THOUGHTS ABOUT CANADA AND AUSTRALIA.
Address by the Hon. W. H. Montague, P.C., M.D., before the Empire Club of Canada, on January 21st, 1904.
It was said by one of the leaders of religious thought in London, that the very best possible evidence of the advancement of religious subjects was the attendance of so many people at the noon services of the late Rev. Dr. Parker, who had such an influence in the religious field in the Metropolis. I fancy if the splendid Luncheon which is served here does not call you together, that you are to be complimented very greatly upon the fact that you are gathered for the purpose of always hearing something in connection with the Empire to which we all as Canadians belong. I must say that it appears to me that you are making a great sacrifice in being willing to give up a portion of your lunch hour to listen to a speech, for I have always before me an incident which was related by Mr. Stevenson, late Vice-President of the United States, as to a hanging in the Western States. When the subject of the unfortunate incident was upon the platform, he was asked if, he had anything to say. He replied that he had not. A gentleman in the back of the crowd said: "If he has nothing to say, I would like to say a few words concerning my candidature for an office in this county. The Magistrate said to the Sheriff, "Who is this man?" and he replied that it was Mr. Gibbons, who was seeking the position of jailer. The Magistrate said he. might say a few words, whereupon the unfortunate criminal said, " Let him speak; give him all the time he wants, but let me be hung first."
I appreciate very highly the compliment which you have paid me in asking me to be here today at this meeting as a stranger, though I hope the next time you read your list I shall have the privilege of being a member, and I appreciate more your kind invitation to say a few words, not upon any one particular subject, but a few words on what I regard as matters of Imperial concern, having special relation to Canada and to the country on the other side of the world which is the second greatest Colony in the British Empire. I am delighted to see so many young men who are members of this Empire Club. Although there are a great many grey hairs in my head and I have fought a considerable number of campaigns, I feel that I am a young man, and I say to you, Sir, and I hope to the men who are gathered here, that while it is a magnificent thing to have in an assembly or in any country, the wisdom and experience of age, notwithstanding, if any country or institution is to develop in the future, it must depend largely for that development upon the pluck, perseverance and energy of the young men.
It is my privilege tomorrow night to speak before the Commercial Club of Providence, Rhode Island, upon the position which Canada occupies among the nations of the world. I promise you that my sentiment shall be just as strongly Canadian and Imperial as I express them here today. We Canadians should be proud of the fact that the men whom we have sent to the United States have done us credit. When the United States wanted a President for their New York Central, they appointed Mr. Callaway, a Canadian who had worked his way up from an office boy. When they wanted a good man in the- Philippines they sent an old New Brunswick man. Wherever you find Canadians, not only in the United States, but elsewhere, you find that they occupy the very highest positions. I am pleased to be able to say something to you touching on Australia, the land of the squatter, for a man who owns one, two or three hundred thousand acres in Australia is called a squatter. A man who has a farm of 3,000 or 4,000 acres is called a cockatoo and a man with 20,000 acres is known as a selector. I am sure that as Canadians we are pleased to know that on the other side of the world Canadians who have gone and taken their places- there, have taken them with dignity.
Canadianism is not worth having that is not included in Imperialism, and Imperialism is not worth having that does not appreciate the magnificent position of Canada and the services which Canadians will yet do for the Empire and for the Mother Country as it advances. There is a saying that everything comes to him who waits, and, someone has added, "who works." Canada has waited and worked for a long time. You remember how long and arduously we worked in order to get Reciprocity with the United States of America. We need not work for that now and in my judgment we shall never work for it again. If the Canadians desire to import things from the United States they must take down their tariff against the United States on these things, and if the United States desire to import things from Canada, they must do likewise. We watched and laboured for a long time for the purpose of showings to the Motherland the resources of Canada and the value of the Colony to the Empire. It was a long fight. There was indifference at home and there was ignorance abroad. When one of us said to the English people that something was foreign to us and that we refused to regard anything as really British in which we did not have a share, they laughed at us. This day has gone by and I think one of the greatest statesman who has ever contributed his share to the growth of the Empire is Mr. Chamberlain. In the discussion of the wonderful resources of these Colonies and of the necessity and advantage of cultivating and assisting them in order that they can assist the Motherland in her magnificent march of progress as an Empire, Mr. Chamberlain has indeed taken a great part.
Now, Sir, there is one thing which comes to me in this connection and that is that you have done yourself a proud thing by placing at the head, as Honorary President of this institution, a grand old man-I hope no one will be offended on the other side of the political horizon if I say " the grand old man of Canada." I refer to Lord Strathcona, who has done more to teach the Motherland the value of Canada as a Colony; who has done more to raise sympathy for Canadians in the Motherland and has done more work for the consolidation of the Empire, possibly, than any Canadian living at the present time.
Here, Sir, I want to say just a word or two as to the question of indiscriminate immigration. The United States have a great amount of people very difficult to assimilate at the present time. We hope they may have no trouble with them, but they may. In the new territories of Canada 75 percent of the people who are building up institutions there, cultivating the soil and making those new territories into great Provinces, 75 percent are Canadians. What does that mean? It means the extension of Canadian and British institutions and when the foundations for these are well and safely laid, when the political institutions are established, we shall be in a much better position to assimilate foreign immigrants than we would be otherwise. Australia has taken the same care. You will remember that only two years ago they passed an Educational Test Bill then which would not allow anyone to come into the country who could not write or read English properly. They excepted spelling, for even our distinguished Inspector of Toronto Schools may sometimes make an error in spelling some of our English words.
Australia has had another difficulty and it is a difficulty which exists at the present time and is a very burning question. It is a question which faces the labour leaders and leaders of public thought generally. In Queensland they have great fields of disintegrated lava which are extremely productive of sugar, but they say they cannot till them with white labour, but must have the Kanaka labourer. Hence the question today, the one great and moving question of whether Australia shall be a white Australia or whether these people shall be allowed to come and take a part in this important industry. Just a word now as to Australia in a general way and I shall do it in comparison with Canada. Canada occupies a position unique among the Colonies, yet Australia has been able to obtain a great deal more ° attention in the Motherland. She never deserved it, never had the resources that justified it. England, Ireland and Scotland long ago should have turned the tide of immigrants from the United States to Canada and sent us money for the development of our resources, and, instead of building up a rival nation they would have been building up a strong defence and even a greater empire than they have elsewhere. Australia will never support a large population. The very fact I gave you in my opening remarks shows that a single squatter must have a very large portion of land. This is evidence of the fact that the soil by reason of want of moisture is not productive. Many here will be able to know in a few years hence, and I think I am safe in saying, that the limit of Australia's population is fifteen million, and I think I am generous in making that statement. The limit of Canadian population is perhaps one hundred million, for we have yet one hundred and sixty-five million acres to be put under the plough in our Canadian North-West, or enough land to raise four times as much grain as is required by the British Empire at this time.
Now, Sir, I want to say to you in the first place in regard to Australia's political institutions that they are supposed to be modelled after ours. But they are not. We have a constitution by which all our Provinces are united into what is called the Dominion of Canada. In Australia it is called the Commonwealth, because, perhaps, there was something more of the keynote of freedom in the name of Commonwealth than in the name Canada has chosen. But there is a more serious difference. In Canada we have a constitution under which the reserve power is held by the Federal authorities and nothing belongs to the Provinces with the exception of what is specifically given to those Provinces in the Federal or Constitution Act itself. In Australia they have copied the American plan and everything which does not belong under the Constitution Act to the Federal authorities is exercised by the State. That is the great weakness in the constitution of the United States today and it is this principle which has led to so much trouble in the Republic.
Speaking again of Australia they came together, in my judgment too early for federation to have properly taken place. I, of course, am one of those who believe that in every union of provinces or states there must be a compromise. Ire Canada there was a compromise. Certain Provinces yielded certain things up for the general or federal good, but we were fortunate in having a deadlock before Confederation. Canada had to change her methods and become federated in order practically to go on and transact her business, and the result was that not nearly so many compromises were necessary as would have been otherwise. In Australia where the strength of the leaders led to the union, the people of the States had to be conciliated and given much greater privileges than would have been necessary otherwise. What is the result today? That there is still no free trade, practically, between the States. In West Australia there is still a tariff against other parts of Australia. Some of the central portions of Australia that you hear about are not like those of the North-West of Canada. I was in places, myself, in Australia where it had not rained for seven years, and when it did rain the people got out with tin horns and drums and whistles and rejoiced as much as we did when Pretoria fell. Now this great central plateau in Australia is entirely different from our NorthWest. There we have great boundless regions which we shall cultivate. I am sure you have all noticed the figures recently published in regard to the NorthWest, and I am also told that the largest railway yards in the world are to be located at Winnipeg at the end of the year, and that the City of Winnipeg is today the largest wheat market in the Emipre. I want to say a word here in regard to Australia's Imperial feelings. The results of the recent general election I think may be misunderstood. I know very well the present loyal Prime Minister (Mr. Deakin) and, while the Rt. Hon. George H. Reid, the Opposition Leader, is against some of Mr. Chamberlain's proposals, at the same time he is a very strong Imperialist in his own way. If, today, the people of Australia were asked whether they should become independent or not, I fancy that perhaps 99 per cent. of them would say: Let us stay with the Empire and let us build it up. Surely no better evidence of that need be required than the fact that she contributed very largely to the late War, and if that were not enough, it might be added that she contributes at the present time toward the Imperial Navy.
Australia, however, like Canada, feels that the Motherland has not quite aroused herself to appreciation of the Colonies. We are willing to help defend the Empire, we are willing to work, but we want the Empire to appreciate us more than at the present time. England is not completely alive to the importance of Canada and Australia. We shall never be able to get at the older people of Great Britain, we must get at the boys and girls. I hope you will appreciate the good work that has been done by Lord Strathcona in sending literature to the boys and girls. I hope the Dominion of Canada will prepare a book, well illustrated, that will describe thoroughly the resources and advantages of Canada, and that they will put that book, if possible, into the hands of every school boy and girl of England, Ireland and Scotland-for when we get these educated as to the possibilities of this country, then and then alone, Sir, will the Motherland appreciate us as she should.
Let me say two or three words in regard to the position we occupy in Canada. I am going to say something that all will not agree with. I think it would be a good plan to take men like the Hon. G. W. Ross and the Hon. G. E. Foster, for instance, and create a Department of Patriotism and let them go about the country for the purpose of creating national sentiment. I know you will agree with me when I say that one of the great Powers of today is Japan. She is taking a surprising position--a little island that has stood up with her face close to Russia and has never given back one inch in all her negotiations. She is today one of the powers of the world. Do you know what it has sprung from. You will find that the system of education is such that there is practically a Department of Patriotism for teaching and instilling the children of that country with a love for Japan and from the very junior class to the University, the boys and girls are taught Japan. What we want to be taught is Canada and the Empire from A, B, C, until we have finished our course in the University.
Another thing we want to guard against is being carried away by enthusiasm. Once we came very nearly being carried away into Reciprocity with the United States, but the more thoughtful people finally controlled the ship of state. Let us not be carried, away now by the fact or thought that Imperialism is just to be grasped at and that we have no more to do. The grandest service that Canada can do for the Empire is to see that Canada is developed and to see that Canada gets her proper place. What is the country which England meets in every portion of the world in keenest competition? In every line of competition she meets the United States, in other lines France and in every line Germany. The German character and policy have been such that industry and scientific education have brought Germany to a position where she is placed among the greatest industrial countries of the world. I say for Canada, let us see to it that we have a system of technical education established that will be alive and aggressive and with brains behind it.
Just a word. We have recently heard some Canadians discussing the question of Independence. I should say let us be independent if it would make us safer or better than we are at the present time, but that would be impossible. Nor would it give us greater commercial advantage than we have or are likely to have in the early coming years; that is impossible. Now, I think I have detained you. I thank you for your kindness and appreciate the manner in which you have listened to me, and I hope to come again and meet you all, and the one word I leave with, you is this: Let us stand with Canada and while standing for Canada, stand for the Empire, now and ever, inseparable in the history of the world.