drummond County Railway Deal. Did he forget the refusal of the hon. Minister of Public Works to tell where the money came from to pay for ' La Patrie ' ? Did he forget the declarations of Mr. McMullen in
1894, in opposition, when he used these words :
I must take exception in the first place to the office (the Department of Trade and Commerce) ever having been created. I do not see why It was created unless it was _ given a resting place for the balance-of his life to the'hon. gentleman who now occupies the position, drawing $7,000 a year for virtually doing nothing.
And did he forget the declaration of the hon. Minister himself when he used this language :
We have far too many ministers. To increase them to seventeen appears to he a monstrous piece of folly.
And did he overlook the fact that the hon. minister sat down in that office and quietly drew his $7,000 for doing nothing as Mr. McMullen put it, or as Sir Richard himself put it in Toronto in 1899 ' as largely an onlooker in the government.'
Did the hon. gentleman (Mr. Fraser) forget the declarations of the Minister of Trade and Commerce as to the expenditures of this country ; did he forget his declarations as to the public debt ; did he forget his promises as to the reduction of taxation, and as to ' that abomination, the customs tax,' as he declared it to be. Did the hon. gentleman (Mr. Fraser) forget that he has seen that same Minister of Trade and Commerce sit down and help to administer the government of this country which has broken each and every one of its pledges which It gave to the people of Canada. Surely the hon. gentleman (Mr. Fraser) must have forgot ten these things ; or otherwise he would not have ventured to pay the encou-iums he did to the Minister of Trade and Commerce.
But, Sir, the hon. member for Guysbor-ough (Mr. Fraser) was not satisfied that he had done his whole duty in paying his compliments to these two ministers of this government, hut he must needs before ending, pay his special compliments to the Prime Minister himself. And, Sir, the only reason assigned by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Fraser) for heaping roses upon the head of the Prime Minister, was, to use his own expression ;
That the Prime Minister had been Instrumental in cementing the people of this country together, and strengthening the bond of anion with the motherland. ,
Again, I would ask : did the hon. gentlemen (Mr. Fraser) forget the speeches made by the Prime Minister to his French Canadian fellow citizens of the province of Quebec during the last elections, and the speeches he delivered in the province of Ontario '! Did, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Fraser) forget the race cry that was raised in the province of Quebec, or did he forget this utterance that was made use of by tbe right hon. Prime Minister on the floor of this House :
I hold out to my fellow-countrymen the idea 1 of independence. If we are true to our record
we will exhibit to the world the unique, the unprecedented example of a nation achieving its independence by slow degrees and as naturally as the ripe fruit falls from the parent tree.
The Minister of Finance reproached me a moment ago that I iiad stated in Boston that the Canadian people have interests altogether at variance with the interests of the mother country.
Sir, I said so in Boston, and I say so now on the floor of the House.
I have again and again repeated that the goal o'' my aspirations is the independence of Canada -to see Canada an independent nation in due time.*
Surely the member for Guysborough (Mr. Fraser) did not draw his inspirations from that utterance of the present premier. Surely he must have been inspired by the utterances of the Liberal Conservative party upon that question, as voiced by Sir Charles Tupper, who when leader of the Conservative party, used this language in the Commons of Canada :
When the Loyalists withdrew from their old hemes and raised the standard of Britain on the soil of Canada it was their purpose to create a sister British nation that should be an added glory and a source of v.trragth to the British Crown.
Their work, performed amidst struggle and hardships, still lives."To us have they handed down the honours and privileges of British citizenship and the liberties which appertain to constitutional rule.
Be it ours to cherish this great heritage and to build up in this vast Dominion a nation that shall bo ever loyal to the Queen, ever attached t( the empire, and ever true to our flag.
Numbered among the British communities that encircle the globe, sharing in British glory, participating in British strength, we shall advance as we shall become a stronger ally of Britain and a brighter jewel in the diadem of the Queen.
But, perhaps, the hon. member (Mr. Fraser) had in his mind the position which the Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Lau-rier) took on the occasion of the jubilee of our late beloved Queen when as representing Canada he was placed in the first rank of honour extended to any British colony, and when may be the Prime Minister had In his mind the titles which he called tin pot titles before he went to England, but which when he got to England he was glad to receive form his sovereign. Perhaps the hon. member for Guysborough (Mr. Fraser) had in his mind the high position which the Prime Minister of Canada is to occupy at the Coronation of His Majesty King Edward VII. Perhaps the member for Guysborough had all these things iu his mind when he made use of the expressions to which I have alluded. But, if the hon. gentleman (Mr. Fraser) remembered these, he entirely forgot the fact that while the Premier was willing to occupy the first position given to the representative of any British colony, he was the last to call forth the efforts of Canada to assist British arms in their difficulties during the war in South Africa. Yes ; the Prime Minister of Canada was Mr. PORTER.
willing to occupy the first position when the empire rejoiced ; but on the other hand he was content to occupy the last position when the empire needed help.
Now, Sir, the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir Richard Cartwright) and the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Tarte) were both brought up in the Conservative school . both trained in the Conservative party, and being such bad Conservatives they were no longer continued in the party. But, bad Conservatives as they were, the hon. member for Guysborough has been pleased to say that they make two capital Liberal ministers. I was privileged to hear the remarks of the Minister of Trade and Commerce on the resolution now before the House. The hon. gentleman got rid of a large amount of bile that apparently disturbed his stomach in abusing the enumerators who took the census of 1891 and the government under which these enumerators were appointed.
By a very laboured effort he endeavoured to show by a comparison of figures and by assertion as to the position of the government of that day that these enumerators were a lot of scoundrels unfit to inhabit this country and dishonest enough to violate the oath they were required to take at the dictation of that government.
And while he was bold enough to characterize the work of the enumerators of 1891 as dishonest and bad, although he was forced to admit from the returns of the present census that it was open to argument that they were wrong, he says in this case if they are wrong it is a mistake.
The one class, these of 1891, are unable to defend themselves and he calls them scoundrels and perjurers.
In the latter class they were appointees of the present government and able to defend themselves by inflicting through the ballot box the just punishment of any oue guilty of making such an accusation.
But, Sir, the hon. gentleman's allusion to the necessities of the government in 1891 are the mere outpourings of a very imaginative brain, and he is assisted in that imagination by his knowledge of the exigencies of the present government, and he entirely failed to show any necessity in the late government to falsify the census. Surely the hon. gentleman (Sir Richard Cartwright) must have forgotten what has been amply demonstrated since the census of 19U1 was taken, namely, that a separate and a private set of instructions were issued to the enumerators in the province of Quebec, differing from the instructions issued to the enumerators in the other provinces. Why was such the case ? What explanation has ever been given of it? I venture to say that the only explanation that can he given is the fact that the representation o.f this parliament depends on the population of the province of Quebec, and by swelling the population of that province it would lessen the representation of the province of Ontario, where the govern-
ment of the day is notoriously weak. I venture the assertion that that was the reason why these instructions were given to the enumerators of the province of Quebec and not to the enumerators of the province of Ontario. .
Another position which the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce took in regard to the census was this. He undertook to justify the large expenditure incurred during the past year and during the years which this government has been in power' upon^ the ground that the population of the Dominion of Canada had very largely increased ; and, Sir, in the same breath he was forced to admit, from the returns which have been brought down and placed on the Table of this House, that the census of the Dominion of Canada is, to use his own language, disappointing. But, Sir, while he stated that the growth of the population was disappointing, he did not say, as he might well have said, that the expenditure of this country was disappointing and was altogether out of proportion to the population which inhabited it.
I was obliged, Mr. Speaker, to deny myself the privilege of hearing the hon. Minister of Finance deliver his budget speech. But I have taken occasion to carefully read it, and considering the past utterances of that hon. gentleman and other members of the ministry, and the members who are following them, I realize that my loss in that respect has not been so great as I had supposed. I had anticipated, and not without reason, from professions of the hon. gentlemen of the ministry, that at least something new, something startling would be announced in the budget ns having taken place in the administration of public affairs in this Dominion during the past year or that might be expected to occur within the next year. But, Sir, like many others, my expectations have not been realized in that respect, for we have had the spectacle of a Finance Minister presenting to this House this session a leaner bill of fare than has characterized similar occasions during the years the hon. gentleman has been In office. In introducing his budget to this House, he uses this language :
Mr. Speaker, It is my happy privilege to present to the House to-day another chapter in the continued story ot Canada's prosperity.
Only half the truth, Mr. Speaker, is stated in that sentence. If the hon. minister had been frank enough to state the whole case, he would have added these words : ' And
another chapter in the continued story of broken pledges, and neglected opportunities of the Liberal party of Canada.' That, Sir, would have been the whole truth and the whole statement. Or, had he stated that Canada had continued to prosper notwithstanding the incubus of the Liberal party hanging upon it, he would not have been far from the truth. But, Sir, he could not
have stated that as a part of his happy privilege. The hdn. Minister of Finance then goes on to say :
In a country so vast as ours, with such varied conditions, it would be too .'ouch to expect that every section and every industry would be able to make the same gratifying report of prosperity. But I think I can truly say that during the past few years we have approached as near to that happy condition as could reasonably he hoped for.
Again, Mr. Speaker, the hon. minister leaves himself open to the charge of only stating half the case. Had he put the case as strongly as he could have done, or as he should have done, he would have said that we have approached nearer to that happy condition than could reasonably have been hoped for under the present Liberal administration. The people of this Dominion expected, and had a right to expect, from the pledges and promises made by the Liberal party when in opposition, and spread broadcast by them over this Dominion, in the public press, by speeches and in every available manner, and from the fault-finding they made with the administration of the Liberal Conservative party, that when they attained office there would be real reform in the administration of the various departments of the government. We had, I say, a right to expect that. But, Sir, I am happy to be able to say that at the time these gentlemen attained office they found- the affairs of the country under Liberal Conservative rule in such, a satisfactory condition that there was very little room for improvement. It is either that, Mr. Speaker, or the present administration stand convicted on their own evidence of lacking the courage of their convictions or of having no convictions at all. I venture the assertion, Sir, that there never was a period in the history of Canada when there was such a golden opportunity for a government to use its powers and exert its influence for the benefit and the lasting advantage of this country ; and I venture the further assertion that there has never been a period when these privileges- and opportunities have been so sadly neglected. The benign smile of Providence has been continuously resting upon i\s during that period. All that a country could hope for has been ours. Our agricultural lands have fairly groaned under the wealth of their production. We can thank Providence and the industry of the agriculturist for this ; but I am sorry to say that the hon. Minister of Finance, in delivering his budget, was not pleased to acknowledge either the one cause or the other for this prosperity, but was quite willing to take tile whole credit to the government, where credit does not belong. Our industrial pursuits have grown and have assumed larger proportions during that period ; hut I venture to say that they have not made such progress or advancement as they would have done under the adminis-
tration of a progressive government capable of taking advantage of the opportunities as they were offered. That, Sir, is the fault of the Liberal government. We had a right to expect that advantage would have been taken of this period of prosperity to lay up something for a rainy day. We had a right to expect that a substantial reduction would have been made in the cost of the administration of the government and in public expenditure. We had a right to expect that the national debt, which had assumed such large proportions, would have been reduced by the surpluses arising annually from the rapidly and continuously increasing revenues. We had a right to expect that the resources of this country would have been carefully husbanded to enable us, in the time of adversity which always follows a period of prosperity, to maintain our financial and commercial position in the world, and to avert as far as possible the evil effects of hard times.
This, Mr. Speaker, would not be expecting too much, it would only be applying the principles of ordinary business prudence to the administration of the affairs of this country. If a merchant, a farmer, or any person engaged in any business depending upon the public for its success were to apply the business methods adopted by the government of the day in increasing his expenditure, and increasing his debt, without increasing materially his sources of income during a period of prosperous trade, ruin and disaster must come upon such a person during a period of hard times as it will surely come upon this government. The principle applicable to individuals is applicable to governments only with greater force, because in the former case failure affects only the individual while with governments the whole people of the whole country share in the disaster.
The principle I would advocate would be to use the surplus revenues in wiping out the debt to the greatest possible extent consistent with the reasonable development of the country.
To expend the revenues in such a manner as will substantially and permanently increase the sources of such revenue.
In making such expenditures to keep first the prosperity and advancement of the country in view and not allow these interests to be sacrificed for the advancement of party.
As wholesome and commendable as these principles may appear, I charge and it has been amply demonstrated on the floor of this House during the present debate by various hon. gentlemen on this side, that the government of the day has entirely ignored these principles and have operated on the vicious principles of increasing the annual expenditure and increasing the national debt, increasing the per capita tax and in making these vast and ever-increasing expenditures, have not made them in Mr. PORTER.
such a manner as to permanently and substantially increase the sources of revenue, but have sacrificed the interests of the country to the retention of office by the Liberal party.
But, Mr. Speaker, this vicious principle does not appear to be confined to the Liberal party in power at Ottawa. We have had the figures quoted to show that it does apply here, but, Sir, Liberal governments appear to be all tarred with the same stick. If you will take occasion to refer to the estimates of the province of Ontario for the present year under the administration of Hon. Mr. Ross, you will find this same vicious principle in full operation there. I
have taken the figures and here they are
Main estimates $4,004,228
Further supplementaries 3,750
Railway certificates (dept).. .. 92,248
Annuities (debt) 102,900
New railway subsidies.' 696,000
Temiscamingue railway 2,234,000
Estimated possible revenue.. ..$4,075,000 Excess of expenditure over receipts $3,230,073
Net debt stood at $5,800,000
The debt will stand at $9,030,073
So it will be seen that the disease is spreading. I do not know whether the Liberals at Ottawa caught the disease from the Liberal government of Ontario or vice versa, but certain it is they both have it bad, and it is high time that a long-suffering but now indignant public should apply a remedy, and 1 doubt not that, on the first opportunity, the punishment inflicted by the public will be made to fit the crime.
I have charged, Mr. Speaker, that the present administration have not done what they should and could have done to improve the opportunities of those engaged in industrial pursuits, and during the six years' administration of the present government there has been seen deputation after deputation almost without number of gentlemen engaged in various industrial pursuits waiting upon the cabinet urging with all their energies the necessity of relief or protection in some form or another to be turned away with the ' sunny smile ' and promise of ' serious consideration ' but no help. The fact is that during the years these gentlemen were in opposition they condemned in the strongest possible language and on every possible occasion the policy of protection inaugurated by the Conservative party. They had preached almost every other doctrine imaginable from free trade to unrestricted reciprocity, as the only panacea for the evils they imagined this country to be burdened with, but, Sir, when they attained power they found a legacy left to them in the shape of an infant named * Nationl Policy ' Protection, born of Con-
serva-tive parents and reared under Conservative influences, and which had grown so strong and liusky that the Liberals were afraid to touch it, afraid either because they had abused it so much or because it had acquired such strength they dared not tackle it, and so they have left it severely alone, only making slight and unimportant changes in rates but nothing in principle, but, Mr. Speaker, the infant was such a lovable thing, it was exerting such a beneficial influence in the industrial enterprises of this country (imperfect though it was) that the Liberal party simply looked on in silent admiration at its operations and one by one watched their pet theories of free trade, &c., fade away and die, and growing bold with association, they have at last adopted the child and it is a clear case of the child ruling the household, for whatever faults the child may have the present government are either afraid or incompetent to correct its manners. It has taken many years of earnest advocacy and practical administration on the part of the Conservative party to convert the Liberal party to the policy of protection. But it is gratifying to know that they have, at last, nearly all been converted to that principle. It seems to me that if there ever was a time when the Liberal party should govern this country it is the time during which they have governed it, a time when the country was strong, when the trade policy of the country was so well established and so perfect that, notwithstanding the action of the government the country could still go on and prosper. The Minister of Finance has been pleased to refer to the agricultural interest in these words :
In the paramount interest of agriculture, which must long continue to be the foundation of our prosperity, the results of the year have been most gratifying.
Notwithstanding this important statement, the hon. gentleman failed to show that the present government had, by any action on its part in any way contributed to that prosperity. There are a great many ways in which the government could have improved the condition of the agriculturists. They could have prevented the corn ol the western states and other products of the country to the south of us coming into competition with the products of the Canadian farms. They could have prevented American meat and American horses from coming into competition with the Canadian product in the Canadian market. They could have obtained, or at least, could have tried to obtain, a preference in the English market for the products of Canadian farms. But, not only have they failed to procure these benefits for the Canadian agriculturists, but they have been pursuing a policy diametrically opposed to this, they have been pursuing a policy which was indicated by the Minister of Agriculture (Hon. Mr. Fisher) in an expression he used in referring to a statement of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright) :
Sir Richard Cartwright was right in refusing agricultural protection. Agriculture protection is a delusion and a snare.
If he had desired to seek further the
authority of the hon. member for South Oxford (Sir Richard Cartwright) he might have quoted these words which the hon. gentleman is charged with having made use of on the hustings when he undertook to give advice to the Canadian farmer as to what he should do to better his condition, that advice being : If you wish to
increase your prosperity you must eat less and work more. But, instead of gaining these advantages for the agriculturists of this country, the present government have seen fit to increase the taxes on those commodities which are of prime necessity for the farmers. And the Minister of Agriculture has given expression to this further phrase, speaking of agriculture protection :
This kind of thing, instead of helping the farmers hurts them. The thing is nonsense.
I would like to know what the farmers of the Dominion of Canada think of the promise that has been held out to them by the Minister of Agriculture. The Canadian farmer is entitled to every credit for the pluck and industry he has shown in the face of these obstacles, and for having done so much to bring the prosperity which has been showered upon this country. The government of the day, in neglecting the opportunities they have had are worthy the condemnation of the people of Canada".
The Minister of Finance next takes occasion to compliment the Postmaster General (Hon. Mr. Mulock) for what he terms the able administration of that department. And he was able to show by the collection of figures in the Department of Finance that that hon. gentleman had run the affairs of that department for the last year with a loss to the country of $489,941.08, and at the same time to show that he had had an increase of revenue during last year of no less than $235,969.77. That is, taking these figures together, had the revenue of the Post Office Department been the same as under the last year of Conservative rule, the deficit added to the increased revenue from that time to the present would have made a deficit, as compared with the Conservative administration of this department, exceeding $1,000,000, a larger deficit than has ever characterized the department under Conservative rule. Just to illustrate how this department has been run, let me give one example which comes under my own personal observation. The illustration has more -a local than a general application, but it is, nevertheless, very instructive. When the Liberal party came into power in 1896, the post office at Belleville held rank as a city office; but on the 30th of Septem-
ber, 1897, it was reduced to the rank of a country office. That is to say, prior to 1897, the several employees of the Belleville post office were on the civil service list, they were obliged to pass examinations aird to qualify themselves to fill the position which they then occupied. The number of persons employed at that time was ten; the total cost of the post office was $8,710, and the revenue collected by these ten people from the post office was $17,339.60. The change was brought about in this way-the postmaster, Mr. John Taylor, who was a Conservative, was dismissed without any charge being made against him and without any investigation-in fact in violation of the principle laid down in this House by the right bon. the Prime Minister. The assistant in the post office, Mr. Thomas Duncan was removed, and, if 1 am correctly informed, a new position was created for him in the railway mail .service, where he has since been enjoying a salary of $1,500, whereas, as assistant in the Belleville post office, he only received $1,350. Five members of the staff of the Belleville post office were superannuated, and superannuation allowances are being paid to these five people, amounting to no less than $1,166.79. Three others were dismissed who had not been long enough in the service to entitle them to superannuation, and they were paid gratuities amounting to $583.59. Only two of the total staff of ten were retained in that office. These changes, you will see, provided a position of postmaster for one of the faithful of the Liberal party, and subordinate positions for five others. It is needless for me to say that these positions were filled by the faithful of the Liberal party. Now, the present staff-and I want to compare it with that I have given you-consists of eight persons-