Laurier, put an end to the negotiations.
In 1877 he was counsel for Great Britain before the Anglo-American fisheries arbitration at Halifax; in 1897 he was a joint delegate to Washington with Sir Wilfrid Laurier on the Bering Sea seal question; and in1898-1899a member of the Anglo-American joint high commission at Quebec.
A gradual severance took place between him and his old chief, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, until in later years he became obsessed with the idea that Laurier's policy was fatal to the best interests of Canada and especially to Quebec. A speaker of extraordinary power and fascination, both in Parliament and on the platform, even Laurier himself could not sway the French Canadians as Bourassa could; and in spite of his extreme views he was heard with respect even in the strongholds of his opponents in Toronto.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier became prime minister, and strengthened the cabinet which he formed by drawing into.
In bringing about a system of penny postage throughout the empire; in forwarding the construction of the Pacific cable to secure close and safe imperial telegraphic connexion; in creating rapid and efficient lines of steamship communication with the motherland and all the colonies; in granting tariff preference to British goods and in striving for preferential treatment of inter-imperial trade; in assuming responsibility for imperial defence at the two important stations of Halifax and Esquimalt, - Canada, under the guidance of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his party, took a leading part and showed a truly national spirit.
As the result of communications during 1897 between Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Secretary Sherman, the governments of Great Britain and the United States agreed to the appointment of a joint high commission, with a view of settling all outstanding differences between the United States and Canada.
The irritation caused by the decision gradually subsided, but at the moment it led to strong expressions on the part of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and others in favour of securing for Canada a fuller power of making her own treaties.
Willison'S Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1903).
SIR WILFRID LAURIER (1841-), Canadian statesman, was born on the 10th of November 1841, at St Lin in the province of Quebec. The child of French Roman Catholic parents, he attended the elementary school of his native parish and for eight or nine months was a pupil of the Protestant elementary school at New Glasgow in order to learn English; his association with the Presbyterian family with whom he lived during this period had a permanent influence on his mind.
One of its few surviving copies contains an article by Laurier opposing confederation as a scheme designed in the interest of the English colonies in North America, and certain to prove the tomb of the French race and the ruin of Lower Canada.
The Liberals of Quebec under the leadership of Sir Antoine Dorion were hostile to confederation, or at least to the terms of union agreed upon at the Quebec conference, and Laurier in editorials and speeches maintained the position of Dorion and his allies.
Sir John Macdonald, then in opposition, had committed his party to a protectionist policy, and Laurier, notwithstanding that the Liberal party stood for a low tariff, avowed himself to be "a moderate protectionist."
But the Liberal government, to which Laurier was admitted as minister of inland revenue in 1877, made only a slight increase in duties, raising the general tariff from 15% to 171%; and against the political judgment of Alexander Mackenzie, Sir Richard Cartwright, George Brown, Laurier and other of the more influential leaders of the party, it adhered to a low tariff platform.
After the defeat of the Mackenzie government, Laurier sat in Parliament as the leader of the Quebec Liberals and first lieutenant to the Hon.
In 1887, upon the resignation of Blake on the ground of illhealth, Laurier became leader of the Liberal party, although he and many of the more influential men in the party doubted the wisdom of the proceeding.
Laurier could hardly have come to the leadership at a more inopportune moment, and probably he would not have accepted the office at all if he had not believed that Blake could be persuaded to resume the leadership when his health was restored.
Five years later, with unrestricted reciprocity relegated to the background, and with a platform which demanded tariff revision so adjusted as not to endanger established interests, and which opposed the federal measure designed to restore in Manitoba the separate or Roman Catholic schools which the provincial government had abolished, Laurier carried the country, and in July 1896 he was called by Lord Aberdeen, then governor-general, to form a government.
Laurier made his first visit to Great Britain on the occasion of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee (1897), when he received the grand cross of the Bath; he then secured the denunciation of the Belgian and German treaties and thus obtained for the colonies the right to make preferential trade arrangements with the mother country.
A skilful party-leader, Laurier kept from the first not only the affection of his political friends but the respect of his opponents; while enforcing the orderly conduct of public business, he was careful as first minister to maintain the dignity of parliament.
In 1882 he entered the local legislature as Liberal member for Halifax, and from 1884 to 1896 was premier and provincial secretary of the province, but in the latter year became finance minister in the Dominion administration of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and was elected to the House of Commons for Shelburne and Queen's county.
This position he held until 1911, when the Laurier Administration was defeated on the TaftFielding Reciprocity Compact with the United States; he was then called upon to form in Oct.
He formed a firm and cordial friendship with the Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier; but that did not prevent him from welcoming and winning the attachment of Sir Wilfrid's successor, Sir Robert Borden.
Willison, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal Party; a Political History (Toronto, 1903); L.
David, Laurier et son temps (Montreal, 1905); see also Henri Moreau, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Premier Ministre du Canada (Paris, 1902); and the collection of Laurier's speeches from 1871 to 1890, compiled by Ulric Barthe (Quebec, 1890).