Canada and the United States would be a very large measure ol' reciprocal trade, there seems to be just as uniform an opinion, on tlm other side of the line, that the proper policy for that country is a high protective system. When the McKinley tariff was first put in force, there were many Canadians who considered that something like a staggering blow had been dealt to a large part of the commerce of this country. But, I do not think that, at this period of time, any one would say that the adoption of that high tariff was an evil unmixed with a large element of blessing. If it did nothing else, it made us more independent and put us on our resources and our mettle. Nevertheless, the fact remains that when that tariff did come into operation it seriously disorganized and disarranged a large portion of the trade of this country by cutting it off from the market where it had been profitably disposed of for many years. But our people, during that crisis in our history, showed their adaptability to circumstances and their readiness to meet new conditions. They said : If we cannot send our horses and
barley and hay and other products to the United States, where we have been sending them for years, we will find new markets for them. There was then a Conservative government in power. In my humble opinion and belief, if ever an opportunity was offered in the history of this country for the display of some of those qualities of statesmanship, the possession of which that government was never tired of boasting and proclaiming to the country, that opportunity came to them shortly after the McKinley tariff went into operation in 1891. The whole cry of our people then was for new markets. The cry was a loud and prolonged one. But, whether due to the fact that the administration of that day turned an absolutely deaf ear to the appeal, or that they did not realize the necessities of the situation, or whether long years of power had rendered them careless and had imbued them with the idea that they had themselves become one of the fixed institutions of the country-whatever was the cause, certain it is they calmly rested on their oars, and year after year pursued the Micawber policy of ' waiting for something to turn up.' During all that time did the cry continue. Divine providence had done its part in giving us uniformly abundant harvests, but still the cry went up for new markets. In 1896 the elections came on, and that cry had its effect, and the government of that day was relieved from further duty and a new order of things established.
It was a bold stroke-and if we may judge by results it was a wise stroke taken by the incoming administration in the first few months of its tenure of office, when it adopted what has now become the settled trade policy of this country so far as the mother land is concerned. The administration seemed to cut away from all the old
moorings, and gave a preference to tlie mother country upon tlie principle of giving a little in order to gain a little, and the principle has worked well. I am free to say that I was one of those whose ignorance and inexperience did not enable them to see just what the effect of that movement was going to he. There were many others in the country like me, but I think I may claim credit to myself, that I have risen superior to many of those who thought with me, because now I do realize what some of them do not yet admit, how advantageously that policy has operated in our behalf. I submit that if any impartial man will take up the
the mother land has increased in the last two or three years, he cannot fail to come to the conclusion that the preference to the mother land has been a direct moving power in the increase of our export trade. I know it is said that the increase is largely in food products, and that there is no increase to any great extent in the ordinary manufacturing output of tlie country. But, we must not forget that the latter trade is as yet only in its infancy; and if we can compete with the United States in food products in the mother land, there is no reason why we cannot. with equal success, compete with them in other products, because we can meet them both in price and quality.
I know also that not very long ago it was held by some of the leading men of this country that the ideal position for Canada to occupy was that of a sort of vast emporium for the supply of raw material to the world. There were men who considered that that position would be infinitely more beneficial to us than any other. But that is an exploded idea to-day. All modern efforts, all modern energy, ijoint in the opposite direction.
Topic: '23 COMMONS