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Government policy reviewed. Being a series of articles on the political situation in this province, as… 1894

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Series of Articles
The Political Situation

Victoria, B. C.
"The Colonist" Steam Presses,
The Conditions which Entered Into the Administration of the Affairs of the Province.
Effect upon the Development during Recent Years
—True Standard of Success.
No. 1.
In reviewing the policy of a government
extending over a period of years, we must
take into account all the conditions which
have effected the country during such time.
The success or failure of an administration
must be judged not so much according to
any fixed standard of policy, as according
to the degree of conformity with conditions
as they present themselves.
Systems everywhere depend upon the individual character and ability of men entrusted with their carrying out. This has
been strikingly illustrated so often in
history that examples are unnecessary. If we take, for instance,
the relations of France and Great
Britain with their American colonies,
extending over a period during which New
France and New England formed the major
divisions of the North American continent,
we find that events shaped themselves very
largely as the home authorities understood
and acted upon Colonial needs. Under the
enlightened policy of Colbert, New France
grew and prospered. When the fatuous influence of Madame Pompadour ruled the
French Court, it famished instead of flourishing.      The   wise   and vigorous policy of
Pitt strengthened and extended British
power in America, while the " crass 1 policy
of North proved as disastrous as the administration of Pitt had been succsssful.
The secret of success in every instance
was the adaptation of policy to the demands
of the times as conditions were developed
and were varied.
Coming to British Columbia, the history
of the Province since confederation is
divided into two distinct periods, the one
prior and the other subsequent to the construction of the C.P.R. The former period
was governed by conditions materially different from those existing now. Without
railway communication progress was necessarily very slow, and Government
was confined to a narrow groove. In
a long wait for the anticipated new order
of things it settled down to one main consideration, viz: the equilibrium of revenue
and expenditure. With a limited population and limited trade and industry, revenue
depended to a large extent upon Dominion
subsidies and land sales. Out of this state
ef affairs grew the British Columbia land
policy, or in other words, the selling of
lands in large tracts. For this | evil," the
Government as a whole, dating  it  back to 2
the first, has been roundly condemned by
those who are wise in their day and generation, and who talk glibly about what now
appears, without consideration of  the past.
Doubtless if the government had all these
lands now and could sell them to settlers for
settlement purposes only the country would
be much better off. This is easy to say by
men who came here in prosperous latter
davs and who are oblivious of all that is
gone bsfore, but when we consider that
upon land sales tor many years the government had to depend for revenue, and that at,
a time too when it could offer few inducements for settlement, we see that such a
policy was unavoidable, there was only one
other course to pursue in order to provide ordinary revenue, and that was to borrow money.
That would have been unwise, even had it
been practicable; but it was not practicable.
British Columbia had up to very recently no
borrowing status, and the few loans it did
effect were obtained at high rates of interest, which stood until very lately a disadvantage to the Province, necessitating the
process of conversion, about which we have
heard so much, in order to obtain a financial
rating in the money market. To this conversion and consolidation of our debt is
largely due the fact that our securities are
second in the colonial list and our 3 per
cents have sold at 92.
It may be, that the men who purchased
the lands in the early days were speculators,
but they were purchasers when there were
few settlers and could be but few until railways were built. These lands when sold
became revenue producing and have been so
ever since. The policy by which this was
possible may have been a mistake, but it
was one which all Governments had to pursue in British Columbia. It was the policy
which the present leader of the Opposition
had to pursue when in the Government.
There are times when Governments, like individuals, have to choose between
evils,    and    the     choice    in    this    Prov
ince was between selling lands or
stagnation. The men who bought did so
to hold in order to realize when railways
would bring population and capital. It was
a speculation founded on strong faith in the
future and involved more risk than many
would undertake now. For many of the
purchasers it proved a long and tedious
wait and eventually a terrible disappointment, and it is a question of to-day if the
Province did not make a much better bargain than those same speculators. Further
than that there is not to-day a member of
the Opposition who is or was avowedly opposed to the land policy of the Government
who has toot participated as far as his means
would permit, and in many instances much
farther, in the opportunities which the policy
. afforded. We call it " policy," but it was
really a necessity.
We are now comparing two eras, that
antedating the C.P.R. and the present,
which may be designated as the old and the
new. In the old regime the main desideratum of governing was that of making ends
meet while waiting for the era of development to arrive. The two problems which
the legislative pioneers of British Columbia
had attempted and successfully mastered
were confederation and railway negotiations. They paved the way for great things,
and until they bore their legitimate fruits
the Province, with its limited sources of income, had to rest on its oars. It was obliged to live" on its capital in the meantime.
That capital was its public lands.
No other province in Canada and perhaps
no country in the world, with &o many drawbacks, has succeeded so well, and all honor
is due to those pioneer statesmen that
they laid the foundations of a common-
wealth so surely and well preserved the balances of revenue and expenditure and kept
out of debt. Judged by the standard of
practical government, they fully understood the needs and opportunities of their
province   and   adapted   their  measures to 3
the conditions as they found them and as
they were likely to develop.
With the completion of the C. P. R. came
what was practically a new era, and a new
population with aims, it is true, somewhat
similar that was to make a fortune in a new
country, but with a set of ideas moulded
under conditions of old and settled communities. There was at once the commingling of the old and the new, and it would be
strange if peifect harmony- should prevail
and assimilation be complete. The newer
and more aggressive element demanded
much and the transition was necessarily
attended by some conflict of ideas.
Henceforward the policy of the Government was not to be a waiting or inactive one,
but one of development in line with the
opening up of the country, the result of
railway communication, and the present administration, which is the legitimate successor of the Government then in power,
is to be judged by the methods pursued in
grappling with the problems presenting
themselves. If it can be shown that it
has failed to comprehend the needs
of the country, to understand the
altered requirements of a new order
of    things    and    to   adapt   its   measures
and its methods so as to ensure progress
and the development of great natural re"
sources, then it is for the electors to consider whether the reins of power should not
be entrusted to another set of men, who,
though untried and whose capacity for government is an unknown quantity, promise
to do better. If, on the other hand, it can
be shown that the present Government has
kept fully abreast and well in advance of
the requirements of the Province, that
its administration has been coincident with progress on every hand,
that the population has largely increased, the revenue expanded, the credit
of the Province been raised to a high rank
compared with that of other provinces and
countries, that railway and mining development has been substantial and rapid, that
extraordinary educational facilities have
been provided, that social and industrial
rights have been carefully guarded, that
our political institutions are free and untrammelled, and the moral and political tone
of the country is pure and healthy, then it is
clear that it is worthy of the confidence of
the country, and it is the bounden duty of
the electorate, making due allowance for
what is human and fallible in all governments, to return it to power. THE PROBLEMS OF GOVERNMENT.
Condition  of the Country Seven Years Ago  as
Compared with its Present Status.
The Government Entitled to Credit for a Policy of
Wise Expenditure in Development.
No. 2.
We have drawn the broad line of demarcation between the old and new regimes
in British Columbia at the time of the completion of the C. P. R , and we may, therefore, take 1887 as the starting point of the
new era of development in this Province.
The Government of the day was confronted with a series of important problems
forced on it by conditions somewhat new
and yet all the physical difficulties to surmount which a country of vast extent, rugged exterior and rich but varied and widely
distributed resource could present, were
First of all, to use a mining metaphor, it
was an expensive claim, very inaccessible,
into which the main tunnel of the C.P. R.
had been run. There were development
works to establish, numerous shafts to sink
and many cross cuts and drifts to make.
Then there were the social, educational and
political needs of a large body of workers to
look after, all necessitating much energy,
large administrative ability and immense
expenditure. It was an undertaking fraught
with many difficulties and great responsibilities. We have now arrived at a period of
stock-taking and general reckoning up, when
the directorate has to render an account of
its stewardship to the stockholders. A balance sheet has now to be presented prior to
the election of officers. Have results justified renewed confidence in and the re-election of the management ? That is, we take
it, the question now to decide.
Throwing metaphor aside, let us look at
the country at that time. Practically speaking, there was no city of Vancouver, or at
least was not a year or two previous. Bur-
rard Inlet was surrounded by forest. Westminster was a small town, The Westminster
district, with the exception of a few settled
tracts, was populated by straggling settlers
and intersected but by one main trunk road.
The glory of Cariboo was departing. Lil-
looet and Yale had cattle ranches at
long intervals, and a few incipient mining
camps, rich in prospect but circumscribed
by lack of opportunity. Kamloops was the
one town of the interior, a trading post.
The rich valleys of the Okanagan were yet
regions for discovery and were but little
known, and travellers wondered at what
they saw and were interviewed as one might
now be returning from the Peace river country.    Their possibilities were little under-
i r
stood, or at least by few. At most there
was but a general notion of their possible
importance. The great triangular district
of Kootenay was a lone land, a wilderness,
accessible only over long, circuitous mountain trails and inland water stretches by
canoe. It was regarded as a mineralized
area of indefinite value, about which some
curiosity had been excited owing to the
tales of prospectors, but the rich argentiferous lodes that have since been disclosed
were then not dreamed of.
Going north the great Chilcotin plateau,
yet isolated, with its millions of acres of fertile valleys, had only been traversed by explorers seeking gold or a possible railway
route. In fact, what was known about the
i greater part of British Columbia at the time
to which we refer, was little more than was
known many years before, through traders,
prospectors and explorers, and the greater
part of our knowledge was referrable ' to
notes of those infrequent travellers. We
are speaking now of the ken of the general
public, and this will scarcely be denied.
Individually, many of the old British Columbians had travelled over a good deal of
the Province, and to these intrepid pioneers
we are indebted for a great deal of our
present knowledge.
Such a description in outline of a Province
might read as a story of long ago, but when
it applies to a period compassed within a de-
jade, it emphasizes what people engrossed
with current events forget about the accomplishments of a few years, what politicians
of a day, ephemeral seekers after notoriety,
seek to ignore, beclouding public issues with
the by-play of a single session of Parliament,
for that is what it amounts to. If electors
were to be deceived by representations such
as these gentlemen place before them, they
would commit the blunder of generals who
burned bridges that had safely carried their
armies across and then found themselves a
prey to the enemy.
" For my monument, look around you,"
was the simple inscription placed on the
commemorative tablet in honor of the
architect Wren, whose remains rested beneath the great monumental pile, the creation of his own genius. To note what has
been accomplished during the last seven or
eight years in British Columbia we have
simply to look around us. We are not so
foolish as to say that the present Government did all this. Progress in this Province
was due to a combination of circumstances,
ulterior as well as internal. Governments
in these matters are only entitled to credit
to the extent to which their efforts contribute to advancement. But as we pointed
out in a previous article, results are very
largely influenced by the policy of the men
in power, whereby opportunities are taken advantage of or disregarded as the case may be.
It is true that British Columbia is to day
suffering a severe depression in common
with the world, but that her lot is not so
bad as that of many other countries is because, as was the case of the Dominion as a
whole, her policy while liberal and progressive, has been careful and conservative,
and thus the credit of the Province has been
conserved. The extremes in this matter are
well exemplified in the United States, the
South American Republic and the Australian
Colonies, where complete collapse has been
brought about by reckless expenditure of
public monies on public works and in many
other ways.
But while revenue has been expanding,
trade increasing, assessed value doubling up
and credit strengthening, if the Government
is not to be credited with some share of the
praise due to such a state of affairs, at least
the cry that the country is going to the
dogs, as the result of misgovernment, cannot be accepted except as a political calumny
perpetrated by men who for selfish purposes
have placed party ends above patriotism.
Of late an endeavor has been made to offset the apparent effects of expenditure in
development works, in roads and bridges, in 6
public buildings, to meet the requirements
of the various growing communities, in educational facilities and the like, by the hue
and cry that the appropriations for these
purposes are attempts to bribe the electors
with their own money. Of course, this is a
hackneyed expression which has been worn
threadbare in many a political contest the
world over, and for which the opposition
are no more entitled to originality of thought
than the parrot is which glibly screams in
every quarter of the Anglicised globe,
1 Polly wants a cracker."
Take Vancouver, where such a large
amount of money was required for educational purposes and for public buildings, did
Mr. Cotton ever raise his voice in parliament and say that his city was not entitled
to it ? and that the money should not have
been spent ? Did Mr. Brown oppose a subsidy to the bridge over the Fraser at New
Westminster ? Did he say it was a wrong
thing to bribe the people with their own
money in this way ? Did Mr. Semlin object
to the moneys spent in Yale ? Do the people in Kootenay say that the expenditure
there was in excess of their requirements
for trails, wagon roads and railways ? Have
Messrs. McKenzie and Keith complained
that Nanaimo and district got more than it
was entitled to and the improvement was
lavishly buying up support there ? Examine their whole contention and you will
find that the details of their charges are lacking, and their speech is in the generalities in which demagogues the world over
love to declaim. It has, however, been
charged that the Government wasted money
voted for specific purposes, that it has been
frittered away. This was a favorite theme
and especially did Mr. Beaven, Mr. Brown
and Mr. Kitchen love to dwell upon it.
Now, then, we are pleased to come down to
particulars and challenge the Opposition to
show where in this Province for the last
seven years the Government has spent more
in any important respect on any particular
public service than was required of it. The
campaign is still young and the Opposition
has ample opportunity to prove its case.
The challenge is broad enough in all conscience.
We half suspect, however, what the Opposition have been driving at, although they
have never had the courage to put it in that
way. What they desire to say is that had
the various minor works on roads and trails,
etc., been let out at contract by tender instead of by day labor there would have
been a great saving. There is no other conclusion to be arrived at. This may or may
not be true. The question is, which is the
proper principle to adopt, contract or day
labor ? Have the Opposition ever formulated the policy in the House that the principle of day labor in carrying out these public works was a wrong one, that every job
should be let by contract to the lowest
tenderer ? The issue then resolves itself
into this : Did the Government pay too
much wages for the work that was done ?
It devolves upon those who say otherwise to
advance the proof. Members of the present
Government assert that they have been the
true friends of the workingman. We think
it is easy to demonstrate how in a variety of
ways this is true, and we are willing to rest
the verdict in this particular matter upon
whether day labor is or is not an essential
plank in the policy of workingmen's organizations the world over. A STRIKING EXAMPLE.
Expenditure on Works of Development has Made
Canada Great.
British Columbia's Progress Must be on the Lines
of the Dominion.
No. 3.
The Government of Canada lent to the
Grand Trunk something over $15,000,000,
which with interest now amounts to over
$25,000,000, the Intercolonial Railway
cost about $55,000,000, the Prince Edward Island about $3,750,000, the Canadian Pacific and Branches about $63,500,-
000, the Canada Central about $1,525,000,
other railways about $7,000,000; which
up to end of 1892 amounted to $155,775,
000; tbe Canals have cost over $70,000,
000; Public Works $50,000,000, total
$275,775,000. Of this sum $190,000,OOOis
credited or rather debited to Capital ac"
count since Confederation.
When we add to this vast sum what
was spent for steamship subsidies and in
other ways intended to develop the latent
resources of half a continent and for the
purpose, as one writer expressed it, of
overcoming th 3 physical barriers to communication and of welding a series of disconnected provinces into a compact
whole, we can best appreciate the wisdom
of a policy of expenditure which, though
it brought the gross debt of Canada from $93,000,000 in 1867, to $295,
000,000 in 1892, and the net debt from
$76,000,000 to $241,000,000 in the same
time, or in other words was trebled in
twenty-five years ; on the other hand it
trebled the assets, and advanced the credit of the country, so that while the debt
trebled the amount of interest only about
doubled and the net rate of interest was
reduced from 4.51 to 2.93.
The consequence of this was an expansion of trade, which, for its steady and
substantial character, is unrivalled by
comparison. The total trade in 1867 was
$130,000,000, in 1892 it was $240,000,000,
and to-day the trade of Canada has overtopped its record and this despite the
fact that universal depression has reigned
for a recent period during which the
trade of nearly every other country has
seriously diminished.
Revenue rose from $14,000,000 in 1868
to $37,000,000 in 1892.
Canada in  that time has spanned the
J 8
continent with a railway and provided a
net-work of railways for the people. She
has created the most gigantic system of
canals in the world ; and she has established steamship lines, diverting trade of
the world through her territory and opening up vast possibilities for her future in
this respect.
All of this has been accomplished as
the result of a wise and statesmanlike
and far-seeing policy of public expenditure. Canada has sown liberally that
she might reap plentifully.
Her public debt, now that she has
practically completed those great public
works of necessity, has reached a point of
equilibrium from which it will recede,
while her sources of revenue will expand
more and more rapidly as the problem of
development works itself out more and
more fully.
The circumstances which affected Canada in a large way affect British Columbia in a proportionately smaller way,
only that the physical conditions—of
natural barriers to development—are
more pronounced in the latter case.
British Columbia has, comparatively
speaking, a harder problem of success to
solve, and therefore the moral of the conditions and events out of which were
evolved great results in Canada, applies
with greater force in this Province.
In proportion to our means and populations, British Columbia has a greater
task in order to meet the requirements of
development than Canada had. The ex-
tensive area of country, the long distances
intervening between settlements, the
rugged exterior of the Province and the
many other well known obstacles to surmount in the way of communication, all
render the expenditure of large sums of
money absolutely necessary to effect the
desired ends—settlement, intercommunication and development of industry. If
it were not known that the Province was
abundant in resources from end to end,
the Government would not be justified in
entering upon a policy of opening it up.
But, our great, varied riches conceded, to
reach and develop them, we must have
railways, roads, bridges, schools and all
other facilities which modern requirements demand.
We must stop or go ahead.
To go ahead means money.
Above all the necessity of this new
country is railways. In a country where
railway construction is difficult, population small, home trade limited, and returns largely in the future, capital will
not unaided undertake what we have not
sufficient faith to undertake ourselves.
In no country has investment in railways
proved fairly remunerative. Experience
extending over a number of years has
proved this. Only India and Germany,
with dense populations, can earn over 5 per
cent, in capital, the average being 3^ per
cent. There are thirteen countries earning
over .the average and eleven less than the
average. What, then, may be expected
in British Columbia ? In the United
Kingdom the interest on railway capital
has varied in thirty-five years from 3.7
per cent, to 4.1 per cent., ard that with
a population of 35,000,000.
There is only one course open in order
to secure and advance railways, and that
is to assume burdens of debt and look
for indirect returns in the increase of
revenue and population.
From all parts of the Province come
demands for expenditure in every form.
No member of Parliament, Opposition or
supporter, has ever opposed the Government for expenditure in his own district. 9
/ On the other hand, each representative
has complained that his particular district
has been unjustly dealt with.
Yet, when the aggregate of expenditure
comes to be considered, those in Opposition assert that the country is going to
the dogs because revenue does not keep
pace with expenditure.
No one with reason and pommon sense
can maintain that at the present stage
such a thing is possible. The Government borrowed money with the assent of
Parliament, and the country depends on
works of development. That money has
been expended and is being expended for
the purposes for which it was voted and
intended and the country is benefiting by it.
We have the direct and unmistakable
results of it in two particular instances.
Take West Kootenay and Yale. Five
years ago West Kootenay was a wilderness,
when Nelson and Kaslo and all the rest
of the aspiring towns there were unknown
and unthought of. There was practically
no communication into it. To-day we
find six or seven well established lines of
communication, with several more immediately in prospect. We find a number
of budding and promising towns and a
rapidly growing and sturdy population of
about 10,000, numerous mining camps,
large quantities of ore being shipped and
all the evidences of a growing community,
with prospects of being second to none in
importance in the Province. Such progress is phenomenal even in the West,
and was not possible without large expenditures from the Provincial Treasury,
which is reaping in return substantial
revenues from that district. Had the
Government stopped to consider the balancing of revenue and expenditure West
Kootenay would have been, comparatively speaking, a wilderness to-day.
In Yale we find a similar illustration of
this policy of expenditure. Without the
Shuswap & Okanagan railway it would
have been still entered by stage coaches.
As it is, the people of British Columbia
point with pride to the valley of the
Okanagan, just now through railway and
steamboat facilities entering upon a
period of great development.
When we consider the stimulating
effects of railways in these districts and
in regard to Vancouver, Victoria, Westminster and Nanaimo during the past five
or six years, we may easily judge of what
the projected enterprises in regard to
Chilliwack, Delta, Nicola, Cariboo, and
so on, will produce.
The Government, of course, cannot
proceed to do everything at once. It has
evidenced the willingness to do all it can
and as fast as it can. There is the mean
between undue and lavish expenditure
and parsimony to observe, and this it has
carefully endeavored to do.
There have been besides railways and
roads and bridges to build many other
wants to take into consideration, judicial
administration, hospitals, asylums ar.d
the promotion of the agricultural interests in various ways, mining, etc., and
the administration of public service, besides the duty of educating the young, in
which the Province has expended very
large amounts.
The conservation, protection and promotion of all these interests the Government has endeavored to consider and
still keep the revenue and expenditure
within reasonable bounds. With all this
the debt has not much exceeded the
limits of that of one or two of the leading
cities of the Province.
If the Government and the people have
faith in the future of this Pi ovince, they 10
must stake on its future. It must follow
out a liberal and judicious policy of development and trust to the results of such
a policy in making the Province risher
and greater in return. We are all here
because we are sanguine of the future.
If we do not believe that what is necessary to accomplish our hopes is feasi^e
and possible, then we had better organize
a general exodus.
If the people of the Province are not
to be inspired by the example and success
of the Dominion in carrying out the
greatest system of public works in proportion to the population the world ever
knew, and in the face of tremendous
financial and physical difficulties, then
there is but one of two conclusions to
arrive at : either that the Province is not
worthy of the effort or that the people
are not worthy of the Province. A HELPING HAND.
How the Era of Hard Times has been Tided Over
and Depression Relieved
By Expenditure in Needed Public Works—Bright
Prospects of Immediate Revival.     |
NO.     4:.
We have indicated some of the conditions which affected the development of
this Province. We have shown, and it
is contended very conclusively, that the
policy pursued was in harmony with the
expanding elements in our Provincial
growth and the only successful policy
possible to pursue.
Looking over the controversial issues
of politics for the past seven or eight
years, we find that until very recently
the Government of British Columbia has
been blamed more particularly for not
going ahead fast enough. Its course has
been described by those now seeking to
take the lead in public affairs as 1 tardy."
It has been even designated as the representative of " Mossbackism."
Now, however, since the tide of speculation has been turned or held back, and
we have been swept by the tail end of
the comet of hard times, the I evil | influences of which have been severely felt
in nearly every country in the world, we
find these aspiring politicians endeavor
ing to get astride, of the same comet's tail
and swing into power, crying that the
Government have been too lavish and are
bankrupting the Province. The endeavors
of such men who, professing to be in
favor of development, condemn the
spending of money, would indicate some
policy of nebulous inflation whereby by a
paper fiat they would create money and
capital to build up a country without
pledging the country's credit for it.
Their position is anomalous and preposterous.
The truth is, the Government of British
Columbia has been liberal, while conservative. It has made mistakes. What
Government has not ? Even the "heaven-
born financier | who rules the editorial
columns of the News-Advertiser, and
aspires to be the next Premier, will admit the possibility of even the greatest of
men, among whom he modestly classes
himself, making mistakes. The Government has spent money where it deemed
it necessary, and   held  back where the 12
burdens of the Province would have
been unduly increased. Had it listened
to all the demands for expenditure from
all quarters, it would have truly bankrupted its resources. Now that hard
times are upon us, and the necessity for
retrenchment in every line of business is
necessary, the wisdom of conservatism in
public undertakings in the past is apparent. The result is that while business
men have been hauling in sail on all
sides, the Government, with unimpaired
credit, is able to go ahead, and thus materially ease the financial stringency by
carrying on needful public works. During
the past two years had it not been for
these public works the suffering experienced would have been greatly augmented.
The results of a contrary policy have
been strikingly illustrated in the United
States, Australia and South America.
While times were good the Government
in those countries spent money lavishly.
When depression set in, their financial
resources and credit being crippled, the
cessation of payments brought about a
general collapse, and the Governments
were unable to lend a helping hand, having already depleted their reserve forces.
At the close of the fiscal year, ending
June 30, 1893, there was a deficit of $44,-
888,296. This gave a monthly deficit of
$6,412,830. If the expenditure goes on
exceeding the revenue at this rate to the
end of June, there will be a deficit of
over $72,000,000. The spectacle of
Coxey's army marching on to Washington is unique in history, and exemplifies
a condition of affairs brought about by
disregaid of the lessons of history and the
principles of stable government. Coxey's
army may be, and undoubtedly is, a
'*crank"  movement, doomed to dismal
failure except as a finger-post in United
States history and a monument to hard
times, but it is a legitimate political product. The Argentine Republic failures
were the beginning of the grea£ monetary
depression. The Australian collapse set
it in full tide, and the American so-
called u silver question " was its culmination.
These things all reacted on British Columbia, depending as it did largely on
foreign capital, and a very marked progress has been temporarily checked ; but
the remarkable fact is here to be noted
that British Columbia, outside of the
Dominion of Canada, South Africa and
New Zealand, is about the only Province
or country—to speak of it in that respect
—which has been able during a period of
extreme depression to carry on public
works in a greater degree even than before, without impairing its credit or
straining its finances. Since the completion of the C.P.R. there has never been
such activity in railway construction or
so many public works of benefit and
necessity as at present in progress,  or
within the past two years.
The wisdom of the Government has
been shown in not having lost its head
during good times, and being able during
bad times to carry on uninterruptedly a
sj stem of wise expenditure. It is during
such times as these, when the ordinary
avenues of expenditure for private and
business purposes are closed up and
economies everywhere are effected, that a
wise and liberal policy of expenditure is
necessary to offset the hardships of labor
and tide over the financial difficulties oppressing rich and poor alike. It is not in
our case either, as it was in the Province
of Quebec, when the Government set the
unemployed at work in the old capitol to
■ 13
pull down the walls and build them up
again in order to supply work. We
have unfortunately our unemployed, but
in one way or other we have been able to
provide them with means of subsistence
without resort in any important degree
to charity methods. The works carried
on by the Province now and in the past
have been necessary and useful works,
such as would have been justified at any
time and all the more welcome now.
It was Sir Leonard Tilley we think
who, after inaugurating the National
Policy, advised the people of Canada to
clap on all sail for the next seven years,
because in the cycle of events hard times
would come again. His prescience probably was better than his advice. During
the boom times our Government did not
clap on all sail, but on the other hand, it
was said, was over conservative and slow.
Had it done so we would not to-day have
been in the position to branch out in expenditure when most needed.
Already we see the unmistakable signs
of a return of great prosperity in this
Province. For some years the lumber
industry, which has struggled along
against heavy odds, is reviving. The
Hastings Mills, one of the leading export
mills in the Province, has already charters ahead sufficient to keep it employed
for the rest of the year and is now in full
blast. Victoria, for the first time in its
history, is loading lumber for foreign
markets. Other mills are starting up
and the prospecs are excellent.
Kootenay has millions of dollars worth
of ore in sight, and the Nelson Tribune,
we think it was, prophesied that $12,000,-
000 worth of silver would go out in 1894.
By the end of the year it will have three
systems of railway, tapping its marvellously rich metalliferous lodes.
One of the largest hydraulic mining
propositions in America is materializing
in Cariboo, where half a million dollars is
being spent by one company, who look
for $1,000,000 as the first season's cleanup. On the Eraser, on the Thompson,
in the Big Bend country and in many
other places, the greatest activity in hy-
draulicing is being shown, with prospects
of an abundant return.
Another good season in canning salmon
is anticipated, and as a successful inauguration of the deep sea fishing has been accomplished, we may look for a steady development of this most important of our
resources. In finding a market for our
halibut, our fresh salmon and cured fishes
of all kinds, the gordian knot has been
cut and henceforward the export of fish
will be a large one.
There was never a time either in which
so much interest has been manifested in
our agricultural interests, and now that
the element of speculative real estate
values has been eliminated, farming
seems to have started on a course of leeri-
timate development that cannot but have
an important effect in building up the
country and making it rich ; because any
country or P/ovince without the backbone of agriculture must be for all time
handicapped in the import of the necessaries of life which that  industry affords.
With the improvement on freight rates
the competition in British and Australian
coals will be less keenly felt, and consequently increased demand for British Columbia coal in the American market,
which means a substantial revival in that
industry, now suffering from a glut in the
Coast cities.
In all these respects the outlook is
more promising than it ever has been before.    There is the promise of legitimate 14
industries on a large scale taking the place
of propositions on paper, which in toq
many instances have failed to answer the
expectations of either the promoter or investor. In all these respects, too, the
Government has lent a helping hand and
given every assistance possible.
The beneficent result of a policy of expenditure in development are being shown
and will appear more fully from year to
year. The Government did not wait for
lumber to get better in price, or mines to
be developed, or the fisheries to go ahead,
or farming produce to have a surplus, to
provide means of communication and project public works. With railways into
Kootenay, into the Nicola Valley, into
Chilliwack, into the Okanagan Valley,
into Cariboo and elsewhere, there is a certain prospect of these various districts attaining to a measure of their opportunities. In other words, the Government
has not waited for the times to get good
to move in these matters. They have,
to drop into metaphor, greased the
wheels of Fortune's car in order that she
may arrive more speedily. When times
do get good again, and as we have said
the indications are of that being very soon
in this Province, all the facilities for taking advantage of the improved condition
of things will have been supplied and.
ready to hand, and the Province will be
enabled to enter fully and without delay
into an unexampled era of prosperity.
In saying what we have so far, it is not
with the object of exalting the Government or any of its members into paragons
of wisdom or greatness. We do not wish
to exempt them from faults or condone
their shortcomings on the one hand, or on
the other hand to paint their virtues in
hues so bright as to give color to their
shadows. We believe them to be neither
more nor less human than their fellows,
and desire simply to credit them with
having pursued a policy—defective it may
have been in many minor points—which
throughout has had a good, sound business basis, was on the whole well carried
out, and is now being rewarded with a
large measure of success. A STATISTICAL COMPARISON:
A Comparison  in  Figures  which Indicates   the
Progress of Seven Years,
And Shows the Province to be Healthy and Vigorous and Its Wealth Doubling Up.
No. 5.
Having reviewed the policy of the Government extending over a number of
years, and carefully analyzed the conditions which have entered into and dictated that policy, let us now briefly and
accurately present some of the results.
We propose to illustrate by a few figures of comparison the progress which
the country has made since 1886, the
period at which for convenience we have
drawn the line between the old and new
conditions inth is Province. In this we
do not propose to point to the marvellous
progress made in particular districts, such
as West Kootenay, Okanagan and Westminster, or in the cities of the Coast, because that is within the personal knowledge of us all and self-evident, but consider the Province as a whole.
The aggregate of import and export
trade of the Province in 1887 was $6,-
919,453 ; in 1892 it was $13,070,578.
The revenue of the Province in 1886
was $515,282 ; in 1893, $1,019,206.
The ordinary assets of the Province in
1886 were $789,829 ; in 1893, $1,492,734.
The aggregate assessment in the four
cities of the Coast in 1886 was $10,750,-
000 ; in 1893, $46,750,000.   §
The population of 1881 was 49,459 ; in
1893 (census returns), 98,170.
The number of schools in 1886 was 92 ;
in 1893, 166. "f| "^^Bj
The number of teachers employed in
1886 was 116 ; in 1893, 242. ||||
The number of pupils in attendance in
1886 was 5,345 ; in 1893, 11,496.
The average attendance in 1886 was
2,873 ; in 1893, 7,11L §
The expenditure for education in 1886
was $88,521; in 1893, $190,558.
The value of our fisheries in 1886 was
$1,974,887 ; in 1893, $4,250,000.
The revenue based on Provincial assessment in 1886 was $73,177 ; in 1893,
The output of coal in 1887 was 413,-
360 tons ; I 1893, 978,294 tons.
Since the year 1886 there has been expended : 16
In hospitals and public institutions,
$300,000; in education, $913,000; in
roads, streets, bridges and wharves, $1,-
450,349 ; in works and buildings, $546,-
949 ; in surveys, $166,677.
Besides the cost of the administration
of justice, civil government and all the
rest of it, in forms of land subsidy or guarantee, assistance has been granted to the
following roads that are either completed or
under way : The Esquimalt & Nanaimo,
Shuswap & Okanagan, Columbia & Kootenay, Nelson & Fort Sheppard, Nakusp
& Slocan, Kaslo & Slocan and Victoria &
Sidney Railways.
The other railways to which the Legislative Assembly has pledged assistance
are the British Columbia Southern, the
Chilliwack Railway, the Nicola Valley
Railway, the Ashcroft & Cariboo Railway; and in this connection the assistance
guaranteed to the fridge over the Fraser
at Westminster is to be considered.
The assistance guaranteed to the promotion of the dyking and drainage in
Westminster district is in line with the
foregoing enterprises and not less important.
We quote here from the Budget Speech
of the Hon. the Finance Minister :
"There have been built 110 school
houtes at a cost of $174,441 ; 10 jails and
lockups, $26,985 ; 12 court houses, $190,-
692 ; 595,000 acres of land surveyed,
$83,424 ; 1,200 miles of road, 800 miles
of trail, 600 bridges and 5,000 miles of
roads and bridges kept in repair, at a
cost of $1,531,683, making a total of
$2,007,225, or a total expenditure on
public works during this period of over
$2,000,000. If we deduct from this
$300,000 for repairs, we have still an
expenditure of some $1,700,000 on public
works, which are now represented by
assets that are fully equal to the expenditure that has been made on them. We
might value the 595,000 acres of land
alone at least at one dollar per acre, and
this is now open for settlement and is
being plotted and mapped so that the
immigrant may be thoroughly informed
respecting it at the Land Office. But we
have to add to these assets the public
works that will result from the expenditure which has now to be voted, amounting to considerably over $400,000. This
shows that the funds which we obtained
from the loans referred to have been
carefully expended in the manner
which the countrv desired and which it
expressed its own opinion of through the
House at the time these loans were voted
on for the purpose of public works."
A summary of   the  results   may   be
placed in tabulated form as follows :
Hospitals $  175,116
%  123,989
$  299.105
Education      496 719
912 862
R. S. B. &W..     992,911
1,450 349
Wrks. & Bldgs.     385.896
161 053
Surveys       98 930
Total $^,149,602
1887 $ 419,836
1888  497.132
1889  606,614
1890  672,506
1891  701,419
1892  1.033 612
1893  1,694,722
$1,226 340
1887 $ 541,517
1888  608.678
1889  706,780
1890  835,46?
1891  959 248
1892  1,020,002
1893  1,012,257
1894 (est)  1.0*8 691
1895 (est)  1,178,149
Gross debt.    I
1887 $1,157,001
18*8  1,780,125
1889  1,772 871
1890  1.797,820
1891  1.843,154
1892  2 876 038
1893  3,187,456
Value of public buildings is estimated
at $1,150,000, of which sites cost in
round numbers $100,000.
il assets.
707 165
$ 58,313
1 282 993
1,166 257
High Educational Status of the Province—B. C's
If Municipal System.
Effective Administration of Justice—Sound Sanitary Measures—Mining Encouraged by
No. 6.
The more material aspects of the Government of the Province have been dealt
with in previous articles in which opposition criticism has been met in the spirit
of argument and the statement of a long
series of facts that cannot be gainsaid.
We now purpose to examine the character of the legislation as a whole, and
its direct influence on the affairs and conditions of the Province.
Education being of paramount importance in its moral and intellectual effects,
our school system is worthy of first place.
Even the most virulent opponents of the
Government, excepting a few chronic
splenetics, will not affirm that British
Columbia has not taken a high educational status among the other Provinces.
The training has been brought to a high
standard, the character and attainment of
teachers are exceptionally good, and a
healthy moral tone pervades the whole
system.    Methods and  legislation have
pr6gressed rapidly with material development and to-day are fully abreast of
modern requirements. The transition
from direct Governmental management
to popular control has been speedy and
almost; complete. The history of our
school system has been marked by its
steady progress, uninterrupted and undisturbed by the sectarian and political
issues that have marred the results
observable elsewhere in the Dominion.
In this respect our Province has been
singularly blessed. From an educational
point of view the people of British
Columbia have every reason to be proud
of their accomplishments.
Under our constitution there has been
ample provision for the free development
of municipal institutions, and while we
have had the example and experience of
other Provinces to guide us, we have
been able to arrive at results equal, as
compared with our requirements, to what
has been achieved even in Ontario.    As 18
population grows our municipal system,
established on a broad and firm basis,
will expand naturally and easily. There
are few respects in which our municipal
institutions are not equal to those ot our
most enlightened neighbors.
Our civil code contains the best features
of modern jurisprudence, and its operations are as successful and as free from
useless incumbrances as in any part of
the Dominion. It has received the most
careful attention of the Government and
the Legislature and constant effort has
been made to render it useful and workable.
It has been conceded on every hand
that the administration of justice, so far
as it has been in the power of the Government to make it effective, has been
wholesome and vigorous. Our criminal
code has been brought to a high state of
perfection, and the law is administered
with a firm hand in the prevention and
punishment of crime. When we consider the extent of our sea coast, the
physical character of the country, the
mixture of populations and the contiguity
of the American Republic, the success
with which our law has been carried out
is not only a matter for congratulation,
but has earned for us the admiration of
our neighbors.
Apropos of these reflections, it may be
stated, as something not capable of contradiction, that British Columbia is essentially a Province of law and order, and
will compare favorably in this regard with
any province in the Dominion or any
country in the world. There is no country in which the rights of person and
property are more sacred or better safeguarded, and if it were not for the offences imported into our criminal calendar by aliens and a few of our Indians
our record would be unique. In a Western province, which to the Easterner carries
with it a significance of what is best understood as the "wild and woolly," this
is remarkable. As a people, British Columbians are sober, moral and law abiding,
and in no degree, either politically or
socially, turbulent.
If we accept this maxim as true, that
the people are a reflection of the Government, or the Government a reflection of
the people, there is little to condemn in
the character of the administration into
the history of which have been incorporated conditions such as we have described.
Scarcely less important in the light of
the public weal, are sanitary considerations. As the direct result of dangers,
then present and prospective, the Government placed on the statute book a
Health Act, sound in principle, comprehensive in scope and drastic in application. In the face of an emergency, such
as confronted the Province two years ago,
the Government acted promptly and
vigorously and stamped out the infection,
and to-day machinery is provided whereby, without extraordinary means, any
epidemic may be stayed and the general
health conserved by the application of
sound sanitary measures.
A few years ago, when vein mining began to attract attention, the mining laws,
which had had special reference to placer
work, required careful revision, and at
this task the Government set itself to
work. In a new country, without experience in the requirements of quartz development, legislation must be to some
extent experimental, and so it proved in
this instance. Miners themselves, largely
of the prospecting class, were very much
divided in opinion as to what the law 11
should be, but although less than four
years have elapsed since a mining commission was appointed to frame a code,
and numerous alterations and re-alterations were found necessary since that
time, the mining laws are now on a satisfactory basis and are meeting with approval everywhere. In this, as in other
matters, the Government has shown
every disposition to conserve the interests
of so important an industry. Where mistakes were made, these were rectified as
speedily as possible. A Government that
is above reviewing its own actions and
admitting its fallibility is not adapted for
the government of a country where the
" hea en-born" financiers and immaculate wise-acres in public policy are so conspicuously in the minority as in this
The Wholesome Influence of Legislation on these
Important Interests.
How Agricultural Development is Affected—A
Summary of Salient Points of Policy.
No. 7.
In former articles we have referred to
the origin of the land system of British
Columbia, concerning which so much has
been said. It is scarcely necessary to refer to this again, except to say that other
sources of revenue having arisen through
the development of the country so that it
was no longer necessary to depend upon
the land sales, the Gouernment gradually modified its land system until it was
reduced to pre-emption in small tracts for
settlement only. In this there has been
a recognition of and an adaptation to advanced methods of government in line
with the general po icy as previously outlined. The Government has gone further
and given practical effect to the principle
of small holdings. This a matter requiring careful consideration, and the Premier has given public expression to his
desire to give attention to some general
scheme for the encouragement of small
land holdings, whereby the accessible
lands may be settled up. With the exception of New Zealand, this has not
been attempted in any part of the world,
but as the conditions are favorable for
experiment in this Province, we may
confidently look for practical legislation
in this direction in the near future. The
amendment to the Land Act of Inst session, and the recent laying off of five and
ten acre tracts in the Riding of Richmond and the neighborhood of Victoria,
and the announced intention of the Government to immediately offer these tracts
to actual occupants for lease, with privilege of purchase, upon terms so favorable
that any industrious man who acquires
them may make himself a home, is a
practical way of carrying out the Government's intentions on this subject.
When we come to the question of
labor, there are important issues to consider and several extremes to avoid. The
labor organizations in this Province, as
elsewhere, have been aggressive, but
there is this important fact to keep in
mind, that outside of the ever present
Chinese question there are fewer problems to solve and fewer difficulties have
been experienced in meeting the require-
m 21
ments of the labor interests than probably in any other part of Her Majesty's
So far as the Chinese are concerned,this
is a matter with which constitutionally the
Province can only exercise an indirect influence. True, a great many impracticable resolutions have been before the
House, brought forward for political
effect, but what the Government labored
to achieve were practical results. The
power of excluding or restricting Chinamen lies outside of the jurisdiction of any
province of the Dominion, and resolutions manifestly aimed at doing what
there was no hope of achieving, deterred
rather than aided in bringing about desired results. In the matter of Chinese
labor, a healthy moral and patriotic tone
is better than any number of prwerle-s
resolutions or unconstitutional enactments. The patriotic citizen—the man
true to his own community and to his
own province—will patronize home industry and employ home labor to the
farthest extent possible, and through the
force of public opinion the employment
of Chinese has been reduced to a very
low limit, to menial occupations in which
white labor does not care to compete, or
those few instances where industry, owing to keen competition in prices, would
not otherwise be carried on. There are
very few persons who would not welcome
the day when their prtsence was no
longer necessary in any form. But without absolute exclusion, which is beyond
Provincial or even Federal jurisdiction to
enforce, there is no way of dealing with
the Celestial population except by force
of public opinion, and in this connection
every citizen must bear his share of the
responsibility. To a limited extent the
employment of Chinese is now a grievance, but with the restrictions already ii_
force and the state of public feeling, the
evil has been reduced to a minimum.
Statistics do not show that the Chinese
population is proportionately on the increase. Rather the reverse. It is true
that the Government has by resolution of
the Legislature endeavored to increase
the per capita tax to $100, and this
would probably tend to still further diminish Chinese immigration, but so far
these representations have not moved the
Federal authorities, who undoubtedly
view it in the wider light as affecting
trade and international relationship.
At all events, even in the minds of work-
ingmen most affected, the everlasting
4'anti-Chinese" resolution of the word-of-
mouth friends of labor has lost its political effect and its once captivating charm.
The labor organizations and the labor
element generally have opened their eyes
to the fact that honeyed resolutions are
not bread and that talk is the cheapest
form of labor. They are recognizing the
fact, that the true friend of labor is the
one who between election times, as well
as immediately prior to them, supplies
woik, pays the highest wages going and
makes the conditions of labor as favorable as possible. The Government, as a
government, has carried out these practical principles, not only in conducting
the business of the country, but in the
influence which legislation has had upon
the country. Employment found, which
is, of course, a question of demand, there
is no part of the world in which wages
are so good, hours shorter and pay more
secure. The poor man has every protection which the law can justly afford.
Injustice, coercion or oppression is rare,
and the opportunities under the law few.
To arrive at just conclusions compare, for
instance, the condition of our miners in
Nanaimo and Wellington with those of
Pennsylvania, or Great Britain.
I 22
Having in view the labor problems
affecting other countries and looking to
the industrial development of which our
resources give promise  in  mining,
bering,  manufacturing, and  so  on,  the
Government in the matter  of adjusting
amicably the relations of labor and capital   in   this   Province    took    a   long
step     in      advance     in     establishing
a    Labor     Bureau     and     Courts     of
Conciliation and Arbitration, and if the
Government   is to be blamed for anything particular in this measure, it  was
for stepping too far ahead of actual necessities.    The introduction of this measure, which set an example  for Ontario,
was generally approved of by  the labor
element in this Province, and not a single
voice was raised in the House in opposition, but no sooner was its machinery put
in motion than   the   representatives of
labor, for political purposes,  set to work
to frustrate its operations  and with such
success as to render it in its then form
practically inoperative,   notwithstanding
that the principle of the law was  everywhere a cardinal plank in the labor platform the world over.    Without the   cooperation   of   the   very   men for whose
benefit it was created the  bureau would
be useless.    The Government has,  however, provided  facilities for   the   settlement of labor disputes as they arise and
has also instituted   an inquiry into  the
conditions of labor as they exist in this
Province, which wdl lead to  some practical and definite results in the  future.
Closely allied with industrial development is that of agriculture. The present
administration has devoted much attention to the farming interests and succeed
ed not only in arousing a general interest
in the subject, but aided materially in
the protection and development of such
interests. By the creation of a Bureau
of Agricultural Information, it has added
largely to the knowledge of our farming
resources, and the annual report is eagerly sought for and is one of the most
valuable of our official publications. Liberal assistance has been extended to the
Fruit Growers' Association and to agricultural associations, and wise provision
has been made for the prevention and
destruction of pests. Horticulture and
dairying have each had legislation specially adapted to their needs; and in every
way possible the Department of Agriculture has done effective work. Assistance
has been guaranteed towards the reclamation of overflowed low lands and towards
railways for the general opening up of
farming districts. As a consequence, the
Province is entering upon an era of active
agricultural development.
In the foregoing articles we have briefly reviewed the policy of the Government
of the last seven years, referred to its
salient points and traced the principles
underlying the whole course. It has been
a policy of development worked out in the
face of many difficulties, characterized, it
is true, by some mistakes, but in the
main crowned with success. Our administrators have not been brilliant orators
or If heaven born" statesmen. They
have been plain, practical business men,
who have understood the wants of the
country and adapted themselves to its
varying conditions as time and circumstances would permit—the true criterion
of successful government, by which they
must now be judged.    


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