The Canadian Commonwealth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 281 pages of information about The Canadian Commonwealth.
Trade, by which the Laurier government swore as by an unerring Gospel.  They had heard of McKinley and of Mark Hanna, but who and what were Cobden and Bright?  What relation were Cobden and Bright to the G. O. P.?  The negotiations were a joke to the United States and a humiliation to Canada.  They were adjourned from Quebec to Washington; and from Washington, Fielding and Cartwright returned puzzled and sick at heart.  They could obtain not one single solitary tariff concession.  They found it was not a case of theoretical politics.  It was a case of quid pro quo for a trade.  What had Canada to offer from 1893 to 1900 that the United States had not within her own borders?  Canada wanted to buy cheaper boots and cheaper implements and cheaper factory products generally.  She wanted a higher market for her wheat and her meat and her fish and her crude metals and her lumber.  She would knock off her tariff on American factory products, if the United States would knock off her tariff against Canadian farm products.  One can scarcely imagine Republican politicians going to American farmers for votes on that platform.  What had Canada to offer?  She had meat and wheat and fish and timber and crude metals.  Yes; but from 1893 to 1900 Uncle Sam had more meat and wheat and fish and timber and crude metals than he could digest industrially himself.  Look at the exact figures of the case!  You could buy pulp timber lands in the Adirondacks at from fifty cents to four dollars an acre.  You could buy timber limits that were almost limitless in the northwestern states for a homesteader’s relinquishment fee.  Kansas farmers fed their wheat to hogs because it did not pay to ship it.  Texas steers sold low as five dollars on the hoof.  Crude metals were such a drug on the market that the coinage of free silver was suggested as a panacea.  Canada hadn’t anything that the United States wanted badly enough for any quid pro quo in tariff concessions.

This was the time that Uncle Sam rejected reciprocity.

Fielding, Laurier and Cartwright came home profoundly disappointed men; and—­as stated before—­old Sir John may have turned over in his grave with a sardonic grin.

When Sir John had launched the Canadian Pacific Railroad to link Nova Scotia with British Columbia, when his government to huge land grants had added cash loans, when he had offered bonuses for factories and subsidies for steamships—­no one had sent home such bitter shafts of criticism as these old-guard Liberals hungry for office.  Why give away public lands?  Why push railroads in advance of settlement?  Why build railroads when there were no terminals, and terminals when there were no steamships?  Why subsidize steamships, when there were no markets?  Was it not more natural to trade with neighbors a handshake across the way than with strange nations across the ocean?  I have heard these barbed interrogations launched by Liberals at Conservatives with such bitterness that the wives of Conservative members would not bow to the wives of Liberal members met in the corridors of Parliament.

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The Canadian Commonwealth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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