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interests of the movement itself. The subject is simply not open to debate as far as we are concerned. Public opinion in this country would welcome reciprocity between Canada, England, and the other parts of the Empire on satisfactory terms. When public opinion in Great Britain was sufficiently crystallised to permit the negotiation of terms, he was confident that Canadians would give a hearty response to the Mother Land.
Sir MacKenzie Bowell, the Conservative Leader of the Senate, followed Sir William Mulock, and endorsed the latter's diagnosis of Canadian opinion, but advised that the Dominion Parliament shoud pass a resolution in favour of Mr. Chamberlain's policy as had been done by the Manitoba Legislature. Mr. Tarte, who was lately a member of the Laurier Government, proposed a resolution —which we trust will be taken to heart by Lord Rosebery and other misleaders of public opinion—regretting the statements published in England that Canada does not favour a Preferential Tariff, and affirming Canada's support of that policy. This was seconded by Dr. Russell, member of the Dominion House of Commons, and carried unanimously.
The reply from Australia was no less prompt and even more authoritative, and it makes certain Peers who set up as Colonial “experts "– on the strength of having spent a few years in Government Houses in days gone by—look supremely foolish. In opening the Commonwealth Parliament Lord Northcote, the new Governor-General, read the Speech from the Throne, giving special prominence to the subject of Preferential Trade, which would secure to Australia “an immense and stable market.” His Ministers had been pleased to note the cordiality with which the policy was regarded in the Commonwealth, and were confident that this feeling would be strengthened whenever Mr. Chamberlain was able to visit Australia. During the debate on the Address Mr. Deakin, the Premier, amplified this statement by the categorical declaration that “the Government of the Commonwealth was prepared to alter the present tariff in favour of Great Britain, making sacrifices if necessary, to secure reciprocal preferences from the Mother Country.” Scarcely less material was the statement of Mr. J. C. Watson, the very able leader of the Labour Party in the Australian Parliament, which holds the balance of power in both Houses, to the effect that he would await England's decision before pledging himself as regards Preferential Tariffs, as he objected to Preference without Reciprocity; but, in the words of the cablegram, “he promised hearty reciprocation of British Preference.” Other speeches during the debate were equally encouraging, one of the Protectionist Members proposing a reduction of certain duties in favour of Great Britain, and the Age of Melbourne summarised the situation by the statement that there was no need of a missionary to preach Preference in Australia, as nineteen-twentieths of the Australians were favourable to that policy. Our readers, who are really anxious to appreciate the drift of Colonial sentiment on the greatest question of our time, will bear in mind that Mr. Reid, the leader of the regular Opposition in the Commonwealth Parliament, has also declared himself, though a Free Trader, in favour of Preference, and is ready to make large reductions in the existing Australian tariff in favour of the Mother Country. The other alternative Premier, Mr. Kingston, is also a strong Preferentialist. Lord Goschen's grudging admission that “there appears to be a majority in favour of Preference in Australia’’ is clearly no overstatement of the case.
THE CANADIAN PARLIAMENT
During the past month three of the principal Parliaments in Greater Britain have commenced Sessions which promise in each case to be unusually interesting. The Dominion Parliament was formally opened on March 11, when the Governor-General (Lord Minto) read the Speech from the Throne, promising two measures of considerable importance, viz., a Bill to give effect to the amended contract with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway for the construction of another trans-continental line, and a Bill to establish a Naval Militia. Lord Minto laid stress on the remarkable development of Canada during the last six years, which showed no signs of abatement, while the number of settlers seeking homes in Manitoba and the North-west Territory, had been without parallel in the history of the country. These two very important facts lead irresistibly to the conclusion that long before the trans-continental railway authorised by Parliament last Session can possibly be completed, its urgent necessity as a medium for carrying the products of the West to our own Atlantic ports will have become apparent, independently of the many benefits that will follow from the opening up, for
colonisation and various enterprises, of the northern parts of Quebec and Ontario.
In the ensuing debate, Mr. Borden, the Leader of the Opposition, denounced the Prime Minister's agitation for full treaty-making powers for Canada, which, we may say in passing, would have caused more astonishment in the Mother Country had it not been attributed to electioneering exigencies. As the Opposition Leader pointed out, Canada had never been refused participation in negotiations affecting the Dominion, while his observations on the subject of the preferential policy were no less to the point. He believed that by closer commercial relations between the Colonies of the Empire and the Mother Country herself they would strengthen the Imperial tie, while from the merely commercial standpoint the market of the Mother Country was more valuable than the American market. Sir Wilfrid Laurier in reply preserved a stony silence on the subject of Preference, as he has to keep in touch with a section of the French population, who are hostile to any movement towards Imperial Unity, and upon the treaty-making question he played to the gallery. “While it is true that Canada is invited into any treaty negotiations that may take place in which Canada's interests are concerned, still we have believed in the past that this will not be sufficient for our national development, and that the day is coming when we shall have full treaty-making powers. The reason we ask for this power is that we may be masters of the situation.”
It must be said that the Canadian Premier has not been altogether frank as regards the Alaska boundary. He was anxious to get a difficult and dangerous question out of the way at almost any cost, and therefore he acquiesced in its submission to a tribunal which, on the face of it, could never give a decision favourable to the Canadian claim. It is therefore somewhat disingenuous to turn round and attack a settlement for which he was jointly responsible with the Imperial Government. If he felt as strongly on the subject as he feels to-day, he should have refused to be a party to the appointment of Messrs. Lodge and Turner as American Commissioners, and if he had pressed his objection the Commission would never have met. It is not “cricket” to throw the entire blame on the Home Government, and make the episode an excuse for a campaign of claptrap in favour of full treaty-making powers. We are not surprised that the Canadian Gazette, which champions Canadian interests with so much ability and zeal in London, should have received “several communications from friends of Canada in this country (i.e., in England) whose opinions are entitled to most respectful attention,” of which the gist is : “Canada accepted the tribunal, and Canada should abide by the result without fuss, however unpleasant the result may be.” We have steadily sympathised with the Canadian contention on the Alaska Boundary question, and have never defended the action of the Imperial Government in accepting Messrs. Lodge and Turner as “impartial jurists of repute,” but surely the Ottawa Government is particeps criminis &
Not the least interesting item of intelligence from the Dominion is the announcement that the scheme for the creation of a Citizen Army of I oo,ooo men has now been approved by the Government. It is described in a statement issued by the Canadian Department of Militia and Defence, and at present it is of course confined to paper, and as Lord Dundonald pointed out in a speech at the annual meeting of the Canadian Artillery Association, “whether that army became a fact depended entirely on the patriotism of the people.” The chief feature of the new scheme is the division of the total force of Ioo, ooo men into two parts, of whom 46,000 will form the peace establishment, and a distinction is to be drawn between those officers and men who engage for service in both peace and war, and those who engage for war service only. The measure which has had a favourable reception from the critics has, of course, to be discussed and ratified by the Canadian Parliament.
THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT
The Australian Parliament was opened by Lord Northcote, the new Governor-General, on March 2. The Speech from the Throne congratulated the country on the break-up of the drought, expressed regret at the outbreak of war in the Far East, and hoped that a further conference of the treasurers of the various States comprising the Commonwealth would result in a satisfactory arrangement for the taking over of the State debts, and would allow the adoption of uniform Old Age Pensions throughout the Commonwealth. Then followed the references to preferential trade already discussed, after which Lord Northcote dwelt on the necessity of encouraging immigration, and of appointing a High Commissioner. Almost the only other scrap of Australian news which has been vouchsafed to us by the purveyors, apart from reports of meetings on the Chinese Labour question, is an obscure cablegram announcing that a Navigation Bill is about to be introduced into the Federal Senate enabling British ships to engage in Australian coastal trade only on condition that they pay the same wages and comply with the same labour conditions as Australian vessels. That the new Session of the Commonwealth Parliament promises to be interesting goes without saying, seeing that the two Houses are composed of three parties of about equal strength. There is some expectation that Mr. Deakin's Government may collapse, in which case there might be a reconstruction, under the Premiership of Mr. Kingston, in whom the Labour Party have confidence, and some of Mr. Deakin's more advanced colleagues, but this is, of course, mere speculation.
THE CAPE PARLIAMENT
We recorded the intensely satisfactory Cape General Election last month, which resulted in the overthrow of the Bond domination and the fall of Sir Gordon Sprigg, who was promptly succeeded in the Premiership by Dr. Jameson, the Progressive Leader, to whose single-minded enthusiasm the recent victory is so largely due. The new Session was opened on March 4 by the Governor (Sir Walter HelyHutchinson) but the real struggle began on March 14 when the Additional Seats Bill was debated. This measure provides for three additional seats to the Legislative Council, and twelve to the House of Assembly, to be mainly distributed among the principal towns, which, as we pointed out last month, are at present cruelly under-represented, and the passing of the Bill will be followed by elections to the new seats. Mr. Sampson, the Attorney-General, explained that the Progressives were not antagonistic to the country interests, which would still return a larger proportion of members per elector than the towns. The Bond, as was only to be expected, greeted the new measure with a tremendous howl. Mr. De Waal, the Secretary of the Bond, declared that the Progressives “at one fell swoop were destroying the country party,” and he denounced the Bill as “a political job by which it was intended to perpetuate the power of the Progressives. Their majority was only due to accident, the register being affected by the war. The Bill would make it useless for the rebels to regain the franchise.” We trust that the Bond Secretary is right in declaring that the new Bill destroys a system enabling a minority of electors to elect a majority of members, which is quite unworthy of any country calling itself a democracy. The Progressives must close their ranks and fight to a finish without making any concessions which would impair the vital principle of their measure.
There is no further development in the Transvaal, except an increase of depression and an increase of exasperation at the delay on the part of the Home Government in sanctioning the Ordinance permitting the importation of Chinese labour. We have every sympathy with the annoyance of the Transvaalers at a delay which in their eyes is inexplicable and unjust, but they should make allowances for the political difficulties of Mr. Lyttelton and his colleagues, who have not flinched on this question, but have on the contrary confronted a mountain of sentiment before which weaker men would have quailed.