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162
[HISTORY
CANADA

the United States, unduly developed by an extreme system of protection, sought in Canada a slaughter market for their surplus products, to the detriment or destruction of Canadian industries. Meanwhile the republic, which had for many years drained Canada of hundreds of thousands of artisans to work its factories, steadily declined to consider any suggestion for improving trade relations between the two countries. In these circumstances Sir J. Macdonald brought forward a proposal to adopt what was called a “national policy,” or, in other words, a system of protection for Canadian industries. Mr Mackenzie and his chief followers, whose inclinations were towards free trade, pinned their political fortunes to the maintenance of a tariff for revenue only. After some years of fierce discussion in parliament and throughout the country the question was brought to an issue in 1878, when, with a large majority of followers pledged to carry out protection, Sir John Macdonald was restored to power. The new system was laid before parliament in 1879 by the finance minister, Sir Leonard Tilley; and the tariff then agreed upon, although it received considerable modification from time to time, remained, under both Conservative and Liberal administrations, the basis of Canadian finance, and, as Canadians generally believed, the bulwark of their industry. It had almost immediately the effect of lessening the exodus of artisans to the United States, and of improving the revenue and so restoring the national credit.

In October 1878 Lord Dufferin’s term of office expired, and his place as governor-general was taken by the marquess of Lorne, whose welcome to the Dominion was accentuated by the fact that he was the son-in-law of the queen, and that his viceroyalty was shared by the princess Louise. The election of 1878 marked the beginning of a long period of Conservative rule—the premiership of Sir J. Macdonald continuing from that time without a break until his death in 1891, while his party remained in power till 1896. This long-continued Conservative supremacy was apparently due to the policy of bold and rapid development which it had adopted, and which appealed to a young and ambitious country more strongly than the more cautious proposals of the Liberal leaders. As soon as the government had redeemed its pledge to establish a system of protection a vigorous Completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway. railway policy was inaugurated. A contract was made with a new company to complete the Canadian Pacific railway within ten years, on condition of receiving a grant of $25,000,000 and 25,000,000 acres of land, together with those parts of the line already finished under government direction. After fierce debate in parliament these terms were ratified in the session of 1881. The financial difficulties encountered by the company in carrying out their gigantic task were very great, and in 1884 they were compelled to obtain from the Dominion government a loan of $20,000,000 secured on the company’s property. This loan was repaid by 1887. Meanwhile the work was carried forward with so much energy that, five years before the stipulated period of completion, on the 7th of November 1886, the last spike was driven by Mr Donald A. Smith (Lord Strathcona), whose fortune had been largely pledged to the undertaking, along with those of other prominent Canadian business men, especially Mr George Stephen (Lord Mountstephen), Mr Duncan McIntyre, and Mr R. B. Angus. Under the energetic management of Mr (later Sir) W. C. Van Home, who was appointed president of the company in 1888, the new railway soon became the most prominent feature in the development of the country; lines of steamships were established on the great lakes and the Pacific; a stream of immigration began to flow into the prairie region; and the increasing prosperity of the railway had a poverful influence in improving the public credit.

Even before the Canadian Pacific railway was fully completed, it proved of great service in a national emergency which suddenly arose in the north-west. With the organization of Manitoba and the opening of improved communication immigrants began to move rapidly westward, and government surveyors were soon busy laying off lands in the Saskatchewan valley. The numbers of the half-breed settlers of this district had been increased by the migration of many of those who had taken part in the first uprising at Fort Garry. Influenced by somewhat similar motives, Riel’s rebellion. fearing from the advance of civilization the destruction of the buffalo, on which they chiefly depended for food, with some real grievances and others imaginary, the discontented population sent for Riel, who had been living, since his flight from Fort Garry, in the United States. He returned to put himself at the head of a second rebellion. At first he seemed inclined to act with moderation and on lines of constitutional agitation, but soon, carried away by fanaticism, ambition and vanity, he turned to armed organization against the government. To half-breed rebellion was added the imminent danger of an Indian uprising, to which Riel looked for support. The authorities at Ottawa were at first careless or sceptical in regard to the danger, the reality of which was only brought home to them when a body of mounted police, advancing to regain a small post at Duck Lake, of which the rebels had taken possession, was attacked and twelve of their number killed. Volunteers and militia were at once called out in all the old provinces of Canada, and were quickly conveyed by the newly constructed line of railway to the neighbourhood of the point of disturbance. Major-general Middleton, of the imperial army, who was then in command of the Canadian militia, led the expedition. Several minor engagements with half-breeds or Indians preceded the final struggle at Batoche, where Gabriel Dumont, Riel’s military lieutenant, had skilfully entrenched his forces. After a cautious advance the eagerness of the troops finally overcame the hesitation of the commander in exposing his men, the rifle pits were carried with a rush, and the rebellion crushed at a single stroke. Dumont succeeded in escaping across the United States boundary; Riel was captured, imprisoned, and in due course tried for treason. This second rebellion carried on under his leadership had lasted about three months, had cost the country many valuable lives, and in money about five millions of dollars. Clear as was his guilt, Riel’s trial, condemnation and execution on the 16th of November 1885, provoked a violent political storm which at one time threatened to overthrow the Conservative government. The balance of power between parties in parliament was held by the province of Quebec, and there racial and religious feeling evoked no slight sympathy for Riel. But while a section of Quebec was eager to secure the rebel’s pardon, Ontario was equally bent on the execution of justice, so that in the final vote on the question in parliament the defection of French Conservatives was compensated for by the support of Ontario Liberals. In the end 25 out of 53 French members voted in justification of Kiel’s punishment. With him were executed several Indian chiefs who had been concerned in a massacre of whites. Painful as were the circumstances connected with this rebellion, it is certain that the united action of the different provinces in suppressing it tended to consolidate Canadian sentiment, and the short military campaign had the effect of fixing public attention upon the immense fertile territory then being opened up.

The general election of 1882 turned chiefly upon endorsement of the national policy of protection; in that of 1887 the electoral test was again applied to the same issue, while Sir John Macdonald also asked for approval of the government’s Macdonald’s
fiscal
policy.
action in exacting from Riel the full penalty of his guilt. On both issues the Conservative policy was upheld by the electors, and Macdonald was continued in power with a large parliamentary majority. From the election of 1887 the Riel agitation ceased to seriously influence politics, but the fiscal controversy continued under new forms. Between 1887 and 1891 a vigorous agitation was kept up under Liberal auspices in favour of closer trade relations with the United States, at first under the name of Commercial Union and later under that of Unrestricted Reciprocity. The object in both cases was to break down tariff barriers between the United States and Canada, even though that should be at the expense of discrimination against Great Britain. The Conservative party took the position that commercial union, involving as it would a common protective tariff against all other countries, including the motherland,