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Volume 220: debated on Monday 29 June 1874

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Sir, seeing the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury in his place, I wish to ask him a Question of which I have given him private Notice. I wish to call his attention to an article which appeared in The Standard this morning impugning the loyalty of the present Canadian Ministry, and to ask whether the following paragraph expresses the views of Her Majesty's Government:—

"Shall we do the Brown-Mackenzie Ministry any injustice in supposing that this prospect was held out deliberately as a bait to the American Government—that they have with fore-knowledge bargained away the independence of their country—that they have designed the Reciprocity Treaty as the instrument for 'cutting the painter?' Taken in connection with their policy in regard to the Pacific Railway, it is hard to resist the conviction that the present Canadian Ministry have conceived the idea of separating from the Empire and of attaching the Dominion to the United States. The money they have grudged to the construction of the Pacific Railway we find them willing to contribute towards the extension of the canals intended for the convenience of the American trade. When it is an Imperial scheme they are called upon to support we perceive them to be cold and niggardly. When it is a project for the immediate aggrandisement of the provinces which support their policy, involving prospective benefits to the States, we discover them to be liberal to prodigality. It is impossible that there can be any other than one conclusion from all this. The policy of the present so-called Liberal Government of Canada aims at the speedy solution of the ties which bind that country to Great Britain."
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, Whether the Government have any ground for considering that the Canadian Ministry have any of the designs indicated in this paragraph?

Sir, the hon. Gentleman has referred to a leading article in The Standard newspaper, and wishes to know whether it expresses the views of Her Majesty's Government. Sir, I have only to say that when Her Majesty's Government wish to express their views, they will express them in the two Houses of Parliament. The hon. Gentleman also inquires whether Her Majesty's Government are aware of any ground for attributing to the Canadian Ministry the designs indicated in the article he has read. I need only say, Sir, that I do not think it the duty of Her Majesty's Ministers to supply grounds for allegations contained in anonymous articles. However, Sir, as I am on my legs, I am glad to he permitted to add that nothing can be more cordial and friendly than the relations between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the Dominion of Canada.