Page images



The discussion of Imperial Defence in Canada has received a considerable fillip from the recent visit to the Mother Country of Sir Frederick Borden, the Canadian Minister of Militia, who, it will be remembered, took part in the deliberations of the Committee of Imperial Defence. Since his return to Ottawa he has been at considerable pains to explain the exact relationship between the Colonial and Imperial forces, and he has made various proposals for the development of the Militia which seem to commend themselves to the Canadian people, though here and there an anti-British crank like Mr. Henry Bourassa may be heard protesting against any strengthening of the bonds uniting the Dominion and the Mother Country. The admission of the first Colonial representative to the Committee of Defence appears to be generally welcomed, not only in the Dominion, but throughout the British Empire, as a hopeful precedent. Another subject engaging Canadian attention is the recently published Parliamentary Paper containing the correspondence between Great Britain, Canada, and the United States upon the Alaska Boundary question. Many Canadians are disposed to criticise the feebleness of the Home Government in backing up Canada's protest against the selection of the American Commissioners, who, it will be remembered, according to the Agreement between the Washington and London Governments, were to have been “impartial jurists of repute," whereas President Roosevelt at the eleventh hour selected political partisans who were publicly and, indeed, violently pledged to the American view. Lord Onslow, in Mr. Chamberlain's absence in South Africa, declared that his Majesty's Ministers were as much surprised as the Canadian Cabinet at the American nominees, but they were convinced that it would be useless to press for any change, and they must, therefore, choose between breaking off the negotiations, which would be a grave misfortune, or acquiescing in the American

choice, and appointing British Commissioners appropriate to the altered situation. Lord Minto replied that his Ministers regarded the American action with much anxiety, as their assent to the Treaty was obtained on the understanding that Members of the Court would be “ impartial jurists of repute." Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Government were not, however, prepared to take the responsibility of breaking off the negotiations, and therefore they must in common fairness share any blame with the Home Government.

It is a curious coincidence that any breeze between the Mother Country and the Dominion seems to be invariably followed by a suggestion from the United States that it is the “manifest destiny” of Canada, no less than her “manifest interest,” to be absorbed by her neighbour. So far as our observation goes, there is one single annexationist in the Dominion, viz., Mr. Goldwin Smith, who is, be it remembered, an export from Oxford University, “the home of lost causes." He carries his own Party under his own hat so far as Canada is concerned, but he has followers in the United States. Thus President Schurman, of Cornell University, in the course of a public address declared that the United States must continue to expand, first to the south, and afterwards to the north.” If this untimely observation rejoiced Mr. Goldwin Smith, it brought down on the President's head a stern rebuke from the Toronto Globe, which was at one time the mouthpiece of the commercial union movement which caused Mr. Blake to resign the leadership of the Liberal Party, as he believed the British connection would be imperilled by any such development. His place was taken by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who, though a mugwump, is very far from being an annexationist, and the Toronto Globe is now the leading organ of Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Party. We reproduce the principal passage (quoted in the Canadian Gazette) from the Globe's leading article, and it would be as well if Sir Michael Hicks Beach and the Little England section of the Conservative Party would take its teaching to heart.

Expansion to the north is possible only through the absorption of Canada into the Union, and as Dr. Schurman is a Canadian himself he was undoubtedly aware of the fact. Indeed, there was no avoiding the conclusion that his statement was deliberate and that he meant just what he said.

It matters little in this connection that Dr. Schurman was born in Canada, for some other ex-Canadians are zealous annexationists ; it matters a great deal that he holds a dignified and influential office, on which any such remark brings discredit. Even if it were true that the prospect is favourable for the annexation of Canada, it would not be in good taste for the head of a great



university to use such language ; it makes the language no more tolerablo that it is untrue. There never was less'annexationist feeling in this country than there is to-day, and its place has been taken by a sentiment of repugnance to which the mass of Canadians were a few years ago entire strangers.

The causes of this change are not far to seek. It is due partly to the offensive tone adopted towards this country by American journals and public speakers, like Dr. Schurman himself, who are very apt to drop remarks intended for the ears of their own people, but heard or read by those whom they insult. It is due partly to the mischievous effect of national politics on municipal administration. It is also in part due to the growth of capitalistic control over all important industries—a state of things which has become so alarming as to deter Canadians from cherishing annexation as an ideal. And it is in part due to the prevalent disregard of the sacredness of human life as displayed all over the United States in a great variety of ways, including lynching.

Intelligent Americans ght to know that the current is setting against annexation with increasing force, that the ideal of Canadians is the development of a great State of their own within the British Empire. American publi. cists do not talk of expanding at the expense of France or Germany; why should they indulge in such talk as regards Great Britain and her Colonies ? It would help to bring about greater friendliness if they were more circumspect. AUSTRALASIA-THE COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAMENT As our readers will remember, the triennial General Election of the Commonwealth Parliament was held in the middle of December—the polling for both Houses, viz., the Senate and the House of Representatives, taking place on the same day (December 16) in each of the six federated States. Only the bare results were recorded by telegraph, and we have had to wait for the mails for such a detailed analysis of the returns as will enable us to appreciate the peculiar position of the various parties composing the two Houses and to follow subsequent developments. Under the Constitution the whole House of Representatives, consisting of seventy-five members, had to be re-elected, but only half the thirty-six Senators. In the ordinary course of events therefore eighteen Senators would have retired on the present occasion, but the death of Sir Frederick Sargood had caused an additional vacancy in Victoria, and consequently nineteen Senatorial seats had to be filled. The newly elected Senators will sit for six years, while the previously elected Senators will seek re-election three years hence. The one outstanding result of the General Election, which is well brought out in an interesting letter from the Times Melbourne Correspondent, is the growth of the Labour party, especially in the Senate, which is rapidly becoming the stronghold of Australian Socialism. Three States, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, returned nine Labour Senators, while another was returned in Victoria. Of the nineteen vacant Senatorships, no less than ten have been captured by the Labour party, the remaining nine being divided between the Ministerialists and the Opposition, who have obtained four and five respectively. The last Senate consisted of twelve Ministerialists, sixteen Members of the Opposition and eight Labour Members. The new Senate contains eight Ministerialists, fourteen Opposition Members and fourteen Labour Members, the Ministry having lost four seats, the Opposition two, all of which were gained by the Labour party. It must be admitted that the Deakin Government occupies a somewhat humiliating position in both Houses, particularly in the Senate, where it is outnumbered by each of the rival parties, and cannot carry a single measure without an alliance with one or other of them. We all know what that means from our own experiences with the Irish Nationalists.

In the House of Representatives the position of the Ministry is a shade less unsatisfactory than in the Senate, but even there it will tax the great skill and resources of Mr. Deakin to avoid disaster, as may be gathered from the following table giving the position of the Parties in the various States, as well as in the Commonwealth as a whole :

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Thus we see that the new House of Representatives is com posed of three practically equal Parties, and as in the Senate it will be imperative for the Commonwealth Government to obtain the aid either of the regular Opposition or of the Socialists, as the Labour Party are usually called, in order to remain in power. In the late House of Representatives the Ministerialists numbered 32, the Opposition 27, and Labour 19; therefore the Government have lost six seats, the Opposition one, while the Socialists have gained all seven seats. The Federal Parliament as a whole (and it is worth remembering


that in certain contingencies the two Houses sit together), is now composed of 34 Ministerialists, 40 Members of the Opposition, and 37 Labour Members. A good deal has been said at home during the last few months of Mr. Balfour's difficulties, which we are not prepared to underrate, but compared with the Australian Premier the British Premier lies on a bed of

It is easy to understand the general depression with which intelligent Australians regard the condition of their Federal politics, the pessimism being emphasised by the complete failure of the Australian Upper House, which was expected, like the American Senate—which has scarcely fulfilled the anticipations of its founders—to act as a sufficient check on popular extravagance to enable “the sober second thought," which is supposed to reside in every community, to come into play. The Australian Senate is the more extreme branch of the Legislature, and last session a Labour Senator boasted that “ he had left his check-string behind him, and had brought instead a stock-whip with which to drive on more rapidly the work of Socialistic legislation.” In some quarters Sir Edmund Barton, the late Australian Premier, is blamed for his semi-servile attitude towards the Labour Party, whose temporary support he secured by such measures as the recent Immigration Bill, which caused the notorious scandal of the "six hatters," and the clause in the Postal Act prohibiting the employment of coloured stokers on mail steamers. But even Sir Edmund Barton could not go “ the whole hog,” and was ultimately obliged to shed his “advanced” colleague, Mr. Kingston, the Minister of Customs, over the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill, which was dropped on the refusal of the Government to accept the demand of the Labour party that this measure should be extended to railway employees, who in Australia are State servants. Mr. Deakin is unlikely to become the tool of the Labour Party

An effort has been made by unscrupulous partisans in our fiscal controversy to represent the Australian elections as having gone “dead against ” Mr. Chamberlain's proposals. This view is due to the very superficial study of colonial affairs on the part of London journalists and British statesmen, coupled with their desperate determination to score a point at all costs against Mr. Chamberlain. As Mr. Deakin and his colleagues declared warmly in favour of Mr. Chamberlain's policy, while Mr. Reid, the Leader of the Opposition, who is a violent tub-thumper of the Tammany type, was equally vehement in denouncing Mr. Chamberlain as a Protectionist, and as it

« PreviousContinue »