If American capital and American enterprise dominate Canadian mines, Canadian timber interests, Canadian fisheries; if American elevators are strung across the grain provinces and American flour mills have branches established from Winnipeg to Calgary; if American implement companies and packing interests now universally control subsidiaries in Canada—why was reciprocity rejected? If it is good for Canada that American capital establish big paper mills in Quebec, why is it not good for Canada to have free ingress for her paper-mill products to American markets? The same of the British Columbia shingle industry, of copper ores, of wheat and flour products? If it is good for the Canadian producer to buy in the cheapest market and to sell in the highest, why was reciprocity rejected? Implements for the farm south of the border are twenty-five per cent. cheaper than in the Canadian Northwest. Canadian wheat milled in Minneapolis enjoys a lower freight rate and consequently a higher market than Canadian wheat milled in Europe, as sixteen and twenty-two are to forty and fifty cents—the former being the freight cost to a Minneapolis mill; the latter, the freight cost to a European mill. Why, then, was reciprocity rejected?
From 1867, Canada had been intermittently seeking reciprocity with the United States. Now, at last, the offer of it came to her unsolicited. Why did she reject it by a vote that would have been unanimous but for the prairie provinces? Though the desire for reciprocity with the United States was exploited politically more by the Liberals—or low-tariff party—than by the Conservatives—the high-tariff party—both had repeatedly sent official and unofficial emissaries to Washington seeking tariff concessions. Tariff concessions were a plank in the Liberal platform from the days of Alexander MacKenzie. They were not a plank in the platform of the Conservative party for the sole reason that the high tariff on the American side forced a high tariff in self-defense on the Canadian side. Close readers of Sir John Macdonald’s life must have been amazed to learn that one of his very first visits to Washington—contemporaneous with the Civil War period, when the United States were just launching out on a high-tariff policy—was for the purpose of seeking tariff favors for Canada. Failing to obtain even a favorable hearing, he observed the high-tariff trend at Washington, took a leaf out of his rival’s book and returned to Canada to launch the high-tariff policy that dominated the Dominion for thirty years. Alexander MacKenzie, Blake, Mowat, George Brown, Laurier, Cartwright, Fielding—all the dyed-in-the-wool ultra Whigs of the Liberal party—practically held their party together for the thirty lean years out-of-office by promises and repeated promises of reciprocity with the United States the instant they came into office. They never seemed to doubt that the instant they did come into office and proffered