ADDRESS BY THE HON. SIR EDWARD P. MORRIS, K.C.M.G.,
K.C., MINISTER OF JUSTICE IN NEWFOUNDLAND.
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,-
I have always understood, and from my short experience known, that the City of Toronto has no equal in Canada in point of hospitality to strangers; and on the two occasions on which I have visited this city I have been struck with the desire on the part of its people to extend to strangers, sister colonists if you will, the hospitality and advantages which are so easily discernible by the strangers to your City. But I had no idea when I was invited here this evening to listen to the very eloquent and instructive addresses with which we have been regaled that I should have the further honour of addressing you. Perhaps I should not say addressing you for the reason that I do not propose to make any lengthy observations, first because I understand, gentlemen, that the time is past the limit of- the meeting. Secondly, the matters which you have been discussing are so important that I feel that I would be rash and perhaps taking risks like the man in the story, so eloquently told us here to-night by Dr. Montague. I should be taking risks if I were to attempt to enter into the discussion in detail of the problems discussed here this evening. Then again I am confronted with this position: The fight appears here tonight to be between Canada and the United States, and Newfoundland has very little to do with it, and I am not quite so sure either that the suggestion that I should make a few observations here tonight did not come from my friend, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Morine, with a view to my getting into trouble! It is not often that we are as near each other as we are tonight.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I have been more than interested in listening to the magnificent addresses that we have heard here this evening. In the first place I was more than instructed and entertained by the speech of Mr. Foss, from the United States. It was an eloquent, interesting, and philosophical study of the whole tariff question; and then I had an opportunity of listening for the first time to the able and eloquent addresses of the gentlemen who followed him; and for me to be suddenly called upon to give a decision as to the merits of the case puts me almost in the position of the man in the story that I now recall, and although it is a risk to tell a story following on one told by Dr. Montague-but in that case I take it that the lady concerning whom there were doubts of recovery had not been treated by a medical man. The story I recall is the story of a man who in life had two wives to whom he had been equally devoted and with whom he had lived for about the same number of years and on the most friendly terms. When he was dying himself, both of these ladies having predeceased him, he was asked where he would like to be buried. " Well," he said, " bury me between the two of them but a little on the side of Biddy! "
Now, I think Mr. Chairman, I am a little on the side of Biddy as put by Dr. Montague, and I think I must agree with what I have heard of the arguments. In fact all that he has said points to the conclusion that the correct policy for Canada is the National Policy referred to by him and the unification or partial unification of the British Empire; and indeed, Mr. Chairman, on a small scale that has been the destiny of the country that I represent also. We are endeavouring down there, if small things can be compared to great, to so work out our destiny. I think that the speech that has been made by Dr. Montague to-night, if delivered to various audiences in Newfoundland, would not to any very large extent help to bring about what the Chairman is so anxious for, namely, Confederation, because the people down there having heard of the disintegration of the Roman Empire and remembering that they are north of Canada, and with territory larger than England, and considering that Labrador is nearly as large as the Russian Empire, we too have great hopes of building a great nation.
Dr. Montague: That will make the United States third.
Mr. Morris: Dr. Montague has a little anticipated me because that is the point I was about to reach. When our population has increased to millions, when we are raising wheat down on Labrador, under glass if you will, and when we have short-line railways and fast steamers connecting with England, and our people have grown to an extensive population, millions if you like, when we have battleships and armies we will extend to Canada that same good fellowship and brotherhood that Canada no doubt will sometime before us be extending to the United States. But up to the present time, Mr. Chairman, in Newfoundland we have not been called upon really to decide the exact position Newfoundland should take. In reference to the great fiscal policy now being promulgated by Mr. Chamberlain, we are wooed on both sides. We have friends in England and friends in the United States, and in Canada, and it would be, as I say, risky for me to give expression here tonight to any very pronounced opinion. Newfoundland is on the very best terms with the United States; on the other hand she is on the very best terms with Canada. Newfoundland always remembers that when troubles and trials were upon the land, and upon the people, that they met with kindly response from Canada and especially from Toronto, and I say that good-fellowship and good feeling exists.
Mr. Chairman, I didn't intend when I stood up to do more than thank you for the honour which you have conferred upon me in allowing me to be present here this evening, and also in having the honour of addressing this Empire Club. I am in a small way myself an Empire man. I believe in the policy of Mr. Chamberlain as far as it has been outlined in its effects on Canada. I think Canada is doing the right thing in the policy that is now being adopted and I look forward to the day when a great deal of what has been hoped for by the various speakers will be accomplished.