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> Canada's Problem : Its Chief Factors 






I. Its Administrative Methods . '. . . .11 



II. Its Fear of the English Protestant Influence . . .20 



III. Its Fear of Modern France . . . :ij:- . 26 


IV. Its Influence in Social Life . . . . -35 


V. Its Intervention in Politics . . . . -43 





VI. Its Role in the Evolution of Canada . . . -47 

PROTESTANTISM . . . . . . . 52 


CANADA ....... 61 



















I. The Party Organisations ...... 148 

THE ELECTIONS (continued} 

II. Their General Character and Tone . . . . 157 


THE ELECTIONS (continued] 

III. The Arguments that Tell . . . . .167 




I. Its Home Policy . . . . . . .186 


/ THE LIBERAL PARTY (continued") 

II. Its Economic Policy ...... 197 








SUPREMACY . . . . . . . .241 



CANADA AND ENGLAND . . . . . . .265 


I. The Heroic Age . . . . . . . 273 


II. The Era of Difficulties . . . . . . 287 


MILITARY IMPERIALISM . . . . . . .314 

CANADA AND FRANCE . . . . . . .325 






CANADIAN politics are a tilting-ground for impassioned 
rivalries. An immemorial struggle persists between 
French and English, Catholics and Protestants, while 
an influence is gathering strength close by them which 
some day may become predominant that of the United 
States. In this complex contest, the subject of my 
book, the whole future of Canada is at stake. 

There is no need to begin by evoking memories of 
history which will be present to all minds. By way of 
preface it will suffice to set out as clearly as possible 
the chief factors of what may be called the Canadian 
problem. It is, as I have implied, a ^ery complex one. 
Hence its difficulty. Hence its fascination. 


In the first place, and above all, it is a racial problem. 
Great Britain conquered our French possession in the 


New World, -but she failed either to annihilate or to 
assimilate the colonists whom we left behind. From the 
60,000 they numbered in 1763, when the Treaty of Paris 
put our defeat on record, their numbers have swollen 
until they constitute to-day a people of 1,650,000 souls, 
upholding proudly, under the alien rule they have loyally 
accepted, their creed, their language, and their traditions. 
Their special domain, their impregnable stronghold, is 
the province of Quebec, in which they muster 1,322,000 
out of 1,648,000 inhabitants. 1 To these we have to add 
the descendants of our Nova Scotians our Acadians 
some 140,000, to be found in the Atlantic provinces, and 
the members of the many important communities founded 
by our race in different corners of the boundless prairie. 
Here, however, our compatriots must always be in a 
minority, it would seem : it is the basin of the St 
Lawrence that must remain the theatre for the working 
out of French destinies in the New World. 

The British element in Canada, less prolific than 
ours, has grown unceasingly through immigration, until 
it has come to be in a majority. Out of the total of 
5,371,000 inhabitants for the whole colony, 3,061,000 
were, in 1901, of British origin. In Quebec, as we have 
seen, an insignificant minority, they number in Ontario 
1,732,000 out of 2,182,000. There is a pronounced feel- 
ing of jealousy between these two provinces, which together 
form the heart of the Dominion. The dominant race suffers 
the presence of the French because it cannot do otherwise, 
but it sets up its own tongue and religion and form of 
civilisation against theirs. An open warfare is in progress, 
the bitterness of which it were useless to seek to disguise. 

The first part of this book will be devoted to an 
account of this rivalry in all its causes and manifestations. 

1 All these figures are taken from the Canadian Census of 1901. 


The Church of Rome is assuredly the most powerful 
factor in the formation of the French Canadian races. 
We shall see how they have been upheld by it, how 
it has developed them and disciplined them in their 
struggle, leaving its mark on them for ever. The 
English in Canada have been affected in the same 
way by the influence of the various branches of the 
Protestant Churches, or at least by the influence of 
the spirit of Protestantism. This also will come under 
our consideration, serving to show us how religious 
questions are at the root of all Canadian differences 
and divisions. 

From the Churches we shall go to the schools, 
wherein the battle will be found raging no less fiercely. 
Here we shall see the same adversaries engaged in the 
same strenuous struggle : first of all, the Roman clergy 
refusing to cede to the Government the English Govern- 
ment the education of the Catholic children ; then the 
French people as a whole resolute in their defence of 
their separate schools and colleges, held by them essential 
to their integrity as a separate people ; while on the 
other side we shall see the Canadians of British 
parentage extolling the public schools of English type, 
of which they would fain make a crucible for the 
creation of a new race, united in language, customs, and 

We shall then proceed to examine the national 
sentiments of these two races, shepherded apart by 
their priests and pastors, discovering for ourselves 
something of all the endless complications and con- 
tradictions and refinements of which the Canadian mind 
is constituted. 

What are the feelings of these Frenchmen, conquered 
by force of arms, but conceded their full rights as citizens, 


towards the land beneath whose flag they pass their 
lives ? And what place does the land of their fathers 
still hold in their hearts ? What is their attitude towards 
their British fellow-subjects, side by side with whom they 
live but with whom they are engaged so unceasingly in 
such fierce conflict ? What is their outlook adherents 
as they are to the old faith upon English Protestantism 
and the progress of Free Thought ? We shall not find 
it easy to make our way through the maze. 

The English in Canada, though not so difficult to 
analyse, are yet far from easy to understand. Their 
antipathy to their French neighbours does not involve 
either hostility against France or an unalterable fidelity 
to England. Many of them, fascinated by the prestige 
of their mighty neighbour, are in danger of forgetting 
the links that bind them to Great Britain ; and indeed 
it looks as though Canada might almost imperceptibly 
pass over to the United States. The Canadians 
themselves do not look forward to this eventuality with 
ease of mind, but it would seem as though they were 
making ready for it. 

These are the delicate and intricate matters into 
which we must inquire before we venture to discuss that 
somewhat artificial entity designated officially by the 
Confederation of 1867 as the Canadian People. 


This brings us to the second part of the book. 
After we have studied the two races apart, we shall 
study them together in their common political life, ruled 
over by the same Government and subject to the same 
laws : no longer French and English, but just Canadian 

We shall see how the Constitution of 1867, the 


basis of the Confederation, endeavoured to promote unity 
between all the different provinces separated by distance, 
race, language, and religion ; and how the rival peoples, 
forced by destiny to work in double harness, gradually 
found a modus vivendi in the fields of parliamentary 
business and general administration. The organisation 
of parties upon the basis of compromise and not of racial 
strife will show us the wisdom of the leaders and the 
discipline of their followers. Nowhere else is the influ- 
ence of British traditions to be found exerting itself more 
effectively or with better results. 

On the other hand, we shall note how the neighbour- 
hood of the United States makes itself felt, whenever 
there are great questions at stake and public opinion 
finding expression. In order to realise to what extent 
American habits of thought and action have transformed 
Canada, we must penetrate into the everyday details 
of its electoral processes and watch the political machine 
at work, eliciting the considerations which really weigh 
with the voters. We must follow the representatives of 
the public into the Parliament House and inquire into 
the motives by which they are actuated. Only thus shall 
we succeed in discerning the difference between the 
state of things in Great Britain and that which is to be 
found in Canada. 

The individuality of Canada will emerge before our 
eyes from this picture of the life of its political capital ; 
and as we proceed to study the characteristics of the 
different parties it will stand out more clearly still. 


But the artificial unity which is the work of the 
Confederation has not solved the problem of the races. 
We must return to our study of their struggle. To 


whom is the country ultimately to belong? To the 
French, ever growing in multitude by virtue of their 
philoprogenitiveness ? To the English, unceasingly re- 
inforced by armies of immigrants ? Rivals in numbers, 
but rivals also in their customs and ideas. Is the 
French Canadian form of civilisation sufficiently in 
keeping with the times to achieve the victory, or must 
we reconcile ourselves to the idea that Canada has 
passed for ever into Anglo-Saxon hands ? In truth 
this question has been answered already, and is out of 
date. But the future has to reply to another almost as 

The t$te-ct,-t&te of Quebec and Ontario cannot con- 
tinue for ever. Whilst this Anglo-French antagonism 
persists in the East, scarcely modified by the years, a 
new Canada is being developed in the West. Out there 
it is not the French with whom their ancient opponents 
are confronted. It is the spirit of America, strong, vital, 
exuberant, and pointing to the hour when it shall be 


It will remain for us, in conclusion, to examine into 
the foreign affairs of Canada considered as an individual 
nation. Here again there are many problems for the 
future to solve. 

The nature of the Colonial bonds that tie the 
Dominion to Great Britain is not eternal. If they are 
drawn closer, that will mean the triumph of Imperialism ; 
which we shall study in all its diverse phases and all 
its aspects, political, economic, and military. If they 
are broken, that will involve Independence, with its 
attendant insecurity and danger always latent of 
absorption by the States. If they relax merely, insen- 
sibly, we shall have an indefinite prolongation of the 


actual state of things, with the door, however, wide open 
to American customs and ideas. 

These are the alternative contingencies that depend 
upon the working out of the manifold and complex 
factors which we shall be studying in the first three 
sections of this book. 




OF the 5,371,000 inhabitants of Canada, 2,229,000 are 
Catholics, and of these 1,429,000 belong to the single 
province of Quebec. The Church of Rome has its 
stronghold, therefore, upon French soil, and if we except 
the Irish element, which is somewhat numerous, it may 
be said that, speaking generally, the French of Canada 
are Catholic and the British Protestant. This fact 
contains the key to the entire political situation of the 
Dominion. There need be little fear of our exaggerat- 
ing the part played by religion ; both with Protestants 
and Catholics it is immense. In the case of the French 
Canadians the ascendency of the Church is so great that 
it may be regarded as the principal factor in their 

It has been too much insisted upon that Separation 
between Church and State has become the rule in the 
New World. That is true as regards the Protestants, 
but it is not quite accurate as regards the Church of 
Rome, at least in Quebec, where it is in enjoyment of a 
privileged system of government. 

Let us make haste to acknowledge that upon the 
banks of the St. Lawrence the Catholic Church has 
achieved a place apart, that it has always proved a loyal 


and powerful protection to its disciples, and that our race 
and tongue owe to it perhaps their survival in America. 
This unique position has enabled it, ever since the 
British conquest of Canada, to wrest special privileges 
from the victors. In many respects the Old World rights 
which it still maintains are a recognition of services 
rendered to our nationality. Little wonder, then, if the 
Church is doubly dear to the French of Canada, who 
see in it not merely the exponent of their faith but also 
the accredited defender of their race. 

Guarantees in regard to religious points figured 
largely in the treaties which handed over our old colony 
to England. The capitulations of Quebec in 1759 and 
of Montreal in 1760 began by protecting the vanquished 
from all danger of that religious persecution of which 
they stood most in dread. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 
confirmed these preliminary stipulations, and formally 
recognised the right of the French Catholics to keep up 
the practices of the Church of Rome within the limits 
of English law. Finally the Quebec Act, passed in 
1774 by the Imperial Parliament, established definitively 
the civil, political, and religious rights of the French in 

The status of the Catholic Church in Canada may 
be regarded, therefore, as due to a species of Concordat. 
The Quebec Act is really a treaty almost as much as a 
law. This was almost inevitable in a bilingual country 
in which two races live side by side without mingling. 

The privileges of the Catholic Church in Canada 
are as follows : To begin with, it is accorded a kind of 
official recognition. The Quebec Act, regardful of the 
old French traditions, and confirmed in this by the Code 
Civile of 1877, cedes to the Catholic clergy the right to 
gather in and retain and disburse the time-honoured 
revenues due to them, provided that these revenues 


are to be exacted only from those who profess the 
religion of the Church of Rome. 

The Protestants are entirely immune, therefore, from 
such rates. But it is otherwise with those who do not 
make an explicit declaration either that they have been 
converted to Protestantism or that they have ceased to 
belong to any faith. Any Catholics there may be of an 
emancipated kind, any free-thinkers with a bias towards 
Catholicism, are subjected to a certain mild form of 
intimidation, inasmuch as the law forces them either to 
obey the behests of the clergy or else nerve themselves 
to a kind of small apostasy, severely regarded by public 
opinion, and in any case an ungrateful proceeding. 

Unless they make this public profession, the 
Catholics are subjected to the payment of a tithe, or 
rather of a twenty-sixth peck of corn from their crop, for 
these dues are only acknowledged officially in the country 
districts. Here they have all the appearance of a regular 
tax, the clergy being empowered to enforce their pay- 
ment by legal processes. In the towns their place is 
taken by a poll-tax not usually recognised by the law ; 
from time to time, however, the Courts have admitted its 
obligatory character, and as its levy is seldom or never 
challenged, it may be bracketed with the tithe. It will 
be seen, therefore, that in regard to this matter the 
separation between Church and State does not exist. 

There are other cases also in which the clergy are 
able to have recourse to the arm of the law for the 
recovery of their dues. When, for instance, there is 
question of erecting a new church, the bishop, assisted 
by a building committee, levies a special tax upon the 
members of the parish concerned, and he can secure a 
Bill from Parliament for its enforcement. 

No Protestant, I repeat, is liable to be thus taxed, 
but it is difficult for a Catholic, however unorthodox, to 


escape. Willy nilly, all must pay, and prosecutions, 
though rare, are by no means unheard of. No one 
protests. The French Canadians are devoted to their 
Church, free-thinkers are few, priest-baiters almost 
unknown. Therefore there is no talk of suppressing 
this ancient practice surviving from the France of yore. 

It might be supposed that these important privileges 
would be balanced by a certain restriction of the liberties 
of the Church. That is not so. Its hierarchy and entire 
organisation are absolutely free from control, or even 
supervision, at the hands of the State. We shall be able 
to take stock of all its essential features without so much 
as mentioning the name of the civil power. 

The Canadian parish, the unit of the ecclesiastical 
State, is formed more or less upon the basis of the 
French parish. It is administered by a cure and a 
vestry board, composed of acting and honorary church- 
wardens ; these boards are renewed by process of co- 
option, but it is the bishop through the cure who has 
the chief say as to their constitution. And though they 
are autonomous bodies to a certain extent, it must not 
be ignored that they are largely controlled and to 
an ever increasing extent by the bishop. 

The allotting of ecclesiastical appointments also is 
carried out in complete freedom. The appointing of the 
cure's lies with the bishops ; that of new bishops with 
the Pope, who makes his selection from a list of three 
names (dignus, dignior, dignissimus) which is presented 
by the bishops already on the bench. No intervention from 
outside takes place, though the presence of an apostolic 
envoy involves the possibility of semi-official negotiations. 
But the Church is sufficiently strong in Canada to 
discountenance interference, and its pride would be hurt 
by certain kinds of suggestions. One does not easily 
forget the tone of ironical contempt with which Canadian 


ecclesiastics are wont to speak of the " Concordat," under 
which a M. Dumay, a freemason, had the appointing 
of the bishops in France ! 

The creation and delimitation of new dioceses is 
equally free from interference by the State. These are 
matters for Rome. Ottawa has nothing to say to them. 
It is not even necessary to notify them to the Canadian 
Government. Thus the Church really achieves that 
perfect condition of complete independence of which its 
high functionaries love to talk. It lives outside the 
jurisdiction of the civil power ; above it, the ecclesiastics 
sometimes maintain and always feel. No one ventures 
to assert in Canada, as in France, the supremacy of the 

The very conception of a civil State does not seem 
indeed to have ever taken root in Canadian France. 
One has no difficulty in seeing that it never went through 
its 1789. The reins of government are still in the hands 
of the clergy, and this seems to the public quite natural. 
It is the same with education : there are Catholic schools 
and Protestant schools, but there are no secular schools in 
our sense of the word. The dead are buried in denom- 
inational cemeteries : a Catholic who has died without 
receiving the last Sacraments is not allowed to be buried 
in a Catholic cemetery ; his family have to solicit a grave 
for him in a Protestant or Jewish cemetery. Such cases 
have occurred more than once. But in this respect also, 
though there have been protests enough, there has been 
no genuine effort at reform. This gives some idea of 
the mutual sentiment of toleration existing between the 
Churches. The condition of having no religion is simply 
not taken into account. 

Most of the understandings come to in other coun- 
tries with the Holy See have tended to check the 
intervention of the clergy in politics. In Canada the 


freedom of the priest in this respect is absolute. There 
is no law to prevent him from holding forth from the 
pulpit on the most burning questions of the day. As to 
the bishops, they are free to throw all the weight of their 
authority into the balance either by means of pastoral 
letters or of collective manifestoes. They have inter- 
vened in this way from time to time, and the Government 
has had no power to cope with them effectively. The 
utmost that could be done has been to annul certain 
elections in which clerical interference has gone beyond 
all reasonable limits and has taken the form of refusing 
the Sacraments to influence votes. But these cases 
have been very rare, and even the leaders of the Liberal 
party, though opposed by the Church, recognised the 
priest's right to take part in the electoral contests. 

The clergy may congratulate themselves, therefore, on 
their position in face of the law. The law not merely 
places no obstacles in their way, but on the contrary it 
supports them. Only in their household, so to speak, 
have they rivals to contend with namely, the members 
of the religious orders. 

At the time of the cession of Canada it was stipulated 
that the sisterhoods should not be disturbed. There was 
no such provision as regards the Jesuits, Franciscans, and 
Sulpicians, but the new rulers treated them in the most 
tolerant fashion. The Jesuit community, however, ceased 
to exist towards the end of the eighteenth century, and 
by an existing law their property passed into the hands 
of the State. The other orders developed, unfettered 
in any way, and the Sulpicians, in particular, throve 

In the course of the last twenty years the multi- 
plication of religious confraternities in Canada has 
taken on considerable proportions ; the Jesuits have 
returned, and have even been endowed to the extent of 


2, 000,000 francs by the Quebec Parliament as indemnity for 
the former confiscation of their goods. In addition, the 
fame of Canada as a Catholic country, the liberal 
tendency of its ecclesiastical rule to say nothing of 
the anti-clerical laws promulgated in France has had 
the effect of attracting thousands of monks and nuns to 
the Dominion. They have to go through some formali- 
ties, it is true, before becoming established, but these are 
formalities and nothing more ; they must obtain a Bill 
from the provincial Parliament, but this is rarely refused 
them ; and they must submit to the jurisdiction of the 
bishopric. This done, they are free to receive offerings 
and legacies, without trammels of any kind upon their 

Their activities are very diverse in form. For the 
most part they win the goodwill and approval of the 
public. Some orders give up their lives to prayer and 
meditation, amply supported by alms. Others devote 
themselves to education : the Sulpicians, for instance, 
have most of the seminaries under their sway ; the 
Jesuits play an important r6le in secondary education ; 
the Christian Brothers find their occupation in the 
management of primary schools ; while there are many 
who, availing themselves of the exemption from taxation 
which they enjoy, earn their livelihood just like laymen 
by setting up printing works or kitchen gardens, taking 
in washing, etc. They find a large field for their energies 
also in hospital work and charitable duties of all kinds 
in a country in which the province of the secular 
administration is not yet very clearly marked out. 
Finally, these orders sometimes are moved to build 
chapels, and it is in this connection that they come into 
direct conflict with the secular clergy. 

Chapels are apt to be formidable rivals to parish 
churches. This has been discovered in Canada as 


elsewhere. The monks are well equipped for making 
way. They have all their time at their disposal, and are 
able to win adherents among rich and poor alike by 
their visits and good offices. The poor have recourse 
to them as their special protectors, as regards both 
body and soul. The rich are attracted by a stamp of 
elegance which distinguishes certain confraternities. 

These are not the remarks merely of a foreign 
visitor They come from the bishops and curds them- 
selves. The bishops, especially, look with alarm at a 
competition which in some cases seems fraught with 
danger to them. They have even gone so far as to 
appropriate for their congregations certain chapels which 
seemed in too great demand ; and, in order to avert the 
evil, they have sought to discourage the immigration of 
the members of religious orders in too great numbers. 
Not openly, but by means of hints, they convey a 
friendly warning to new arrivals and to intending comers 
that Canada, though a big place, has but a small popula- 
tion, and that for its still somewhat restricted flocks there 
is not scope for an unlimited supply of shepherds. If 
you must come, they say, at least go farther West and 
open out the prairie ! 

You may even hear people in close touch with the 
Church, but enjoying a greater freedom of speech than 
its dignitaries, complain openly of this troublesome 
invasion, and talk of the possibility of introducing a law 
dealing with the whole question of religious confra- 
ternities a law which would meet with no very deter- 
mined opposition from the bishops and curds. But these 
are wild words, the outcome of jealousy and ill-humour. 
Against the common enemies, Protestantism and Free 
Thought, all the forces of Catholicism are united and as 
one man. There may be diverse currents, but they are 
turned by the Vatican in the one direction. 


The Catholic Church in Canada is in truth in a 
condition of deep submission to the Holy See. It bent 
the knee, not perhaps without reluctance but to the full, 
to that new order of things by which, thirty or forty 
years ago, the Church became an absolute centralised 
monarchy. We shall note many evidences of this in 
the course of the chapters that follow. 



ALL the old beliefs have been preserved as it were in ice 
among the French of Canada, and it would seem that the 
great stream of modern thought has as yet failed, with 
them, to shake the rock of Catholic belief. It is rare to 
find a body of the faithful so submissive in their attitude ; 
and it is not merely the country folk who are to be found 
rallying round their priests, but also the townsfolk and 
the industrial population generally. Indifference is to 
be met with, of course, here as everywhere, but it hardly 
ever takes on the form of disrespect. We are far indeed 
from modern France. 

In a bilingual country peopled by two races it is 
natural that the limits of religious jurisdiction should be 
very clearly drawn ; this is the normal result of historical 
conditions, no less than of a very consistent and resolute 
line of policy followed by the Roman clergy since the 
first days of the conquest the policy of isolation. 

Dispersion and absorption are the two dangers which 
menace unceasingly the unity of our race in Canada. 
Therefore it was that the Church, profoundly convinced 
that to keep the race French was to keep it Catholic, 
came to look upon isolation as the chief safeguard for a 



racial individuality threatened on all sides by the advances 
of the New World. Therefore it is that it has put out 
all its efforts to segregate its flock from the rest of 
America. Instead of attempting the difficult and un- 
grateful task of making converts in the enemy's camp, it 
has devoted all its energies to retaining its hold over the 
souls belonging to it from the far past. In this work 
the two influences it has most to fear are those of 
Protestantism and Free Thought. To keep its members 
out of the reach of these two powerful tendencies is 
the programme which it continues to have constantly 
before it. 

The first of these two dangers is the more threaten- 
ing, for the solid body of French Catholics is beaten 
upon at all points by the on-coming waves of the Anglo- 
American ocean. English and Protestant have become 
almost synonymous terms in a country in which there 
are doubtless many English Catholics but in which 
French Protestants are practically non-existenf And it 
were vain to ignore the fact that conversion to Protestant- 
ism involves generally the passing of the convert into 
the ranks of the English body : the two things go 
together. In order to prevent these defections, the 
Catholic Church has done everything in its power to 
lessen the contact of the two races. The development 
of the Canadians may have suffered from this division, 
but to it is due in great degree the astonishing persist- 
ence of their distinctive individuality. 

Natural circumstances facilitate the accomplish- 
ment of this programme. Victors and vanquished, 
English and French, might well be expected to avoid 
rather than seek out occasions of intercourse : every- 
thing, or almost everything, tends to keep them apart. 

The fact of their speaking different languages in 
particular constitutes a real barrier between them, which 


the clergy naturally do nothing to break down : the state 
of things produced by it is all in their favour. 

This, however, does not apply to the bourgeoisie ; for 
business, like the learned professions, demands a thorough 
knowledge of English. The colleges for secondary 
education managed by the Church have had to recognise 
this necessity, with the result that almost all Canadians 
of the upper or even the middle classes are now able to 
speak both languages quite well ; they are in consequence 
more exposed to the influences of the neighbouring form 
of civilisation. 

But the great mass of French Canadians are un- 
acquainted with any foreign tongue. They will probably 
remain so, and the Church can be at rest in regard to 
them as long as they do, for they are proof against the 
influence of the English-speaking races. Monseigneur 
Lafleche, Bishop of Trois-Rivieres, has expressed 
his view upon the whole subject in a phrase that has 
become famous : " My children, be well up in French, 
but not too well up in English ! " 

Language constitutes the outworks protecting 
Catholicism in Canada. When these have been over- 
come, the stronghold of the Church is open to new 
attacks in the shape of the social intercourse that 
ensues between the two races, and above all in mixed 

It is impossible to prevent all intercourse between 
two races living together in the same cities. The 
Church has realised this, and has reserved all her 
strength for the prevention as far as practicable of 
marriages between Catholics and Protestants. To this 
end she imposes severe conditions : the ceremony must 
take place only in the Catholic Church, and an under- 
taking must be given that the children shall be brought 
up in the Catholic faith. This attitude is easy to under- 


stand, and its effects are clear. The Church wishes to 
keep its boundaries intact and well defined. She would 
prefer to lose a single individual member altogether 
rather than sanction the admission of a Protestant upon 
any other terms into a Catholic family. Otherwise the 
result might be the formation of dubious groups, half 
Catholic, half Protestant, likely to tend later towards 
Free Thought and to be lost entirely to Rome. 

The success of this policy has been well - nigh 
complete. Mixed marriages are few, and in all cases 
the question of religion is settled one way or the other. 
It is not the clergy alone that are responsible for this 
solution. The whole Canadian community, Protestant 
as well as Catholic, supports them in the matter. Both 
races seem to feel that it is necessary to be either French 
or English, Protestant or Catholic that it is not possible 
to be both at once, or to maintain a state of equilibrium 
between the two. Both armies have made prisoners in 
the strife, but each has 4n the long run held good its 

The situation of the French Protestants between 
these opposing forces is a very difficult one. The 
French Protestant is something of a paradox in 
Canada. There is no place for him. The moment 
comes for him sooner or later when he must choose 
between his race and his religion. It is not easy for 
him to keep to his religion : no French Canadian girl 
will be allowed to marry him unless he be prepared to 
hand over his children to the Church of Rome. If he 
wishes to remain a Protestant he is almost bound to 
marry an Englishwoman, and the result is that even if 
he himself resists British influences and remains French, 
his children will be barely able to speak his language, 
and will develop almost certainly into Anglo-Saxons. 

It is true that there are some small French com- 


munities in Canada belonging to the Reformed Church- 
small colonies perhaps it would be more correct to 
designate them, for they have nothing Canadian about 
them. Their moral elevation of character and their 
cohesion are worthy of all praise, but their position is a 
precarious one owing to the state of things I have 

It would be quite a mistake to suppose that the 
Canadian Catholic clergy are animated by any anti- 
English feeling in their policy of isolation. What they 
are guarding against is Protestantism and advanced 
views. That is why they look askance at the Americans 
also, even the American Catholics who are suspected of 
too great independence in their attitude towards the 
Holy See. Therefore it is that the neighbouring peoples 
are kept apart almost as by water-tight partitions. The 
Canadian Catholic spirit follows its own course, and 
knows no other guidance than that of Rome. In these 
circumstances it is not surprising that Protestant Jewish 
and Theistic America should be an object of even greater 
alarm than England, as being more alive and less 
conservative. The policy of annexation has no more 
resolute opponents than the clergy of Quebec, for they 
realise on the day the province should be merged in 
America there would be an end to its old isolation, and 
it would be overwhelmed by the torrent of new ideas. 
It would mean the end of Catholic supremacy in this 
corner of the world, perhaps the deathblow to the 
French race in Canada. 

Such, then, in its main outlines, is the policy of isolation 
so effectively pursued by the Canadian Catholic Church. 
It is becoming a more and more difficult one in the face of 
the unceasing advance of methods of communication and 
the progress of education and the growth of the power 
of the press. However, the clergy are not relaxing their 


efforts, and they maintain their desperate struggle for the 
upper hand in the matter of the schools. And if they 
do not win over many Protestants they still retain their 
authority over their own flocks. 

Up to the present their defences have not suffered 
much at the hands of their English opponents. Let us 
see now how they have fared face to face with the 
revolutionary France of 1789. Their resistance in this 
direction we shall find is not less persistent or less 



IN the eyes of the Catholic clergy of Canada modern 
France, viewed either from the standpoint of its admin- 
istrative methods or of its free-thinking tendencies, is a 
source of danger not less great than Protestant England. 
It symbolises to them the secular theory of government, 
the triumph of modern ideas, the hated principles of the 
Revolution. France to them is an object lesson, a nation 
adrift to which a wide berth must be given. We may 
evoke the deep and sincere sympathy of the Canadian 
priests personally and individually, but the Catholic 
Church of Canada in its corporate capacity can regard the 
France of 1789 with no other feeling than alarm. 

Despite their rapid and complete submission to 
English rule, the French priesthood cherished none the 
less for some time after the conquest of Canada a certain 
feeling for our ancien regime. But with the Revolution 
the divorce became complete. While the Church in 
France lost all its privileges the Church in Canada re- 
tained them, precisely because it had ceased to be French. 
From its distant stronghold upon the St. Lawrence it 
looked on in safety at the crisis of 1793. It was in- 
evitable that it should congratulate itself on having ceased 
to belong to a country whose impiety and lawlessness 
it condemned. 



The development of our democracy in the course of 
the nineteenth century has resulted but in the strengthen- 
ing of this disapprobation. To 1789 and 1793 succeeded 
1848 and 1871. The Third Republic, after some hesita- 
tions, decided to act in independence of, and, when 
necessary, in opposition to Rome. The secular school, 
the law against religious societies, the rupture with the 
Pope, the separation of Church and State, have marked 
the principal stage of this movement. 

That the example of France is one to be avoided 
rather than imitated is the view not merely of the 
Catholic clergy but of all Catholic Canadians. Even 
the Liberals among them do not feel drawn towards our 
present social condition. They come to France and 
enjoy themselves among us and see things to admire, 
but they refuse to take us for a model. 

The Catholic newspapers of the colony none of 
which could live without the approval of the priests 
never cease to proclaim our decadence and ruin under 
the regime of the freemasons. Whether it be the 
Semaines Rdligieuses, the organs of the bishops, or the 
independent journals like the Vtritt of Quebec, or the 
great dailies like the Patrie, the Presse, or the Journal, 
it is always the same refrain : Unfortunate France ! 

Not everyone in Catholic Canada sympathises with 
the following passage from the Journal ( November 22, 
1904), but there is no mistaking the accents of the 
Church : " We spoke yesterday of the unhappy condition 
of France. We give her our pity, because the evil from 
which she is suffering is a terrible one. We dread it for 
ourselves, for it is contagious : it is the evil of free- 

The Vdrit& congratulates Canada on being no longer 
a colony of France. It goes on: "We have thus 
escaped, thanks be to God, the horrors of the French 


Revolution and the still worse horrors, though different 
in kind, of modern France with its impiety. . . . Let us 
beware of official France ! She is our greatest danger 
at the present moment. Too many people fail to realise 

" Let us beware of official France ! " That is the cry 
of the Canadian clergy. 

The faithful can be kept away from English influences 
by being left in ignorance of the language. France is 
far away, but the community of speech constitutes a peril 
which has to be provided against. Our writings are 
calculated to set minds working in new ways and to 
provoke independence of thought, while even the little 
there is of personal intercourse between the French of 
Canada and us may prove rich in consequences. 

The tactics of the clergy consist in supervising and 
controlling the perusal of books imported from Paris and 
in the exercise of a very careful choice of those of our 
countrymen whom they get to come to them. They do 
all they can also to discourage the youth of Canada from 
coming to Paris in search of new ideas and new battle- 
cries. Even our Catholic ecclesiastics are apt to be 
suspected by them of an excess of Liberalism. 

The controlling of the reading of an entire people 
is a big enterprise, but one before which the Canadian 
clergy has never recoiled. To this end it possesses an 
" Index " an effective weapon of which it avails itself 
daily. Our principal authors have come under its ban 
Musset, Renan, and above all, Zola, " whose name 
should not be so much as mentioned even from the 
pulpit, and whose books should not be admitted, not 
merely into any Catholic, but into any decent, respect- 
able household." 1 Of course, the Index is not all- 

1 Letter from Mgr Bruchesi, Archbishop of Montreal, 1903, cited by 
M. G. Giluncy, L'Europfan, October 31, 1903. 


powerful : the interdicted books find their way into 
the colony in spite of it. They are not exposed for 
sale, however, in any of the respectable book-shops, 
and in the small towns no book-shop that is not 
respectable has a chance. The condemned authors are 
ruled out also from those libraries which are under 
the control of the clergy, and we shall see presently 
how little disposed the clergy are to allow any library 
to thrive in independence of them. There are reading- 
rooms managed by intelligent, broad-minded people, who 
welcome presents of books from their friends in France, 
but they are not free to put in circulation whatever works 
they may think fit. If they were to try, they would very 
soon be crushed. All such gifts have to be approved 
by the bishop. Even so, there are extremists who are 
disturbed at the sight of official France taking note of 
the social condition of Canada. La Ve"rit6 goes so far 
as to condemn the reading of the Revue des deux 
Mondes. A propos of the presentation of thirty-three 
yearly volumes of the Revue to one of these reading- 
rooms by a generous Rouen lady, the Quebec Journal 
remarks : " Is it to be supposed that there is nothing 
reprehensible in these thirty-three annual volumes ? To 
imagine so is to know very little of the history and 
character of the Revue" 

The clergy are not less cautious when there is 
question of nominating a Frenchman from France for 
any post in the Dominion. They require elaborate 
guarantees as to their soundness of views. The Laval 
University, for instance, has for some years past had 
French professors of literature. Candidates for these 
posts are examined very rigorously not only in regard 
to their special qualifications but also in regard to their 
tendencies of mind. Sometimes, the original French 
temperament asserting itself in them, they are held 


too advanced, too emancipated in short, too French. 
Sometimes they are, so to speak, reined in. One of 
them who had begun to treat of the nineteenth century 
in the first year of his professorship was shunted to 
the seventeenth century in his next. And he was really 
a sober-minded, moderate man. A professor of advanced 
ideas must consider himself muzzled if by chance he 
has succeeded in being chosen. 

The same may be said of any publicist anxious to 
spread radical doctrines in Canada. His propaganda 
will meet with effective opposition from the clergy, and 
if he accepts the support offered him by the English 
he will do for himself altogether. With the French he 
could only make way either with the support or at least 
the toleration of the Church. M. Brunetiere's talents 
alone would not have sufficed to win him the triumphs 
that fell to his lot at Montreal and Quebec ; he needed 
also his reputation for Catholic sympathies, and even 
so there were some sections in Quebec who thought 
him somewhat too advanced. 

It should be borne in mind that this opposition to 
the France of to-day, and all that she stands for, origin- 
ates with the Church. Left to themselves, the majority 
of Canadians, especially in the towns, would be very glad 
to see and listen to even the boldest of our public men. 

Even our French priests are not always welcome 
in Canada, as I have said already. In a curious article 
in La Revue du Clergt Franfais a French priest, Pere 
Giquello, formerly editor of the Semaine Rdligieuse of 
Tours, tells us of the great disillusionment he experienced 
in regard to this colony. " In the Canadian dioceses," 
he writes, " there is no room for priests from France. 
. . . The Canadian clergy have adopted the Munroe 
Doctrine, and their motto is ' Canada for the Canadians.' 
Even when there is not a full complement of seminarists 


for a diocese, French priests will find themselves ruled 
out on principle. Try for yourself. Present yourself 
to one of these Canadian bishops to whom we give so 
cordial a welcome here in France. You will be very 
well received, he will say all kinds of nice things to you. 
Encouraged by his sympathetic and benevolent de- 
meanour, you will offer him your zealous services ; you 
will tell him of your ardent wish to undertake the duties 
of a priest ; you will even put before him your qualifica- 
tions and any talents you may possess. Now will come 
the change ! The episcopal countenance, a moment ago 
so radiant, is clouded over. The eyebrows are drawn 
together, a hard line is visible at the corners of the lips, 
you receive a downright refusal, and are discourteously 
bidden good-day. I guarantee that eight times out of 
ten the interview will take this course." 1 

The clergy, as I have said, are equally against the 
sending of Canadian youths to France for the completion 
of their studies. They look with disfavour, for instance, 
upon endowments in connection with the University of 
Paris. They prefer the universities of Friburg and 
Louvain as being more Catholic and not in France. 

The question was raised very distinctly a propos of 
medical students. Our countrymen in Canada have 
always displayed brilliant aptitudes for the career of 
medicine. It is only natural, therefore, that the most 
distinguished among them should wish to complete their 
studies in Paris, where they have the double advantage 
of speaking their native tongue and finding a Faculty of 
the highest class. Many are the young Canadians who 
have come freely for this purpose. The Church could do 
nothing to prevent them. 

But one fine day it was suggested that it would be 

1 P. Giquello, " Choses Canadiennes," Revue du Clerg6 Franqais, 
December 15, 1904. 


a desirable thing to institute scholarships for the medical 
students at the Laval University which should cover 
the expenses of their voyage to France. The idea was 
an excellent one and quite practicable, and the French 
Government welcomed it with the greatest favour. But 
nothing was done. Why ? The Archbishop of Montreal 
did not conceal the reason from the people of his entour- 
age : he was afraid of the evil influences that Paris life 
might have upon the winners of the scholarships. The 
V trite", that enfant terrible of the Ultramontane Party, 
did not hesitate to blurt out what certain anxious 
Catholics were thinking to themselves. " The idea has 
been put forward of establishing a college in Paris for 
French Canadian medical students. This idea has given 
rise to serious disquiet. For if the capital of France is a 
centre of science, it is also, alas ! a centre of corruption 
and impiety. If the project can be carried out without 
peril to the faith of our future physicians, well and good. 
If not, let it be put aside, for it is of infinitely greater 
moment that we should have physicians a little less 
learned but sound in matters of religion, than a little 
more learned and without faith." 

The Church is quite logical in taking up this attitude, 
and it is to be feared that any other such proposal would 
meet in the same way with determined if not open 
opposition. Should it be found necessary to supplement 
the higher education of Canada in any particular branch, 
it is to be feared that other centres of French culture, 
such as Switzerland or Belgium, where the progress of 
the secular modern spirit is less marked, will be chosen 
in preference to Paris. Is it not a matter for regret 
that in regard to this question of university education 
we should not be able to count the Church among 
the chief champions of a Franco-Canadian rapproche- 


It is not only the lay students, however, who yearn 
to put the finishing touch to their studies in Europe. 
The clerical students experience the same desire, and it 
would seem to be essential in their case. Rome is 
naturally their ultimate destination ; but France is on 
the way, and they love to stay with us en route. 

Close relations used to result from this state of 
things. Charming and faithful friendships were formed 
between distinguished representatives of both branches 
of the Church, and many young Canadian priests learned 
to love France more than their Superiors would have 
wished. Their contact with the French clergy taught 
them that even in ecclesiastic society there is room for 
a kind of Liberalism unknown in Canada. 

Perhaps for this reason the Canadian Church has 
seemed of late to discountenance such intercourse a 
little. Sojourns at St. Sulpice are no longer recom- 
mended. There existed until recently in Rome a 
Sulpician seminary resorted to by French and Canadians 
in common. Therein, under one roof, during many 
months of close companionship, they formed intimacies 
which were to brighten their whole lives. This mixed 
institution has recently disappeared, and from a French 
standpoint the fact is to be deplored. To-day there 
is a seminary apart for the Canadian students in the 
Eternal City. Many of the younger members of the 
Canadian clergy have openly expressed to me their 
regret at the change. One day perhaps these broad- 
minded young clericals will be bishops. Then perhaps 
they will think differently ! 

Thus it is that in its own defence the Canadian 
Church is endeavouring to relax rather than to draw 
closer the bonds uniting it to Republican, or even 
ecclesiastical France. Down to the present it has 
been more or less successful in its efforts. But it seems 


scarcely probable that it can persist in these tactics for 
ever. Intercourse between the two countries increases 
inevitably every year, and the isolation in which the 
Church would keep Canada is contrary to the whole 
trend of the times. It cannot endure. 



HAVING done all in her power to keep her flock out of 
the range of pernicious influences, the Catholic Church 
in Canada proceeds to watch over it and guide it in 
small matters as well as great. Refusing absolutely 
to be bound down by the State to a line of non-inter- 
ference with the liberty of the citizen, she maintains 
stoutly her right to act as a natural leader. " Not only 
is the Church independent of the Commonwealth she 
stands above it. ... It is not the Church that is com- 
prised in the State ; it is the State that is comprised in 
the Church." 1 

In every aspect of life, social or political, public or 
private, the clergy has its say and gives its orders. It 
permits no movement to come into activity without its 
sanction. It constitutes, in fact, a veritable theocracy 
in the province of Quebec. 

But it is in regard to education that the power of 
the clergy is most in evidence. There are no secular 
schools, as I have said already, in the province of 
Quebec ; the only choice is between the English school 
of Protestant tendency and the French school which is 
Catholic. It may be regarded as almost inevitable 

1 Collective pastoral letter of the Quebec Episcopate, Sept. 22, 1875. 


that every French-speaking Canadian child must come 
directly under the influence of the Church of Rome. 

In respect to education the Church is disposed to 
make not the slightest concession. The English 
Protestants are free, if they be so inclined, to institute 
" godless colleges " that is their own look-out. But 
at the least threat of subjecting the French denomina- 
tional schools to anything in the shape of State control 
the entire Catholic clergy is up in arms as one man. 

The Catholic public gives its legal adhesion to 
these tenets. The Church leaves no loophole in the 
matter, indeed. " Those who do not obey the 
Hierarchy," declared Monseigneur Langevin, "are no 
longer Catholics. When the Hierarchy has spoken, it 
it useless for a. Catholic to attempt to resist, for if he 
does so he ceases to be a Catholic. Such a person 
may still claim the title, but I tell you clearly in my 
capacity as bishop and with all the authority attaching 
to the position that the Catholic who does not obey 
the Hierarchy ceases to be a Catholic." 1 

We have seen something already of the Church's 
attitude towards the Press, of the severe control she 
exercises over the sale of books and the management of 
public libraries. It may be well here to give one of the 
most striking instances of her methods in dealing with a 
library whose managers showed signs of opposition to 
her rule the case of the Institut Canadien. 

The Institut Canadien is a literary and scientific 
Society founded at Montreal in 1844 by a group of 
young men of Liberal tendencies. They were all 
Catholics, but in a spirit of wide tolerance they admitted 
English Protestants into their ranks. The movement 
having made rapid progress, other kindred Institutes 

1 At Montreal in 1896. Cited by J. S. Willison in his book, Sir Wilfrid 
Laurier and the Liberal Party. 


became established under the same title in most of the 
towns of the province. By the year 1854 they numbered 
more than a hundred. 

The Church began to get alarmed, and began to 
found rival Societies, known as Instituts Nationaux, 
which she kept under her strict supervision. By 1858 
this policy had brought about the disappearance of all 
the Instituts Canadiens with the one exception of that at 
Montreal, which was still to the good, and which while 
professing its respect for the Church refused to enter 
under its control. Soon it came to be a regular b&te 
noire to the ecclesiastical authorities. 

The first complaint addressed to the Society was 
in respect to the nature of its library and to the fact 
that two Protestant journals, the Montreal Witness 
and the Semeur Canadien(t\ were to be found in its 
reading-room. Then Monseigneur Bourget, Bishop 
of Montreal, accused them of having in their posses- 
sion immoral books. The Committee replied that 
in their opinion this charge was without foundation, 
and that the matter was one for their own judgment 

This meant war. In a pastoral letter, the bishop, 
having set forth the case clearly, declared openly that 
the Committee had been guilty of two grave offences : 
first in claiming to be the sole competent judges of the 
morality of certain works ; secondly, in having declared 
that they were not in possession of immoral writings 
when books were to be found in their library which had 
been placed on the Index. He called upon the Com- 
mittee to withdraw these statements. Unless they did 
so, Catholics would be forbidden to belong to the 

The situation became serious for the members of the 
Society. Catholics for the most part, they would incur 


very serious consequences by opposing the bishop. 
They suggested a compromise. Let the bishop indicate 
all the books which he considered immoral and they 
should be kept under lock and key ! To this proposal 
the bishop made no definite reply. What he really 
desired was the disappearance of the Society, not merely 
its reform. The Committee soon realised this, and in 
despair appealed to Rome. After a delay of four years, 
this brought them a fresh condemnation from the Pope : 
all those who continued to be members of the Society or 
to read its Annual would be deprived of the Sacraments. 
Resistance became impossible. In 1869 the Institut 
Canadien closed its doors. 

The pretensions of the clergy have not been lessened 
since then, though they are formulated, perhaps, less 
aggressively than in this pronouncement by Monseigneur 
Bourget. They continue to set their face against the 
starting of public libraries of all kinds without their 
approval. In 1903 Mr. Carnegie offered a great library 
to Montreal on the lines of those which he had presented 
to a number of American cities. Such a boon would 
have been the more welcome in that Montreal possesses 
only two mediocre collections of French books. How- 
ever, the Municipal Council refused the gift, and their 
action in the matter is attributed almost universally to 
clerical influence. 

There is no law in Canada restricting the liberty of 
the Press. The English newspapers are printed and 
published in entire freedom from outside interference. 
To all appearances, that is also the case with the French 
newspapers, but this is not so in reality. The bishops, 
with their power of condemning it, are able to exercise 
almost complete control. Condemnation from the pulpit 
results in a decrease of sales at once. Should this not 
suffice, the confessional does the rest. Editors know 


they can resist for two or three months, but not more. 
The Church always wins in the end. 

There are many anti-clericals and men of advanced 
views among the Canadian publicists who deplore this 
condition of affairs, but who must trim their sails like all 
the others so as not to run their journals upon the rocks. 
All, or almost all, come to an understanding with the 
clergy. At Montreal, the archbishop calls any editor 
severely to account who prints anything calculated to 
hurt the susceptibilities of the Church ; a second offence 
of the same kind would entail very serious consequences. 
The newspaper directors, mindful of the interests of 
shareholders, are careful to avoid such conflicts. Some- 
times a canon of the Cathedral, specially selected for 
this work, is enabled to read the proofs of articles and 
to delete whatever may seem to him harmful. In such 
conditions it will be easily understood that anything in 
the shape of an anti-clerical campaign is out of the 
question for the great French Canadian dailies. It 
would merely be jeopardising their existence. 

Would it be possible for a more venturesome journal, 
carrying less sail, to embark upon such an enterprise ? 
In other words, could an anti-clerical paper of any kind 
exist in Canada ? Experience so far has proved that it 
cannot. We may instance the case now no longer 
recent of Le Pays, twice condemned and at last crushed 
by Monseigneur Bourget. More interesting, however, 
are the experiences of the Dtbats and the Combat, quite 
lately condemned and done for without any kind of 
trouble by the Archbishop of Montreal. 

The Ddbats, now defunct, was run in opposition to 
the Church, and attacked it in very downright fashion. 
Many warnings were conveyed to it, but without result. 
Instead of falling into line with its prudent contem- 
poraries, it persisted in its policy. At last Monseigneur 


Bruchesi condemned it in a letter read in all the churches 
in his diocese. " We may claim," he said, " to have shown 
all possible forbearance and consideration in our attitude 
towards the Ddbats. We regret that our efforts have had 
no result. Its harmful work has been persisted in, 
perhaps more audaciously than ever. The journal has 
been setting forth doctrines in regard to evolution which 
are bordering on heresy, if not actually heretical. It has 
insulted disgracefully the venerated name of Monseigneur 
Ignace Bourget. It has spoken insultingly of Pius ix., 
and has held the Syllabus up to ridicule. We cannot 
refer here to all the other offences of which it has been 
guilty. Lately, when we had occasion to remind 
Catholics in one of our parishes of the necessity of 
keeping holy the Lord's Day, the Ddbats could find 
nothing better to do than to endeavour to make fun of 
our letter. . . . Fathers and mothers, are you going to 
leave in the hands of your children a poison that is 
calculated to cause their spiritual death ? Bad books 
and bad newspapers are, as you know well, deadly 
poisons for the soul. It is our aim to preserve, especi- 
ally among the youth of our community, so dear to us 
and so exposed to peril, the purity of our faith, the 
strength of our morals, the practice of our religious 
duties, as well as a love for the Church and respect for 
its authority. . . . These are our reasons for wishing 
to arrest the diffusion of these dangerous publications, 
capable of causing irreparable evil. By virtue of our 
episcopal powers and in accordance with the rules of the 
Index, we therefore forbid the faithful of our diocese to sell, 
buy, read, or keep this newspaper, the Ddbats. . . . This 
charge shall be read from the pulpit of all churches in 
which Mass is publicly celebrated, and in the chapter-house 
of all religious communities, on the first Sunday after its 
receipt. Given at Montreal, under our hand and seal and 


the counter-signature of our Chancellor, this twenty-ninth 
day of September ninteen hundred and three. 


Clearly the Dtbats could not withstand so definite an 
interdict. It disappeared but to reappear under a new 
name, Le Combat \ The Combat took up the same line 
as its predecessor, only to experience just the same fate ; 
it could scarcely flatter itself that it could hope for 
anything else. On the 2Oth of January 1904 the 
archbishop launched a second interdict, worded as 
follows : " On September 29, 1903, I was obliged to 
forbid the reading of the D&bats. This newspaper has 
since then continued to appear under a new title 
though in the same tone. It claims to be in its fifth 
year of publication, and the numbering of its new issues 
corresponds with that of the old. Now you all must 
understand that it was a dangerous newspaper that I 
condemned, not merely a name. In consequence, the 
journal condemned on September 29 remains condemned 
throughout the diocese whatever title may be given to 
it, unless and until its directors make submission and 
promise of amendment. Until the interdict has been 
removed, it is forbidden to buy, sell, read, or keep this 

Thus Monseigneur Bruchesi officially condemned not 
merely the Dtbats and the Combat but any future 
successor of the same character, whatever its name : 
it amounted to a general interdict, placed upon an 
entire order of ideas. As a matter of fact no successor 
appeared. There was no law to prevent the paper from 
being continued, but from the moment the archbishop 
launched his mandate it ceased to have readers. 

The interesting point about this episode is that it 
shows the immense authority wielded by the Church, 


when there is nothing to brook its will. The doctrines 
of Monseigneur Bourget and Monseigneur Bruchesi are 
not personal to them they are the doctrines of Rome, 
under Leo xm. and Pius x. as under Pius ix. In the 
Libertas Encyclical of Leo xm. they may be found clearly 
set forth. The Church claims to have the right of 
restricting freedom of every kind of worship, of speech, 
of the Press, of education, and even of the conscience. 
The Catholic clergy succeed better in Canada than 
elsewhere in carrying this programme into effect, yet 
freedom in all these things is provided for in the 
Canadian Constitution. Liberty exists by law, but not 
in reality. 1 

1 Encyclical letter of His Holiness Leo xm. to the patriarch, primates, 
archbishops, and bishops of the Catholic world on the subject of human 
liberty, June 20, 1888 (generally known as the Libertas Encyclical). 



THE claims of the Church in Canada to authority over 
the family, education, and the Press make it easy to 
understand that she is not disposed to remain neutral 
in the political struggle. Her conception of her own 
supremacy involves her participation in politics as an 
absolute duty. 

Her spokesmen have expressed their views on this 
point on many occasions. "It is impossible to deny 
that politics and religion are closely allied and that 
the separation of Church and State is an absurd and 
impious doctrine. This is especially true under a con- 
stitutional government which, by entrusting full legislative 
powers to a Parliament, places a very dangerous weapon 
a double-bladed sword in the hands of its members." 1 
Therefore, to cope with this danger, shall the Church 
take on itself the guidance of the State ? That is the 
conclusion that follows inevitably from the following 
phrase, taken from a collective pastoral letter issued 
by the Episcopate of Quebec : " The priest and the 
bishop have the right and the duty to speak not only 
to the electors and . to the candidates, but also to the 
constituted authorities" (September 22, 1875). 

1 Pastoral letter of the Bishop of Trois-Rivieres, published in \hzjournal 
de Trois- Rivieres * April 20, 1870. 



By their famous collective pastoral of 1896 on the 
subject of the schools of Manitoba, the Bishops of 
Quebec, Montreal, and Ottawa confirm this utterance, and 
assert with no uncertain voice their right to take part 
in electoral campaigns : " If the bishops, whose authority 
issues from God Himself, are the natural judges of all 
questions which touch upon the Christian faith and 
morals, if they are the acknowledged heads of a perfect 
condition of Society, sovereign in itself and standing 
above that of the State, it follows that it is in their 
province, when circumstances render it desirable, not 
merely to express generally their views and wishes in 
regard to religious matters, but also to indicate to the 
faithful the best means of attaining the spiritual ends in 
view" (May 6, 1896). 

Innumerable members of the clergy have intimated 
individually to their flocks that it is their duty to follow 
strictly the instructions of the Church in politics, in 
expressing themselves in much the same terms as the 
following, which I take from a letter written by the 
Bishop of Rimouski to a correspondent : " An elector 
who is at heart a Catholic and who is anxious to obey 
his bishop cannot say, ' This is my own opinion and I 
must vote according to my conscience,' and go against 
the order of his bishop, without sinning grievously and 
rendering himself unworthy of the Sacraments. That 
opinion of his is a culpable opinion, and his conscience 
in this matter is a false conscience ... if not in con- 
formity with the wishes and instructions set forth by 
the bishops in their pastoral " (June 12, 1896). 

Certain prelates have gone even farther than this. In 
1876, Judge Casault having cancelled two elections on the 
ground of clerical interference, the Bishop of Rimouski 
(a predecessor of the bishop cited above) did not hesitate 
to denounce as false and contrary to the teaching of the 


Church the following propositions involved in the 
judgment : 

1. That Parliament is all-powerful and entitled to 

make what laws it likes, even if they be con- 
trary to the practice of religion. 

2. That the freedom of the elector ought to be 


3. That it is within the province of the Courts of 

Law to repress what they may consider the 
abuses of the pulpit or the exercise of the 
priest's right to refuse the Sacraments. 

4. That the refusal of the Sacraments in connection 

with voting is an illegal proceeding. 1 

It should be added, however, that the Papacy has 
at times stepped in to moderate the excesses of some 
of the ecclesiastics at the instance of statesmen who 
have been too roughly assailed. At the close of the great 
Manitoba conflict in 1896, and at the instigation of 
Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who had become Premier after his 
victory, the Holy See despatched to Ottawa an envoy 
whose instructions would seem to have been that he 
should preach calm rather than combativeness. 

The clerical opposition to Sir Wilfrid Laurier at 
that time was exceedingly strong. The Bishop of Trois- 
Rivieres went so far as to attack him publicly from the 
pulpit in the Cathedral, accusing him of being a ration- 
alist and of cherishing doctrines condemned by the 

We shall deal farther on with the consequences of 
the electoral struggle of 1896. Suffice it here to recall 
the fact that the clergy lost the day. The French 
Canadians realised that the anathemas of the priests 
were too violent to be well founded. They bore in 

1 Cited by Mr. Willison, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal Party. 


mind the fact that Mr. Laurier (as he then was) was 
himself a Catholic, full of respect for the Church, and 
they felt it was absurd that it should be held a mortal 
sin for them to vote for him. The Liberals accordingly 
achieved a brilliant victory alike in the province of 
Quebec and in the rest of the colony, and the clergy 
found themselves obliged to come to terms with the 
conquerors and to reconcile themselves for some years 
to a policy of semi-abstention. 

Since 1896, in truth, the priests have taken a much 
less active part in politics. Does this mean that they 
are relinquishing their ideal of political predominance? 
The Liberals hope and believe so, but perhaps they are 
unduly optimistic. The more guarded attitude of the 
clergy in electoral affairs may be explained more plaus- 
ibly by the absence of questions of special importance 
to the Church. Their position is not less uncompromis- 
ing than it was. Let some new controversy come along 
that shall touch them closely and the priests will invade 
the platforms once again. They will bear themselves 
more discreetly than in the past, of course, for their 
unpleasant experience in 1896 has given them food for 
thought. But they will be found to be animated by the 
same conviction, energy, and determination as of yore. 

There is a passage in the Immortale Dei Encyclical 
of Leo xiii. which the Canadian bishops are glad to 
invoke : " Everything that has in it a sacred element, 
everything that bears upon the safety of the soul and 
upon the worship of God whether by its nature or by 
reason of its aim comes within the authority of the 
Church." * These lines justify, nay they ordain, the inter- 
vention of the clergy in political affairs. It would be 
vain to imagine that they have any idea of renouncing 
their right to do so. 

1 Cited in the collective charge of the bishops, May 6, 1896. 



AFTER what we have seen of the formidable organisation 
of the power of the Catholic Church in Canada, it is easy 
to understand that she must be a great factor in the 
evolution of the entire colony. It would be impossible 
to secure anything like a state of equilibrium without the 
co-operation of the Catholic clergy. England knows this 
well. From the very morrow of the conquest of Canada, 
the Church had decided on the policy it would take up, 
and she has kept to it ever since. This policy, it will be 
remembered, consists of the following three articles : 

1. Complete and final acceptance of British rule. 

2. Complete and final severance from France. 

3. The passionate defence of the integrity of the 
French Canadian race. 

The Church of Rome has never cherished any 
exclusive attachment to any one nation. When our 
defeat in Canada was seen to be irrevocable she thought 
only of providing for her own future, and securing from 
the victors the maintenance of her ancient privileges. 
This done, she ranged herself deliberately on the British 

Guided by her, the French Canadians became loyal 
subjects to the new rulers, and were soon ready to take 



part in the defence of their new country. During the 
American War of Independence they fought for England, 
and all attempts to win them over to the opposite camp 
failed completely. The Church set them an example of 
loyalty, and the priests encouraged them from the pulpits. 
In the war of 1812 the Bishop of Quebec ordered the 
offering up of public prayer for the success of the English 
cause, and the seminarists, taking up arms, mounted guard 
on the walls of the capital. Should such an eventuality 
come about again to-day, the attitude of the clergy would 
be in no way different : even against France they would 
devote themselves, body and soul, to the defence of 
British rule. 

British rule, in truth, has proved entirely to their 
taste, and a tacit understanding seems to have been 
arrived at by the two powers, civil and ecclesiastic. On 
the one hand, the Church keeps the French Canadians 
submissive, loyal, and calm. In return, the English 
Government has left her almost free to exercise her 
authority just as she may please in the Catholic part of 
the colony, which thus remains for her a sort of preserve 
rarely trespassed on by the foreigner. 

This entente may be said to constitute one of the 
most solid elements in the foundation of the structure of 
British rule in Canada. It is true that whenever her 
own interests have been at stake the Church has de- 
fended them fiercely, at the risk of destroying Canadian 
unity. But she has generally abstained from associating 
herself with insurrectionary movements in which religion 
had no stake. Thus in 1837, when Pepineau raised his 
great revolt on behalf of French liberties, the Church 
would have nothing to say to him, and took her stand 
uncompromisingly on the side of British rule. 

Her regard and respect for British sovereignty are 
complete and manifest. In her religious services she 


calls down the blessing of God upon her English rulers. 
Never a word escapes her against the King of England. 
Rarely indeed has foreign rule been accepted more 

The clergy act in the matter with their eyes open. 
True, the country parishes produce many priests who in 
their ignorance, their almost complete isolation, are 
unable to appreciate the real condition of things. To 
them there is not much difference between the two 
Frances, that of the Old World and that of the New. 
Frenchmen unalloyed, they continue in their simple 
honest fashion to detest les Anglas, as they call them 
in their picturesque Norman tongue. 

The big-wigs of the clergy do not hesitate to con- 
gratulate themselves, even in the presence of visitors 
from the Old Country on no longer belonging to France. 
They do this quite openly. " Our lot is cast in this 
country for good and all," a Canadian ecclesiastic of high 
rank once said to me. " British rule suits us perfectly. 
Thanks to it, the position of our Church in Canada is 
excellent : it has been rendered, I believe, absolutely 
secure. We are in the enjoyment of complete 
liberty. ... I do not wish to hurt your feelings, for I 
love France ; but you must allow me to say that for no 
consideration on earth would we willingly fall under her 

This kind of language can be heard daily in Canada, 
and it denotes exactly the attitude of the clerical author- 
ities. They have no particular affection for the English, 
who are Protestants and foreigners, and they dread the 
effects of English influence upon their flocks ; but they 
have a feeling of real gratitude towards the British 
Government, and they display it by their enduring 

In truth, the Catholic Church in Canada would derive 



no benefit from a revival of French rule ; on the con- 
trary, she would have much to lose. Children of the 
Revolution, we could scarcely leave them the privilege 
of their tithes or their exemption from taxation ; our 
democratic tendencies would inevitably assert themselves 
on the banks of the St. Lawrence. The result would be 
a sort of bankruptcy for the Church. No wonder the 
Canadian priests hold us in dread. 

Without the support of the priests, our compatriots 
in Canada would undoubtedly ere now have been dis- 
persed or absorbed. The village church formed a rallying- 
point for them when their own country abandoned them 
and withdrew from them even the social authorities 
round which they might have organised their resistance. 
It is the country curd who by dint of daily instruction 
has kept alive in them those modes of thought and 
manners and customs that characterise the French 
Canadian race. It is the Church that by taking under 
her care the collective interests of the people has enabled 
them to withstand successfully all attempts of the English 
at persecution or seduction. The bonds between the 
clergy and the laity in French Canada are as strong 
to-day as they were a hundred years ago. Now as then 
the maintenance of Catholicism would seem to be the 
most essential condition of the continuance of our race 
and tongue in the Dominion. 

This fact raises grave problems for the future. The 
protection of the Church is precious, but the price paid 
for it is exorbitant. Its influence has made the French 
Canadians serious, virtuous, and industrious, as well as 
prolific. Their domestic qualities are the admiration of 
all ; their health and strength show no signs of diminu- 
tion. But, on the other hand, are not the intellectual 
bondage in which the Church would keep them, the 


narrow authority she exercises, the antiquated doctrines 
she persists in inculcating, all calculated to hinder the 
evolution of the race and to handicap it in its rivalry 
with the Anglo-Saxons long since freed from the out- 
worn shackles of the past ? 

That is the question asked anxiously by all who visit 
the Dominion. But what can be done ? For either the 
French Canadians will remain strict Catholics, and thus 
find it difficult to keep pace with the rapid progress of 
their British fellow-subjects, or else they will break loose 
from the bonds of the Church and, thus losing the 
marvellous force of cohesion they derive from her and 
becoming more accessible to outside influences, they will 
suffer grave fissures in the time-honoured structure of 
their unity. That is the disquieting dilemma in which 
we are left by our study of Canadian Catholicism. 


IF Catholicism is one of the essential factors in the 
development of the French Canadians, Protestantism 
does not count for less in that of the English race in the 
Dominion. In the preceding pages we have taken note 
of the domain of the Church of Rome, and in doing so 
we have surveyed the frontiers of the rival religion. 
We have seen how clearly the lines of demarcation are 
made out, dividing the colony into two distinct regions 
separated from each other by origin, language, and creed. 

As in England and Australia and the United States, 
it is undoubtedly the Protestant religion that has had 
the chief influence upon the formation of the character 
of the English, also in Canada it has stamped itself 
so strongly alike upon the individual, upon the family, and 
upon public life, that the laws and politics of the country 
bear marks of its effect. However, as we are dealing now 
with a Church and clergy very different from the Catholic, 
the whole condition of things differs from that which we 
have just been studying. And this fact accentuates the 
contrast, already so striking, between the two Canadas. 

British Canada taken as a whole may be called a Pro- 
testant country. The Catholics, French or Irish, as we 
have seen, are in a minority, numbering only 2,229,000 out 
of 5,371,000. Subtracting some 50,000 non-Christians 
Agnostics, Jews, Japanese, and Chinese we have a total 
of 3,092,000 Protestants, nearly three-fifths of the whole. 



Quebec is the only province with a Catholic majority. 
Everywhere else the Protestant majorities are enormous. 

Inhabitants. Protestants. 

Quebec . . . 1,649,000 21,000 

Ontario . . . 2,182,000 1,800,000 

Maritime Provinces . 893,000 594,000 

Manitoba . . 255,000 219,000 

N.-W. Territory . 160,000 120,000 

British Columbia . 178,000 136,000 

Thirty years ago the future of Protestantism in the 
Far West might have been in doubt ; at that time the 
Church of Rome hoped to annex Western Canada by 
furthering emigration from Quebec. But the attractions 
of the industrial States of the new British colony were 
stronger, and to-day the hope of thus conquering Western 
Canada has been abandoned by the clergy themselves : 
they stand up firmly for the rights of the faithful in those 
parts, but they have reconciled themselves to the idea 
that the region has passed beyond their grasp. The 
French Catholic population constitutes one great island 
as it were in the lower valley of the St. Lawrence and 
an archipelago in Ontario and the Western provinces. 
Much the greater part of the colony is distinctively 

As in all the Anglo-Saxon countries, Protestantism in 
Canada is divided into a small number of large sects and an 
infinite variety of small. The Methodists, Presbyterians, 
Anglicans, and Baptists constitute nearly nine- tenths of 
the whole. 

Methodists . . . 917,000 
Presbyterians . . . 842,000 
Anglicans .... 681,000 
Baptists .... 292,000 
Other Sects . . . 360,000 


Of these smaller sects the official Census enumerates 
thirty-seven, of which the most important are the follow- 
ing : 

Lutherans .... 93,000 
Congregationalists . . 28,000 
" Disciples of Christ " . . 15,000 
Salvation Army . . . 10,000 
Adventists .... 8,000 

The smaller sects are ordinarily full of zeal and 
activity, but with a few exceptions they are lacking in 
funds and have not sufficient weight to exercise much 
influence. It is only the four larger sects that can be 
said really to count. 

The Methodists, with their 917,000 members, con- 
stitute nearly a third of the entire Protestant population 
of the Dominion. The province of Ontario, in which 
their numbers amount to 666,000, is their stronghold. 
Their strong organisation, the cohesion of all their 
branches, and their great financial resources give them a 
power and importance unsurpassed by any other of the 
non-Catholic religious bodies. 

The Methodists it is said of them alike by way 
of praise and of blame represent the respectable 
bourgeoisie, the class of people who having made the 
most of their opportunities in this world are conscious 
that they have also made satisfactory provision for 
their welfare in the next. Throughout Ontario, and 
especially in Toronto, they occupy a position of import- 
ance ; they are not the most fashionable people of the 
town, for there is an Anglican "Smart Set" which 
regards itself as taking the first place in this respect, 
but they are more solid, more wealthy, they have 
more prosperous commercial establishments and finer 
churches. At the same time, they have a very keen 


sense of their role as Englishmen and Protestants, 
having carried with them from England the conviction of 
the inevitable supremacy of their race and the indisputable 
superiority of their religion. 

Such is the twofold patrimony which they guard 
stoutly in the face of the French Canadians whom 
Providence has given them for neighbours. Canadian 
Methodism may be said to form the centre of anti- 
French, aggressive Protestantism. It is the Methodists 
who keep up the cry, " No French domination ! No 
Popery ! " We shall see presently what effect this 
state of mind has upon the elections. 

The Presbyterian Church, with its 842,000 members, 
comes next. As everywhere else, it is the Church of 
the Scotch, that prosperous, industrious, and sympathetic 
race. In Nova Scotia and Manitoba it takes the lead 
among the Protestant sects, in Ontario it comes after 
Methodism. Wherever it is to be found predominant 
it stamps the life and habits of the public with its imprint of 
somewhat gloomy sternness. Winnipeg, which comes 
especially under its influence, is one of the most puritanical 
cities in the Dominion. It is a Western city, overflowing 
with energy and cosmopolitan to the last degree, yet 
there is nothing about it of the free, light-hearted tone 
that characterises most of the other American cities of 
mushroom growth. This is particularly noticeable on 

Apart from their uncompromising morality, the 
Presbyterians are the most agreeable of companions. 
Their cordial bearing and their hospitality are pro- 
verbial ; moreover, they display a special friendliness 
towards the French, who are quick to respond. England 
has reason to regard the Presbyterians as the best of 
her colonists. 

The Church of England, with its 681,000, comes next 


in importance. It would seem not to have found in 
Canada a soil quite suited to its development. It is 
at its strongest in the provinces of Quebec and British 
Columbia ; in Ontario, it is left far behind by the Non- 
conformists. As in England, it includes two branches 
of very different, indeed almost opposite tendencies the 
one distinctly Protestant, the other with a strong leaning 
towards Rome. 

In other respects also the Church of England 
retains in Canada the characteristics which mark it at 
home. As in the Mother Country, it is above all the 
Church of the upper classes and of the poor. The 
latter are attracted to it by its pomp and ceremony, 
and by the fact that it does not call upon them to 
contribute much to its treasury. The former belong 
to it by reason of its ancient traditions and its 
claims upon them as a national institution, the Church of 
the reigning family. The same feelings hold good with 
the upper classes of Toronto, Montreal, and Victoria. 
Religious ceremonies take an important place in the 
social life of these capitals. 

The Baptists, with their 292,000, are essentially a 
middle-class body. With their narrow dogmatism, 
their strong tendency towards individualism, and their 
democratic disposition, they occupy a place of their 

Complete separation from the State is the rule with 
all these Churches. It has not been so always. Accord- 
ing to the Constitutional Act of 1791, a seventh of the 
Crown lands was to be set aside for the maintenance of 
the Protestant clergy. At first only the Established 
Church enjoyed the benefit of this privilege. In 1837, 
as the result of representations made by the Presbyterians, 
the other sects also began to have their share. But in 
1854 the Catholic, combining with the Democratic 


Party of that time, had these ecclesiastical endowments 
abolished to the advantage of the municipalities. Since 
then no branch of the Protestant Church has sought or 
received any assistance from the Government. The 
Catholic tithes still maintained in the province of Quebec 
is the only survival of the kind from the distant past. 

To all appearance the independence of these Churches 
in regard to the State has been absolutely established. 
Perhaps it would not be safe to say quite so positively 
that the State's independence of them is established to 
the same degree. The French conception of secular rule 
would seem never to have taken root in the Anglo-Saxon 
brain, and they have never been able to imagine a State 
entirely devoid of religious prepossessions. The Pro- 
testant clergy do not aim at controlling the Government 
in the ultramontane Catholic fashion, but they do aim 
at informing it with their spirit. We shall have occasion 
to note more than once in subsequent chapters and 
especially when studying the question of education that 
Canada, never having had its 1789, has no real com- 
prehension of the theory of the neutrality of the 

The Canadian Protestants give one the impression 
often that they are incapable of realising what it means 
to dispense with religious formulas : if they abandon 
one sect it is but to join another. In France there is 
a gradual transition from Protestantism into Free 
Thought. In Canada there is nothing of the kind. It 
is not good form in Canada to be irreligious. That is 
a sufficient reason to induce thousands to go regularly 
to church. Even among the poorer classes a man is 
looked at somewhat askance who does not belong to 
some one denomination ; and with the exception of 
certain mining districts in British Columbia in which 
the European tone of mind is in the ascendant, the 


English workmen and labourers are for the most part 
out and out Protestants. The Census of 1901 records 
only 4181 cases of persons declaring that they belonged 
to no religion, and only 3613 professed "agnostics," this 
word being explained in a note as comprising "atheists, 
free-thinkers, infidels, sceptics, and unbelievers." The 
Englishman is never really at ease until he is duly 

In reality, unbelief is of course to be met with in 
Canada, though it is not often openly professed. You will 
hear it admitted in smoking-rooms after a good dinner 
has given tongues their freedom. The Canadian will 
explain to you then that he is in truth an agnostic, 
having put aside the beliefs of his youth, but that it is 
preferable to keep in touch with the Church you have 
been connected with from childhood, and not to destroy 
time-honoured links for no very definite purpose. But 
these admissions are only made to intimate friends. 
To give open expression to such sentiments would be 
not only un-English and in very bad taste, but also 
a grave imprudence, for it would cost you dear. Public 
opinion would note it against you, and you would run 
the risk of being placed beyond the pale by more than 
one institution. In several of the English Canadian 
universities which depend partly for support on certain 
sects, a professor who should express anti-religious 
views would be severely reprimanded. Not that he is 
called upon to subscribe formally to any one creed. 
He is expected merely not to proclaim his agnosticism. 
It is the same thing in several of the provinces with the 
teacher who has to read prayers in the school every 

In truth these things involve a certain amount of 
real hypocrisy and some restriction upon the right of 
free speech. But Englishmen can put up with this in 


a way that would be impossible for us : they seem to 
think it quite natural to sacrifice certain personal pre- 
rogatives for the welfare of the system to which they 

The Free Thought movement, so powerful in France, 
is, so far as outward manifestations are concerned, non- 
existent in Canada. Should it come into being later, it 
may very well spread rather among the Catholics than 
among the Protestants. The Protestant English popula- 
tion are not of the kind to take the bit in their teeth ; 
the French Catholics, on the other hand, if once they 
broke loose would not be contented with half measures. 
There would be no opportunist capitulations for them. 
At present, however, the only opposition Catholicism and 
Protestantism have to cope with in Canada is from each 

The various Protestant sects have recognised the 
necessity of standing shoulder to shoulder in their 
struggle against Rome ; and it would seem as though 
upon this larger New World stage, where there is room 
for all, they have been able to forget their traditional 
jealousies. The Established Church alone holds some- 
what aloof. The others have gone so far as to talk of 
federation, and it is not impossible that this may pre- 
sently come about. 

The anti-Catholic feeling is much stronger in Canada 
than in England, partly because in the Dominion the 
Church of Rome is so much stronger and more menac- 
ing, partly because the religious conflict is intensified by 
the conflict of race. 

Being in a majority and masters of the country by 
right of conquest, the Protestants naturally wish to 
maintain their ascendency. In their efforts to this end 
they are uncompromising. In a hundred different ways 
they keep on working for it, noting anxiously and resent- 


ing the slightest advances of their rivals in the councils 
of state. Thus they have become used to looking at the 
life of the State from a denominational instead of from 
a neutral or secular point of view. Herein is to be seen 
a profound cause of the bitter and determined nature 
of political conflicts in Canada. 



IN a country like Canada the school must sooner or 
later become to a greater degree than elsewhere the 
principal stake to be struggled for by the opposing 
forces, national and religious. Therein is the frame- 
work of the future. Catholics and Protestants, French 
and English, ask themselves alike with anxiety what is 
being made of their children. Hence the intense fierce- 
ness of the discussions bearing upon this subject : what 
is at issue is not merely the lot of a Ministry, a party, a 
method of government, but the very destiny of two 
peoples and two civilisations. 

The problem of Canadian education is one of infinite 
complexity, but its essential elements are easy enough 
to set out and to grasp. We have two separate races, 
living together under the same laws, but not speaking 
the same language or practising the same religion. 
Each of these two races is so strongly attached to 
that which constitutes its individuality that it would 
not sacrifice the smallest particle of it to the cause of 
the unity of the nation. Now the dream of unity 
is cherished ardently by the British majority, which 
bears impatiently with the survival of the vanquished 
race. Naturally the minority resists, but as it cannot, 
and has no wish to secede, the adversaries are forced 


to live oh side by side as best they can in the conscious- 
ness that separation is impossible and that their union 
can never be complete. Herein is the secret of a problem 
which doubtless will never be solved to the satisfaction 
of both parties. 

The French policy is clearly defined. As it is 
essential for the future that the children should retain 
the tongue and the creed of their parents, our com- 
patriots are determined that French and the doctrines of 
Catholicism shall be taught under their own supervision 
in public schools set apart for them and subsidised by 
the State. There must be no question of secular educa- 
tion in this clearly defined and homogeneous world in 
which there are few who are not obedient servants of 
the Church. 

The Protestants, on the other hand, look with dis- 
favour upon these schools, which they accuse of being at 
once Anglophobe and clerical, and which they tolerate 
rather than accept. They regard with envy their neigh- 
bours in the United States, where the cosmopolitan 
elements are swiftly assimilated, and where public opinion 
frowns upon those sections which are disinclined to learn 
English. Above all, they detest the influence of the 
clergy, and cannot reconcile themselves to patronising 
even indirectly a system of teaching which is in the 
hands of the curds. Their predilection is in favour of 
a system of " free," " compulsory " education, which if 
not secular shall be neutral as regards the Christian 
forms of belief. 

It is easy to see that these two views cannot be 
reconciled. Wherever it is possible the English refuse 
to subsidise the Catholic schools. On their side, the 
French retain an invincible mistrust of the schools of 
their rivals, and seldom or never send their children to 
them. It was in these conditions that the Canadian 


legislator had to construct some kind of educational 
organisation. Let us glance briefly at the result. 

To begin with, so as to clear the ground, the State 
handed over to the Catholic Church or various independ- 
ent bodies the duties of providing for secondary and 
higher education. It could not free itself in the same 
way in the matter of primary education, which bears more 
closely upon the condition of the mass of the people, 
and thereby on the future of the country. However, 
here also it compromised : a general federal law being 
impossible, on account of the contrasted character of 
the provinces and of their strong feelings in regard to 
self-government, educational legislation has been left an 
essentially local affair, though under the control of the 
Parliament of Ottawa. 

This was no solution of the problem, for racial hate 
and distrust are just the same in the individual provinces 
as in the Dominion as a whole. But at least there is 
one great advantage in the arrangement : different 
methods can be applied to different difficulties. We 
shall see how. 

Let us take, for instance, a province which is 
almost entirely Anglo-Saxon, British Columbia. As the 
French element is almost non-existent here, the free, 
compulsory English school, secular to some extent but 
with a Protestant bias, will give rise to no objection. 
Just the opposite will be the case in Quebec, where 
separate denominational schools are almost the only 
possible institution, the French majority clinging to 
their Catholic establishments, while the Protestant 
minority hold aloof in theirs. In an English province 
like Ontario, in which there is a considerable French 
population, the English public school will of course 
boast the largest number of pupils, but our compatriots 
maintain their right not only to have the kind of educa- 


tion they require, but to have it subsidised. It is only 
in new regions like Manitoba, where our people are to 
be found in small numbers, that there will be difficulty 
in keeping the scales equal. The Anglo-Saxon majority, 
in its incurable dread of a clerical invasion, will be 
unable to resist the temptation to turn the schools into 
an implement to be used in the unifying of the colony. 
If the Catholics prove strong enough, they will resist, 
and there will be a sharp conflict. 

A secret desire to blend the two races together with 
an avowed fear of the power of the Church of Rome 
are the dominating motives of the English in regard 
to the schools. They deplore the fact that our language 
still survives and is still taught, but recognise with their 
habitual good sense that it can't be helped, and that after 
all it is but right and just in a country in which one- 
third of the population is of French origin. The 
Government sanctions, therefore, the giving of religious 
instruction in class after school hours by representatives 
of the different creeds. But it finds it hard to restrain 
itself when it sees the school absolutely controlled by 
the clergy. Unable to prevent this in so Catholic a 
province as Quebec, it scarcely attempts to do so. But 
in the West it feels that the Catholic Church should 
not be permitted to secure new strongholds. Thus the 
question, national and religious to start with, becomes a 
political one the moment one strong party refuses to bow 
the knee to ecclesiastical supremacy. 


THE form of education approved by the Church of Rome 
in Canada and by the French Canadians in general is to 
be found most completely realised in the province of 
Quebec. To this province, therefore, let us go in order 
to study it in both theory and practice. It accords with 
two separate determinations the one openly declared, the 
other rarely avowed, usually indeed denied, yet clearly 
perceptible. The first is in regard to the preservation 
in the school of the integrity of the race, by keeping it 
carefully isolated. The second is the maintenance of an 
attitude of deep distrust towards the State, to which the 
clergy refuse to cede the control of public education. 

It. is in this condition of mind that the clergy have 
contrived to have their schools separate, free, and de- 
nominational : separate, to preclude intercourse between 
the two races ; free, because the State has lacked the 
power and resolution necessary to take them under its 
control, and above all because the Church has combated 
any such extension of its powers ; denominational, because 
they hold that the Catholic religion is indispensable to 
the formation of Canadian civilisation, and because in this 
new France no one ever seems to have desired or even 
conceived an undenominational school free from religious 


Let us study these principles now in their application: 1 
we shall see that they have the effect of rendering the 
State weak and the Church strong. The civil power has 
not attempted to turn education into a regular branch of 
administration. It has entrusted to the heads of families, 
Catholic and Protestant, the duty of organising for 
themselves, separately, free and denominational schools. 
The provincial Government limits itself to subsidising 
the schools of both religions, proportionately to the 
number of pupils, and to exercising over them a more or 
less effective supervision. 

The functions of the central power under these 
conditions are sufficiently circumscribed. The entire 
administrative part is under the control of the Department 
of Public Instruction, carried out not by a responsible 
Minister, but by a high permanent official, safeguarded 
from political influences, who is described as the Super- 
intendent. On the other hand, side by side with the 
Department, or perhaps it would be more accurate to 
say above it, is the superior Council of Education. Its 
president ex officio is the Superintendent, and his decisions 
have to be approved by a member of the Cabinet, who in 
this instance is the Provincial Secretary or Minister of 
the Interior. 

The Council is essentially denominational in its 
composition ; it is divided, in fact, into two committees, 
corresponding with the two religions. The first includes 
ex officio the archbishops and bishops of the province, 
as well as a number of Catholic laymen nominated by the 
civil power. The second is composed of Protestant 
laymen, equal in number to the Catholic laymen, and 
also selected by the Government. In conformity with 
the spirit of the denominational system of separation, 
these two sections act independently of each other, save 

1 Lot de F Instruction publique de la province de Quebec, 1899. 


in the rare instances of their having to deal with a mixed 
case. Their unity, therefore, is factitious. It is separately 
that they decide all questions bearing upon organisation 
and discipline, make allotment of the money placed at 
their disposal, nominate the inspectors for appointment 
by the Government, and select the books which are to 
be used in the schools. 

It is easily seen that by this system the Provincial 
Secretary is made to hold an insignificant place, while 
the Department is deliberately subordinated to the 
hegemony of the Higher Council of Education, in which 
at least as far as the Catholics are concerned the 
bishops predominate without effort. 

Let us now come to the communes. Catholics and 
Protestants have their respective schools in these, but 
they have to found them themselves. The State 
only grants them an annual subvention. How- 
ever, this financial aid being insufficient, the heads 
of families have to draw upon their own resources 
in order to provide fully for the education of their 

The province is divided, therefore, into sections, 
designated as "scholastic municipalities." In each of 
these, the heads of families belonging to the religion 
professed by a majority of the inhabitants elect for a 
term of three years a "scholastic committee," which 
has to occupy itself with all matters relating to the 
schools, including the nomination of masters. To this 
end, the members of the committee are expressly em- 
powered to levy special dues upon their co-religionists. 
They constitute, in fact, a - kind of small municipal 
Council with functions limited to educational affairs and 
within the boundaries of one Church. 

The minority proceeds upon similar lines, and 
nominates regularly three Syndics ; the school they 


organise has its share also of the State subvention. In 
Quebec, of course, the majority in these scholastic 
municipalities is nearly always Catholic. 

In principle, the education is obligatory, but has to 
be paid for. In practice, however, it is free and optional : 
free, because the school fees are insignificant, and those 
who fail to pay are never excluded ; optional, because 
although it is the rule that all children from seven to 
fourteen must be sent to school, there exists no effective 
method of exercising compulsion upon neglectful or 
recalcitrant parents. 

The school involves a certain submission to the 
laws of the country, though it can be described without 
inaccuracy as free, separate, and denominational. It is 
free inasmuch as it is not subject to any control from 
the State and enjoys the most far-reaching rights. 
There are many clerical establishments, moreover, 
founded outside the jurisdiction of the communal 
method, which solicit no subvention and which refuse 
to submit to any kind of supervision from the Superior 
Council, however benevolently disposed. 

From the point of view of the relations between the 
French Catholics and the English Protestants, the 
educational system of Quebec has produced the best 
results : the two sets of schools coexist without fear of 
conflict or dispute, because they have no points of contact. 
The situation is exactly that of two separate nations 
kept apart by a definite frontier and having as little 
intercourse as possible : that is the price of the peace 
which prevails in the schools of Quebec. 

The people of Quebec take legitimate pride in this 
condition of things, the outcome to a great degree of 
their calmness and wisdom. We could share their 
content unreservedly only that in order to produce this 
state of equilibrium they have had to abdicate to the 


Church some of the most essential rights of the State 
in regard to education. 

It is easy to note that the whole of this educational 
system has the effect of leaving everything in the hands 
of the clergy. None can deny that in the province of 
Quebec the political power is wielded by a majority re- 
gardful of the Catholic religion, yet the Church will not 
permit this majority to control, I will not say the whole 
field of public instruction but even that- of primary 
education. Her doctrine is that the State may co-operate 
but cannot act in the matter independently. 

That is why the Church will not have at any price 
a Minister of Public Instruction who might develop into 
a force rivalling the Higher Council, and perhaps sup- 
planting it eventually. It prefers a mere official like the 
Superintendent, whom it can keep in his place. In 1899 
there was question of replacing the Superintendent by 
a member of the Cabinet. The Marchand Liberal 
Ministry was in favour of the reform, and had embodied 
it in their general scheme for the remodelling of the Law 
of Education. The Church's opposition was downright 
and decisive : a telegram from Rome called upon 
Marchand to abandon the idea. And the power of the 
Church is so strong, even with the Liberals in Canada, 
that the Premier had to give way. 

Under the actual system there can be no disputing 
the fact that all impulse comes from the Higher Council, 
dominated by the bishops. As they form half the 
Assembly, they have only to convince one or two of the 
lay members in order to secure a majority. Naturally 
they will use all their energies to resist any change 
calculated to alter an arrangement so favourable to 

In the communes the clerical influence is not less 
manifest, though not officially recognised. The members 


of the committees are rarely elected without the approval 
of the curt of the parish. The heads of family are 
usually not very well educated men ; they confine their 
activities for the most part to the discussion of expendi- 
ture and administration. The curd, therefore, even if he 
be not himself a member of the committee, becomes 
naturally enough the power behind it. 

The selection of teachers, for instance, an all- 
important matter, can scarcely be attended to without 
him. It is the committee that nominates the teacher, 
but in most cases the candidate favoured by the curd 
stands the best chance, as is only logical after all, consider- 
ing that the school is a Catholic one. As there is nothing 
in the law to impede education by religious communities, 
the masters and mistresses are in many cases members 
of various orders, without diplomas. The efforts of 
certain Liberal deputies to amend this archaic aspect of 
the educational system have been resolutely opposed by 
the Church. 

The inspectors themselves, nominated by the 
Lieutenant-Governor, but appointed by the Higher 
Council, cannot well afford to go against the Episcopate. 
They constitute a body of active, intelligent, zealous 
men, worthy of the highest praise ; their work is hard, 
especially when they have to make their way over wide 
stretches of country in the bitter colds of winter. Their 
provinces measured in square miles are immense, but 
their liberty of action is greatly circumscribed, for they 
are forced to represent the Church almost as much as the 

We have shown the undeniable advantages of these 
schools from the point of view of general peace and 
quiet. From the standpoint of education pure and 
simple, the results perhaps are less satisfactory. They 
reveal a double peril the indifference of the com- 


mittees and the unprogressive spirit of the Catholic 

The committees give proof of indifference only too 
frequently. The members are most worthy, honest, well- 
intentioned peasants, but they do not always know what 
should be done, and are not always ready to make the 
sacrifices called for. In cases when expenditure is really 
needed they are all for economy, and knowing that the 
Government cannot counteract their inertia, they pay no 
attention to the recommendations addressed to them. 
" These gentlemen don't' care a straw for the authorities, 
and for the education laws," writes an inspector, 
M. Bouchard. " They don't hesitate to declare that they 
have no need of the Government and its laws, and that 
they are going to conduct their educational arrangements 
just as seems good to them, without regard for anybody." 
The result is that the schools are often very ill kept 
for lack of means, and the children are the first to 

The inspectors are almost unanimous in complaining 
also that the teachers are underpaid. The committees 
seek to effect economies first by replacing masters by 
mistresses, then by cutting down the salaries even of 
these. Out of timidity in regard to the elections, 
Parliament has not ventured to impose a minimum salary. 
A minimum salary of 500 francs was asked for in vain. 
In certain communes the committees make a point of 
keeping the salaries of the women teachers below this 
figure. M. Vien, 1 an inspector, tells of cases in which 
women teachers who were audacious enough to ask for 
500 francs were threatened that they might not be re- 
engaged, because they were held to have set a bad 
example to the others. 

1 Rapport du surintendant de Finstruction publique de la province de 
Quebec pour fannfe 1902-1903. 


The level of the corps of teachers has been lowered. 
" The number of women teachers without diplomas," 
writes another inspector, M. LeVesque, "is on the increase 
unfortunately. Is this because there is any lack of 
certificated teachers ? I believe not. What then is the 
cause ? I do not hesitate to say that if an adequate 
salary were offered, the number of insufficiently qualified 
teachers would sensibly diminish." In these circum- 
stances it is not surprising that recourse should be had 
to nuns who require no diploma. Official reports point to 
this tendency. M. Guay, for instance, writes : " The idea 
of entrusting the management of schools to nuns is 
growing greatly in favour." 

In practice, the law produces very unsatisfactory 
results, therefore, as regards teachers. Out of 279 
masters, 50 are without diploma ; out of 505 1 women 
teachers, 733 are without it. While in addition to these 
5330 lay teachers there are 4331 members of re- 
ligious orders (1499 men and 2832 women) who are 
not certificated. The guarantees of good education 
seem very greatly weakened by these facts. But the 
inspectors declare themselves to be powerless in view of 
the parsimony of the school committees. The State 
would have to intervene in some decisive fashion for the 
situation to be remedied, but it is to be feared that 
this intervention will not take place for the Church 

The other danger lies in the conservative tone of 
Catholic education. The Church is incapable of freeing 
itself from certain known, traditional defects in the giving 
or even the inspiring of instruction. Education as such 
never comes first with the Church : her first care is 
always to retain her influence. Hence her real exagger- 
ated fear of the free use of books ; hence the prominence 
given to the Catechism in class ; hence the antiquated 


school books she places in the hands of the children. 
True, there is something very charming about these 
little country schools of Quebec, so French in'their whole 
aspect, with the comely Norman faces of the children, 
their masters so neat and correct in demeanour, and 
somewhere in the vicinity their sympathetic curt. But 
they are suggestive of reaction rather than of progress. 
And reaction is not to be excused in the America of 



WHILE the French Canadians cling to their form of 
education independent, denominational, and separate 
the English, from similar motives, lean more and more 
towards the State school free, compulsory, and tending 
towards undenominationalism. 

The reasons for this are numerous and far-reaching. 
In the first place, the Protestants have not the Catholic 
mistrust of the State, and their clergy do not seek to 
replace the civil power. In the second place, the various 
sects, by reason of their divergences, are almost obliged 
to unite upon the basis of a certain neutrality, it being 
impossible for each small chapel to have an educational 
arrangement of its own : hence a kind of semi-secular 
system, which partakes of Christianity whilst excluding 
all dogma. Finally at least in the more completely 
Anglo-Saxon provinces of the West subsidised denom- 
inational education does not commend itself at all to the 
English-speaking majority, who are more anxious about 
the assimilating of those outside their fold than about 
the perpetuation of their own individuality : whence 
their attitude of disfavour towards the French Catholic 

To describe in detail the educational system of the 
different English provinces would be a long and difficult 



matter. It will suffice for our purposes to indicate its 
principal features, drawing attention to such local varia- 
tions as call for remark. 1 

The general principles to be found underlying the 
whole are as follows : the State directs and controls the 
work of instruction, which it subsidises by means of more 
or less important grants to the local organes. The 
central administrative body has for its head a responsible 
Minister, aided by a Higher Council, in part nominated 
by the Government, in part elected, but of which the 
clergy are never members ex officio as in Quebec. The 
Departments of Public Instruction carry out their duties 
without any obstruction from the clergy on the contrary, 
with their help. 

The part played by the central administrative body 
remains a very limited one, however, for we are in a 
decentralised country. The schools are organised in the 
communes, on the spot. School municipalities analogous 
to those already described are constituted, which nominate 
committees " Boards of Trustees" whose powers are 
very extensive, and include the appointment of the head- 
master, who has of course to be provided with an official 

The subsidised denominational schools exist in Ontario 
by virtue of the Confederation Act of 1867, which 
guarantees their safety under certain reservations. In 
the West, the Catholic minority retain the right to have 
their own schools, but generally speaking this is subject 
to their being conducted on secular lines and subjected 
to thoroughgoing inspections. In these conditions 
separate education loses a great deal of its significance. 
Recourse has had to be had to special compromises, 
sometimes almost illegal, to satisfy the violent appeals 
which have been made on this subject. In the following 

1 Cf. Bourinot's How Canada is Governed. 


chapter we shall undertake a study into the complex and 
difficult subject of these conflicts. 

The distinctive point about the attitude of the State 
in the English provinces is that it lays claim firmly to 
the right of supervision over subsidised schools of all 
kinds, and to that of enforcing its authority without let 
or hindrance from any other power. The inspectors, 
who are kept in hand, acquire in this a preponderating 
influence. Finally, the school is free and compulsory. 

To speak now of the most burning of all problems 
that of religious instruction in the school. First of all, it 
should be noted that there is no restriction in Canada upon 
the teacher's freedom, and that in consequence denomina- 
tional establishments have no obstacles in the way of their 
progress : the truth of this is contested by none. The 
points under discussion are somewhat different : in the 
first place, it is to be seen whether the provincial Govern- 
ments will consent to subsidise the schools of the minority, 
even when they are frankly denominational ; secondly, 
whether the public schools of the majority shall officially 
provide for the teaching of any form of religion in 
other words, whether they shall be denominational or 

The first question, as I have said, has been answered 
in the affirmative by the Eastern provinces, but in the 
West public opinion is all against the subsidising of 
Catholic education. 

The second question has been answered by a com- 
promise by the creation of a kind of semi-secular educa- 
tion in keeping with a very English and quite un-French 
conception of religion and neutrality. 

There are, of course, orthodox Protestants, especially 
members of the Church of England, who do not approve 
of the exclusion of their dogmas from the classroom. 
They may be heard to condemn the godless school as 


passionately as the Catholics, for they refuse to recognise 
the independent existence of profane knowledge. But 
these devout malcontents are few in number and wield 
very little influence. The majority of the Protestant heads 
of families, taking a practical view of the problem, realise 
that it is a difficult matter to establish a basis of religious 
beliefs such as will satisfy all sects. They know, too, that 
child and pastor may find opportunities of meeting out of 
class hours, either at home or in the church, or even in the 
school itself. In short, they treat the matter as one of 
fact and convenience, and not as one of principle, as do the 
Catholics. They do not hesitate, therefore, to exclude from 
their system all kinds of dogmatic instruction. And this 
first part of their reasoning leads them towards secularism. 

But they stop en route. They have shown their 
willingness to ignore the difference of creeds. According 
to them, the schools should be undenominational that is, as 
far removed from Baptist teaching as from Presbyterian, 
from Methodism as from the tenets of the Church of 
England. But what they aim at is not a secular system, 
for they wish to retain a Christian character Protestant 
up to a certain point in the teaching. In the West, 
this religious veneer is almost altogether dispensed with ; 
but it remains in general use, and responds to the desires 
of parents who wish to have their children brought up in 
such an atmosphere. 

In order to impart to the school this Protestant- 
Christian tone, without the intrusion of dogma, recourse 
is had almost invariably to the same methods. In 
Ontario 1 the class begins and ends each day with a 
prayer and a reading from the Bible without explanation 
or commentary. Catholic children attending the school 
need not be present at these proceedings. Ecclesiastical 

1 " The doctrines of no Church are taught, but the principles of Christ- 
anity form an essential feature of the daily exercises." 


doctrines do not form part of the school course, but the 
general principles of Christianity are brought into the 
scheme of instruction. Imperceptibly the influence of 
religion is thus introduced, and that is what the parents 
wish. In addition, ministers of religion are free to 
gather together in the schoolroom, after the classes 
are over, the children of any parents who so desire. 

In Manitoba the prayer is said only once a day at 
the end of class, and then only if a majority of the 
Trustees so decide. Readings from the Bible are 
limited to certain passages indicated by the Higher 
Council of Public Instruction. After 3.30 p.m. the 
schoolrooms are open to members of the clergy of all 
denominations. In British Columbia matters are sim- 
plified still further. There the master is at liberty, 
if he wishes, to recite the Our Father every morning 
and evening. 

Thus the English Canadian school aims at secularisa- 
tion, but does not attain to it completely. As I have 
said before, the English rarely understand the meaning 
of secularisation. They think it " respectable " to make 
some show of deference towards Christianity, which is 
the religion of most Anglo-Saxons. Not that they would 
hurt anyone's susceptibilities ! None could have more 
respect than they for private convictions. Only it is bad 
form to fly in the face of the general feeling. It is a 
matter of good breeding something to be regulated by 
one's British instincts. 

And, in practice, things always arrange themselves, 
and there are not many troublesome protests from the 
conscientious individual. " What would happen," I once 
asked a school inspector in Ontario, " if a master refused 
to read the Bible on the ground that he did not believe 
in it ? " The reply was very English. " We should say 
to him, 'You are not asked to believe in it, you are 


only asked to read it.' ' Obviously, in ninety-nine cases 
out of a hundred the teacher, even though a sceptic, will 
agree to read. 

Another characteristic of the English school is the 
very keen national spirit that flourishes in it. Public 
opinion (by a majority if not unanimously) decides that 
the boys shall have instilled in them a thoroughgoing 
Anglo-Saxon British patriotism. In the United States 
the master is an active agent in the work of assimilation. 
The English Canadians are aware of this, and are not 
less anxious than their neighbours to mould all the 
diverse types of immigrants flowing into Canada from 
Europe into a single racial type. The future of the 
Dominion is at stake. This is precisely the reason why 
the French, who do not wish at any price to be absorbed, 
have so deep a distrust of the distinctively English 
public school. 

We are now in a position to compare the school 
systems of both races. They have one point in common, 
but only one : both are national in spirit. That is to say, 
that the one seeks to produce French Canadians, the other 
English Canadians. So long as the two races continue 
to represent two separate currents that will not converge, 
it is to be foreseen that all efforts to bring about mixed 
education are bound to fail. 

Both schools also are permeated by religion. But 
here the apparent analogy covers a profound difference. 
The English school is really not denominational, while 
the French school clearly is. Education in the English 
school is not in the hands of the clergy. Individual 
ministers of religion are permitted at certain hours to enter 
the classrooms, but their calling gives them no privilege, 
no place in the educational hierarchy. They are neither 
rivals nor opponents of the civil power. 


THE educational problem has provoked some of the most 
bitter conflicts Canada has known. The school question 
in Manitoba in 1896 and the school question in the 
North- West Territories in 1905 stand out in the history 
of the Dominion as two very perilous episodes, and serve 
to remind all those who are prone to forget it that the 
unity of the colony is continually endangered by racial 
and religious rivalries which show no sign of being 
moderated by the march of time. 

A mixed province, but with a great Protestant 
majority, Manitoba could boast until 1890 of a very 
liberal system of education. Catholics and Protestants 
had each their own separate and subsidised schools as in 
Quebec. State control existed only in theory. The 
heads of families were able, therefore, with the help of 
Governmental grants in aid, to see that their children 
were educated according to their ideas. 

The Protestants of Manitoba came to have strong 
feelings in regard to the frankly clerical tone of the 
French schools. Their ambition was to bring about the 
racial unity of their province, to make of it a distinct- 
ively Anglo-Saxon country, by assimilating all the foreign 
elements as quickly as possible. Consequently they 
experienced a growing disinclination to protect even 
indirectly a form of education which tended in the 
opposite direction. 



It was in this spirit of intolerance that the law was 
passed in 1890 which entirely transformed the system 
then in operation. A Department of Public Instruction 
was created, and all the public schools were placed under 
its strict control ; the books in use were made a matter 
for effective supervision ; finally, religious instruction was 
rigorously confined to certain hours of the day and ceased 
to be compulsory, the denominational character of 
the schools thus vanishing altogether. The Catholics 
retained their right to keep their own schools going 
separately, but failing their acceptance of the provisions 
of the new law, they ceased to be subsidised. This was 
a direct blow at the Church, and thus at the French race, 
which rallied sturdily round its priests. 

There was intense excitement naturally amongst the 
French Catholics, and the conflict assumed its veritable 
character that of a racial and religious war. Threatened 
in the very stronghold of their power, the French clergy 
put themselves at the head of the resistance, and began 
an ardent, persistent, untiring campaign. 

They contested first of all the legality of the new law. 
The Act of Union by which Manitoba became part of 
the Confederacy (1870) forbade the Provincial Parliament 
to bring in any measure prejudicial to the rights or 
privileges of the denominational schools existing legally 
or de facto at the moment of the Union. This provision 
was invoked before the Canadian tribunals, then by way 
of appeal before the Privy Council of England. But 
this Supreme Court confirmed the constitutional character 
of the law of 1890, declaring that the Act of Union had 
not been violated, inasmuch as the actual existence of 
the schools was not menaced, but only their subvention. 

In this first passage of arms the Protestants triumphed, 
but their adversaries did not admit themselves beaten. 
The Manitoba Act of Union establishes the right of 


appeal to the Governor-General against any act or decision 
of the Legislature prejudicial to the rights or privileges of 
the Protestant or Catholic minorities in regard to educa- 
tion. 1 They made use of this, and this time the justice 
of their contention was recognised ; but the Manitoba 
Parliament absolutely refused to submit. It became 
necessary for the Federal Government to recall the fact 
that by Paragraph 3 of Article 22 of the Manitoba Act 
they had the power to bring before the Federal Parlia- 
ment a reparatory law by which the Confederacy substi- 
tuted itself for the refractory province. This law was 
proposed by the Conservative Ministry in power in 1896. 
But the Chamber, having come to the end of its mandate, 
had to separate before it was put to a vote, and the 
general elections came on at this stage, in the midst of 
great excitement. 

The positions taken up by either side were curiously 
confused. The one thing that stood out clearly was 
the violent, passionate, implacable antagonism aroused 
between Catholics and Protestants : the former saw 
themselves deprived of their subvention, and no promise 
of minor concessions could appease them ; the latter 
gave themselves up once again to the familiar anti- 
Catholic and anti-clerical campaign, declaring angrily 
that the Confederacy should be Protestant or 

But the two parties, as usual, managed to confuse 
the issues. In order to curry favour with the many 
adherents they believed themselves to have in the French 
portions of the colony, the Conservative Government had 
attempted the solution of the question by means of the 
lot rtmtdiatrice, and in consequence the Catholic clergy 
supported it to a man. The Liberals took up a different 
position, that of loyalty to the principle of provincial 

1 Manitoba Act, 1870. 


autonomy ; but as they must somehow manage to get 
the Catholic vote, they argued that through the mediation 
of their leader, Mr. Laurier, they would secure by means 
of diplomacy what the Conservatives would assuredly 
never secure by recourse to the clumsy expedient of 
action by the Federal Government. 

Stale from their long exercise of power and com- 
promised by the excess of zeal shown by the bishops on 
their behalf, the Conservatives were beaten, and the first 
care of the new Liberal Government was to enter into 
unofficial negotiations with the Manitoba Ministry with 
a view to terminating this conflict by means of com- 
promise. The personal prestige of Mr. Laurier, the 
Premier, won the Catholics a solution which probably no 
other man could have secured them. Without being 
rescinded (the Manitoba Government would not have 
consented to this), the law of 1890 was cleverly attenuated 
and its spirit entirely changed. This was brought about 
by the Laurier amendment, of which the following were 
the chief points : 

1. In each school district the parents were to 

nominate three Trustees, who in their turn 
were to select a master from the candidates 
provided with diplomas from the Government. 

2. The study of English to be obligatory, but 

French also to be taught if there are ten 
children of French origin in the school, and 
if their parents express their wish to this 

3. The school to be neutral in regard to religion, 

but to be open after 3.30 p.m. to the priest 
if it contains at least ten Catholic children 
(twenty-five in the towns), and if the parents 
wish it. 


4. Finally (a concession not made until a later 
date), one of the inspectors as a conciliatory 
measure to be chosen from among the French 

This amendment of the law of 1 890 was a magnificent 
diplomatic victory for the Liberal leader. Thanks to him, 
the Catholics have secured conditions which their official 
champions, the Conservatives, could not have won for 
them. If their independent schools have not been 
restored in Manitoba by law, they have been almost 
restored in practice : it is the parents (which means 
the curf) who appoint the master ; the teaching of 
French is guaranteed ; the curt has right of entry to 
the school every day. Finally, the supervision by the 
State is no longer unsympathetic, being no longer 
entrusted to an English Protestant. 

The French generally are satisfied with this com- 
promise. Their clergy, however, continue to protest on 
the ground of principle : our denominational schools have 
not been given back to us, they object. We wish to 
have the right to adhere to our practice of recourse to 
prayer at all times of the day, and we cannot admit that 
any form of education is independent that is subjected to 
close supervision by the State. Monseigneur Langevin, 
Archbishop of St. Boniface, spoke out more strongly 
still. "We are being treated like the Irish or the 
Russians," he exclaimed. " What we demand is (i) the 
control of our schools, (2) school administration every- 
where, (3) Catholic history books and readers, 
(4) Catholic inspectors, (5) Catholic masters selected by 
us ; (6) we pay our own school tax, and are liable to 
no taxation for schools not our own." * 

But in spite of such protestations the clergy, as a 

1 Cited in Lavisse and Rambaud's Histoire Gtntrale, vol. xii. 


matter of fact, accommodated themselves to the new 
situation, especially since Leo XIIL, while reserving the 
question of doctrine, unofficially recommended peace. 
They resign themselves, therefore, to an opportunist 
policy, which in the long-run is not wholly unfavourable to 
them. A priest of Winnipeg made to me privately the 
following avowal : " After all, we are able to exercise our 
influence sufficiently, for the Government has become 
conciliatory. We should be almost satisfied if we could 
only feel secure about the future." 

It was inevitable that a similar crisis should be 
produced some day in the North- West Territories, where 
may be found the same mixture of creeds and races. 
The entry of Alberta and Saskatchewan into the Union 
as autonomous provinces in 1905 was almost bound to 
bring about this new crisis, because in giving a Constitu- 
tion to the two new States the Federal Parliament was 
called upon to provide for the rights of minorities in regard 
to education. 

On February 20, 1905, Sir Wilfrid Laurier 
submitted to the Ottawa House of Commons Bills 
giving their Constitutions respectively to Alberta and 
Saskatchewan. 1 A Frenchman and a Catholic, entirely 
free from the intolerance that marks the English 
Protestant, anxious above all for a peaceful solution of 
the difficulty, he showed a strong disposition to provide 
generously for the rights' of the Catholic minority. 
Article 16 of his Bill, referring back to the Federal Law 
of 1875, which had provisionally established the govern- 
ment of the North- West Territories (the region included 
in the two new provinces), reserved to the Catholics the 
right to have their separate schools throughout. The 

1 An Act to establish and provide for the government of the province 
of Alberta. An Act to establish and provide for the government of the 
province of Saskatchewan. 


Premier defended this arrangement by recalling the fact 
that the British North America Act had guaranteed to the 
minorities the confirmation of the educational rights and 
privileges of which they were possessed at the moment 
of their entry into the Confederacy. According to him, 
the law of 1875 should therefore be final. " Parliament," 
he said in his speech of February 22, 1905, "having 
introduced in 1875 the system of the separate school, it 
is introduced for ever. The question is not to be raised 
to-day whether the system be good or bad. It is the 
law." The Bills and these remarks gave entire satisfac- 
tion to the Catholics. As for the Protestants, they did 
not realise at first the full extent of the favours involved 
in the Premier's interpretation, and even his English 
colleagues did not protest at the time of the introduction 
of the Bills. 

However, Sir Wilfrid Laurier seemed to overlook 
an important fact which was to prove decisive : the law 
of 1875 had been replaced by the " ordinances nl of 1892 
and 1901, which had established quite a different system 
of education a Normal School submitting all its masters 
to an identical training ; close supervision of the school 
books in use ; effective inspection ; above all, complete 
secularisation of the school from 8 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. 
The separated school was allowed to survive, but it was 
no longer either denominational or independent. The 
legality of these enactments had been contested, but in 
vain. They had therefore definitively become law. 

Thus Laurier's Bills would have resulted merely in 
reviving the old school regime of twenty years before. 
When the English Canadians realised this, they rose 
against them as one man. Mr. Sefton, Minister of the 

1 In the North- West Territories the Acts of the Legislature were thus 


Interior, an influential leader of the English-speaking 
Liberals of the West, gave in his resignation at once, and 
Mr. Fielding, Minister of Finance, threatened to do the 
same. Immediately the question assumed its real import- 
ance, and conflict broke out again violently between 
Catholics and Protestants. The Liberal Party was 
shaken to its foundations, to such a point that in order to 
avert a crisis which would have disorganised the whole 
political life of the colony, the Government was forced 
to modify the first interpretation that had been given of 
its system. 

On March 20, 1905, the Premier himself brought 
forward an amendment to his own Bill. The new 
reading proposed for the first paragraph of his new 
Article 16 went as follows : " Nothing in these laws (the 
future laws of the provinces) shall be to the prejudice of 
any right or privilege in regard to the separate schools 
enjoyed by any class of persons at the time of the passing 
of the present Act." 

The meaning of this amendment is quite clear. It 
guarantees to the Catholic minority only the separated 
schools as recognised by the law of 1901. The Ministers 
who had objected to the first form of this article agreed 
to support it as thus amended. The period of acute strife 
was over, and the Government found its action improved 
by 140 votes against 59. 

It was, however, far indeed from having achieved a 
victory. The lack of unity in the Liberal Party was 
manifest to all, and it was only a similar lack in the 
Opposition that saved the Cabinet from downfall. The 
persistence of racial and religious rivalry had asserted 
itself in disquieting fashion. In the midst of calm, within 
a few months after a magnificent triumph at the polls, it 
was enough for the old question of the schools to be 
raised for the whole Protestant population to rise in arms 


against the Catholic Church. The Confederacy remains 
at the mercy of these violent storms, and it is to 
demonstrate the all but impossibility of finding organic 
and definitive solutions to Canadian educational problems 
that I have sought to describe these two grave conflicts 
in Manitoba and the North- West. 


IN the colleges and universities in which the ruling 
classes of Canada get their training we shall find the 
same methods, the same tendencies, and the same 
motives at work as in the primary schools. We shall 
see, too, on a more restricted field, the same passionate 
defence on the part of the two races of their forms of 
civilisation and views of life and ideals. Thus secondary 
and higher education in Canada is the reverse of a unify- 
ing institution. The two currents are indeed so distinct 
in regard to them that there may be said to be no conflict, 
for the reason that there is no contact. Let us study in 
turn the two forms of establishment in which the character 
of the two kinds of Canadian youth is given its shape. 

In the French parts of Canada the State has made 
no effort to take in hand the management of secondary 
education. It has handed over this duty to the Catholic 
Church, which has of course accepted it as one of its 
natural functions, and would have strongly opposed its 
being undertaken by the civil power. 

For the moment the Church has it entirely in her 
hands. The 19 French colleges in the province of 
Quebec are all denominational, and lay masters are 
in a very small minority, numbering only 32 as 
compared with 527 clerical or monastic. 1 The French 

1 Rapport du surintendant de Finstruction publique de la Province de 
Quebec pour Fannee 1902-1903. 


public approves of this entirely, regarding members 
of the priesthood and the religious orders as the 
best qualified educators of youth. This being so, 
naturally the politicians do not attempt to burden 
themselves with a task for which they admit themselves 
ill equipped. As the immense majority of girls also 
are educated in convents, the Church has full command 
of the avenues of the future. 

The colleges provide two forms of education- 
classical and commercial. The former includes instruc- 
tion in the dead languages. In this the Church has 
always excelled. The parents set great store by these 
literary studies, for they give access for their sons to the 
medical and legal professions, which are well thought 
of in Canada. In 1903, out of 6174 pupils, 3757 
followed the classical course, while 2147 were content 
with the commercial, which corresponds rather with our 
cycle moderne. This shows how much attached the 
French Canadians are to our time-honoured educational 

Secondary education in Canada impresses one 
chiefly, indeed, by its fidelity to somewhat antiquated 
traditions. Its colleges recall our Catholic institutions 
of former days : their outward aspect is the same, the 
arrangement of the classes is the same, there is the same 
indescribable atmosphere of la vieille France. Some of 
the buildings are superb. You can see that there is 
no lack of money and that you are in the midst of a 
wealthy world. But the whole impression you derive 
is that of clericalism. 

I was much impressed, for instance, when assist- 
ing on the 29th of November at the Sainte- Marie 
College in Montreal, on the occasion of the fiftieth 
anniversary of the proclamation of the Dogma of the 
Immaculate Conception. The Jesuits, who manage this 


college, had organised the most imposing of ceremonies. 
The Apostolic Delegate from the Vatican was to be seen 
in the centre of a great concourse, surrounded by many im- 
portant political personages. The programme, inscribed 
with the words " Gloire a Elmmaculee" consisted almost 
entirely of religious compositions, hymns, recitations, 
dialogues, pieces de cir Constance, etc. 1 I heard the "sects 
of Mahomet and Luther" come in for condemnation, 
and "the two great Catholic poets of the nineteenth 
century, Verlaine and Coppde," for praise. All but 
obedient disciples were out of place at such a festival. 

Higher education is not less denominational in its 
character. It is principally represented by the Laval 
University at Quebec and by its branch establishment 
at Montreal. In 1663, Monseigneur de Laval, the first 
Bishop of Quebec, established in the capital a great 
seminary, to which five years later he added another 
smaller one. It was from this that the Laval University 
took its origin in 1852. At this date, by royal charter, 
the British Government recognised officially the new 
establishment of higher education, to which Pius ix. 
accorded by the Bull Inter varias sollicitudines, 
"1'erection canonique solennelle avec les privileges 
les plus e"tendus." By virtue of this Bull, the univer- 
sity had for patron at the Vatican the Cardinal Prefect 
of the Propaganda. The duty of supervising matters 
of doctrine and discipline is entrusted to a Higher 
Council, composed of the Episcopate of the province 
of Quebec, under the presidency of the archbishop. 
According to the royal charter, the archbishop 
is a permanent visitor of the university, with a 
voice on all regulations and all appointments, while 
the duties of rector belong ex officio to the head of 

1 Seance jubilaire offerte par le college Sainte-Marie (Montreal) a Son 
Excellence Mgr Sbaretti, delegue" apostolique, le 29 Nov. 1904. 


the great seminary. The branch university at Montreal, 
inaugurated in 1878, is almost independent of the parent 
institution, but its organisation is built up on a similar 

As is evident, then, the great French Canadian 
universities are really an integral part of the Church. 
It is only natural, therefore, that from the outset it should 
have been placed "under the special protection of the 
Blessed Virgin and have chosen for its file patronale the 
Feast of the Immaculate Conception." Nor is it a matter 
for surprise that in 1873 it should have been " consecrated 
solemnly to the Sacred Heart of Jesus." In its strictly 
Catholic character it exactly meets the needs of the 
inhabitants of the province. If, therefore, we are to 
judge it impartially, it is important not to separate it from 
its environment. 

Fully to appreciate, indeed, the charm of this ancient 
institution, you must have visited the historic buildings 
of the great seminary towering aloft from the rock of 
Quebec, dominating the whole city and the wide reaches 
of the St. Lawrence. You must have made your way 
along its dark interminable corridors, lit up here and 
there by narrow windows through which you catch 
sudden glimpses of the wonderful waterway with its 
background of distant mountains. You must have seen 
passing through its ante-chambers and sombre, old- 
world classrooms the long processions of clerical-looking 
students, in their curious old-fashioned uniforms long 
blue frock-coats, with emerald-green scarves. Above all, 
you must have conversed in their neat and cosy little cell- 
like studies with the clerical masters themselves, so French 
in their utterance yet so typically Canadian, so intensely 
Catholic and yet so far removed from the Catholicity 
of our present-day France. Only thus can you take in, 
as from the personality of the whole place, the strength 


of those traditions in which this race is so steeped that 
it would feel orphaned were it bereft of the protecting 
arms of Rome. 

The instruction given at the Laval University is 
comprised chiefly in the three Faculties of theology, law, 
and medicine. A polytechnic school is attached to the 
University of Montreal. As to the Faculty of Arts, 
that exists only in an embryonic stage. Disinterested 
study for study's sake can scarcely flourish in Canada, 
not because the Canadians are incapable of it but because 
they cannot afford to devote several years of their life 
to the acquisition of a culture which can be of no 
immediate use to them. Though well-to-do as a rule, 
they are not rich. Forced for the most part to earn 
their own livelihood, they make haste to take up some 
career. Therefore, very wisely, the university aims 
principally at turning out practical men lawyers, 
physicians, engineers, merchants. 

However, as the masters are under the influence of 
tradition, at once classical and Catholic, they find it 
difficult to free themselves from an exaggerated respect 
for the dead languages and out-worn methods. The 
consequence is that, without being able to pretend to 
real distinction in literature or science, they do not 
succeed in giving their students the really practical 
education of which the Anglo-Saxon youth has the 
advantage, and which they themselves are the first to 
declare essential to the progress of the French Canadian 

This is the weak point in their methods, and we 
can appreciate the weakness all the more that we have 
had to reproach ourselves on the same head. Granted 
that the Laval University can turn out good lawyers 
and doctors, it must be admitted that it is less successful 
in regard to men of business. Now it is in this respect 


above all that our race calls for development in Canada, 
under pain of being left behind by rivals better equipped 
and with more energy and money. To abandon the 
scientific teaching of agricultural and industrial know- 
ledge to the English universities in Canada would be 
equivalent to throwing up the sponge. France is ready 
to second the French Canadians in the pacific contest so 
essential to their welfare. Why do they not profit more 
by the assistance our Minister of Public Instruction 
has so often offered them, and is always so ready to 
accord ? 

With its work of instruction the Laval University 
combines a work of education in the strict meaning of 
the word. The Church makes a special point of 
watching over the students entrusted to her care, not 
least those who have passed through Laval. She is 
conscious to the full of the strength of the imprint left 
upon the young men who to-morrow will be the pilots of 
their race, priests entrusted with the charges of parishes, 
physicians "co-operating with the priests in works of 
charity," 1 lawyers, journalists, politicians. She realises 
the all-importance of moulding the rising generation and 
instilling into them the principle of fidelity to race and 

A stern system of discipline is the outstanding 
characteristic of the university education at Quebec 
and Montreal. And this discipline is, it must be noted, 
distinctively Catholic. Its object is not merely to pro- 
duce men, but to produce Catholic men, Catholic doctors, 
Catholic lawyers, Catholic men of business. This is the 
logical end and aim of a system of education utterly at 
variance with that in practice under lay management. 

Only naturally, therefore, the students are called 
upon to fulfil regularly their religious duties. " The 

1 Annuaire de P University Laval pour Fannie academigue, 1904-1905. 


rector is free to institute the giving of religious lectures 
to the Catholic students whenever he thinks well. All 
must attend these lectures regularly." It is natural also 
that their reading should be strictly supervised. " The 
students having at their disposal in the university 
library the books they require, must not subscribe to 
any other. They must not frequent the reading-rooms 
of the town, in which they would be tempted to waste 
their time and neglect their studies." 1 The university, 
it will be seen, proclaims and exercises a stern control 
over its inmates. 

The critical spirit has never been in favour with the 
Catholic Church : she gives out her dogmas to be 
accepted, not discussed. That this should be the spirit 
of the teaching in the " Grand Seminaire " itself goes 
without saying, but it penetrates also into the university 
system generally. The study of philosophy may be 
said to be mixed up with that of theology : it is done 
in Latin, according to the old practice, and on absolutely 
dogmatic lines. At the College of Winnipeg, for 
instance, I had the following conversation with one of 
the Jesuit masters : 

Q. Do you teach philosophy in Latin ? 

A. Certainly, that is the practice. 

Q. What kind of philosophy do you teach ? 

A. Aristotle, St. Thomas. 

Q. Don't you include any more modern philosophers, 
such as Descartes or Spinoza ? 

A. We only speak of them to refute them. They 
are contrary to the doctrines of the Church. 

These words illustrate how French Canadian educa- 
tion insists upon complete acceptance of the dogmas of 
the Church of Rome. The university in Canada, 
instead of being a centre for new ideas and the 

1 Annuaire de FUniversite Laval, 1904-^05. 


evolution of the future, is a potent instrument of con- 
servatism. There is something venerable and poetic 
about Laval, which is invested with a charm for the 
French visitor, but it has to be admitted that for signs 
of progress we must look elsewhere. 

In English-speaking Canada secondary and higher 
education are very different in character. Here we are 
confronted with Protestantism and Anglo-Saxon methods. 
The contrast is very striking. 

While the Catholic Church fights against secularism 
with all its force, the Protestant Church accommodates 
itself to it quite well. In most cases it retains a kind of 
diffused influence over the educational establishments 
within its sphere ; the maintenance of certain religious 
forms and tendencies is all it requires. It does not 
seek to infuse itself into every branch of study. There- 
fore, while complete freedom of thought is made 
impossible by the mere fact of this incompleteness of 
its secular system, it may be said that Protestant 
interference is not a direct menace to the independence 
of either teacher or student : this is the first and the 
really important difference between the Protestant and 
Catholic systems. 

As to the Anglo-Saxon influence, that manifests 
itself openly in two forms English and American. 
The English ideas are of course more tinged with the 
colour of the past. The American tend towards per- 
petual change, towards the pursuit of what is better or 
at least new. Left to itself, higher education in French 
Canada tends to remain where it is it needs the energy 
of some exceptional personality among its directors to 
introduce organic and far-reaching reforms. In Pro- 
testant Canada, on the contrary, it is carried along by 
the tumultuous current of the United States and 
subjected to unceasing modification. Every change 


is not an improvement, but at least there are signs of 
life and movement. 

In the French provinces we have seen all the 
colleges in the hands of the clergy. In the English 
provinces secondary education seems like a natural 
continuation of primary education. Denominational 
and independent colleges exist, but they are the 
exception. As to institutions subsidised by the State 
(high schools, collegiate institutes), they are run on the 
semi-secular lines already described : the masters are 
laymen, but the general tone of the education is vaguely 
Christian. Public opinion clings to this religious 
atmosphere, which at the same time satisfies the con- 
science of the clergy. 

The tone of this school world is Anglo-American 
more often American than English, but always Anglo- 
Saxon. In the colleges that come under the influence 
of the neighbouring Republic the life is more easy-going, 
and there is less of discipline and formality. In those 
which get their tone from England notably the Upper 
Canada College of Toronto you note the desire of 
the authorities to keep up a truly British, or one might 
almost say, Imperial spirit. In strong contrast with the 
democratic, happy-go-lucky ways tolerated in the young 
American students is the Draconian discipline here 
maintained ; in some colleges resort has even been 
had to corporal punishment, as in England. Their 
entire management recalls Eton and Rugby, which have 
manifestly been taken as models ; games are held in 
high honour, especially those which are exclusively 
British, like cricket, as distinguished from American 
games, like base-ball and basket-ball. In the school 
curriculum an important place is given to classics and 
mathematics, as in the Mother Country. Finally, 
though Catholics are admitted, it is unmistakably the 


Protestant spirit that permeates the whole establish- 

Higher education in English-speaking Canada is 
principally represented by the University of Toronto 
and the MacGill University at Montreal. 

Founded in 1837 by the Government of Ontario, the 
University of Toronto is absolutely secular ; but it is 
surrounded by a network of affiliated colleges belonging 
to the different sects. Thus there are colleges for the 
Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Episcopalians, the 
Catholics, etc. Degrees are conferred by the Uni- 
versity only, but instruction is carried on concurrently by 
the University and the Colleges. 

The MacGill University, called after its founder, 
who bequeathed it lands of considerable value, came 
into being in 1811, although its charter dates only from 
1837. It is Protestant, but not confined to any one 
sect, the Governor-General being ex officio a visitor. 
The very numerous and very wealthy colleges affiliated 
to it make of it a centre of culture of the very highest 

The administration of these two institutions is ex- 
cellent. Thanks to their very large financial resources, 
it has been possible for them to create every kind of 
course ; medicine, chemistry, physics, mechanics, are 
taught with a wealth of accessories, laboratories, etc., 
scarcely surpassed by the great universities of the 
United States. They provide everything the Canadian 
youth can want for his progress. Students flock to 
them, therefore, from all parts of the Dominion. 
Practical studies are given even more attention in them 
than theoretical, and they turn out first-rate engineers 
and expert chemists. Thus it is that the English, 
whose natural bent is towards industry and business, 
are furnished with the means of equipping themselves 


effectively for work, and are enabled to maintain that 
condition of economic supremacy which renders them 
indisputably the dominant race in Canada. 

From these two universities radiate Anglo-Saxon 
influences that serve to intensify the British character 
of the Dominion. If the French Canadian race continues 
to lag behind, if it neglects to renovate its methods 
and ideas, they will prove a more deadly enemy to it 
than would be an army fitted out with the most perfected 
type of rifles. 

There is a real war in progress between the youths 
of the rival races. The young Frenchmen are more 
brilliant, more cultured, but why should they be confined 
to a few professions which can never enable them to 
take their share in governing their country ? The 
English, with their greater wealth, initiative, and energy, 
seem destined to keep the management of affairs in 
their own hands. If the French do not take care, they 
will be out-marched. Their educators will be chiefly 


IT is not easy to analyse clearly the feelings of the 
French in Canada in regard to the English. To say 
simply that they do not like them, even that in their 
inmost hearts they detest them, would not be inaccurate, 
but it would be too simple a characterisation of a com- 
plex state .of mind to describe which one should have 
recourse to fine shades of expression. Moreover, the 
term " English " has not the same unity of meaning in 
Canada that it has with us. The French Canadians 
have learned to distinguish widely between the English 
of the Dominion and the English of England. In 
dealing with the question under consideration this dis- 
tinction must be kept well in mind. 

When the French of Canada speak of the English, 
they think chiefly of the English in the provinces of 
Quebec and Ontario, side by side with whom they have 
had to pass their existence. After a hundred and fifty 
years of life in common as neighbours, under the same 
laws and the same flag, they remain foreigners, and in 
most cases adversaries. The two races have no more 
love for each other now than they had at the beginning, 
and it is easy to see that we are face to face with one of 
those deep and lasting antipathies against which all efforts 
of conciliators are vain. 

The fusion not having proved practicable at the 



time of the conquest, many causes have served to per- 
petuate the feelings of jealousy and hostility then 
conceived. A conquered race (for it is only right to 
state the fact plainly), the French suffer more than is 
commonly supposed from the attitude of the victors. 
In truth, for all the euphemisms employed in official 
language, the English treat them too often as inferiors 
and aliens, whose slightest progress they look at 
askance as menacing the security of the State. In 
these conditions the conqueror is not England herself, 
distant and invisible, but the English Canadian who 
lives on the spot and profits in his insolent way by the 
victory of his ancestors. The real hostility is not 
between Quebec and London, but between Quebec and 
Ontario. To-day no less than fifty years ago this 
traditional and one may say incurable rivalry denotes 
one of the chief currents in Canadian political life. 

However, like brothers that hate each other, French 
and English have to dwell under one roof. If the 
peasants of the two races do not come together, the 
townsfolk in such cities as Quebec and Montreal are 
naturally in frequent contact, meeting in the same public 
offices and political gatherings. From intercourse of 
this kind and an increase of small amenities there 
results a certain modification of the spirit of mutual 
opposition and a less rigorous maintenance of the 
boundary lines between them. 

In this way have come about many pleasant 
acquaintanceships. If the Irishman, though Catholic, 
shows little disposition to favour his French co-religionists, 
the Englishmen and still more the Scotchmen bear them- 
selves in business affairs in such a way as to win regard. 
Sometimes even everyday intercourse ripens into intimate 
friendship. However, generally speaking, intimate re- 
lations between French and English are the exception. 


Sometimes a measure of that union which racial 
feeling prevents is brought about by that inevitable 
product of British civilisation snobbishness. English 
" Society " possesses an extraordinary power of fascina- 
tion one might almost say an extraordinary power of 
corruption. It is so convinced of its own superiority, 
and affirms it so boldly as an indisputable fact, that it is 
not disputed. Many of the members of the French 
bourgeoisie in Canada render homage to this imposing 
institution, and are flattered when admitted into its 
elegant and exclusive circles. From the standpoint of 
our race there is danger in this the temptation to 
weak-minded persons to gain the level of their hosts 
by renouncing the traditions of their origin. There 
are French renegades who are thus moved to affect 
Anglomania. Fortunately they are rare. 

The visitor to Canada will often see French and 
English together, seated round the same tables, even 
consorting together in clubs and drawing - rooms. 
Anxious to emphasise the significance of these ren- 
contres, Canadians French and English alike will 
boast of the perfect relations between the two bodies ; 
they will tell you of strong ties of friendship contracted 
between individuals on either side ; they will insist on 
the fact that the two political parties are mixed and not 
national. " There is no race supremacy among us," 
declared Sir Wilfrid Laurier, for instance, in Paris, in 
1 897. " We have learned to respect and love those against 
whom we fought in the past, and we have made them 
respect and love us. The old enmities have ceased to exist, 
and now there is nothing more than a spirit of emulation." ] 

It would be a mistake to be carried away by this 
kind of deliberate optimism. Responsible statesmen 

1 Sir W. Laurier's speech at the Banquet given by the British Chamber 
of Commerce in honour of the Colonial Ministers. 


strive gallantly to keep up the fiction of an entente 
cordiale. They are able to exercise enough control 
over their supporters to prevent the use too openly of 
violent expressions of feeling, but the great public does 
not wax enthusiastic over their peaceful sentiments, and 
the irresponsible politician who is bent only on success 
knows how to win applause. There are oratorical 
effects which are always to be relied on. If the leaders 
do not have recourse to them, the smaller fry have no 
hesitation in doing so. 

In the French Canadian attitude, then, there is an 
outward seeming and a true inwardness. The outward 
seeming is artificially kept up, you might go through 
entire collections of official speeches without ever 
lighting on a phrase expressive of popular feeling, and 
the consistency and thoroughness of this policy are 
matter for admiration. It may be pursued for a long 
time with satisfactory results ; but it is vain to ignore the 
fact that its tendency is misleading and that any serious 
mistake will suffice to set up the two peoples in arms against 
each other : their mutual animosity is too instinctive for 
any complete understanding to be possible between them. 

Towards England the French Canadians feel quite 
differently. With the exception of a few of their 
leaders, they have never been in personal touch with 
it, and there have, in consequence, been few occasions 
for friction. In theory, England has nothing to do 
with local strifes in the Dominion, or if she intervenes 
at all, only in such a way that the fact escapes notice. 
Although this wise tradition has not been adhered to 
altogether during the administration of the Con- 
servatives or Imperialist Party the English Govern- 
ment still enjoys prestige as the distant, supreme arbiter 
to whom appeal is not always to be made in vain. 
Therefore there is no feeling of hatred towards 


England ; on the other hand, there is no feeling of 
affection. When English armies are defeated upon 
the battlefield, as in the Transvaal War, the French 
Canadians experience no extravagant grief. They 
even rejoice quite openly, but that is to rile their 
Ontario neighbours and to enjoy the diversion of 
treading a little on the lion's tail ; it is a taste of revenge 
in which they indulge their injured amour propre. In 
reality they have not the least desire to see Great 
Britain reduced to nothing. 

In truth, the point of view changes entirely when we 
turn from mere manifestations of popular feeling to the 
wise outlook of the statesmen of French Canada. In 
the realm of statecraft the French Canadians exhibit 
the most perfect sang froid, and it is by a veritable 
system of profit and loss that they reckon up in minute 
detail what they get from Britain and what they would 
lose in escaping from it. 

From this balance-sheet the word "patriotism" should 
be entirely banished ; the leaders will never admit it, of 
course it would not be the thing for them to do so ; 
but men like M. Henri Bourassa, who are not less 
representative of the race and who enjoy a position of 
greater freedom and less responsibility, do not hesitate 
to proclaim it openly. " We are the subjects," writes 
M. Bourassa, " of a Power which for centuries has been 
the foe of the land of our origin. We owe political 
allegiance to a nation which we can esteem, with which 
we can make a mariage de raison, but for which we 
cannot have that spontaneous love which makes a joy of 
life in common and mutual sacrifice : the laws of atavism 
and all our traditions stand in the way. . . . Our loyalty 
to England can only be, and should only be, a matter of 
common sense." 1 

1 Henri Bourassa, Le Patriotisme canadien fran^ais. 


These words from the pen of a man accustomed to 
speaking out, express faithfully the general feeling. For 
the real word interZt Sir Wilfrid Laurier prefers to 
substitute honneur and loyautd and devoir ; but he has 
never gone so far as to speak of the love of the French 
Canadians for England : the note even in his most 
eloquent orations would have sounded false. 

Thus our kinsmen in Canada ask themselves the 
simple question, "Is it to our advantage to remain 
under British rule ?" And their unanimous answer is in 
the affirmative. England has given them what no other 
Power could or would have given them the fullest, most 
complete, most paradoxical liberty. There is no need 
for us to discuss whether she gave it with a good grace. 
She has given it, and so long as she does not renounce 
her traditional liberalism she can be sure that her French 
subjects on their side will not fall away from the loyalty 
they show her the same loyalty they would exhibit in 
the execution of a contract. As one of them a man of 
note, Sir Etienne Paschal Tache was able to declare in 
this sense, in a phrase which has become famous, " The 
last shot fired on American soil in defence of the British 
flag would be fired by a French Canadian." 

We may take it as certain that the French Canadians 
are satisfied with the rule under which they live. 
M. Bourassa says so explicitly in the opening words of 
an article in the Monthly Review i 1 " The present attitude 
of the French Canadian is one of content. He is satisfied 
with his lot." And it is not to the English alone that 
this truth is confided. As much has been said quite 
frankly to us Frenchmen of France. Sometimes, it will 
be added, with a touch of playful malice: "Very likely 
we should not be so well off under you ! " 

1 Monthly Review, " The French Canadian in the British Empire," 

October 1902. 


Though this loyalism has never developed into love, 
some of the most distinguished of French Canadians 
have cherished a deep and sincere admiration of England ; 
and unlike the generality of their political colleagues in 
the Dominion, who are American in their ways, thinking 
and acting rather like the Congress men of Washington, 
they seek their models in London. Educated from 
childhood up under a British Constitution, they never 
lose their British conception of government. Convinced 
Parliamentarians, they cannot but turn their gaze towards 
the land par excellence of the parliamentary system. 

This is particularly noticeable in the case of Sir 
Wilfrid Laurier. He is undoubtedly French, and very 
French, both by temperament and training ; but when 
it comes to political affairs, France to him is merely a 
brilliant nation in whose footsteps it would be perilous to 
follow ; England seems to him a very much safer guide, 
and there is the ring of sincerity in his professions of 
deep devotion to the institutions of Great Britain. 
" Whilst remaining French," he exclaimed once, " we 
are profoundly attached to British institutions." On 
another occasion he went so far as to declare perhaps 
the words escaped him, " I am British to the core." 1 

It is true that in the province of Quebec M. Laurier 
is sometimes accused of being too much of an Anglo- 
maniac. But M. Bourassa, who may be regarded as an 
uncompromising French nationalist, is scarcely less 
English by his political and parliamentary education. 
The Liberal Party of Gladstone and Bright is much 
more to his taste than our Radical or Opportunist parties. 
" I am a Liberal of the British school," he says himself. 2 
"I am a disciple of Burke and Fox and Bright and 

1 Speech of Sir Wilfrid Laurier at the Lord Mayor's Banquet at the 
Mansion House, July i, 1897. 

2 Speech in the House of Commons at Ottawa, March 13, 1900. 


Gladstone and those other Little Englanders who have 
made of England and its possessions what they are 
to-day." The political life of England inspires in him 
an admiration he has no desire to conceal, at the same 
time that his sensitively Canadian standpoint arouses 
the indignation of the Jingoes: "The more I analyse 
the vital parts and the lusty members of this admirable 
political creation, with its nerves of steel and its rich 
blood, the more my admiration of England has grown. 
I was always glad enough to be a British subject, as 
most of my compatriots are, but now I experience the 
full pride in my British citizenship." 

From the very fact of having been uprooted, the 
French Canadians are naturally liable to this kind of 
double nature. Placed by destiny upon a new stage 
with their role cut out for them, it is natural that they 
should take pride in declaring that the stage is a fine 
one, and the company to which they now belong illustrious. 
That is why the British Constitution has among them 
such sincere admirers. 

But we must not forget that this admiration is 
exceptional and limited. For all their reasoned loyalty 
to England, the mass of the French Canadians will never 
love the English. 



THE French Canadians seem to have been fated by 
history to find themselves in complex conditions and to 
have complex feelings. In studying their attitude 
towards France we shall be obliged to have recourse to 
refinements and differentiations just as in studying their 
attitude towards England. Their racial patriotism is not 
purely French ; it is not even purely Canadian. We 
must distinguish. 

To begin with, it is incontestable that they love 
France. For them, France is still and in spite of every- 
thing La Patrie ; it is the old country whence came their 
forefathers, and whose creed and speech and habits they 
still retain ; it is the nation under whose standard those 
forefathers fought on many a battlefield, and which, for 
all the divergence in their destinies, continues to be 
to them a beloved and sacred memory. There is not 
one of them who does not cherish deep down in his 
heart this passionate fidelity to the old love for France, 
who does not rejoice over her triumphs and mourn over 
her defeats. No question here of interest or reasoning 
or compromise no need for discussion. Love lives on 
in souls that cannot forget. 

The poet Frechette, himself a son of the province of 
Quebec, in his splendid book has sung of the touching 



story of his people and their imperishable devotion to the 
land of their origin in tones that are passionate and 
sincere. He has given us the epic of its war and of the 
conquest, followed by the story of the bitter fight of a 
new generation for their rights as citizens. He has 
portrayed the dual aspects of the Canadian soul, divided 
between two flags. And he brings home to us the 
enthusiasm evoked by the renewal of relations with 
France, when for the first time since the Treaty of Paris 
a French vessel, the Capricieuse, came in 1855 to display 
our colours on the St. Lawrence : 

"Je ne suis pas tres vieux, pourtant j'ai souvenance 
Du jour ou notre fleuve, apres un siecle entier, 
Pour la premiere fois vit un vaisseau de France 
Mirer dans ses flots clairs son e"tendard altier. 

Ce jour-Ik, de nos bords bonheur trop ephemere 
Montait un cri de joie immense et triomphant : 
C'e*tait 1'enfant perdu qui retrouvait sa mere ; 
C'e*tait la mere en pleurs embrassant son enfant ! 

Nos poetes chantaient la France revenue ; 
Et le pere, a 1'enfant qu'etonnait tout cela, 
Disait Ce pavilion qui brille dans la nue, 
Incline-toi, mon fils ! c'est a nous celui-la ! " l 

It is not in poetry alone that we shall find such 
sentiments expressed. At the time of his visit to Paris 
in 1897, Sir Wilfrid Laurier had resort to language in 
which to speak out his love for France very different 
from anything ever heard from him in London. 
"Separated though we have been from France," he 
declared, "we have ever followed her career with 
passionate interest, taking our part in her glories and 
her triumphs, in her rejoicings and in her sorrowings 
in her sorrowings most of all. Alas, we never knew 
perhaps how dear she was to us until the day of her 

1 Louis Frechette, La Legende (Fun peuple. 


misfortune. On that day, if you suffered, we suffered 
not less than you." 

But this love of the French Canadians for France, 
though it is ardent and real and lasting, is necessarily a 
platonic love, and is as much perhaps for the France of 
old as for the France of to-day. It has to be admitted 
again here that most of them cannot altogether admire 
France as she now is. She in no way realises their 
political and religious ideal. The France of to-day is a 
revolutionary France, and the word " Revolution" sounds 
ill in the ears of a race educated by a Church which has 
never given her recognition to the deeds of 1789. The 
France of to-day is also, to a great extent, a country 
of Free Thought, and to Canada Free Thought is 
the object of almost universal reprobation. Finally, 
France is now Radical, and the French Canadians in 
social matters are attached to the principles of 

The form of government which they would have 
wished to see us endowed with a few years back was 
that of a monarchy, traditional or constitutional ; the 
Comte de Chambord found the strongest sympathies 
among them, and later the Comte de Paris received at 
Quebec and Montreal such a welcome as neither Jules 
Ferry nor Gambetta could ever have hoped for. How- 
ever, they are too intelligent not to recognise now 
that the Republic is a fait accompli. They can but 
regret that it is not a Catholic Republic perhaps 
the Me"line Ministry came nearest to winning their 
approval. For the Ministries of M. Combes and 
M. Waldeck- Rousseau they have had nothing but words 
of indignation. 

If the love of the French Canadians for our country 
survived until now merely by reason of the past, its 
continuance would be much imperilled. Where is now 


the France of Joan of Arc, of Henri iv., and of Louis 
xiv. ? The Comte de Chambord used to talk of the 
" flag of Arc and Ivry," but he could not raise it aloft. 
It is necessary, therefore, for the French Canadians to 
accustom themselves to modern France, or rather and to 
this solution they are already having recourse it is 
necessary for them to continue to love France however 
revolutionary, however anti-clerical, simply because she is 

In truth, for all the divergence in their tendencies, 
there has never been a greater feeling of cordiality 
between the two peoples than during the last twenty 
years. The leading men of French Canada and France 
have learned to know and appreciate each other. There 
has been a greater interchange of visits, and just as 
the French Canadian leaders have been quick to 
express their appreciation of the warm reception we 
have given them, so our statesmen have been accorded 
a greeting in the Dominion such as they can never 

So much for the national feeling of the French 
Canadians in regard to France. Let us now study their 
attitude politically. " Should we be more Canadian than 
French?" asks M. Bourassa, "or more French than 
Canadian? In other words, should we be the French of 
Canada, or Canadians of French origin?" His answer 
is quite clear. " We must remain essentially Canadian." 
They have no hankering after reunion with France ; on 
the contrary, their desire is all the other way. Love 
France, yes but only in a platonic sense. " Far be it 
from me," proceeds M. Bourassa, " to attempt to stifle the 
voice of the blood in my compatriots. Our love for 
France is legitimate and natural. It may continue to be, 
and should continue to be, deep and enduring, but it 

1 Henri Bourassa, Le Patriotisme canadienfran$ais. 


must remain platonic." And he ends with a striking 
and decisive phrase : " Let us be French, as the 
Americans are English." 

M. Bourassa is a level-headed man, accustomed to 
considering questions clearly and to speaking out boldly. 
His way of dealing with this matter is a little hard, 
perhaps, but it is true ; he it is who expresses the real 
feelings of his compatriots, and not those facile and 
grandiloquent orators who too often conceal the vague- 
ness of their sentiments under the sonorousness of their 
phrases. The Canadians, as I have said already, feel that 
in having been freed from the rule of France they have 
been freed from some very great evils. "If the Treaty 
of Paris had kept us bound to France," says M. Bourassa, 
" what would have become of us ? Supposing we had 
escaped under the sanguinary Reign of Terror, it is more 
than probable that Napoleon would have sold us to the 
Americans, without even consulting us, as he did in the 
case of Louisiana. Had we survived the Empire, how 
could we have adapted ourselves to the present regime ? 
We have been able to retain our character as Normans 
and Northern Frenchmen to a much greater extent than 
our brothers beyond the sea : all our instincts make us 
hate the centralisation, the administrative organisation, 
the legal militarism, and all that is involved in the essential 
Imperialistic rule which Bonaparte gave to modern 
France, and which the Third Republic has maintained 
in all its integrity." 

In the mouth of a Canadian this reasoning is quite 
intelligible, and we must admit that it is not without good 
grounds. British institutions are much more to his 
taste than ours would be : he has learnt how to make 
use of them, and has made them his own. Our 
institutions, of which he has never had any personal 
knowledge or experience, must inevitably have the 


aspect to him of an unknown regime more to be feared 
than desired. 

In these circumstances the love of the French 
Canadians for France could not possibly give umbrage 
to the British Government. To use the simile of Prince 
Biilow, there is in question nothing but a tour de valse 
innocent, with nothing to provoke inevitable jealousy ! 

If, therefore, England continues wise enough not to 
disquiet herself over these manifestations of platonic 
emotion, and not to ask the French Canadians for a love 
they cannot give her in place of the prosaic loyalty they 
do give her already, she may safely suffer them to 
draw still closer their bonds with France : they will 
not betray her confidence. The thing is so certain that 
some of our Canadian kinsmen have already foreshadowed 
the position they would take up in the event, fortunately 
most improbable, of a war between France and England. 
"Were a conflict to break out between the two Powers, 
the French Canadians," says M. Bourassa, "might 
be counted on to maintain a loyal neutrality. If by 
some extraordinary hazard of war, the French fleet were 
to attack the coast of Canada, then we could be counted 
on for the defence of the country." This precision of 
statement smooths the way for the development of our 
relations with Canada, as far as the British Government 
is concerned. No obstacle can be put in our way from 
the standpoint of political interests. 

We are now in a position to understand the dual 
attitude of the French Canadians, as explained by Sir 
Wilfrid Laurier in the speech (already cited) which 
he delivered in Paris on the iQth of July 1897. " We are 
loyal," he said, "to the great nation which gave us life. 
We are faithful to the great nation which gave us liberty." 
Is there anything difficult to understand in that ? No, 
and this chapter will have served to prove it. To 


England is given the loyalty that has its origin in self- 
interest, for it is she who guaranteed the French of 
Canada their untrammelled liberty. But to France goes 
forth their hearts, for their memory of the land of their 
forefathers is ineradicable. 



AFTER a study of the complex emotions of our 
compatriots in the Dominion, the state of mind of the 
English Canadians will seem simple, for, unlike their 
rivals, they are not drawn in opposite directions by 
sentiment and self-interest They have but one flag, 
the Union Jack, which symbolises to them the unity of 
the British Empire, and if they cherish a special love for 
Canada herself, there is in this nothing to detract 
from their loyalty to England. Their position, therefore, 
would be exactly similar to that of the Australians, New 
Zealanders, and other British colonists, were it not that 
they are always conscious of having alongside them, 
tolerated with impatience, a foreign race whose destinies 
are inextricably involved in theirs. This could not 
but be a source of violent conflict and, as a conse- 
quence, of an intensified fervour of nationalism in their 
hearts. Their patriotism is made up in large measure 
of haughty belief in British superiority, asserted 
sometimes offensively, at the expense of the impliedly 
inferior French. 

The English Canadians consider themselves the sole 
masters of Canada ; they were not its first occupants 
admittedly, but it is theirs, they maintain, by right of 
conquest. They experience, therefore, a feeling of 



indignation at the sight of the defeated race persisting in 
their development instead of fusing or being submerged. 
" Are we to suffer ourselves to be dominated by these 
French Catholics ? " they exclaim. " No French 
domination " is their addition to the classical cry of the 
Mother-Country, " No Popery ! " 

An attitude frequently adopted in Anglo-Canadian 
circles is that of ignoring deliberately the very presence 
of the French. From their whole bearing and conversa- 
tion, you might suppose that the French element in 
Canada was quite insignificant. You might spend 
many weeks among the English of Montreal without 
anyone letting you realise that the city is two-thirds 
French. Many travellers never suspect this. 

And if you seek to draw the attention of the English 
to their French fellow-citizens, they will discuss them 
either patronisingly and somewhat disdainfully, or else 
in tones of harsh severity, seldom sympathetically or 
without prejudice. They would have you understand 
that the language of the French Canadians is only a 
patois, and the whole race at least a hundred years 
behind the times. 

This attitude of ill-will, latent or made manifest, does 
not, of course, prevent our kinsmen from asserting them- 
selves and laying claim boldly to their share of the light 
of the sun. And, as a matter of fact, the English willy 
nilly have to take them into account. At election-times 
the English have to solicit their valuable support. It 
has even been necessary to choose a Premier from 
amongst them ! 

The English generally have sense enough not to fly 
vainly in the face of hard facts. Therefore they made 
a show of accepting in a proper spirit the nomination of 
Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Nevertheless, it is impossible not 
to note the deep hurt done to the amour propre of 


English Conservatives of Ontario by this promotion of 
a Frenchman to the highest post in the State. A 
Frenchman, a Catholic, Prime Minister! Truly 
the humiliation was extreme ! Sir Wilfrid has never 
been completely accepted in the great British province. 
He came to power in 1896 ; at the elections of 1900 and 
1904 Ontarian public opinion has gone against him. 
Because of his line of policy ? Yes, in some respects, 
without doubt. But there was always another power- 
ful motive, expressed with brutal frankness in the 
admonition given by electoral agents, " Don't vote for 
that damned Frenchman ! " 

Whenever a question comes to the front in Canada 
involving a conflict between the races, this kind of 
feeling becomes of course aggravated. Then there 
rushes forth an avalanche of violent expressions going 
far beyond the normal sentiments of those who use 
them, but not to be dismissed simply as the hackneyed 
cliches of journalists and politicians. 

Let us recall, for instance, those memorable sittings of 
the Canadian House of Commons when M. Bourassa 
animadverted severely, but in the most correct manner 
possible, on the participation of the Dominion in the 
Transvaal War. The English Canadians would have 
wished tp secure unanimity in this Imperial, if not national, 
question. The reports of the sitting of June 8, 1900, 
are there to remind us of the insults with which the 
courageous French member was assailed. " Shame ! 
Shame! No traitors here!" were among the cries 
repeated over and over again in the midst of mad excite- 
ment even by the leaders of British opinion themselves. 
From one of their own race they would doubtless have 
taken strong words. But that a Frenchman, a foreigner, 
should in their own House of Commons run counter to 
the Empire was more than they could stand. It was 


in vain that their opponent appealed to his record for 
unquestioned loyalty to the Throne, they refused to see 
in him in this hour of wild emotion anything but a species 
of infidel mistakenly given access to the sacred temple 
of the British race. 

I have cited this particular instance out of thousands 
to show the anti-French feeling which takes hold 
sometimes of the English in Canada. Almost always, 
in the heat of their passion, their insults come to a climax 
in the word "treason." In this term their inveterate 
mistrust of the other race finds expression. They 
cannot forgive it for having survived and progressed for 
being still to the good. They profess that in bearing 
with it England has harboured a snake in her bosom. 
" Laurier, Tarte, these French Papists are, I believe, 
rebels in the depths of their heart." More than one 
Ontario fanatic has that idea fixed in his narrow brain. 
And the English Canadian public, amazed to see these 
aliens occupying a preponderant place in a British State, 
cry out in chorus, " Shame ! Shame ! " 

Intelligent people know, of course, what account to 
make of these taunts. They do not suppose for a 
moment that M. Bourassa is going to appeal to 
France or that Sir Wilfrid Laurier is going to renounce 
allegiance to the King. It is really only a Canadian 
quarrel a quarrel between the opposing elements. 
Sensible English Canadians know that the flag is not 
in danger, but they strive to maintain the supremacy of 
the English Protestant spirit against the pretensions of 
the Catholic Church. On this point there is no difference 
among them. Talk to any Englishman of Montreal or 
Ottawa or Toronto, you will always hear the same 
thing. He may be a warm-hearted man, enjoying 
excellent personal relations with the French, even 
belauding sometimes their recognised good qualities. 


It is all the same. His tone will be, at bottom, that 
of an adversary. 

In this way the constant rivalry between the two 
races has served as a fillip to English Canadian 
patriotism, making it keener and stronger. But it 
does not owe its birth, of course, to this cause. Like 
all Colonials, the English Canadians have a natural 
love for England. English and Scotch emigrants 
cherish, it is well known, a deep and lasting tenderness 
for the Old Country. The Irish as a rule carry away 
with them into the new countries in which they establish 
themselves only a feeling of hatred for their oppressors ; 
but in Canada their attitude is somewhat exceptional, 
and out of jealousy of the French they are moved 
sometimes to take sides with the English and Scotch. 
It may be said, then, that the Mother Country stands 
well in the affections of the British in Canada. 

Naturally a more exalted patriotism is to be found 
in the towns in which pure-bred Britons congregate 
most and in those in which French rivalry makes 
itself most felt. Thus, such ancient garrison towns as 
Halifax and Victoria are famous for their Jingoism. 
Toronto derives from its university (in many respects 
a European institution) and from its innumerable 
Protestant churches that Imperialist spirit which makes 
of it the true centre of the British movement. It 
seems that there is direct communication between 
London and these cities. 

But when you turn away from these traditional 
strongholds you find that the Imperial spirit diminishes 
notably, or to be precise, that Canadian patriotism 
increases as British patriotism falls off. In the Western 
provinces, for instance, the population is very composite. 
It includes, of course, many English-born settlers who 
never slacken in their devotion to the Old Country. 


But, alongside them, what crowds of immigrants from 
all parts of the world, of all races and religions 
men who assuredly will become good Canadians and 
will be ready to take the oath of allegiance to the King, 
but who will have no reason to have any special regard 
for England. There can be no doubt as to fresh 
supplies of Canadian patriots being forthcoming, but 
the recruiting of British patriots is far from being 

It would be quite a mistake, indeed, to suppose 
that the English have it all their own way in the 
Dominion. As is the case with almost all the other 
Anglo-Saxon colonies, Canada has evolved for her- 
self a life apart, special interests and time-honoured 
traditions all her own. Not for anything in the world 
would she consent to be merged with England. When 
England proposes that the political, economic, and 
military bonds between them should be drawn closer, 
she is far from acquiescing with enthusiasm, just 
because England is one thing and Canada is another. 

In these circumstances the British subject who 
disembarks on the banks of the St. Lawrence, in the 
West, or even in Ontario, runs the risk of finding him- 
self an exile. He will not find a Liverpool or a 
Birmingham in Montreal or Toronto or Winnipeg, while 
in Ottawa, despite certain surface aspects, it is an 
American political life that reigns. On the other hand, 
many Canadians regard England as a nation of the 
highest respectability, but perhaps a little behind the 
times, for which reason they are not always ready to 
accept her ideas as gospel truth. Some are influenced in 
their attitude by their reverence for titles and anxiety 
to remain in relation with the British peerage. But 
the mass of husbandmen and artisans will not suffer 
themselves to be treated in the way in which men of 


rank are apt to treat the labouring classes in England. 
Far from considering themselves a lower order of beings, 
they have borrowed from America the gift of self-esteem, 
together with a curious sensitiveness which makes them 
prone to suspect that you are laughing at them and 
not taking them seriously enough. Thus when an 
English visitor talks to them as Colonials, which is as 
much as to say provincials, they get angry, and let out 
with characteristic New World freedom. How many 
grievances have I not heard vented in regard to the 
tactlessness of certain English visitors, unable to under- 
stand that Canada is no longer a mere dependency but 
a veritable nation ! 

England, then, regarded as an allied and tutelary 
Power, is looked on with favour in the Dominion. 
Nevertheless, there is a gradually widening gulf 
between the people of old Europe and the people of 
young Canada. These are faithful to a suzerain Power 
which does not oppress them, for which they even have 
affection, so long as it does not assert itself. But we 
shall see presently that the partisans of an Imperial 
union are endeavouring to go up stream against a 
current whose force forbids it. 



HITHERTO we have only analysed the attitude of the 
Canadians towards two distant nations, not even belong- 
ing to the New World ; in truth, there is something 
paradoxical in this survival of British rule and French 
tradition in the midst of the America of to-day. But 
we must now recall the fact that for a distance of several 
thousand miles the Dominion is divided from the 
United States but by a quite artificial frontier. 

Such close vicinity, involving as it necessarily does 
frequent intercourse, could not fail to produce real if not 
close bonds between the two countries, amounting if 
not to intimate friendship at least to friendly familiarity. 
And so it has happened : by a sort of capillary attraction 
American ideas, habits, and tendencies have penetrated 
from Boston and Portland towards St. John, from New 
York towards Montreal, from Buffalo towards Toronto, 
from St. Paul towards Winnipeg, from Seattle towards 
Vancouver. Thus, although they do not belong politically 
to the great Republic, the different provinces of Canada 
come within its sphere of influence. Pursuing the 
course of inquiry to which we have devoted our 
attention in the preceding three chapters, let us see now 
with what feelings the French and English of Canada 
are inspired by their great and powerful neighbour. 



The feeling which rules among the French when 
they think of the United States is a mixture of alarm 
and mistrust. Personally, the Americans seem to them 
likeable enough, more so than their aggressive neighbours 
of Ontario ; their social customs and mode of life are 
largely coloured by those of the States, and many of them 
indulge regularly in trips to New York, just as our 
provincials come to Paris. But the fusion goes no 
further. They return from such expeditions to their 
peaceful province thanking Heaven they do not live in 
the midst of the turmoil they have left behind them. 

It is manifest, at first sight, that the idea of 
annexation is a source of dread to them, and not 
without reason. Thanks to their stubborn energies, 
they have secured for themselves a pleasant place in the 
sunshine in British Canada. In their remote domain of 
Quebec, far from the tumult of New York and Chicago 
and all the wild frenzy of American life, they have 
succeeded in shaping out a life of their own, maintain- 
ing their own language and religion and traditions, and 
have obtained by their persevering efforts a form 
of government which guarantees them their autonomy. 
A hundred years of struggling has developed a humble 
group of vanquished colonists into a strong and 
prosperous people, talking on equal terms to their 
former conquerors, and multiplying so enormously in 
numbers that no Ministry now is independent of their 
votes. In these conditions they have reason to be 
proud of the results achieved and to be afraid of 
imperilling them. 

That is why they regard with fear the notion of 
any union with America. " Should we be obliged," 
they ask themselves, "to begin the same long struggle 
all over again? And could we be sure of victory? 
Would the United States sanction the official use of our 


language and its exclusive use in our schools ? Knowing 
their uncompromising nationalism, their barely disguised 
contempt for foreign systems of civilisation, could we 
indulge in such hope ? And even if these privileges 
were confirmed, what would our influence amount to in 
this new community? Instead of being two-fifths, we 
should be a mere one-fortieth reduced, that is, almost 
to a cipher." 

The Catholic clergy, needless to say, are all of 
this view. I have already spoken of their loyalty 
to the Crown and shown how its high dignitaries are 
among the strongest pillars of British rule. Under the 
Union Jack, by a tacit agreement with the Govern- 
ment, they help to keep their flocks in contented 
subjection, and in return they have practically carte 
blanche, at least in the province of Quebec controlling 
churches, schools, colleges, and universities. 

Would they receive the same treatment from the 
United States? It is scarcely likely. They would be 
accorded their liberty, doubtless, but nothing more. 
The Canadian clergy thought the matter out long ago. 
They took up this attitude at the time of the Treaty of 
Paris. In 1775 and 1812 the British Government had 
their strong support. Their conduct in similar circum- 
stances would be the same to-day. 

And their attitude is not determined exclusively by 
political considerations. It is their constant desire, as 
we have seen, to keep their flock out of the range not 
merely of Protestantism but also of the influence of 
American Catholicism, which is too liberal for their 
taste. The Canadian Church is right, in pursuance 
of this aim, to wish to maintain the status qzio ; for 
while their policy of isolation is possible under British 
rule, it is to be supposed that under an American 
regime the full flood of democracy would rush unimpeded 


into the calm region of the St. Lawrence, sweeping 
along everything with it, and the old French nationality 
in its Catholic form would be gravely menaced. 

The fact that there are nearly a million French 
Canadians living in New England does not affect the 
situation at all, or only emphasises the peril. These 
emigrants, who were not to be kept at home, seem to 
have been absolutely severed from the bulk of their race ; 
it is true that they continue to speak the language and 
to cluster round their parish priests, but they are far 
from forming a compact group like that in Quebec : if 
they constitute an important element in the States in 
which they live, in none can they be regarded as the 
predominating element; and it is quite clear that they 
will not do over again in the great Republic what their 
fathers did in the Dominion. You may row up against 
the stream of British civilisation, but the stream of 
American civilisation submerges you every time ! 

Their example, therefore, does but confirm the 
French of Quebec in their attitude of reserve. Canadians 
before everything, they seek only to preserve what they 
have secured, or if they try to achieve more still, they 
wish at least to do so without change of rule. To the 
glory of America, in their eyes beset with danger, they 
prefer the simple security of their ancient Canada. 

If isolation is comparatively easy for our race, it is 
impossible for the English Canadians. Between them 
and the Americans there is practically no difference in 
language, and the difference in race is perceptible only 
to the practised eye. From this it results naturally that 
their ways have become almost identical. The towns to 
the north and the south of the frontier are astonishingly 
alike. Toronto has nothing of a British city in its 
aspect, and Winnipeg is a new edition of Chicago. The 
private life of the English Canadians is modelled to a 


great extent on that of their American neighbours : their 
occupations, recreations, tastes, prejudices, are all the 
same. Their business affairs are run on American lines, 
no single detail in their buildings and offices recalling 
the Mother Country. In short, their whole method of 
living has come completely under the influence of New 

It is only natural, therefore, to ask whether some day 
the adjoining countries will not be united by closer 
political bonds. The English Canadians have often 
considered the point. In these conditions of vicinity and 
similarity the thing has seemed natural, almost 

In the first instance it was certain provinces that, 
adopting a policy of bluff, threatened the Confederacy 
that they would go over to the United States if they 
were not conceded certain specific privileges which they 
had demanded. Not perhaps officially, but by the voice 
of public opinion, British Columbia and Nova Scotia 
had recourse to these tactics, which were, however, not 
taken very seriously. Even in Ontario that stronghold 
of British patriotism many English Canadians have 
spoken openly of secession in their moments of resent- 
ment against what they called "French domination." 
But one must regard such ebullitions as the outcome of 
mere bravado, intended to impress the general public, 
rather than of a ripe and reasoned out determination. 
At bottom, by taste and tradition, the English Canadians 
remain very English still. 

What threatens British rule more seriously is perhaps 
the play of economic interests. Formerly, indeed until 
quite recently, most of the Canadian merchants imagined 
that the prosperity of the country could only be achieved 
by dint of a close commercial union with the United 
States. We shall see presently how the Liberal Party 


made itself the champion of this policy. This idea has 
now been temporarily abandoned, chiefly in consequence 
of the hostility displayed towards it by the Americans, 
but we must not ignore the fact that it may be revived 
some day and regain great favour. I am not forgetting 
the existence of the Imperialist movement! I shall 
show at the end of this book how scanty in Canada are 
its chances of success. Besides, Colonials do not relish 
the introduction of sentiment into business affairs. 

There is therefore no insuperable obstacle in the way 
of an economic or even political rapprochement. Two 
countries so close and so alike seem destined to come 
together, almost to be blended in one. So Mr. Goldwin 
Smith, at least, has sought to demonstrate in his 
brilliant writings. 

However, for thirty years past there has been nothing 
to show in any decisive fashion that the idea of 
annexation is making any advance. Canada has been 
becoming more and more Americanised, especially in 
the West, but politically the Dominion remains loyal to 
England, and seems more than ever distrustful of 
America. During the last ten years, above all, the 
whole tendency has been towards the Mother Country. 
If there are politicians who would relax the bonds of 
Imperial rule, this is not with a view to preparing the 
way for secession, but simply to increase the autonomy 
of the colony without leaving the Empire. Talk 
of annexation, formerly quite common, is for the 
moment not heard. Professions of patriotism are in 
favour, and some of the Separatists of yore are now 
ardent Imperialists. You may travel from one end of 
the country to the other, visiting all the towns, without 
ever hearing the expression of any wish for a different 

For the present, then, the feeling of opposition 


against the idea of American absorption is indisputable 
and quite sincere. But will it last? It would be 
imprudent to assert that it will. The English Canadians 
may change their views ; they may allow themselves to 
fall gradually under American influence so thoroughly 
that one fine day they will find themselves transformed 
unwittingly into authentic Americans. But this is a 
matter for the future. For the moment there are in 
Canada only two dominating tendencies that we need 
note a steady loyalty to England, and a constant 
growth in purely Canadian patriotism. 

The strength and growth of this purely Canadian 
patriotism that is what stands out clearly before our 
eyes as the result of our inquiry into the national 
sentiments of the two races. Divided against each other 
by violent rivalries, they are united only when the destiny 
of Canada as a whole is in question. Then they succeed 
in almost forgetting their dissension, and take counsel 
together as to what they are agreed in wishing, and still 
more what they are agreed in not wishing. Agreed to 
remain faithful to the British Crown and to reject all 
idea of annexation to the United States, they are agreed 
also to stand up for their autonomy against interference 
from London. And thus it is that the colony of Canada 
is speedily becoming a veritable nation. 

No one has succeeded better than Sir Wilfrid Laurier 
in giving expression to the pride of this newly-made 
nation and to the love felt for her by her sons. " I love 
France, which has given us life," he said in Paris in 1897 \ 
11 1 love England, which has given us liberty ; but the 
first place in my heart is for Canada, my fatherland, the 
land of my birth. . . . You will agree with me that the 
national sentiment of a country has no worth save in the 
pride with which it inspires her sons. Eh, bien! we 
Canadians, we have this pride in our country ! " And in 


London, speaking to an exclusively British audience, the 
Canadian Premier was not afraid to affirm the claim that 
is in the heart of all his fellow- citizens : "It has been 
said with truth that Canada is to-day a nation." With 
this quotation we may well conclude : there is no other 
that gives such faithful rendering to Canadian thought. 




THE Constitution of Canada presents no original feature : 
it partakes at once of the English parliamentary system 
and of American federalism, but there is nothing in any 
of its provisions to attract attention by reason of its 
novelty ; its chief interest lies rather in the way in 
which it is applied. It will suffice, therefore, to devote a 
brief chapter to an analysis of it. We shall give more 
time to a study of the practical conditions under which it 
works. In this way we shall get a good impression of 
that curious mixture of English traditions and American 
innovations which gives the keynote to Canadian 
political life. 

According to the British North America Act, 
1867, art. 9, Canada is a kingdom of which the King of 
England is sovereign. But as a matter of fact its 
Constitution is that of an almost independent federal 
republic. We shall see presently to what extent the 
Dominion is really a colony, but for the moment we can 
ignore this consideration and think of it as practically 
enjoying entire autonomy in all home affairs. 

This condition of things was not the work of a day, 
and is not due exclusively to the benevolence of England. 
It has had to be struggled for, sometimes fiercely, by the 
Canadians themselves. Their parliamentary history, 
though it may lack the dramatic surprises of our own or 



the prestige of that of England, is none the less a splendid 
example of energy, courage, and determination. It may 
be well here to recall quite briefly some of its essential 

The evolution of the Canadian Constitution from the 
time of the conquest to that of the establishment of the 
Confederation in 1867 may be divided up into four 
periods, each of which, from the point of view of 
autonomy and liberty, constitutes a distinct advance upon 
the one preceding. 

During the ten years that followed the Treaty of 
Paris that is to say, from 1763 to 1774 the country was 
placed under the most arbitrary rule. The victors had 
indeed guaranteed to the French Catholics, then a 
majority of the population, the free practice of their 
religion, but they kept them systematically outside the 
government, and barely allowed them to be represented 
in the Council, though this was a purely consultative 
body, advising the Governor. 

In 1774 the Quebec Act, passed by the British 
Parliament, introduced some important improvements 
into this veritable conquerors' rule. Henceforward 
English and French were put on an equal footing, the 
use of our language was sanctioned in official documents, 
and the guarantees already ceded to the Catholic Church 
were solemnly confirmed. It is true that electoral 
representation in any shape was postponed, but the two 
races sent members to sit side by side in the legislative 
Council. England gave proof of a really large-minded 
and tolerant spirit, and it was manifest that instead of 
endeavouring to subjugate her new citizens by force she 
was anxious to win them over by sympathy. 

As a result of the American War of Independence 
and the great influx of loyalists which ensued, the 
numbers of the English in Canada were greatly increased, 


and it became possible to give the colony a larger 
measure of self-government. By the Constitutional 
Act of 1791, Canada was divided into two provinces, 
Upper and Lower Canada. A Governor-General was to 
reside in the French region, a Lieutenant-Governor in 
the English the less important. In both provinces the 
law created two Chambers, one to be chosen by the 
Government, the other to be elected. The weakness of 
this system resided in the fact that the Ministry was 
not responsible to the elective Assembly and that there 
was a chronic rivalry between the elected Deputies and 
the Ministers, especially in the French province. This 
resulted in an open revolt in 1837, under the leadership 
of the celebrated patriot Pepineau. It was repressed 
remorselessly, and for two years the French province 
was placed once again under despotic rule. It was 
then felt that some drastic reform was essential. Lord 
Durham, despatched to the scene as special envoy, 
advised the British Government, in a report still famous, 
to grant the colony complete autonomy. 

By the Union Act of 1840 the two provinces were 
united and the two elective Assemblies merged in one, 
each of the two former provinces sending to it an equal 
number of deputies. The French language was at first 
barred in the official and administrative life of the 
country, but later (by the Union Act Amendment Act, 
1848) it was restored to its old position. Henceforth 
everything tended towards progress. From the date of 
Lord Elgin's tenure of office in 1847, there were no longer 
any but responsible Ministers in Canada, in full accord 
with parliamentary government. It was under the 
Union of 1840 that the Canadian people served its 
apprenticeship to constitutional life. 

Twenty-seven years after the passing of the Union 
Act the Canadian Constitution was further developed, 


and the Confederation after long and painful negotiations 
between the future parties to it was ratified by the 
Imperial Parliament by virtue of the British North 
America Act of 1867. Little by little, the feeling that 
all the provinces of the Dominion should be united 
asserted itself, and in spite of the obstinate resistance of 
certain local interests, unity took the place of complete 
diversity. Composed at first of only four provinces, 
Quebec (Lower Canada), Ontario (Upper Canada), New 
Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, the new Federation took, 
in 1870, Manitoba and the North- West Territories; 
in 1871, British Columbia ; and in 1873 Prince Edward's 
Island. Finally, so recently as 1905, the two provinces 
of Alberta and Saskatchewan, detached from the North- 
West Territories, became autonomous members of the 

Under the Constitution of 1867, which still holds 
good, the Dominion comprises two categories of legis- 
latures provincial Legislatures and the federal Legis- 

All the provinces forming part of the Union retain 
self-government, with all the forms of political organ- 
isation appertaining thereto. As a result of this 
process of decentralisation the freedom of the French 
Canadians has been increased owing to their separation 
as regards administration from their rivals in Upper 

Each province has over it a Lieutenant-Governor 
nominated by the Governor- General and fulfilling the 
duties of a functionary of the Dominion. These duties 
are strictly constitutional in the sense that he is not 
free to take part in politics ; his relation to the local 
Assembly and the responsible Ministry is like that of the 
President of a republic. If he possesses the right to 
dissolve Parliament, and if he exercises this right not 


infrequently, it is understood that he must have regard 
for strict impartiality in so doing. 

By virtue of a now established rule, it is the elective 
Assemblies of the provinces that are responsible for the 
lines of policy pursued. Elected by what almost amounts 
to universal suffrage (except in Quebec and Nova 
Scotia, where certain restrictions still exist), they re- 
present that Third Estate of Canada which as the 
result of persistent conflicts has at last prevailed over 
the time-honoured ascendency of the Crown. If Quebec 
and Nova Scotia still possess non - elective Upper 
Chambers, these are the only two exceptions. Every- 
where else there is but the one elective Assembly. (In 
the Quebec Parliament the French language is used 

The provincial Governments are made up of six or 
seven Ministers chosen from the parliamentary majority. 
The administration is carried on with the help of a body 
of officials entirely distinct from that of the Federal 
Government. Each province is thus complete in itself, 
like any great State. In some cases there is a touch of 
extravagance about this, but one must remember that 
most of the provinces, before entering into the Union, 
were already self-governing. 

The British North America Act sets forth with 
precision the limits within which these provincial 
Governments are free to legislate. They may amend 
their provincial Constitutions, they may deal with local 
taxation and loans, with the traffic in alcoholic liquors, 
with local boards, public companies, and with education. 
Their independence even in these matters is, however, 
not complete. The Governor-General retains the power 
of vetoing at any time within a year any provincial law 
held to be unconstitutional or injurious to those rights of 
minorities guaranteed by the Constitution of 1867. In 


the case of legislation in educational matters the Federal 
Parliament is enabled to substitute a reparatory law 
re-establishing the rights held to have been infringed. 

Thus the Union of the different parts of the Con- 
federation is a real one, for they possess autonomy 
without independence. But the Federal Government 
is chary of intervention, for it realises the strength of the 
spirit of decentralisation. 

The Federal Government is framed upon the same 
model as the provincial Governments. The Dominion 
has over it a Governor-General, residing in the capital 
of Ottawa, representing the British Crown. He is 
selected by the English Government, and is a servant of 
the Empire. However, save in his relations with the 
Home Government, between which and the Canadian 
Government he acts as intermediary, he is really but 
the constitutional President of the Canadian Republic. 
It is he who promulgates in the King's name the laws 
voted by the Federal Parliament, without ever having 
occasion so far to exercise a right of veto. Exception 
has to be made of those measures which affect the 
Empire as a whole or which are unconstitutional. All 
his decisions have to be countersigned by a responsible 
Minister. The selection of the Premier is one of his 
most important prerogatives, but as he is limited in his 
choice to the parliamentary majority and as public 
opinion has generally pointed clearly to some one man, 
he has not much freedom in exercising it. He has the 
same powers as the King in regard to the dissolving of 

The Federal Parliament is composed of two Assem- 
blies. The first, the Senate, contains a maximum 
of 84 members appointed by the Government, each 
province being represented by a certain proportion. 
The President of the Senate is not elected by his 


colleagues, but nominated by the Government. The 
powers of the Senate are in principle the same as those 
of the Lower Chamber save in financial matters, in 
regard to which they cannot take any initiative and have 
no right of amendment. This Assembly is a mere 
survival from the past, and plays quite a secondary 
role in the conduct of affairs. 

The House of Commons is the real centre of 
political power. Elected by the same voters as the 
provincial Parliaments, it contains 213 members, the 
province of Quebec being entitled by the British North 
America Act to a fixed number of 65. The other pro- 
vinces are represented in proportion to their population, 
the division of the 148 seats varying in accordance with 
each new Census. It is the House of Commons that 
votes the Budget, makes and unmakes Ministries, and 
carries out the line of politics accepted by the country 
at the elections. The two languages, French and English, 
are officially used in the Ottawa Parliament, each 
speaker expressing himself in which he pleases, and 
all official documents being printed in both. 

The Federal Government is made up of fourteen 
Cabinet Ministers and sometimes several other Ministers 
not in the Cabinet. It comprises ordinarily the 
following posts : President of the Council (Prime 
Minister) ; Minister of Justice ; of Finance ; of Labour ; 
of Agriculture ; Secretary of State ; Fisheries ; In- 
terior ; Militia ; Public Works ; Railways and Canals ; 
Customs; and Inland Revenue. Decisions are come 
to collectively in the name of the Governor-General, 
who is supposed, according to the old tradition, to 
be acting on the advice of his Privy Council. In 
reality the Cabinet is absolutely free to take what 
action it chooses, and only consults the representative 
of the Crown as a mere formality. The Cabinet has 


the entire responsibility. It is an accepted thing, more- 
over, that all constitutional questions are to be interpreted 
as liberally as possible and in the way most conformable 
with the spirit of parliamentary government. 

Everything that concerns the Confederation in the 
ordinary course of events comes within the scope of 
the Federal Parliament and Ministry : commerce, trade 
duties, navigation, fisheries, posts and telegraphs, etc., 
army and navy, the condition of the Indians, the criminal 
code, the Census, questions of naturalisation and immi- 
gration, sales and grants of public land, etc. As the 
British North America Act has specified precisely the 
two domains, Federal and Provincial, disputes in this 
connection are rare, and the central and local authorities 
are usually in complete accord. 

It will be clear from this rdsumd that in form the 
Canadian Constitution is in the main inspired by the 
British parliamentary spirit. We shall see now as we 
proceed to study the way in which it works that in 
practice it comes to wear a purely American aspect. 
This mixture of influences imparts its chief interest to 
the political life of the Dominion. We shall discover 
it in the whole organisation and nature of its political 
parties, in the character of its elections, and in the 
whole tone of its parliamentary existence. 


THE administration of Canada is carried on alternately 
by the two rival parties which succeed each other in 
power. Constituted on the British model, they are 
designated by the same names, Liberal and Conserva- 
tive, and display their respect for British forms and 
traditions, but they derive from the United States the 
tone of their polemics, their eye for material advantages, 
and above all their methods of working the constituencies. 
It is curious to note that French influences in this field 
are practically non-existent. Not only is there no 
trace of anything French in the methods of the British 
population, that is natural enough, but the French 
Canadians themselves carry on their politics in a way 
which has nothing in common with ours in France : 
they seem to have lost our sensitive individualism, our 
impatience of discipline : Anglo-Saxon methods have 
become a second nature to them, and they have absorbed 
them with a thoroughness that would be inexplicable 
did one not bear in mind that they come originally to 
a great extent from provinces noted historically for their 
love of hierarchical rule, and closely akin (Normandy, 
for instance) to southern England. 

Originally formed to subserve a political idea, these 
parties are often to be found quite detached from the 
principles which gave them birth, and with their own 



self-preservation as their chief care and aim. Even 
with a programme, they continue to live and thrive, 
tending to become mere associations for the securing 
of power; their doctrines serving merely as weapons, 
dulled or sharpened, grasped as occasion arises for use 
in the fight. Their organisation, meanwhile, is kept by 
able "managers" in perfect condition. The danger is 
always lest they should partake too much of the nature 
of mere political machines. 

This fact deprives the periodical appeals to the voting 
public of the importance which they should have. In 
the absence of ideas and doctrines dividing electors 
into opposite camps, there remain only questions of 
collective or individual interests for the candidates to 
exploit to their own advantage. The consequence is 
that rival candidates commit themselves to identical 
promises moved by an identical determination to win. 
Whichever side succeeds, the country it is well known 
will be govefned in just the same way : the only differ- 
ence will be in the personnel of the Government. 
That is how things go, save when some great wave of 
feeling sweeps over the Dominion, submerging all the 
pygmies of politics in its flood. In the intervals between 
these crises, which though violent have their good effects, 
it is not the party that subserves the idea, it is the idea 
that subserves the party. 

Canadian statesmen and each generation produces 
its batch undoubtedly take longer views. They seem, 
however, to stand in fear of great movements of public 
opinion, and to seek to lull them rather than to en- 
courage them and bring them to fruition. Thus, 
deliberately and not from short-sightedness, they help 
to promote the state of things which I have described. 

The reason of this attitude is easy to comprehend. 
Canada, as we have seen, with its rival creeds and races, 


is a land of fears and jealousies and conflicts. The 
absence of ideas and programmes and convictions is only 
apparent Let a question involving religion or nation- 
ality be once boldly raised and all the trivial little 
questions of patronage and vested interests will dis- 
appear below the surface : the elections will be turned 
into real political fights, passionate and sincere. This 
is exactly what is dreaded by far-sighted and prudent 
politicians, whose duty it is to preserve the national 
equilibrium. Knowing well the force of the feelings 
pent up, they fear that if they were let loose the unity 
of the Dominion would be endangered. They exert 
themselves, therefore, to prevent the formation of homo- 
geneous parties, divided according to creed or race or 
class. The purity of political life suffers from this, but 
perhaps the very existence of the Federation is the price. 

The existing parties are thus entirely harmless. 
The Liberals and the Conservatives differ very little 
really in their opinions upon crucial questions, and their 
views as to administration are almost identical. Both 
parties are made up of heterogeneous elements : 
employers and labourers, townsmen and peasants, 
French and English, Catholics and Protestants, are to 
be found alike in both. In these conditions any 
attempt to assume a distinct attitude towards burning 
questions would shatter them into atoms, and they are 
able to preserve their unity only by dint of extraordinary 
compromises. In this way they have come to regard 
each other without alarm : they know each other too 
well, and resemble each other too closely. 

The really important questions being withdrawn 
from discussion, there do not remain many subjects to 
serve as bones of contention between the two parties. 
They borrow each other's programmes, therefore, such as 
they are, with a calmness and sans gne rather staggering 


to the foreign spectator. It often happens, for instance, 
that both parties are absolutely agreed as to the 
necessity of some such great public work as the con- 
struction of the second Trans-Continental Railway. 
The question at issue is not whether it shall be carried, 
but under which party it shall be carried out. In such 
circumstances where is the meaning of " Liberal " or 
" Conservative " ? It is a case merely of a Government 
and an Opposition. 

It might be supposed that this being so, the frontiers 
between the two great groups would be as elastic and 
indeterminate as their policies, and that politicians 
would pass easily from one to the other. But this is 
not so at all. In Canada the party is almost a sacred 
institution, to be forsaken only at the cost of one's 
reputation and career. It is held in esteem almost like 
one's religion, and its praises are sung in dithyrambs 
that are often a trifle absurd. Its members owe it 
absolute loyalty even in the smallest matters, and in- 
dividual vagaries of opinion are sternly condemned. 
Oppose your party in defence of some doctrine which 
it formerly maintained itself but which the necessities 
of the moment have led it to abandon, and you will 
lose your reputation by your independence. Thus 
M. Bourassa, who separated himself from Sir Wilfrid 
Laurier over the question of participating in the 
Transvaal War, was violently taken to task by many 
of his political friends. In theory you may be right, 
they said to him, but don't you see you are compromis- 
ing the unity of the Liberal Party? In the eyes of 
politicians the reproach was overwhelming : " Party 
first, Principles afterwards ! " might almost have been 
their cry. 

And you should see how the party organs treat the 
disloyal member who goes over to the enemy ! No 


sarcasm, no insult, is spared him. The words, " Traitor," 
"Turncoat," " Knave," seem inadequate to describe the 
turpitude of his crime. This is somewhat ridiculous, 
considering that a man may change his party without 
changing his politics ; but one has to remember that the 
party is a sort of Brotherhood, advancing shoulder to 
shoulder on the way to power, and sharing good and 
evil fortune alike. 

The reasons for which men cling to their party 
are indeed both intricate and numerous sometimes 
they are moved by interest, sometimes by sentiment. 
Family feeling, tradition, good fellowship, have much to 
say to it. A family has been Liberal or Conservative 
for generations past its members grow up in the 
parental faith. Later, after marching in line with their 
companions under the same leaders, there would be a 
feeling of shame at quitting the ranks ; electoral 
campaigns gone through together, and all the memories 
clustering round them, serve to create an esprit de corps 
which has nothing to do with programmes and doctrines, 
but which constitutes an extraordinarily strong con- 
necting link. We must not lose sight of the fact, too, 
that by keeping in with the party one stands a good 
chance eventually of reaping some kind of benefit some 
desirable billet or coveted concession. 

In ordinary times a political machine thus perfected 
is almost bound to work all right, but it is not possible 
to keep the burning questions always in the background. 

The most consummate diplomacy could not, for 
instance, have prevented the religious question from 
being raised in 1896 over the schools of Manitoba, or 
the race question from coming to the front in 1900 
apropos of the Transvaal War. When face to face with 
such matters as these, what usually results is that a 
few politicians vote according to their convictions and 



against their party, but a great many vote for their 
party against their convictions. 

This was never more manifest than in the general 
election of 1900. On this occasion French Canadians, 
strong Pro-Boers, and Anti- Imperialists were to be seen 
voting in large numbers for a Ministry which had 
established the famous Differential Tariff of 1897 in 
favour of England, despatched the Canadian Volunteers 
to the Transvaal, and declared boldly its adhesion to 
the Imperialistic movement. On the other hand, 
English voters in Ontario whose Imperialism was 
beyond suspicion were to be seen voting against Sir 
Wilfrid Laurier, though in sympathy with his policy. 
The first wished at all costs to keep at the head of the 
State a man of their own race ; the second could not 
forgive him for being a Frenchman and a Catholic. 

However, if the question at stake were held to be 
really crucial and more important in its issues than the 
well-being of parties, the Canadian public would find 
itself rent in two clear divisions, just as though these 
makeshift parties had never existed. For example, 
if the right to use the French language were called in 
question, all French Canadians, Liberal or Conservative, 
would unite together as one man in defence of what 
they regard as an inalienable prerogative of the race ; 
while if the Catholic Church were attacked in regard to 


any of its essential privileges, all the faithful independ- 
ently of their race or party would rally on her side. 

Fortunately for Canada, there would seem to be 
little danger of such conflicts. In a new country of 
wide extent and great prosperity material questions are 
apt to take precedence of all others. The immediate 
need is to people the newly opened territories and turn 
them to account, to construct railroads and waterways. 
The country has to be made to pay. To this end the 


methods to be adopted are not much in dispute. The 
only thing disputable is by which party these enterprises 
shall be brought to a successful issue. For a nation 
divided in so many other respects it is a guarantee of 
quiet that on this one point everyone is agreed ! 




THERE can be few countries in the world in which 
elections whatever the questions at issue arouse more 
excitement and enthusiasm than in Canada ; there can 
be none in which political contests are entered on with 
greater gusto. At election-time the public life of the 
Dominion is to be studied in one of its most interesting 
and characteristic manifestations. 

The life of a Ministry is in principle five years, but 
ordinarily a dissolution takes place soon after the 
conclusion of the fourth. 1 The voting is uninominal, and 
takes place everywhere on the same day ; 2 there is 
no second poll, and the first is always decisive, even if 
there has been no absolute majority. In accordance 
with the English system, candidates who have no 
declared opponents seven days before the election 
become members "by acclamation," as it is styled. 
The suffrage varies in the different provinces, and is not 
universal in all. One person can vote in more than one 
constituency. These rules, for the most part, have 
their source in England. We shall see, however, that 
in practice the United States influence is to be seen. 

1 Since 1867 the general elections have taken place in 1872, 1874, 1878, 
1882, 1887, 1891, 1896, 1900, 1904. 

2 There are some unimportant exceptions to this rule. 



The elections may be said to take the form of a duel 
between the two great parties the independent voters 
are a negligible quantity, and everything tends to dis- 
courage them. There is a curiously un-democratic rule 
obliging every candidate to deposit a sum of ^40, which 
is confiscated if he does not poll half as many votes as 
his successful rival. Not only is there no second poll, 
but the idea of it is strongly deprecated by those who 
realise how it works, for does it not tend towards the 
creation of new parties by encouraging malcontents 
in the first instance, whereas the leaders prefer that 
the malcontents should have no rope whatever? 

It is not difficult, then, to understand the weight of 
authority appertaining to each party. To a far greater 
extent than its members taken individually, it is the 
party that fights, talks, and promises. The programme 
imposes itself morally and almost materially as well upon 
those whom it takes under its wing. The sort of 
anarchy which marks our political contests in France, 
in which everyone is left to himself, makes it hard for 
us to form any idea of the rigour with which the 
Canadians enforce obedience in electoral matters. 

It is the party that treats with the great forces 
whose support it requires the Catholic clergy, industrial 
and commercial companies, railway companies, etc. 
Large clienteles are involved. The elections are 
expensive affairs, and money must be got for them 
somehow. These essentials are generally already dealt 
with over the heads of the candidates by the time the 
campaign begins. 

The central organisation of each party is reduced to 
a minimum. It may be said to consist in the one case 
of the Premier, in the other of the Leader of the 
Opposition, each of whom indicates the general lines to 
be taken. There is, properly speaking, no organising 


body dealing with the whole of the Dominion. Matters 
are seen to in each province on the spot, under the 
direction of some influential politician, who with a large 
and elaborately constituted staff conducts all the opera- 
tions like a regular Brigade-Major. Canada being very 
much decentralised by reason of its immense extent, 
the freedom left to each of its provinces is considerable. 
They all take their cue, however, from the leader of the 
party, and each party hangs well together. 

The provincial leaders have a tremendous task to 
get through, having to superintend sometimes as 
many as fifty or sixty elections. First of all they have 
to make sure that there shall not be more than one of 
their party candidates for each seat, for a splitting of 
votes would be fatal. They have to keep an eye upon 
every phase of the canvassing, to be in constant 
communication with the newspapers, distributing all 
the election literature, despatching speakers to all the 
public meetings. A hundred other details require 
their attention, whilst they must contrive all the time to 
keep the whole field of battle in sight. 

Let us glance now at the actual proceedings in a 
single constituency. These differ, of course, in different 
provinces, especially according to whether the constitu- 
ency be in a town or in the country, but there are certain 
traditions and customs that prevail throughout. 

Five or six weeks before the voting-day the 
candidates are nominated by a local Convention held in 
each constituency. The siege of the masses has already 
taken place. What has still to be done and it is no 
small matter is to make sure of doubtful voters and 
waverers. In this work Canadian politicians are 
dangerously expert, with their combination of Norman 
shrewdness and Yankee smartness. 

In each commune the candidate chooses four or five 


influential men, who are known in the French districts 
as "heads"; according to the amount of money at his 
disposal, he hands them sums of 100, 200, or 300 francs, 
which it is understood that they are to expend in 
the interest of the cause. Naturally a portion of this 
money stops en route. The candidate is aware of this, 
but he shuts his eyes, having need of the co-operation of 
people of importance whose opinions are listened to. 
Besides, when these have their pockets well lined with 
gold, they carry themselves with more assurance and 
have more go in them. Having more confidence in 
themselves, they inspire more confidence in others. 
Their bearing indicates that the party's coffers are full, 
and their suggestion of opulence wins many adherents. 

The first action of these "heads" is to hire a place 
which shall serve as the headquarters of the party 
organisation, where they stock all the pamphlets, leaflets, 
posters, announcements, etc., as well as portraits of the 
candidate, the provincial leaders, and the leader of the 
party. Here they establish their offices, and welcome 
all comers with the utmost cordiality and amiability. It 
would seem as though they were haunted by the fear of 
not being sufficiently gracious. Nothing is more curious, 
especially in the English districts, than the deference 
shown to the voters. In addition to the expenses 
involved in all this, there are other items, more or 
less justifiable, of which the candidate is not supposed 
to take cognisance. Canadian public opinion is very 
tolerant in regard to these. 

These first preparations having been seen to, the 
candidate takes a carriage, a sledge, or a train, and 
begins a round of visits and meetings. In the country 
districts especially in the French ones he goes from 
commune to commune, following certain traditional 
methods, visiting the smaller villages during the week, 


and keeping the Sunday for the more populous centres. 
It is in these, in the open space in front of the church, 
that he delivers his most important addresses. In 
most of these open spaces in the province of Quebec 
there are small wooden tribunes for use on such occasions. 
In fine weather everything goes off perfectly, but even 
if it rains or snows the meeting is not abandoned. 
Umbrellas go up, and those who are cold keep shuffling 
about their feet, while the orator's voice gives out the 
flowing periods, prefaced always with the words, 
" Messieurs les Electeurs " ! 

In the towns there is a different order of procedure. 
The mass of electors assemble together at monster 
meetings to hear a general exposition of the party 
programme, at public debates and receptions in honour 
of some personage of distinction ; while smaller meetings 
are held in different quarters of the town, or for each 
separate profession. 

But public meetings are not enough in themselves. 
House-to-house canvassing, as the English call it, is also 
essential. In the French districts the canvassers 
begin usually with the priest, unless his displeasure 
has been incurred, which is a grave matter, though not 
necessarily fatal. Then one proceeds to make the rounds 
of adherents and opponents, evading dangerous dis- 
cussion with the latter, and talking rather of the weather, 
unless some one particular topic should appeal to them. 
All these ceremonies are carried out most politely, 
for the country-bred French Canadian is a lover of 

Visits of this kind are more difficult in the towns. In 
some of the Western cities, for instance, there are entire 
quarters inhabited by foreigners who only know a little 
English, and who are not to be reached by the ordinary 
posters or addresses. Special manifestoes are made out 


for their benefit in their own languages, but they are 
scarcely to be won over otherwise than by personal visits, 
backed up by promises and presents. These foreigners 
constitute very important bands of voters, whose presence 
sometimes alters entirely the political complexion of a 

Meanwhile the great forces whose interests have been 
solicited and secured are not being inactive. Their 
co-operation is the result of the negotiations made before 
the party programme was completed. In return for the 
promise of a tariff or the withdrawal of some threatened 
parliamentary Bill, the Church puts out its influence, while 
the business man planks down money. 

The Canadian Government, not having our Code 
Napoleon at their back, is not able to exercise its influence 
after the fashion of ours. Its influence is called into 
action rather by its office-holders, who hold out promises 
in its name. "Vote for the Government, and you shall 
have such and such a subvention, new railway, or appoint- 
ment." These are the words you will hear uttered by 
the Ministerialists no attempt to disguise the nature of 
the transaction (as with us). The Opposition, instead 
of protesting, retaliate with promises of what they will do 
for their supporters should they come into power. Thus 
both sides call into play the prerogatives of the State in 
order to catch votes. 

In a country in which the entire population belongs 
to one or other of two religions, it is inevitable that 
the voice of the clergy should count for much. It 
must be said, however, that the Protestant parsons and 
ministers do not as a rule take an active part in the 
elections. If they intervene, it is to plead for new laws 
in defence of morality or to combat existing laws which 
violate their idea of morals. They rarely take up a 
position as a body on the side of either party. As we 


have seen already, it is quite otherwise with the Catholic 

But the predominant influence, which if a party is 
bent on victory must be either secured or rendered 
neutral, is that of the great commercial and industrial 
concerns. The resources of the Government are to be 
assessed in money, whether they take the form of office, 
subvention, or public works. Now, the great concerns 
are well equipped for a contest with it upon this ground, 
having great armies of voters dependent upon them, 
besides having certain public bodies under their control. 
You hear of gas and water companies forcing a munici- 
pality to carry out their demands ; of some huge industrial 
company, employing thousands of hands, dictating its 
wishes to a provincial Ministry, to whom its support is 
necessary ; of some director of a railway through 
some region with no other line of communication 
treating on equal terms with members of the Federal 

It is only natural in these circumstances that there 
should be bargaining. The railway companies especially 
require to come to terms with the Government, for a 
session never passes in -which some new Bills affecting 
their welfare have not to be passed. It is essential 
to them to have a majority on their side, and if 
possible a Ministry to bring the Bills forward in their 

The entire history of Canada is full of these transac- 
tions. In 1872, for instance, Sir Hugh Allan, promoter 
of the Canadian Pacific, gave more than 300,000 dollars 
to the Conservative Party for their campaign. In 1887 
a sum of more than 100,000 dollars came out of the funds 
of several great companies eager for concessions and 
subventions for distribution in twenty-two divisions of 
the province of Quebec. In 1891 the promoters of a 


huge dock enterprise supplied nearly 1 20,000 dollars for 
electioneering purposes. 1 In 1904 it is notorious that the 
Canadian Pacific Railway and the Grand Trunk Railway 
scattered money about lavishly the former among the 
Conservatives, the latter among the Liberals, both with a 
view to controlling the second Trans-Continental line that 
was being sanctioned. No doubt cynicism goes too far 
sometimes, as in 1872 and 1891, and there is a scandal, 
and Ministers themselves are injured. But normally it is 
considered quite the thing that contributions should be 
made to the party funds in this spirit, and without them 
both parties would be at a loss how to conduct their 

We come now to the voting-day. The "heads" have 
studied the register carefully and made an estimate of the 
probable number of votes. In the towns, naturally, the 
unforeseen has a wide margin. In the country, where 
everyone is known individually, it is a case merely of 
bringing one's adherents up to the voting urns and 
keeping them out of reach of the foe. 

On the morning of the great day all available con- 
veyances have been hired, often at exorbitant prices, 
which in themselves point to corrupt practices. The chief 
organisers, taking up a central position, keep in constant 
touch with the progress of the voting : in such a village, 
things go well ; in such another, electors resident some 
distance off have failed to record their vote a carriage 
is despatched to the scene at once to bring them in. 
Sometimes just the opposite manoeuvre is resorted to 
with equal success : by some ingenious stratagem the 
adversary's electors are kept away from the polling booth. 
A Conservative railway company, for example, despatches 
Liberal workers miles away to execute some quite 
unnecessary piece of work ! 

1 Willison, Sir W. Laurier and the Liberal Party. 


At the end of the day the excitement has reached its 
utmost limit. Old men, invalids, cripples, are roped in. 
Sometimes these just turn the scales, the election being 
won by 40 or 50 votes out of 3000 or 4000. The victory 
has gone to the party which was best organised. As 
we have seen, however, in this matter of organisation 
there is apt to be an excess. 


THE ELECTIONS (continued) 


THE electoral campaigns in Canada, with their curious 
mixture of old British forms and new American practices, 
may be characterised as distinctively Colonial. By the 
use of this word, so full of meaning to English ears, I 
mean to class Canada as belonging to that group of 
Anglo-Saxon peoples which out-do England herself, if not 
also the United States, in the extraordinary rtalisme of 
their political life. 

The charge of vulgarity is one of those brought most 
frequently by the English against their Colonial fellow- 
subjects. The Canadians are not proof against this 
accusation in their public life. It is not that they are 
particularly violent: during the elections of 1904, which 
I followed closely, I did not hear many downright insults, 
and the vocabulary of the candidates struck me as 
containing comparatively few outrageous expressions. 
Without having recourse to unseemly language, however, 
they have a way in the Dominion of making terrible 
accusations in the simplest, most direct fashion, that go 
beyond our most violent outbursts of low abuse. The 
thickness of the Anglo-Saxon skin renders possible the 
use of certain forms of words that with us would call forth 
hot protests and duels. In the calmest, most unim- 
passioned way you hear politicians regularly accused of 



putting money in their pockets, without anyone, even the 
man against whom the charge is brought, seeming in the 
least shocked. The thing is of too common occurrence. 
This cold-blooded attitude baffles one's understanding, 
and one would almost prefer to witness a little vio- 
lence. In the same way quite important personages may 
be heard to talk of the "stupidity" and "ignorance" of 
their " honourable friends." In France such remarks 
would lead to angry outbursts. In Canada the members 
thus alluded to seem to pay no attention. 

We must keep in mind this marked difference in 
temperament in order to understand the way in which the 
Canadians deplore our violence, while we in our turn 
look on astonished at their brutal frankness of speech. 
Charges of corruption and peculation are bandied about 
from start to finish in their elections, and are really too 
prevalent altogether. Such charges are not unknown 
with us, but what marks them in Canada is the fact that 
they are not made in the heat of the moment they owe 
their introduction to a mot dordre given in advance 
quite deliberately as a feature of the campaign. By 
whom ? Irresponsible journalists, you will surmise, 
calumniators by profession. Not at all. By the official 
agents of the great parties, who place these things in the 
forefront of their campaign literature. 

A pamphlet, for instance, which was distributed 
broadcast in 1904 by the Conservative Party under the 
title Facts for Liberals and Conservatives, contained 
three caricatures, inscribed " Proofs of Prosperity," 
which were absolutely defamatory. In the first (to cite 
only the one, for the others were of similar character) 
one of the members of Laurier's Ministry is represented, 
with a huge diamond pin in his tie and rings on all his 
fingers, standing between a hut and a palace. Smiling 
with self-satisfaction, he points to the hut and says, " I 


had to live in that a few years ago," and then pointing 
to the palace, he goes on, "After a period of Liberal 
Government, I have this to live in now." And the 
caricaturist asks in large lettering, "Where does the 
money come from ? " Note that the Minister's name is 
given in full. 

The Liberal camp is not behindhand in this species 
of warfare. One of their publications represents the 
English flag, with the following exhortation beneath it 
as an inscription : 

" Lay both your hands on the Union Jack (but 
not in the way the Tories did when they were in 

What does that signify exactly ? The drawing makes 
it clear : upon the red portion of the flag may be seen 
the marks of two dirty hands, and from these marks 
stand out certain memorable words, calculated to recall 
to the elector the scandals of the Conservative Govern- 
ment : 

" Scandal Debt Extravagance Theft Cor- 
ruption Peculation The Langevin Scandal The 
McGreevey Scandal." 

In another pamphlet M. Borden, Leader of the Con- 
servative Opposition, is depicted followed by his shadow, 
alluding to which he exclaims, " Shall I never be able 
to get rid of it ? " Looking at the shadow, we see the 
words : 

" The Canadian Pacific Railway Scandal Lend me 
another 10,000 dollars The Rykert Scandal Wood 
Concessions Something for my old age The Langevin 
and McGreevey Scandal : 760,000 dollars Se"ne"cal 
Commissions : 50,000 dollars Curran Bridge Scandal : 
270,000 dollars Levi Dock Scandal Esquimanet 
Dock Scandal. . . ." 

And so on, filling a whole page ! 


This exchange of accusations takes place, as I have 
said, habitually ; above all, at times when one or other 
party has had a long lease of power. Naturally it is 
not confined to Ministers. Ordinary members and 
candidates come in for their share and take their part 
in it. And as the expenses and resources of most 
persons are a matter of general knowledge in this vast 
but thinly populated country, there is ample scope for 
insinuations. Where did such and such a politician 
suddenly get the means to build that new house of his 
in the fashionable quarter ? And this other, with the 
extravagant wife and daughters, how does he manage 
to live in such expensive style ? What service was 
it that made the railway company place that char- 
palais (palace-car) at his disposal ? This is the kind 
of thing you find set out in plain print, without ex- 
tenuation of any kind. The unimpressionable English 
temperament makes it all possible, and to the easy- 
going Colonial it all seems quite natural and to be 
taken as a matter of course. 

The tone of the public meetings in Canada bears 
witness also to British phlegm. They are almost 
always quiet and orderly. The speakers are listened 
to, and discussion is possible. In the French parts, 
however, while the same conditions exist to a great 
extent, there are essential points of difference. 

In the English parts of Canada set debates have 
become the exception at election-time. The parties 
are apt not to agree as to the lines upon which the 
debate should be conducted. The usual thing is for 
each candidate to convoke his own meeting, inviting 
opponents to be present as well as allies, but " running 
the whole show " himself. The meeting takes place in 
some large hall or theatre, and all the local leaders 
appear on the platform or stage beside the candidate-. 


There is much enthusiasm and shouting and a great 
show of English flags, and the walls are hung with all 
kinds of inscriptions and symbolical decorations. 

But in spite of all these trappings, which pall after 
the first time you see them, the English political 
meetings are generally extremely dull. Eloquence is 
rare at them, and, curious to note, does not seem to 
be called for. The audience arrives ready to applaud 
their champions and to listen patiently to their inter- 
minable discourses, largely made up of figures. Two 
hours of this experience (brevity is not a British 
characteristic) seems to tire them a little, but they 
come to life again presently, when the inevitable jovial 
Scotchman takes the stage and begins telling them 
stories, addressing them as "friends" or "boys," and 
succeeding in making them laugh. Sometimes, of 
course, things are enlivened by an eloquent speech 
or by the outburst of some dissension. The Jingoes, 
for instance, express themselves vigorously. The two 
chief characteristics of these gatherings, taking them as 
a whole, are distinctively British patriotic sentiments 
and commercial statistics. 

Very different is the aspect of the meetings in the 
French districts. They often take the form of debates, 
in which the French Canadian seems to find a quite 
passionate enjoyment. Their love of oratory is indeed 
extraordinary : neither distance nor rain nor snow has 
effect to keep them away when there is a speech to be 
heard. And you should see the tense way in which 
they listen in absolute silence, not just the passive 
silence of the English, but the sensitive silence of the 
subtle Norman, appreciative of fine shades of meaning, 
and wonderfully responsive to delicate flashes of wit and 
gleams of humour. 

The speakers themselves are equally unlike those 



you hear in the English gatherings. They really 
understand the art of public speech. Not that they 
are invariably eloquent, or even well trained, but they 
have life and "go" in them. They wake their listeners 
up, or at least do not let them go to sleep. They 
indulge in lively repartees, seasoned with Norman wit. 
It is not always the most highly educated who speak 
best, for the less cultured are often more racy of the 
soil. The man of learning is sometimes apt to form 
himself too much on classical models, and the oratorical 
methods of Cicero and Lamartine are a bit out of place 
in his string of platitudes. But this is the exception, 
for entrain and finesse are the true characteristics of the 
French Canadian. 

It should be added that without losing their natural 
qualities the French in Canada have adapted themselves 
surprisingly to the rules and regulations governing the 
British form of debate. Their discussions are carried 
on in as serious a spirit and as decorously and methodic- 
ally as is the case in the most sober parts of England. 
No education could have been more desirable for them. 
It has enabled them to take a worthier place in the 
political life of the Dominion. 

If physical violence is absent from Canadian elections, 
corruption, as I have shown already, is to be met with 
in diverse forms. There has been a great improvement 
during the last twenty years, but alcoholic and monetary 
influences are still to the front. 

To begin with, there are the inevitable drinks which 
are offered by the election agents or by the candidate 
himself, and which have for purpose and effect merely 
the putting of the electors into good humour. But the 
actual purchasing of votes is the really serious thing. 
Naturally, this is carried out on a large scale only in 
certain districts, but there are many in which the margin 


between the two parties is so fine that it is all important 
to get hold of the doubtful voters by hook or by crook. 
In some constituencies in Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba, 
votes are to be bought not merely from the poor peasants 
but from well-to-do farmers. Sometimes appearances 
are saved by the device of letting out a conveyance for 
the polling-day at an exorbitant price, but often the 
transaction is put through quite simply and shamelessly. 
A public man in Manitoba told me how at the close of 
one of his meetings a number of electors approached 
him to barter with him there and then for their votes. 

Then there are yet other constituencies in which 
things are worse still, the lists of voters and voting papers 
being tampered with. At an election in October 1903 
at Sault Sainte- Marie (Ontario) the results of the poll 
were thus falsified. Bogus electors were imported from 
the neighbouring part of the United States and given 
their board and lodging and generous payment in 
return for handing in illegal voting papers to certain 
venal individuals similarly remunerated who had been 
installed as officials in the polling booths. An appeal 
was made against the election with 213 charges of 
specific corruption. At the sixteenth case investigated 
the Tribunal declared themselves satisfied with the 
evidence already produced, and invalidated the election. 

Such flagrant cases as this are of course rare, but 
the influence of the Amerian "machine" has permeated 
the whole colony, and there are Canadian experts who 
have carried the science of handling votes to perfection. 
Both parties warn their followers against the wiles of 
these people. As an illustration of what is done, let us 
study the pages of a pamphlet officially published by 
the Liberal Party a propos of the general election of 
1904, in which are set forth certain methods of falsifying 
the voting papers methods naturally attributed in this 


case to the Conservatives. It contains a wealth of new 
and suggestive expressions : slipping, for instance, is 
involved in the ascribing to Conservatives votes given 
for Liberals : switching means the mixing up voting papers 
in such a way as to profit by the confusion ; stuffing is 
the fraudulent recording of votes by impersonation of 
the dead or absent ; spoiling is the invalidating of the 
voting papers of the other side by surreptitiously 
marking it on the outside. 1 

The author of this brochure would have us believe 
that the Conservatives enjoy a monopoly of these 
fradulent tactics, but the Conservative leaders address 
precisely the same warnings 2 to their followers, and it 
is scarcely credible that all the virtue is on one side and 
all the vice on the other. Both parties wind up by 
crying, " Vote for our candidates if you would put an 
end to these abuses." And it remains a matter for 
astonishment that they are not suppressed ! 

From all that I have said, it will be gathered that elec- 
tion expenses in Canada are very high. The normal and 
legitimate outlay is considerable to start with, and when 
we come to the more dubious items we have to reckon 
up in thousands of dollars. In a very interesting 
article in La Patrie, M. Tarte, who knows both 
parties through having belonged to each in turn, 
estimates as follows the cost of the campaign in 
Montreal in 1904. He writes : 

"A general election is a cause of legitimate expendi- 
ture on the part of the leaders of political parties and 
of those members who are prepared to buy the honours 
they solicit. Let us pass in quick review the electoral 
divisions of our city. 

" Saint- Antoine. Both candidates are men of means, 

1 Seven Years of Liberal Administration. 

2 Facts for Liberals and Conservatives. 


large means. How much will they disburse through 
the medium of their election agents ? Will it be less 
than 20,000 or 25,000 dollars apiece? There have 
been previous elections in which the happy (!) candidate 
has to hand out more. 

" Sainte-Anne. This division is less expensive than 
that of Saint- Antoine. That is not saying you can manage 
things by mere requests for support. We believe that 
each candidate will keep within 10,000 or 12,000 dollars 
just at first. 

" Saint-Louis and Saint-Laurent. Ask the treasurers 
of both organisations, if you know them, what was the 
legitimate expenditure of the candidates. The Patrie 
does not pretend to exact information. We imagine, 
however, that without an available sum of 15,000 dollars 
ready money no candidature would stand much chance. 

" Before we come to the centre of the city that is to 
say, Saint-Jacques and Sainte-Marie let us glance dis- 
creetlyat Maisonneuve. Here we have a Minister as candi- 
date. A Minister is a man who is supposed to have power 
and plenty of money. If Monsieur P. meets with an 
opponent of weight, can he expect to get off at less than 
25,000 to 30,000 dollars ? You are either a Minister 
or you are not! His adversary, who pleads poverty be- 
cause he is Opposition, must provide himself with at least 
10,000 dollars. The Opposition spends less, but it must 
spend. All these figures are approximate. They repre- 
sent 160,000 dollars in round numbers. In electoral 
expenses the numbers are always round ! " 

Even if these figures be patently an exaggeration, 
even if we reduce them by a half or a fourth, they 
serve to indicate the really deplorable power exercised 
by money. Such expenditure is not only dangerous 
in its demoralising influence upon the electorate, but also 
in the crippling effect it may have upon the resources 

of the elected member, who runs a risk of debt on his 
entering Parliament. 

We must not, however, conclude that these financial 
misdemeanours form the basis of the Canadian elections. 
That would be a great mistake. We must remember 
the saying of Rousseau : " Jamais on ne corrompt le peuple, 
mais souvent on le trompe." When the margin between 
the parties is very narrow in a constituency, bribery 
and corruption may serve to turn the scale. But, 
generally speaking, great currents of public opinion are 
not to be turned aside by the force of the dollar. In 
the chapter which follows we shall see what are the 
arguments which really weigh with the Canadian 

THE ELECTIONS (continued] 

IN all electioneering programmes there are certain points 
upon which the politicians lay stress, instinctively as it 
were, because they know them to be calculated to 
impress public opinion ; and nothing throws more light 
upon the real spirit of a constituency than the kind of 
language addressed to it by the candidates, its licensed 
flatterers. In this chapter we shall study the arguments 
of a general character which the Canadian election 
organisers are most given to invoking, and which ensure 
victory to their party when they can make out their 
claim with sufficient plausibility. They are four in 
number : the defence of one of the two races or of one 
of the two religions against the other ; the prosperity 
of the country ; the promise of public works or material 
local advantages; and the personal prestige of the 
party leader. 

The appeal to racial exclusiveness combined with 
religious bigotry is the first and last cartridge of the 
politicians of the Dominion. Before thinking of any 
other reason, just as after all other reasons have been 
exhausted, they come to or return to this, feeling them- 
selves here upon solid ground from which they can at 
will stir up the passions of the populace. I have 



already explained that Canadian statesmen worthy to be 
so called in contradistinction to the ordinary politicians 
hesitate in their generous solicitude for the peace of the 
country to let loose the currents of mistrust and hatred 
which they would be unable later to control. They are, 
however, sometimes forced to remember that there are 
in Canada two jealous peoples, having in many respects 
interests apart, and they also cannot always refrain at 
certain opportune moments from plunging into racial 
politics. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, habitually an apostle of 
union, has not hesitated, on various occasions, to remind 
his fellow-citizens of Quebec of all the advantage to be 
derived by them from having one of their own number 
as Federal Prime Minister. " Do not forget," he said 
to them at Montreal in 1896, "that if there is a 
Liberal Ministry at Ottawa, it is a Frenchman who will 
be at its head." 1 This was an appeal, discreet but 
quite undisguised, to the sentiment which has ever 
since accorded him the faithful and enthusiastic support 
of almost all the French of Canada. 

If the leaders cannot avoid these racial appeals 
altogether, it may be guessed that the smaller fry make 
use of them recklessly. In the region of the Lower 
St. Lawrence the affirmation of the rights and claims 
of the French race forms the leitmotif of every cam- 
paign. Purely racial arguments never fail here of 
their effect, and the number of politicians who do 
not have recourse to them, openly or otherwise, is small 

The English of Ontario are still more responsive to 
racial or religious appeals, as may be supposed from 
what I have said already of their feelings in regard to 
"French domination," etc. In the elections of 1900 
they selected as their scapegoat M. Tarte, Minister 

1 Cited by A. Mdtin in Autour du Monde. 


of Public Works, guilty (among a hundred other mis- 
deeds) of having delivered Francophil speeches in 
Paris at the Universal Exhibition. Their diatribes 
against him, repeated ad nauseam, soon became the 
stock refrain, and the great newspapers let themselves 
go on the subject with truly deplorable violence. " If 
we wish to remain faithful to the Queen and the flag 
in the hour of peril, how can we safely allow a Tarte 
to control our destinies? If Tarte were free to act as 
he liked, the English flag would not be floating over 
Toronto to-day. . . . Are we going to have Tarte to 
rule over us ? Vote for British liberty, for a stronger 
Empire, for industrial stability and progress. Vote 
against absolutism, robbery, race prejudice, against 
treason and Tarte." 

The effect of this agitation was so strong in Ontario 
that the Conservatives won 1 1 seats : the number 
of their successful candidates went up from 44 to 55, 
while that of the Liberals, the followers of Laurier and 
Tarte, went down from 48 to 37. In Quebec, for 
analogous reasons, the opposite result was brought 
about, and the Liberal Ministry carried 58 constituencies 
out of 65. Manifestly the French province had voted 
for Laurier because he was French ; the English 
province par excellence had voted against him because 
he was not English. 

Fortunately, though the opposition between the 
two races is always latent, it does not always 
manifest itself in these outbreaks of anger. In 
the intervals, material interests resume the prepon- 
derant place natural to them in all countries, but 
above all in new countries. The national prosperity, 
indeed, seems to affect people much more closely in 
Canada than in France. In France so many people 
are in receipt of fixed incomes, which are scarcely 


touched by the ebb and flow of economic life. In 
Canada, on the contrary, the immense majority of the 
population is engaged directly or indirectly in commerce, 
industry, or agriculture, and no one is immune from 
the fluctuations of general wealth. Hence, in Canada 
as in the United States, when business is good 
everything is all right : everyone is well off, and 
is good-humoured and full of "go," money is 
lavished on amusements and on building. Everyone 
contemplates lavishing money still more freely on 
these things. No one is indifferent to a general con- 
dition of things which is to the advantage of each 
individual, and of which the cessation would be a public 

In these circumstances the party which can invoke 
in its favour the argument of prosperity has in its 
hands a weapon of the first importance. If it is able 
with any show of truth to say to the electors, " Renew 
our lease of power and the existing prosperity will 
continue," it is sure to touch a responsive chord. If, 
on the contrary, it is a time of commercial crisis, it is 
the cue of the Opposition to put all the responsibility 
for it upon the Government, and to cry from the house- 
tops, " Put us in, and all this shall be changed ! " 
With a few variations, this is the tune taken up 
regularly by either side at each Federal election : the 
singers only are changed. 

The elections of 1904 were fought out very largely 
almost entirely upon this basis. The Liberals took to 
themselves all the credit for the prosperity of the 
country, and compared it with the financial "slump" 
which had marked the closing years of the Conservative 
term of office before 1896. Here are the words, 
lacking assuredly in impartiality, in which one of their 
pamphlets set forth the question : 

IN CANADA , 7 i 


" What was the situation during the last years of 
the Conservative Administration? As almost all 
Canadians know, business was stagnant, little or no 
progress was being made, the country was moribund, 
people were emigrating in thousands. . . . Confidence 
in the Government was destroyed. These were some 
of the results of the last years of Tory rule. Truly 
the country needed a doctor to attend to it. Those 
were dark days ; fortunately the clouds have passed. 

"HAPPIER DAYS! FROM 1896 TO 1904. 

" Let us now turn over the page and look at the 
present state of things and at the situation during the 
last few years. It is undeniable that since 1896 the 
country has been completely prosperous, that all kinds 
of businesses are in progress and flourishing, that work 
is abundant, that every honest and active man is able 
to find suitable employment. . . . The tide of prosperity 
seems to have turned our way just at the moment 
when the Liberals assumed office. It has risen still 
higher regularly year by year ever since ! . . . The 
trouble and despair of 1896 have given place to 
enthusiasm, energy, and pride. Canadians show that 
they are conscious of belonging henceforward to a 
great nation. National pride is their dominating 
sentiment. . . . The only class of people really dis- 
satisfied is that of the Conservative politicians." 1 

It is not hard indeed to understand that the latter 
would not be wholly delighted over a state of prosperity 
so invaluable to the cause of their opponents. They 
endeavour by a complicated system of reasoning to 

1 Seven Years of Liberal Administration. 


show that in reality this prosperity is their doing, but 
they are not quite happy in their efforts. "If a man 
puts money into a business," they say, somewhat ill- 
humouredly, "if he adopts a wise plan in his manage- 
ment of it, provides for it the most up-to-date machines, 
and establishes agencies to ensure its commercial success, 
then if he goes away leaving his successors a fortune 
in process of formation, should the credit be given to 
the inheritors or to the real founder ? . . . A great 
wave of prosperity passes over the world. Canada 
equipped by the Conservatives is qualified to profit by 
it. The Liberals, taking on our policy ready-made, 
install themselves in power, and have nothing to do 
except record the inevitable prosperity brought about 
by the Conservatives. They proclaim to all the world 
that Canada (equipped by the Conservatives) is pros- 
perous. To whom belongs the credit? To the man 
who made the plans or to the man who inherited them ? 
Intelligent people will reply that it belongs to the man 
who made the plans to the inventor, organiser, and 
constructor." 1 

Although there is not lacking some truth in this 
plausible reasoning, one finds it easy to guess that 
bitter recriminations of the kind produce no good effect, 
but the reverse. The elector loves success and simple 
statements, and finds more to his taste the illustrated 
pamphlets in which the Liberal Party demonstrates to 
him by means of suggestive and convincing illustrations 
the satisfactory way in which things are going. Let 
us take, for instance, some typical pictures from a series 
of pamphlets entitled " Laurier does things." A big 
farmer, freshly shaved and looking very pleased with 
himself, meets Mr. Borden, Leader of the Opposition, who 
seeks to convert him to sane Conservative ideas. But 

1 Consemative Policy ; the Policy for Canadian Development. 


the elector, shrewd and sceptical, replies, " Give me 
one reason, Mr. Borden, one single reason, for changing 
so excellent a management ! " Mr. Borden, stumped, 
has no reply to make. On another page, two groups 
of persons are represented. In the first, Mr. Fielding, 
Minister of Finance, holds out an enormous bag 
representing his surplus to Jack Canuck (the Canadian 
John Bull), who is demonstrative in his delight at 
receiving it. In the second, Mr. Borden, in mourning, 
is sobbing out, " Alas ! alas ! " while by his side a decrepit 
old man, the Tory Party, raises his arms to heaven and 
exclaims, " The country is going to the dogs ! " On 
yet another page, we see a chorus of four personages, 
a farmer, a manufacturer, a workman, and a repre- 
sentative of the general public, all in new clothes and 
good spirits, intoning together the praises of the 
Ministry and rejoicing in their good fortune. 

By dint of repeating to the Canadian public in this 
way that it is rich, happy, and prosperous all which, 
indeed, is in large measure true they end by carrying 
conviction. From this it is an easy step to satisfy the 
electors that a continuation of such a state of affairs is 
dependent upon the maintenance of the Liberal Party 
in power. And it ends by the majority hearkening to 
the appeal, " Vote for Laurier and Prosperity ! " 

It is not enough, of course, merely to record success. 
It is necessary to guarantee its continuation by new 
promises. Public works are what Colonials demand most 
of all : they know that by the construction of roads, 
bridges, canals, and above all railways, the natural riches 
of the country are made exploitable and the value of 
land, and hence all other values, increased. Thus 
provinces, communes, and individuals are all united in 
soliciting from the Government as much in the way of 
public works as possible. The Minister who has the 


distributing of them is a great electoral power ; some- 
times even this distribution becomes an essentially 
political question, and then it is the Premier who takes it 
in hand himself. It needs very remarkable adroitness to 
succeed in giving satisfaction in one direction without 
causing dissatisfaction in another, and the whole parcelling 
out of public favours is a work calling for diplomatic 
gifts, and not to be delegated to an understudy. 

In 1904, for instance, the Laurier Ministry had put in 
hand a marvellous programme from an electoral point of 
view namely, the construction of a second Trans-Conti- 
nental railway. The projected line was to traverse all the 
provinces, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, and it 
was possible to call up a vision to electors of tremendous 
advantages : millions were to be expended, there was to 
be work for thousands of labourers, there were to be 
greater transport facilities, reduced tariffs, increased 
immigration, rise in value of land, reclamation of immense 
regions as yet uncultivated in one word, a really strong 
impetus given to the whole economic life of the 

As may be imagined, with so alluring a programme 
in their hands, the Ministerial candidates did not hesitate 
to make something out of it officially in their election 
addresses : " Vote for the Government, and you will 
have this railway ; " " Vote for me, who am in with the 
Ministry, and you shall have that branch line that would 
be so useful to you ; " " Vote for me, I have influence at 
Ottawa, and if you do, a lot of money will be spent in the 
constituency. If you don't, the constituency will be 

These arguments may seem like old friends. Is there 
a single Ministerialist ddputt in France who has never 
had recourse to them ? It must be admitted, however, 
that at home a sort of delicacy forces us to disguise them 


a little and clothe their nakedness. This precaution is 
not taken in Canada. Thus at Winnipeg, on the 2pth of 
October 1904, at a public meeting organised in Selkirk 
Hall in favour of the Liberal candidate, Mr. Bole, the 
following inscription adorned the walls : 



Mr. Bole was elected by a big majority against 
two opponents one a Conservative, the other a working 
man. He had found the argument that told ! 

Now for another instance of the same kind of appeal 
to self-interest half ingenuous, half cynical in a 
smaller sphere. This is how a local correspondent of Le 
Canada defends the member for Saint- Jerome (province 
of Quebec) : " The Conservatives are doing their utmost 
to decry the Ministerial candidate, but they can't 
succeed. . . . They reproach Dr. Desjardins with not 
having been a great orator in Parliament. That is a 
very paltry charge. . . . Fortunately, Dr. Desjardins 
has something better than fine words to his credit, and 
his record of work done since he became a member 
that is, during the last sixteen months is the best reply 
to his censors. Dr. Desjardins has secured for his 
county in sixteen months more than the Conservatives 
gave it in eighteen years. That represents in all the 
pretty figure of 175,000 dollars, made up as follows . . ." 

This kind of language, innocent of any kind of 
disguise, is held in all the constituencies without giving 


rise to serious protest, for it is really from this standpoint 
of profit and loss that the Canadian public regards its 
parliamentary system. All they ask of their representa- 
tives is to take up the same point of view. Whether it 
be a question of a local subsidy or of a railway through 
the length of the Dominion, the latter must not forget 
that they are elected to pursue the policy of results ! 

Not, of course, that the Canadian electors are 
absorbed exclusively by their local or individual interests. 
They are conscious that an attitude of unity and consist- 
ency is essential to the conduct of a great colony, almost 
as independent as a nation. Admirers, like the English, 
of strong individualities, they love to put in the place of 
honour a man of authority and prestige. Their com- 
mercial idea of credit, which they carry into politics, 
makes them feel that their reputation cannot fail to be 
strengthened if they have at their head a personage of 
distinction, calculated to impress people with a sense 
of his worth. 

That is why it is of the first importance to the success 
of a party that it should be led by someone who inspires 
confidence, and whose mere name is a programme in 
itself. As long as the Conservatives had Macdonald 
for their leader, they voted for him rather than for the 
party. So it is with Laurier and the Liberals of to-day. 
If Laurier disappeared, the Liberals would perhaps find 
that they had lost the real secret of their victories. 
Thus, in accordance with the Anglo-Saxon habit, the 
Canadians attach themselves rather to the concrete 
reality than to the abstract principle. They vote as 
much for the man who symbolises the policy as for the 
policy itself. 

So much, then, for the four principal arguments which 
are most effective in rousing Canadian public opinion. 
According to the provinces and the circumstances, they 


vary in their efficacy, but they have always to be used, 
and when a party is at a loss for any one of them its 
cause cannot fail to suffer thereby. It is not difficult to 
conclude that the parliamentary life which is the outcome 
of such elections must reproduce their chief character- 
istics. This is what I propose to show in the following 



THE parliamentary life of Canada is coloured at once 
by the influence of British traditions from afar and 
by the influence of American customs close at hand. 
Beneath forms borrowed almost entirely from England, 
a political activity goes on which belongs even more 
to the New World than to the Old : the " properties " 
are English, but the piece is American, and those who 
take part in it are, as someone has well said, American 
actors on an English stage. From this curious mixture 
of the Capitol and Westminster we get a complicated 
creation which it is almost impossible to define in precise 
terms, owing to the contrasts it presents. 

The form, let us agree, is English. Although the 
Dominion is a Confederacy, we know from a study of the 
Constitution of 1867 that its regime is a faithful copy of 
the parliamentary system of the Mother Country. A faint 
reflection of the Crown, the Governor-General (like the 
provincial Lieutenant-Generals) is merely a decorative 
personage, to whom respect is due, but who is carefully 
placed outside the arena of parties. The Ministry is 
not responsible to him, but only to Parliament. Parlia- 
ment alone has the control of the general administration 
of public affairs, of which from election to election it 
is the real centre. 

The respect manifested for Parliament is a very 



British sentiment. Its members are really proud of 
belonging to it, and like to think of themselves as 
younger brothers of the M.P.s of Westminster. I have 
never known them to compare themselves with the 
members of Congress at Washington, who for that 
matter are held in but scant esteem, even in their own 
country. In respect to the prestige enjoyed by its 
Federal Assembly, Canada resembles England rather 
than the United States. 

The English House of Commons is the model to 
which reference is most often made at Ottawa. Its 
forms have been minutely copied ; its session hall is a 
reproduction of the famous House at Westminster ; the 
seats are not arranged in the shape of an amphitheatre as 
in Paris, but facing each other ; and a Speaker, dignified 
and formal, seated on a kind of throne between the two 
parties, has on his right the Ministerialists and on his 
left the Opposition. The Ministers occupy a front row 
of benches, as do the Leader of the Opposition and his 
principal lieutenants on the opposite side. 

The opening and closing of the session are carried 
out, just as they are in London, with an antiquated 
ceremony somewhat out of keeping with the simplicity of 
this Colonial milieu, but to which the Canadians of all 
races and all classes are tenaciously attached. As to the 
debates, they partake of that curious mixture of dis- 
cipline and laisser-aller which characterises all English 
gatherings from which women are excluded. Members 
wear their hats while seated, and lounging attitudes are 
allowed are even considered to be a sign of elegant 
nonchalance ; one remembers that such men of note as 
Disraeli and Balfour have affected this negligence and 
air of unconcern. When a member rises to speak, he 
takes off his hat, and without moving from his place 
addresses himself to the Speaker, not to his fellow- 


members. Members refer to each other not by their 
own names, but by that of the constituency represented. 
This often produces a quaintly exotic effect in the 
French Canadian language, such as the following 
exordium : " Monsieur 1'orateur, 1'honorable membre pour 
Quebec adit ..." Approbation is signified by sonorous, 
guttural cries of " Hear ! Hear ! " The whole impression 
is thoroughly British. 

The work of the Assembly is carried on in accord- 
ance with the methods in use in Westminster. The 
Speaker's authority is considerable in regard to questions 
of procedure, but it is understood that in regard to all 
political questions he must remain absolutely impartial- 
very different in this respect from the President of the 
American Congress, who is a veritable " Leader of the 
House." The individual rights of members are very 
carefully safeguarded. The French minority, in 
particular, has the privilege, by provision of the 
Constitution, of free use of French. All the official 
documents, indeed, are printed in both languages. 
Speeches may be made in either, being afterwards 
translated for the official reports, also printed in both. 
In practice, however, the French are almost always 
obliged to speak in English, for otherwise they would not 
be properly understood, and their speeches would make 
no impression. Most of the speeches of Sir Wilfrid 
Laurier and M. Bourassa have been made in the language 
which is not theirs. It should be noted that the French 
Canadians are the first to show their respect for British 
traditions. At heart they are very proud of being 
in some way affiliated to the venerable Mater 

This almost religious admiration of English parlia- 
mentary usages strikes everyone who gets a near view 
of the political world of Ottawa. What is more curious 


still is that it is observable in certain provincial 
Parliaments, such as that of Quebec, where the procedure 
I have described is followed in the most serious way 
by Frenchmen Frenchmen almost exclusively, as a 
rule. The simplicity of tone and demeanour is perfect, 
but they are careful to maintain all the due forms, 
thus giving proof of a form of Anglomania which is 
very intelligible in view of the acknowledged supremacy 
of the English in such matters. 

The parliamentary regime is carried on, then, in 
Canada in the usual way. The parties and their leaders 
make a point of constitutional correctness, citing ancient 
precedents which often have been long forgotten. Just 
as the Americans are given to invoking the shade of 
Washington or Jefferson, the Canadians invoke the 
authority of Pitt or Peel or Gladstone, thus professing 
themselves political disciples of these great men. 

Such is the outward aspect of the Dominion 
Parliament. If now we look below the surface, we find 
ideas and methods which are Colonial or American, but 
not in the least English. In truth, it is impossible for an 
elective Chamber to differ much from the body of voters 
who have chosen it. Is it not there for the purpose of 
representing it? Now the Canadian electorate is very 
American, as we have seen, in its aims, its customs, and 
its ideas. We shall find many of its elected repre- 
sentatives marked with the same imprint. 

We have noted the arguments which tell with the 
electorate ; those which tell in Parliament are not 
fundamentally different. Perhaps the rivalries between 
races and religions are less fierce at Ottawa from the 
fact that they are discussed by men of greater education, 
knowing each other better and standing in greater fear 
of the consequences of violence. They produce a crisis, 
however, every now and again sometimes most 


alarming in its character. The Transvaal War pro- 
voked the fiercest storm of this kind that the colony has 
ever known since the now distant days of Papineau. 

But in ordinary times economic considerations 
preponderate, the deputies being expected above all to 
think of the general prosperity. The same interest holds 
sway in all Colonial Parliaments, for nothing is more 
essential to a young colony than its agricultural, industrial, 
and commercial life. An important difference is to be 
noticed, however, as between Canada and Australia. 
In Australia the democracies have generally shown 
active hostility to what we in France have agreed to 
designate as la ftodalitd financiere. The Dominion, on 
the contrary, following the example of the United States, 
has generally organised its development in accordance 
with, and by means of, this ftodalitt. The material 
results have been magnificent, but from the point of 
view of the character of public life this has resulted in a 
peril which serious-minded Canadians are the first to 
deplore : the legitimate policy of public welfare tends 
sometimes to become a policy of vested interests. In 
the light of the preceding chapters there is in this no 
cause for surprise. 

It is believed, in truth, that the financial influences so 
powerful during the elections do not stop outside the 
doors of Parliament. It is not enough to have helped 
towards the victory of a party it is necessary to go on 
and secure from it this or that new Bill or concession 
or tariff or subsidy. In the great majority of cases 
the Parliament only thinks of the general interests of 
Canada, but there are particular interests which know 
well how to look after themselves. In order to secure 
favours, the great railway companies and the great 
industrial and commercial establishments find it necessary 
as well as quite natural to employ special agents in the 


lobbies. In America these intermediaries, whose trans- 
actions are not necessarily incorrect, go by the name 
of " Lobbyists." 

This custom, imported from the United States, 
indicates an undisguised and to say the least too intimate 
connection between business and politics. The leaders 
have a place apart and are above suspicipn, but this 
could not be said of certain politicians who do not hold 
themselves as responsible as they should to their 
conscience and their constituency. Too often their 
election expenses are in part defrayed by a big company 
with some new enterprise on hand ; and in consequence 
they do not take their seats as absolutely free men, some 
of them holding perhaps important parliamentary posts 
being no better really than the accredited agents of some 
great group of capitalists. These men are of course 
exceptions to the general rule, and there are also many 
admirable examples to be seen of party loyalty and 
sincere disinterestedness. 

The danger of financial influence is not less real in 
the provinces, where the parliamentary bodies are 
smaller and a few votes are enough to turn the scales. 
On the other hand, it is easier to know the record of 
each individual member, and therefore to exercise 
pressure upon anyone when necessary. It is a fact 
known to all that certain great companies sometimes 
acquire such power over the local Assemblies that they 
can rely upon securing the decision they may want in 
regard to almost everything in which they are interested. 

In short, Canada has suffered the power of finance to 
exercise its sway over her politics, instead of crushing it 
down like New Zealand. Thus financial scandals are 
frequent in her political history. Perhaps this is 
inevitable in countries of rapid growth which are obliged 
to give special attention to the development of business. 


But it would be quite wrong to pretend that the 
normal tone of the Ottawa Parliament can be compared 
in every way to that of the American legislative bodies. 
Those rivalries of race and religion to which I have so 
often referred have at least the advantage of raising the 
nature of its discussion to a higher plane, introducing a 
gleam of passion, enabling its members to battle for 
ideas, sometimes with splendid oratorical effect. The 
Manitoba schools question and the Transvaal War, for 
instance, gave rise to really magnificent debates, such as 
Congress has never known, and such as even the English 
House of Commons cannot often boast of. It is only 
natural, therefore, that the Canadians should be proud of 
their Parliament. Despite its defects, it deserves their 

The political personnel of the Dominion is as diverse 
in character as the varied aspects of political life at 
which we have been looking. At its head there are men 
of the highest calibre, who get their inspiration direct 
from the greatest English traditions, and who would not 
be out of place in any Assembly in the world ; taken 
en masse, it may be said to comprise a large number of 
mediocrities of a type similar to that we are familiar with 
in the United States. There is no one characterisation 
that would describe it. 

As there is no aristocracy in Canada and hardly any 
leisured class, the Federal House of Commons is 
inevitably composed of men who follow some profession 
or who are closely interested in the work of the nation 
especially lawyers, business men, doctors, journalists, and 
farmers. Hence payment of members was found to be 
an absolute necessity, involving a departure from the 
aristocratic English traditions. Members are paid ^500 
a year, and by a recent enactment a yearly pension of 
^700 is accorded to Ministers who have been more than 


five years in office, while the Leader of the Opposition is 
paid ,1400. There is probably no other country in 
which such a functionary is officially remunerated. The 
idea is an ingenious one, and proves that the two parties 
are disinclined to favour new groupings, and on the 
contrary recognise openly their use to one another. 

These conditions allow of political life becoming a 
career and means of livelihood. In Canada it is often 
a career in the best sense of the word. Many members 
of the best families are proud to represent their fellow- 
citizens in Parliament. The difficulty and variety of 
the problems awaiting solution seem to have called forth 
a class of public men in the Dominion distinctly superior 
to that possessed by Australia or New Zealand. 
The names of Macdonald and Laurier belong to 
the general history of the world, and their country is 
naturally proud not only of having produced them but 
of having known how to appreciate them. 

With such leaders, giving themselves up entirely to 
their country and their party, Canadian political life, 
despite its vulgar element, assumes at times a breadth 
and elevation worthy of the utmost respect. Taking it 
as a whole, then, and in spite of the defects I have pointed 
out, one may say that the Dominion has been well 
served by the regime of 1867. 




WE have seen how the working of the parliamentary 
system in Canada rests essentially upon the existence of 
two parties, which come alternately into power. Let us 
now make a study of the psychology and the programmes 
of each. 

It is only since the Federation in 1867 that Liberals 
and Conservatives have come to define their real 
tendencies and, so to speak, take stock of themselves. 
But we must go back to 1840, the date of the establish- 
ment in Canada of a genuinely parliamentary Constitu- 
tion, in order to discover the origin of the various groups 
whose coalitions later were to result in the formation of 
the two great Federal parties. 

At this epoch a very important epoch in the evolu- 
tion of the country two currents of opinion manifest 
themselves. The Liberals, mostly French, ask that the 
new liberties shall be made available in a loyal and 
generous spirit ; the Conservatives, mostly English, are 
disposed to appeal to Governmental authority rather than 
to Parliament. The Liberals, or Blues, have a Left 
wing, composed of Democrats, or Reds, who keep up 
the Radical tradition of Papineau. The Conservatives 
have a rearguard in the Tories, uncompromisingly 



English, and a vanguard in the Grits, recruited chiefly 
among the Scotch Presbyterians and representing the 
more advanced element in the British population. 

These first combinations have nothing stable about 
them, and it is not long, therefore, before they become 
transformed. The moderate Liberals, the Blues, are 
naturally led to ally themselves with the Conservatives, 
and end by blending with them into a mixed Anglo- 
French Party, which assumes the name of " Liberal- 
Conservative," or more frequently of "Conservative" 
alone. On the other hand, some Blues remain faithful to 
their old alliance, and the Reds and the Grits unite to 
form a remodelled Liberal Party. When the Federation 
has become -a. fait accompli, towards 1870, it may be said 
that the assimilation of the groups and sub-groups is 
more or less complete ; there remain, it is true, many 
surviving features of the recent past, but there are 
in reality only two great parties those we know 

The Reds and the Grits were relatively advanced 
in their notions. Papineau and his disciples had the 
Radical temperament ; above all, they were not disposed 
to allow themselves to be dominated by the Church, and 
there were even anti-clericals among them a thing now 
very rare in the Dominion. Influenced, apparently, by 
the Revolution of 1848, the younger and more ardent 
among them gave themselves up to ideas which were 
very advanced for the Canada of this period ; in their 
journal, L ' Avenir, they demanded, for instance, among 
other reforms, the extension of public education, de- 
centralisation, the appointment by election of the 
Governor, of the High Chamber, of the magistracy, of 
the high officials, universal suffrage, the abolition 
of the droits seigneuriaux and of ecclesiastical reserves ; 
and they spoke freely of the independence of Canada 


and of annexation to the United States. 1 The Grits 
had a similar programme, and the union of the two 
groups seemed clearly enough foreshadowed : together 
they might be expected to form a party no longer merely 
Liberal, but Radical and Democratic. 

It is not hard to realise the disquiet aroused by such 
ideas in a country for the most part so Conservative as 
Canada, and especially the strong hostility they could not 
fail in calling forth from the Catholic clergy. The Reds 
became at once an object of fierce hate to the Church of 
Rome, and it has taken the present Liberal Party nearly 
half a century, though so much more moderate in their 
aims, to secure the neutrality, I dare not say the support, 
of the clerical authorities. It took them nearly as long 
to convince the public at large that they were not 
Revolutionaries, Anarchists, fomenters of trouble and 

The heritage bequeathed by the Reds was, indeed, 
of a compromising character. It had therefore to be 
an early and constant preoccupation of the young 
Liberal leaders of the time of the Federation to declare 
themselves resolutely moderate. The editors of the 
Avenir, pupils of Papineau, deserved in some respects 
the designation of Radicals, and they turned their eyes 
towards the men and the principles of the European 
continent. M. Laurier, on the contrary, from the time 
of his election to the local Parliament of Quebec in 1871 
and to the Federal Parliament in 1874, has made a point 
of repudiating French Radicalism and declaring himself 
a votary of the Liberalism of Gladstone. 2 

And as the years have passed, this tendency on the 
part of the Liberals of Canada has developed : they seek 

1 L'Aventr, May 21, 1851. 

2 M. Laurier's first speech in the local Assembly at Quebec, November 10, 
1871, and his first speech in the Ottawa House of Commons, April i, 1874. 


more and more to hide all traces of their Red origin and 
become more and more wedded to moderate ideas. 
That is the note of a famous declaration of policy given 
forth at Quebec by M. Laurier in 1877. " I know," he 
declared in the course of a prudent, almost timid, 
exordium, "that in the eyes of a great number of our 
compatriots the Liberal Party is a party composed of 
men animated by evil doctrines and dangerous impulses 

marching knowingly and wilfully towards Revolution " l 

On the morrow of the Commune, as in 1848, Radicalism 
and even Liberalism evoked visions of anarchy in Canada. 
It is interesting, therefore, to note the decisive tones in 
which the speaker proceeds to dissociate himself from the 
French Radicals. " There exists in Europe," he goes on, 
" in France, Italy, and Germany, a class of men who claim 
the title of Liberals, but who have nothing Liberal about 
them beyond the name, and who are the most dangerous 
of men. They are not Liberals, they are Revolution- 
aries ; they are so exalted in their principles that they 
aspire to nothing less than the destruction of modern 
Society. With these men we have nothing in common. 
But it suits the tactics of our opponents always to com- 
pare us with them." 

Clever tactics they were, for the Canadians are at 
heart an order-loving people. The Liberals of to-day 
know this well, and we need no other explanation for the 
preference they have given to the Liberalism of the 
British type. 

Moreover, the English Liberal Party presented the 
model with the highest prestige. M. Laurier has always 
taken its practices as a criterion. A photograph in which 
he is represented on Mr. Gladstone's arm has found its 
way all over the colony ; portraits of the English parlia- 
mentary leaders are to be seen in all the political clubs. 

1 Speech at Quebec, June 26, 1877. 


Those of Jules Ferry or Waldeck- Rousseau would be 
sought for in vain, not because their merits are under- 
valued by our Canadian compatriots, but because they 
would be indebted for nothing to the founder of secular 
instruction or the author of the law on religious societies. 
They prefer to sing the praises of English Liberalism. 
" What could be more beautiful," proceeds M. Laurier, 
in the speech just cited, " than the history of the great 
English Party in this century? First we have Fox- 
Fox, the wise and generous, the defender of the oppressed, 
wherever the oppressed are to be found. A little later, 
it is O'Connell we see demanding and securing the rights 
and privileges of his co-religionists as British subjects. . . . 
Then come in succession the abolition of the Governmental 
oligarchy, the repeal of the Corn Laws, the extension of 
the franchise to the working classes. . . . Liberals of the 
province of Quebec, these are our models, these are our 
principles, this is our party." 1 

Of the French Revolution, of the rights of man and 
of the citizen, you hear never a word ! Reference to 
them would sound ill in Canada. Those French 
Canadians who have attempted to evoke our democratic 
tradition have discovered that their words fell flat. 
Canada, as I have shown already, does not pass a 
favourable judgment on 1789 and 1793 ; 1848 alarmed 
it, and the Revolution of the Third Republic, Radical and 
Anti-Clerical, seems to it a misfortune. That is why 
M. Laurier insists so much upon the differences between 
his Liberalism and that of France. The welcome 
accorded to his speeches by his own partisans shows 
how necessary were his categorical declarations to 
reassure a section of the Canadian public. " Now at 
last we know," wrote a journalist, "the road we are 

1 Cited in Mr. J. S. Willison's Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal 


taking. It leads us no longer to Revolutionary excesses. 
Liberalism has been divested of its wild garb and of its 
anti-social and anti-religious character. ..." 

Nearly thirty years have passed since this remarkable 
profession of faith and there is no sign of any weakening 
in the Liberal attitude then taken up. Quite recently, 
one of the most distinguished of Sir Wilfrid Laurier's 
lieutenants, M. Rodolphe Lemieux, Solicitor-General of 
Canada, re-echoed in a speech at Montreal, at a Banquet 
given by the National Club (March 1904), what his 
chief had said in 1877. "We are no longer," he said, 
" fomenters of anarchy, thank God ! We wish, on the 
contrary, to strengthen the institutions of our country. 
We are no longer the descendants of Voltaire, as a 
Conservative leader used to assert. Our political 
thought takes its inspiration from the great English school 
of Liberalism. We are no longer apostles of a new 
religion. We are disciples of the old, true religion. . . . 
We are no longer fierce sectarians, wild-eyed votaries 
of the Convention. We are Constitutionalists and 

Do not these words recall the phrase of Thiers : " La 
Republique sera conservatrice ou elle ne sera pas " ? The 
terror of Red ideas seems indeed firmly implanted in 
the minds of those who are still designated "Reds" in 
Quebec. In their dread of seeming too advanced, they 
have succeeded so well in convincing the world of their 
moderation that it is not easy now to discover in what 
points their political doctrines distinguish them from 
their Conservative opponents. 

But if the Liberal Party found it difficult to reassure 
the timid and the moderate, they have found it more 
difficult still to overcome the prejudice of the Church. 
Until after 1896, the date when they established them- 
selves in power for so long, they had to bear the burden 


of the anti-clerical reputation which belonged to the 
Reds of 1848. The clergy persisted in identifying them 
with these predecessors of theirs and in regarding them as 
representatives of the Revolution in all that word conveyed 
to Catholic minds of what was impious and terrible. 

It was in vain that in 1867 and afterwards they 
repudiated their compromising Extreme Left, already 
half ignored. The Church objected to the term Liberalism 
in itself. Rome has condemned Catholic Liberalism, 
it maintained, therefore it cannot approve of political 
Liberalism. More than ever committed to Ultra- 
montanism since the Syllabus and the Vatican Council, 
the Canadian ecclesiastical authorities affirmed these 
two propositions with a precision which could leave no 
room for doubt in the minds of their flocks : 

1. Liberalism is a form of error, a heresy already 

virtually condemned by the Head of the Church. 

2. A Catholic cannot be a Liberal. 1 

In thus seeking to confuse Liberalism in politics 
with Liberalism in religion the Church overreached 
itself, for this resulted in making the recording of votes 
a matter of conscience in which it claimed the right to 
intervene. Accustomed to speak authoritatively, the 
bishops scarcely condescended to discuss : they ordained. 
Thus it was that on the occasion of the elections of 
1878, Monseigneur Bourget, Archbishop of Montreal, 
wrote as follows: "Our Holy Father the Pope, and 
after him the archbishop and bishops of this province, 
have declared that Liberal Catholicism is a thing which 
must be regarded with horror, like the pestilence. No 
Catholic is allowed to call himself a Liberal, even a 
moderate Liberal. In consequence, a Liberal, even 

of Catholic objections to Liberalism made by M. Laurier in 
his speech on Le Libtralisme politique. 


when a moderate, must not be elected by Catholics as 
their representative. The entire clergy held the same 
language, sometimes more emphatically still. "The 
Church only condemns what is evil," a curt declared to 
his flock about this time. "If Liberalism has been 
condemned, that is because it is an evil thing. You 
must not therefore vote for a Liberal." 

Twenty years later the question of the Manitoba 
schools served to show that the Church had not relaxed 
in her hostility to the Liberals. In less extravagant 
terms, perhaps, but still in the most absolute way, the 
entire Episcopate, backed by the entire priesthood, 
declared against M. Laurier and his party with a 
violence that the Canadian public has not yet forgotten. 
They were beaten, but after compromising themselves 
completely with the Conservatives and by virtue of a 
policy consistently followed by them for half a century. 

The uniformly haughty and almost aggressive attitude 
maintained by the Church towards the Liberal Party 
suggested to the latter the line it should take in self- 
defence : it had to become a party of resistance against 
the excessive pretensions of the power of Rome. Not 
an anti-clerical party, be it understood ; for, once the 
generation of the Reds had vanished, their successors 
had hastened to abandon everything in their methods 
that tended to violence or to godlessness, or even to 
anti-clericalism, and became respectful Catholics again, 
with wives who were submissive to the priests and 
children educated by them. Most of them deplored a 
conflict which was really painful to them, but they were 
forced to defend themselves against the undue provoca- 
tions of the Church. In this spirit the Liberal leaders, 
abstaining from such a line of opposition as would have 
hurt them among the French populace, began by making 
public profession of their reverence for religion and the 


Church. But at the same time they claimed for 
Canadian citizens the right to vote, and for the civil 
power the right to manage its own affairs, without 
episcopal interference. This was not an affirmation 
of the theory that the State was above the Church 
they dared not go so far as that but only of the view 
that Church and State were independent of each other. 

No one maintained this doctrine so finely as 
M. Laurier. No one contrived in so dignified a manner 
to demand for the elector, the deputy, or the Minister, the 
right to consider public questions from a standpoint not 
narrowly denominational, but broadly Canadian. To 
this proud claim he devoted one of his greatest speeches, 
delivered on the $rd of March 1896 in the House of 
Commons at Ottawa, on the occasion of the crisis in 
Manitoba. "I am here," he said, "as the recognised 
leader of a great party, made up of both Catholics and 
Protestants, of whom the latter are in a majority. Is it to 
be said that while I occupy a position of this nature I 
am to have dictated to me " (obviously by the Church) 
" the line of conduct I am to follow in this House, for 
reasons which may commend themselves to the con- 
sciences of my Catholic colleagues, but which do not 
commend themselves in the same way to the consciences 
of my Protestant colleagues ? No, so long as I occupy 
this position, each time that it is my duty to take up an 
attitude on any question whatever, I shall take it up not 
from the standpoint of Catholicism, or from the standpoint 
of Protestantism, but from motives which may animate 
all men who love justice, liberty, and toleration." 

These noble words, truly Liberal in the highest sense 
of the word, nevertheless gave rise to vehement Catholic 
protests. The Bishop of Trois-Rivieres condemned 
them explicitly from the pulpit (May 17, 1896). "This," 
he declared, "is the most open affirmation of the 


Liberalism condemned by the Church I have ever 
known to be made in any legislative Assembly in our 
country. The man who speaks thus is a rationalistic 
Liberal. He formulates a doctrine entirely opposed to 
Catholic teaching. He practically asserts that a Catholic 
is not obliged to be a Catholic in public life. This is 
a fundamental error, and can only lead to deplorable 

These words might well have provoked even the 
most moderate of opponents into violent rejoinders. 
The English Liberals of Ontario did in truth lose their 
sang froid, and had recourse to all the classical cries of 
British anti-clericalism. But they did not carry with 
them the Liberal Party as a whole. On the contrary, 
with fine logic, at the very moment when the clergy 
were contesting his right of conscience in regard to 
politics, M. Laurier made a point of standing by the 
Liberal declarations which he had given out twenty 
years before upon the priest's right to express freely his 
opinions like any other citizen. "In the name of what 
principles," he asked, "could the friends of liberty deny 
to the priest his right to take part in public affairs ? In 
the name of what principles could they deny him the 
right to have political opinions and to express them 
the right to approve or disapprove of public men and 
of their acts, and to teach the people what they believe 
to be their duty? ... No! let the priest speak and 
preach without restraint, it is his right ! Never shall the 
Liberal Party contest this right." 

Thus in this battle the Liberals scarcely joined in 
the attack. After a strenuous struggle with the Church 
for the Catholic elector's freedom of conscience, they 
went no farther, ready to respect the positions acquired 
by their adversary, asking only that it should claim no 
more. Their wish in reality was to secure an under- 


standing with Rome upon some acceptable basis. And 
this they succeeded in achieving on the morrow of their 
brilliant victory in 1896. 

The Church recognising that the Liberal Party 
was in power for a long time to come, was the less 
disposed to persist in a useless opposition that there 
was no question at the time of any fresh campaign. 
She was conscious, too, of the profound change that the 
party had undergone since the distant days of the 
" Reds," and she knew that she could boast of a great 
number of the faithful in its ranks. 

The reconciliation was not official, but it was real. 
The priests ceased their violent interferences, while 
retaining in their hearts an instinctive sympathy for 
the Conservatives. At the elections of 1900 and 1904 
clerical intervention was inappreciable. The new 
Ministry, for its part, did not make use of its success to 
indulge in reprisals. Anxious before all things for an 
understanding, it only sought for peace. Since 1896 
the bishops acknowledge that they are no more disquieted 
under Liberal rule than under Conservative. 

By a long evolution, lasting over half a century, the 
Liberal Party has succeeded then almost completely in 
dissociating itself from the Radical and Anti-Clerical 
programme of the Reds of 1848. If Anti-Clericalism 
and Socialism wish to manifest themselves in the 
Dominion, they must do so outside the ranks of official 
Liberalism. Thanks to this transformation, the Liberals 
have achieved office. We must admit that they have 
lost something of their individuality in so doing ! Are 
not they themselves the first to admit that between them 
and the Conservatives the difference has come at times to 
be imperceptible ? 


THE LIBERAL PARTY (continued) 

WE cannot appreciate to the full the character of the 
Liberal Party of Canada after a study of its purely political 
aspect only ; for that, we must know something of its 
economic programme. In this field it has for its " plat- 
form " that traditional Liberalism which favours Treaties 
of Commerce, whilst its Conservative opponents are the 
accredited champions of a Protectionist policy which 
sometimes goes as far as Prohibition. So much for 
principles. In practice, naturally, we shall find many 
exceptions to the rule. 

Should negotiations be entered into with the United 
States for a reciprocal reduction of tariffs, and even a 
Customs Union, so as to open the immense American 
market to Canadian products ? Or should Canada meet 
the Yankee provocations with reprisals, and following the 
American example deliberately protect her industries? 
Should Canada enter upon such negotiations with other 
Powers also the Mother Country first of all or should 
she rather defend herself against them ? These are the 
problems which have always served most to divide the 
Canadian parties. Without going farther back than 
the establishment of the Confederation, let us study first 
the attitude towards them taken up by the Liberal Party 



when in Opposition that is to say (save for a brief inter- 
ruption), from 1867 to 1896. Then we can examine the 
position it has adopted since its access to power in 1896. 

During this period of nearly twenty years we find 
both parties striving at all the general elections to define 
their principles as clearly as possible. Under Macdonald 
the Conservatives proclaim noisily their National and 
Protectionist policy. The Liberals are not so downright 
in their declarations, for if Protection is a simple, straight- 
forward idea (or very nearly so), economic Liberalism is 
multiform in its aspects. Are they Free Traders or 
advocates of a complete Customs Union with the 
United States, or only of Treaties of Commerce? It is 
not easy to make out just at first. 

In theory, the Liberal leaders of the Cartwright and 
Laurier type are Free Traders. Their strong British 
traditions explain this : considering themselves the 
disciples of the English Liberals, they find it quite 
natural to accept the doctrines of their masters and to 
employ their arguments in favour of commercial liberty. 
Thus in their speeches they talk of " Free Trade as in 
England." At the Liberal Convention of 1893 we find 
M. Laurier, in his capacity as leader of the party, holding 
forth as follows : " Our policy should be a policy of Free 
Trade as in England. It is to be regretted that the 
present position of the country does not make this 
practicable to the letter, but I propose that we should at 
least accept the principle upon which it is based." 

It will be noticed that the speaker, having professed 
Free Trade, immediately goes on to say that its appli- 
cation to Canada is impossible. The balance of the 
Federal Budget depends indeed principally upon the 
customs receipts, and no politician assuredly would dare 
to place the finances of the colony upon other bases. In 
these circumstances the maintenance of a tariff, a purely 


fiscal tariff at least, is inevitable. The Liberal leaders do 
not fail to admit this, and thus the rigour of their Free 
Trade undergoes a first and important attenuation : if 
they continue to repudiate Protection, they nevertheless 
acquiesce in the maintenance of certain customs duties, 
but according to the phrase used in their programme, 
"for revenue only." 

Economic Liberalism in Canada gives up, then, the 
pursuit of an unrealisable Free Trade to become in 
practice a policy of Treaties of Commerce. With whom ? 
With all Powers disposed to enter into them, but above 
all with the United States, for everything is dominated 
by the fact of the presence of this enormous neighbour. 

Supposing that Washington is ready to negotiate, 
what would Ottawa propose, with the Liberals in power ? 
A Treaty of Reciprocity, of course. But what kind 
of Treaty : limited reciprocity or unlimited complete 
Customs Union ? The question is complex and delicate, 
for it suggests, if it does not actually involve, the problem 
of the annexation of Canada. 

A Customs Union the extreme solution would have 
the look, and not without reason, of a blow aimed at 
Great Britain. It is in vain that its advocates affirm 
sincerely or otherwise their loyalty to Great Britain, 
they cannot carry conviction: Public opinion persists in 
regarding them as Separatists, virtually if not wittingly. 
Although, then, they are numerous in the Liberal Party, 
the party itself, whilst adopting many of their ideas, 
avoids declaring openly or officially in their favour, 
feeling that they are compromising allies. In spite of 
this reserve, the Conservatives do not hesitate to 
denounce the " veiled treason " of their adversaries. It 
is a sheer calumny, for the Liberals are not traitors. Yet 
one may be allowed to remark that during their long 
period of Opposition they are scarcely Anglophil, and 


that they look more willingly towards the United States 
than towards England. And have they not had as 
leaders, first an Irishman, Mr. Blake, and then a French- 
man, M. Laurier ? 

Such is the state of mind, at once daring and timid, 
that characterises their attitude at the general elections 
of 1891 and 1896. They reject officially the idea of a 
Customs Union with the United States as being danger- 
ous politically, and fall back upon that of as wide a form 
of reciprocity as possible. The more ardent, who seem in 
the ascendant in 1891, advocate unlimited reciprocity 
that is to say, Continental Free Trade for the whole of 
North America. The more moderate, who seem to have 
got the upper hand after 1893, are content with a limited 
reciprocity that is to say, a more or less complete Treaty 
of Commerce. 

In 1891, M. Laurier thus expresses himself in an 
election address : " The reform which we propose is 
that of reciprocal and absolute commercial freedom 
between Canada and the United States." This is 
nothing else than Continental Free Trade. The country 
finds it difficult to distinguish from a complete Customs 
Union and takes fright at it, and the Liberals are easily 
beaten by the Nationalist Protection policy of Sir John 

The Liberal Party now realises the absolute necessity 
of reassuring the public, and, starting from 1893, they 
begin to diminish the range of their programme. At 
their Convention in 1893 they still employ the sacred 
word " Free Trade," but they talk more willingly still of 
Freer Trade, which after all implies the abandonment 
of undiluted Cobdenism. They fly no longer the flag of 
Continental Free Trade, and only ask for a Treaty 
of Commerce. "In view of the prosperity of Canada 
and the United States, adjoining countries with many 


interests in common, it is desirable that the most friendly 
relations should exist between them, as well as wide 
and liberal opportunities for commerce. . . . The first 
measure to take will be to propose a Treaty the con- 
ditions of which shall be honourable to both sides ; a fair 
and liberal Treaty of Reciprocity will do much to develop 
the enormous resources of Canada. . . . The Liberal 
Party is ready then to enter into negotiations with a 
view to obtaining a Treaty of this kind." 1 

Thus the Liberal Party, on the eve of coming into 
power, has gradually evolved a programme which is 
moderate and realisable. Shaking itself free from its 
Extreme Left, it concentrates upon a policy of Treaties of 
Commerce which while applying above all to the United 
States can apply also, in its opinion, to other nations. 
On the other hand, it not only declares itself ready to 
maintain a fiscal tariff, but its leaders, in their private con- 
versations, and even in letters which are not marked 
" Confidential," do not hesitate to calm the anxieties of 
manufacturers by promising them that if there should be 
any customs reforms they will be gradually and consider- 
ately introduced. All this foreshadows the retention by 
the Liberals when they shall come to power of a great 
part of the Protectionist policy of their predecessors. 

At the elections of 1896, the Conservative Party, 
crippled by the death of Sir John Macdonald, made stale 
by their too long lease of office, are completely beaten, 
and M. Laurier becomes Prime Minister. He at once 
shows himself ready to negotiate with Washington on 
the lines indicated in the programme of 1893. But 
MacKinley has just been elected President, and a strong 
Protectionist revival is manifesting itself in the United 
States. The new Ministry, therefore, has its shoulder 
against a door hermetically closed, and long before the 

1 Manifesto of the Liberal Convention at Ottawa, June 1893. 


debate on the Dingley Bill it realises that the Americans 
will do nothing, and that the hopes raised during President 
Cleveland's term of office must be entirely abandoned. 
Thus the dream of an entire Liberal generation vanishes 
away in the face of the manifest and seemingly lasting 
hostility of the American Government. 

It is at this point that, with a very Colonial calmness, 
the Liberal Party changes its ground completely and 
adopts in part the programme of its adversaries. " If 
our American neighbours wish to conclude a Treaty 
with us," says Mr. Fielding, Minister of Finance, in the 
Ottawa House of Commons in April 1897, " we are quite 
ready to come to terms with them on a just and 
reasonable basis. If they are not so disposed [and Mr. 
Fielding knows well that such is the case], we shall 
regret it in one sense, but we shall proceed on our 
onward march, and we shall find other markets which 
will contribute towards the aggrandisement of Canada, 
independently of the American people." The meaning 
of these words is perfectly clear. From the moment the 
United States reject our advances, we cease to make 
any more, but let it not be imagined that we have no 
other string to our bow! We Liberals have always 
advocated a rapprochement with our great neighbour, 
but if they give us the cold shoulder what is there to 
prevent us from turning in the other direction to 
negotiate a commercial understanding with the Mother 
Country, for instance ? In thus acting we claim to be 
remaining faithful to our economic creed, for we are 
ready upon an acceptable basis, it is true to conclude 
Treaties of Commerce with all such Powers as show 
themselves willing. 

From this mode of reasoning resulted the cele- 
brated Fielding Tariff of April 22, 1897, establishing 
Preferential Duties in favour of England. It left the 


Americans cold, it is true, but it filled the English with 
immense enthusiasm : they were determined to see in it 
a decisive step towards Imperial Federation, and at once 
classed M. Laurier in the first rank of Mr. Chamberlain's 
lieutenants. Such are the little ironies of politics, for 
assuredly M. Laurier's past was in no way that of an 
Imperialist. The Conservatives of Canada raged at the 
Liberal leader (the word is not too strong), and could not 
forgive him for having taken their programme and 
applied it with success. Was it not Sir John Macdonald 
and Sir Charles Tupper who were the first to launch the 
idea of a Differential Tariff in favour of England ? And 
here were M. Laurier and Mr. Fielding carrying it out ! 
Was it not Sir John Macdonald and Sir Charles Tupper 
who in 1891 had been able with some show of justice to 
accuse the Liberals of neglecting the Mother Country? 
And it was these same Liberals who were now being 
exalted in London as the most admirable patriots! It 
was a piquant situation, and the Liberals who had 
not foreseen it were themselves somewhat astonished, 
though the new move had their entire approval, inas- 
much as it increased tenfold their strength as a party. 

The customs legislation of 1897 includes some 
reductions of duties, but on the whole it is distinctly 
Protectionist, and this Mr. Fielding himself does not 
deny. " Our tariff," he said in the House of Commons, 
June 7, 1904, "has proved itself to be a good fiscal 
tariff; but it involves incidentally a large measure of 
Protection. In this sense it should win the admiration 
of our friends of the Opposition, who are more Protec- 
tionist than we are." In truth, the preference of 33 per 
cent, accorded to England leaves us still far from Imperial 
Free Trade. The economic Liberalism of the Laurier 
Ministry seems to us then toned down ; its members 
seem even to have lost the habit of singing the praises 


of Free Trade : anxious guardians of the important and 
legitimate interests acquired by Protection, they would 
hesitate to withdraw from the manufacturers the precious 
and sometimes indispensable support of the State. 
Thus, while remaining advocates more than ever of 
Treaties of Commerce, they think of them only on a 
basis of a sufficient measure of Protection. 

Such, for instance, is their attitude towards England. 
They declare themselves ready to negotiate with her on 
condition that she, adopting Protection, should cede to 
Canadian products advantages over her own market. 
But let there be no mistake about it : there is no 
question of a complete Customs Union or of Imperial 
Free Trade. The Canadian Liberals would not dream 
of doing to-day, even for the Mother Country, what the 
Conservatives refused to do in the past for the United 
States : they stand too much in fear of British industrial 
competition. Their economic policy in regard to 
England may, in short, be accurately enough described 
by an expression now some fifteen years old that of 
" Limited Reciprocity." 

But this Limited Reciprocity is not reserved ex- 
clusively for England. Other Powers are free to 
propose it to the Canadian Government, which seems 
disposed to regard such proposals favourably. That, at 
least, would appear to be the meaning of a declaration 
made by Mr. Fielding on June 7, 1904. " I believe," 
he said, in the course of a speech in the House of 
Commons upon the question of a possible revision of 
the tariff of 1897, " I believe that it would be wise on 
our part to have separate tariffs applying to different 
categories of countries, so that we may be able to accord 
favourable treatment to those which desire to deal with 
us, while we treat less generously those which show us 
hostility. . . . We should have a general Maximum 


Tariff, a general Minimum Tariff, and a still lower 
Preference Tariff for the British Empire." 

Even if these Minimum and Preferential Tariffs be 
fundamentally Protectionist (and this it is to be feared is 
the case), it remains none the less true that the fact of 
Canada's wishing to create several different categories of 
duties shows that she does not propose to shut herself 
up behind a policy of Prohibition. 

As the outcome of the long process of evolution 
described in this chapter, the Liberal Party has then 
ceased to be a Free Trade Party, to become simply the 
more moderate of the two Protectionist parties. 


IN studying the constitution, programme, and evolution 
of the Liberal Party we have defined by implication the 
position of the Conservative Party. Without under- 
taking to sketch out the history of the latter, let us try 
to trace its guiding principles and the significance of the 
changes it has undergone. 

It was the outcome of the union effected about 1854 
between the "Blues" of Quebec and the "Tories" of 
Ontario. The "Blues" were the moderate Liberals, 
who parted company with the " Reds," just as the 
"Tories" parted company with the "Grits." Together 
they formed an Anglo - French Conservative Party, 
benefiting by the support of the Church of Rome, which 
for nearly half a century brought the mass of French 
Canadians into their ranks. In these years preceding 
the Confederation the party had already formed its 
individuality, and shaped its programme, and secured all 
the real elements in its strength. 

In presence of the hostility shown by the United 
States to the idea of commercial reciprocity, it declares 
itself Protectionist. In its dread of annexation, it shows 
a tendency to draw closer to the Mother Country. 
Above all, it can boast a real leader, able, inspiriting, of 
great reputation, in Sir John Macdonald, a level-headed 



statesman, who will be able to keep it for a long 
period in office by the authority of his name, the largeness 
of his ideas, and the remarkable savoir faire displayed 
by him in his electoral and parliamentary tactics. 

The Confederation came about in 1867, and from 
1867 to 1896, with an interval of five years, it is the Con- 
servative Party that rules Canada. Its defeat in 1873, 
caused by financial scandals, is not of a political 
character. A brief storm has been unable to change the 
deep current of opinion, and in 1878 the country returns 
faithfully to Sir John Macdonald. 

Quebec is the great stronghold of the Conservatives 
at this period, and sends them solid majorities regularly 
to the Ottawa House of Commons. Here is a table 
showing how Quebec Province is represented therein : 

Liberals. Conservatives. 

Election of 1867 . 20 45 

1872 . 27 38 

1874 . 33 32 

1878 . 20 45 

1882 . 17 48 

1887 . 29 36 

Ontario wavers between the two parties. It does 
not become sincerely and profoundly Conservative until 
Quebec declares almost unanimously for Laurier. 

In the course of its long years of success the main 
strength of the Conservatives consisted in their having a 
real leader who knew how to take up popular causes 
and make them his own. Thus it was that they carried 
out the gigantic enterprise of the Canadian Pacific 
Railway, provided the Dominion with a system of 
customs duties which in its broad lines still exists, and 
prepared the Canadian people for taking its share in 


that Imperialist movement which was to have its hour of 
immense popularity at the time of the Queen's Diamond 
Jubilee in 1897. 

The Canadian Pacific is indubitably the result of the 
Conservative policy. When the Conservatives of to-day 
looking backwards boast of having done more than 
anyone else to equip the colony and render possible its 
remarkable economic development, and claim to have 
ensured the unity of the Confederacy by the construction 
of this immense railway, they but assert an incontestable 
truth. For this great work Canada owes them real 

The establishment of a Trans-Continental railway had 
been promised to British Columbia with a view to per- 
suading it to enter into the Confederacy. The efforts 
of the first Macdonald Ministry to put it into execution 
had been stopped in 1873 by terrible financial scandals 
in the political world. Under the Liberal Mackenzie 
Ministry the project made no advance. Thus, when the 
Conservatives returned to power in 1878, the railway 
being still delayed, British Columbia allowed it to be 
understood that she would withdraw from the Union 
unless she obtained prompt satisfaction. Macdonald 
understanding that the work must be got through at all 
costs, put it in hand at once. In 1880, supported by 
Sir Charles Tupper, he entered into negotiations with a 
great English company ; the following year the project 
received the sanction of the British Parliament ; then 
the Canadian Government pushed matters on so quickly 
that on the 26th of June 1886 the first train started from 
Montreal for Vancouver five years earlier than had 
been anticipated. By the realisation of this grandiose 
conception, which at first had seemed to many people 
impossible, the Conservatives earned for themselves a 


reputation as a party of vast enterprises, with the great 
interests of the nation profoundly at heart. 

Whilst thus helping to consolidate the unity of 
Canada, the Conservative Party devoted their attention 
to securing the economic welfare of the colony through 
the medium of a resolutely Protectionist policy. They 
had made efforts in this direction on various occasions 
already even before the Confederation. But it is about 
1878 that we find Sir John Macdonald and his friends, 
on their return to power, putting on foot the National and 
Protectionist programme which has since been the chief 
feature of the party policy. 

The whole of Canada was suffering at this time from 
a deep economic depression. Wages were low, manu- 
factories were coming to a standstill, commerce was in a 
state of deplorable insecurity. Agriculture was no less 
affected, owing to a depressed home market and the 
extremely low prices reigning abroad. It was a time of 
crisis in the full sense of the word. As usual, the public 
"went for" the Government, and called upon it to do 
something to draft a programme of reforms and 
discover a remedy for the situation. Like a certain 
type of invalid, the country clamoured for a prescription 
at any price. The Liberal Party, committed by their 
traditions to Free Trade, or at least to Anti- Protectionism, 
would not hear of the establishment of high tariffs 
against foreign competition, and it had no panacea 
calculated to attract the public. In a word, it was 

Sir John Macdonald, who in Opposition had been 
biding- his time, saw that the hour had come for him, and 


that the best possible policy the necessary, inevitable 
policy was that of Protection regarded "not as a 
temporary expedient, but as a national policy." He 


started out on his electoral campaign in 1878 to 
the cry of "Canada for the Canadians," followed by 
enthusiastic adherents who felt they were being led to 

It was not an ordinary victory it was a veritable 
triumph : the Conservatives regained power for a period 
of eighteen years. Strong in its success, the Macdonald 
Ministry set to work at once on the carrying out of its 
programme, and brought forward a distinctly Protec- 
tionist Tariff Bill, which was accepted on the spot. Since 
then, under the Liberals as under the Conservatives, the 
same economic policy has prevailed. The tariff has 
undergone numerous modifications, but, taken as a whole, 
it has remained a Protective Tariff, never becoming 
that tariff " for revenue only " of which the Canadian 
Free Traders were so fond of talking. In this sense, 
it may be said that it was the Conservative Party 
that established and regulated the customs regime of 

In describing his programme as " National," Sir John 
Macdonald sought to pose as the champion of Canadian 
integrity. In this way he flattered not only a number of 
great interests but also the patriotic sentiments of the 
English Canadians, and thus prepared the way for 
Imperialism. The Conservatives began indeed at this 
period to aim at a closer union with the Mother Country. 
They took this course the more readily that they were 
able not without some truth to accuse their Liberal 
opponents of covenanting with the United States and 
of hiding thoughts of annexation beneath their adherence 
to diverse and sometimes dubious forms of commercial 

Towards 1891 patriotism had become one of the 
most effective "planks" in the Conservative "platform." 


Sir John Macdonald turned it to account with con- 
summate art. "For me," he exclaimed at the elections 
of 1891, "the route is clearly made out. A British 
subject I was born, a British subject I shall die. With 
my last effort, with my last breath, I shall combat this 
veiled treason which by means of miserable mercenary 
arguments would seek to tempt away our people from 
their loyalty. Throughout my long public life of half 
a century I have been faithful to my country and to its 
best interests. To-day I appeal confidently to all the 
men who have given me their help in the past, and to 
the younger generation that carries with it the destinies 
of the future. I call upon you all, energetically and 
unanimously, to give me your aid in this last attempt 
on behalf of the unity of the Empire and the defence 
of our commercial and political freedom." 

Such an appeal is, in the true sense of the word, 
Nationalist. And at this period, when the party 
was at its zenith, the Conservatives were Nationalists 
essentially. Their most effective weapon against the 
Liberals, suspected of favouring annexation despite 
their disclaimers, lay in their affirmation of British 

This attitude led naturally towards Imperialism. 
Sir John Macdonald, as a foreman in the work of 
Confederation, and as prime mover in the matter of the 
Canadian Pacific, had been throughout his career in 
close relationship with England, where he was held in 
high esteem. In the course of the different negotiations 
which he had carried through, he had met the great 
English Ministers, Disraeli and Gladstone. Disraeli 
especially had charmed him, and he felt himself in 
sympathy with the renowned founder of Imperialism. 
Closer bonds still had attached him to England : he 


had had bestowed upon him by the Queen the high 
distinction of the Order of the Bath, and he had been 
appointed a member of the Privy Council. In one 
word, he was a genuine British citizen, and to a far 
greater extent than the Irishman Blake or the French- 
man Laurier, successive leaders of the Liberal Party, 
he was disposed to steer his course in accordance with 
Imperial policy. 

He did so with conviction, but at the same time 
with a strong grip of realities. At a period when many 
Canadians considered quite calmly the possibility of 
separation, he affirmed staunchly and openly his wish 
to draw still closer the bond of union with the Mother 
Country. Not that he was ready to forgo the least 
atom of Colonial autonomy : he was conscious that 
this was out of the question and not very desirable. 
But at the moment when it was necessary to lead 
public opinion in one direction or the other, he declared 
clearly alike in his speeches and in his correspondence 
for unity with the Empire. 1 

If his political Imperialism remained inevitably in 
a phase so indeterminate that no British statesman has 
ever been able to analyse it, his economic Imperialism 
very soon assumed a more definite shape. His con- 
ception of Protectionism directed above all against the 
United States, his desire for new markets, open largely 
to Canadian products, made him turn naturally towards 
England. He was thus led to conceive, something 
after the style of a precursor, the policy of Preferential 

Already in 1879, in concert with his Ministers, Sir 
Leonard Tilley and Sir Charles Tupper, he had made 

1 See his correspondence with Disraeli, cited by Joseph Pope in his 
biography of Sir John Macdonald. 


overtures in this sense to England : an interesting 
but unsuccessful overture, for at that period no English 
leader would have dared to become responsible for a 
project involving the acceptance by England of the 
principle of Protection. 1 He had come back again 
and again to this idea, which he had gone into closely 
and which he cherished. Here, for instance, is what 
he wrote in 1891 to Mr. W. H. Smith, First Lord 
of the Treasury and Leader of the House of Commons 
in Lord Salisbury's Ministry : " Canada has under- 
taken the development of its resources upon so 
large a scale that it must have revenues at any price. 
For different reasons, it cannot well get revenues except 
from customs and excise duties. In these circumstances 
it cannot promise a reduction on customs duties. But 
it will be ready to accord to English products a 5 per 
cent, or 10 per cent. Preference on its market, provided 
that its products benefit by a similar Preference in 
England. In Canada, American industries are the great 
rival of English industries. With such a Differential 
Tariff, we should purchase from the Mother Country all 
we did not manufacture for ourselves." 2 

We must admit that this programme was not ill 
planned, for once they were installed in office the 
Liberals appropriated it. They have introduced the 
Preferential Tariff, without discarding the Protectionist 
system ; and in the course of two intercolonial Conferences 
in London, in 1897 an< ^ I 9 O2 > they have adopted the 
principle of commercial reciprocity within the Empire. 
How came it that the Conservative Party, so powerful 

1 This fact is recorded in a letter from Sir John Macdonald to 
Mr. J. S. Helmken, March 30, 1891. Cf. Mr. Pope's biography of 
Sir J. Macdonald. 

2 Cf. Mr. Pope's biography. 


in 1891, allowed itself to be supplanted by its rivals and 
to lose the benefits of so popular a programme and so 
brilliant a past ? That is what I must explain now in 
bringing this chapter to a close. 

The star of the Conservatives began to pale. To 
begin with, Sir John Macdonald died in May of that 
year a severe blow to the party, for the personality of 
the leader counts for so much in Canada. He was not 
replaced, or at least not adequately. In less than five 
years the Conservative staff is decimated and four prime 
Ministers in succession disappear : Sir John Abbott and 
Sir John Thompson die ; Sir Mackenzie Bowell is over- 
thrown by an intrigue on the part of his own lieutenants ; 
Sir Charles Tupper remains on, to be beaten in the 
elections of 1896. There are divisions in the party, and 
it loses its prestige as well as its unity. With unheard- 
of rapidity, all its services are forgotten : the normal 
working of the Canadian Pacific has become such a 
matter of course that no one thinks of giving the credit 
for it to those who made it a possibility. The Conser- 
vative Party has grown old ! 

It still retains its Protectionist programne, to which 
may be added that of Imperialism. But at the moment 
when it most needs to be able to thunder against the 
"veiled treason" of the advocates of annexation or of a 
Customs Union, the Liberal Party has achieved a trans- 
formation which has made it acceptable even to those 
by whom in the past it was most feared. 

In 1896, now completely freed from the compro- 
mising patronage of the Reds, the Liberals have ceased 
entirely to be anti-clerical, admitting that they could 
ever have been so described. They are still to be 
engaged in a terrible fight with the Church & propos of 
the Manitoba schools, but this will be the final out- 


burst of hostility : reconciliation will follow easily, which 
will prove lasting. It must be borne in mind that since 
1885 or thereabouts, under the influence of men like 
the Comte Mercier, Prime Minister of the province of 
Quebec, the French Liberals of Canada have been under- 
going a notable change : they are as Catholic as they 
can be, and their French nationalism has the air of being 
purer than that of their Conservative compatriots, who 
are forced by the necessities of power and their alliance 
with Sir John Macdonald to acquiesce in perpetual com- 
promises. Owing to this fact, the latter lose many votes 
in the French province, which in 1891 even gives a small 
majority to their adversaries. Let but a popular leader 
of their own race be proposed for the first place in the 
Ministry, and nothing else will be needed to induce the 
mass of French Canadians, from national feeling, to turn 
completely round. 

On the other hand, the Liberal leaders when they 
feel that they are on the threshold of power, tone down 
considerably their Free Trade professions; on the eve 
of the 1896 elections they reassure the Protectionist 
interests by means of explicit declarations. There is 
now nothing to prevent them from taking up the govern- 
ment of the country. 

Finally, after the Liberal victory of 1896, the Con- 
servative Party receives a really stunning blow by 
seeing its adversaries actually adopting its Imperialist 
programme, carrying out its old project of Preferential 
Duties, and strengthening the bonds with England to 
the sound of a flourish of trumpets. Sir Charles Tupper 
and his friends are unable to contain themselves at the 
sight of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Mr. Fielding reaping 
all the glory and applause. Feeling they must offer 
some resistance to measures of which in their hearts they 


cannot disapprove, they are reduced to complaining that 
England has been given too much nothing has been 
asked from her in exchange for the Preference she has 
been given. By a curious irony, their Imperialism is thus 
made to look less generous than the Imperialism of their 
fortunate rivals. 

From this out, the Conservative Party falls more and 
more into confusion : it is beaten in 1 900, and again in 
1904. Its programme has lost almost all its efficacy. 
Protection is a useless weapon now that the Liberals 
have become Protectionists. Imperialism remains more 
serviceable to them, inasmuch as Sir Wilfrid Laurier 
is not altogether a disciple of Mr. Chamberlain's, though 
clever enough a diplomatist to be in some degree an 
Imperialist. Thus baffled, the Conservatives have to 
fall back on violent Jingoism. As Quebec Province has 
failed them completely, they are now almost entirely 
English. Out of jealousy at French success, Ontario 
has come back to them, and this time almost en bloc. In 
1900 their electoral campaign was carried out to the tune 
of " Down with French domination ! " But it was in vain. 
The other provinces combined to govern without Ontario 
and without the Conservatives. 

They have even ceased to be regarded as the party 
of great enterprises. In 1904, Sir Wilfrid Laurier takes 
in hand the project of the Grand Trunk Pacific, and the 
Opposition fight him so maladroitly that they give the 
public the impression that they do not want to have a 
second Trans-Continental railway. As the country is 
strongly attached to the scheme, it votes more than ever 
for the Ministry in power. 

Thus Sir John Macdonald's successors end by having 
no programme of their own. What is the explanation 
of it ? Simply that in view of the similarity of the prin- 


ciples of Liberals and Conservatives to-day there is no 
longer question of any contest in the political arena 
of Canada except between a Government and an Oppo- 
sition, or between two parties equally Conservative. 
Anything may arise out of such a situation. 


IN studying the programme and the following of the 
Liberals and the Conservatives, we have alluded to 
numerous interests of various kinds, national, religious, 
commercial, industrial. We have inquired as to whether 
the electors were French or English, Catholic or Protest- 
ant, Free Traders or Protectionists. But it has never 
been necessary for us to know the social class of the 
members of either party. The reason is that the 
question of class until now has held but a quite insignifi- 
cant place in the public life of Canada. Why is this 
so? Will this state of things last? Or would it be 
possible for a Labour Party to be formed in the 
Dominion ? That is the problem into which we have 
now to inquire. 

In spite of its growing industrial wealth, the 
Dominion still remains above all an agricultural country. 
It is to-day more or less what the United States were 
thirty or forty years ago, before a movement of expansion 
beyond all precedent made of them one of the leading 
manufacturing nations in the world. Consequently the 
artisan element is infinitely less numerous than the 
agricultural element. 

There are, indeed, very important centres of industrial 
production, but they are few and far apart. First of 



all, we have in the East of the colony the group of 
Maritime Provinces, in which the steel-works of Sydney 
(Cape Breton) stand out for notice. In the provinces 
of Quebec and Ontario must be mentioned the manu- 
facturing regions of Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, 
Kingston, and Quebec. It is in these localities that the 
great manufactories and the great industrial agglomera- 
tions are to be found. Proceeding Westward, and leaving 
Sault Sainte-Marie on one side, there is nothing to 
mark this side of the Rocky Mountains except the 
great camp of Winnipeg, an unfinished city, always in 
a state of reconstruction and fermentation and marvellous 
growth a great agricultural centre, railway junction, and 
shop the place whither the immigrants come and 
whence they go on again : in short, a new Chicago. 
Then at the other extremity of the continent, on the 
far side of the mountains, British Columbia, a land 
apart, distant, out of the way, almost self-governing 
a land of fisheries, mines, and forests, with its half 
Canadian, half Californian mining centres of Crows' 
Nest Pass (coal), Rosslyn (iron and copper), Nanaimo, 
Cumberland, Ladysmith (coal). We must not forget 
finally an industry that is more important than any 
and that extends all over the surface of the colony the 
vital, essential railway industry which affords employ- 
ment to a considerable section of the working population. 
By reason of this dispersion of a relatively small 
number of artisans over an enormous expanse of terri- 
tory, by reason still more of their striking differences of 
origin, language, and character, there really does not 
exist, properly speaking, any working class in Canada. 
Moreover, there is not so wide a gulf between the 
industrial artisan and the agricultural labourer that 
exists with us the distance between them is easily 


bridged. Thus no one ventures to talk of the 
" Canadian workman," for this expression does not 
convey any precise meaning, covering as it does 
many different types of men with nothing in common 
but the name. 

In the Maritime Provinces the industrial workman 
is generally a native of the country, though the Sydney 
steel manufactories have imported a good deal of 
American skilled labour. In this part of the colony, 
which stands somewhat to one side, the working popula- 
tion is mostly British, stolid, and somewhat slow-going. 
The more active elements are tempted, as everywhere 
in America, to go West. 

If we pass to the French province, the contrast is 
remarkable. The French Canadian artisan is usually 
a peasant attracted to the factory by the bait of a 
regular salary. He provides an inferior kind of manual 
labour not exacting high wages, just as is the case in 
the great factories in New England. The psychology 
of the Quebec countryman turned artisan undergoes 
little change. He remains entirely under the control of 
the clergy, and his new role effaces in no way his 
national character. Many strikes have been stopped 
through the influence of the priests, and in many cases 
the workmen have accepted terms which otherwise they 
would have rejected, simply because the priests counselled 
submission. The Church does all it can to keep the 
French workmen apart from the English this separa- 
tion being essential, she feels, to the preservation of their 
race. Montreal, it should be mentioned, presents an 
exceptional state of things : the time is perhaps not far 
distant when the working class of this great city will 
become emancipated. 

In Ontario we find workmen of a more purely 


Canadian kind. The Toronto artisan, akin to the artisan 
of the United States, but educated and trained in a 
very British atmosphere, is par excellence Canadian. If 
one could speak at all of the "Canadian workman," one 
would be thinking primarily of him. 

In the West Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan 
American influence is very strong, the number of 
American immigrants being so considerable. The still 
greater number of European immigrants of all kinds 
when assimilated to their surroundings produce a type of 
workmen very different from those of Eastern Canada. 

The province which has become most Americanised 
is British Columbia. With the exception of Victoria, 
which is a very English city, the whole of this region 
resembles most strikingly the neighbouring States of 
Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon themselves 
neighbouring States to California. Indeed, in spite of 
the Canadian Pacific Railway, British Columbia has 
more intimate connection with the American North- 
West than with Eastern Canada. To the North as 
to the South of the frontier, you find mushroom cities 
springing up suddenly in the midst of a wonderful 
country : a composite population of British, Americans, 
Europeans of all kinds, Chinese and Japanese : small 
wooden shanties, as many bars as dwelling-houses, on 
one side the trim residences of respectable folk, on the 
other whole streets given over to prostitution, swarming 
hives of Chinamen, such is the character of these Western 
cities, which have nothing in common, not merely with 
the cities of the East, but even with Winnipeg, Regina, 
or Calgary. You feel that the everlasting "boom" of 
California is not far distant. 

The rates of wages in Canada vary in accordance 
with the variety of conditions. In the Maritime Pro- 


vinces and in Quebec they are about 25 per cent, lower 
than in the corresponding regions of the United States. 
In the great manufacturing centres the workman earns 
2\ dollars to the 3 dollars he would be earning in 
America ; but in general the level is lower, the pro- 
portion of skilled workmen being small. In Ontario 
wages are higher, and are about equal to the wages 
earned in New York. In the West, manual labour 
being comparatively scarce, wages rise rapidly the 
skilled workman earning 3 dollars a day easily, and 
sometimes more. This is the case also on the Pacific 
coasts, where the conditions are the same as those in 
the American North- West. 

These are the normal rates of payment. They are 
modified according to the relations between employers 
and employed. Let us see what these relations amount 
to in Canada. To begin with, it may be said that there 
is no very clearly defined attitude as between the 
two classes. 

It would seem as though the working class had not 
yet sufficiently realised their strength to awake the fears 
of the rich. The rich are at the stage where they 
declare themselves to have at heart the welfare of the 
workers, while preferring that these should not go too 
thoroughly into the question for themselves. In this 
respect the Liberal employers do not seem to differ 
appreciably from the Conservative. 

The workers have begun the work of organising 
themselves according to American methods, but have 
been retarded greatly by all their differences of race, 
religion, etc. In imitation of what has been done in 
the United States, they have established in most of 
the towns special Trade Unions for each trade ; the 


different Trade Unions in each locality take part fre- 
quently in Trade and Labour Councils. There is a 
general Federation of these for the whole of Canada, 
known as the Trade and Labour Congress, which holds 
a general Convention every year. The majority of 
the Unions belonging to this Congress are affiliated 
to the American Labour Federation. The word 
"general" which I have used is not quite accurate, 
however, for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and 
British Columbia have remained the centres of separate 

These Unions have until now devoted themselves 
principally to professional ends the securing of higher 
wages, the diminishing of the hours of labour, the 
improving of the conditions of employment either 
through their own action or by means of amicable 
negotiations with employers or through the mediation 
of the State. However, they have lately shown a 
tendency to take a larger part in politics, if not actually 
by asserting themselves at elections, at least in a general 
sense. The tendency of the Trade and Labour Congress 
is undoubtedly to exercise influence over the social 
legislation of the country. 1 Some of the Unions, chiefly 
in British Columbia, are of a distinctly Socialistic 
character, but these are the exception. The others in 
their manifestoes are content to employ vague formulas 
by which they do not commit themselves. 

The State has now begun, as a matter of fact, to 
display a certain activity in regard to Labour questions. 
Social legislation, it is provided by the Constitution of 
1867, is a matter for the provincial Parliaments: a 
number of different Protectionist laws have been voted 

1 Verbatim Report of the Proceedings of the Trade and Labour 
Congress, 1904. 


by them during the last twenty years during the last 
ten years especially. As for the Federal Parliament, 
its powers are more limited. Nevertheless, by a clever 
development of the prerogatives belonging to it through 
its control over the railways, it has not only established 
a system of conciliation and arbitration (not compulsory) 
in regard to strikes, but also a Labour Bureau, charged 
with the task of collecting statistics and publishing them 
every month in an official periodical, the Labour Gazette. 
Under the direction of a distinguished manager, Mr. 
Mackenzie King, the Labour Bureau is carrying out a 
work of the highest interest. 

Coming now to the political side of the matter, we 
find that the Canadian workers, in spite of some isolated 
victories at the polls, have not yet succeeded in con- 
stituting themselves a Third Party. The organisation 
of such a group involves, in truth, numerous difficulties. 
The agricultural predominance, the scattered condition 
of manufacturing industries, the absence of marked 
differences between the social classes, have all combined 
to prevent the growth of any real class feeling. If such 
a feeling exists in British Columbia and shows signs of 
coming into existence in Montreal, it cannot be said to 
be evident elsewhere. In a new country, prospering and 
developing rapidly, the general interests of all classes are 
too interlaced and interdependent for it to be easy to 
organise a class policy : the policy of national prosperity 
comes before all else. 

The conditions of the parliamentary system, more- 
over, make it difficult for a Third Party to come into 
being. The lack of a second ballot serves to discourage 
the workmen from any effort to get in a candidate of 
their own, for if they are a mere minority they know that 
in this way they merely waste their voting power. On 


the other hand, the two great parties are so strongly 
organised and so well disciplined not only at the elections 
but also in Parliament that it is almost hopeless to try to 
carry a constituency in spite of them, and any independ- 
ent members who secure seats are unable to achieve 
anything, however able they may be. Therefore, if they 
are anxious to get anything done (as is generally the 
case), they are obliged to come to terms either with the 
Conservatives or with the Liberals, offering their support 
at the polls in return for specified reforms, Protectionist 
measures, or favours of some kind, either towards the 
working class as a whole or towards its members 
individually. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives 
are naturally eager to "catch the Labour vote," all the 
more so that both stand in dread of the advent of a 
Third Party to upset the working of their electoral 
machinery. Thus the impossibility of achieving results 
by means of independent members, together with the 
ease with which they can barter votes for advantages, 
and in addition that instinctive anxiety of every Canadian 
to maintain the national prosperity, have resulted in the 
immense majority of Labour votes being cast for repre- 
sentatives of the two great parties in the general 
elections of 1904. The small parties, if they may be 
given the name, succeeded only in carrying a very few 

We must not forget the Socialists. They are in- 
finitely less numerous, and are not to be found in the 
form of a political group anywhere except in British 
Columbia. At Vancouver they have formed a small 
but energetic party, with a weekly organ, The Western 
Clarion ; they are revolutionary Socialists, similar enough 
to those in France, and find their inspiration in the 
fundamental doctrine of the war of the classes. That 


means that in a country like Canada they cannot expect 
to have much chance of success. As a matter of fact 
the five candidates they put forward in British Columbia 
at the elections of 1904 were all defeated, and secured 
only a very small number of votes. These, needless to 
say, are not the best representatives of the average 
tendencies of the workmen of Canada. 

Whilst the great majority of the Trade Unions follow 
the general policy advocated by the Trade and Labour 
Congress of merely voting for the "men and measures 
that they consider most favourable to the interests 
of Labour, without regard to political parties," many of 
them would welcome the organisation of an independent 
Labour Party, and have favoured the candidature of 
individual Labour members. The Parliament of 1900 
contained two Mr. Ralph Smith, Member for Nanaimo, 
British Columbia, and Mr. Puttee, Member for Winnipeg. 
In 1904, Mr. Ralph Smith, who described himself as a 
Liberal Labour candidate, was elected with the assist- 
ance of the Liberals against a Socialist supported by the 
Clarion. Less fortunate, Mr. Puttee, who stood as an 
Independent Labour candidate, was completely crushed 
between the Liberals and the Conservatives, polling only 
1 200 votes out of 7000. Yet his programme was a very 
reasonable one, amounting only to State socialism, and 
making no reference to the social revolution or the war 
between the classes. It was the Liberal candidate, Mr. 
Bole, who was elected by a large majority, thus proving 
that even in a stronghold of Labour such as Winnipeg 
the chances of a Third Party are limited. 

The situation is not very different in the province of 
Quebec, though here it is complicated by the fact that 
most of the workers are Catholics and that the Labour 
leaders cannot at present afford to displease the clergy, 


for if they did so they would break themselves against 
its irresistible strength. They are careful, therefore, never 
to talk against the Church, and it seems probable that it 
will be a long time before the French Canadian Labour 
movement becomes anti-clerical, as is the case in France. 
For fear of losing immediate advantages, they will be 
afraid to pursue the ulterior end of the intellectual 
emancipation of the workers. In December 1904 three 
Labour candidates, MM. Verville, Latreille, and Kelly, 
came forward in Montreal as candidates for the pro- 
vincial Parliament of Quebec, with a programme of 
Labour and political reforms going far beyond the 
programme of the Liberals. Curiously enough, they 
were supported by the great newspapers of Montreal, 
though so little inclined towards advanced ideas, owing 
to their anxiety to find readers among the working 
classes. On the other hand, they were opposed openly 
enough by the clergy, who regarded two points in their 
programme as of a dangerous tendency the establish- 
ment of a Minister of Public Instruction, and of free and 
compulsory education. As for the Liberal Party, it 
viewed with much disfavour the appearance of these 
dissentient candidatures, which threatened to produce 
divisions within its ranks. It carried the day, however, 
and the three Labour men were beaten. 

Since then the cause of Labour has made what may 
prove a decisive step onwards : at a partial election on 
February 23, 1906, M. Verville was elected a member 
of the Federal Parliament by the big majority of 1073 
votes over his Liberal opponent. The recent formation 
of a Labour Party in England had probably something 
to do with this result, and it is to be supposed that in 
the near future the Canadian Labour world will try 
to follow suit. 


But in the meantime there is no Third Party in 
the Dominion. As Trades Unionists the workmen 
have won important advantages, but they have not yet 
attained to any combined political action. The elec- 
toral machines of the Liberal and Conservative parties 
are still almost invincible, and the electorate is so used 
to these traditional divisions that it seems incapable 
of inventing new ones. It must remain so probably 
as long as the country continues to be so prosperous, 
for prosperity does not induce political changes. But 
if the colony should some day be undergoing a crisis, 
the two existing parties will have to strengthen their 
programmes, or other parties will assuredly come to 
take their place, and no machinery will serve to pre- 
vent it. 






LET us see now the views taken by each of the two 
Canadian races with regard to its development, and 
what place each may reasonably hope to fill in the 
future of the Dominion. 

With the French Canadian state of mind we are 
already acquainted. We know their feelings of 
passionate devotion to their language, their religion, 
and their traditions. In spite of a classification of 
Federal parties which tends rightly to prevent French 
aspirations from finding expression in the framework 
of a special parliamentary group, national or religious, 
it is none the less evident that there does exist in a 
latent state a real French Party which in hours of 
grave crisis reveals itself and asserts itself spontan- 
eously in order to give voice to the claims and wishes 
of the race as a whole. It is permissible, then, to 
represent our Canadian kinsmen as having a line 
of their own, apart from the superficial cdteries in 
which they are divided. What is this line they take ? 
In what sort of programme is it embodied? Let 
us see. 

Past and present alike give the French Canadian 
race precious pledges for the future. After a century 



and a half of foreign rule, it survives in all its persistent 
individuality. Nay, more, it is able to boast of an 
enormous growth. The descendants of the 60,000 
who were vanquished in 1763 have come to number 
1,640,000, and form a veritable people in the fullest 
sense of the word. The province of Quebec belongs 
to it henceforward almost entirely ; it is silently invading 
the Eastern counties of Ontario ; if emigration into 
New England had not taken away some hundreds 
of thousands of its members, it would consist to-day of 
more than two million souls. And in spite of this great 
leakage, it holds so important a place in the colony 
that no serious Government can be established with 
hope of lasting without its support. 

It is upon these known and indisputable facts that 
the French Canadians base their hope of a develop- 
ment still greater. The successes they have already 
achieved have aroused in them a legitimate feeling 
of pride, combined with an invincible optimism, and 
they find satisfaction in applying to themselves as a 
prophecy the words addressed by one of the founders 
of Montreal to his comrades-in-arms : " You are but 
as a grain of mustard-seed, but you shall grow until 
your branches cover the earth. . . . Your children 
shall fill the world ! " l Clearly there is nothing in 
this but the evoking of a glorious dream. The moment 
an attempt is made to put matters in black and white, 
different tendencies and different programmes come to 
the front. 

The enthusiasts when they talk of the destinies of 
their race cannot and will not separate religion from 
politics. In their eyes the French Canadians are a 
Catholic people, whose influence should be Catholic 

1 Cited by Elisee Reclus in his Geographic Universelle, vol. xv. 


as much as French. Thus is sketched out a sort of 
mystical conception of the role of this Catholic 
Nouve lie- France in the New World. Poets like 
M. Frechette, who is assuredly no clerical, have 
expressed it in ardent words : 

" La plante qui va naitre etonnera le monde ; 
Car, ne Poubliez pas, nous sommes en ce lieu 
Les instruments choisis du grand oeuvre de Dieu." 1 

What g rand ceuvre is in question? In his book, La 
Nation Canadienne, M. Gailly de Taurines, a sympa- 
thetic student of Canadian Catholicism, indicates it to 
us thus: "What is this great work of which the 
Canadian people is to be the instrument? The 
Canadians will answer us with one voice, and alike 
from pulpit and from tribune we shall hear these words 
given forth : ' Our mission is to fulfil in America, 
we who are a people of French blood, the part that 
France herself fulfilled in Europe.' " The France, 
it should be explained in parenthesis, that was the 
eldest daughter of the Church : not the France of the 
Revolution. "Over and beyond this earthly aim," 
continues M. de Taurines, " there is a divine mission 
which they must fulfil. A Catholic people, one of those 
that have remained most faithful to the Church, they 
must win over the whole of Northern America to 

The venerable Abbe* Casgrain whom none can 
forget who ever knew him wrote to the same effect 
in brilliant and enthusiastic phrases. " When you have 
reflected upon the history of the Canadian people," he 
declared, "it is impossible not to recognise the great 
designs of Providence that presided over its formation ; 

1 Louis Frechette, La Legends dunpeuple. 


it is impossible not to foresee that unless it prove false 
to its calling, great destinies are reserved for it in this 
portion of the world. The mission of the American 
France upon this continent is the same as that of the 
European France in the other hemisphere. A pioneer 
of the truth like her, she has long been the sole apostle 
of the true faith in North America. Since her origin she 
has never ceased to pursue this mission faithfully, and 
to-day she sends forth her bishops and her missionaries to 
the extremities of this continent. It is from her womb, 
let us not doubt, that must issue the peaceful victors who 
shall lead back under the aegis of Catholicism the errant 
peoples of the New World." 1 

These extracts, which it would be easy to multiply, 
disclose the vague kind of enthusiasm to which the 
French Canadians are so much addicted. In their 
anxiety to assert their national and religious individuality 
they dream of the conditions in which they would be free 
to expand without constraint. Hasty and ill-thought-out 
ideas are thus conceived. There is talk sometimes of 
an independent Republic in which the French of America 
should be self-governing and should develop on their 
own lines without having to reckon with the English. It 
is such another dream as the Abbe Casgrain's : idealists 
alone can believe in its realisation. 

More practical minds take note of actual facts. 
Good Catholics, they would doubtless rejoice at the 
sight of the New World becoming converted, but they 
know well in their hearts that the event is most 
improbable. Good Frenchmen, they would delight in 
independence; but they are obliged to recognise that 
for a long time to come, perhaps for ever, autonomy is 
the only possible rdgime for them. " Some of our 

1 Cited by M. de Taurines in La Nation Canadienne. 


compatriots," writes M. Bourassa, "look forward with 
joy to the day when we shall constitute in America, 
de facto and de jure, a new France, a free State in which 
our race shall rule alone. Assuredly the dream is both 
legitimate and fascinating. And the work of centuries 
may realise it for us more swiftly than circumstances 
seem to indicate. But it is a dream, and what we have 
to do for the moment is the duty of the moment." 

Thus the practical people, the responsible leaders, 
are led to realise that, without renouncing any hope 
for the future, they must work away in the present with 
a clear distinction in their minds between what is 
desirable and what is practicable. They must put aside 
the vision of to-morrow for the political programme of 
to-day. In this more restricted field wishes become 
more precise and methods of action more effective. A 
policy takes shape and proves to be serviceable based 
upon two solid factors : the first is the high birth- 
rate of the French race in the Dominion, the second 
is the wide extent of liberty liberty almost complete 
that they consider they are entitled to expect 
from England. With these two elements, they tell 
themselves, they need have no fear for the future. 

The extraordinary fecundity of French Canadian 
families is universally known. Times without number 
allusion has been made in newspapers, speeches, and 
books to these families of ten, fifteen, and sometimes 
even twenty children. The official Census of the 
Dominion does not give us precise statistics as to the 
respective rate of natality of the two races, but it is 
manifest that the French Canadian is one of the highest 
in the world, 1 and that it certainly is much in excess of 

1 According to the statistics of the Board of Health of the province of 
Quebec, the rate rose in 1903 to 36.75 per 1000 inhabitants. 


that of the English Canadians. Thus it comes that the 
province of Quebec, simply as the result of the French 
birth-rate, has become almost exclusively French, while 
from the same cause Ontario is gradually losing its 
English colouring. As our Canadian kinsmen show 
no sign of physical decadence, it is easy to understand 
their boundless confidence in their future : their numbers, 
they hold, must one day put the power in their 

In truth all, or almost all, French Canadians who 
live to maturity are destined to become electors, and if 
the representative system continues to be fairly applied 
a day must come when the French element, having 
grown into a majority, at least in certain provinces, 
must dominate the Assemblies, make its way into the 
Ministries, and come to hold a more and more important 
place perhaps a preponderant place in the councils of 
the country. 

If this reasoning be well founded and if time be 
working thus for the French Canadians, what would 
they gain by trying to rush matters, either by demanding 
an independence which must be contested, if necessary 
by force, or by offering an uncompromising opposition 
to the British Government ? Would it not be better 
for them to wait, vigilantly but patiently, until times are 
ripe ; to go on permeating the Dominion slowly instead 
of breaking away from it ; and to aim at the real 
advantages of autonomy rather than the satisfactions, 
probably precarious, of independence ? 

This view, in truth, commends itself to the vast 
majority of the French Canadians. It accords with 
their prudent and patient dispositions, their innate feel- 
ing for the art of managing things, no less than with 
their sense of the immediate material advantages 


involved, for without the renunciation of any principle 
it enables them to turn the existing regime to good 

This strategy, thoroughly thought out, is pursued 
with a certain unity of purpose. Yet, according to 
differences of temperament, it assumes different aspects. 
Some of the more daring, more whole-hearted spirits 
are bent chiefly on preserving the French patrimony 
intact, and even at the cost of a temporary attitude of 
intransigeance of ensuring its enhanced integrity in the 
future. Others, more diplomatic and more conciliatory, 
also perhaps more eager for immediate results, keep 
their eyes on the harvests of the moment, and do not 
hesitate to make certain sacrifices for the immediate 
acquirement of power. 

The former, without properly speaking constituting 
a party, are represented sufficiently by the group of 
Nationalists of Quebec. Frenchmen and Catholics 
before everything, they place in the front of their policy 
the complete and uncompromising development of their 
race and Church : they recognise in good faith the 
British supremacy, but they desire to follow their own 
ways freely, in accord with the English if possible, but 
in opposition to them if need be. The outspoken kind 
of language involved in this attitude does not tally well 
with the exercise of government in an Anglo-French 
Federation like the Dominion. Nationalist politicians 
are therefore often to be found in a state of half 
Opposition even under a Ministry headed by one of 
their own race like Sir Wilfrid Laurier ; compromises 
thought by the Ministry to be called for in the interests 
of the Confederacy seem to them regrettable from 
the purely French standpoint. Thus it was that 
M. Bourassa wished to dissociate himself from the policy 


of sending Volunteers to the Transvaal, even though it 
was proposed by his own party. This attitude won 
him bitter reproaches from those who, more prudent 
and practical, were chiefly interested in keeping a 
French Premier in power, even at the cost of putting 
principles on one side. The temperament of the true 
Nationalists does not easily adapt itself to such tactics, 
and in existing circumstances political life is rendered 
difficult for them. 

They are more at home within the narrow frame- 
work of the province of Quebec, which is almost a small 
French republic, and in which they can carry on their 
propaganda of race development without let or hin- 
drance. Compromises are not needed here. They can 
proclaim themselves freely French and Catholic, and 
declare openly their wish to see their people spread 
and multiply and colonise as much of the land as 

Colonise ! To the folk of Quebec there seems to 
be something fateful in the word. To people the vast 
expanses all around them with their own flesh and blood 
there is fascination in the dream ! The land is rich 
and illimitable, their huge families offer a surplus of 
strong and energetic sons. Why not pour out into the 
West, or to the North-West or North, still clamouring 
for men, this redundance of French vitality, in danger 
otherwise of losing itself in the human ocean of 
America ? 

That is the sermon preached by French Canadian 
statesmen and re-echoed by the priests, whose zeal and 
initiative in this field cannot be too highly praised. 
Successive Ministers of the Department of Colonisation 
have helped the movement in every possible way by 
the acquisition and occupation of land. The village 


curd follows the settlers to their new abode. There 
have been priests who have dedicated their lives to 
this work of leading the workers into trackless regions, 
there to establish them and help them and watch over 
them. The celebrated curd Labelle earned the honour 
of giving his name to an extensive district which he 
was the first thus to open out. This brilliant tradition 
is still kept up. The priests remain the real leaders, 
certainly the real centres of the new clusters, and they 
put forward all their efforts to maintain among the 
colonists those sentiments of union and patriotism which 
have enabled their race in Canada to remain so compact 
and strong. 

Thirty years ago it was really believed that the 
Western prairie might be peopled by the peasantry 
of Quebec. Nowadays, the tendency is rather towards 
the expanse (within the province of Quebec) extend- 
ing from the St. Lawrence north-westwards towards 
Hudson's Bay. 

In regard to the colonising policy, all the French 
Canadians are in sympathy with their Nationalist leaders, 
whose speeches they cannot but applaud. And yet 
when the more moderate statesmen come boasting to 
them of the timeliness of this or that transaction called 
for by the necessity of winning or retaining power, they 
are equally unable to withhold their approval. Hence 
the success of the Liberals, under Laurier, a party of 
opportunists and diplomatists, careful to abstain from 
rash words and too audacious affirmations, but enabling 
the French race to participate in the government of the 

Between Laurier the diplomatist and Bourassa the 
Nationalist the French of Canada have never been able 
to choose. They are grateful .to the first for having led 


them to victory with such incomparable dclat, and to 
the second for voicing so well the feelings that surge 
in their hearts. Under either figure, the cause served 
is the same the development and aggrandisement 
of the race. 



ARE our Canadian kinsmen justified in relying as they 
do upon the liberal attitude of England ? And is their 
marvellous birth-rate sufficient in itself to guarantee that 
one day their numbers will give them supremacy in the 
Dominion? Is this question of their numbers the 
essential and sufficient condition of their victory ? Let 
us look now into these points. 

The arguments drawn from the traditions of British 
Liberalism seem well founded. The period is past and 
done with during which the British Government could 
think of withstanding Colonial claims by force of arms : 
the province of Quebec is a living proof of this. If 
other provinces became French in the same way, it is 
probable that they would be allowed to govern them- 
selves in their own fashion. Even if the entire colony 
were one day to contain a French majority, it is not 
easy to see how England, in the attempt to resist, 
could find a means of openly violating the accepted 
rules of parliamentary government. There would be, 
then, for the whole Dominion, as for Quebec, a 
Parliament and Ministry for the most part French, 
and this in accordance with the British North America 
Act, the Constitution granted by the Imperial Power. 


The Anglo-Saxon element in Canada, supported 
surreptitiously by the English Government, would show 
a strong indisposition to recognise this supremacy : 
personal influences would be used, and industrial, 
commercial, and financial concerns would put out all 
their powers to counteract as far as possible the 
advantages of numbers. But they would not venture 
upon a regular coup cCttat, and constitutional principles 
would undoubtedly be respected. To this extent 
reliance may reasonably be placed upon the celebrated 
liberalism of Great Britain, which consists of a little 
liberalism and a good deal of wise resignation in the 
face of irrevocably accomplished facts. 

But all this is dependent upon the French acquiring 
a majority in the Dominion. Will they ? If we were 
to take into account nothing but their birth-rate, it 
would be mathematically demonstrable that the English 
would soon be distanced. Wherever the birth-rate is 
the principal factor the absolute and relative growth 
of the French race is remarkable. 

The British minority in the province of Quebec, 
which represented 25.49 per cent, in 1851, had fallen 
to 20.98 per cent, in 1881, and to 18 per cent, in 1901. 
Of the 68,840 inhabitants of Quebec city, no less than 
57,016 are French. The Eastern counties, in which 
the English Loyalists fleeing from the American 
Revolution made their new home, are being rapidly 
overwhelmed. Out of sixty-five constituencies in the 
whole province, only five Argentine, Brome, Hunting- 
don, Pontiac, Stanstead still retain an English majority. 

The part of Ontario which adjoins Quebec Province 
is in process of being submerged in the same fashion. 
In the four neighbouring counties of Prescott, Glengarry, 
Cornwall and Stormont, and Russell, the French 


numbered only 32,600 out of 93,358 inhabitants in 
1881. In 1901 they numbered 51,935 out of 111,374. 
Thus they increased from 34.8 per cent, to 46.6 per 
cent. In the entire province of Ontario they number 
only 158,671 out of 2,182,947 even now; but between 
1 88 1 and 1901 they advanced from 4.8 per cent, to 
7.2 per cent. 

The pacific progress of the race all round the strong- 
hold of Quebec proceeds silently but steadily. When 
they are grown up, the young Quebecquois countrymen 
cannot all find room in the village of their birth. Many 
of them have to pitch their tents farther afield. Backed 
by their father, often upheld materially as well as morally 
by their curd, they buy or rent a farm, marry, and in their 
turn become fathers of families. Little by little, almost 
imperceptibly, French groups become established thus 
in counties which fifty years ago did not contain a 
single French family. Suddenly one fine day it is 
discovered that the French are in a majority, and the 
game is won ! The British, who are flooded out in 
this way, either make off altogether or else become 
absorbed, and in some cases, incredible though it may 
sound, assimilated. Thus in the province of Quebec 
one finds families of Englishmen, Irishmen, and especially 
Scotchmen, becoming French Canadians within two 
generations. They call themselves Fraser, B^rrie, 
Macleod, but they speak our language with an unmis- 
takable Norman accent, without any trace in it of 
British pronunciation. 

If the whole of Canada were developing in the same 
conditions as reign in the old colonies, the victory of 
our kinsmen would not be in doubt. But this, of course, 
as we have seen, is not the case. Moreover, the French 
lose the benefit of their birth-rate by serious leakages, 


while the Anglo-Saxon race makes up for its smaller 
natality by immigration and assimilation. Thus the 
relative importance of the French in reality increases 
very little or not at all. 

The first of the French leakages is through infantile 
mortality. In Quebec Province the very young children 
die in great numbers, 1 and the large families alluded to 
above, while remaining imposing, undergo a notable 
diminution from this cause. 

The second leakage, less painful in its nature, is a 
really much more serious one from standpoint of the 
future of the race : it consists in the large and persistent 
emigration of young French Canadians into the States of 
New England. Every year thousands of them cross 
the frontier on their way into Maine, Vermont, New 
Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Con- 
necticut. The great manufactories of this part of 
America are in need of manual labour, and the wages 
they offer though not high are attractive enough to be 
very tempting to these young countrymen, dazzled by the 
dream of a larger and freer existence than that of their 
native villages. 

Nearly a million French Canadians live in this way 
far from their country, without any real thought of 
returning. 2 A terrible leakage this and fatal to the 
future of the race, for it prevents their compatriots in 
the Dominion from attaining to that predominance in 
numbers of which we have been speaking. We are 
told, indeed, that the efforts now being made to stem 

1 Out of 30,914 deaths in 1903, 11,799 were of children under five years 
of age more than a third of the total. Report of the Council of Public 

2 Natives of French Canada resident in the United States, 395,427 ; 
natives of the U.S.A. with two French Canadian parents, 266,155 ; with 
one French Canadian parent, 170,077. U.S.A. Census, igoo. 


this current, or at least to turn it to the Canadian West 
and North, are beginning to be crowned with success, 
but the results are in reality very modest a matter of 
a few thousands, a very small battalion compared with 
all the legions that are lost. Thus it is that the argu- 
ment which is based upon French Canadian natality 
and which at first sight is so impressive vanishes in part. 
In the same way certain European races also astonish- 
ingly prolific, the Italians and Germans for instance, 
see millions of their children disappear and lose their 
individuality for ever in South America and the United 

While the French do not reap the full advantage of 
their fruitfulness, the Anglo-Saxons, as we have seen, 
increase otherwise than by means of births : immigration 
works on their side. In 1903, 128,364 immigrants 
entered Canada; in 1904, 130,331. The Government 
is doing all it can still further to increase the numbers 
in its anxiety to people that Far West which it was 
vainly hoped by some might have been filled by emi- 
grants from Quebec. 

It were vain to hope that this flood of immigrants 
will serve to make up to the French Canadians for the 
drain upon their numbers. Among the 130,000 who 
arrived in 1904, there were only 1534 from France, 
858 Belgians, and 128 Swiss, while there were no less 
than 45,229 Americans and 50,374 English. The rest 
in all about 32,000 were of various nationalities : 
German, Austrian, Polish, Russian, Norwegian, etc. 
Save for some of the French-speaking immigrants, all 
these are destined to receive the Anglo-Saxon imprint. 
Germans, Russians, and Norwegians, who would perhaps 
adapt themselves to a French environment, make haste 
to assimilate themselves to their Anglo-Saxon environ- 


merit in the West. They learn the English language 
only, and their children are taught no other, so that 
the second generation is barely recognisable, and has 
forgotten even its origin. 

So the Canadian Far West has passed insensibly but 
definitively out of our kinsmen's hands. Towards 1870 
it was possible to believe that this immense region, 
discovered by our explorers, crossed in every direction 
by our trappers and missionaries, then taken possession 
of by a vanguard of our Canadian settlers and Indian 
half breeds, would perhaps become a new field of action 
for the French. In 1871 the two races about balanced 
each other in Manitoba. But since 1881 the French 
have lost ground : in that year they numbered only 
9949 as against 38,184 English, out of a total popula- 
tion of 65,954. In 1901 the proportion of French was 
still smaller 16,021 out of a total population of 255,21 1. 
In the other Western provinces we are not much better 
off. In British Columbia there were in 1901 only 4600 
French out of a total of 178,657 inhabitants. In the 
North-West Territories we had only 7040 out of 

Of course, these figures may not be absolutely 
accurate. It certainly seems astonishing that the 
French in Manitoba should number only 16,000. But 
allowing for error, it must be admitted that the French 
are in a very small minority. They form compact 
groups, rallying round their curds, and suffering them- 
selves neither to be absorbed nor dominated, and thanks 
to their high birth-rate they continue to grow, but what 
can they effect against the great stream of immigrants 
ever replenishing the Anglo-Saxon flood ? The balance 
could only be redressed by calling into play those 
hundreds of thousands of French Canadians who prosper 


in the States, but who risk being lost in the midst of a 
people so vast and so implacable towards those who 
refuse to be assimilated. 

Thus the French of Canada have gained ground 
quickly in Quebec and slowly in Ontario without 
having made any marked advance in the colony as a 

In 1881 they numbered 1,298,929 out of 4,324,810 
inhabitants of the entire Dominion about 30 per cent. 
In 1901 they numbered 1,649,371 out of 5,371,315 
about 30.7 per cent. From so minute an increase one 
can hardly derive the hope of final victory ! 

The French Canadians will have to give up the idea 
that they will prevail by force of numbers. Their future 
is assured, but their dream of supremacy is seen to 
become more and more impossible as the years pass by, 
sketching out the destinies of the Dominion. Canada 
will not become French again ! let us admit it. There 
are two reasons to prevent it : first, the English are 
henceforth irrevocably in a majority ; secondly and a 
more decisive reason still the weight of history, economic 
forces, social forces, all combine to favour, no less than 
mere numbers, the supremacy of Great Britain. 

French Canada is still bowed down under the burden 
of defeat ! This observation, which may seem at once 
paradoxical and hard, comes inevitably to anyone who 
will study impartially the place accorded to our kinsmen 
in the Dominion. The Englishman always considers 
himself a member of the superior race. He carries out 
loyally and in quite correct manner the obligations 
entered into with the vanquished of 1763, but he never 
forgets the rights of victory, and if, for propriety's sake, 
he does not talk much of them, there is no sign of his 
having voluntarily renounced them. He does not 


always succeed in treating his French fellow-citizen as an 
equal. If in the domain of politics he is forced to make 
concessions, in other fields where he is not shackled he 
imposes his ideas and customs masterfully, and often 

A hundred and fifty years of this regime have made 
the French Canadians too much habituated to giving 
way in everyday life even if only in matters which they 
regard as unimportant for British supremacy not to 
have become established as a hard, solid fact. Splendid 
though they have been in their defence of their political 
rights, our kinsmen have perhaps been too ready to 
acquiesce in the predominance which their rivals arrogate 
to themselves everywhere except in Parliament. Too 
many of them bow down quite sincerely before the superi- 
ority of the Anglo-Saxon civilisation : they have no love 
for the English assuredly, but they admire them, some- 
times imitate them, and suffer them to assume the general 
control and management of things in the realms of society 
and finance. 

What Frenchman of France has not been shocked to 
see in cities so French in their population as Montreal or 
Quebec a form of civilisation other than his own dom- 
inating openly, uncontested ? Quebec, for instance, does 
not give the immediate impression of a city of ours ; 
many sensitively observant visitors have felt that. In 
this city of 68,000, of whom not more than 10,000 
are English, there are many parts where French is not 
understood : perhaps it would be more accurate to say 
where people will not understand it. On the railways 
it is tolerated at best. At the Chateau Frontenac 
Hotel, that marvel of comfort and elegance created 
by the Canadian Pacific, the principal employe's do 
perhaps understand it, but they refuse to speak it. 


It is true that in the inquiry office and in the kitchen 
you can hear it spoken as much as you like, but is it 
not pitiful that English should be the speech of the 
managers, and French of the menials ? The French 
Canadians have come to put up with this kind of not 
very pleasant obstinacy. They learn English, and in 
that they are wise enough ; but they have never been 
able to get their rivals to learn French. And therein we 
cannot but recognise a really significant defeat. 

It is the same at Montreal. Visitors may pass whole 
weeks there, frequenting hotels, banks, shops, railway 
stations, without ever imagining for a moment that the 
town is French by a great majority of its inhabitants. 
English Society affects unconsciousness of this fact, and 
bears itself exactly as though it had no French neighbours. 
They seem to regard Montreal as their property. As 
they have got to this height, not by force of votes or of 
numbers, it must be admitted that their attitude is the 
outcome of the old sense of the rights of the conqueror. 
Think of the "civil servants" of India, and you will 
understand better the rulers of Canada. 

It should be added that this strength of the English 
would amount to nothing if they did not possess the 
wealth at the same time, and if they had not the control 
of the economic life of the colony. In this respect, even 
in the most French districts, the Dominion is thoroughly 
under Anglo-Saxon domination. We have seen at what 
a disadvantage the French Canadians are, compared with 
their rivals, in regard to equipment, for commercial and 
industrial success ; how their traditions, customs, and 
predilections all tend to make them go in for pro- 
fessions which win them respect, and sometimes even 
renown, but rarely riches ; we have noted how difficult it 
is for the French Canadian youth to make a way for 


himself in this domain of business for which his pro- 
genitors have so little fitted him. From this it has 
resulted inevitably that the wealth of the land belongs 
for the most part to the Anglo-Saxons, who are thus 
enabled to rule the roost by as strong a title as the result 
of the ballot boxes. With some notable exceptions, 
which are now growing in number, our people have 
remained outside the great economic current. The 
principal banks, the leading railway companies, the great 
industrial, commercial, and shipping concerns belong to 
their rivals ; English is the language of business ; 
Montreal is a satellite of London or New York an 
Anglo-Saxon centre par excellence, in which the presence 
of more than a hundred thousand Frenchmen is a factor 
of secondary importance. 

Is it not clear, then, why the French (the question of 
numbers apart) cannot hope to prevail in Canada? In 
the long rivalry between Quebec and Ontario, Ontario 
triumphs. It triumphs, not so much by reason of its 
numerical advantage as by its resolute maintenance of 
a line of action which gives it the upper hand in the 
Dominion, and aloof from which we must regretfully 
admit it will be very difficult ever to achieve success. 

So the future of the French Canadians is confined 
within certain limits beyond which there can be no 
passing for them. However, if complete success eludes 
them, a more modified success is assured. Let them 
only give up their hope of making Canada a French 
country, and endeavour instead, on the one hand to 
permeate the whole land with their spirit, and on the 
other to establish themselves strongly and for all time 
in the domain of Quebec Province, swelling outwards 
towards the West, North- West, and North. If in their 
fight with the civilisation of England they have not 


been completely victorious, that is from no lack of ability 
or of courage ; it is perhaps because from the very 
beginning, and perhaps through the fault of France 
they have been inadequately equipped against an enemy 
armed cap a pie. Their type of civilisation, more delicate, 
more distinguished, more perfect, but in some respects 
grown antiquated and kept too little au courant with the 
profound changes in progress in our modern France, has 
been unable to conquer one which is commoner and 
more material, but incontestably better adapted to the 
needs of a new country. 



THE long rivalry between the French and English in 
Canada is ending, then, in the victory of the latter. More 
numerous, more wealthy, finding their strength in a form 
of civilisation more modern than their adversaries, the 
English have distanced the French. But now a new 
danger threatens the victors, and fresh assaults are made 
upon their supremacy. By their side nay, actually 
within their frontiers, in the very heart of their cities and 
their farm-lands there is opening out a civilisation akin 
to their own, but more exuberant, more opulent, more 
modern still. Its powers of absorption are so great that 
one may well ask the question whether in its character 
and its customs the Dominion will be able always to 
remain British. 

To begin with, let us state the problem in exact terms. 
In analysing the feelings of the Canadians with regard 
to the United States, we saw how they at present view 
the idea of annexation. Save in the occurrence of 
unforeseen events, of some unpardonable blundering on 
the part of England, it is almost certain that Canada will 
not willingly and wittingly give herself to her mighty 



That is not the danger. The danger does not take 
the form of either an attempt at conquest, a treaty of 
alliance, or a plebiscite. It lies in the imperceptible daily 
transformation that by a slow, steady progress is 
Americanising the colony and its men and manners ; 
it lies in the elements of the immigration which is 
populating it elements largely British, but chiefly 
American and cosmopolitan ; it lies above all in the 
irresistible influence of American prestige, that makes 
Montreal a satellite of New York and Winnipeg a lesser 
Chicago! It is thus the individuality of Canada is 
menaced. Without any act of disloyalty on the part of 
the Canadians towards the Mother Country, without any 
formal divorce, Canada is in danger of finding herself 
one day so entirely transformed, so full of Americans 
and of cosmopolitans moulded in their image, that her 
title of British colony, though always true in theory, will 
have ceased in practice to be applicable. 

A first reason for anxiety is presented by the 
present character of the immigration into the Dominion. 
Formerly the great stream of European emigrants flowed 
into the United States. Canada, less known, less in 
favour, wrongly supposed to be colder and less fertile, 
attracted chiefly a British clientele. Its Far West, wild 
and forlorn, remained the jealously guarded property of 
a great Company, and was populated chiefly by Indians, 
with a sprinkling here and there of French and 

Presently, however, the Canadian prairies were opened 
out. The monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company 
came to an end, and the Canadian Pacific traversed the 
whole Dominion with its ribbon of steel. Manitoba, the 
North- West Territories, began to make rapid progress. 
In 1896 the Liberal Ministry began an energetic policy 


of promoting immigration. A brilliantly able propa- 
gandist system was set at work ; circulars and pamphlets 
vaunting the wealth of Western Canada were distributed 
in profusion ; agencies were started not merely in 
England but in the United States and in Europe ; a 
generous Administration placed land within the reach 
of the poorest, every new-comer being able to count 
upon a grant of 160 acres. As what was wanted 
was to populate at any price a region needing men, 
new arrivals were not forced to satisfy many con- 
ditions. All that was required of them was good 
health. No questions were asked as to their origin or 

The result of this policy (which is being carried on 
to-day more zealously than ever) was considerable. 
Between 1890 and 1896 the total number of immigrants 
had amounted to 271,216; between 1897 anc ^ I 93 it 
rose to 366,946 an increase of 95,730. In 1898 the 
figure was only 31,900; but it went up to 44,543 in 
1899, to 49,149 in 1901, to 128,364 in 1903, and to 
130,331 in 1904.* The progress was remarkable. It 
told of the real prosperity of the country, the capable 
manner in which the propaganda was carried on, 
and the growing reputation of the North-West 

The Government, then, has good reason to rejoice 
over the outcome of its activity. One drawback, how- 
ever, has to be admitted : from the point of view of the 
equilibrium of Canada the composition of the immigra- 
tion is calculated to cause some anxiety, for the largest 
element in it is made up of foreigners. It comprises 
three principal categories English, American, and 
cosmopolitan thus represented in the statistics for 

1 Reports of the Superintendent of Immigration. 


the two years 1903 and 1904 published by the Ministry 
of the Interior : 

1903. 1904. 

Total number of emigrants . . 128,364 i3,33* 

From the United Kingdom . . 41,792 5o,374 

From the United States . . . 49,473 45) 22 9 

Cosmopolitans .... 37,099 34,728 

Let us study for a moment these three elements. 

If we confine ourselves to the figures for 1904, we 
note that the British contingent takes the lead. It only 
represents 38 per cent, of the whole, however, and one 
wonders whether it will be strong enough to dominate 
the two others. This is not a problem which excites 
the general public of the colony, yet people who look 
ahead are disquieted by it, and great efforts are made 
in the Mother Country to maintain and increase the 
emigration to Canada. Apart from the agencies of the 
Canadian Government, numerous institutions, conducted 
by individuals (notably Dr. Barnardo's Homes), occupy 
themselves with the despatch to the Dominion of 
" desirable " immigrants, whose fortunes they follow with 
sympathy and assistance in their new abode. And 
indeed it is a matter of the first importance that this 
British influx should be kept up, if only as a counterpoise 
to the other elements, the assimilation of which would 
otherwise prove impossible, or else would be the work 
of the ever increasing Americanised population. 

The invasion from the United States is a new 
feature. Ten years ago it was the Canadians for the 
most part who crossed over the frontier. The remark- 
able prosperity of the Dominion since 1896, the "boom- 
ing " of Manitoba and the North- West Territories, have 
now induced many farmers of Minnesota, Dakota, and 
Kansas to sell their lands at a profit in order to buy 



others at a lower price on Canadian territory. An 
operation of this kind is quite to the taste of the 
speculative folk of the West. At first there was an 
impression that this was merely a craze of the moment, 
but soon it was revealed by statistics that a veritable 
migration was in progress. Here are the figures for 
five years : 


1898 .... 9, 1 19 immigrants. 

1901 .... 17,987 

1902 .... 26,388 ,, 

1903 49.473 

1904 . . 45> 22 9 

These new-comers, moreover, are not for the most 
part people without means, or failures anxious for a 
fresh start ; on the contrary, they are generally people 
who have put by considerable savings and who have 
already had a long experience of agriculture. They 
make excellent colonists, therefore, of a class that the 
Dominion is very happy to welcome. 

The third element is composed of the most diverse 
nationalities. Thanks to her system of world-wide 
advertising, Canada has now come to know that 
multiform class of immigrants which used to flow only 
into the United States. Their variety comes out 
clearly from the statistics giving the number of 
people passing through Winnipeg the gate of the 
North- West in 1903 : 

English . . . 20,224 
Canadians of the East . 16,514 
Americans 1 . . . 12,698 

Ruthenians . 
Scotch . 



1 The majority of American emigrants enter from the Western States. 



Norwegians . 



Swedes . 



Canadians returnii 


Austrians . 

the U.S.A. 



Italians . 



Irish . 

. 2,521 


French . 

. 1,156 








Poles . 









Finns . 

. 556 















Having now glanced at these three categories of 
immigrants, let us look into the triple problem raised 
by their presence : How is the British civilisation to 
stand up against this invasion ? What attitude do the 
Americans take up in their new country ? And what is the 
line adopted by the cosmopolitans ? On the combination 
resulting from these heterogeneous elements will depend 
in great part the political future of the Canadian West. 

The durability of the British civilisation is very great, 
for it is made up of several strong factors. In the first 
place, the majority of the population is still almost 
everywhere Canadian or British. The Census of 1901 
does not, unfortunately, enable us to distinguish the 
Americans from among the other Anglo-Saxon actual 
residents in the colony these being deliberately classed 
together as of the same race. Most of the American 
immigrants become naturalised. We cannot tell, there- 
fore, how many Americans there are now living in 
Canada. In spite of this lack of precise figures, 
however, we can safely affirm that the general character 
of the people of the Canadian West is still British. The 
English, Irish, and Scotch form a compact mass, strongly 
united by political or religious traditions. 


It counts for something in the evolution of this 
district that the Dominion is an English colony. The 
political connection, however relaxed it may be, obliges 
the Canadians to look often towards the Mother Country, 
and in this way they keep up such relations with Europe 
as their American neighbours have long ceased to know. 
The Americanisation of Canada, though it seems in- 
evitable, is thus perceptibly retarded. What retards 
it even more is the distinctly British complexion of 
Canadian Protestantism. The Americans are of course 
Protestants themselves, but after a fashion how vague 
and often erratic compared with the Protestants of 
Great Britain. In the domain of religion Great 
Britain has exerted more influence than America on 
the population of Canada. Once you cross the frontier 
from the States, whether you go to Victoria or Winnipeg 
or Toronto, you at once feel yourself in a religious 
environment that is purely British. Without quite 
knowing in what it consists, you are conscious of a 
moral atmosphere in the air very different from the 
joyous anarchy and exuberant gaiety which reigns in 
the neighbouring country. Winnipeg, for instance, so 
American in so many ways, is Scotch on Sundays ; the 
Presbyterians exercise a sort of moral dictatorship, just as 
in Edinburgh, Sydney, or Melbourne, and everyone must 
submit to it willy nilly. From this standpoint Canada 
will remain a British colony for a long time to come. 

It results from these observations that the Canadian 
West looks British to those who come to it from the 
United States. But to those who go to it from Eastern 
Canada and from Europe it looks American. The 
habits and customs of the people are entirely those 
of the States. Regina, Winnipeg, Vancouver are 
cities built in the American fashion huge sky-scrapers 


flung up alongside wooden shanties. The railways 
are modelled exactly on American railways. The way 
everything is done, the very aspect and bearing of 
people and their tones of voice, the style of the hotels 
and bars and theatres everything combines to make 
the visitor feel that he is the guest of Uncle Sam and 
not of John Bull. You have to look much more closely 
to see under the surface the strong British current that 
is still flowing. Thus it is that Western Canada may 
remain politically British, and in some respects even 
Imperialist, while socially it is already to so great a 
degree American. 

In this country so like their own, what happens to 
the immigrants from the United States ? Do they 
become Anglicised, so to speak ? No, for they combine 
to lead exactly the same kind of life they led before. 
They change neither their habits nor their ideas. 
They do not need in truth to undergo any change 
at all to feel at home in this new region to the north 
of the purely artificial frontier which they have crossed. 
They are perfectly willing to become naturalised 
Canadian citizens and take the oath of fidelity to King 
Edward vn., which is one of the conditions of naturalisa- 
tion. It seems clear that these matters of form and 
convention are to them of minute importance. Pro- 
vided they can make money, and are not forced to 
speak a foreign language, and can secure the kind of 
education they require for their children, they are 
satisfied. They go so far, indeed, as to declare that 
the Dominion is better governed than the Republic. 
They do not feel at heart that they are in an alien 
land. Doubtless many of them think that Canada 
will eventually be American, but this is merely a 
vague impression in their minds, and they do nothing, 


so far, to hasten the coming of this union. They may 
be regarded, then, as excellent Canadians. But they are 
not becoming British Canadians. 

We have still to glance at the cosmopolitans. In 
America immigrants of all nationalities and races 
become assimilated within a few years to their new 
environment. This assimilation takes place in Canada 
more slowly. The life is not so active, and many of 
the new-comers remain isolated. For example, entire 
groups of people of the same origin get hidden away 
in odd corners of the prairie, where they retain their 
language and habits. This is the case with regard 
to many of the semi-Asiatic immigrants sent from 
Austria and Russia. Sooner or later, however, especi- 
ally in the cities and along the railway route, these 
foreign immigrants of all kinds become Americanised. 

To whose advantage will this transformation prove ? 
To that of the French Canadian civilisation ? We have 
seen that any such hope must be laid aside. To that 
of Anglo-Saxon civilisation ? Obviously, but in its 
American, not its British, form. The new-comers 
will learn the English language, but what will their 
accent be like? They will sign the oath of fidelity 
to King Edward, but they will become Republicans. 
They will become loyal Canadians at the same time, 
it may be admitted, but that is not to say that they 
will ever become Britishers like their English, Scotch, 
and Irish fellow-citizens. 

From a political point of view, it results from this 
analysis that the recent flood of immigration constitutes 
no danger to the Dominion. The new citizens are 
submissive and well disposed, and harbour as a rule 
no feeling of regret for their own countries. But as 
I have been at pains to show, the delicate point of 


the problem does not lie here. It is as to the future 
of Canadian civilisation that one speculates. It is not 
a question of men merely. Ideas and customs and 
capital have to be taken into account. 

American capital occupies a considerable place in 
Canadian affairs. Not that money is lacking in the 
Dominion, or that the British underestimate the value 
of their splendid colony, but the natural riches of the 
land are so colossal that financial aid from the outside 
is constantly required. The United States are always 
ready to furnish it. Formerly they themselves had to 
go to Europe for such assistance, but during the last 
ten years their affairs have flourished so brilliantly 
that they hardly know what to do now with their 
profits. It is only natural, therefore, that they should 
be willing to turn to the magnificent openings offered 
them by Canada. 

They began by mere investments which were 
warmly welcomed. Then, afterwards, they began to 
start industries in Canada themselves, bringing with 
them their plant and staff. Great American industrial 
houses, which had been hit by Sir John Macdonald's 
Protectionist policy and only in a less degree by Mr. 
Fielding's, have not hesitated to set up branch estab- 
lishments on Canadian soil. To-day a large number 
of industries in the Dominion are thus controlled 
from without. Economically speaking, the colony is 
as much dependent upon the United States as upon 
Great Britain. 

It cannot be denied, therefore (though the Canadians 
themselves do not like to admit it), that there is an 
American peril for Canada. It does not take the 
shape of a military conquest that is almost inconceiv- 
able ; or of a political union that is not desired by 


Washington and is sincerely dreaded by Ottawa. It 
manifests itself in the unceasing and irresistible per- 
meation of one form of civilisation by another. It is 
safe now to predict that Canada will become less and 
less British and more and more American. The best 
we can wish for a wish that may well be realised is 
that she may become Canadian first and foremost. 




So long as we confined our attention to the domain of 
home affairs we have been able without any great 
inaccuracy to consider Canada as an independent 
sovereign nation. But the moment we seek to examine 
into its external relations the point of view changes, and 
it becomes impossible to forget even for a moment that 
we are dealing with a British colony. 

What is the significance, in practice and in theory, of 
this term " colony " ? What exactly does it cover ? We 
must begin by answering these questions in order to 
appreciate the nature of the bonds that exist between 
Canada and Great Britain. It is a question involving 
fine shades and meanings between the lines, for the 
English have a way all their own, of bending without 
breaking under the force of circumstances, of substituting 
customs for laws, and of philosophically disregarding 
written provisions when their application appears difficult 
or inopportune. 

The legal nature of the Anglo - Canadian bonds 
contains no ambiguity : Canada is neither independent 
nor sovereign ; it constitutes only a portion of the British 
Empire, and the terms habitually employed to describe it 
emphasise, rather than attenuate, this state of dependency. 
For while Australia takes to itself proudly the title of 



"Commonwealth," the Canadian Confederacy contents 
itself with the unmeaning designation of " Dominion," and 
permits itself to be described in current parlance as a 
" Colony," or actually as a " Dependency." l 

In theory, then, the subordination of Canada is strict 
and uncontested. In practice, however, it is considerably 
relaxed, as we shall see, the Mother Country displaying 
remarkable tact in the way it gives and keeps giving with 
a good grace when this is inevitable, but also keeping 
when necessary, and to a greater extent than is generally 
supposed. In the first place, she has kept the real 
essence of sovereignty. All the legislative Acts, execu- 
tive or judiciary, of the Dominion are done in the name 
of the King, who is King of Canada by exactly the same 
right as he is King of England, Scotland, or Ireland. 
His accredited representative, the Governor - General, 
is the sole official intermediary between the colony and 

The functions of the Governor - General are of a 
complex character, and we have to see in him two 
different personalities. In regard to home affairs, he 
merely plays the role of a President of a Parliamentary 
Republic ; some writers have refused to consider him in 
any save this capacity, and have taken pleasure in depict- 
ing his post as purely decorative : they have gone so far 
as to predict the time when he shall be elected by the 
Canadian citizens themselves. 

These ideas are based, however, on a complete 
misconception of the nature of his office in English eyes. 
If he may be compared to a constitutional President, and 
if absolute impartiality in regard to the two parties be 
thus imposed on him, he is also a British official, subor- 

1 "It [Canada] is properly called a Dependency" (Sir John Bourinot, 
How Canada is Governed}. 


dinated to the Colonial Office and in correspondence 
with it, receiving secret instructions from London, and 
sometimes entrusted with special missions. In the field 
of Imperial politics, therefore, he may be compared rather 
to an Ambassador, or more accurately to a high type of 

His influence in this diplomatic capacity can be 
exercised, of course, only with the most scrupulous dis- 
cretion ; for Colonial sensitiveness is extreme, especially 
in regard to a Governor-General who without being a 
foreigner in the unfriendly sense of the word may yet be 
described as a stranger. The British representatives 
have generally understood what fine tact their position 
required, and for nearly half a century their interventions 
(if that be the word to use) have nearly always been 
effected in the right spirit. In the course of recent years, 
however, this tradition has sometimes been abandoned. 
Lord Minto, for instance, Governor- General from 1898 
to 1904, allowed it to be too clearly seen that he was an 
Imperialist at the time when Imperialism constituted a 
burning subject of discussion between the two parties. 
Many of the speeches he delivered on the occasion of 
the Transvaal War overstepped the limits of constitu- 
tional impartiality. He thus created the impression 
be it right or wrong that he had been nominated for 
this very purpose, and behind the correct President of the 
Canadian Confederacy there was visible the Imperial 
Proconsul. Nothing is less pleasing to the Colonials 
than that. 

The presence of one British dignitary is assuredly no 
menace to Colonial liberties ; it is, however, a symbol of 
a certain subjection, for as long as there is a Governor- 
General at Ottawa there can be no attaining to complete 
independence. The species of control exercised in theory 


and in practice by this Imperial functionary will enable 
us to understand to what extent the Dominion is really 
a colony. 

From the legislative point of view Canada possesses 
autonomy, not independence. The power to make her 
own laws has been granted her by England, and in 
theory could be withdrawn from her. In the same way, 
no Canadian Act of Parliament enters into force without 
the consent of the Crown or its representative, and in 
theory this consent can be refused upon any pretext or 
even without pretext of any kind. Such is the letter of 
the Constitution. But in reality the Mother Country 
allows every latitude to the Colonial legislator, whose 
freedom is in no way shackled. Frequently the 
Governor- General appends his signature to laws which 
he does not approve, and which in some cases are 
unfavourable to British interests. The force of tradition, 
as well as the spirit of the regime he represents, im- 
poses on him this necessity. Resistance on his part 
would be impossible : in Canada it would cause an 
uproar ; in England it would be disavowed. 

There are, however, cases in which the Imperial 
Government reserves to itself the right to intervene 
effectively ; it would oppose, for instance, any measures 
which would be in contradiction with the general legis- 
lation of the Empire, or even such measures as would 
have the effect of preventing the execution of a treaty. 
In view of this control, all laws voted at Ottawa and 
signed by the Governor- General are forwarded by the 
latter to the Colonial Office, which for a period of two 
months is free to veto them. 

The line of conduct of the Mother Country is thus 
determined by a very precise rule. If Canada alone be 
in question, abstention is imposed on the Imperial 


Government. If the Empire is involved, then inter- 
vention is justified. With this dual attitude correspond 
the two aspects of the Governor-General's position, 
already described. And this distinction enables us to 
appreciate the distance that separates even the fullest 
autonomy from complete independence. 

With regard to the judicial system a similar state of 
things is to be noted. The Dominion possesses a com- 
plete system of tribunals and courts, which deliver their 
judgments and sentences in entire freedom. The source 
of judicial power, however, is elsewhere than in Canada. 
The appeal to the Privy Council in England, which is 
far from having fallen into disuse, presents itself in this 
domain as a tangible proof of a suzerainty which is not 

In the conduct of Canadian foreign affairs similarly 
Great Britain maintains the right in theory, and sometimes 
in practice, of asserting its sovereignty. In law, Great 
Britain has only one foreign policy, one Minister for 
Foreign Affairs, one diplomatic representative. The 
treaties which concern more particularly, or even exclu- 
sively, this colony or that, are none the less negotiated 
and signed in the name of the King. Canada does not 
exist as a Power in the eyes of the various Powers, and 
has no Ambassadors or Consuls to represent her with 
them : the regular representatives of the United Kingdom 
are the sole official intermediaries. In Paris, as is well 
known, the Dominion has a Commissioner-General. 
But the important post now filled by M. Hector Fabre is 
something apart. He is, indeed, a veritable Consul- 
General, entrusted at times with strictly political missions. 
He is, however, not accredited to the French Government, 
which, by reason of the British sovereignty, can only 
deal with the English Ambassador. 


M. Hector Fabre, moreover, is the one and only 
delegate of this kind that Canada possesses abroad. 1 She 
has, for instance, never had a permanent Embassy at 
Washington : any such institution would run counter 
to the constitutional principles of the Empire, and the 
Imperial Power would doubtless oppose it with all possible 
force. In truth, the day that Ottawa has a separate 
diplomatic body the Colonial bond will have been broken. 

It is impossible, however, for the British Ministers or 
Ambassadors to handle in all their details such compli- 
cated foreign affairs as those of great and distant colonies. 
It was through embarking upon such an experiment 
that England lost the United States. Therefore she has 
made it her rule to leave the greatest possible freedom of 
action to all autonomous portions of the Empire in their 
negotiations, whilst reserving to herself a right of 
effective but carefully exercised control. To this end 
she gladly accords to Canadian statesmen all the powers 
they require to enable them to negotiate with foreign 
Powers. This has come to be a tradition which could 
not now be departed from. It is also tacitly understood 
nowadays that the Imperial Government will not sign 
any treaty which affects Canada without having obtained 
her assent. On several occasions Sir John Macdonald, 
Sir Charles Tupper, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier have entered 
into a kind of conversation, now with the United States, 
now with France : England did not fail to stand behind 
her colony at once to support her and keep her eye on 
her, but it was Canada that conducted the proceedings. 

This modus Vivendi, which works without too much 
friction, thanks to a remarkable spirit of conciliation on 

1 The Canadian "High Commissioner" in London cannot be regarded 
as a diplomatic or consular representative, as he resides in the capital of the 



both sides, is based merely on a tradition, and if the 
Canadians are thus in enjoyment of independence de facto, 
there is nothing to show that they possess it de jure. 

The Imperial Government, in other respects so 
accommodating, has never abandoned its right to append 
the signature, which after all is the essential part of a 
treaty. Nor has it given up its right to have a say in the 
choice of the plenipotentiaries, and it sometimes attaches 
to the Colonial personages who are proposed for the 
mission some diplomat or some eminent lawyer of its 
own. We shall see later how in the Alaska affair the 
presence of a special British representative by the side 
of the two Canadian negotiators resulted in hindering in 
a singular way the efficacy of their action. 

Colonial public opinion does not always accept these 
Imperial interventions with a very good grace. Certain 
Canadians of high rank have even allowed themselves to 
express openly their regret that Canada lacks the "treaty- 
making power." These complaints, which have found 
their way even into the Ottawa House of Commons, 
have given rise there to a very delicate discussion. 
What in truth is the right to conclude treaties direct, if it 
be not independence ? If the Colonials name their own 
diplomatists, if they themselves sign their treaties, the 
word " colony " becomes absolutely devoid of meaning. 
Are they ready at Ottawa to cross the Rubicon ? I think 
not. They realise the needs of the international policy, 
and no one at heart is desirous of a rupture. What they 
do ask firmly is that the diplomatic autonomy of the 
Dominion shall be respected and shall be suffered to 
come as near as possible to independence without being 
given the name. 

If the Imperial Government is able and willing to 
carry out this programme, it will have no difficulty in 


maintaining a status quo which, despite some friction, 
seems on the whole to the Canadians very acceptable. 
But if it intervenes indiscreetly it may imperil the strength 
of the most sincere loyalty. We shall see in the follow- 
ing chapters that the line taken by Great Britain has at 
times disquieted seriously the prudent and thoughtful 
guardians of traditional Colonial autonomy. 




THE British Empire was a reality long before the 
word " Imperialism " had found its way into the current 
vocabulary of English politics, and the great self- 
governing colonies had indicated the kind of union 
they favoured with the Mother Country before Mr. 
Chamberlain ever came to the Colonial Office. Without 
dreaming of independence or rebellion, they had declared 
out loud their profound desire for autonomy, having 
learnt in the course of the nineteenth century to put 
before any other consideration that of freedom. The 
history of the last few years goes to prove, especially in 
regard to Canada, that this disposition has not changed. 
So much it is well to bear in mind, by way of preface, 
whenever one embarks on the study of the problem of 

The outburst of Imperialism in the Dominion was 
sudden. The doctrine had long been familiar there, 
but it had not aroused enthusiasm. In 1891, in 1893, 
even in 1896, the burning question of the relations 
between Canada and the United States was still being 
discussed in the frankest and freest manner : Limited 
Reciprocity, Unlimited Reciprocity, a Customs Union 


these were the solutions which were advanced publicly 
every day under the indulgent eyes of the Liberal leaders 
who were to form the Ministry of the morrow. In 1897 
these same leaders introduced the Differential Tariff in 
favour of England, and took part enthusiastically in the 
celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee. An absolutely 
irresistible wave of feeling had carried them along. 
But when the wave had passed by they recovered 
themselves, and it was possible to note that the country 
had been but little affected, and remained, as before, 
essentially autonomist Such were the two phases of 
Canadian Imperialism : let us now study them in 

In conformity with his traditional policy, M. Laurier, 
when he became Prime Minister in 1896, turned first 
towards the White House, in the hope of obtaining that 
Treaty of Reciprocity which had been the dream of an 
entire Liberal generation. But it did not take long for him 
to realise that the barrier of the American Tariff would 
prove insurmountable to the efforts of diplomacy. The 
effect of this repulse was very deep, not only on himself, 
but on all his fellow-citizens. Hurt alike in their 
interests and their amour propre, the Canadians, as one 
man, turned deliberately towards England, there to look 
for support and a market. On April 25, 1897, Mr. 
Fielding presented to Parliament a new tariff, which 
reserved a Preferential treatment for Great Britain. 

By a happy coincidence, the Imperialist movement 
was then going through a phase of splendid expansion. 
The campaign which had been carried on for years by 
the most powerful men in England was now bearing 
fruit. The Colonies, until then very reserved, were 
joining in the general enthusiasm. The ruin of the 
Liberal Party and the Little Englanders had resulted in 


the rejuvenation of the Conservatives, heirs of the 
great Imperialist idea, and Mr. Chamberlain, the new 
Minister for the Colonies, was flattering the Colonials 
with words such as had never before been addressed 
to them, and that went straight to their heart. 

The Diamond Jubilee of 1897, with its marvellous 
mise en scene worthy of the semi-oriental imagination 
of a Disraeli, brought the feelings of the Queen's 
subjects to a climax. In truth, the spectacle presented 
by the Empire at this moment was calculated to affect 
everybody, and the official panegyrists were all set 
singing its praises. The sun never set on the British 
possessions. Everywhere had the Anglo-Saxon race 
become supreme, and established a Pax Britannica as 
grandiose as that of Rome, under which all the peoples 
were called upon to come and be enriched. The 
Colonies, like grown-up daughters, pressed round their 
mother, full of admiration, affection, and deference. It 
seemed as though we were present at the birth of a new 
order of things, destined to surpass in splendour the 
Roman Empire itself. 

Very few were able to withstand this species of 
inebriation, and although there were exceptions among 
the French of Quebec, the majority of Canadians became 
infected with the pride of belonging to so great a nation. 
M. Laurier's journey to London as Delegate of the 
Dominion was a triumph. Among the Colonial 
Ministers, come together from all parts of the world, 
he soon attracted remark by his great gift of speech, his 
imposing personality, and the eloquent expression he 
gave to his. Imperial patriotism, all the more grateful 
to his hearers by reason of his being French. No 
one had succeeded better than he in seizing the spirit of 
the hour ; no one voiced in tones more lofty, in words better 


chosen or more brilliant, the sanguine emotions then 
permeating the Empire. 

In Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, 
and London, he set forth in a score of speeches the 
passionate loyalty of Canada, the fidelity of the French 
Canadians to the Crown, the Imperialist sentiments of 
the colony he represented. Yet he contrived with 
consummate art to celebrate the coming of the new 
Empire without ever committing himself in favour of 
definite measures. Thus at the very moment when he 
seemed to be the greatest Imperialist of all the Colonials, 
he was jealously guarding the liberties and the autonomy 
which his own people had tacitly placed under his 

" The time will come," he said in Edinburgh, June 
1 6, 1897, "when the relations between the Mother 
Country and the Colonies will not be able to remain any 
longer what they are now : they will either be drawn 
closer or they will break. The answer to this dilemma 
rests with England, Ireland, and Scotland ; for these 
Colonies will always be disposed to cherish a filial piety 
towards England, so long as England continues to 
sustain them." So it is that "according as Separatist 
ideas disappear, feelings in favour of a closer union take 
their place. There exists to-day in Canada a desire for a 
closer union with England. . . . We are free as it is. But 
we are only ' Colonials,' and we aspire to being some- 
thing more. We aspire to playing a greater role in the 
British Empire. . . . Far from wishing to go back, 
what we want to do is to advance and to have our 
complete share in a United Empire." 1 

Thus the general note of these speeches is that of 
enthusiasm ; but it is an enthusiasm that is kept always 
1 Speech in Glasgow, June 15, 1897. 


under control. Hailing, for instance, in a fine flight of 
oratory, " the dawn of the day when the Imperial Parlia- 
ment shall welcome under its vaulted chambers the 
elect of the human race," the Canadian Premier seems 
on the point of touching upon future plans, but prudently 
stops in time. " What has the future in store for us ? 
That is a subject upon which I should scarcely dare to 
venture an opinion. There are men in the Colonies 
who, taking note of this desire of a closer union, have 
endeavoured to crystallise it into definite plans, but 
hitherto these efforts have been without result. Why, 
gentlemen ? Because it is not in keeping with the 
genius of the British race, or with the traditions of 
English history, to write out Constitutions and invent 
theories. But it is in keeping with the traditions of 
English history and with the genius of the British race 
to advance slowly, never upsetting the existing state of 
things until it be found hurtful and intolerable and a 
cause of legitimate complaints, and even then only to 
go as far as the circumstances of the moment require. 
There exist to-day in the Colonies aspirations towards 
a closer union, towards an enlargement of the rights 
conferred on the British citizen ; but there is no cause 
for complaints. We are satisfied with our lot." 

These extracts suffice to show how ably, moderately, 
and sincerely M. Laurier expressed himself. The 
majority of his English listeners, however, would only 
see in his words the kind of declarations that suited 
them the wise reservations they ignored. Created 
Sir Wilfrid Laurier on the occasion of the Jubilee, the 
initiator of the Preferential policy soon became in the 
eyes of Great Britain the most authoritative representa- 
tive of Colonial Imperialism. Carried away by their 
undiscriminating enthusiasm, many Jingoes went so far 


as to assume that he shared their views and in this was 
followed by all his fellow-Canadians. 

In truth, during this heroic age of Imperialism 
public opinion did not trouble much about defining in 
precise terms the questions at issue. The English 
Canadians, for instance, were in too great a state of 
enthusiasm to reason matters out : they were all, or 
almost all, Imperialists the word meaning little else 
just then than patriots. The French Canadians, without 
inquiring much into Laurier's attitude towards England, 
were content to say to themselves, "He is a Frenchman, 
let us support him." Thus Sir Wilfrid had worked the 
miracle of pleasing everybody. The movement, how- 
ever, could not be left for ever in this stage of speechify- 
ing and demonstrations. The formulating of actual 
projects was bound to arouse violent opposition and to 
cause all the divergent views to be defined in black and 

It was the Transvaal War that produced this second 
phase of the Imperial movement in Canada. As long 
as it was a question of celebrating the Queen's Jubilee, 
all were agreed. But when it was a question of taking 
part in the war, by reason of the principles of Imperial- 
ism, the Ottawa Government found behind it a country 
violently divided. 

Sir Wilfrid Laurier was a Frenchman and a 
Catholic, but in lofty conception of his duties he thought 
of himself only as Prime Minister of the Dominion. 
If his natural feelings, as we may suppose, inclined 
him towards a peaceful policy and caused him to look 
with disfavour upon aggressive Jingoism, he realised 
that as a French Premier of a British colony he must 
act with special prudence and diplomacy. The freedom 
of carriage, in so far as London was concerned, which 


would have been enjoyed by an Englishman in his 
position, was not possible for him. In spite of his 
distinguished services to the State, suspicious opponents 
would be able, at the slightest sign of weakness on 
his part, to cry out, "Treason of the Frenchman 
Laurier ! " and raise up against him a section of public 
opinion ; whereas if he seemed to be giving in to the 
Jingoes, he risked being abandoned by the French of 
Quebec. He took stock of the situation carefully, like 
the experienced statesman he is. He understood that 
the Imperialist current was irresistible and that any 
endeavour to oppose it at that moment would only 
damage his French compatriots, perhaps depriving them 
in a day of the fruits of fifty years of loyalty. He 
decided, therefore, that he must yield to the exigencies 
of British opinion. 

Should Canada participate in the war by sending 
out troops ? That was the problem. The idea of a 
banding together of the Colonies was in the air, and a 
clamorous agitation in favour of it was in full blast in 
the Dominion, especially among the English Conserva- 
tives, Laurier's opponents, who thus hoped to put him 
in an embarrassing position, prove him to be lukewarm 
in his loyalty, and thus regain by their own Jingoism a 
very dubious form of influence. Of course these people 
did indubitably represent the general feeling of the 
British population of Canada, whose patriotic frenzy 
was but intensified by the marked coldness of the 
French of Quebec. The latter were almost all Pro- 
Boers, and made no secret of it, despite the efforts of 
their parliamentary chiefs to restrain them. 

Not since 1837 had the opposition between the two 
races been so bitterly manifested. However, con- 
fronted with the unanimous wish of the British element, 


the Premier, despite French disapproval, felt forced at 
least to adopt the principle of giving military support 
to the Mother Country. After hesitating for a time to 
come to any decision while Parliament was not sitting l 
(it was October, during the recess), he thought better 
of it, as the result of the irresistible pressure brought 
to bear on him by British public opinion : Canadian 
Volunteers were authorised to go to South Africa, the 
Colonial Government defraying their equipment and 
transports ; on arrival, they were to be incorporated in 
the Imperial forces. Fearing, however, that this measure 
of co-operation might be invoked later as a precedent, 
the prudent statesman took care to explain, through 
the medium of a note communicated to the Press 
(October 13, 1899), the reasons and the precise scope 
of the step he had taken. " The Prime Minister," we 
read, " in view of the well-known desire of a great 
number of persons to join the Imperial army (under 
the conditions prescribed for this army), is of opinion 
that the moderate expense involved in the equipment 
and transport of these Volunteers may be undertaken 
by the Government without convoking Parliament, the 
more so that this outlay, in such circumstances, could 
not be regarded as an infringement of constitutional 
principles and Colonial usages, nor as a binding precedent 
for the future." 

The English Canadians exulted, and their glee found 
vent in uproarious demonstrations. At bottom their 
minds were perhaps not so full of the war itself as of 
the theatrical affirmation of their patriotism in the face 
above all of their French fellow-citizens. As for 
England, she insisted upon seeing nothing in the incident 
but what was satisfactory. "This is Imperial Federa- 

1 The Globe, Toronto, October 3, 1899. 


tion ! " her people exclaimed with one voice. In his reply 
to the Canadian offer, Mr. Chamberlain, rendering thanks 
on behalf of the Empire, was careful to make no allusion 
to the reservation by which Sir Wilfrid Laurier had 
guarded himself from creating a precedent. Rendered 
bolder still by the prevalent enthusiasm, two high 
English officials resident in Canada, the Governor- 
General and the Commander-in-Chief of the forces of the 
colony, by way of welcoming the adhesion of the 
Dominion to Imperialism, indulged in words which 
certainly went beyond anything their positions entitled 
them to say. This trangression was afterwards made a 
matter for bitter reproach. At the moment, however, 
the English Canadians could think of one thing alone 
their rally round the flag. And that not merely against 
the Boers, but also against the sullen citizens of Quebec, 
against whom was launched anew the charge of treason. 

There was, of course, no real question of treason. 
But the French Canadians did display their feelings 
with a kind of insolent frankness. Without putting 
aside their loyalty to England, they rejoiced openly over 
her first defeats, thus deliberately giving offence to the 
English. Understanding that Laurier's hands had been 
forced and that his line of action had been inevitable, they 
continued to support his Ministry. Moreover, their 
political instincts, sharpened by a hundred years of 
contests, told them that if they were free thus to voice 
their sentiments unhindered, they could only lose by a 
change of administration. 

There were, however, as I have mentioned already, 
isolated cases of opposition, the most conspicuous being 
that of M. Henri Bourassa, grandson of the famous 
French Canadian patriot Papineau. In an open letter 
(October 18, 1899) to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, he protested 


strongly against his policy : "Is the British Empire in 
real danger ? Does it ask the aid of our arms to save 
it? Or is this an attempt to involve us in a military 
Federation, that cherished project of Mr. Chamberlain ? 
These are questions which the Canadian people is 
entitled to consider and to have clearly answered before 
allowing itself to be dragged into a war, into the causes 
and justice of which I shall not now inquire. . . . 
The principle at stake is that of the English Liberal 
axiom par excellence the very basis of parliamentary 
rule : No Taxation without Representation ! Is Canada 
prepared to renounce her prerogatives as a constitutional 
colony, her parliamentary freedom, the understanding come 
to with the Mother Country after seventy-five years of con- 
test ? That is the question. ... I for my part will never 
consent to support this retrograde line of policy." And 
by way of emphasising this protest, the courageous 
member resigned his seat in order to challenge the 
judgment of his constituents upon his action. 

Returned again to Parliament by a great majority, 
M. Bourassa raised the whole question in all its aspects : 
Was the Canadian people to sanction the conduct of its 
Government in involving it in a great war without even 
consulting the House of Commons ? Was it not realised 
that this participation would be invoked in the future as 
a precedent? In the name of justice, openly disregarded 
by a war of conquest, in the name of the autonomy that 
had been won after a century of struggling, it was 
necessary that a protest should be raised against a policy 
that was unjust, and above all prejudicial to the real 
interests of Colonial freedom. 1 

To these strong and eloquent attacks Sir Wilfrid 

1 Sittings of February 13, March 13, June 8, 1900, and of March 12 
and 28, 1901. 


Laurier replied in the Canadian House of Commons 
in some of his ablest and finest speeches. Never had 
the tone of this English Assembly been raised to such a 
height as by these two Frenchmen. The Premier began 
by reaffirming his admitted loyalty. He then recalled 
the unanimity with which the British Canadians had 
urged the authorisation of the departure of the 
Volunteers. Could he resist such an appeal? Yes, 
perhaps, but only by involving the Dominion in a fiercer 
racial conflict than it had ever known. Now, the whole 
of his life had been dedicated to the policy of union 
he gloried in it, and would never abandon it. Moreover, 
he had not been as imprudent as his censor seemed 
to think. By his communication to the Press of 
October 13, 1899, he had formally safeguarded the future. 
Canada was therefore bound by no precedent, and later 
should it be called upon to play its part in other Imperial 
wars, it was the Canadian people, in its all-powerfulness, 
that should decide upon its answer, and should decide 
alone. 1 

Sir Wilfrid Laurier achieved in this discussion the 
most brilliant success of his whole career. He ex- 
tricated himself from a difficult position with the 
mastery of a consummate statesman. The French, 
none the less, despite his eloquence, supported him 
from other motives than conviction. In this memor- 
able episode of Canadian history it was M. Bourassa 
who was incontestably the real spokesman of his race. 
He alone dared to say out openly before the English 
majority of the House of Commons what so many of 
his colleagues felt in their hearts ; he alone dared to 
affirm, in the face of official hypocrisy, that the Boers 
were citizens fighting for their liberty ; he alone had 

1 Sitting of March 13, 1900. 


the courage, in the course of a sitting that was at once 
shameful and splendid, to humble the pride of his 
adversaries amid a storm of hooting and abuse. The 
tones of his bitter, passionate oratory acted as a balm 
to his compatriots' feelings ; but, in spite of all, the 
political needs of the moment prevailed over the 
promptings of indignation. 

Talking one day with Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 
M. Bourassa said to him, " And yet, Monsieur le Ministre, 
our French compatriots think with me ! " Smiling half 
cynically, Sir Wilfrid replied, "Yes, my dear friend, 
they think with you, but they vote for me ! " This merry 
conceit sums up the situation. M. Bourassa's views 
were shared and his boldness admired, but the French 
Liberals blamed him a little all the same for putting 
principles before the interests of the party. " You are, 
of course, not in the wrong," they said to him, " but what 
use is there in getting excited ? You are only damaging 
the Ministry." And the party organs took him to task 
severely. " People are too apt," wrote the Soleil, the 
Liberal newspaper of Quebec (Oct. 21, 1899), " to forget 
the social condition of our country and the need of mutual 
concessions involved by the fact that our population is 
composed of heterogeneous elements. . . .Why in these 
circumstances make public display of a kind of chauvinisme 
which can only result in the intensifying of discord ? 
The lamentable action of M. Bourassa should have for 
effect the determination of all French Canadian Liberals 
to draw closer their ranks round the eminent compatriot 
whom we have for leader." 

Thus the various views of Imperialism came to be 
clearly defined. Nevertheless, the political position of 
the two parties remained curiously interwoven. The 
general election of November 7, 1900, reflected this 


complex psychology of the Canadian electoral body : 
it gave Sir Wilfrid Laurier a majority of about 60 in a 
House of 213 members. The Liberals, therefore, carried 
off a complete victory, all the greater that certain 
Conservative leaders, Sir Charles Tupper at their head, 
were beaten in their own constituencies. The Ministry 
was not, however, victorious everywhere. Ontario put 
it in a minority of 20, out of 92 seats, whereas in Quebec 
the Conservatives retained only 7 seats out of 65. It is 
necessary to analyse closely the results of this important 
appeal to the country in order to understand exactly the 
attitude adopted by the two parties towards Imperialism. 

Ontario declares against Laurier, though in England 
he passes for the best of Imperialists. Why has the 
English province abandoned him ? The reason, as we 
have seen already, is race jealousy. Quebec, on the 
other hand, is for him, not because they approve of 
Imperialism, but because it is better to have a Frenchman 
in power rather than play into the hands of the real 
English Imperialists. Thus the French Canadians have 
the appearance of being the strongest supporters of a 
policy which they condemn. 

What conclusions are to be drawn from this imbroglio ? 
" Victory of the French ! " cry out angrily the English 
of Ontario, disappointed at their defeat. " Victory 
of Imperialism ! " exclaim the London newspapers, in 
whose eyes Sir Wilfrid is the Colonial incarnation of 
the cause. What is the truth ? The real success lies 
manifestly with the French, for they have got almost all 
their candidates elected, and have consolidated in power 
a Minister of their own race. This is the feature of the 
struggle which in their eyes counts for most, and they 
have made no secret of their lack of love for Mr. 
Chamberlain and his ideas. Yet the Imperialists of the 


Mother Country have some ground for their interpreta- 
tion of the contest and for entertaining the view thus 
expressed, for instance, in the Westminster Gazette: 
" The success of Sir Wilfrid Laurier is a matter for 
congratulation ; he is devoted to our policy, and he is 
the only Canadian statesman who is able to make it 
acceptable to his French fellow-citizens." 

Thus the elections of 1900 have caused England to 
imagine that the Dominion and its Premier are much 
more strongly wedded to the idea of an Imperial union 
than they are in reality. But let us wait until the war- 
like enthusiasm of a moment has died down and the 
angry feelings that were evoked have been appeased, 
and we shall be able for the first time since 1897 to 
realise how superficial the whole movement has been, 
not only amongst the French, but also among the 
English of Canada. In truth, now that the war is a 
thing of the past, their Imperialist ardour is abating 
very perceptibly. For the cause of Imperialism the era 
of difficulties has begun. 



THE Transvaal War had brought the tone of British 
patriotism to a pitch of exaltation at which it could not 
maintain itself for long. Peace re-established, the 
atmosphere became cleared again. Henceforward, it is 
to be no longer feeling but interest that shall determine 
the attitude of parties towards the already less burning 
subject of Imperialism. 

The French Canadians retain the sentiments that 
they have cherished all along, but that M. Bourassa alone, 
or almost alone, has ventured to express. Loyal 
subjects of the Crown, they declare themselves satisfied 
with the present, but for this very reason opposed to all 
change. They recognise that they owe certain duties 
to England, but admit none at all to the Empire. 
Sentimental arguments such as the English invoke are 
the very last to appeal to them, for their loyalty is the 
fruit of careful reasoning, and the glories of the British 
name have absolutely no interest for them. What they 
have at heart is the maintenance of their autonomy and 
the confirmation of the liberties which they have won 
after a century of struggling. Anyone who will not 
begin by reassuring them on this point will find them 
resolute opponents. 



From whatever point of view they look at it, 
Imperialism either frightens them or leaves them 
indifferent. Is it a commercial union that is in question ? 
Devoting themselves chiefly to agriculture and the 
learned professions, they do not give the first place in 
their thoughts to economic problems. What they desire 
most is to have a free hand, and the idea of a zollverein 
does not attract them, for by it they would lose their 
independence in regard to customs duties. A policy of 
Treaties of Commerce does not raise the same objections 
in their eyes, but they do not seem disposed to negotiate 
with Great Britain exclusively, and failing that, there is 
no question, strictly speaking, of Imperialism. 

Is it a military union that is talked of? Here their 
alarm takes a definite shape. True descendants of our 
Western peasant folk, they are not of the militarist 
temperament. If they are ready to take up arms for 
the defence of Canada against aggressors of all kinds, 
they have no anxiety to set out for distant battlefields in 
support of a cause in no clear sense their own. " Every- 
one for himself " might well be their motto: that, in 
truth, is their reply to the proposal of Imperial solidarity. 

Is a political union the goal in view ? Their opposi- 
tion is more resolute still. Absolute masters of the 
Parliament of Quebec, they play an important part in 
that of Ottawa. Nothing of lasting importance can 
be accomplished in the Dominion without their approval. 
Would the remodelled Parliament of the Empire ensure 
them an equal measure of influence? They cannot 
imagine it for a moment. Do they not know very well 
that they would no longer represent two out of five, but 
at most five out of a hundred ? 

The English Canadians rallied round the Union 
Jack while the war lasted, and sincerely believed them- 


selves to be Imperialists, while at heart they were patriots 
only, which is not the same thing. 

The period of speechifying and dithyrambs gone 
by, they are still vague in their affirmations of their 
Imperialism, whilst the obstacles in its way take precise 
shape for them. The real Canadian spirit reawakens 
after several years, and it is in the name of their 
Colonial autonomy that the English Canadians begin 
to " hedge " as to the necessity, or rather, for they save 
their face, as to the opportuneness of Imperialism. The 
time is not far distant when Sir Wilfrid Laurier will 
be able to invoke English Canadian opinion against 
Mr. Chamberlain. 

Not that the uncompromising Imperialists have dis- 
appeared from the scene ; they are still very numerous, 
but are recruited chiefly from certain classes and in 
certain districts. Toronto naturally remains their centre. 
It is there they organise their Jingo demonstrations and 
receptions, at which they get statesmen of the Mother 
Country to deliver addresses. They form merely a 
group, but they have influential backers. The high 
officials of the Empire resident in the Dominion do not 
disguise their sympathy with them notably Lord Minto, 
as we have seen already. " Imperialism is a national 
movement ! " declare the Jingoes in his defence. " Why, 
therefore, should the Governor-General not allude to it ? " 
But this reasoning ignores an essential distinction. In 
speaking of loyalty and patriotism the representative 
of the Crown does not go beyond his province, for he 
appeals to a sentiment which is common to all Canadians ; 
but in seeking to entice Canada to enter on the path of 
Imperialism he becomes manifestly a partisan, for the 
problem is a subject of grave contention. This is what 
Lord Minto is not always ready to understand, and has 


two or three times obliged Sir Wilfrid Laurier to bring 
home to him. 

The Premier's cautious attitude has become much 
easier for him now that he has the English Canadians 
behind him as well as the French in a word, the whole 
of Canada. Canadian public opinion is asking itself 
now whether it really wants to make any change in 
the relation between the colony and the Mother Country. 
"Canada comes first" is becoming the cry, and no one 
seems disposed to sacrifice the least fraction of Colonial 
freedom on the altar of Empire. Let us cite, for instance, 
the words used by Mr. Ross, the Liberal Premier of 
the province of Ontario, at a meeting of the " British 
Empire League" at Toronto, May 14, 1901: "In a 
federated Parliament of the British Empire, Canada 
would be subjected to the decisions of the representatives 
of all parts of the Empire of men, that is to say, who 
have no knowledge of our social conditions or of our 
national aspirations. . . . What we desire is rather a 
change of attitude and sentiment than a change in the 
conditions of the Empire." Some weeks later, Mr. 
Ross expressed himself more clearly still. " We in 
Canada," he said, at a subsequent meeting of the League 
(July 15), "are satisfied with the government of the 
Empire as conducted from Westminster. We are 
satisfied with the representatives of the Crown who 
have come to us as Viceroys since the Confederation. 
But as for abandoning any of our privileges of self- 
government, we are unable to see what advantages we 
should thus derive." 

Thus, even in British Canadian circles, the Imperial- 
ist movement is weakening from the mere fact that it 
lives on without strengthening or producing any results. 
It tends more and more to become rather a desire for 


an entente cordiale, involving no legislative changes ; 
the colony merely manifesting towards the Mother 
Country all the goodwill of which she is full. Since 
the end of 1901 England has scarcely been in a position 
to ask for more. 

We find proofs of this change of view in the 
discussions of the Intercolonial Conference of the 
Colonial Premiers, which met in the month of July 
1902, on the occasion of the Coronation of King 
Edward vn. The Laurier Ministry is to be seen 
adopting an attitude of opposition which Canadian 
public opinion does not disavow. This significant 
page from the story of Imperialism deserves closer 

On the 23rd of January 1902, the Colonial Secretary, 
Mr. Chamberlain, sent to the Governor-Generals of the 
self-governing colonies the following despatch : " His 
Majesty's Government invites you to avail yourself of 
the presence in London of the Colonial Premiers to 
discuss with them the questions of the political relations 
between the Colonies and the Mother Country, of Imperial 
defence, of the commercial relations between different 
parts of the Empire, as well as other problems of 
general interest. If your Ministers wish to submit to 
us any definite propositions or resolutions in regard to 
the above-mentioned questions, or if they wish to discuss 
any other subject, I shall be glad to be informed of the 

The invitation was precise : the idea was to engage 
in a discussion not on generalities but on points clearly 
specified ; the Colonies were to indicate how far they 
were prepared to go in the matter of an Imperial 
union. Canada's reply was disconcerting in its guarded- 
ness. Out of all different questions mentioned in Mr 

Chamberlain's despatch, there was only one which in the 
opinion of the Canadian Government could be profitably 
discussed, namely, the question of the commercial relations 
between the various parts of the Empire. The existing 
relations between the great self-governing Colonies, 
Canada especially, and the Mother Country were, the 
Government considered, quite satisfactory, save in some 
small details of very slight importance. They did not 
think that in view of the circumstances of the various 
Colonies any system of defence could be established that 
would be applicable to all. They held, however, that it 
was desirable to make use of every opportunity that 
offered for the discussion of problems of Imperial interest 
by English and Colonial statesmen, met together for the 
purpose, and the Canadian representatives would be ready 
to consider any proposals put before them either by 
His Majesty's Government or the representatives of the 
other Colonies. 1 

These few lines sum up concisely and just a trifle 
curtly the attitude taken up by the Laurier Ministry 
in regard to Imperialism. Language of this kind would 
have given rise to an outbreak of indignation in 1897. 
In 1902 it aroused only a mild opposition, a fact that 
bears out what has been said in preceding pages of the 
evolution that had been in progress. The leader of the 
Conservative Party, Mr. Borden, brought the matter 
before the Ottawa House of Commons on the i2th 
of May, but he scarcely showed himself a greater Im- 
perialist than Sir Wilfrid Laurier. After deploring the 
stiffness of the Canadian despatch, he declared that of 
the three kinds of future open to the Dominion inde- 
pendence, annexation, or the continuance of the actual 

1 Despatch from the Governor-General of Canada to the Colonial 
Secretary, February 3, 1902. 


state of affairs it was the last-named that he preferred. 
By these words he in some sort buried political Im- 
perialism, but he fell back on economic Imperialism, and 
called upon the Government to obtain, in return for the 
Canadian Preferential Tariff, some measure of favourable 
treatment on the English market. Sir Charles Tupper 
had already put forward this thesis in 1897. 

In his reply, Sir Wilfrid Laurier was even more 
downright than in the despatch which he had presented 
for the signature of Lord Minto. He naturally dis- 
claimed the slightest shadow of discourteous intention 
towards the British Government, but he formally main- 
tained his guarded position on the subject of military 
and naval Imperialism. On the other hand, he declared 
himself to be resolved to go thoroughly into the 
economic problem and to endeavour to secure important 
advantages for Canada on the British market. Thus, 
of all the great Imperial questions, that of a com- 
mercial preference alone seemed suited to practical 

While the responsible leaders were thus defining their 
views, the genuine Imperialists did not depart from the 
normal tone of their propaganda. The British Empire 
League asked for a complete expression by the repre- 
sentatives of the Colonies of their views in regard to 
the establishment of closer relations. "The Canadian 
Manufacturers' Association," a league which is at once 
Protectionist and Imperialist, declared itself in favour 
of a moderate composite programme, including economic 
preference, together with the adoption of the metric 
system. Public opinion generally did not go beyond 
vague formulas already out of date, or else favoured 
precise reforms which could not be described as organic 
The Ministry had, in fact, accurately enough represented 


the ideas of the electorate in its reply to the Colonial 

The Conference held ten sittings, beginning on the 
3Oth of June and ending on the nth of August, 1902. 
Reserving for subsequent chapters its work in regard 
to military and economic matters, let us here examine 
only into its political debates and into the general 
impression produced in Canada and in England by its 

From a political point of view, it is no exaggeration 
to say that the Premiers entertained no illusions when 
they met. The Colonials had too often declared them- 
selves satisfied with the existing regime to display now 
any great desire to change. Mr. Chamberlain was not 
unaware of this. In his opening speech, he sought 
nevertheless to draw the attention of the Conference 
to the question of political Imperialism. He might be 
thought a dreamer, he said, or an enthusiast, but he did 
not hesitate to affirm his belief that the federation of 
the Empire was a possibility. He recalled the striking 
proof of the Empire's solidarity afforded at the time of 
the Transvaal War. He recognised, however, that 
the bonds of union should not be fetters, and therefore 
he was disposed rather to await definite proposals 
than submit them. The offer should come from the 
Colonies : the Mother Country would welcome it cordially. 
Then, having quoted Sir Wilfrid Laurier's phrase of 
some years before, "If you would have our help, call 
us to your councils ! " Mr. Chamberlain thus concluded : 
" Gentlemen, we need your aid in the administration of 
this vast Empire, which is yours as much as ours. The 
weary Titan is bent under the too great weight of his 
destiny. We have borne the burden for many years, 
but we feel that it is time now for our children to assist 


us. You have but to make the request and you may 
be sure we shall hasten to give you a place in our 

The Colonial Secretary proceeded to develop the 
idea of an enlargement of the British Privy Council 
into a sort of Council of the Empire. Pending the 
realisation, not to be achieved easily or soon, of such 
a project, he proposed that Intercolonial Conferences 
should be held at stated intervals. This programme 
was a very modest one, very unambitious. Doubtless 
Mr. Chamberlain would have wished for more, but in 
view of the marked reserve of the Colonies he could 
not well be more definite in his suggestions. Sir 
Wilfrid Laurier, for instance, did not at all want that 
effective phrase of his, "If you would have our aid, 
call us to your councils ! " to be taken literally ; in 
1897 he had seemed (quite wrongly, as we have seen) 
to be the leader of the Canadian Imperialists. In 1902 
he proved himself the man of sense and reason who 
held back his colleagues on a perilous path. Without 
saying much, he did in fact play a very important role 
on this occasion. When the discussions concluded, 
Canada had lost no particle of her liberties. The only 
resolution of a political kind that had been carried was 
that which provided for future Conferences of the same 
kind every four or five years. But as this same resolu- 
tion had been already adopted in 1897, the Conference 
of 1902 resulted in no innovation whatever. 

From the standpoint of political Imperialism, then, 
its outcome was purely negative. As usual, there were 
many banquets by way of celebrating the glory of the 
Empire and the growing union between all its different 
parts, but in private conversations Mr. Chamberlain 
declared himself "profoundly disappointed." In the 


Colonies Sir Wilfrid Laurier's attitude was attacked 
in Imperialist circles, but he found a large number of 
Canadians and not only among the French to con- 
gratulate him on having firmly defended the traditions 
of Colonial autonomy. The English newspapers, with 
some exceptions on the Liberal side, made no mention 
of this fact ; the optimistic pictures they gave of the 
situation could not, however, deceive the attentive 
observer. The real position of affairs was this : the 
Colonial Governments might perhaps desire an economic 
or military rapprochement ; they manifestly were afraid of 
any kind of political rapprochement calculated to restrict 
the least of the liberties. 

Thus the year 1902 marked the moment at which 
the pendulum began its backward movement. This 
movement soon became accentuated. The farther the 
Jubilee receded into the past, and the memories of 
the Transvaal War and all its tragedy and renown, 
the more Canada began to think of her own special 
interests. The glory of the Empire, which at the 
hour of crisis had awakened her enthusiasm, became 
now quite a secondary consideration. In 1903 a 
significant event served to show this clearly : the 
question of the Alaska boundary revealed the existence 
in the colony of a violently national feeling ready to 
turn at need against Great Britain itself. 

This question had been long a matter of dispute 
between the Governments of Washington and Ottawa. 
There had always been disagreement as to the inter- 
pretation of the Anglo- Russian Treaty of 1825, which 
had defined the boundary line, and the purchase of 
Alaska by the United States had not advanced matters. 
From year to year, from Commission to Commission, it 
had dragged on, down to the time when the sudden 


development of the Yukon gave it an interest of the 
first moment ; there was question of important territories 
and of the approach to the hinterland towards the 
Pacific. On the 24th of January, 1903, after many 
difficulties and delays, the United States and England 
at last signed an agreement by which the dispute was 
referred to a Judicial Commission, composed of six 
impartial and eminent jurists, three for each side. 
Their decision was to be of a juridical character, and 
to be confined to the interpretation which should be 
given to the Treaty of 1825. 

The American Government selected three person- 
ages of note Mr. Root, formerly Minister for War, 
and Senators Lodge and Turner. They were not 
very much like judges, however, for they had not 
hesitated repeatedly to give expression to the most 
uncompromising views upon the question at issue. 
Great Britain nominated two distinguished Canadian 
jurists Sir Louis Jette, Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, 
and Mr. Ayles worth, together with the Lord Chief 
Justice of England, Lord Alverstone. Everything was 
to depend upon the latter, for if he voted with the two 
Canadians, things would come at least to an impasse 
and the question would remain undecided ; whereas 
if he were won over to the American views, Canada 
would definitively lose her case. 

The affair, regarded in England as one of minor 
importance, at once began to inflame Canadian opinion. 
The Canadians knew well the bulldog obstinacy of 
the Yankees, and they asked themselves whether the 
British representative would be able and disposed to 
stand up to them in the same spirit. Their newspapers 
recalled to mind the way in which, for some years past, 
the British Government had shown itself conciliatory 


and at times even humble in its attitude towards the 
United States, from the idea that so powerful a friend 
must not be offended at any price. "You will see," 
people began to say in the Dominion, " that England 
will sacrifice us on the altar of American friendship ! " 
And a general feeling of anxiety came into being, 
which was to be only too well justified by events. 

On the 2Oth of October, 1903, the decision was 
made public. Save on certain secondary points, it was 
in favour of the American contention. Sir Louis Jette* 
and Mr. Ayles worth refused, by way of protest, to affix 
their signatures to it ; but the vote of Lord Alverstone 
being added to the three votes of the Americans gave 
them the victory. Lord Alverstone had doubtless voted 
in accordance with his conscience. What was certain 
was that English diplomacy had not benefited Canadian 
interests in the matter. 

The result was an explosion of anger, almost of 
passion, throughout the colony, not so much against 
America as against England. "We can quite under- 
stand the position of the American Government in 
standing up for what it considers its rights," the 
Canadians exclaimed, " but the English Government 
should have backed us up, instead of siding with our 
opponents." Sir Louis Jett6 and Mr. Aylesworth had 
declared the judgment to be manifestly unjust. Public 
opinion went further and talked of betrayal, asserting 
that the English representative had acted not as a 
judge but as a diplomatist, charged with the task of 
ingratiating a friendly nation. The newspapers added 
fuel to the fire. They returned to the tones of violence 
that had been in disuse since the Transvaal War. 
" Canada has been sacrificed on the altar of diplomacy 
in order to cement the Anglo-American alliance," wrote 


the World of Toronto. " The interests of Canada have 
been sacrificed by Lord Alverstone ! " asserted the 
Toronto Globe. " Robbed of our rights ! " was the 
exclamation of the Times of Peterborough. The 
Halifax Herald suggested sardonically that perhaps 
the independence of Canada would be the next thing 
to be submitted to arbitration. The Vancouver World 
talked of being led like a sheep to the slaughter-house. 
The French Press chimed in, but without coming up 
to the pitch of English excitement. Everywhere there 
were indignation meetings, in which men of all sorts and 
conditions took part politicians, professors, merchants, 
shopkeepers. All England's backslidings in regard to 
Canada were passed in review. A Professor, Mr. 
John King, addressing the students in the Law School 
of Toronto, October 24, 1903, delivered himself of 
the following severe remarks : " We cannot forget that 
this transaction is only the latest of many similar ones. 
The entire history of British negotiations and treaties 
with the United States is punctuated with a series 
of tombstones beneath which our rights have been 
buried." Certain members of provincial Administrations 
indulged in expressions of unheard-of violence. And 
when M. Aylesworth came to Toronto on the 2nd of 
November, 1903, to be present at a great Banquet in 
his honour, he had but to give the cue for the whole 
evening to be transformed into a clamorous an ti- English 
demonstration ; he was urged to do so, and it was his 
own good sense alone that stood in the way. 

Carried along by the general indignation, Sir Wilfrid 
Laurier allowed himself to have recourse to declarations 
that were perhaps somewhat too strong. Questioned 
in the House of Commons on the 23rd of October, 1903, 
in regard to the verdict, he committed himself (incidentally, 


it is true) to the following views : " The difficulty as I 
conceive it," he declared, "is that as long as Canada 
remains a dependency of Great Britain, the powers 
which we at present possess will remain insufficient for 
the defence of our rights. It is important that we should 
ask the British Parliament for more extended powers, so 
that in the event of our again having to deal with such 
matters we may be able to do so freely in whatever way 
we choose and according to our own lights." 

These words coming from so responsible a statesman 
produced a real effect throughout the Empire. The 
right to conclude treaties ! that meant independence ! 
There could be no mistake about it. Was the Canadian 
Premier really about to adopt this programme deliberately 
and at once ? It was not to be believed, and as a matter 
of fact a new departure of this kind would have been too 
serious a matter. But thoughtful people recognised that 
Sir Wilfrid Laurier's attitude went flat in the face of all 
the schemes of political Imperialism. Lord Rosebery, 
for instance, in a speech at Leicester (Nov. 8, 1903), 
spoke out thus : " It is proposed to free us from the 
responsibility of treaties negotiating on behalf of others. 
That is an offer that will not tend to draw closer the 
bonds of Imperial union." 

Imperialistic dithyrambs were now no longer to be 
heard in Canada. Vague threats of independence were 
more to the public taste. " We should not be surprised," 
declared, for instance, the Mayor of Vancouver, Mr. 
Neelands (Oct. 22, 1903), "if all this brought about a 
strong and widespread movement in favour of the 
establishment of Canadian independence." And the 
Eastern Chronicle of New Glasgow (Nova Scotia) 
asserted its opinion that Canada should now fly on her 
own wings. On every side people began to discuss a 


subject which had for many years been laid aside and 
even forgotten. 

One must know something of the Canadians or some- 
thing at least in a general way of Americans and Colonials 
at large, to realise the significance and scope of this 
agitation. Colonials, who have all something of the 
Gascon in them, do not expect you to take literally 
everything they say. On this particular occasion the 
Canadians, for all their cries of "Independence! In- 
dependence ! " had probably not the slightest intention 
of separating from Great Britain, and would not even 
have liked Great Britain to believe it. They were 
merely having recourse, by way of venting their legitimate 
indignation, to a method of proceeding which is always 
easy and sometimes effective, and which amounts in 
vulgar parlance to the familiar cry, "If that's how I'm 
to be treated, I'm off!" Consequently, the Alaska affair 
led to nothing. 

It left its mark behind it, however. Since then, 
Canadian Imperialism has ceased to be what it was. If 
no one, absolutely no one, wishes to break the bonds 
that attach the colony to the Mother Country, those who 
seriously wish to draw them closer are few indeed. 
Brilliant disquisitions on the theme of Imperial union 
are no longer attuned to the ear of the public. After 
seven years of vague Imperialism, the Canada of 1903 
we find returned to very much what we found her in 
1896 a colony essentially loyal, essentially British, but 
passionately jealous of her liberties, and quite determined 
not to yield into any other hands whatsoever the least 
particle of her autonomy. 


ECONOMIC Imperialism is the supreme hope of the 
advocates of Imperial union. The realisation of political 
or military federation being delayed, it is towards a 
tariff federation that they turn their eyes. Hence the 
impassioned ardour which they bring to the discussion 
of the commercial relations between the Mother Country 
and its colonies. It was commerce, they say, that made 
the greatness of England. Are we not justified in 
expecting it to make the greatness of the Empire ? 

The attitude adopted by Canada in this grave debate 
is particularly interesting to note. It may best be 
studied at three separate dates 1897, 1902, and 1903. 
In 1897, Canada makes England a present of a 
Preferential Tariff. In 1902, on the occasion of the 
second Intercolonial Conference in London, she allows 
it to be clearly understood that she expects a similar 
favour from England in return. In 1903, Mr. Chamber- 
lain openly declares for Protection, and for the first time 
in the whole campaign the Canadian Government is 
enabled to enter on a discussion if not of actual proposals 
at least of certain ' more or less clear-cut ideas. The 
position taken up by the colony at these three moments 
will serve to show us the rise and decline of economic 
Imperialism in the Dominion from 1896 down to to-day. 



The Tariff Reform Bill, which was submitted by the 
Laurier Ministry to the Ottawa House of Commons on 
April 22, 1897, marked a decisive stage in the history of 
Canada, and in some respects in that of the Empire as 
a whole. It substituted ad valorem duties in a general 
way for specific duties, and effected reductions in the 
case of a certain number of articles, while remaining 
distinctly Protectionist. On the other hand, it created, 
beside the general tariff, a Reciprocity Tariff which should 
serve as a bait for Treaties of Commerce. Finally, and 
this was the great idea of the new Administration, it 
granted straight away and without preliminary negotia- 
tions a i2|- per cent, preference to Great Britain. 1 To 
be precise, the name of Great Britain was nowhere 
explicitly mentioned ; but a clause, as to the meaning of 
which there could be no doubt, 2 reserved this tariff to 
those nations according similar privileges to Canada, and 
only Great Britain and perhaps New South Wales could 
lay claim to it. The authors of the Bill intended this, 
and Mr. Fielding was free to conclude his speech on the 
subject with the following words : "I am proud to say 
that to-morrow morning (the 23rd of April 1897) at 
every customs house office in Canada, on the Pacific 
coast as on the Atlantic, the doors will be opened to the 
privileged commerce of the Mother Country." 

Annoyed at seeing themselves outdistanced by the 
Liberals in their Imperialist zeal, the Conservatives 
embarked on a species of factious opposition which 
manifested clearly their ill-humour. Sir Charles Tupper 
reproached the Government for having exacted nothing 
from England in exchange for the Preferential Tariff. 
He would have liked to see England put a duty on 

1 Increased to 25 per cent, in 1898 and to 33^ per cent, in 1900. 

2 Sixteenth Clause, Schedule D. 


corn or maize, for instance, with a preference for 
Canadian products. But Sir Wilfred Laurier and Mr. 
Fielding had satisfied themselves that such a suggestion 
would at least have been premature ; very prudently, 
they reserved themselves for later negotiations, satisfied 
for the moment with having won England's goodwill. 

A more serious objection was the existence of the 
Anglo - Belgian and the Anglo - German Treaties of 
Commerce (1862 and 1865), which contained the most 
favoured nation clause in favour of Belgium and 
Germany, and which consequently bound Canada in 
this case. Was the colony, then, to extend to these 
two countries the advantages conceded to Great Britain ? 
Questioned on this point, Sir Wilfrid Laurier replied 
quite openly in the negative, which amounted to saying 
that he hoped for, nay even counted upon, a with- 
drawal of the inconvenient treaties in question, which 
as it happened lapsed that same year. 

The condition of English public opinion justified 
the Premier in this venturesome hope. It had wel- 
comed the new Canadian Tariff with the utmost 
enthusiasm, and as usual exaggerated its significance. 
The Times declared that there had been few recent 
events calculated to produce more fruitful results than 
the measure introduced by Mr. Fielding, and that it was 
the most decisive step that had yet been taken towards 
the economic federation of the Empire. And the great 
organ of the City, anticipating Canadian desires, went 
on to declare that if the Belgian and German treaties 
stood in the way of this dream, it would be well to 
consider the desirability of withdrawing them. 

Encouraged by the goodwill, one may almost say 
the gratitude, exhibited by English public opinion, Sir 
Wilfrid Laurier, from the moment he arrived in 



England for the Diamond Jubilee in June 1897, 
ventured to express himself in terms that were scarcely 
veiled. " I claim for the present Canadian Ministry," 
he said at Liverpool (June 12, 1897), "the honour of 
having passed a measure by virtue of which English 
products are admitted into our colony on a preferential 
basis. We have given that without asking for anything 
in return. Some of our fellow-citizens invoke the argu- 
ment of Do ut Des. It has been our desire to ignore 
such sentiments. We have acted thus because we 
recognise a debt of gratitude towards England. ... It 
has been said that this policy cannot last because it runs 
counter to existing treaties. Let me tell you that the 
colony wishes to accord this preference to Great Britain, 
but that it does not wish for the moment to extend it 
to other Powers. We feel that these, the treaties in 
question, should not be allowed to block the way. . . . 
A problem then will present itself : either Canada must 
go backwards or England go forwards." 

The British Government, thus called upon either to 
accept or refuse the Dominion's gift, decided on the 3Oth 
of July 1897 to withdraw the two conflicting Treaties 
of Commerce. Henceforth, Preference became some- 
thing exclusively Imperial. The Ottawa Parliament 
emphasised the importance of this modification by 
replacing the Reciprocity Tariff of 1897 by an exclusively 
British tariff of 25 per cent, on the ist of August 1898. 
Two years later, this was to be raised to 33 J per cent. 
The chorus of praise was universal : Sir Wilfrid Laurier 
found himself designated as the leader of Colonial 
Imperialism, and Canada came to be looked upon as 
the eldest son of the Empire. 

This enthusiasm was somewhat hasty, as it proved, 
but English public opinion had perhaps some excuse 



for seeing in the Fielding proposals the first stone of 
the Imperialistic edifice, and for thinking that others 
would be forthcoming in due course. The Canadians 
as a matter of fact remained Protectionists after 1897, 
just as they had been before. They were ready to 
accord a Preferential Tariff to England, but they wished 
it to have a Protectionist character. In these conditions 
Intercolonial Free Trade is a myth ; indeed, in the eyes 
of the Colonies it is a bogey, for English manufactures 
are just as much rivals to theirs as are the American. 
So that Canada had given the Mother Country in the 
first instance all the advantages she had to give. Since 
1900 she has rested on her oars, seeming to say, " I 
have done all I could." Presently she will go on to 
add, " Now it's your turn ! " 

The years which separate the Jubilee of Queen 
Victoria from the Coronation of Edward vn. served but 
to confirm this attitude. And the English at last came 
to perceive that Canada was defending herself even 
against them. " This Preference," said Sir Michael 
Hicks Beach, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a speech 
in the House of Commons (June 20, 1901), "still 
involves a Protectionist duty against the English 
manufacturer in favour of the Canadian." 

The manufacturers of the Dominion, for their part, 
reckon upon the maintenance of this state of things; and 
say so openly. We find the annual Convention of the 
Canadian Manufacturers' Association, met at Halifax in 
August 1902, voting the following significant resolutions : 
"In the opinion of the Association the changes now in 
progress call for a complete revision of the tariff upon 
a basis which will permit of the transference to Canadian 
factories of the manufacture of those products which 
we now import from abroad. . . . Although the tariff 


should be made first of all to protect Canadian interests, 
it is right nevertheless that it should give an appreciable 
preference to the Mother Country, . . . but whatever it 
may be, the minimum tariff should still guarantee an 
adequate protection to Canadian producers." 

The Association which expresses these ideas is 
principally composed of English Canadians ; it is 
Anglophil, and passes generally for being Imperialist 
in its feeling. Yet the demand for "adequate" Pro- 
tection even against the Mother Country comes un- 
ceasingly, like a refrain, into the speeches of its most 
authoritative members. There is then no question of 
new advances towards England. On the contrary, 
the moment has come for her to make response. The 
Dominion Government is aware that a notable change 
has been coming over English public opinion, and that 
from Imperial and national considerations the Con- 
servatives and Imperialists are moving slowly towards 
Protection. The policy of Reciprocity which Sir 
Charles Tupper advocated in 1897 may thus become 
possible, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier has declared himself 
in its favour. He sets out for the Intercolonial 
Conference of 1902 declaring that he will do all he can to 
obtain a preferential treatment of Canadian merchandise 
on the British market. 

It is in these circumstances that the Conference opens, 
June 30, 1902. Officially, New Zealand alone has 
recorded a wish in the direction of a preferential system 
between the different parts of the Empire. Canada 
suggests, unofficially, a favourable treatment for Canadian 
corn by means of a deduction from the import duty 
established by England on the I4th of April, 1902. 
The other colonies refrain from committing themselves. 
As for Mr. Chamberlain, the presiding genius of the 


meeting, he has taken his bearings, and estimated with- 
out illusions the distance separating what is desirable 
from what is possible. His inaugural address is prudent, 
moderate, full of suggestion, but remarkable also for 
what it holds back. The Empire, he began by saying, 
should become economically autonomous, and the final 
form of this autonomy should be Imperial Free Trade. 
How far was this practicable? It was for them to say. 
He knew that customs receipts were the keystone to 
their financial systems, and that a complete zollverein 
was therefore not possible at the moment, but let them 
all seek at least to develop the commerce of the Empire 
upon the basis of reciprocity. 

There is a certain vagueness and absence of assur- 
ance about this language. Mr. Chamberlain, in truth, 
cannot and dares not make two essential observations, 
though they are undoubtedly in his mind. The first 
is that the Colonies remain more Protectionist than ever, 
and that in consequence payment will have to be made 
in the shape of serious advantages on the British market 
for the tariff concession sought from them. The second 
is that the Mother Country is really unable to give those 
advantages without herself going over to Protection. 

Not being able or not venturing to make any official 
promises in this sense, the Imperial Government suffered 
the Conference to dissolve without results. New Zealand 
and South Africa did indeed promise, and at once intro- 
duce, preferential tariffs, but by means of an increase 
of the duties upon foreign imports, not by a decrease 
of those on imports from Great Britain : this was little 
else than an accentuation of Colonial Protection. 
Australia refused to take any immediate steps, and 
Canada only entered upon somewhat vague engagements 
which did not bind her. Great Britain, for its part, had 


refused favourable treatment to Canadian corn, and soon 
(April 25, 1903) even the duty upon foreign corn which 
had given rise to such hope among the Imperialists was 
taken off by Mr. Ritchie, Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
In such circumstances the word " Reciprocity " conveyed 
no distinct meaning. The check was complete, and 
thinking people did not deceive themselves on the 
subject: since the memorable day when Canada had 
instituted its new tariff, economic Imperialism had made 
scarcely any progress. It was then that Mr. Chamberlain 
saw clearly the price that would have to be paid for its 
realisation. Audacious and resolute, he burnt his boats, 
and in May 1903 deliberately declared in favour of 

There is no need for us to analyse here Mr. Chamber- 
lain's new attitude. It will suffice to state it briefly. 
For the first time, in his speeches during the summer 
and autumn of 1903, the Colonial Secretary (soon to 
resign his office) spoke out freely and without restraint. 
His programme, traced out at once and scarcely to be 
altered at all afterwards, may be condensed into few 
words. The economic question is the knot of Imperial- 
ism, and if it cannot be untied satisfactorily the permanent 
union of the Empire may be despaired of. With Free 
Trade the Mother Country is defenceless; she cannot 
retaliate against foreign provocation, and on the other 
hand she has no concessions to offer the Colonies in 
exchange for the preferential tariffs which she asks from 
them. Under such a system the word " Reciprocity " is 
meaningless. The establishment of a Protectionist 
system is therefore necessary if England wishes to 
pursue the policy of Imperialism. Only thus will she be 
able to negotiate with the Colonial Governments. Never 


before had the subject been dealt with so freely and 


boldly. The impression produced was extraordinary 
alike in England and in the Colonies, in Canada 
especially, where the tariff had been for five years a 
topic of perpetual discussion. All shades of opinion 
began to find expression in articles, speeches, interviews, 
resolutions. Amidst the diversity of judgments two 
notes were almost always to be heard : first, warm 
praise of Mr. Chamberlain and Imperialism, together 
with a sincere desire to improve commerical relations 
with Great Britain ; second, a manifest wish to do 
nothing precipitately, and above all not to lower the 
existing tariff. It was clear that Canada clung to her 
Protective tariff, and subordinated even economic Im- 
perialism to its maintenance. 

It was among the manufacturers especially that this 
guarded attitude was shown. As Englishmen (not many 
of them are French) they did not fail to sing the praises 
of Imperialism. But having gone through with that rite, 
they offered a downright opposition to a revision of the 
tariff involving the lowering of certain duties even to the 
benefit of England. " I shall begin by saying," declared 
one of them, " that Canada will not undertake to sacrifice 
her industries to the Mother Country. We must fully 
protect our manufactures, and Free Trade within the 
Empire is an impossibility. . . . What we can give to 
the Mother Country is a larger preference upon products 
which we do not manufacture ourselves." 1 A little later, 
Mr. W. K. George, President for 1904 of the Canadian 
Manufacturers' Association, spoke with equal precision. 
" We are accused of duplicity," he said, " because we wish 
the Preferential Tariff to continue to be Protective for our 
Canadian industries ! But we adhere to this position, 

1 Address delivered by Mr. J. D. Holland to the Canadian Manufacturers' 
Association, August 10, 1903. 


and we assert that there is nothing extraordinary about 
our proposal. Any other basis would be harmful to 
Canada, and for this very reason, harmful to the Empire. 
For the more powerful and prosperous Canada becomes, 
the more the Empire will profit by it." 1 Finally, on the 
6th of February, 1906, before the Committee of Inquiry 
appointed by the Laurier Ministry to study the question 
of the revision of the tariff, the Canadian Manufacturers' 
Association defined its economic policy in terms that 
leave no room for misunderstanding : " We approve of 
the offer of a substantial preference to the Mother Country 
and its colonies. But we are firmly opposed to any 
policy which would result of hindering or restricting us in 
turning our own resources to account. As to the policy 
which consists of creating a triple tariff (maximum, 
minimum, and preferential), it calls only for the following 
remarks : we approve of it in so far as it will encourage 
our industries, impel us to manufacture in Canada all 
that we can manufacture here, whilst causing us to 
buy as far as possible in England all our surplus 

These various quotations reveal very accurately the 
attitude of most of the Canadian manufacturers, and their 
programme may be thus simply stated : Against the 
foreigner, Prohibition ; against England, Protection. 
And they point out, with no thought of irony, that this 
is undeniably a preference in England's favour. 

There are even people who are frank enough and 
surly enough to declare that all this agitation in regard 
to differential tariffs is a bit of a nuisance. They declare 
they are as good Imperialists as anybody, only it is 
better to keep politics apart from business. Let Canada 

1 Speech at a Banquet of the Association at Montreal, Sept. 22, 1904. 

2 Evidence given before the Committee, Feb. 6, 1906. 


resume her commercial freedom, and if she wants to do 
something for the Empire, let her offer it three men-of- 
war instead, and allow her merchants and manufacturers 
to mind their own affairs. " I have always thought," 
declared Mr. Cyrus A. Birge, President for 1903 of the 
Canadian Manufacturers' Association, " that it would be 
better for Canada to have only the one tariff for every- 
body. If we wish to take our share of the burdens of 
the Empire, let us rather make some contribution to the 
Imperial defences." 1 

It is chiefly among the manufacturers, as I have said, 
that these views predominate. Generally speaking, 
Canadian public opinion, without wishing to commit 
itself to anything in a hurry, is all in favour of negotia- 
tions on the subject. The Liberal Ministry, the 
traditional advocate of Treaties of Commerce, shares this 
feeling, but as it is in continual intercourse with manu- 
facturers who ask it for increased duties, it realises that 
it would be difficult to find any customs concessions that 
could be offered to the Mother Country. By its triple 
tariff proposal it does, however, initiate a policy of 
reciprocity by which England would be the first to 
benefit. But it is setting about it with caution and 
prudence, and it is not to be induced to go farther than 
it chooses. Sir Wilfrid Laurier in asserting the colony's 
freedom of action in this respect displays the same faculty 
of vigorous and downright speech with which he 
safeguarded Canadian autonomy in 1902. At a Banquet 
given by the British Chambers of Commerce in Montreal 
in August 1903, he thus puts the matter in somewhat 
hard fashion. "In certain remarks made by the Duke 
of Devonshire I find a phrase which I am obliged to 
object to. He has said that whatever may be the 

1 Interview in the Toronto News, May 18, 1903. 


immediate advantages that the Colonies will gain, it is 
beyond doubt they will be led to abandon something of 
that independence and complete liberty of action in their 
fiscal, commercial, and industrial legislation to which they 
seem to attach so much importance. I am sorry, but I 
cannot subscribe to this doctrine. If the advantages 
that we may expect from the Mother Country have to be 
paid for by the abandoning of any of our political rights, 
I shall say merely : Let us go no farther, we have come 
to the point where our roads separate." 

The attitude of the Canadian Ministers is then clearly 
defined. Strongly attached to Colonial autonomy, they 
do not propose to lend itself to any line of policy 
calculated to restrict it. In consequence they oppose 
absolutely any kind of Customs Union that would tend to 
establish Free Trade within the Empire. On the other 
hand, by virtue of its very cordial relations with England, 
Canada is perfectly ready to negotiate a Treaty of 
Commerce with her, whilst retaining an adequately 
Protectionist tariff. If that is economic Imperialism, we 
may conclude with a section of British public opinion, 
that Canada is sincerely Imperialist. But projects of 
Reciprocity will undoubtedly fail of realisation until 
England has adopted Protection. 


THE brilliant part played by the Colonies, especially by 
the Dominion, in the South African War, gave rise to 
dangerous illusions in English minds in 1900. "This 
is the realisation of Imperial Federation ! " they told 
themselves. And their most eminent public men began 
to evoke pictures of future wars of the Empire in which 
the Colonials would be fighting side by side with the 
citizens of the Old Country. They ignored such significant 
warnings as that explicit message in which Sir Wilfrid 
Laurier, while announcing the organisation of a corps of 
Volunteers, combated in advance any attempt that might 
in the future be made to use it as a precedent. 

On this point the responsible Prime Minister of the 
colony was alone qualified to speak in its name. British 
public opinion preferred to accept the less measured 
declarations of British officials who had no claim to 
represent accurately the views of the Dominion. " This 
contingent," said Lord Minto, in the course of his greeting 
at Quebec to the troops setting out for the Transvaal on 
the 3Oth of October, 1899, "is the first present made by 
Canada to the great Imperial cause. It is a new de- 
parture, and the future is full of possibilities." General 
Hutton, Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, 
went farther still, with the naive simplicity of a gallant 



soldier. " What Canada has done," he said, on the same 
occasion, "is not bad. But, gentlemen, what is a con- 
tribution of a thousand men compared with the needs of 
a great Empire? Numerically it is nothing. If Canada 
wishes to fulfil her role . . . she must look forward to 
the day when it will not be 1000, but 50,000 or 100,000, 
that will be required for the maintenance of the unity, 
nay, the very existence pf the Empire ! " 

The contrast was striking between the prudence of 
the Colonial Premier and the boldness of the British 
officials : the former spoke with responsibility, the others 
without. When, at the Intercolonial Conference of 1902, 
the military constitution of the Empire came under 
systematic and detailed consideration, it became clear 
which of the two, Lord Minto or Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 
had truly expressed the Canadian sentiment. It was for 
many Englishmen a cruel disillusionment. 

Before setting out for the Conference Sir Wilfrid 
placed before the Ottawa House of Commons the line of 
policy he intended to maintain. It amounted to a frank 
condemnation of militarism. " There is on the other side 
of the Atlantic," he said, "and indeed there is also in 
Canada a school, which is perhaps represented on these 
benches, which would drag the Dominion into the whirl- 
pool of militarism, that plague of Europe. I am not 
prepared, for my part, to assume the responsibility for 
any such policy." Accordingly he refused, courteously 
but absolutely, to discuss the question of Imperial 

Despite this formal abstention on the part of Canada, 
the question was put upon the minutes. It came under 
two headings : the imperialisation of the navy and the 
imperialisation of the army. 

At the first sitting Mr. Chamberlain approached the 


naval problem in an eloquent address, and declared 
himself in favour of Colonial contributions to the fleet of 
the Empire. He reminded his listeners of the protection 
accorded by the Mother Country to the Colonies without 
return, and insisted especially on the immense increase 
of this burden of recent years. " No one imagined," he 
concluded, " that the Mother Country could continue for 
ever to make sacrifices so disproportionate. As long as 
the Colonies were young and poor, they offered no tempta- 
tion to the foreigner, and they were quite unable to put 
aside large sums of money for the purposes of their own 
defence. But now it was no longer in keeping with their 
position or with their dignity as nations that they should 
allow the Mother Country to bear the burden almost 

The appeal was a direct one, and the Colonies were 
either not inclined or not able to ignore it. The Cape, 
Natal, Newfoundland, Australia, and New Zealand, all 
promised subsidies, very small subsidies, in truth, thus 
accepting the principle put forward by Mr. Chamberlain. 
Canada alone turned a deaf ear. Her representatives 
explained that the Dominion did not propose to shirk the 
expenditure rendered necessary for her own defence, but 
that she preferred to see to this herself, on her own 
responsibility and without departing from the principles 
of autonomy which had contributed so much to the build- 
ing up of Imperial unity. 

In regard to the army, a suggestion of great import- 
ance had been submitted by the Premier of New Zealand. 
The English Government supported it strongly perhaps 
had even inspired it. It was to the effect that in each 
colony an Imperial corps of reserves should be organised 
ready to serve in case of need outside the colony to 
which it belonged. The scope of this proposal could 


not be mistaken : it involved the participation of the 
Colonies in the future wars of Great Britain. To accept 
it would have meant, to use Sir Wilfrid Laurier's words, 
being drawn into the whirlpool of militarism. 

The representatives of the Cape and of Natal seemed 
disposed to follow New Zealand in this direction, but 
Australia and Canada deliberately abstained from assent. 
The Canadian delegates in particular recapitulated with 
much firmness and political common sense their reasons 
for opposing it. In a memorandum admirably drawn up, 
they defined the conception of Colonial autonomy, which 
dictated their attitude. Their opposition, they explained, 
was not due to financial considerations, but to their con- 
viction that the scheme would constitute a dangerous 
departure from the principles of Colonial self-government. 

Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his colleagues declared 
themselves ready to give their attention to the grave 
problem of the military organisation of Canada ; they 
solicited the co-operation of the Imperial authorities 
to this end ; but they maintained stoutly their position 
on the ground of self-government, and in this domain 
would not lend themselves to the least concession. 

This action was much discussed, and in England 
disapproved. In Canada the Imperialist leagues and 
leaders attacked the Premier hotly, but the French and 
a large section of the English congratulated him on 
the prudence and vigour with which he had defended the 
great principles of Colonial liberty. The reform of the 
Canadian militia served, moreover, to demonstrate that 
the country did not propose to look abroad even to 
England for its political inspiration. 

The Dominion has never contemplated shirking 
the military duties imposed on it by the necessities of 
defence against possible invasion. After the Confedera- 


tion a fairly complete militia system came into existence. 
Under this regime the military forces included 

1. A permanent corps of 1000 to 1200 men, soldiers 

by profession. 

2. An army composed of citizens undergoing regular 

periods of active service. 

3. A reserve force, liable to be called up in case 

of need. 

The Commander-in-Chief, it was enacted, should be 
an officer in the Imperial Service, nominated by the 
Colonial Government. 

Immediately after the 1902 Conference, the Canadian 
Ministry declared itself ready to introduce important 
improvements in the organisation of this force. The 
pay was to be increased, for in a rapidly developing 
country the military career with low pay does not offer 
much attraction ; and the effective body, by general 
agreement, needed to be increased. The colony 
understood, in short, the necessity of facing boldly the 
undeniable possibility of a war. Nevertheless, wedded 
indissolubly as it was to a policy of peace, it took no 
satisfaction in this task. This fact led to grave differ- 
ences between the Minister responsible for the militia 
and the Commander-in-Chief sent from London. The 
former represented the supremacy of the civil power, 
the latter the spirit of militarism. Let us devote a few 
minutes to this significant crisis. 

In the month of June, 1902, the British Government 
proposed Lord Dundonald to the Canadian Government 
for the post of Commander-in-Chief. As the result of 
various incidents, General Hutton, his predecessor, had 
been obliged to leave Canada. Lord Dundonald was an 
officer of great gallantry, who had won fame on many battle- 


fields, notably in South Africa. Accepted by the Colonial 
Ministry, he arrived in Montreal in July 1902. He was 
to be the last English Commander-in-Chief in Canada. 

Lord Dundonald's attitude soon affected the suscepti- 
bilities of a section of Canadian opinion. Like most of 
his predecessors, he did not succeed in realising that he 
was in a colony that was self-governing and mistress of 
its own destinies. The English army has never been 
noted for its respect for civil power ; like all armies, it 
sometimes seeks to place itself, on the pretext of the 
national defence, above the authority of chosen repre- 
sentatives of the nation. It is, moreover, somewhat 
aristocratic in its constitution. British officers who 
come to Canada are, in consequence, not always able 
to adapt themselves to their surroundings. They find 
themselves in a country much more democratic than 
their own, and lacking the conservative influences of 
royalty and the nobility. They have to deal with Ministers 
who are sons of the people, and who are very jealous 
of their authority, and not at all disposed to be " bossed " 
by men from outside. Finally, they are confronted with 
an army of militiamen very different from the permanent 
armies of Europe. The Colonial soldier is hail-fellow- 
well-met, capable of obedience up to a point, but 
manifestly incapable of discipline h la Prussienne. If, 
unfortunately, the Commander-in-Chief happens to be 
a Peer, he can scarcely fail to be shocked by a kind 
of familiarity to which his feudal habits have never 
accustomed him. It is annoying for him, too, to be under 
the orders of a civilian Minister, whose social rank is 
generally inferior to his own. 

These were Lord Dundonald's feelings. Assuredly 
no one could have had better intentions, but his ideas 
ran counter to those of the colony. Alarmed at the 


condition in truth, not first-rate of its defensive 
resources, he hoped to give it a really effective army. 
He wished a wish praiseworthy but impracticable to 
introduce rigorous discipline. He sought in the name 
of the national defence to overrule the Ministers and 
take out of their hands the duty of nominating officers. 
He believed himself to be personally responsible to the 
country, whereas in reality he was a subordinate to the 
civil authorities. 

Very popular in Imperialist circles, he spoke well and 
often. At numerous banquets, given by his sympathisers 
in his honour, he put directly before the public the 
matter which had aroused his enthusiastic zeal. His un- 
tiring brain thought out innumerable bold and expensive 
schemes for military reform. When the responsible 
Minister pointed out to him that he could not constitu- 
tionally address the public otherwise than through him, 
he at once took it into his head that he was being made 
the victim of a deliberate persecution, whereas he was 
merely being kept within the limits of his functions. 

Things were bound to come to a crisis sooner or later ; 
they did so propos of a promotion of militia officers. 
Lord Dundonald had drawn up a list of names, and Mr. 
Fisher, Acting War Minister, had found among them 
the name of a political adversary and crossed it out. 
This proceeding was calculated to annoy, but the Minister 
was within his rights. The Commander-in-Chief, deeply 
offended, made no effort to disguise his indignation. In 
a public speech, which was reported in all the papers, he 
gave full expression to his feelings. He was certain that 
if it had been Mr. Fisher's lot to occupy himself with 
military matters he would have been offended, if only 
on personal grounds, by the extraordinary breach of 
etiquette involved in deleting the name of an officer from 


a list drawn up by his official chief. Personally, Lord 
Dundonald declared, he felt no annoyance. The breach 
of etiquette affected him very little he had been two 
years in Ottawa! But he was profoundly desirous of 
keeping the Canadian army outside the influence of 

The Canadian Government took the view that Lord 
Dundonald was without justification for his complaints, 
and above all in the publicity he had given them. With- 
out maintaining that Mr. Fisher's action had been 
well advised, Sir Wilfrid Laurier took up his stand on 
the principle at stake, and asserted firmly the authority of 
the Minister for War over his subordinate, the Com- 
mander-in-Chief. "We are willing to recognise," he 
declared in the Ottawa House of Commons (June 10, 
1904), "the good motives which have actuated Lord 
Dundonald. But we are not accustomed in this country 
to being dragooned. The Commander-in-Chief must 
learn that the Government of this country is a responsible 
Government, and that when he submits proposals to the 
Council of Ministers it is strictly within the rights of the 
Minister for War not to accept them." The Govern- 
ment was on solid ground constitutionally, and despite 
the violent opposition of the Conservatives and Imperial- 
ists, it dismissed Lord Dundonald with an expression 
of deep regret that an officer of such high rank should 
have permitted himself conduct to tolerate which would 
be fatal to that discipline and respect for constituted 
authority not less essential in the civil department than 
in the military. 1 

The debate went far beyond the merely personal 
question. By this stern measure, Sir Wilfrid Laurier 
and with him his entire party sought to affirm the 

1 Order in Council of June 14, 1904. 


supremacy of the civil power, and at the same time to 
maintain Canadian autonomy in the face of Great Britain. 
By an unlucky but significant slip, the Premier in one of 
his speeches had alluded to Lord Dundonald as a 
"foreigner." He had corrected himself at once, and 
substituted for this hurtful expression the more harmless 
designation "stranger." The unpremeditated term that 
had escaped him, however, pointed clearly enough to a 
Nationalist attitude which very few Canadians fail to 
share. Canada wishes to be ruled by Canadians, and 
not by Englishmen. 

The new Militia Act voted in 1904, during and after 
these events, bears traces of the different tendencies of 
Canadian opinion on the subject of the military question 
and of the relations with England. In addition to 
certain technical modifications, such as relate to increase 
of pay and of the effective force, it introduces two 
notable innovations into the military system of the 

The first is the suppression of the post of Commander- 
in-Chief and the substitution of an Inspector-General 
of Militia, who may be (and probably will always be) a 
Canadian. While thus diminishing the authority of the 
military head of the army, the Government adds to that 
of the Minister of War, the representative of the civil 
power, by attaching to his post a War Council. This 
important change was not the result of the Dundonald 
incident, though its opportuneness may have been 
emphasised thereby. Nor was it due to any desire of 
accentuating the separation of Canada from the Mother 
Country. It was merely an imitation of a system recently 
introduced in England and in Australia. Nevertheless, 
whatever its origin, it tends to restrict still further the 
share taken by Englishmen in the administration of the 


colony, leaving but one British functionary, the Governor- 
General, still to the good. It is another step on the road 
of Colonial autonomy, not of Imperialism. 

The second innovation is the definite solution of the 
delicate problem of the participation of the Canadian 
militia in wars not directly affecting Canada. The 
Imperialists, taking up the proposal made by New 
Zealand in 1902, would have wished that the Canadian 
troops could be despatched into any part of the world in 
defence of the Empire. A vigorous opposition was 
maintained against this idea by the staunch advocates of 
autonomy. The latter insisted upon restricting within 
clearly defined and narrow limits the conditions in which 
the militia forces might be called upon for service beyond 
the frontier. Henceforth the regular troops of the 
colony can only be employed abroad in wars directly 
affecting the Dominion. If Parliament should be in 
recess at the time of mobilising the reserves, it must be 
convoked within fifteen days after the mobilisation. It 
is true that the Government retains the right to authorise 
Volunteers to take part in any wars of the Empire of any 
kind, so that the co-operation of 1899 may be repeated ; 
it cannot, however, be effected on a larger scale. The 
Militia Act of 1904 expressly prevents it. 1 

Thus Canadian military policy leans towards 
Nationalism rather than towards Imperialism. Growing 
more and more jealous of any kind of English inter- 
ference, the Canadians grow more and more determined 
to keep all the wheels of their administration under their 
own control. It was in this spirit they dismissed Lord 
Dundonald and abstained from giving him a successor. 
It is in this same spirit that they have recently replaced 
the British garrisons of Halifax and Esquimault by 

1 Militia Act, 1904. 


Canadian garrisons. Instead of imperialising the 
National Services, they seek rather to nationalise the 
Imperial Services. From the military point of view it 
is, if not the insolvency, so to speak, of Imperialism, at 
least that of Imperial centralisation. 


THE present political relations between France and 
Canada, such as they have been made by the century 
and a half of history since the conquest, are very clear- 
cut and free from ambiguity. 

On the one hand, the French Canadians have no 
wish to come back to us. Left to their own resources, 
they struggled splendidly to carve out a place for them- 
selves in the sunlight amidst the new surroundings into 
which their destiny had taken them. They succeeded, 
and to-day they are sufficiently accustomed to their 
present condition to be able to declare themselves 
frankly satisfied. And it would be painful and difficult 
for them to readapt themselves to the ideas and customs 
of modern France. 

On the other hand, our Government cherishes no 
illusions. It is not unaware of this condition of mind 
that I have depicted, and fully recognises that it is 
natural and legitimate. It considers quite sincerely that 
our political supremacy in Northern America belongs to 
a past which it would be idle to wish to see revived. 
Never at any moment do we dream of reconquering our 
ancient colony, any more than Canada herself desires to 
be reconquered by us ! 

Does this mean that our relations with the French 



Canadians are destined gradually to become less close ? 
Not at all ! If for nearly a hundred years we were so 
culpable as to forget almost completely these far-off 
kinsmen of ours, we have fortunately recovered from 
that state of indifference, and we are beginning now to 
understand somewhat late in the day, but not too late 
that, putting aside all regret for the irrevocable, a fine 
and pleasant programme is still before us : that of further- 
ing the interests of this civilisation, sister to our own ; 
of extending the sphere of our economic activity by our 
relations with it ; and by availing ourselves of it, to a 
limited but appreciable degree, for the safe-guarding of 
certain of our political interests. 

In the first place, it cannot be a matter of indiffer- 
ence to us that nearly two millions of our countrymen 
more than two millions, if we include those resident 
in New England are proudly maintaining in this 
Northern section of the American continent their own 
language and customs and ideas. These French islands 
still afloat upon the Anglo-Saxon flood demand our 
liveliest sympathy, and within the measure of our power 
it is our duty to help to prevent them from being sub- 
merged. Though the French Canadians be no longer 
united to us by any political bonds, they remain none 
the less a branch of the great French family, constituting 
a real source of strength for our cause in the world. It 
is then our duty to remain in close contact with them, 
and to create this contact wherever it does not already 

The rapprochement is of a kind, however, that calls 
for the most delicate handling. In many respects we 
are too different to understand each other completely. 
A large section of French Canadian public opinion stands 
in fear of our influence, and that is only natural, it must be 


admitted. Can we ask practising Catholics, or moderate 
men of the English type, to come for their inspiration 
to the most advanced country, politically, in Europe ? It 
is not only distance that divides us, but also the force of 
time, and it would be a mistake to imagine that it would 
be possible to cover up the effects of so long a separation 
in a few years. That is why the influence of our present 
form of civilisation must make itself felt so gradually 
among the French Canadians, and with every regard for 
their susceptibilities. In the fields of philosophy and 
politics it is natural enough that we should not find it 
easy to understand each other, but we could and should 
agree upon the ground of a broadly conceived patriotism. 
Nothing will then distinguish the French of France from 
the French of Canada, and we shall remember merely 
that we are true compatriots, by origin, by language, and 
above all, at heart. 

Great progress has been made in this direction during 
the last thirty years. Under the Second Empire, Canada 
was still unknown to us. The war of 1870 and the out- 
burst of sympathy for our cause which it evoked among 
the French Canadians revealed to our minds the pro- 
found love which they had retained for their old country 
in spite of its having abandoned them. Then, thanks to 
increasing facilities of communication and the develop- 
ment of the travelling habit, the two peoples made 
acquaintance. We learnt for we hardly knew it before 
that the 60,000 colonists of 1763 had become multiplied 
into immense numbers. We saw with admiration their 
proud resistance against all efforts to assimilate them. 
The French Academy emphasised this growing intimacy 
by crowning the poetic works of a French Canadian, 
M. Frechette. The great public began really to under- 
stand what our American brothers had developed into 


when they were enabled to see for themselves in France, 
in 1897 an d 1902, a Canadian Prime Minister, French by 
race and language, in the illustrious person of Sir Wilfrid 

Meanwhile in Paris some faithful friends of Canada 
were carrying on an active propaganda in her favour. 
Numerous books and newspaper articles without number 
made their appearance, and lectures were organised. 
M. Hector Fabre, the distinguished Commissioner- 
General of the Dominion, helped by his tact and dignity 
to give his country a strong diplomatic individuality, 
while the untiring activity of M. Herbette, familiarly styled 
" L'oncle des Canadiens," obliged even the most indifferent 
to become conscious of the existence of this France of the 
New World. Nor was the movement confined to the 
capital. Normandy and Brittany, in particular, showed 
their anxiety to enter into relations with this colony to 
whose peopling they had contributed so much. Rouen, 
Honfleur, Saint- Malo, and many other towns began in 
this way to receive visits from Canadians of note and 
distinction whom they had invited, as well as of obscurer 
people come on a pilgrimage to the homes of their 

A similar current drew French visitors to Canada. 
Tourists, merchants, politicians began to make more 
frequent trips to the Dominion. French lecturers achieved 
immense successes there ; conspicuous among them, 
M. Brunetiere, not only in his capacity as Frenchman 
but also by reason of his strong Catholic tendencies, was 
accorded an enthusiastic welcome. 

Thus were re-established the bonds of sympathy 
which had been burst asunder by the Treaty of Paris. 
Their first result was to develop the economic relations 
between the two countries. It is only logical, indeed, 


that they should have close commercial intercourse, 
though history has kept them politically apart. England, 
when she lost the States, still maintained her commerce 
with them, thus helping them to attain in the nineteenth 
century a marvellous degree of prosperity. On a smaller 
stage and smaller scale, why should not France follow 
this example ? 

There are in Canada 1,650,000 French who by their 
origin, speech, and customs are all favourably disposed 
towards us. They have, indubitably, a good head for 
business, and will not be disposed to grant a preference 
to our products for our beaux yeux alone. But without 
making any appeal to half sentimental considerations, 
are we not peculiarly well fitted to be their providers in 
the many fields in which our similarity of tastes renders 
easy an understanding between us? Everyone thinks 
so, everyone writes and talks to this effect, and yet we 
are a long way from having realised such a programme. 

From the standpoint of economics, we hold but a very 
small place in Canada. Out of a total of 2,363,665,190 
francs, French commerce figures only at 39,43 6 ,45 francs, 
while that of the United States amounts to 1,150,853,645 
francs, and that of England to 897,761,425 francs; 
Germany, who ought certainly not to distance us on this 
market, attaining to 49,238,835 francs. Thus we come 
fourth, with quite a small total. 

It is true that these statistics do not give France 
credit for her full amount, many of her goods being 
carried by lines of navigation that are not direct. Thus 
it is that articles are ascribed to England, though of 
French origin, when they are despatched from London 
or Liverpool; and the same thing often happens with 
regard to Canadian products coming to us via England 
or the United States. If note be taken of this, 


simply as concerns such goods as silks, wools, wines, 
novelties, jams, and wood, it will be found that 
our figure suddenly rises to one of several millions. 
Authorities so high as M. Kleczkowski, French Cousul- 
General in Canada, and M. Poindron, President of the 
French Chamber of Commerce at Montreal, assure us 
that this is so. Yet even when we have made this 
rectification, we have to admit that our economic 
activity in regard to Canada remains far from great. 

The 39,436,450 francs worth of Franco-Canadian 
commerce is thus made up : 31,446,810 of French exports 
into Canada, and 7,989,640 of Canadian imports into 

These exports consist largely of expensive products 
which are light in weight. Among the more import- 
ant let us note the following : books and stationery, 
607,940 fr. ; manufactured cotton goods, 565,530 fr. ; 
dyes and chemical products, 1,165,660 fr.; articles de 
Paris, 1,723,415 fr. ; fruits, 868,475 fr. ; prepared furs, 
67 1,625 fr- > gl ass ware, 356, 1 20 fr. ; gloves, 1,404,900 fr. ; 
skins, 1,975,325 fr. ; metal work, 672,595 fr. ; silks, 
3,082,615 fr. ; wines and spirits, 4,470,180 fr. ; woollen 
goods, 5,464,670 fr. 1 

There is question in this list, it will be seen, not of 
raw material, but of manufactured goods, and especially 
articles de luxe. It is in this field that France has won its 
greatest reputation and secured its best clients. The 
American market, whether Yankee, British, or French, 
is the last on which we should allow ourselves to be 
distanced in this respect. Our admitted superiority need 
only fear competition in regard to cheapness, not in 
regard to quality. Now, Americans pay little attention 
to price ; they do not understand economy, and 
always want to buy the best, whether from force of 


habit or from love of display. The Canadians are not 
very different from their neighbours in this, and they are 
the more favourably inclined, therefore, towards our 

Canadian imports into France amount in value to 
7,989,640 francs. They consist for the most part of 
raw material, cumbersome goods at somewhat low 
prices: grain, 956,550 fr.; fish and fishery products, 
2 , 957>7 8 o fr-; metals, 1,828,035 fr.; wood, 1,062,510 fr. 
These figures give no idea of the natural riches of 
Canada, the enormous extent of which is now only 
beginning to be really known. According as the 
United States are being filled up, and certain of their 
riches, their forests for instance, cease to seem inex- 
haustible, people are turning more and more towards 
Canada and its resources as yet scarcely touched. We 
may then look forward to a time, probably not far off, 
when the economic development of the Dominion shall 
have come to immense proportions, in some ways com- 
parable perhaps to that of its gigantic neighbour. Let 
us show ourselves ready for this change, which at the 
same time that it will be enriching the Canadians will be 
making them into first-class clients for those who are 
clever enough to secure them. 

Such, then, is the general aspect of our commerce 
with our ancient colony. To what degree is it affected 
by the customs systems of the two countries ? The 
Canadian tariff introduced in 1897 ' ls > ^ w ^ be re- 
membered, a Protectionist tariff taken as a whole, and 
grants a 33 J per cent, preference to British products. 
Franco-Canadian commerce is subject to a special system 
resulting from the Franco-Canadian Convention of 
February 6, 1893, in operation since October 8, 1895. 

Here is the gist of this Convention : According to its 


first Article, non-sparkling wines, showing at least 15 
degrees on the centesimal hydrometer, and all spark- 
ling wines, are exempted from the ad valorem surtax 
of 30 per cent. ; the existing duty upon common soaps, 
Marseilles soaps, is reduced by one-half; the duty on 
nuts, almonds, prunes, and raisins is reduced by one-third. 
According to Article 2, any advantage granted to any 
other State by Canada, notably in regard to tariffs, is fully 
extended to France, Algeria, and the French colonies. 
According to Article 3, on entry into France, Algeria, 
or the French colonies, the following goods, coming from 
Canada, imported direct and accompanied by certificates 
of origin, are admitted to the benefit of the minimum 
tariff: preserved meats in boxes, pure preserved milk, 
freshwater fish, eels, fish preserved au naturel, lobsters 
and crabs preserved au naturel, apples and pears, fresh 
or dried, preserved table and other fruit, wood for building 
purposes, sawn or rough, wood paving- blocks, stave 
wood, wood-pulp, extracts from chestnuts and other 
tannin saps, common machine-made paper, prepared 
skins, other pelts, boots and shoes, ordinary wooden 
furniture, furniture other than chairs, rough timber, 
stair-rods of fir or soft wood, sea-going vessels of 
wood. And it is understood that the benefit of any 
reduction in duties accorded to any other State on any 
of the articles enumerated shall be also fully extended 
to Canada. 1 

Since this Convention was signed the fiscal system 
of Canada has undergone important modifications, 
notably by the introduction of the differential treatment 
in favour of England. This fact, unfortunately, has not 

1 Arrangement, destine a re"gler au matiere de tarifs douaniers les relations 
commerciales entre la France et le Canada, signe a Paris le 6 fevrier 1893, 
ratifie" le 4 Octobre 1895 (Journal Official du 9 Octobre 1895). 


had a good effect upon our interests. The first combina- 
tion of Mr. Fielding's new system created a Reprocity 
Tariff (that of April 23, 1897) which in the intention of 
the Finance Minister was to apply solely to English 
products. However, Article 2 of the Convention of 1895 
gave us also the benefit of this treatment. As the 
Dominion Government had England exclusively in view, 
it was not slow to withdraw that tariff, to replace it on 
August i, 1898, by a British Preferential Tariff, confined 
expressly to the United Kingdom. 

The Convention between France and Canada is still 
in operation, but on the strength of the economic policy 
inaugurated by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 1897, an ^ f n ^ s 
frequently expressed desire to conclude Treaties of 
Commerce, we have entered into definite negotiations 
with him with a view to improving still further our com- 
mercial relations. Without contesting England's peculiar 
situation vis-a-vis of the Dominion, we have considered 
that France also, as a former American Power, might 
lay claim to special advantages in its former colony, in 
view more especially of the fact that the French race in 
the Dominion numbers over a million and a half. 

It was in this spirit that the negotiations, both non- 
official and official, took place in 1901 and 1902. They 
went some way. France showed herself ready to accord 
Canada the benefit of her minimum tariff upon all goods. 
She asked in return a rebate for her products on the 
general Canadian tariff. The French Government at 
first suggested for this rebate the figure of 33 per cent. 
that is to say, the figure of the British preference. But 
the Canadians held back: according to them, a con- 
cession of 33 per cent, was impossible, first because 
Canada could not put a foreign nation on the same 
footing as the Mother Country, but also because France 


only offered in return her minimum tariff (still in part 
Protectionist), whereas England gave practically all the 
advantages of Free Trade. In the presence of these 
arguments, the fairness of which it recognised, the 
French Government consented to lower their demands, 
and began to talk of 30 per cent, or 25 per cent., and it 
seems at this point as though an understanding would 
be come to on the basis of the latter figure. At this time 
the Canadian Government may be supposed to have 
been the more favourably disposed in that the Newfound- 
land question, not yet settled, was being simultaneously 
negotiated, Canada thus playing the role of intermediary 
between the two great Powers engaged in the dispute. 

In 1902, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Mr. Fielding 
came to Europe on the occasion of King Edward's 
coronation. On the 29th September and 2nd October, Sir 
Wilfrid saw our Minister for Foreign Affairs in Paris. 
All the elements required to bring the matter to a head 
had been brought together, and it seemed that the 
treaty might very well be concluded on the spot. Yet, 
two or three days later, the Premier of the Dominion 
left Paris with nothing signed ! 

What was the reason of this check ? Was Sir Wilfrid 
Laurier frightened by a Protectionist campaign which 
Was being started just then, and without his approval, 
by M. Tarte, his Minister of Public Works? Or did he 
think that France was displaying too great eagerness 
over a scheme that had not become mature as the result 
of years of study? Or was there not perhaps some 
discreet exercise of pressure on the part of England, 
then still our rival, and jealous at the idea of her colony 
coming to too good an understanding with us? In 
any case, the psychological moment was lost, and the 
negotiations have never since been resumed. 


And yet the Canadian Government is very favour- 
ably disposed towards France. If it is afraid of dis- 
pleasing certain Protectionist interests, we must not 
forget on the other hand that its economic quarrel with 
two great nations imposes on it the need of new 
openings. The United States, since M'Kinley's time, 
have shut themselves up as though behind the Great 
Wall of China. As for Germany, jealous at not benefit- 
ing by the Preferential Tariff of 1897, sne subjects 
Canadian imports to the least favourable treatment 
The Dominion retaliated in 1903 by putting on German 
products a surtax equal to a third of the duties imposed 
by the general tariff. The result is a tariff war. It is 
for us to turn it to account. Sir Wilfrid Laurier has 
clearly evinced his goodwill towards us by favouring 
to the utmost possible extent the creation of a direct line 
of navigation between France and Canada. At his 
proposal, the Ottawa Parliament has promised to grant 
an annual subsidy of 518,000 francs for ten years to any 
Franco-Canadian or Anglo-French line plying direct 
between the two countries, on condition that it guarantees 
eighteen crossings each year with an average speed of 
twelve knots. Thus encouraged, a French line was 
organised in 1903 and 1904 between Havre la Pallice 
and Canada, with vessels of small tonnage. Unfortun- 
ately, it did not succeed, owing to the peculiar difficulties 
of the situation. The amount of commerce involved 
proved, indeed, insufficient to ensure regular traffic, 
especially as many articles gained by being sent through 
England, there to be denationalised, so as to have the 
benefit of the Preferential Tariff of 33 per cent. More 
recently, the great Allan Steamship Company has 
created a service from London to Havre and Montreal. 
By a special arrangement with the Canadian Govern- 


ment, it receives a subsidy of 650,000 francs, although it 
is a purely English line, and not Franco-Canadian or 
Anglo-French. It has prospered in every way. The 
Company not being obliged to ask for more than a 
share in French exports, is placed on a much more 
satisfactory basis than if it were limited to Franco- 
Canadian traffic. It is regrettable, however, that such 
an enterprise should have nothing French about it. 
Perhaps it might be possible for us to participate in it, 
even on a small scale, in some way or another. 

This question of a line of navigation between France 
and Canada, her former colony, is, in truth, of the first 
importance, for it goes hand in hand with the extension 
of our business. It is not natural for our products to 
pass so frequently by England or the United States. 
We lose our commercial individuality and damage our 
credit by resigning ourselves to this state of things and 
showing ourselves incapable of modifying it. 

The economic policy for our country in regard to 
the Dominion is then clearly indicated. It should form 
a natural sequel to that rapprochement which I have de- 
scribed in the first pages of this chapter. Let the French 
of France and of Canada get to know more and more 
of each other, and let our business men seek resolutely 
to achieve that place on the Canadian market which 
logically they should be enjoying ; then let the two 
Governments come upon the scene and further the 
movement by means of mutual tariff concessions : that 
will be the best method of developing the economic 
relations which it is sad at present to see so restricted. 

Our political relations with Canada necessarily 
remain restricted. We must remember that all 
negotiation between Ottawa and Paris has to be 
carried on through the British Government as inter- 


mediary. The latter, it is true, has made it a rule to 
hamper as little as possible the freedom of the Colonial 
Governments, but Canada remains a portion of the 
British Empire, and can only act in accord with the 
Imperial Power. As we have loyally accepted the 
fait accompli in the Dominion, we cannot deliberately 
ignore England when discussing matters with its colony. 
Thanks to the entente cordiale, the British Government 
will not seek to discover any disquieting arriere-pensee in 
our desire, so often manifested, for such a policy as this. 
In these circumstances it is natural that we should 
seek to benefit by the real and special sympathies which 
we possess on the banks of the St. Lawrence. In 
the foreign policy of our time intermediaries do not play 
a less important role than of yore. We may be able 
to find able and friendly intermediaries sometimes among 
the French of Canada. In 1901, before the question 
of Newfoundland was settled, the Laurier Ministry 
would willingly have given us its good offices. Similar 
conditions may arise in which it may not be an un- 
important matter that a Canadian statesman of this type 
speaks our language and is of our race. In discussing 
these political relations we must confine ourselves, of 
course, to generalities. But it is desirable to point out 
that wherever the flag of France has flown, wherever 
our race survives and our tongue resounds, our attitude 
can never be one of forgetfulness or of abstention. 



WE have seen the objections, probably insuperable, 
which Canada raises against the more pronounced forms 
of Imperialism. On the other hand, we have seen also 
that her relations with France, although very cordial, 
can never again become what they were in the distant 
past. What, then, is to be the future of the Dominion in 
the continent of North America, in face of the over- 
whelming immensity of the United States ? To an 
examination into this grave question I shall devote the 
concluding chapter of my book. 

There are three possible solutions. Either the 
present state of things will continue indefinitely, Canada 
remaining a British colony ; or this link will be broken 
and she will become independent ; or, finally, she will 
be annexed by the United States. It should be added, 
however, that beneath the surface of this cut-and-dried 
statement of the problem, the situation in reality (as 
generally is the case) is so involved in its character that 
the final issue may very well be some kind of blend of 
all these three eventualities. 

The status quo stands a good chance of lasting. The 
colony is satisfied with its relations with the Mother 
Country, provided that the latter does not return, under 
the pretext of an Imperial union, to that policy of inter- 



vention which succeeded so ill in the past. This fear 
laid aside, Canadian loyalty, after a moment of dis- 
quietude, resumes its complete sincerity. The thing is 
easy to understand. To form part of a mighty Empire 
without having to share, save in a minute degree, in its 
military and naval expenditure, to have all the benefits 
of its protection, its influence and its prestige, to be able 
to lean on it in difficult situations when at issue with 
sometimes formidable adversaries these advantages are 
real enough and cheap enough for the Canadians to 
appreciate them thoroughly. They render the manage- 
ment of the affairs of the Dominion a much easier task 
for the Canadian Ministers, who personally are by no 
means indifferent to the wider fame they derive from 
their connection with an Empire numbering four 
hundred million men. The French Canadians, for their 
part, ask for nothing better than the continuance of a 
rule which has enabled them to expand so wonderfully. 

In these circumstances, it would take some tremen- 
dous blunder on the part of England to precipitate a 
rupture a thing talked of sometimes after the fashion of 
an empty threat, but a thing that no one at heart really 
desires. For a long time to come, then, no solution will 
accord so well with the real needs and the real wishes of 
the Canadians as the maintenance of the Colonial con- 
nection, so long as it does not retard the evolution of the 
Dominion towards that fuller autonomy aspired to, which 
shall border upon independence without being given the 

This leads to the second possibility, which it will be 
found difficult in practice to keep distinct from the first. 
Without breaking away from the Empire, without 
ceasing to be an integral portion of it, Canada is 
developing a swift tendency towards actual independence. 


For a long time past she has regarded herself as a 
nation with a distinct personality, a policy and a destiny 
of her own : we may add, indeed, a sovereignty of her 
own, for despite the not insignificant restrictions we have 
noted, she is possessed to-day of almost all its advantages. 
Is it not the " sovereign will " of the Canadian people 
that determines the attitude of its Government, not only 
in home affairs but also in military, diplomatic, and 
economic matters ? Have we not seen Lord Dundonald 
recalled, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier standing up to Mr. 
Chamberlain? If it is true that the signing has to be 
done by England, the deciding rests with Ministers 
responsible to a Parliament with the election of which 
the people of Great Britain have nothing to do. Should 
the Ottawa Parliament choose, to-morrow, to accord to 
imports from France a differential treatment yet more 
favourable than that now enjoyed by the Mother Country, 
nothing could prevent it from so doing. Should it 
choose, with the approval of its electors, to vote for 
an economic, or even a political, union with the United 
States, in what way would England be able to offer any 
effective opposition ? She would protest, of course., but 
it is well known that she would not attempt to maintain 
her suzerainty by force of arms, and that she must needs 
acquiesce in the decision taken by her colony. 

It is easy to understand that in these circumstances, 
recognised on both sides, the autonomy of Canada must 
evolve naturally towards sovereignty. In accordance 
with her prudent practice, which consists in silently 
accepting the inevitable, the British Government pretends 
to see nothing to complain of, and consistently gives in 
all along the line, bent principally on preserving the letter 
of the Union. Under cover of this, Canada does more 
or less as she likes, and as the Canadians are very sensible 


folk they are careful not to provoke a rupture which 
would leave them diminished and weakened, and much 
at the mercy of their too powerful neighbours. It is 
almost certain, therefore, that if the rupture does come it 
will not be due to their initiative. 

Is it to be deduced from all this that the third con- 
tingency will not come about? That would be too much 
to say. All that can safely be affirmed is that it is 
scarcely probable in the near future. 

For we know that the Canadians, English and 
French alike, will not hear of annexation at any price 
just at present. We know, too, that the Americans 
entertain no notion of conquering Canada, either now 
or at any time. They believe, undoubtedly, that by 
the force of a manifest destiny the Dominion will cease 
to be British and pass under the Star- Spangled Banner ; 
but, like the vulture sure of its prey, they show no 
disposition to precipitate the event, or even to discount 
it in advance. The annexation of Canada may very 
well be a topic of public discussion in the United States, 
but it is not, and doubtless will not be for a long time 
to come, a matter for the Government. It is the less 
likely to become so for the reason that the excellent 
Anglo-American relations, which date from some years 
back, will thus be the more easily maintained. Whether 
we inquire into the declared and immediate desires of 
the two Governments of Washington and Ottawa, or into 
their private and ultimate aspirations, we find no trace 
of any tendencies towards annexation : they are not 
being drawn in this direction, either by a friendship 
so intimate as to lead to union or by a state of tension 
so acute as to lead to war. 

As for intimate friendship, we may say that it does 
not exist : there is no entente cordiale between the two 


neighbours. Their recent history is marked by an 
endless succession of abortive efforts at a satisfactory 
understanding, of negotiations that come to nothing, 
of arbitrations that leave behind them only grudges 
and ill-will. Is there, on the other hand, such a feeling 
of coldness between the two capitals as could imperil 
their peaceful relations ? Surely not. One must, indeed, 
be familiar with the diplomatic ways of the United 
States and of the British Colonies in general to realise 
how utterly they differ from ours : they can go to great 
lengths in what they say, they can have recourse to 
methods of procrastination that amount almost to 
incivility, they can almost refuse to talk, without there 
being the slightest danger to peace. As a matter of 
fact, a war between the two countries seems hardly 
conceivable, and the Canadians resolutely condemn 
any policy that could tend to provoke it. If, then, the 
Americans do not take the first step and they do not 
seem disposed to do so there is nothing to suggest 
that Canada and the United States will not long 
continue to live side by side, as they have done for 
a century or so, without any shock to the unstable 
equilibrium that exists to-day. 

I do not wish to imply that the danger of annexation 
has been withdrawn. It still exists, but, as we have 
seen already, in a different form from that of a military 
or political conquest. It is not the American nation 
that menaces the Canadian nation ; rather is it the 
American form of civilisation that threatens to supplant 
the British. 

We are thus led back to the first solution, but under 
different conditions, and it is doubtless in this direction 
that the future lies. The Canadian nation, even though 
it shall have become American in its ways, may yet 


remain on indefinitely a British colony. This means 
a victory for America, it will be said. Assuredly. But 
it means a victory also for English statesmanship, which 
will thus have achieved its masterpiece. And in this 
destiny, at once so diverse and so tragic, let us take 
care not to forget the old French civilisation which 
gazes out upon the future with eyes full of joyous hope. 

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