The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 22, 1911, Image 1

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    The Commoner
VOL. 11, NO. 37
Lincoln, Nebraska, September 22, 1911
Whole Number 557
The Campaign in Canada
The readers of The Commoner may bo in
terested in hearing about the fight over recipro
city in Canada. (Tho election was held
September 21.) I am making a ten-days lec
ture tour through New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,
Prince Edward's Island and Capo Briton Island
under the auspices of tho Y. M. C. A. this
being the only populated section of Canada that
I had not visited. Arrangements were made for
the trip before the parliamentary election was
called, so that this pleasure was unexpected.
The campaign is on and it is getting hotter
and hotter each day at the rate tho tempera
ture is rising it is fortunate that election day
is not far away. I am, following a long estab
lished rule, keeping out of the discussion. I
do not discuss American politics away from
home because foreigners do not understand our
politics, and I do not discuss the politics of tho
countries I visit because I fear I might betray
a lack of understanding of their politics.
But the situation in Canada is so much like
the situation in our country that I am greatly
enjoying tho fight. Tho real issue is the old
economic one between protection and a tariff
for revenue only, colored by a few side issues
.-which we do not have. -The protectionists are
combatting any reduction of the tariff and
threatening dire disaster to Canadian industries
if the wall is lowered.
Manufacturers are giving out interviews and
the anti-reciprocity papers are printing "scare
head" estimates of the number of men who
will be thrown out of employment if recipro
city carries. Here are the views of one promi
nent manufacturer:
"I ask your readers not to misunderstand me.
I am not claiming that our tariff will be im
mediately broken down. For the first year, pos
sibly, things would go smoothly, and an in
creased immigration take place from the
American west; they look forward to the great
advantages that they are to reap in the future.
"We have witnessed in the past an immense
delegation of farmers from the west, which, it
must be conceded, was embarrassing to the
government. How will the government stand,
when farmers' deputations pour in from every
section of tho country demanding free trade?
The only possible excuse to pacify them would
be, 'We must raise our revenue.'
"A revenue tariff, pure and simple, to the
manufacturer, means practically nothing for
them. A revenue tariff is to let goods in, to
collect the revenue. A protective tariff is to
keep them out; to produce them at home, main
taining a healthy, strong labor market, ensur-
ing employment for our own citizens at remune
rative wages, keeping the money in our own
country; building prosperous cities; adding vast
ly to tho value of agricultural lands by creat
ing a home market; creating opportunities for
our rising young men, and ensuring a prosper
ous country."
The friends of reciprocity are, however, well
supplied with papers and they are as energeti
cally picturing tho advantages of freer trade be
tween tho countries. One of these papers pub
lishes the picture of a railway station in China
with the following comment:
"This Is a picture of one of the few railway
stations in China, a country which so fervently
desires to 'let well enough alone' that tho pro
posal to build a new road in tho province of
Szechuan has aroused armed revolt. They fear
tho menace of trade with the outer world.
Local demagogues tell them that it means tho
invasion of their markets, the undermining of
their national independence and ultimate an
nexation. Transportation in China is for tho
most part by means of canals and rivers, and
the roadways are narrow or ill-paved. In some
places grooved stones are laid in the roadway
as a track for wheelbarrows. But the 'let well
alone' party in China is still strong."
The Canadian Pacific railroad is opposing
reciprocity. Sir William Van Home, tho ex
president, "fights for St. John," declares tho
St. John Standard in big headlines. Tho read
ers of the sakl journal are informed that Sir
William "plainly shows the folly of the Laurler
Taft agreoment," etc. Some of the defenders
of reciprocity offset this by publishing an ad
vertisement which appeared in tho window of
the Canadian Pacific land office in Seattle an
nouncing that "Reciprocity will increase Canada
lands one hundred per cent," but this is at once
answered by a telegram from the Seattle agent
who says: "This sign was not authorized by
the Canadian .Pacific Railway company, nor by
me nor by any one in authority in the office
but by a clerk during my absence and was im
mediately removed on my return." How much
this is like the closing days of our campaigns.
The partisanship of the paper amuses the
on-looker. Here is an instance: The St. John
Telegraph says, "Sir Wilfred Laurier Is making
the. greatest campaign of his career. Cheerful,
confident, convincing, the great liberal leader is
everywhere a herald of victory." The St. John
Standard, on tho other hand, (on the same
morning) took its readers into its confidence
and gave them the following bit of information:
"Laurier and loyalty is now the cry of the
'veiled treason' party of 1891. Laurier may be
loyal to Laurier, but he is a traitor to
Canada." And both papers find willing readers.
The newspaper reports of meetings are colored
by tho editorial policy of the papers, and re
call an experience that I had at Creston, Ia
' twenty years ago. The republican paper began
by saying that I had a small crowd, criticised
everything I said and concluded by declaring
that the audience was relieved when I drew my
remarks to a1 close. The democratic paper an
nounced that I had. a large audience, In spite of
the short notice, praised my speech all the way
through and wound up its report with the com
forting assurance that though I talked two
hours the audience would gladly have listened
until morning.
The Canadian papers give reports of meetings
quite as conflicting. Tho St. John Telegraph,
for instance, declares that "Dr. Prigsley ad
dressed two big meetings" and made "victory
sure in Kent," while the Standard assures its
readers that "only seventeen electors turned out
to hear Mr. Prigsley" at one of those meetings,
that "little enthusiasm was dlsDlayed" And that
the voters are "not impressed with the promises
The predictions vary much aa they do In our
own country tho night boforo election. Tho
liberals toll me that Laurier will win with votes
to spare, while the conservatives seem confident
that ho will be boaten. One paper prints a list
of "captaius of industry" who have "come out
against reciprocity" and anothor paper answers
with a list of farmers who have declared for
reciprocity and so it goes.
I am surprised to find that fear of annexa
tion is playing so large a part In tho campaign
waged by the conservatives against reciprocity.
You would suppose, to read the editorials and
tho speeches as reported that there was an active
movement oil foot In tho United States to annex
Canada, whether or no. They quote from Presi
dent Taft's speeches and appeal to tho spirit
of loyalty to Great Britain. The following ex
tract Is made the subject of a cartoon:
" 'I have said that this was a critical time In
the solution of the question of reciprocity. It
Is critical because unless It Is now decided fa
vorably to reciprocity, it is exceedingly probable
that no such opportunity will ever again come
to the United States. The forces which are at
work In England and In Canada to separate her
by a Chinese wall from the United .States, and to
make her part of an imperial commercial band
reaching from England around the world to
England again by a system of preferential tariffs
will derive an impetus from the rejection of this
treaty, and If we would have reciprocity, with
all tho advantages that 1 have described, and
that I earnestly and sincerely believe will fol
low Its adoption, we must take It now, or give
it up forever.' From the speech of President
Taft at the joint banquet of the Associated Press
and the American Newspaper Publishers' As
sociation held In New York on April 27th, 1911."
They quote from Speaker Clark's speech and
from the editorials in i few American papers
and charge that reciprocity is but the thin edge
of the annexation wedge. It would seem ridi
culous were thearguments (?) not so seriously
advanced and were not the consequences likely
to be so unfortunate. Here are two great na
tions side by side with nothing but an unforti
fied boundary line between them; for nearly a
century peace and friendship have existed be
tween them. Now, for partisan purposes, tho
conservatives deliberately appeal to prejudice
and try to make capital by cultivating a spirit
of unfriendliness to the people of the United
.States. The indications are -that the effort will
fail, and yet, the very effort, like the effort of
republicans to prevent tariff reduction in tho
United States by declaring that it was in the
interest of Great Britain, shows how a' pecuniary
interest can blind people to fairness and justice.
It will evidently" be some years yet before
wo are ready for tiie millenium but let us hope
that time will remove prejudice on both sides
of the line and convince both people that econo
mic questions ought to be considered on their
merits and national verdicts rendered upon the
real facts and not on statements colored to suit
the Interests of the party making them.
In opposing the recall In the governor's con
ference, Governor O'Neal of Alabama spoke of
"the caprice of the majority,' and added: "When
you establish an arbitrary recall of judges you
have instituted mob law in this country."
We have already established an arbitrary
selection of judges. What about "the caprice of
the majority" in tho selection of these judges?
Have we in that way "instituted mob law?"