ADDRESS BY THE HON. A. B. MORINE, K.C., M.L.A.,
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN NEWFOUNDLAND.
My. Chairman aced Gentlemen,-
Having experienced the hospitality of Toronto last year, I was only anxious to bring my friend, Sir Edward Morris, here that he might know as I did how kind you were; that he might have a share of the pleasure which the invitation here to-night promised to me. I had no idea whatever that he would be called upon to speak, but if I had thought so I should still have asked him to come; because I knew he would reflect credit upon his native land, the little Colony from which we both come. I assure you I had no desire whatever to entrap him into a premature expression of his opinion upon the Bond-Hay Treaty which is now being revived in the United States of America. I should like to say here, because I feel in myself the sentiment which is throbbing through this meeting and which boas so well expressed by Dr. Montague, that I do not, have not in the past, taken the same view of the Bond-Hay Treaty or the Bond-Blaine Treaty as it was called in the past, that the Government of Newfoundland does and that my friend, Sir E. Morris, does.
I feel that, however much they may promise the present benefit to the Colony of Newfoundland to be, it is fraught with great danger to the future of Newfoundland, and to its development, just as the propositions for Reciprocity to which Dr. Montague has referred in this country were fraught with great, though unseen danger to Canada at the time they were made. Those propositions to which he refers were made in a short-sighted way without eyes that looked forward into the future with discernment; they did not see what a great nation Canada was going to be in the very near future; and all Canadians I believe are glad to-night that the propositions then made were not accepted. Just as I feel all Newfoundlanders will be ultimately grateful if the propositions made to Newfoundland are not accepted down there. I did not intend on this occasion to discuss a purely local question, but I thought I ought to take the first occasion to intimate to my friends, Sir E. Morris and the Government, that as usual, I would be found doing business in the Opposition shop.
I have been charged to-night with the onerous but grateful task of moving a vote of thanks to the speaker of the evening, the guest of the Club, Mr. Foss, and gentlemen, I assure you I make that motion with very great personal pleasure. It has been a delight to listen to his speech that I think may truly be dominated great -great in thought and great in courage-because it required a great deal of personal courage for an American to make to a Canadian audience the confession Mr. Foss has made here to-night. At the same time it is great in thought and as a statement of what true protection is I think in principle must be admitted to be correct. I think, with the sentiments which he has expressed, with the doctrines which he has laid down as to what is the object and the aim and what should be the end of protection, we must all agree in this country. Colonel Denison has referred to Cobden and the doctrines which he preached in his day; doctrines which under the circumstances were wise doctrines. I think we may say Mr. Foss bids fair to become the Cobden of the United States, for the circumstances of the United States justify the doctrine Mr. Foss preaches.
If I were an American citizen I should say " Amen " to every word he says and vote every time for the doctrines which he has preached here; just as I say " Amen " to the doctrine Dr. Montague preached to an American audience. As I listened I hardly knew which to admire the most, Mr. Foss talking to us here in Canada or Dr. Montague talking to the Americans in the State of Massachusetts. I concluded there was no need for drawing any distinction between them because they were both speaking with courage and wisdom; they were both speaking the right doctrines for the different countries they represented and under the circumstances which existed in those different countries. It appears to me Mr. Foss' doctrine that he is preaching here tonight is a great plea that the United States should change the policy which was good and great in the past but which is now unsuited to its circumstances in a large measure.
I think that we, in tariff matters, ought to be opportunists. We ought to be free traders when free trade is good and protectionists when protection is good. Protection has been good for the United States, but as Mr. Foss himself says, they have come to the parting of the ways and there is reason now why in the United States, the greatest manufacturing country in the world, as England was when Cobden preached free trade-free trade would be good for its people. But just as protection was good for the United States of America under her circumstances a few years ago it appears to me to be good for this country at this time. What was the principle laid down by Mr. Foss? It was this; he said that you should protect your infant industries. Well, in this country in comparison-and comparisons are what we ought to go by-in comparison with our great competitor on the south of the Line all our industries are infant and therefore all our industries are still in a state requiring protection. Then, again, I agree with Mr. Foss in saying that there are certain industries, which he denominates as pauper industries, which no country should protect. Those, I understand him, to be industries not natural to the soil and climate of their respective countries. We will say " Amen " to that. They have found on their side of the Line by experience what are pauper industries. I suppose in the United States any industry which cannot stand without protection may be denominated, in the sense in which Mr. Voss uses those words, as a pauper industry, because they have tried protection for a great many years; they have prospered; they are a great country; they have a great population.
We on this side have not arrived at the stage when we know what a pauper industry is because we have not had protection long enough; we have not the population on this side; we have not the field for development. And then, I say, it appears to me that Mr. Foss and Dr. Montague do not disagree one iota in principle. According to Mr. Foss it is time for the United States to take down the bars of protection and let pauper industries die out and be transplanted to other countries, because those industries that are not alien have been sufficiently protected. We on our side have a right to continue protection and increase it and have the right to allow our country to develop until we have demonstrated what are pauper industries, and then we will take down our bars. That is the doctrine of Mr. Foss and Dr. Montague. They do not differ; it is only the circumstances of the two countries which differ.
Then it appears to me that while Mr. Foss has given a most eloquent and decisive reason why the United States should now abandon protection in a large measure he has given the most eloquent and cogent reason why this country should not endeavour to enter into Reciprocity with the United States. Why should it endeavour to enter into Reciprocity? Mr. Foss is an honest man, a frank man, as frank to us as he is in his speech to his neighbours on the other side; he says he thinks Reciprocity would be good because the United States wants to deal with us, because they want to sell over here; and he says on the other hand he thinks it would be good for us because we have things which we can sell over there. In other words he puts it upon the safe, the selfish, but perfectly honest principle, as between business men, that each country will do what is best for itself. Well, then, we need no reciprocity treaty, because it is not possible to frame a reciprocity treaty today between these two countries which will suit the conditions of these countries next year. From clay to day our conditions will be changing and therefore we are not now able to enter into a reciprocity treaty in which we can define what will be good for Canada a year from today.
There is no need of a reciprocity treaty for another reason, and that is, that the United States has found its pauper industries, which it should cease to protect in the interest of the United States itself, and they need no treaty with Canada to bring that about. Let them put the product on their free list and the work is done. If we on our hand find out, as we will find out from time to time-when I say " we " I speak as one of yourselves - as I am Canadian born-when we from day to day find that there are pauper industries growing up in this country then we shall put them on the free list, and we shall be at greater liberty to do so if we have no reciprocity treaty than if we had one. It would tie our hands for good, or ill, as the case may be, whereas, if we have no treaty, if we are opportunists, if we create effectively a chamber such as Mr. Foss told us the United States is now about creating, a standing Tariff Commission with power to change from time to time; that is infinitely better than any Reciprocity Treaty that stretches over a term of years, which is created by men that do not understand the conditions that may help us in the future; and a tariff instead of a reciprocity treaty will allow us to make our changes from time to time. It appears to me therefore that these two speakers, great and eloquent tonight, are entirely at one in the essence of their policy; that the only difference is that one speaks from the American standpoint and the other from the Canadian standpoint.
I am sure, gentlemen, if you will excuse me for adding this, that we all reciprocate the kindly spirit with which Mr. Foss has referred to our international relations. We would not be worthy of our position as the elder son of the Empire, as it is put, if we did not honour and admire and love our recreant brother across the Line. We all look to the United States, the offspring of the loins of the Old Country as one of the greatest nations in the world. We will not, we could not admit he is greater than the Old Country, but that next to the Old Country there is no country like the United States and no flag like the Stars and Stripes; and I trust, Sir; that we shall always live under the happiest circumstances towards one another; that there shall always prevail between these two countries a friendly spirit-a national friendly spirit and a personal friendly spirit; for, Sir, I am satisfied that the day is far distant when there will be any political union or when there will be any such commercial union as will tie our hands and prevent our development in this country.
We need not enter now into the question of which is going to be the greater, the country to the south or the north. Let us both strive to be great and we may leave the question as to which is to have predominance for the future to develop. I would like to say furthermore that I agree with the great policy of which Mr. Chamberlain is the apostle. I should like to see nothing done within the borders of the Empire which can in any way threaten that policy. It is because I believe that in a small way our little Colony in adopting a Treaty with the Americans would be running somewhat counter to that policy that I have been opposed to it in the past. I believe that not only should every Colony of the Empire be prepared to trade with the Mother-country, but be prepared to trade with every other Colony in the Empire, and that it should have as one of the first principles of its commercial policy that not only will we do towards one another that which is friendly, but do nothing towards foreign nations which can in any sense be detrimental to any part of the Empire no matter how small it may be.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I feel that at this late hour I have trespassed altogether too much upon your kindly attention in addressing you here, but I wish to repeat again that I have listened to-night with the greatest delight to the great speeches we have heard. I agree with every word said by both of the gentlemen. If I were an American I should vote for Mr. Foss; if I were a Canadian I should vote for Dr. Montague's policy. I feel that being neither in my political adhesion at the present time, and being simply a Newfoundlander standing on the outside who sees generally the most of the game, I feel it is safe for Canada to go on in the course which she is now pursuing. I am a young man only twenty years away from this country, but twenty years ago there was no national spirit in Canada; twenty years ago one party was trying to create a national spirit. But today I return to Canada to find there is no party at all on the question of national spirit but that each is rivalling the other; and I return to feel that whatever may be said of one party or the other, in the great policy of " Canada for the Canadians " there is no division of opinion whatever, but only a generous rivalry which promises great things for the future of the Dominion. I thank you for the kindness with which you have listened to me. I fear if I returned to Toronto I should become a great bore. But in thanking you for your kindness to me I call upon you, after the remarks which Mr. Ellis will make, to accord in the name of this Club, and I am sure I may add in the name of each and all of you individually, a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. Foss for the great honour he has done in coming here to address this Club, and the great satisfaction and pleasure which his eloquent speech has given to us tonight.