- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 13 Dec 1906, p. 111-119
- McMullen, Hon. James, Speaker
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- Item Type
- Attempting to enlighten the audience of business men on the question of relations with the United States. Some key historical events which have shaped the relationship. The Dingley Bill; expectations of the Bill and what really happened. Characteristics of the negotiations that have taken place between Canada and the United States from the close of the Treaty in 1866 down to the present time. Canada's own prospering. Sir Wilfrid Laurier's statement with regard to negotiations with Washington. Canada's stand not to forego her rights and her interests as a Dominion in order to meet any demand made by the U.S. Some comparisons of development between the two countries, with dollar figures. Canada, aiming at a development along the lines that she has already done so. Keeping our trade largely for ourselves within the Empire. An examination of products of import and export between Canada and the U.S. The rapidly developing northwestern Canada. Monies spent for such development; the right in return to have the advantage of the Western trade if we can comply with and fulfill their requirements on as reasonable terms as any other people. Educating the people of the West into a feeling that we should above all things cultivate an interprovincial trade, and let each section help the other. The five lines upon which we must develop as a country: agriculture, manufacturing, lumbering, fishing, and mining. Adjusting the tariff. A look at our taxation. Our indebtedness to England. Our duty to contribute to the British navy. Hopes for the Colonial Conference to take place in April next to bring about a better conditions of things within the Empire. The need and desirability of coming closer together on trade lines within the Empire.
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- 13 Dec 1906
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- Full Text
- RELATIONS WITH THE, UNITED STATES.
Address by Senator the Hon. James McMullen, before the Empire Club of Canada, on December 13th, 1906.
Mr. President and Gentlemen,--can assure you that I think I am undertaking a very serious task to attempt to enlighten the audience I see before me--business men of the great commercial centre of Toronto--on the question of " Relations with the United States." We undoubtedly have a very powerful republic to the south of us, a people who are in their legislation, as far as Canada is concerned, very selfish. They are gentlemen when you meet them individually; collectively they can be as small as any other nation of people in the world. We have had relations with them for many years; we had at one time a Treaty that was brought into force in 1854 and lasted till 1866. Under that Treaty, Canada enjoyed a fair share of prosperity and a fair measure of trade with the United States. At the close of their Civil war, they came to the conclusion that Canada had reaped too great advantages under the operations of that Treaty and they abrogated it at the earliest possible moment. After that, and from that time down to the present, we have had legislation, first under the McKinley Bill and second, under the Dingley Bill, that tended to restrict and limit the exportation of all kinds of commodities, whether products or manufactures, to the United States. We have been able to do but a very limited business with them since that time. Under the Cleveland Government there was a little modification, but immediately afterward when the Republican party came into power the Dingley Bill was passed and the result has been that very great restrictions have keen imposed upon Canada in the way of sending any of our commodities to the United States.
Our Government, very fortunately, at the time of the passage of the Dingley Bill, turned its face toward the British Isles. We have been doing a very large trade with them and it has increased. I have no doubt that when the Americans passed the Dingley Bill they expected that Canada would come to Washington, and, on bended knee, beg for better trade relations. In place of our Government doing that it turned its face to the British Isles and perfected our coldstorage system, whereby the commodities-the perishable products of our country-can be taken from the point where they are produced, sent across the Atlantic, and placed under the eye of the English consumer in as perfect a condition as they were in when they left the factory. That, coupled with the fact that the Government sent home commercial agents for the purpose of working up trade in Britain, has resulted in a measure of prosperity that even the present Government did not anticipate. Notwithstanding all the restrictions that have been placed upon us by the American people to the South, Canada has unquestionably prospered and we are glad to be able to say that it has. The Americans must not come to the conclusion that Canada is a pauper at their backdoor, ready to accept any little concession that may be made us. In all the negotiations that have taken place between Canada and the United States from the close of the Treaty in 1866 down to the present time, the American on every single occasion has stipulated that he should get a dollar's worth of advantage for ten cents in return. Canada has not been prepared to consent to any new treaty of that kind. During the life of the Macdonald Government, they made, I have no doubt, an honest and earnest effort to get better trade relations with the United States. They never succeeded.
During the present Government, Sir Wilfrid Laurier has stated that Canada has shown her face in Washington for the purpose of negotiating better trade relations for the last time, and we all hope that that policy will continue. As I said, Canada has prospered and prospered well. We have made wonderful developments. We have a very great country, a country that, I believe, is capable of as great developments as the United States, in many lines, and we are glad to know it. We do not want to live in any other relations with the United States but the most cordial and courteous, but we want them to distinctly understand this, that if they expect Canada at any moment to forego her rights and her interests as a Dominion in order to meet any demand they may make, we are not prepared to do anything of that kind. We are a nation of ourselves; we are rapidly forging to the front as such; and we believe that our future will be great as long as we keep in close touch with the Empire to which we belong, and it is our intention to do that. No doubt the Americans are a great people. They have unquestionably developed to an enormous extent. We must not fancy in Canada that we have to ourselves the great wave of development and prosperity. It has been all over this northern continent.
If you take the United States in the matter of manufacturing-in 1895 the United States sent manufactured products abroad amounting to $187,000,000; in 1,905 the export manufactured product of the United States was $5.3,000,000, or a million a day more than it was ten years ago. If you take the money, for instance, in circulation in the United States; in 1887 the money in circulation in that country, in the hands of her people, was $1,867,000,000. The amount of money in circulation on the first of last month was $2.887,000,000. Fancy the enormous increase that she has made. While she has made this enormous increase in the matter of exportation and of manufactured products, and in the matter of circulation of money amongst her people, she has clone it under the operation of a high protective tariff. Some people condemn protection. but we are bound to take notice of a nation like the United States, that has made the marvellous development that she has made under its operation. They, have some of the smartest, the cutest, the keenest, the most cunning statesmen that the world has ever produced, and we cannot do better in Canada than take 4 lesson out of her experience. Let s us aim at a development along the lines that she has developed. Let us aim at keeping our trade largely for ourselves within the empire. Let us take everything from England that we can get from her; let us adjust our tariffs so as to give England all the advantage that we possibly can give her; and if there is anything else to purchase outside of the Empire let us endeavour to purchase it from nations that will trade with us. The United States shipped to us last year, $152,000,000 worth of stuff; we sent them only some $70,000,000. Out of that $152,000,000, $70,000,000 was free. The $82,000,000 was dutiable goods. The $70,000,000 was composed largely of corn, of coal, of cotton; certain lines of leaf tobacco, etc., also came in free. I may frankly admit that she need not thank us for taking those commodities from her simply because we cannot conveniently get them from any other place; but we have taken $82,000 000 worth of manufactured products.
Now, let us carefully search the schedule of those products that we have taken, and if we can possibly adjust our tariff so as to give the Empire the advantage or to give any country that is willing to trade with us on equitable terms, the advantage,--I say it is our duty as patriotic Canadians to do it. For my part, I frankly confess that we have a hard country to govern; we have different interests. Our North-West is developing very rapidly. I find that the people of the NorthWest want to get everything they require, the every-day requirements of life, at the lowest possible price. They do not care very much whether it is manufactured in the United States or whether it is manufactured in Canada, or whether it is manufactured in England. We have spent enormous sums to open up the North-West. Canada stood by the Government in the development that has taken place, in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and now in the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific. We are spending enormous amounts of money and we have a right in return, at least, to have the advantage of the Western trade if we can comply with and fill their requirements on as reasonable terms as any- other people. We earned that for the course that we. have adopted, and we are entitled to it. I would like to educate the people of the West into a feeling that we should above all things cultivate an interprovincial trade, and let each section help the other. Now, if we are to develop at all as a country, we must develop, upon five lines: agriculture, manufacturing, lumbering, fishing, and mining. These must all go hand in hand and one must assist the other. There is no country on the face of the earth that ever came to be .great and important unless it became a manufacturing country as well as an agricultural country. We must have our manufacturing institutions. We cannot do without them. I never was a believer in an excessive protective tariff, but I do want it so adjusted that our people will have a fair opportunity of succeeding. The average tariff duty that is imposed upon the people of Canada is about $7 a head. It does not make very much difference to the ordinary individual whether that duty is collected off his boots or his hat or partly off both. If the linen in the bosom of your shirt that comes from the British Isles is put upon 'the free list, or the duty largely reduced and the duty collected thereon is added to the cloth that is in the body, as long as the shirt is sold at the old price what difference does it make to the wearer? Now, that is the adjustment of the tariff that we want in Canada. We want to adjust it so as to give every producer in this country the advantage. Give him the inside track, and encourage in that way our home institutions. I regret, as I said before, that the present tariff has not gone as far in that direction as I would like to see it go. Still we have, as I intimated, a hard country to govern. I hope the Government may see new light on many lines, and I hope that they will come to realize that while there are many disposed to find fault and complain of the tariff, and of the duties to which they are subjected, such as farm organizations, they ought to be patriotic enough to give to our home people the advantage under all circumstances, or the choice as between them and foreigners.
We live, gentlemen, in a great empire, the greatest the world has ever seen. There is no people on the face of the earth that enjoy more liberties than we do in Canada. We are the lowest-taxed people that you can hunt tip in any part of the civilized world. We make all our own laws. We administer our own laws. Nobody ever interferes with us. If you take, for instance, our taxation regarding defence, military and naval, see how little we pay when compared with other countries. In the British Isles, the individual pays about $8.70 a head of taxes for army and navy. The French pay about $7.80; Germany about $6.65; Russia, before the war, paid $4.46; the Americans to the South of us pay $2.35, and it is increasing very rapidly; while Canada only pays $0.60 a head of its population for the army and navy. Now, gentlemen, I do admit this--we are greatly indebted to England Every man goes to sleep at night with a feeling that he is absolutely secure and safe. We realize that we belong to a great Empire, that no country on earth would dare to lay a finger upon us, and while we do all that, we contribute very little to the powerful defence that England owns, and that we believe would come to our relief at any moment. I should like very much to see Canada contribute something towards the British navy. (Applause.) I think it would be right that we should do so. No doubt they have a very powerful navy, but I think Canada should, by a respectable donation each year, show her willingness to contribute to the support of that navy, until such time as we commence to get the nucleus of a navy for ourselves; and I hope that will be a very long time. As long as we enjoy all the privileges that we do enjoy at this moment, we would be fools to alter our relations because we cannot be happier, more contented, or have greater privileges than we have at present.
Some time ago I was down in the State of Kansas, in Kansas City, and I was talking to an intelligent American genetleman, and he said, "You are from Canada," "Yes." "Well, I am very glad to see you. Glad to have a little conversation with regard to Canada. Don't you think it would be better for your people to join us rather than to be paying taxes to England?" I said, "We don't pay any taxes to England." "What, no taxes to England!" " No." "Neither for army or navy or anything else?" " No! we pay no taxes to England; all we do is to pay the salary of a Governor-General and the equipment of his mansion, which costs us about $110,000 a year. That is all it costs us; we pay no taxes." In a very rough, gruff way, he said to me. "What the h--l good are you to England?" (Laughter.) He thought that tax-paying was the only possible good that we could render to the Empire. Now, under those circumstances, I think that we ought to be a very happy and a very contented people. I notice that " Jim " Hill, who, by the way, happens to be a distant relation of my wife, was up in the North-West, some time ago, and made a speech at Winnipeg, in which he talked very strongly in favour of better trade relations with the United States. He said that he should like to see the Americans take down the bars and promote better trade between Canada and the United States. Well, Hill has thirteen goad sound reasons why he should talk in that way. He is building no less than thirteen branches from his main line into the Canadian North-West.
For my part, I regret that they are being built. The farmers of that section think it is going to be a grand thing for them. I question in the end if it won't be an injury rather than an advantage. How will that be? Hill will take the wheat of Manitoba and the NorthWest; he will carry it clown on his own line, it will be ground into flour; and it will be shipped to the Orient as the product of Manitoba wheat, when it will be mixed with the inferior wheat that they brow south of us. The result will be that we will have to meet the competition that will come from the Hill lines, that will declare that their flour is the pure product of Manitoba wheat, and if the farmer will, get a little better price to start with, he will get much less in the end when he has to compete with a product of that kind in the Eastern market. Now, I think it would have been better -if we had kept Hill out of the North-West, and I must say, in my simplicity, I voted and fought against every one of those measures, because I thought that after building the Canadian Pacific Railway, and constructing the Grand Trunk Railway, that we ought to be able to handle, within our own territory, our own trade, and keep the country out that militates so determinedly against us. They carried, last year, no less than $28,000,000 worth of raw mineral from Canada into the United States. I hope that the day is not far distant when we will have smelters and refiners in our own country that will handle all the product and will bring to a perfected condition the results of our mining outfit, rather than to send it across to Uncle Sam. He is willing to take all our raw product, but he is not willing to take anything that we send him in an even partly manufactured condition, unless duty is paid upon it. Under these circumstances, I think we had better keep largely within ourselves.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I have gone over the different points that I intended to refer to; allow me to close in saying that I sincerely hope that the meeting which is to take place in April next, the Colonial Conference, will bring about a better condition of things within the Empire than we have at the present moment. It is most desirable, in my humble opinion, in the interest of the British Isles themselves, as well as in the interest of their Colonies, that they should come closer together on trade lines. I believe the future of the empire largely depends upon that. I am sorry to have to admit that, in my opinion, England has been getting a little behind the time. Germany appears to have forged ahead. It is amazing to what extent technical knowledge is applied in Germany, also in the United States. They are making wonderful developments; they are an awfully ingenious people. They produce many things that we have to have. The great trouble with England is to get them to understand the trade of the Colonies and to make goods that will suit us. They have been hard to convince to alter their plans, and I hope the Conference will result in some change of that kind. If it does, it will be of great advantage, not only to the Empire, but to Canada. Now, we are proud, as I said a moment ago, of the development that we are making along many lines. Just allow me to touch upon one. In our hog products in Canada, we are getting into a serious condition, so far as the American is concerned. I saw a circular that was issued some time ago by the Armour people, of Kansas City, and it was sent out to every farmer in the South-Western States, and what did it say? It said: "Unless the farmers of the South-Western States will produce for us a hog that is fed on more vegetables and less corn, so that we can produce a bacon that will meet the English taste equal to that of Canada, Canada will cut us out of the English market. They are beginning to take the lead, and we will eventually lose the English trade." That was the acknowledgment of one of the largest meat-caring firms of the United States. They don't want to trade with us, but we meet them in the British market.
I hope that the day is not very far distant when England will come to her senses and adopt the Chamberlain policy. I think it would be the grandest thing for Canada, and the grandest thing for the Empire. She is fond of free trade. I must confess, looking at the history of France and Germany and the United States, it has been a marvel to me how England has managed to live through sixty years of free trade with all the hostility that she has had from all the other nations of the world. I think it is singular. I cannot see through it, but I do say, if she will draw her Colonies closer to her, tinder the system as outlined by Chamberlain; bring us into such a close relation that we will trade with each other on better terms than we trade with the outside world, I think it will be the greatest thing for the Empire and a blessing to the British Isles themselves. They have not realized the advantages that they are going to enjoy under such a system, and they will come to regret that they did not adopt it years and years ago.