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British North America
The Dominion of Canada: General View


GENERAL VIEW By the Rt. Hon. LORD STRATHCONA and MOUNT ROYAL (High Commissioner for Canada)

Closer relations between the Mother Country and the colonies, the keynote for the development of the Empire—Canada’s position in the Empire—Constitution, Federal and Provincial Progress of Canada since Confederation—Public Works—Railways and Canals—Growth of Shipping'—Banking system—Climate— Natural products of the country, and the exports of same-immense and varied mineral resources practically untouched —The Yukon gold-fields—Forest Wealth—Fisheries—Manufacturing industries—Foreign trade of the Dominion and its distribution — Population and origins of the people—Social Economy—Indians—Immigration and the duty of directing British emigration to the British Colonies—Openings for the settler, free lands—The classes in demand.

Not only in Canada, but in all the other colonies, the feeling prevails that too little is known in the United Kingdom—the heart of the Empire—of its outlying portions, and we are all trying in every way to bring about a different state of things. It is no selfish object which has prompted us in our endeavours. We want to bring the colonies into closer relations with the mother country. We wish to develop trade between the different parts of the Empire, as well as with other countries, and we much appreciate the great services of Mr. Chamberlain in directing public attention prominently to the matter. In the colonies there are millions upon millions of acres of land only waiting to be cultivated to produce everything that man requires, and we want to attract to those lands the surplus capital and muscle of the United Kingdom. The increase of the population of the colonies must add to their wealth and strength, and also to their productive and consuming capacities. Such results must necessarily tend to make the British Empire, of which we are all so proud, a greater factor in the progress of the world than it is even at the present time. I am glad to be able to state that those throughout the country who are entrusted with the education of the rising generation seem to appreciate, more and more every year, the importance of giving to the young idea a proper knowledge of what the British Empire is, and what it may become in the future. The following extract from the instructions to the Inspectors, issued by the English Educational Department, must have caused much gratification in all the colonies: “It is especially desirable in your examination of the fourth and higher standards, that attention should be called to the English colonies and their productions, government, and resources, and to those climatic and other conditions which render our distant possessions suitable fields for emigration and for honourable enterprise.” The Dominion of Canada includes the whole of the American Continent north of the United States, except Newfoundland, the small islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon belonging to France, and Alaska. It is difficult to convey an adequate conception of the vastness of a country which covers 3,456,383 square miles, and is forty times the size of England, Scotland, and Wales. It represents nearly a third of the area of the entire British Empire! It embraces the provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, and the North-West. Territories, most of them of great size and of large possibilities. They are all joined together in a practical and effective union. They control entirely their own local affairs, while the Federal or Dominion Parliament, composed of representatives of the different provinces, deals with all matters affecting the community in general. The representative of her Majesty, styled the Governor-General, resides at Ottawa, the capital of the Dominion. The present occupant of that important position is the Right Hon. the Earl of Aberdeen, who has identified himself with the progress and development of the country in such a way as to make him one of the most popular of Governors-General. In his work he is ably seconded by the Countess of Aberdeen, whose name is as familiar in the United Kingdom as it is in the Dominion. The provinces all have their local Parliaments, some consisting of one House and others of two, while the Lieutenant-Governors are appointed by the Governor-General in Council. The constitution of Canada is contained in what is known as the British North America Act. It defines with considerable clearness the powers of the Dominion, and of the Provincial Legislatures, and the admirable way in which it has worked speaks volumes for the care and attention devoted to its preparation. Disputes have arisen occasionally upon points of interpretation, but the decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council upon such matters have always been accepted as final. It is to be hoped that before long Newfoundland may express a desire to become part of the Dominion, so that the union of British North America may be complete. If satisfactory terms can be arranged, there is no doubt that the entry of England’s oldest colony will be advantageous both to itself and the Dominion.

Two years ago was the fourth centenary of the landing of the Cabots in what is now Canada, and a part of the country is well advanced in the third century of its actual occupation; the formation of the Dominion only dates from 1867, and was completed, as it now stands, by the entry of Prince Edward Island in 1873. Prior to Confederation, which was originated by Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Upper and Lower Canada (now known as Ontario and Quebec), the provinces-were in effect practically separate communities. There was little or no communication between them except by water. The trade exchanges were comparatively small, and their customs tariffs were arrayed against each other. Upper and Lower Canada were nominally united, but there was continual friction between them, which undoubtedly tended to prevent the development of their great resources. The population of Upper Canada was almost entirely confined to a strip of country along the shores of the St. Lawrence, and of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The country to the north and to the west, along the shores of Georgian Bay and Lake Superior, and to the Lake of the Woods, its present western boundary, was a terra incognita, practically inaccessible, and habited only by a few Indians and hunters. The fertile prairies to the west were under the administration of the Hudson Bay Company, and their only inhabitants beyond those at the Hudson Bay posts were Indians and hunters. Instead of the pleasant wheat-fields, and herds of domestic cattle, that now meet the eye in traversing that country, the plains were the habitat of millions of buffaloes, which have entirely disappeared. To still go farther west, at the time of Confederation, British Columbia (which became part of the Dominion in 1871) was an isolated British colony, separated from the rest of Canada, not only by its own mountains, but by nearly 2000 miles or more of intervening territory. Lt was only accessible at all by means of communication through the United States, and by sea. Therefore, although the union was inaugurated in 1867, and was only nominally completed in 1873, a great deal had still to be done before it could be consummated. A commencement was made by the construction of the Inter-Colonial Railway (provided for in the Act of Union), which brought the maritime provinces into connection with Quebec and Ontario. It was completed in 1876, although much of it was in operation before that time. For many years the question of the construction of the Trans-Continental Railway was in the air, and commencements were made, but nothing tangible or effectual was done until the contract was made with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in 1881, for the completion of the railway from Callander to the Pacific Coast within ten years. This stupendous work was practically completed in half the stipulated time, and the first public train travelled from Montreal to Vancouver in 1886. Strictly speaking, therefore, the positive, actual life of the Dominion, with all its potentialities brought within reach of the people, commenced a little more than twelve years ago.

Even now, although the population exceeds 5,250,000, only a fringe of the territory available for cultivation is inhabited. There arc no very large cities in Canada, in the sense in which the term is understood in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Montreal and Toronto, each with their populations of nearly three hundred thousand people, are the largest in Canada ; but the last census (1891) shows that there were 46 cities and towns of 5000 inhabitants and upwards, of which only nine exceeded 20,000. There were also 46 towns with from 3000 to 5000 people, and 91 villages containing from 1500 to 3000 people. The urban population in 1891 was nearly 1,400,000, or 28.77 per cent, of the whole. Over 45 per cent, of the population find their means of subsistence and their opportunities for the accumulation of wealth in agriculture. Canada is proud of its sturdy yeomen farmers. Large holdings are the exception and not the rule, and the policy of the Dominion and of the provincial governments is to encourage the immigration and settlement of small farmers. The holdings may be said to average from 100 to 300 acres.

As mentioned before, an important factor in the growth of the Dominion has been the development of railway communication. In 1868 there were only 2522 miles of railway. Now there are over 16,000 1 miles, and, in proportion to its population, Canada is probably as well served as any country in the world. The railways connect the Atlantic with the Pacific, they connect the coal-mines with the manufacturing and industrial centres, and they enable the products of the country to be easily conveyed from one part of the Dominion to another, and to the ports of shipment both on the Atlantic and on the Pacific. It hits been the practice for railways to be constructed in advance of settlement, which has no doubt contributed, in a large degree, to the great progress the country has witnessed in recent years. Canada differs in many respects from other colonies in regard to its railway policy. The Government only own 1351 miles out of the total mileage before referred to, the balance being in the hands of public companies. Many of them have been aided by subsidies from the Dominion Parliament, from the provinces, and from the municipalities, but this assistance, as a rule, has not been in the nature of a loan, but of a gift. The country may not have had any direct return for its large expenditure upon railways, which in the case of the Dominion has amounted to $154,000,000 (^30,800,000), exclusive of land grants, but the indirect effects of the policy have been numerous and important. The country has been bound together in the closest possible way by these railways. They have made it accessible and available for immigration, and have lod to the expansion of trade. All these results are more important, from a national standpoint, than a direct return of so much per cent, per annum.

Mention must also be made of the effect the development of the -waterways has had upon the expansion of Canada. They were commenced long before railways became common. Some of them, indeed, date back to 1779, and they are all Government works. The great river St. Lawrence, up till 1858, was not navigable above Quebec for vessels drawing more than 11 feet of water. There were also obstructions higher up the river; and navigation was not possible between the great lakes in the early days, owing to the difference in the levels of those enormous sheets of water. Work upon the canals was started nearly one hundred and twenty years ago, and improvements have been going on ever since. As the result of the efforts of the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal, seconded as they have been by the Dominion Government, vessels drawing 2/i feet can proceed to Montreal, 1000 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, 250 miles above salt water, and nearly 100 miles above tidal water, and moor alongside the streets of the commercial metropolis of Canada, where over five miles of quays and wharfage have been provided. It is stated to be the intention of the Government to increase the channel in the near future to 30 feet. Vessels drawing 14 feet of water pass from the extreme end of Lake Superior to Kingston, and it will not be long before such vessels will be able to continue their passage, without breaking cargo, to the head of ocean navigation at Montreal, a distance of 1274 statute miles, and thence, if desired, on to Europe. The latest achievement is the canal between Luke Huron and Lake Superior, known as the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, on the line of a small boat canal made by the North-West Company a hundred years ago. Formerly Canada was dependent upon the United States for the passage into Lake Superior, but the necessity of having through communication from the great lakes to the Atlantic entirely through British territory was forced upon public attention, and the money required was voted by Parliament without demur. The canal, which is over three miles long, was commenced in 1889, and completed in 1895, at a cost of nearly $3,500,000, or £y00,000, and it is much appreciated, and much used. The total expenditure on account of canals and maintenance (up to 1898) has been over $86,000,000 (£17,200,000), of which more than $20,000,000 were expended before confederation—$4,000,000 by the Imperial Government, and $ 16,000,000 by the provincial governments interested.

The Dominion occupies a position midway between Europe and the East, and is admirably situated for purposes of trade with the different parts of the world. She holds the fourth or fifth place among the list of ship-owning nations in the quantity of her tonnage; her coasts are excellently lighted, and there are no light-dues— a fact in which ship-owners will be much interested. It is not surprising, therefore, that successive Governments have kept before them the desirability of providing effective communication between Canada and Europe, and between Canada, Australasia, and China and Japan—in that way practically extending indefinitely the termini of the great railway systems. The first steam-driven vessel that ever crossed the Atlantic—the Royal William—was constructed at Quebec, and engined at Montreal in 1830-31; and the first, steamer on the Pacific was the Beaver, built and sent out by the Hudson Bay Company, via Cape Horn, in 1835. It is the desire of the Canadian Government to provide a fast service between Canada and Great Britain which will rival anything now crossing the Atlantic. The large subsidy of £150,000 per annum has been offered towards its establishment; and her Majesty’s Government, recognising its importance, have also agreed to render material assistance. Lines of steamers are now subsidised between Canada and different ports in the United Kingdom, for summer and winter services; also to Belgium, France, and to the West Indies. On the Pacific Ocean, Canada shares with the Imperial Government the subsidy for the service to China and Japan, which has brought Yokohama within twenty-one days of London, and assists, in conjunction with two of the Australasian colonies, the line of fast steamers between British Columbia and Australia. The Pacific services, which are performed by fast vessels, equal in comfort to anything to be found on the Atlantic, are developing with great rapidity, notwithstanding the absence of direct telegraphic communication with Australasia, and with other parts of the East, and there is every probability that in the near future more frequent sailings may have to be arranged. Steam communication and trade across the Pacific are, however, in their infancy, and they can never develop with the rapidity which the interests of the countries on either side of the great ocean render practicable, until they are in direct telegraphic communication. This, and the cheapening of rates, would do more than anything else to bring Australians and Canadians closer together, and to effect that improvement in their commercial relations which must be beneficial to both parts of the Empire.

Another important factor connected with Canadian development is the excellence of the banking system. It is a matter for pride that during the crisis in the United States, and in Australasia, there was little or no financial disturbance in the Dominion, 'rimes were bad, and Canada felt the depression as other countries did, but during that time of trouble, while banks were failing everywhere in the United States, Canadian banks stood the test, and largely assisted to uphold the credit, the trade, and the integrity of the country. The minimum capital of Canadian banks is fixed by law, as w^ell as the amount to be subscribed. A deposit has to be made with the Government, and a certificate of permission obtained from the Treasury Board before business can be commenced. The minimum holdings of directors are also provided for, and no dividends or bonus exceeding 8 per cent, per annum may be paid by any bank, unless, after deducting all bad and doubtful debts, it has a reserve that is equal to at least 30 per cent, of its paid-up capital. A bank is also required to hold not less than 40 per cent, of its cash reserve in Government notes; and the notes at any time in circulation must not exceed the amount of the unimpaired capital of the bank. The payment of notes issued by any bank is a first charge on its assets in case of insolvency. Every bank is obliged to pay to the Government a sum equal to 5 per cent, on the average amount of its notes in circulation, such sum to be annually adjusted. These amounts form a fund, called the Bank Circulation Redemption Fund, to be used on the suspension of any bank for the payment of the notes issued and in circulation. All the notes would bear interest at 6 per cent, per annum until redeemed, and payments from the fund are to be made without regard to the amount contributed. Happily the necessity has not arisen to draw upon this fund to any extent. Other provisions in the Act are that no bank may lend money on its own shares, or on those of any other bank, or upon mortgage of real estate, or on the security of any goods, wares, or merchandise, except as collateral security; and further, except as required for its own use, no bank may hold real estate for a longer period than seven years. As a further security to depositors, there is a double liability attaching to the shareholders. Of the thirty-eight banks making returns to the Government, ten have head-quarters in Ontario, fourteen in Quebec, eight in Nova Scotia, three in New Brunswick, two in Prince Edward Island, and one in British Columbia. These banks have a large number of branches, and there is no lack of legitimate financial facilities in any part of Canada, although the banks are not allowed to degenerate into general mortgage and loan associations, with which we have been familiar elsewhere. In addition to the chartered banks there are the Post Office Savings - Banks, and other Government and special savings-banks, mostly used by the working-classes. The deposits in these banks have advanced from $5,000,000 (£1,000,000) in 1868 to nearly $6 4,000,000 (£12,800,000) in 1897 — which is eloquent testimony of the continual improvement in the social condition of the people. The amount of such deposits per head of the population in 1871 was $2.96 (1 2s. 4d.), and $12.33 (51s. 9d.) in 1897.

In a country like Canada, with a frontier nearly four thousand miles in length, the climate necessarily varies. But, speaking generally, the summer is hotter than in England, and the winter much colder. Canada, however, lies well within the temperate zone, and much of it is in latitudes lower than those of the United Kingdom. The country produces everything that is grown in England. Its best samples of wheat bring the highest prices on the English market. They have gained gold medals in London, in Chicago, and San Francisco. Canadian flour is also in demand, as well as its oats, barley, and peas. Canadian beef and mutton come into competition with, and I rather fancy are often sold as, best English and Scotch. Canadian apples are popular, while the cheese and bacon from Canada bring higher prices than similar products from the United States. In addition to what may be termed the ordinary productions, grapes and peaches grow and ripen in the open air in some parts of the country, while tomatoes and melons are field crops, as are potatoes. These facts are merely mentioned at this point as showing what the spring, summer, and autumn climate of Canada really is. In Manitoba and the North-West Territories, in some parts of which the winter climate is more severe than in Eastern Canada, between two and three hundred varieties of wild flowers are found in the summer, which transform many parts of the prairies into huge flower gardens, while the smaller and delicious fruits that are cultivated here grow wild all over the country. It is supposed by some people that all work is impossible in the winter. Nothing could be further from the truth. All the industries go on much as usual, and even the Canadian farmer does the same work as his prototype in England during that season. It is true that the Canadian is not able to plough his land at that time of the year, but all the other duties of the farm require attention. Carting can be done much cheaper at that season, when wheeled vehicles are discarded for sleighs, than at any other period, and if there is a scarcity of snow the farmer is the first to complain. The winter in Canada, although cold, is a period of bright sunshine, and no one who has experienced its delights and its pleasures can fail to appreciate what a good country it is to live in. There are a large number of Canadians who annually come to the United Kingdom on business or on pleasure, but at the approach of winter they migrate to their own country. They will tell you that they prefer the dry atmosphere of Canada in the winter, with its blue skies and bright sunshine, to what they at any rate describe as the depressing and damp weather that usually prevails in England from November to March, if not later; and that they feel the humidity of the atmosphere much more than the far severer cold which, according to the thermometer, prevails in the Dominion. The conditions of life in Canada arc so pleasant and so healthful that, but for the thermometer, it may be doubted if the people would often appreciate that they were living in the very low temperatures which that interesting instrument sometimes registers.

What I have said so far naturally paves the way for a short account of the industries of the Dominion. In Canada, as in most other countries, especially in comparatively new communities, the cultivation of the soil is of the first importance, and of the present population it may safely be said that nearly one-half are more or less connected with agriculture. According to the census of 1891, the area of improved lands in Canada was 28,527,242 acres, of which 19,904,826 acres were under crop. There were 464,462 acres in gardens and orchards, and 1 5,284,788 acres in pasture. The increase in lands under crop in 1891 compared with 1881 was 4,792,542 acres. Relatively to the whole area of Canada the area under crop and in pasture was about 10 per cent., so you will sec that there is plenty of room left for those who wish to join us in developing our country. In Manitoba and the organised districts of Saskatchewan, Assiniboia, and Alberta, there are nearly 239,000,000 acres, of which only 7,832,000 acres have been brought into use by farmers and ranchers. There is room for much expansion in the older provinces, and the possibilities in the great west arc practically illimitable. As I have already mentioned, the different provinces grow all the staple cereals and roots, vegetables, and fruits that arc produced in England, and many others that arc not cultivated here in the open air. Over 6000 tons of grapes are annually raised, and the wine growing industry is rapidly developing, while the cattle-raising and dairying industries are of exceptional importance. Not only is enough food of various kinds produced to feed its inhabitants, but large quantities are annually exported, chiefly to the United Kingdom, where Canadian produce of all kinds is becoming well known. The recent controversy on the subject of the admission of Canadian cattle into the United Kingdom will be fresh in your minds, and I only refer to it as demonstrating the importance of the trade. Notwithstanding, however, the restrictions that were imposed, the trade maintains its volume. In spite of the suspicions that were entertained of the health of the Canadian herds, not a single case of contagious disease has been discovered in the Dominion, although more than six years have passed since the Board of Agriculture called attention to the matter. Canadian cheese has now become a staple article of consumption in the United Kingdom. More cheese is imported from Canada than from all the other countries in the world which send that commodity to Great Britain, and compared with the cheese from the United States, with which it particularly comes into competition, it is invariably quoted at a higher price. In 1898, the latest year for which statistics are available, no less than 196,703,323 lbs. of cheese were shipped of the value of $17,572,693, the whole of which came to this country. In 1 868 the export was only $600,000 (£ 1 20,000). The Canadian butter trade used to be much larger than it is at present, and the decrease is no doubt chiefly attributable to the immense expansion of the cheese trade. The Government experts, however, are impressing upon the farmers the importance of winter butter-making, and they quite expect, in the course of a few years, that the export will equal that of cheese. This seems to be rather a bold prophecy, but the experts are men whose opinions are entitled to every respect.

To show the development that has taken place in the agricultural exports of Canada, it is only necessary to say that in 1868 they were valued at 819,000,000 (£3,800,000), while in 1898 they were 877.365,000. No doubt the feeling is becoming prevalent in the United Kingdom that if agricultural produce must be imported, it is advantageous to the Empire that it should come from the colonies, as increased supplies from those sources must lead to the development of the colonial markets for the manufactures of the United Kingdom. In Canada the Government takes a paternal interest in the development of agriculture, and in the welfare of its farmers. There are experimental farms established in various parts of the country at the public expense, affording object lessons to the farmers, and centres where interesting experiments may be tried.

Canada, from her varied geological formation, has the reputation of being immensely rich in minerals, although their exploitation is only just commencing. An American authority has said that “to particularise the undeveloped mineral wealth of this northern land would require volumes.” In Nova Scotia coal, gold, and iron are found. Gold also is worked in smaller quantities in the Province of Quebec, and there are other valuable minerals, such as iron, phosphates, and asbestos. In Ontario iron and copper are abundant, and the gold industry is expected to become an important one in the district north of Lake Superior, and in the country between that great fresh-water sea and the Lake of the Woods. Mines are being worked there now of considerable promise, and fresh discoveries are frequently reported. There are large deposits of silver also, and they can be worked at a profit even at the present prices. Coal has been discovered in the neighbourhood of Sudbury, where very large quantities of nickel also exist. If the deposits of coal should turn out to be of a valuable nature, the discovery is bound to have most important results in the development of the Province of Ontario. In Manitoba and the North-West Territories coal is found all over the country, of qualities ranging from lignite to bituminous and anthracite; and other minerals, including iron. The rivers in the northern part of the Territories all show deposits of gold, some in sufficient quantities to make it profitable for men to work at the gravel during the summer months. But it is British Columbia which probably contains the greatest of the mineral wealth of the Dominion. Minerals of all kinds are found in the fastnesses of the three ranges of mountains which form the province, and coal of good quality, and in immense quantity, is found both on the mainland and on Vancouver Island, the latter containing the best coal on the Pacific Coast. You have all heard of the gold-mining boom in British Columbia forty years ago, when the country was practically inaccessible; and it is worth recalling that law and order were upheld there, and justice properly administered—a very different state of things from that which prevailed in the neighbouring States. In modern days, since the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the development of local navigation, the air has been full of rumours of what might be expected from the province. Immense deposits of silver are known to exist, and are being worked; while gold mining in Southern British Columbia, in the Kootenay district, and in Cariboo, is now attracting attention all over the world. Towns of from 3000 to 5000 people have sprung up in the last two years. American capital is pouring in for the development of the mines, and the matter is also receiving the consideration of financiers in the United Kingdom and in other countries of Europe. Mining experts, who have visited both South Africa and Western Australia, have formed opinions of the vine of the British Columbia deposits as highly favourable, to say the least, as of the deposits in those countries. It will bo remembered that the mountains which in the western portion of the United States have been so prolific a source of wealth, run for many hundreds of miles through Canada, The deposits have only been exploited here and there, and if the indications they give of mineral wealth should be realised, as it is quite expected they will be, British Columbia will in the near future be known in every civilised country. The value of the mineral production of Canada in 1898, published by the Geological Survey, was $37,757,197 (£7>5 5 1,400), including gold, $13,700,000; silver, $2,583,298; coal, $8,227,958; copper,$2,1 59,5 56; nickel,$ 1,820,838; lead,$ 1,206,399. Of coal the deposits are estimated to cover an area of 97,200 square miles. The pig-iron and steel industries are expanding rapidly, and, in fact, Canada is now in a fair way to derive much benefit from the bountiful stores of valuable minerals of all kinds which Providence has placed within her boundaries for the use of the world. [The discovery of the Klondike gold diggings in 1S96, and the proof of the existence of gold over a large area in the Yukon district, of Canada, lias been of the greatest importance in attracting attention to the Dominion. The output of gold in that part for the season of 1S9S is returned approximately at ,£2,000,000, and there is every reason to believe that enormous quantities will be obtained from these phenomenally rieli placer minims during the next few years, as the country is rendered more accessible by lines of communication, and the cost of living reduced to a reasonable point. Last year over 30,000 persons crossed the coast range on their way to the gold-fields, and Dawson City, the chief centre of distribution in the district, is credited with a population of 20,000. The Lake Atlin region, in the extreme northwest corner of British Columbia, is another promising alluvial gold-field discovered in 1S97 and 1S9S. The gravel deposits here are shallow summer diggings, but they cover a wide area, and can be worked a month earlier and a month later than the more distant Yukon gold-fields. The region can be reached from Skaguay in throe days.]

Canada is the land of the forest. In all the eastern provinces the pleasant farms of the present day have mostly been hewn out of the virgin forest. The emigrants who go out now to the provinces of the west have little idea of the hardships that had to be endured by the early pioneers of Canada, who had to clear the land of the trees before it became available for agriculture. Immense areas of timber land still exist in all the eastern provinces, and the lumber industry is a most important one, the exports in 1898 being of the value of nearly $27,000,000. There is an immense stretch of land in Manitoba and the North-West Territories, the fertile prairie land, unencumbered with trees, which are only to be found in clumps or along the river banks. This, of course, makes the land easily adaptable for agricultural purposes, but the settlers realise not only the climatic importance of trees, but their utility and beauty, and their efforts in planting them round their homesteads are receiving hearty support and assistance from the Government experimental farms. But even in the territories north of the great river Saskatchewan there are immense forests stretching away for hundreds of miles. In British Columbia everything is on a large scale. The province covers an area of 383,000 square miles. Its rivers are large, and so are its mountains, and it probably has some of the finest timber on the face of the globe. In the Stanley Park at Vancouver, fir and cedar trees may still be seen with a girth of from 40 to 60 feet, some distance from the ground, and British Columbia toothpicks, as they are called (timber 2 to 3 feet square and 60 feet long), are exported all over the world. The lumber industry is as important in British Columbia as it is in Eastern Canada, and the trade is rapidly developing to large dimensions. There are about 100 varieties of timber trees in Canada, the most important being the pines, spruces, firs, and cedars. But there is also a great variety of valuable hardwood, which supplies the domestic consumption, and contributes largely to the exports. The woodworking industries are naturally extensive and important. They represent an invested capital (1891) of nearly $ 100,000,000, the yearly wages paid amount to $30,680,000 (£6,136,000), and the product is valued at $120,415,000 (£24,083,000). The wood-pulp industry, and the export of wood for pulp-making, have come into prominence in recent years, and in the opinion of experts Canada is bound to secure, in the future, a dominant position in this business.

The immense coast line on the Atlantic and on the Pacific of at least 15,000 miles carries with it large and valuable fisheries. They provide employment for many thousands of hardy fishermen, who form a great reserve of maritime and naval strength for the Empire. Canadian codfish is well known in Europe and South America, and large quantities of other fish are also exported. At the present time it is the Atlantic fisheries which attract the greatest amount of attention; those on the Pacific are equally valuable, and are only waiting for markets to be developed. Canned salmon from the Pacific, and canned lobsters from the Atlantic, the product of the waters of the Dominion, are popular commodities in the United Kingdom. Not only are the salt-water fisheries of the Dominion extensive, but the rivers of Canada teem with fish of many kinds. Salmon and trout are found almost everywhere. The great lakes, the parts of which belonging to Canada are estimated to cover an area of 36,350 square miles, afford excellent fishing, including the exceedingly delicate white fish, and trout and salmon of the largest kinds are abundant in the rivers of the Pacific slope. During the run of salmon up the Fraser River, it is not an uncommon spectacle for the river to be so full of fish that some of them are really forced out of the water upon the banks by the pressure.

This may sound something like a fish story, but it is nevertheless quite true. The commercial value of the fisheries is nearly $22,000,000 per annum (excluding the consumption of the Indians), they employ 70,000 men, and the capital invested in the shape of boats and nets is $10,000,000 (£2,000,000). Since the Confederation it is stated that the fisheries have yielded no less than $460,000,000 (£92,000,000). The yearly exports have increased from $3,357,000 (£671,460) in 1868 to over $10,000,000 (£2,000,000) in 1898. This important industry is also supervised with great care by the Government. It is subject to regulations and close times, and the fish hatcheries do much to replenish the in-shore fisheries. Over 125,000,000 of fry of various kinds were distributed along the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and in the rivers and lakes in the year 1895. The principal commercial fish are salmon, mackerel, herring, cod, haddock, hake, pollack, halibut, smelts, sardines, white fish, trout, and oysters and lobsters.

The manufacturing industry in Canada is comparatively in its infancy, but it is rapidly becoming important, as will readily be gathered when I state that while the census of 1881 showed that the capital invested was $165,000,000 (£33,000,000), and the men employed 254,894, in 1891 these figures had increased $3 5 5,000,000 (£7 1,000,000) and 370,256 respectively. Most of the manufactures are used to supply local consumption, but the export is not inconsiderable, being in 1895 of the value of $26,144,376 (£5,229,000). The number of manufacturing establishments increased from 49,731 in 1881 to 75,968 in 1891, and they include everything from the button to the steam-engine. Most of the villages and towns are centres of manufactures, and the tall chimney is a frequent sight. The country is especially favourably adapted for the development of manufactures, as it possesses abundant water-power, including Niagara Falls, timber in large quantities, and most of the economic minerals, while the facilities for the importation of raw material, and for the distribution of the manufactured article, both internally and externally, are of an excellent description.

There is entire freedom of trade between the different provinces of the Dominion, an area, as already pointed out, equal in extent to the United States, and nearly as large as Europe. There are no means available of accurately estimating what may be deemed the internal, or inter-provincial, trade of Canada, but that it is immense is evidenced by the returns of the freight carried over the railways and canals, and by the statistics of the coasting trade. The imports of Canada for the year ended June 1S98 were valued at $140,323,000 (£28,065,000), as compared with $118,000,000 (£23,600,000) in 1896, while the exports were $164,152,000 (£32,830,000), as against $121,000,000 (£24,200,000) in 1896. To show the development that has taken place since the formation of the Dominion, it may be added that the imports in 1S6S were valued at $73,459,000 (£14,690,000), and the exports at $57,567,888 (£11,513,000). The trade of Canada is naturally largely with the United Kingdom and the United States. The imports from Great Britain consist chiefly of manufactured products, while the imports from the United States are either raw materials, which Great Britain does not export, or manufactured articles in which, from the force of circumstances, she is not able to compete with the great Republic. The export trade in food supplies is largely with the United Kingdom, although the United States is also a customer, but to the latter most of the exports consist of the produce of the mine, the forest, and the fisheries, much of the two first named being properly described as raw materials. Canada also has a large and increasing trade with various countries in Europe, with South America, with China, Japan, and Australasia; and the development of her resources and the improved means of communication to which I have referred in another place, seem to indicate the possibility in the future of a great expansion in her trade. It is gratifying to the colonics to observe that there is a growing feeling everywhere in favour of closer commercial relations between the different parts of the Empire. That the members of one family should trade on slightly better terms than with outsiders does not seem an unnatural proposition, and everything points to some arrangement of the kind in the not distant future. If it is found to be practicable, which I firmly believe, it will be beneficial to the colonies and to the mother country, and add to the strength and power of the Empire.

With regard to the people of Canada, they are, as you are aware, somewhat cosmopolitan in their origin. There are nearly 1,500,000 of what are termed French-Canadians, because many of them still speak the French language. They are descended from the 70,000 settlers who became British subjects in 1763, but although they are termed French-Canadians, Her Majesty has no more loyal subjects than the French-speaking population of the province of Quebec. The remainder of the inhabitants largely consist of those who have sprung from good British stock. There are Scotchmen—I put them first because I am one myself—Englishmen, Irishmen, and Welshmen, and many of the countries of Europe have also contributed their quota. During the last few generations there has been a largely increasing immigration of Germans, of Austrians, and of Scandinavians.

They arc welcomed as enterprising and energetic settlers, and their sons and daughters become as thoroughly British as those whose families have for generations been reared under the British flag. The social conditions prevailing in Canada are much the same as those of the mother country, except that there is no leisured class, and that everybody works. The system of education is largely free, and equal to that in operation in the United Kingdom. Pupils have an opportunity of obtaining a University education at a comparatively small cost. This includes natural science, and the faculty of applied science in the University of McGill, Montreal, is equal to that of any other on the Continent of America or in Europe. It is pleasing to be able to state that all the religious denominations unite together for the purpose of making education popular and effective. In no country in the world has an enterprising man a greater chance of making a success in life than in the Dominion, if he possesses the necessary qualities, and in Canada those qualities have always the chance of making their influence felt. There is no established Church, and many other questions which in England are still the subject of controversy have settled themselves long ago in Canada. The political privileges of British subjects in Canada are also of the widest character. Manhood suffrage may be said, as a general rule, to prevail; but, even in the Dominion, the franchise has not yet been extended to the ladies, although in many other respects, especially in the matter of education, they occupy a position equal to that of the other sex, and there are fewer of them unmarried. Members of Parliament are paid, and there are many opportunities for those who are so inclined to take part in political affairs in the provinces and in the Dominion. Then, again, the municipal system is managed by the people*, and for the people, and it would well repay examination by those who are interested in such subjects. Those who remember the books of their childhood and early youth will know that the aboriginal inhabitants of the Dominion were the Indians, but, in the aspect which was presented to our minds long ago, these are things of the past. In Eastern Canada they engage in industrial pursuits like other people, and the franchise has been extended to them; while in the west they no longer roam at will over the country, but are engaged in agricultural operations on their reserves, under the influence of Government instructors. They are found on the farms working side by side with the paleface. They undertake contracts for freighting, for haying, and for other work; and they supply the North-West Mounted Police with nearly all the hay that is used by that force. In fact, although their numbers cannot be said to increase, they are making much progress in the ways of civilisation, and successive Governments deserve every credit for the efforts they have made, through the medium of industrial schools and otherwise, to make the rising generation capable of taking their part in life under moderate conditions, and of obtaining their livelihood in the same manner as their white brethren. The Hudson’s Bay Company deserve much credit for the way in which they administered the immense territory for so many years under their control. They treated the Indians as men, and thorough confidence existed between the officers of the Company and their proteges. It is that fact which made the transfer of the country and its people to Canada so comparatively easy a matter in 1870.

My object in inviting attention to Canada is twofold. That you would be interested in a short account of Canada, of its resources, and of its people, went, I felt sure, without saying. It occurred to me also that you would recognise that the great necessity of Canada is more people, and that you might be willing to render us your valuable aid in that direction. There is a large emigration from the United Kingdom, a good deal of which goes outside the Empire for want of proper direction. You will gather from what I have stated that in no country can more advantages be obtained by settlers of the right classes than in Canada, and that fact alone may perhaps cause you to interest yourselves in the question. Every one is able to do something to help to disseminate information about our colonies, and to endeavour to direct the movement that takes place, so that it may remain under the British flag. In a new country, as already mentioned, there must necessarily be more openings for the young and energetic than in the older ones, but it must be borne in mind that the same qualities are necessary for success there as elsewhere. A capacity for hard work, energy, and enterprise will make themselves felt anywhere, but nowhere so rapidly, and with such great results, as in a country like the Dominion. People are sometimes sent to the colonies for their country’s good—some of them do well, but many of them fail, and their want of success is not always attributed to themselves. That is not the class we want. You will, I hope, endorse my opinion that Canada is a good place to live in, and that it offers abundant advantages to people of the right stamp who will come over and throw in their lot with us; but we have no room for what may be termed the idle, the thriftless, and the ne’er-do-well portion of the population. No one need fear emigrating nowadays; formerly it was different. The present steamers arc fast and comfortable, and the accommodation is regulated by law. The cost of the voyage is not great, considering the distances, and there are railways to take the emigrant right from the port of landing to his destination. The colonist cars are comfortable, and contain sleeping berths, and ample opportunity is provided of obtaining abundance of cheap food—in fact, it may be said that modern arrangements rob emigration of all its old-time terrors: and persons who go to Canada from this country will find Government agents, to whom they can apply for advice, from the time they start until they reach their new homes, no matter in what part of the country they may be. The people who are particularly wanted in Canada are capitalists, large and small, farmers, farm labourers, and domestic servants. I suppose every country will welcome capitalists, but there are few parts of the world to which they can go with more certainty of success than in the Dominion. The conditions of life are very pleasant, and persons with small incomes will also find many advantages there. Living is cheap, there are plenty of opportunities of enjoyment, plenty of sport to be had, while, as already mentioned, the educational system offers great advantages to those who have families. In any part of the Dominion a farmer either with small or large capital can do well. He can either buy an improved farm in one of the older provinces (they are to be had at very reasonable prices), if he desires to have the social conditions and surroundings to which he has been accustomed, or he can purchase an improved farm at much less cost in Manitoba and the North-West; or take up a free grant of 160 acres of land for himself and each male member of the family over eighteen years of age. Prices of produce have been low for a long time as in England, but in Canada the expenses of a farmer are much less than in England, and the margin of profit is, therefore, greater in any circumstances. In British Columbia improved farms are also to be had, but prices are rather higher there, owing to the fertility of the soil, and to the better rates realised by its produce than in some other parts of the Dominion. Canada, of course, has its drawbacks as well as its advantages, but the latter are generally considered to outweigh the former, which explains the expansion that is continually taking place. Although he is now getting better prices than for some years past, it would be idle to ignore the fact that the Canadian farmer has felt the depression that has been passing over the world, but at the same time the low prices have hit him less hard than farmers in many other countries. This arises from the fact that his land is cheap, taxation is low, labour-saving appliances are in constant use, he is his own landlord, and last, but not least, that he and the members of his family do their own work, and only employ such additional hands as arc absolutely necessary. There is no royal road to fortune by way of agriculture in Canada, any more than elsewhere, but it is a strange circumstance to me that farmers in the old country will go on struggling against adversity, against the force of circumstances, while their capital is being frittered away, when they can go to Canada and farm there, with a smaller capital and with greater chances of success, apart altogether from the advantages they have before them in providing satisfactorily for their growing families. We have room in Canada for thousands of farmers—one might say hundreds of thousands of farmers—and I hope the time is not far distant when Canada will attract the attention its many advantages deserve. If people are doing well in Great Britain one would hesitate to advise them to move unless future considerations prompt it; but those who are contemplating emigration ought to bear in mind what a field the colonies, and especially Canada, offer to them, and the consequences that must follow their development by British hands and muscles.

Farm labourers are always in demand in Canada, although their immigration is particularly advised in the spring months. They get good wages, and if thrifty and hard-working may look forward at no distant date to becoming farmers on their own account, and III c the owners of their own farms. This applies largely to single men, for the reason that cottages are not usually provided on the farms as in the old country. The single men generally live in the farmhouses, and become, as it were, a part of the family. Hundreds of instances could be given where labourers have emigrated who have been successful in the manner described, and one cannot help thinking how much better it would be for the thousands of farm labourers who, in the last few years, have migrated from the English rural districts to the towns if they had gone to Canada, instead of passing a more or less miserable existence among the congested populations which they have helped to swell. In Canada they could have turned their skill to some advantage, while in the English towns they have simply become unskilled labourers, uncertain of employment, living from day to day, and from hand to mouth. There is a great demand everywhere for female domestic servants, both in the country districts and in the towns. Their wages are generally good, although, excepting in Manitoba, the North-West Territories, and British Columbia, not higher than in London; but the homes are comfortable, and the girls seem to have more freedom and more liberty than at home. One of the difficulties Canadian ladies complain of is that their servants get married so quickly, which perhaps, however, the servants do not regard as a disadvantage. No doubt servant girls have a disinclination to travel far away from home, especially if they have to go alone, and are without friends in the places to which they may be going. This difficulty, however, is overcome to a certain extent by the supervision afforded by emigration societies in the United Kingdom, by the Government Agents, and by the Ladies’ Committees which are to be found in most of the Canadian cities and towns.

There are many other matters of interest relating to Canada to which I might have referred, if there had been sufficient space. I have endeavoured to place before the reader some of the considerations that have brought about the unity that exists at the present time between the different parts of the Dominion, the progress that recent years have witnessed, and which enables the most encouraging opinions to be formed of its future. The reader will understand that our greatest needs at the present time are more people and more capital to develop the great resources with which Canada is endowed. Canadians are proud of their country, and they believe in it. They are proud of their connection with the mother country; and their constant endeavour is to make their beloved Dominion not the least important of that family of nations, all under one flair and owning allegiance to one Sovereign, which seems to be the ultimate destiny of our Empire. Its peaceful development and the strengthening of the union of its component parts—socially, commercially, and politically—is a question than which there is none other more important that can engage the attention of British statesmen, whether in the United Kingdom or in the colonies.


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