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CANADA AND THE DINGLEY BILL.
BY JOHN CHARLTON, M. P., CANADIAN HOUSE OF COMMONS.
The United States is a self-engrossed nation. Its progress has been marvellous. The advance from a population of 3,900,000 to one of 72,000,000 in 107 years, the spread of settlement from the Atlantic seaboard border over the broad areas of the Mississippi Valley, and to the far-distant line of the Pacific coast, and the great development in agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, have been secured at the cost of energetic and devoted application to the work of nation building. The founding and development of States; the careful evolving of political institutions from the plastic materials ready at hand; the settling of the great issue between slavery and freedom on the forum, in the legislative hall and on the battle-field, and the subsequent decision of important questions have left little time and developed scant taste for attention to matters outside of the Union save as they came into immediate contact with American interests.
Facing the northern border of the United States a nation is rising above the political horizon. Its goings forth are modest as yet, but its institutions have rounded into form, and a compact confederation has taken the place of disjointed and jealous colonies. A government formed upon the British model gives to it free and stable institutions and power of cohesion, while the erection of separate provincial governments insures provincial autonomy and provincial control of local questions and interests. A written constitution confers upon the Dominion government its powers, and carefully defines the respective spheres of action of federal and provincial organizations.
In all of its political, social, and business interests this young nation must come into contact with the United States. Perhaps no qnestion having to do with the problems of the future is en
titled to command closer attention in both of these communities than what the nature of this impingement is to be, and the people of the United States may profitably spend a little time in arriving at an intelligent estimate as to the extent, resources, character, and probable future of this northern neighbor.
Close investigation will inevitably develop some startling facts. Rudyard Kipling styles Canada “Our Lady of the Snows." Canada repudiates the title, and points to the fact that she has a million square miles of arable land, with a climate suitable for the production of the cereals, and that from the products of her own soil she can easily sustain a population of 75,000,000. The great undeveloped wheat-growing area of the continent is in her Northwest Territories, embracing the valleys of the Red and the Assiniboine rivers, the valley of the great Saskatchewan, and more than 300,000 square miles in the Athabasca and Peace River districts of the great Mackenzie basin. Throughout this district latitude does not fix the location of summer isotherms, and isothermal lines curve sharply to the northwest west of Lake Superior. At Prince Albert, upon the Saskatchewan, wheat is less liable to injury from frost than in the wheat districts of Manitoba, and the same is probaby true of the districts that invite cultivation in the Peace and Athabasca River valleys. The opening of spring, the blooming of spring flowers, and the bursting of the buds of deciduous trees are just about simultaneous at Ottawa, St. Paul, Winnipeg, Fort Dunvegan, on Peace River, in latitude 56.40, and even still further north, on the Laird River, and the Great Slave Lake, in latitude 60. Next to the Mississippi, the Mackenzie is the greatest river upon the continent. It is the outlet of great inland seas, having a coast line of 4,000 miles, and an area equal to that of the great lakes on the northern border of the United States. This vast basin, with its outlet in the Arctic Ocean, though much inferior in agricultural capabilities to the Canadian region south of it, is estimated, after careful consideration of the testimony of explorers, geological survey parties, missionaries, and Hudson Bay factors and employees, to contain 300,000 square miles suitable for wheat, 400,000 suitable for barley, 650,000 suitable for potatoes, and 860,000 suitable for pasturage ; and of the 1,260,000 square miles contained in the basin, 400,000 square miles only comprise the treeless barren grounds over which vast herds of the cariboo and musk ox roam.
As exploration of the vast territory possessed by Canada progresses, its resources and value become more apparent. The interior of Labrador has been found to contain vast forests of valuable spruce. All the lakes of the far north teem with whitefish, and other valuable varieties. The rivers are stocked with salmon. Hudson Bay, a great Canadian mare clausum 900 miles long and 600 miles wide, contains great piscatorial wealth. On the head waters of the western affluents of the Mackenzie River is an auriferous region 150,000 square miles in extent. On the upper waters of the Yukon, in Canadian territory, the placers of the Klondike and other streams have yielded the first installment of their fabulous wealth. On the west side of the Rocky Mountains, a metalliferous region 1,300 miles long and 400 miles wide is rich in gold-bearing rocks, while north of Lake Superior and in the region surrounding the Lake-of-the-Woods great wealth of the precious metals is being developed. The older Provinces are rich in agricultural resources, timber, minerals, and fisheries.
The Canadian Northwest seeks emancipation from the burden of heavy freight rates to the Atlantic seaboard. The Hudson Bay Company has demonstrated the practicability of the navigation of Hudson Straits. The only question is as to the length of time these Straits remain open. A careful exploration is being made this year by the Canadian government, and if it be found, as is claimed, that navigation is practicable for four or five months in the year, the great wheat-growing areas of the Canadian Northwest will find a new avenue to England, and the wheat fields of the Peace River and Saskatchewan Valleys will be as near European markets as those of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
A striking illustration of the facilities possessed by Northwestern Canada for internal communication is furnished by investigations made in connection with a project for reaching the Yukon mineral district by short lines of railway, and navigable stretches on a course known as the Harvey Route. By this proposed line, Moose Factory on Hudson Bay will be reached by a railway line of 250 miles from Missanabie on the Canadian Pacific Railway ; thence by deep sea navigation down Hudson Bay 1,200 miles to the head of Chesterfield Inlets thence by railway 175 miles to the navigable waters connecting with Great Slave Lake; thence by steamer route 1,400 miles to the mouth of the Mack
enzie River, and thence by railway 50 miles to Porcupine River, a navigable tributary of the Yukon.
These statements, necessarily brief and in outline, may, it is hoped, rouse the curiosity of the reader, and lead to more extended investigations of the character and capabilities of the Great North Land, which, over a generation ago, William H. Seward declared was destined to become the Russia of America.
The geographical, ethnological, and physical conditions pertaining to the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada are of such a character as not only to invite intimate commercial and business relations, but to give to these relations such strength that hitherto the efforts of hostile fiscal legislation have not availed to destroy the commercial intercourse existing between the two peoples. The volume of business, of course, has been very seriously affected by legislation. The exports of Canada to the United States have remained nearly stationary since 1866, when the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 was abrogated, but still transactions of great volume are engaged in. To the careful observer, indeed, the extent of these transactions furnishes a striking suggestion as to what their volume might be in case of uninterrupted commercial intercourse. The geographical and trade affinities between the two countries are of the most striking character. The Maritime Provinces of the Dominion form naturally a geographical and commercial part of the seaboard of the American Union. Ontario and Quebec are closely drawn by geographical conditions to the Middle and Eastern States. Manitoba and the great Canadian Northwest naturally gravitate to the Mississippi Valley, and, if legislative impediments did not intervene, would find their commercial centres in St. Paul and Chicago; and British Columbia is drawn by natural conditions in the direction of more intimate commercial relations with the American States of the Pacific slope.
As to the desirability of close commercial relations, a careful examination of the question leaves no room to doubt that such a condition of matters would be equally advantageous to both sections. If commercial barriers and fiscal restrictions between States, or between groups of States, in the Union would not be desirable, neither can it possibly be shown that such restrictions could be beneficial to any interest involved when applied to a group of States which, though north of the American
boundary line, form a natural part of the geographical whole to which the American Union belongs.
The provisions of the American Tariff Bill which became law on the 24th of July last, when contrasted with the tariff policy of the Dominion, must suffer by that contrast as regards the liberality of the respective measures. From the following epitome of the trade conditions of Canada for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1896, the last for which full returns have been received, it will be seen that the United States furnished Canada more than onehalf of her total imports, and enjoyed access for manufactures and other dutiable goods into her market at a low average rate of duty, and had entry for a most satisfactory list of free goods.
SUMMARY OF CANADIAN EXPORTS AND IMPORTS ; RATES OF DUTY, AND PEBCENTAGES OF IMPORTS AND EXPORTS FROM DIFFERBNT
COUNTRIES FOR THE YEAR 1896.
Total imports for consumption in 1896..
.$110.587,480 Total exports the produce of Canada..
121,013,852 Total amount of duty collected upon imports.
20,219,073 Percentage of duty on total value of goods imported-dutiable and free....
18.28 Percentage of duty on total amount of dutiable goods entered for consumption...
Imports into Canada for consumption.. $58,574,024 $32,979,742 $19,033,714 Percentage of total imports..
18.92 Imports on free list...
$29,472,378 $8,613,568 $5,261,730 Dutiable imports
$29, 101,646 $24,366,179 $13,771,934 Percentage duty on entire amount of imports
26.75 Percentage duty on dutiable imports.. 26.25
30.02 36.97 Amount of duty collected on imports... $7,767,992 $7,358,514 $5,092,567
Exports Canadian produce from Canada $14,448,410 $66,690,288 89,875,154 Balance of trade....
$14, 125,614 $33,710,546 $4,159,560 In favor of In favor Against the United of Canada.
This statement warrants the assertion that the Canadian fiscal