It had happened because it could not have happened otherwise, though neither President Taft nor Premier Laurier, neither the editor of the Globe nor the free-trade Governor-General seemed to have the faintest idea what was happening. Canada rejected reciprocity now for precisely the same reason that Uncle Sam had rejected reciprocity ten years before—because Uncle Sam had no quid pro quo, no equivalent in values to offer, which Canada wanted badly enough to make trade concessions. Said Canada: you have exhausted your own lumber; you want our lumber; pay for it. You want it so badly that you will ultimately put lumber on the free list without any concession from us. Meanwhile, for us to remove the tariff would simply lead to our lumber going across the line to be manufactured. It would build up your mills instead of ours. The higher you keep the tariff against our lumber the better pleased we’ll be; for you will have to build more and more mills on our side of the line. We are even prepared to put an export duty on logs to compel you to keep on building mills on our side of the line. This was the argument that swayed and won the vote in British Columbia and Quebec. A similar argument as to wheat and meat swayed the prairie provinces and Ontario.
From Montreal to Vancouver there is hardly a hamlet that has not some American industry, packing house, lumber mill, flour mill, elevator, machine shop, motor factory, which operates on the Canadian side of the border because the tariff wall compels it to do so. These industries have doubled and trebled the populations of cities like Montreal, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Moose Jaw. Would removal of the tariff bring more industries to these cities or move them south of the border? The cities voted almost to a man against reciprocity.
Allied with the cities were the great transportation systems running east and west. Reciprocity to divert traffic north and south seemed a menace to their receipts. To a man these systems were against reciprocity.
You have forced us to work out our own Destiny, said Canada. Very well—now that we are at the winning post, don’t divert us from the goal! We love you as neighbors; we welcome you as settlers; we embrace you as investors; but when we came to you, you rejected us. Now you must come to us!