Read CHAPTER V. THE YEARS OF FULFILMENT of The Canadian Dominion A Chronicle of our Northern Neighbor , free online book, by Oscar D. Skelton, on

Wilfrid Laurier was summoned to form his first Cabinet in July, 1896. For eighteen years previous to that time the Liberals had sat in what one of their number used to call “the cold shades of Opposition.” For half of that term Laurier had been leader of the party, confined to the negative task of watching and criticizing the administration of his great predecessor and of the four premiers who followed in almost as many years. Now he was called to constructive tasks. Fortune favored him by bringing him to power at the very turn of the tide; but he justified fortune’s favor by so steering the ship of state as to take full advantage of wind and current. Through four Parliaments, through fifteen years of office, through the time of fruition of so many long-deferred hopes, he was to guide the destinies of the nation.

Laurier began his work by calling to his Cabinet not merely the party leaders in the federal arena but four of the outstanding provincial Liberals Oliver Mowat, Premier of Ontario, William S. Fielding, Premier of Nova Scotia, Andrew G. Blair, Premier of New Brunswick, and, a few months later, Clifford Sifton of Manitoba. The Ministry was the strongest in individual capacity that the Dominion had yet possessed. The prestige of the provincial leaders, all men of long experience and tested shrewdness, strengthened the Administration in quarters where it otherwise would have been weak, for there had been many who doubted whether the untried Liberal party could provide capable administrators. There had also been many who doubted the expediency of making Prime Minister a French-Canadian Catholic. Such doubters were reassured by the presence of Mowat and Fielding, until the Prime Minister himself had proved the wisdom of the choice. There were others who admitted Laurier’s personal charm and grace but doubted whether he had the political strength to control a party of conflicting elements and to govern a country where different race and diverging religious and sectional interests set men at odds. Here again time proved such fears to be groundless. Long before Laurier’s long term of office had ended, any distrust was transformed into the charge of his opponents that he played the dictator. His courtly manners were found not to hide weakness but to cover strength.

The first task of the new Government was to settle the Manitoba school question. Negotiations which were at once begun with the provincial Government were doubtless made easier by the fact that the same party was in power at Ottawa and at Winnipeg, but it was not this fact alone which brought agreement. The Laurier Government, unlike its predecessor, did not insist on the restoration of separate schools. It accepted a compromise which retained the single system of public schools, but which provided religious teaching in the last half hour of school and, where numbers warranted, a teacher of the same faith as the pupils. The compromise was violently denounced by the Roman Catholic hierarchy but, except in two cities, where parochial schools were set up, it was accepted by the laity.

With this thorny question out of the way, the Government turned to what it recognized as its greatest task, the promotion of the country’s material prosperity. For years industry had been at a standstill. Exports and imports had ceased to expand; railway building had halted; emigrants outnumbered immigrants. The West, the center of so many hopes, the object of so many sacrifices, had not proved the El Dorado so eagerly sought by fortune hunters and home builders. There were little over two hundred thousand white men west of the Great Lakes. Homesteads had been offered freely; but in 1896 only eighteen hundred were taken up, and less than a third of these by Canadians from the East. The stock of the Canadian Pacific was selling at fifty. All but a few had begun to lose faith in the promise of the West.

Then suddenly a change came. The failure of the West to lure pioneers was not due to poverty of soil or lack of natural riches: its resources were greater than the most reckless orator had dreamed. It was merely that its time had not come and that the men in charge of the country’s affairs had not thrown enough energy into the task of speeding the coming of that time. Now fortune worked with Canada, not against it. The long and steady fall of prices, and particularly of the prices of farm products, ended; and a rapid rise began to make farming pay once more. The good free lands of the United States had nearly all been taken up. Canada’s West was now the last great reserve of free and fertile land. Improvements in farming methods made it possible to cope with the peculiar problems of prairie husbandry. British capital, moreover, no longer found so ready an outlet in the United States, which was now financing its own development; and it had suffered severe losses in Argentine smashes and Australian droughts. Capital, therefore, was free to turn to Canada.

But it was not enough merely to have the resources; it was essential to display them and to disclose their value. Canada needed millions of men of the right stock, and fortunately there were millions who needed Canada. The work of the Government was to put the facts before these potential settlers. The new Minister of the Interior, Clifford Sifton, himself a western man, at once began an immigration campaign which has never been equaled in any country for vigor and practical efficiency. Canada had hitherto received few settlers direct from the Continent. Western Europe was now prosperous, and emigrants were few. But eastern Europe was in a ferment, and thousands were ready to swarm to new homes overseas.

The activities of a subsidized immigration agency, the North Atlantic Trading Company, brought great numbers of these peoples. Foremost in numbers were the Ruthenians from Galicia. Most distinctive were the Doukhobors or Spirit Wrestlers of Southern Russia, about ten thousand of whom were brought to Canada at the instance of Tolstoy and some English Quakers to escape persecution for their refusal to undertake military service. The religious fanaticism of the Doukhobors, particularly when it took the form of midwinter pilgrimages in nature’s garb, and the clannishness of the Ruthenians, who settled in solid blocks, gave rise to many problems of government and assimilation which taught Canadians the unwisdom of inviting immigration from eastern or southern Europe. Ruthenians and Poles, however, continued to come down to the eve of the Great War, and nearly all settled on western lands. Jewish Poland sent its thousands who settled in the larger cities, until Montreal had more Jews than Jerusalem and its Protestant schools held their Easter holidays in Passover. Italian navvies came also by the thousands, but mainly as birds of passage; and Greeks and men from the Balkan States were limited in numbers. Of the three million immigrants who came to Canada from the beginning of the century to the outbreak of the war, some eight hundred thousand came from continental Europe, and of these the Ruthenians, Jews, Italians, and Scandinavians were the most numerous.

It was in the United States that Canada made the greatest efforts to obtain settlers and that she achieved the most striking success. Beginning in 1897 advertisements were placed in five or six thousand American farm and weekly newspapers. Booklets were distributed by the million. Hundreds of farmer delegates were given free trips through the promised land. Agents were appointed in each likely State, with sub-agents who were paid a bonus on every actual settler. The first settlers sent back word of limitless land to be had for a song, and of N Northern Wheat that ran thirty or forty bushels to the acre. Soon immigration from the States began; the trickle became a trek; the trek, a stampede. In 1896 the immigrants from the United States to Canada had been so few as not to be recorded; in 1897 there were 2000; in 1899, 12,000; in the fiscal year 1902-03, 50,000; and in 1912-13, 139,000. The new immigrants proved to be the best of settlers; nearly all were progressive farmers experienced in western methods and possessed of capital. The countermovement from Canada to the United States never wholly ceased, but it slackened and was much more than offset by this northward rush. Nothing so helped to confirm Canadian confidence in their own land and to make the outside world share this high estimate as this unimpeachable evidence from over a million American newcomers who found in Canada, between 1897 and 1914, greater opportunities than even the United States could offer. The Ministry then carried its propaganda to Great Britain. Newspapers, schools, exhibitions were used in ways which startled the stolid Englishman into attention. Circumstances played into the hands of the propagandists, who took advantage of the flow of United States settlers into the West, the Klondike gold fields rush, the presence of Laurier at the Jubilee festivities at London in 1897, Canada’s share in the Boer War. British immigrants rose to 50,000 in 1903-04, to 120,000 in 1907-08, and to 150,000 in 1912-13. From 1897 to the outbreak of the war over 1,100,000 Britishers came to Canada. Three out of four were English, the rest mainly Scotch; the Irish, who once had come in tens of thousands and whose descendants still formed the largest element in the English-speaking peoples of Canada, now sent only one man for every twelve from England. The gates of Canadian immigration, however, were not thrown open to all comers. The criminal, the insane and feeble-minded, the diseased, and others likely to become public charges, were barred altogether or allowed to remain provisionally, subject to deportation within three years. Immigrants sent out by British charitable societies were subjected, after 1908, to rigid inspection before leaving England. No immigrant was admitted without sufficient money in his purse to tide over the first few weeks, unless he were going to farm work or responsible relatives. Asiatics were restricted by special regulations. Steadily the bars were raised higher.

Not all the 3,000,000 who came to Canada between 1897 and 1914 remained. Many drifted across the border; many returned to their old homes, their dreams fulfilled or shattered; yet the vast majority remained. Never had any country so great a task of assimilation as faced Canada, with 3,000,000 pouring into a country of 5,000,000 in a dozen years. Fortunately the great bulk of the newcomers were of the old stocks.

Closely linked with immigration in promoting the prosperity of the country were the land policy and the railway policy of the Administration. The system of granting free homesteads to settlers was continued on an even more generous scale. The 1800 entries for homesteads in 1896 had become 40,000 ten years later. In 1906 land equal in area to Massachusetts and Delaware was given away; in 1908 a Wales, in 1909 five Prince Edward Islands, and in 1910 and 1911 a Belgium, a Netherlands, and two Montenegros passed from the state to the settler. Unfortunately not every homesteader became an active farmer, and production, though mounting fast, could not keep pace with speculation.

Railway building had almost ceased after the completion of the Canadian Pacific system. Now it revived on a greater scale than ever before. In the twenty years after 1896 the miles in operation grew from 16,000 to nearly 40,000. Two new transcontinentals were added, and the older roads took on a new lease of life. At the end of this period of expansion, only the United States, Germany, and Russia had railroad mileage exceeding that of Canada. Much of the building was premature or duplicated other roads. The scramble for state aid, federal and provincial, had demoralized Canadian politics. A large part of the notes the country rashly backed, by the policy of guaranteeing bond issues, were in time presented for payment. Yet the railway policies of the period were broadly justified. New country was opened to settlers; outlets to the sea were provided; capital was obtained in the years when it was still abundant and cheap; the whole industry of the country was stimulated; East was bound closer to West and depth was added to length.

The opening of the West brought new prosperity to every corner of the East. Factories found growing markets; banks multiplied branches and business; exports mounted fast and imports faster; closer relations were formed with London and New York financial interests; mushroom millionaires, country clubs, city slums, suburban subdivisions, land booms, grafting aldermen, and all the apparatus of an advanced civilization grew apace. A new self-confidence became the dominant note alike of private business and of public policy.

With industrial prosperity, political unity became assured. Canada became more and more a name of which all her sons were proud. Expansion brought men of the different provinces together. The Maritime Provinces first felt fully at one with the rest of Canada when Vancouver and Winnipeg rather than Boston and New York called their sons. Even Ontario and Quebec made some advance toward mutual understanding, though clerical leaders who sought safety for their Church in the isolation of its people, imperialists who drove a wedge between Canadians by emphasizing Anglo-Saxon racial ties, and politicians of the baser sort exploiting race prejudice for their own gain, opened rifts in a society already seamed by differences of language and creed. In the West unity was still harder to secure, for men of all countries and of none poured into a land still in the shaping. The divergent interests of the farming, free trade West and of the manufacturing, protectionist East made for friction. Fortunately strong ties held East and West together. Eastern Canadians or their sons filled most of the strategic posts in Government and business, in school and church and press in the West. Transcontinental railways, chartered banks with branches and interests in every province, political parties organizing their forces from coast to coast, played their part. Much had been accomplished; but much remained to be done. With this background of rapid industrial development and growing national unity, Canada’s relations with the Empire, with her sister democracy across the border, and with foreign states, took on new importance and divided interest with the changes in her internal affairs.

From being a state wherein the mother country exercised control and the colonies yielded obedience the Empire was rapidly being transformed into a free and equal partnership of independent commonwealths under one king. Out of the clash of rival theories and conflicting interests a new ideal and a new reality had developed. The policy of imperial cooperation the policy whereby each great colony became independent of outside control but voluntarily acted in concert with the mother country and the sister states on matters of common concern sought to reconcile liberty and unity, nationhood and empire, to unite what was most practicable in the aims of the advocates of independence and the advocates of imperial federation. The movement developed unevenly. At the outbreak of the Great War, it was still incomplete. The ideal was not always clearly or consciously held in the Empire itself and was wholly ignored or misunderstood in Europe and even in the United States. Yet in twenty years’ space it had become dominant in practice and theory and had built up a new type of political organization, a virtual league of nations, fruitful for the future ordering of the world.

The three fields in which this new policy was worked out were trade, defense, and political organization. Canada had asserted her right to control her tariff and commercial treaty relations as she pleased. Now she used this freedom to offer, without asking any return in kind, tariff privileges to the mother country. In the first budget brought down by the Minister of Finance in the Laurier Cabinet, William S. Fielding, a reduction, by instalments, of twenty-five per cent in tariff duties was offered to all countries with rates as low as Canada’s that is, to the United Kingdom and possibly to the Netherlands and New South Wales. The reduction was meant both as a fulfilment of the Liberal party’s free trade pledges and as a token of filial good will to Britain. It was soon found that Belgium and Germany, by virtue of their special treaty rights, would claim the same privileges as Britain, and that all other countries with most favored nation clauses could then demand the same rates. This might serve the free trade aims of the Fielding tariff but would block its imperial purpose. If this purpose was to be achieved, these treaties must be denounced. To effect this was one of the tasks Laurier undertook in his first visit to England in 1897.

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of her reign, was made the occasion for holding the third Colonial Conference. It was attended by the Premiers of all the colonies. Among them Wilfrid Laurier, or Sir Wilfrid as he now became, stood easily preeminent. In the Jubilee festivities, among the crowds in London streets and the gatherings in court and council, his picturesque and courtly figure, his unmistakable note of distinction, his silvery eloquence, and, not least, the fact that this ruler of the greatest of England’s colonies was wholly of French blood, made him the lion of the hour. In the Colonial Conference, presided over by Joseph Chamberlain, the new Colonial Secretary, Laurier achieved his immediate purpose. The British Government agreed to denounce the Belgian and German treaties, now that the preference granted her came as a free gift and not as part of a bargain which involved Britain’s abandonment of free trade. The other Premiers agreed to consider whether Canada’s preferential tariff policy could be followed. Chamberlain in vain urged defense and political policies designed to centralize power in London. He praised the action of the Australian colonies in contributing money to the British navy but could get no promise of similar action from the others. He urged the need of setting up in London an imperial council, with power somewhat more than advisory and likely “to develop into something still greater,” but for this scheme he elicited little support. After the Conference Sir Wilfrid visited France and in ringing speeches in Paris did much to pave the way for the good understanding which later developed into the entente cordiale.

The glitter and parade of the Jubilee festivities soon gave way to a sterner phase of empire. For years South Africa had been in ferment owing to the conflicting interests of narrow, fanatical, often corrupt Boer leaders, greedy Anglo-Jewish mining magnates, and British statesmen-Rhodes, Milner, Chamberlain dominated by the imperial idea and eager for an “all-red” South Africa. Eventually an impasse was reached over the question of the rights and privileges of British subjects in the Transvaal Republic. On October 9, 1899, President Kruger issued his fateful ultimatum and war began.

What would be Canada’s attitude toward this imperial problem? She had never before taken part in an overseas war. Neither her own safety nor the safety of the mother country was considered to be at stake. Yet war had not been formally declared before a demand arose among Canadians that their country should take a hand in rescuing the victims of Boer tyranny. The Venezuela incident and the recent Jubilee ceremonies had fanned imperialist sentiment. The growing prosperity was increasing national pride and making many eager to abandon the attitude of colonial dependence in foreign affairs. The desire to emulate the United States, which had just won more or less glory in its little war with Spain, had its influence in some quarters. Belief in the justice of the British cause was practically universal, thanks to the skillful manipulation of the press by the war party in South Africa. Leading newspapers encouraged the campaign for participation. Parliament was not in session, and the Government hesitated to intervene, but the swelling tide of public opinion soon warranted immediate action. Three days after the declaration of war an order in council was passed providing for a contingent of one thousand men. Other infantry battalions, Mounted Rifles, and batteries of artillery were dispatched later. Lord Strathcona, formerly Donald Smith of the Canadian Pacific syndicate, by a deed recalling feudal days, provided the funds to send overseas the Strathcona Horse, roughriders from the Canadian West. In the last years of the war the South African Constabulary drew many recruits from Canada. All told, over seven thousand Canadians crossed half the world to share in the struggle on the South African veldt.

The Canadian forces held their own with any in the campaign. The first contingent fought under Lord Roberts in the campaign for the relief of Kimberley; and it was two charges by Canadian troops, charges that cost heavily in killed and wounded, that forced the surrender of General Cronje, brought to bay at Paardeberg. One Canadian battery shared in the honor of raising the siege of Mafeking, where Baden-Powell was besieged, and both contingents marched with Lord Roberts from Bloemfontein to Pretoria and fought hard and well at Doornkop and in many a skirmish. Perhaps the politic generosity of the British leaders and the patriotic bias of correspondents exaggerated the importance of the share of the Canadian troops in the whole campaign; but their courage, initiative, and endurance were tested and proved beyond all question. Paardeberg sent a thrill of pride and of sorrow through Canada.

The only province which stood aloof from wholehearted participation in the war was Quebec. Many French Canadians had been growing nervous over the persistent campaign of the imperialists. They exhibited a certain unwillingness to take on responsibilities, perhaps a survival of the dependence which colonialism had bred, a dawning aspiration toward an independent place in the world’s work, and a disposition to draw tighter racial and religious lines in order to offset the emphasis which imperialists placed on Anglo-Saxon ties. Now their sympathies went out to a people, like themselves an alien minority brought under British rule, and in this attitude they were strengthened by the almost unanimous verdict of the neutral world against British policy. Laurier tried to steer a middle course, but the attacks of ultra-imperialists in Ontario and of ultra-nationalists in Quebec, led henceforward by a brilliant and eloquent grandson of Papineau, Henri Bourassa, hampered him at every turn. The South African War gave a new unity to English-speaking Canada, but it widened the gap between the French and English sections.

The part which Australia and New Zealand, like Canada, had taken in the war gave new urgency to the question of imperial relations. English imperialists were convinced that the time was ripe for a great advance toward centralization, and they were eager to crystallize in permanent institutions the imperial sentiment called forth by the war. When, therefore, the fourth Colonial Conference was summoned to meet in London in 1902 on the occasion of the coronation of Edward VII, Chamberlain urged with all his force and keenness a wide programme of centralized action. “Very great expectations,” he declared in his opening address, “have been formed as to the results which may accrue from our meeting.” The expectations, however, were doomed to disappointment. He and those who shared his hopes had failed to recognize that the war had called forth a new national consciousness in the Dominions, as the self-governing colonies now came to be termed, even more than it had developed imperial sentiment. In the smaller colonies, New Zealand, Natal, Cape of Good Hope, the old attitude of colonial dependence survived in larger measure; but in Canada and in Australia, now federated into commonwealths, national feeling was uppermost.

Chamberlain brought forward once more his proposal for an imperial council, to be advisory at first and later to attain power to tax and legislate for the whole Empire, but he found no support. Instead, the Conference itself was made a more permanent instrument of imperial cooperation by a provision that it should meet at least every four years. The essential difference was that the Conference was merely a meeting of independent Governments on an equal footing, each claiming to be as much “His Majesty’s Government” as any other, whereas the council which Chamberlain urged in vain would have been a new Government, supreme over all the Empire and dominated by the British representatives. Chamberlain then suggested more centralized means of defense, grants to the British navy, and the putting of a definite proportion of colonial militia at the disposal of the British War Office for overseas service. The Cape and Natal promised naval grants; Australia and New Zealand increased their contributions for the maintenance of a squadron in Pacific waters; but Canada held back. The smaller colonies were sympathetic to the militia proposal; but Canada and Australia rejected it on the grounds that it was “objectionable in principle, as derogating from the powers of self-government enjoyed by them, and would be calculated to impede the general improvement in training and organization of their defense forces.” Chamberlain’s additional proposal of free trade within the Empire and of a common tariff against all foreign countries found little support. That each part of the Empire should control its own tariff and that it should make what concessions it wished on British imports, either as a part of a reciprocal bargain or as a free gift, remained a fixed idea in the minds of the leaders of the Dominions. Throughout the sessions it was Laurier rather than Chamberlain who dominated the Conference.

Balked in his desire to effect political or military centralization, Chamberlain turned anew to the possibilities of trade alliance. His tariff reform campaign of 1903, which was a sequel to the Colonial Conference of 1902, proposed that Great Britain set up a tariff, incidentally to protect her own industries and to have matter for bargaining with foreign powers, but mainly in order to keep the colonies within her orbit by offering them special terms. In this way the Empire would become once more self-sufficient. The issue thus thrust upon Great Britain and the Empire in general was primarily a contest between free traders and protectionists, not between the supporters of cooperation and the supporters of centralization. On this basis the issue was fought out in Great Britain and resulted in the overwhelming victory of free trade and the Liberal party, aided as they were by the popular reaction against the jingoist policy which had culminated in the war. When the fifth Conference, now termed Imperial instead of Colonial, met in 1907, there was much impassioned advocacy of preference and protection on the part of Alfred Deakin of Australia and Sir L.S. Jameson of the Cape; but the British representatives stuck to their guns and, in Winston Churchill’s phrase, the door remained “banged, barred, and bolted” against both policies. At this conference Laurier took the ground that, while Canada would be prepared to bargain preference for preference, the people of Great Britain must decide what fiscal system would best serve their own interests. A consistent advocate of home rule, he was willing, unlike some of his colleagues, from the other Dominions, to let the United Kingdom control its own affairs.

The defense issue had slumbered since the Boer War. Now the unbounded ambitions of Germany gave it startling urgency. It was about 1908 that the British public first became seriously alarmed over the danger involved in the lessening margin of superiority of the British over the German navy. The alarm was echoed throughout the Dominions. The Kaiser’s challenge threatened the safety not only of the mother country but of every part of the Empire. Hitherto the Dominions had done little in the way of naval defense, though they had one by one assumed full responsibility for their land defense. The feeling had been growing that they should take a larger share of the common burden. Two factors, however, had blocked advance in this direction. The British Government had claimed and exercised full control of the issues of peace and war, and the Dominions were reluctant to assume responsibility for the consequences of a foreign policy which they could not direct. The hostility of the British Admiralty, on strategic and political grounds, to the plan of local Dominion navies, had prevented progress on the most feasible lines. The deadlock was a serious one. Now the imminence of danger compelled a solution. Taking the lead in this instance in the working out of the policy of colonial nationalism, Australia had already insisted upon abandoning the barren and inadequate policy of making a cash contribution for the support of a British squadron in Australasian waters and had established a local navy, manned, maintained, and controlled by the Commonwealth. Canada decided to follow her example. In March, 1909, the Canadian House of Commons unanimously adopted a resolution in favor of establishing a Canadian naval service to cooperate in close relation with the British navy. During the summer a special conference was held in London attended by ministers from all the Dominions. At this conference the Admiralty abandoned its old position; and it was agreed that Australia and Canada should establish local forces, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, with auxiliary ships and naval bases.

When the Canadian Parliament met in 1910, Sir Wilfrid Laurier submitted a Naval Service Bill, providing for the establishment of local fleets, of which the smaller vessels were to be built in Canada. The ships were to be under the control of the Dominion Government, which might, in case of emergency, place them at the disposal of the British Admiralty. The bill was passed in March. In the autumn two cruisers, the Rainbow and the Niobe, were bought from Britain to serve as training ships. In the following spring a naval college was opened at Halifax, and tenders were called for the construction, in Canada, of five cruisers and six destroyers. In June, 1911, at the regular Imperial Conference of that year, an agreement was reached regarding the boundaries of the Australian and Canadian stations and uniformity of training and discipline.

Then came the reciprocity fight and the defeat of the Government. No tenders had been finally accepted, and the new Administration of Premier Borden was free to frame its own policy.

The naval issue had now become a party question. The policy of a Dominion navy, a policy which was the logical extension of the principles of colonial nationalism and imperial cooperation which had guided imperial development for many years, was attacked by ultra-imperialists in the English-speaking provinces as strategically unsound and as leading inevitably to separation from the Empire. It was also attacked by the Nationalists of Quebec, the ultra-colonialists or provincialists, as they might more truly be termed, under the vigorous leadership of Henri Bourassa, as yet another concession to imperialism and to militarism. In November, 1910, by alarming the habitant by pictures of his sons being dragged away by naval press gangs, the Nationalists succeeded in defeating the Liberal candidate in a by-election in Drummond-Arthabaska, at one time Laurier’s own constituency. In the general election which followed in 1911, the same issue cost the Liberals a score of seats in Quebec.

When, therefore, the new Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, faced the issue, he endeavored to frame a policy which would suit both wings of his following. In 1912 he proposed as an emergency measure to appropriate a sum sufficient to build three dreadnoughts for the British navy, subject to recall if at any time the Canadian people decided to use them as the nucleus of a Canadian fleet. At the same time he undertook to submit to the electorate his permanent naval policy, as soon as it was determined. What that permanent policy would be he was unwilling to say, but the Prime Minister made clear his own leanings by insisting that it would take half a century to form a Canadian navy, which at best would be a poor and weak substitute for the organization the Empire already possessed. The contribution to the British navy satisfied the ultra-imperialists, while the promise of a referendum and the call for money alone, and not men, appealed to the Nationalist wing. Under the impetuous control of its new head, Winston Churchill, the British Admiralty showed that it had repented its brief conversion to the Dominion navy policy, by preparing an elaborate memorandum to support Borden’s proposals, and also by formulating plans for imperial flying squadrons to be supplied by the Dominions, which made clear its wish to continue the centralizing policy permanently. The Liberal Opposition vigorously denounced the whole dreadnought programme, advocating instead two Canadian fleet units somewhat larger than at first contemplated. Their obstruction was overcome in the Commons by the introduction of the closure, but the Liberal majority in the Senate, on the motion of Sir George Ross, a former Premier of Ontario, threw out the bill by insisting that it should not be passed before being “submitted to the judgment of the country.” This challenge the Government did not accept. Until the outbreak of the war no further steps were taken either to arrange for contribution or to establish a Canadian navy, though the naval college at Halifax was continued, and the training cruisers were maintained in a half-hearted way.

In the Imperial Conference of 1911, one more attempt was made to set up a central governing authority in London. Sir Joseph Ward, of New Zealand, acting as the mouthpiece of the imperial federationists, urged the establishment, first of an Imperial Council of State and later of an Imperial Parliament. His proposals met no support. “It is absolutely impracticable,” was Laurier’s verdict. “Any scheme of representation no matter what you call it, parliament or council of the overseas Dominions, must give them so very small a representation that it would be practically of no value,” declared Premier Morris of Newfoundland. “It is not a practical scheme,” Premier Fisher of Australia agreed; “our present system of responsible government has not broken down.” “The creation of some body with centralized authority over the whole Empire,” Premier Botha of South Africa cogently insisted, “would be a step entirely antagonistic to the policy of Great Britain which has been so successful in the past .... It is the policy of decentralization which has made the Empire the power granted to its various peoples to govern themselves.” Even Premier Asquith of the United Kingdom declared the proposals “fatal to the very fundamental conditions on which our empire has been built up and carried on.”

Stronger than any logic was the presence of Louis Botha in the conferences of 1907 and 1911. On the former occasion it was only five years since he had been in arms against Great Britain. The courage and vision of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in granting full and immediate self-government to the conquered Boer republics had been justified by the results. Once more freedom proved the only enduring basis of empire. Botha’s task in attempting to make Boer and Briton work together, first in the Transvaal, and, after 1910, in the Union of South Africa, had not been an easy one. Attacked by extremists from both directions, he faced much the same difficulties as Laurier, and he found in Laurier’s friendship, counsel, and example much that stood him in good stead in the days of stress to come.

Not less important than the relations with the United Kingdom in this period were the relations with the United States. The Venezuela episode was the turning point in the relations between the United States and the British Empire. Both in Washington and in London men had been astounded to find themselves on the verge of war. The danger passed, but the shock awoke thousands to a realization of all that the two peoples had in common and to the need of concerted effort to remove the sources of friction. Then hard on the heels of this episode followed the Spanish-American War. Not the least of its by-products was a remarkable improvement in the relations of the English-speaking nations. The course of the war, the intrigues of European courts to secure intervention on behalf of Spain, and the lining up of a British squadron beside Dewey in Manila Bay when a German Admiral blustered, revealed Great Britain as the one trustworthy friend the United States possessed abroad. The annexation of the Philippines and the definite entry of the United States upon world politics broke down the irresponsible isolation which British ministers had found so much of a barrier to diplomatic accommodations. With John Hay and later Elihu Root at the State Department, and Lansdowne and Grey at the Foreign Office in London, there began an era of good feeling between the two countries.

Ottawa and Washington were somewhat slower in coming to terms. Many difficulties can arise along a three thousand mile border, and with a people so sure of themselves as the Americans were at this period and a people so sensitive to any infringements of their national rights as the Canadians were, petty differences often loomed large. The Laurier Government, therefore, proposed shortly after its accession to power in 1896 that an attempt should be made to clear away all outstanding issues and to effect a trade agreement. A Joint High Commission was constituted in 1898. The members from the United States were Senator Fairbanks, Senator Gray, Representative Nelson Dingley, General Foster, J.A. Kasson, and T.J. Coolidge of the State Department. Great Britain was represented by Lord Herschell, who acted as chairman, Newfoundland by Sir James Winter, and Canada by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Sir Richard Cartwright, Sir Louis Davies, and John Charlton, M.P.

The Commission held prolonged sittings, first at Quebec and later at Washington, and reached tentative agreement on nearly all of the troublesome questions at issue. The bonding privileges on both sides the border were to be given an assured basis; the unneighborly alien labor laws were to be relaxed; the Rush-Bagot Convention regarding armament on the Great Lakes was to be revised; Canadian vessels were to abandon pelagic sealing in Bering Sea for a money compensation; and a reciprocity treaty covering natural products and some manufactures was sketched out. Yet no agreement followed. One issue, the Alaska boundary, proved insoluble, and as no agreement was acceptable which did not cover every difference, the Commission never again assembled after its adjournment in February, 1899.

The boundary between Alaska and the Dominion was the only bit of the border line not yet determined. As in former cases of boundary disputes, the inaccuracies of map makers, the ambiguities of diplomats, the clash of local interests, and stiff-necked national pride made a settlement difficult. In 1825 Russia and Great Britain had signed a treaty which granted Russia a long panhandle strip down the Pacific coast. With the purchase of Alaska in 1867 the United States succeeded to Russia’s claim. With the growth of settlement in Canada this long barrier down half of her Pacific coast was found to be irksome. Attempt after attempt to have the line determined only added to the stock of memorials in official pigeonholes. Then came the discovery of gold in the Klondike in 1896, and the question of easy access by sea to the Canadian back country became an urgent one. Canada offered to compromise, admitting the American title to the chief ports on Lynn Canal, Dyea and Skagway, if Pyramid Harbor were held Canadian. She urged arbitration on the model the United States had dictated in the Venezuela dispute. But the United States was in possession of the most important points. Its people believed the Canadian claims had been trumped up when the Klondike fields were opened. The Puget Sound cities wanted no breach in their monopoly of the supply trade to the north. The only concession the United States would make was to refer the dispute to a commission of six, three from each country, with the proviso that no area settled by Americans should in any event pass into other bands. Canada felt that arbitration under these conditions would either end in deadlock, leaving the United States in possession, or in concession by one or more of the British representatives, and so declined to accept the proposed arrangement.

Finally, in 1903, agreement was reached between London and Washington to accept the tribunal proposed by the United States, which in turn withdrew its veto on the transfer of any settled area. Canada’s reluctant consent was won by a provision that the members of the tribunal should be “impartial jurists of repute,” sworn to render a judicial verdict. When Elihu Root, Senator Lodge, and Senator Turner were named as the American representatives, Ottawa protested that eminent and honorable as they were, their public attitude on this question made it impossible to consider them “impartial jurists.” The Canadian Government in return nominated three judges, Lord Alverstone, Lord Chief Justice of England, Sir Louis Jette, of Quebec, and Mr. Justice Armour, succeeded on his death by A. B. Aylesworth, a leader of the Ontario bar. The tribunal met in London, where the case was thoroughly argued.

The Treaty of 1825 had provided that the southern boundary should follow the Portland Canal to the fifty-sixth parallel of latitude and thence the summits of the mountains parallel to the coast, with the stipulation that if the summit of the mountains anywhere proved to be more than ten marine leagues from the ocean, a line drawn parallel to the windings of the coast not more than ten leagues distant should form the boundary. Three questions arose: What was the Portland Canal? Did the treaty assure Russia an unbroken strip by making the boundary run round the ends of deep inlets? Did mountains exist parallel to the coast within ten leagues’ distance? In October these questions received their answer. Lord Alverstone and the three American members decided in favor of the United States on the main issues. The two Canadian, representatives refused to sign the award and denounced it as unjudicial and unwarranted.

The decision set Canada aflame. Lord Alverstone was denounced in unmeasured terms. From Atlantic to Pacific the charge was echoed that once more the interests of Canada had been sacrificed by Britain on the altar of Anglo-American friendship. The outburst was not understood abroad. It was not, as United States opinion imagined, merely childish petulance or the whining of a poor loser. It was against Great Britain, not against the United States, that the criticism was directed. It was not the decision, but the way in which it was made, that roused deep anger. The decision on the main issue, that the line ran back of even the deepest inlets and barred Canada from a single harbor, though unwelcome, was accepted as a judicial verdict and has since been little questioned. The finding that the boundary should follow certain mountains behind those Canada urged, but short of the ten league line, was attacked by the Canadian representatives as a compromise, and its judicial character is certainly open to some doubt. But it was on the third finding that the thunders broke. The United States had contended that the Portland Channel of the treaty makers ran south of four islands which lay east of Prince of Wales Island, and Canada that it ran north of these islands. Lord Alverstone, after joining in a judgment with the Canadian commissioners that it ran north, suddenly, without any conference with them, and, as the wording of the award showed, by agreement with the United States representatives, announced that it ran where no one had ever suggested it could run, north of two and south of two, thus dividing the land in dispute. The islands were of little importance even strategically, but the incontrovertible evidence that instead of a judicial finding a political compromise had been effected was held of much importance. After a time the storm died down, but it revealed one unmistakable fact: Canadian nationalism was growing fully as fast as Canadian imperialism.

The relations between Canada and the United States now came to show the effect of increasingly close business connections. The northward trek of tens of thousands of American farmers was under way. United States capitalists began to invest heavily in farm and timber lands. Factory after factory opened a Canadian branch. Ten years later these investments exceeded six hundred millions. In the West, James J. Hill was planning the expansion of the Great Northern system throughout the prairie provinces and was securing an interest in the great Crow’s Nest Pass coal fields. Tourist travel multiplied. The two peoples came to know each other better than ever before, and with knowledge many prejudices and misunderstandings vanished. Canada’s growing prosperity did not merely bring greater individual intercourse; it made the United States as a whole less patronizing in its dealings with its neighbor and Canada less querulous and thin-skinned.

In this more favorable temper many old issues were cleared off the slate. The northeastern fisheries question, revived by a conflict between Newfoundland and the United States as to treaty privileges, was referred to the Hague Court in 1909. The verdict of the arbitrators recognized a measure of right in the contentions of both sides. A detailed settlement was prescribed which was accepted without demur in the United States, Newfoundland, and Canada alike. Pelagic sealing in the North Pacific was barred in 1911 by an international agreement between the United States, Great Britain, Japan, and Russia. Less success attended the attempt to arrange joint action to regulate and conserve the fisheries of the Great Lakes and the salmon fisheries of the Pacific, for the treaty drawn up in 1911 by the experts from both countries failed to pass the United States Senate.

But the most striking development of the decade was the businesslike and neighborly solution found for the settlement of the boundary waters controversy. The growing demands for the use of streams such as the Niagara, the St. Lawrence, and the Sault for power purposes, and of western border rivers for irrigation schemes, made it essential to take joint action to reconcile not merely the conflicting claims from the opposite sides of the border but the conflicting claims of power and navigation and other interests in each country. In 1905 a temporary waterways commission was appointed, and four years later the Boundary Waters Treaty provided for the establishment of a permanent Joint High Commission, consisting of three representatives from each country, and with authority over all cases of use, obstruction, or diversion of border waters. Individual citizens of either country were allowed to present their case directly before the Commission, an innovation in international practice. Still more significant of the new spirit was the inclusion in this treaty of a clause providing for reference to the Commission, with the consent of the United States Senate and the Dominion Cabinet, of any matter whatever at issue between the two countries. With little discussion and as a matter of course, the two democracies, in the closing years of a full century of peace, thus made provision for the sane and friendly settlement of future line-fence disputes.

The chief barrier to good relations was the customs tariff. Protectionism, and the attitude of which it was born and which it bred in turn, was still firmly entrenched in both countries. Tariff bars, it is true, had not been able to prevent the rapid growth of trade; imports from the United States to Canada had grown especially fast and Canada now ranked third in the list of the Republic’s customers. Yet in many ways the tariff hindered free intercourse. Though every dictate of self-interest and good sense demanded a reduction of duties, Canada would not and did not take the initiative. Time and again she had sought reciprocity, only to have her proposals rejected, often with contemptuous indifference. When Sir Wilfrid Laurier announced in 1900 that there would be no more pilgrimages to Washington, he voiced the almost unanimous opinion of a people whose pride had been hurt by repeated rebuffs.

Meanwhile protectionist sentiment had grown stronger in Canada. The opening of the West had given an expanding market for eastern factories and had seemingly justified the National Policy. The Liberals, the traditional upholders of freer trade, after some initial rédemptions of their pledges, had compromised with the manufacturing interests. The Conservatives, still more protectionist in temper, voiced in Parliament little criticism of this policy, and the free trade elements among the farmers were as yet unorganized and inarticulate. Signs of this protectionist revival, which had in it, as in the seventies, an element of nationalism, were many. A four-story tariff was erected. The lowest rates were those granted the United Kingdom; then came the intermediate tariff, for the products of countries giving Canada special terms; next the general tariff; and, finally, the surtax for use against powers discriminating in any special degree against the Dominion. The provinces one by one forbade the export of pulp wood cut on Crown Lands, in order to assure its manufacture into wood pulp or paper in Canada. The Dominion in 1907 secured the abrogation of the postal convention made with the United States in 1875 providing for the reciprocal free distribution of second class mail matter originating in the other country. This step was taken at the instance of Canadian manufacturers, alarmed at the effect of the advertising pages of United States magazines in directing trade across the line. Yet even with such developments, the Canadian tariff remained lower than its neighbor’s.

In the United States the tendency was in the other direction. With the growth of cities, the interests of the consumers of foods outweighed the influence of the producers. Manufacturers in many cases had reached the export stage, where foreign markets, cheap food, and cheap raw materials were more necessary than a protected home market. The “muckrakers” were at the height of their activity; and the tariff, as one instrument of corruption and privilege, was suffering with the popular condemnation of all big interests. United States newspapers were eager for free wood pulp and cheaper paper, just as Canadian newspapers defended the policy of checking export. It was not surprising, therefore, that reciprocity with Canada, as one means of increasing trade and reducing the tariff, took on new popularity. New England was the chief seat of the movement, with Henry M. Whitney and Eugene N. Foss as its most persistent advocates. Detroit, Chicago, St. Paul, and other border cities were also active.

Official action soon followed this unofficial campaign. Curiously enough, it came as an unexpected by-product of a further experiment in protection, the Payne-Aldrich tariff. For the first time in the experience of the United States this tariff incorporated the principle of minimum and maximum schedules. The maximum rates, fixed at twenty-five per cent ad valorem above the normal or minimum rates, were to be enforced upon the goods of any country which had not, before March 10, 1910, satisfied the President that it did not discriminate against the products of the United States. One by one the various nations demonstrated this to President Taft’s satisfaction or with wry faces made the readjustments necessary. At last Canada alone remained. The United States conceded that the preference to the United Kingdom did not constitute discrimination, but it insisted that it should enjoy the special rates recently extended to France by treaty. In Canada this demand was received with indignation. Its tariff rates were much lower than those which the United States imposed, and its purchases in that country were twice as great as its sales. The demand was based on a sudden and complete reversal of the traditional American interpretation of the most favored nation policy. The President admitted the force of Canada’s contentions, but the law left him no option. Fortunately it did leave him free to decide as to the adequacy of any concessions, and thus agreement was made possible at the eleventh hour. At the President’s suggestion a conference at Albany was arranged, and on the 30th of March a bargain was struck. Canada conceded to the United States its intermediate tariff rates on thirteen minor schedules chinaware, nuts, prunes, and whatnot. These were accepted as equivalent to the special terms given France, and Canada was certified as being entitled to minimum rates. The United States had saved its face. Then to complete the comedy, Canada immediately granted the same concessions to all other countries, that is, made the new rates part of the general tariff. The United States ended where it began, in receipt of no special concessions. The motions required had been gone through; phantom reductions had been made to meet a phantom discrimination.

This was only the beginning of attempts at accommodation. The threat of tariff war had called forth in the United States loud protests against any such reversion to economic barbarism. President Taft realized that he had antagonized the growing low-tariff sentiment of the country by his support of the Payne-Aldrich tariff and was eager to set himself right. A week before the March negotiations were concluded, a Democratic candidate had carried a strongly Republican congressional district in Massachusetts on a platform of reciprocity with Canada. The President, therefore, proposed a bold stroke. He made a sweeping offer of better trade relations. Negotiations were begun at Ottawa and concluded in Washington. In January, 1911, announcement was made that a broad agreement had been effected. Grain, fruit, and vegetables, dairy and most farm products, fish, hewn timber and sawn lumber, and several minerals were put on the free list. A few manufactures were also made free, and the duties on meats, flour, coal, agricultural implements, and other products were substantially reduced. The compact was to be carried out, not by treaty, but by concurrent legislation. Canada was to extend the same terms to the most favored nations by treaty, and to all parts of the British Empire by policy.

For fifty years the administrations of the two countries had never been so nearly at one. More difficulty was met with in the legislatures. In Congress, farmers and fishermen, standpat Republicans and Progressives hostile to the Administration, waged war against the bargain. It was only in a special session, and with the aid of Democratic votes and a Washington July sun, that the opposition was overcome. In the Canadian Parliament, after some initial hesitation, the Conservatives attacked the proposal. The Government had a safe majority, but the Opposition resorted to obstruction; and late in July, Parliament was suddenly dissolved and the Government appealed to the country.

When the bargain was first concluded, the Canadian Government had imagined it would meet little opposition, for it was precisely the type of agreement that Government after Government, Conservative as well as Liberal, had sought in vain for over forty years. For a day or two that expectation was justified. Then the forces of opposition rallied, timid questioning gave way to violent denunciation, and at last agreement and Government alike were swept away in a flood of popular antagonism.

One reason for this result was that the verdict was given in a general election, not in a referendum. The fate of the Government was involved; its general record was brought up for review; party ambitions and passions were stirred to the utmost. Fifteen years, of office-holding had meant the accumulation of many scandals, a slackening in administrative efficiency, and the cooling by official compromise of the ardent faith of the Liberalism of the earlier day. The Government had failed to bring in enough new blood. The Opposition fought with the desperation of fifteen years of fasting and was better served by its press.

Of the side issues introduced into the campaign, the most important were the naval policy in Quebec and the racial and religious issue in the English-speaking provinces. The Government had to face what Sir Wilfrid Laurier termed “the unholy alliance” of Roman Catholic Nationalists under Bourassa in Quebec and Protestant Imperialists in Ontario. In the French-speaking districts the Government was denounced for allowing Canada to be drawn into the vortex of militarism and imperialism and for sacrificing the interests of Roman Catholic schools in the West. On every hand the naval policy was attacked as inevitably bringing in its train conscription to fight European wars a contention hotly denied by the Liberals. The Conservative campaign managers made a working arrangement with the Nationalists as to candidates and helped liberally in circulating Bourassa’s newspaper, Le Devoir. On the back “concessions” of Ontario a quieter but no less effective campaign was carried on against the domination of Canadian politics by a French Roman Catholic province and a French Roman Catholic Prime Minister. In vain the Liberals appealed to national unity or started back fires in Ontario by insisting that a vote for Borden meant a vote for Bourassa. The Conservative-Nationalist alliance cost the Government many seats in Quebec and apparently did not frighten Ontario.

Reciprocity, however, was the principal issue everywhere except in Quebec. Powerful forces were arrayed against it. Few manufactures had been put on the free list, but the argument that the reciprocity agreement was the thin edge of the wedge rallied the organized manufacturers in almost unbroken hostile array. The railways, fearful that western traffic would be diverted to United States roads, opposed the agreement vigorously under the leadership of the ex-American chairman of the board of directors of the Canadian Pacific, Sir William Van Horne, who made on this occasion one of his few public entries into politics. The banks, closely involved in the manufacturing and railway interests, threw their weight in the same direction. They were aided by the prevalence of protectionist sentiment in the eastern cities and industrial towns, which were at the same stage of development and in the same mood as the cities of the United States some decades earlier. The Liberal fifteen-year compromise with protection made it difficult in a seven weeks’ campaign to revive a desire for freer trade. The prosperity of the country and the cry, “Let well enough alone,” told powerfully against the bargain. Yet merely from the point of view of economic advantage, the popular verdict would probably have been in its favor. The United States market no longer loomed so large as it had in the eighties, but its value was undeniable. Farmer, fisherman, and miner stood to gain substantially by the lowering of the bars into the richest market in the world. Every farm paper in Canada and all the important farm organizations supported reciprocity. Its opponents, therefore, did not trust to a direct frontal attack. Their strategy was to divert attention from the economic advantages by raising the cry of political danger. The red herring of annexation was drawn across the trail, and many a farmer followed it to the polling booth.

From the outset, then, the opponents of reciprocity concentrated their attacks on its political perils. They denounced the reciprocity agreement as the forerunner of annexation, the deathblow to Canadian nationality and British connection. They prophesied that the trade and intercourse built up between the East and the West of Canada by years of sacrifice and striving would shrivel away, and that each section of the Dominion would become a mere appendage to the adjacent section of the United States. Where the treasure was, there would the heart be also. After some years of reciprocity, the channels of Canadian trade would be so changed that a sudden return to high protection on the part of the United States would disrupt industry and a mere threat of such a change would lead to a movement for complete union.

This prophecy was strengthened by apposite quotations showing the existing drift of opinion in the United States. President Taft’s reference to the “light and imperceptible bond uniting the Dominion with the mother country” and his “parting of the ways” speech received sinister interpretations. Speaker Champ Clark’s announcement that he was in favor of the agreement because he hoped “to see the day when the American flag will float over every square foot of the British North American possessions” was worth tens of thousands of votes. The anti-reciprocity press of Canada seized upon these utterances, magnified them, and sometimes, it was charged, inspired or invented them. Every American crossroads politician who found a useful peroration in a vision of the Stars and Stripes floating from Panama to the North Pole was represented as a statesman of national power voicing a universal sentiment. The action of the Hearst papers in sending pro-reciprocity editions into the border cities of Canada made many votes but not for reciprocity. The Canadian public proved that it was unable to suffer fools gladly. It was vain to argue that all men of weight in the United States had come to understand and to respect Canada’s independent ambitions; that in any event it was not what the United States thought but what Canada thought that mattered; or that the Canadian farmer who sold a bushel of good wheat to a United States miller no more sold his loyalty with it than a Kipling selling a volume of verse or a Canadian financier selling a block of stock in the same market. The flag was waved, and the Canadian voter, mindful of former American slights and backed by newly arrived Englishmen admirably organized by the anti-reciprocity forces, turned against any “entangling alliance.” The prosperity of the country made it safe to express resentment of the slights of half a century or fear of this too sudden friendliness.

The result of the elections, which were held on September 21, 1911, was the crushing defeat of the Liberal party. A Liberal majority of forty-four in a house of two hundred and twenty-one members was turned into a Conservative majority of forty-nine. Eight cabinet ministers went down to defeat. The Government had a slight majority in the Maritime Provinces and Quebec, and a large majority in the prairie West, but the overwhelming victory of the Opposition in Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia turned the day.

The appeal to loyalty revealed much that was worthy and much that was sordid in Canadian life. It was well that a sturdy national self-reliance should be developed and expressed in the face of American prophets of “manifest destiny,” and that men should be ready to set ideals above pocket. It was unfortunate that in order to demonstrate a loyalty which might have been taken for granted economic advantage was sacrificed; and it was disturbing to note the ease with which big interests with unlimited funds for organizing, advertising, and newspaper campaigning, could pervert national sentiment to serve their own ends. Yet this was possibly a stage through which Canada, like every young nation, had to pass; and the gentle art of twisting the lion’s tail had proved a model for the practice of plucking the eagle’s feathers.

The growth of Canada brought her into closer touch with lands across the sea. Men, money, and merchandise came from East and West; and with their coming new problems faced the Government of the Dominion. With Europe they were trade questions to solve, and with Asia the more delicate issues arising out of oriental immigration.

In 1907 the Canadian Government had established an intermediate tariff, with rates halfway between the general and the British preferential tariffs, for the express purpose of bargaining with other powers. In that year an agreement based substantially on these intermediate rates was negotiated with France, though protectionist opposition in the French Senate prevented ratification until 1910. Similar reciprocal arrangements were concluded in 1910 with Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy. The manner of the negotiation was as significant as the matter. In the case of France the treaty was negotiated in Paris by two Canadian ministers, W.S. Fielding and L.P. Brodeur, appointed plenipotentiaries of His Majesty for that purpose, with the British Ambassador associated in what Mr. Arthur Balfour termed a “purely technical” capacity. In the case of the other countries even this formal recognition of the old colonial status was abandoned. The agreement with Italy was negotiated in Canada between “the Royal Consul of Italy for Canada, representing the government of the Kingdom of Italy, and the Minister of Finance of Canada, representing His Excellency the Governor General acting in conjunction with the King’s Privy Council for Canada.” The conclusions in these later instances were embodied in conventions, rather than formal treaties.

With one country, however, tariff war reigned instead of treaty peace. In 1899 Germany subjected Canadian exports to her general or maximum tariff, because the Dominion refused to grant her the preferential rates reserved for members of the British Empire group of countries. After four years’ deliberation Canada eventually retaliated by imposing on German goods a special surtax of thirty-three and one-third per cent. The trade of both countries suffered, but Germany’s, being more specialized, much the more severely. After seven years’ strife, Germany took the initiative in proposing a truce. In 1910 Canada agreed to admit German goods at the rates of the general not the intermediate tariff, while Germany in return waived her protest against the British preference and granted minimum rates on the most important Canadian exports.

Oriental immigration had been an issue in Canada ever since Chinese navvies had been imported in the early eighties to work on the government sections of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Mine owners, fruit farmers, and contractors were anxious that the supply should continue unchecked; but, as in the United States, the economic objections of the labor unions and the political objections of the advocates of a “White Canada” carried the day.

Chinese immigration had been restricted in 1885 by a head tax of $50 on all immigrants save officials, merchants, or scholars; in 1901 this tax was doubled; and in 1904 it was raised to $500. In each case the tax proved a barrier only for a year or two, when wages would rise sufficiently to warrant Orientals paying the higher toll to enter the Promised Land. Japanese immigrants did not come in large numbers until 1906, when the activities of employment companies brought seven thousand Japanese by way of Hawaii. Agitators from the Pacific States fanned the flames of opposition in British Columbia, and anti-Chinese and anti-Japanese riots broke out in Vancouver in 1907. The Dominion Government then grappled with the question. Japan’s national sensitiveness and her position as an ally of Great Britain called for diplomatic handling. A member of the Dominion Cabinet, Rodolphe Lemieux, succeeded in 1907 in negotiating at Tokio an agreement by which Japan herself undertook to restrict the number of passports issued annually to emigrants to Canada.

The Hindu migration, which began in 1907, gave rise to a still more delicate situation. What did the British Empire mean, many a Hindu asked, if British subjects were to be barred from British lands? The only reply was that the British Government which still ruled India no longer ruled the Dominions, and that it was on the Dominions that the responsibility for the exclusion policy must rest. In 1909 Canada suggested that the Indian Government itself should limit emigration, but this policy did not meet with approval at the time. Failing in this measure, the Laurier Government fell back on a general clause in the Immigration Act prohibiting the entrance of immigrants except by direct passage from the country of origin and on a continuous ticket, a rule which effectually barred the Hindu because of the lack of any direct steamship line between India and Canada. An Order-in-Council further required that immigrants from all Asiatic countries must possess at least $200 on entering Canada. The Borden Government supplemented these restrictions by a special Order-in-Council in 1913 prohibiting the landing of artisans or unskilled laborers of any race at ports in British Columbia, ostensibly because of depression in the labor market. The leaders of the Hindu movement, with apparently some German assistance, determined to test these restrictions. In May, 1914, there arrived at Vancouver from Shanghai a Japanese ship carrying four hundred Sikhs from India. A few were admitted, as having been previously domiciled in Canada; the others, after careful inquiry, were refused admittance and ordered to be deported. Local police were driven away from the ship when attempting to enforce the order, and the Government ordered H.M.C.S. Rainbow to intervene. By a curious irony of history, the first occasion on which this first Canadian warship was called on to display force was in expelling from Canada the subjects of another part of the British Empire. Further trouble followed when the Sikhs reached Calcutta in September, 1914, for riots took place involving serious loss of life and later an abortive attempt at rebellion. Fortunately there were good prospects that the Indian Government would in future accept the proposal made by Canada in 1909. At the Imperial Conference of 1917, where representatives of India were present for the first time, it was agreed to recommend the principle of reciprocity in the treatment of immigrants, India thus being free to save her pride by imposing on men from the Dominions the same restrictions the Dominions imposed on immigrants from India.

But all these dealings with lands across the sea paled into insignificance beside the task imposed on Canada by the Great War. In the sudden crisis the Dominion attained a place among the nations which the slower changes of peace time could scarcely have made possible in decades.

When the war party in Germany and Austria-Hungary plunged Europe into the struggle the world had long been fearing, there was not a moment’s hesitation on the part of the people of Canada. It was not merely the circumstance that technically Canada was at war when Britain was at war that led Canadians to instant action. The degree of participation, if not the fact of war, was wholly a matter for the separate Dominions. It was the deep and abiding sympathy with the mother country whose very existence was to be at stake. Later, with the unfolding of Germany’s full designs of world dominance and the repeated display of her callous and ruthless policies, Canada comprehended the magnitude of the danger threatening all the world and grimly set herself to help end the menace of militarism once for all.

On August 1, 1914, two days before Belgium was invaded, and three days before war between Britain and Germany had been declared, the Dominion Government cabled to London their firm assurance that the people of Canada would make every sacrifice necessary to secure the integrity and honor of the Empire and asked for suggestions as to the form aid should take. The financial and administrative measures the emergency demanded were carried out by Orders-in-Council in accordance with the scheme of defense which only a few months before had been drawn up in a “War Book”. Two weeks later, Parliament met in a special four day session and without a dissenting voice voted the war credits the Government asked and conferred upon it special war powers of the widest scope. The country then set about providing men, money, and munitions of war.

The day after war was declared, recruiting was begun for an expeditionary force of 21,000 men. Half as many more poured into the camp at Valcartier near Quebec; and by the middle of October this first Canadian contingent, over 30,000 strong, the largest body of troops which had ever crossed the Atlantic, was already in England, where its training was to be completed. As the war went on and all previous forecasts of its duration and its scale were far outrun, these numbers were multiplied many times. By the summer of 1917 over 400,000 men had been enrolled for service, and over 340,000 had already gone overseas, aside from over 25,000 Allied reservists.

Naturally enough it was the young men of British birth who first responded in large numbers to the recruiting officer’s appeal. A military background, vivid home memories, the enlistment of kinsmen or friends overseas, the frequent slightness of local ties, sent them forth in splendid and steady array. Then the call came home to the native-born, and particularly to Canadians of English speech. Few of them had dreamed of war, few had been trained even in militia musters; but in tens of thousands they volunteered. From French-speaking Canada the response was slower, in spite of the endeavors of the leaders of the Opposition as well as of the Government to encourage enlistment. In some measure this was only to be expected. Quebec was dominantly rural; its men married young, and the country parishes had little touch with the outside world. Its people had no racial sympathy with Britain and their connection with France had long been cut by the cessation of immigration from that country. Yet this is not the complete explanation of that aloofness which marked a great part of Quebec. Account must be taken also of the resentment caused by exaggerated versions of the treatment accorded the French-Canadian minority in the schools of Ontario and the West, and especially of the teaching of the Nationalists, led by Henri Bourassa, who opposed active Canadian participation in the war. Lack of tact on the part of the Government and reckless taunts from extremists in Ontario made the breach steadily wider. Yet there were many encouraging considerations. Another grandson of the leader of ’37, Talbot Papineau, fell fighting bravely, and it was a French-Canadian battalion, Les Vingt Deuxièmes, which won the honors at Courcelette.

When the war first broke out, no one thought of any but voluntary methods of enlistment. As the magnitude of the task came home to men and the example of Great Britain had its influence, voices began to be raised in favor of compulsion. Sir Robert Borden, the Premier, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier alike opposed the suggestion. Early in 1917 the adoption of conscription in the United States, and the need of reenforcements for the Canadian forces at the front led the Prime Minister, immediately after his return from the Imperial Conference in London, to bring down a measure for compulsory service. He urged in behalf of this course that the need for men was urgent beyond all question; that the voluntary system, wasteful and unfair at best, had ceased to bring more than six or seven thousand men a month, chiefly for other than infantry ranks; and that only by compulsion could Quebec be brought to shoulder her fair share and the slackers in all the provinces be made to rise to the need. It was contended, on the other hand, that great as was the need for men, the need for food, which Canada could best of all countries supply, was greater still; that voluntary recruiting had yielded over four hundred thousand men, proportionately equivalent to six million from the United States, and was slackening only because the reservoir was nearly drained dry; and that Quebec could be brought into line more effectively by conciliation than by compulsion.

The issue of conscription brought to an end the political truce which had been declared in August, 1914. The keener partisans on both sides had not long been able to abide on the heights of non-political patriotism which they had occupied in the first generous weeks of the war. But the public was weary of party cries and called for unity. Suggestions of a coalition were made at different times, but the party in power, new to the sweets of office, confident of its capacity, and backed by a strong majority, gave little heed to the demand. Now, however, the strong popular opposition offered to the announcement of conscription led the Prime Minister to propose to Sir Wilfrid Laurier a coalition Government on a conscription basis. Sir Wilfrid, while continuing to express his desire to cooperate in any way that would advance the common cause, declined to enter a coalition to carry out a programme decided upon without consultation and likely, in his view, to wreck national unity without securing any compensating increase in numbers beyond what a vigorous and sympathetic voluntary campaign could yet obtain.

For months negotiations continued within Parliament and without. The Military Service Act was passed in August, 1917, with the support of the majority of the English-speaking members of the Opposition. Then the Government, which had already secured the passage of an Act providing for taking the votes of the soldiers overseas, forced through under closure a measure depriving of the franchise all aliens of enemy birth or speech who had been admitted to citizenship since 1902, and giving a vote to every adult woman relative of a soldier on active service. Victory for the Government now appeared certain. Leading English-peaking Liberals, particularly from the West, convinced that conscription was necessary to keep Canada’s forces up to the need, or that the War Times Election Act made opposition hopeless, decided to accept Sir Robert Borden’s offer of seats in a coalition Cabinet.

In the election of December, 1917, in which passion and prejudice were stirred as never before in the history of Canada, the Unionist forces won by a sweeping majority. Ontario and the West were almost solidly behind the Government in the number of members elected, Quebec as solidly against it, and the Maritime Provinces nearly evenly divided. The soldiers’ vote, contrary to Australian experience, was overwhelmingly for conscription. The Laurier Liberals polled more civilian votes in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia, and in the Dominion as a whole, than the united Liberal party had received in the Reciprocity election of 1911. The increase in the Unionist popular vote was still greater, however, and gave the Government fifty-eight per cent of the popular vote and sixty-five per cent of the seats in the House. Confidence in the administrative capacity of the new Government, the belief that it would be more vigorous in carrying on the war, the desire to make Quebec do its share, the influence of the leaders of the Western Liberals and of the Grain Growers’ Associations, wholesale promises of exemption to farmers, and the working of the new franchise law all had their part in the result. Eight months after the Military Service Act was passed, it had added only twenty thousand men to the nearly five hundred thousand volunteers; but steps were then taken to cancel exemptions and to simplify the machinery of administration. Some eighty thousand men were raised under conscription, but the war, so far as Canada was concerned, was fought and won by volunteers.

“The self-governing British colonies,” wrote Bernhardi before the war, “have at their disposal a militia, which is sometimes only in process of formation. They can be completely ignored so far as concerns any European theater of war.” This contemptuous forecast might have been justified had German expectations of a short war been fulfilled. Though large and increasing sums had in recent years been spent on the Canadian militia and on a small permanent force, the work of building up an army on the scale the war demanded had virtually to be begun from the foundation. It was pushed ahead with vigor, under the direction, for the first three years, of the Minister of Militia, General Sir Sam Hughes. Many mistakes were made. Complaints of waste in supply departments and of slackness of discipline among the troops were rife in the early months. But the work went on; and when the testing time came, Canada’s civilian soldiers held their own with any veterans on either side the long line of trenches.

It was in April, 1915, at the second battle of Ypres or, as it is more often termed in Canada, St. Julien or Langemarck that the quality of the men of the first contingent was blazoned forth. The Germans had launched a determined attack on the junction of the French and Canadian forces, seeking to drive through to Calais. The use, for the first time, of asphyxiating gases drove back in confusion the French colonial troops on the left of the Canadians. Attacked and outflanked by a German army of 150,000 men, four Canadian brigades, immensely inferior in heavy artillery and tortured by the poisonous fumes, filled the gap, hanging on doggedly day and night until reenforcements came and Calais was saved. In sober retrospection it was almost incredible that the thin khaki line had held against the overwhelming odds which faced it. A few weeks later, at Givenchy and Festubert, in the same bloody salient of Ypres, the Canadian division displayed equal courage with hardly equal success. In the spring of 1916, when the Canadian forces grew first to three and then to four divisions, heavy toll was taken at St. Eloi and Sanctuary Wood.

When they were shifted from the Ypres sector to the Somme, the dashing success at Courcelette showed them as efficient in offense as in defense. In 1917 a Canadian general, Sir Arthur Currie, three years before only a business man of Vancouver, took command of the Canadian troops. The capture of Vimy Ridge, key to the whole Arras position, after months of careful preparation, the hard-fought struggle for Lens, and toward the close of the year the winning of the Passchendaele Ridge, at heavy cost, were instances of the increasing scale and importance of the operations entrusted to Currie’s men.

In the closing year of the war the Canadian corps played a still more distinctive and essential part. During the early months of 1918, when the Germans were making their desperate thrusts for Paris and the Channel, the Canadians held little of the line that was attacked. Their divisions had been withdrawn in turn for special training in open warfare movements, in close cooperation with tanks and air forces. When the time came to launch the Allied offensive, they were ready. It was Canadian troops who broke the hitherto unbreakable Wotan line, or Drocourt-Queant switch; it was Canadians who served as the spearhead in the decisive thrust against Cambrai; and it was Canadians who captured Mons, the last German stronghold taken before the armistice was signed, and thus ended the war at the very spot where the British “Old Contemptibles” had begun their dogged fight four years before.

Through all the years of war the Canadian forces never lost a gun nor retired from a position they had consolidated. Canadians were the first to practice trench raiding; and Canadian cadets thronged that branch of the service, the Royal Flying Corps, where steady nerves and individual initiative were at a premium. In countless actions they proved their fitness to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best that Britain and France and the United States could send: they asked no more than that. The casualty list of 220,000 men, of whom 60,000 sleep forever in the fields of France and Flanders and in the plains of England, witnesses the price this people of eight millions paid as its share in the task of freeing the world from tyranny.

The realization that in a world war not merely the men in the trenches but the whole nation could and must be counted as part of the fighting force was slow in coming in Canada as in other democratic and unwarlike lands. Slowly the industry of the country was adjusted to a war basis. When the conflict broke out, the country was pulling itself together after the sudden collapse of the speculative boom of the preceding decade. For a time men were content to hold their organization together and to avert the slackening of trade and the spread of unemployment which they feared. Then, as the industrial needs and opportunities of the war became clear, they rallied. Field and factory vied in expansion, and the Canadian contribution of food and munitions provided a very substantial share of the Allies’ needs. Exports increased threefold, and the total trade was more than doubled as compared with the largest year before the war.

The financing of the war and of the industrial expansion which accompanied it was a heavy task. For years Canada had looked to Great Britain for a large share alike of public and of private borrowings. Now it became necessary not merely to find at home all the capital required for ordinary development but to meet the burden of war expenditure, and later to advance to Great Britain the funds she required for her purchase of supplies in Canada. The task was made easier by the effective working of a banking system which had many times proved its soundness and its flexibility. When the money market of Britain was no longer open to overseas borrowers, the Dominion first turned to the United States, where several federal and provincial loans were floated, and later to her own resources. Domestic loans were issued on an increasing scale and with increasing success, and the Victory Loan of 1918 enrolled one out of every eight Canadians among its subscribers. Taxation reached an adequate basis more slowly. Inertia and the influence of business interests led the Government to cling for the first two years to customs and excise duties as its main reliance. Then excess profits and income taxes of steadily increasing weight were imposed, and the burdens were distributed more fairly. The Dominion was able not only to meet the whole expenditure of its armed forces but to reverse the relations which existed before the war and to become, as far as current liabilities went, a creditor rather than a debtor of the United Kingdom.

It was not merely the financial relations of Canada with the United Kingdom which required readjustment. The service and the sacrifices which the Dominions had made in the common cause rendered it imperative that the political relations between the different parts of the Empire should be put on a more definite and equal basis. The feeling was widespread that the last remnants of the old colonial subordination must be removed and that the control exercised by the Dominions should be extended over the whole field of foreign affairs.

The Imperial Conference met in London in the spring of 1917. At special War Cabinet meetings the representatives of the Dominions discussed war plans and peace terms with the leaders of Britain. It was decided to hold a Conference immediately after the end of the war to discuss the future constitutional organization of the Empire. Premier Borden and General Smuts both came out strongly against the projects of imperial parliamentary federation which aggressive organizations in Britain and in some of the Dominions had been urging. The Conference of 1917 recorded its view that any coming readjustment must be based on a full recognition of the Dominions as autonomous nations of an imperial commonwealth; that it should recognize the right of the Dominions and of India to an adequate voice in foreign policy; and that it should provide effective arrangements for continuous consultation in all important matters of common concern and for such concerted action as the several Governments should determine. The policy of alliance, of cooperation between the Governments of the equal and independent states of the Empire, searchingly tested and amply justified by the war, had compelled assent.

The coming of peace gave occasion for a wider and more formal recognition of the new international status of the Dominions. It had first been proposed that the British Empire should appear as a unit, with the representatives of the Dominions present merely in an advisory capacity or participating in turn as members of the British delegation. The Dominion statesmen assembled in London and Paris declined to assent to this proposal, and insisted upon representation in the Peace Conference and in the League of Nations in their own right. The British Government, after some debate, acceded, and, with more difficulty, the consent of the leading Allies was won. The representatives of the Dominions signed the treaty with Germany on behalf of their respective countries, and each Dominion, with India, was made a member of the League. At the same time only the British Empire, and not any of the Dominions, was given a place in the real organ of power, the Executive Council of the League, and in many respects the exact relationship between the United Kingdom and the other parts of the Empire in international affairs was left ambiguous, for later events and counsel to determine. Many French and American observers who had not kept in close touch with the growth of national consciousness within the British Empire were apprehensive lest this plan should prove a deep-laid scheme for multiplying British influence in the Conference and the League. Some misunderstanding was natural in view not only of the unprecedented character of the Empire’s development and polity, but of the incomplete and ambiguous nature of the compromise affected at Paris between the nationalist and the imperialist tendencies within the Empire. Yet the reluctance of the British imperialists of the straiter sect to accede to the new arrangement, and the independence of action of the Dominion representatives at the Conference, as in the stand of Premier Hughes of Australia on the Japanese demand for recognition of racial equality and in the statement of protest by General Smuts of South Africa on signing the treaty, made it clear that the Dominions would not be merely echoes. Borden and Botha and Smuts, though new to the ways of diplomacy, proved that in clear understanding of the broader issues and in moderation of policy and temper they could bear comparison with any of the leaders of the older nations.

The war also brought changes in the relations between Canada and her great neighbor. For a time there was danger that it would erect a barrier of differing ideals and contrary experience. When month after month went by with the United States still clinging to its policy of neutrality, while long lists of wounded and dead and missing were filling Canadian newspapers, a quiet but deep resentment, not without a touch of conscious superiority, developed in many quarters in the Dominion. Yet there were others who realized how difficult and how necessary it was for the United States to attain complete unity of purpose before entering the war, and how different its position was from that of Canada, where the political tie with Britain had brought immediate action more instinctive than reasoned. It was remembered, too, that in the first 360,000 Canadians who went overseas, there were 12,000 men of American birth, including both residents in Canada and men who had crossed the border to enlist. When the patience of the United States was at last exhausted and it took its place in the ranks of the nations fighting for freedom, the joy of Canadians was unbounded. The entrance of the United States into the war assured not only the triumph of democracy in Europe but the continuance and extension of frank and friendly relations between the democracies of North America. As the war went on and Canada and the United States were led more and more to pool their united resources, to cooperate in finance and in the supply of coal, iron, steel, wheat, and other war essentials, countless new strands were woven into the bond that held the two countries together. Nor was it material unity alone that was attained; in the utterances of the head of the Republic the highest aspirations of Canadians for the future ordering of the world found incomparable expression.

Canada had done what she could to assure the triumph of right in the war. Not less did she believe that she had a contribution to make toward that new ordering of the world after the war which alone could compensate her for the blood and treasure she had spent. It would be her mission to bind together in friendship and common aspirations the two larger English-speaking states, with one of which she was linked by history and with the other by geography. To the world in general Canada had to offer that achievement of difference in unity, that reconciliation of liberty with peace and order, which the British Empire was struggling to attain along paths in which the Dominion had been the chief pioneer. “In the British Commonwealth of Nations,” declared General Smuts, “this transition from the old legalistic idea of political sovereignty based on force to the new social idea of constitutional freedom based on consent, has been gradually evolving for more than a century. And the elements of the future world government, which will no longer rest on the imperial ideas adopted from the Roman law, are already in operation in our Commonwealth of Nations and will rapidly develop in the near future.” This may seem an idealistic aim; yet, as Canada’s Prime Minister asked a New York audience in 1916, “What great and enduring achievement has the world ever accomplished that was not based on idealism?”