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The Government takes no responsibility for the shipments. The plan has been elaborated with much care by the Department of Agriculture, which has worked on the theory that, if the English popular taste can be successfully met, the market for Canadian produce, especially for butter and cheese, will soon become sufficiently large to put the trade in a position in which it will no longer need any aid from the Government. For four years past, the Department of Agriculture has been working, and with much success, to secure the establishment of creameries in all the Provinces. Scores of these are now in operation. As part of the plan for creating the market in England, the Dominion Government has also instituted a system of compulsory registration of cheese factories and creameries. All factories and creameries engaged in the export trade must be registered with the Department of Agriculture; and all butter and cheese for export must be branded “Canadian,” and also with the government number of the factory at which the cheese or butter was made.
The Canadian Government has sought no preferential treatment from England in connection with this new departure. Nor are Canadians presuming on any sentiment of kinship. They are sending their best produce; the Department of Agriculture has been at great pains to teach the best methods of making and packing; and the Canadians are trusting to their own efforts to create a constantly growing market for their produce in Great Britain.
The Senate came into conflict with the House of Commons in respect to three bills. Two were private member's bills; while the third and most important was the bill for extending the Intercolonial Railway to Montreal. One of the private member's bills was to compel the railroad companies to carry bicycles as personal luggage free of charge. The other was a bill establishing a close corporation for the St. Lawrence pilots. The railroad companies opposed the bicycle bill, and as the Railway Committee of the Senate took the view that the question was one which might be settled by the Canadian Wheelmen's Association, which had promoted the bill, and the railway companies, the Committee recommended that the
bill be deferred for a year, and the Senate adopted the recommendation. With this adverse report from the Railway Committee, there was a promise that if the railway companies showed themselves unwilling to make any concession, then at the next session of Parliament, legislation should be passed in the interest of the wheelmen. There was no such promise or compromise in respect to the Pilots' bill. The Committtee on Railways and Harbours in the Senate boldly took the stand that the Incorporation Bill, which had been opposed by the maritime and commercial interests of Montreal, was not such a measure as should go on the Statute books. The bill found no champion among the handful of Liberals in the Senate; and its rejection by the Senate drew from the “Montreal Witness," for years the most independent Liberal newspaper in Canada, the statement that "whatever may have been the Senate's guiding principle, its action in this case was good, and a valuable fulfillment of the function for which the Senate exists—namely, a check on hasty popular action.”
The scheme of the Government in connection with the Intercolonial Railway, which the Senate vetoed, was to extend the line from Chaudiere, a few miles to the west of Quebec on the south side of the St. Lawrence, to the City of Montreal. The Intercolonial Railway, which is a government line, has never paid its working expenses. The plan of the Government was to extend it into Montreal in the hope of getting a larger share of the traffic, and giving its management a place at the railway managers' board. The extension, as proposed, involved the taking over of the Drummond County Railway, and the acquiring of a right of way over the Grand Trunk line from St. Rosalie, the western terminus of the Drummond County Railway, into Montreal by way of Victoria Bridge. It involved an expenditure on rentals alone of $210,000 a year. Of this total, $140,000 was to go to the Grand Trunk for the use of its line, its bridge, and its station in Montreal. The balance was to be paid to the Drummond County Railway Company. This sum was to be paid for a term of ninety years, at the end of which the line was to become the property of the Government. The Government was to equip and
maintain the Drummond County Railway, and pay a pro rata share of the cost of working and maintaining that part of the Grand Trunk system to be used by the Intercolonial.
On the opening day of the session, the Government announced that arrangements with the railway companies had been completed. The end of the session was approaching, however, before the terms were laid before Parliament. Then the Opposition took the ground that the bargain was unbusinesslike and extravagant; and it must be conceded by anyone who reads the debates, as reported verbatim in the "Hansards," that, from the point of view of the railway companies, the Minister of Railways had been an easy man to deal with. His own admissions in debate proved this; for inter alia he admitted, under the cross-examination of the leaders of the Opposition, that, although the agreements between the companies and the Government were settled before the 24th of March, it was not until June that the Drummond County Railway had been examined by an independent engineer in the interests of the Government. These and other obviously weak points in the scheme made its condemnation easy work to the Opposition; and when the House of Commons divided, the bill was carried by a strictly partisan vote. In the Senate, the Government was powerless to push the scheme through. There a caucus of the Government supporters was of no avail. The bill was promptly rejected, and in view of the significant admissions since made by leading members of the Government as to the tentative character of the experiment, now about to be made in connection with the extension to Montreal, the Senate rendered the Dominion a signal service, and one which will have to be placed to its credit when the Liberal agitation of former days for its abolition is renewed.
On the rejection of the bill by the Senate, the Government placed in the Estimates a vote sufficient to cover the cost of the rentals for nine months. The House of Commons passed this estimate. The Senate has no power to alter or delete an item in the Supply bill; and when the bill reached the Senate, it was decided by the Opposition majority to permit the Intercolonial plan to go through in this form rather than reject the
Supply bill altogether. Some conflict between the Government and the Senate had been expected. In the event of such a conflict, the Liberals were prepared to raise a cry of reform or abolition of the Senate. By its action in regard to the Intercolonial and Pilots' bills, however, the Senate has rehabilitated itself, and stands on much more secure ground than it did during the eighteen years in which it exercised no other function than that of saying ditto to the Conservative majority in the House of Commons.
No survey of the session of 1897 would be complete which failed to note the removals from the civil service which followed the change from a Conservative to a Liberal Administration. Questions and discussions with respect to these removals occupied as much time in Parliament as the Tariff Bill. In each case, the plea of the Government was that the person cashiered had been deprived of his place either for “offensive partisanship,” or “active partisanship," at the General Election last year. The removals, however, were so numerous and were brought about in such a peremptory and unjudicial manner, as to suggest that other active partisans of Liberal politics were waiting to step into the places thus made vacant; and to suggest also that the theory that “To the victors belong the spoils” is not without support in Canada.
EDWARD PORRITT. Farmington, Conn.
THE “SOCIÉTÉS DE SECOURS MUTUELS” OF
HE mutual aid society is the simplest and most primitive
method resorted to by men collectively to assume the burden entailed by sickness or other eventualities. What distinguishes these societies in Europe from kindred organizations in America is that in each country of Europe the government has taken cognizance of their existence, and by the enactment of laws regulating their operations, ha attempted to organize all such societies into a general system which shall in a way provide voluntary insurance against sickness, and even old age and invalidity. It is thus possible to speak of a system of mutual aid societies of France, Belgium, Italy or Switzerland in a way that could not be done concerning those of the United States.
Great similarity exists between these societies and the policies that have been pursued in regard to them in the various Latin countries. France, being the most important of these countries, and the one in which these societies have reached their greatest development, offers the best opportunity for a study of this class of relief organizations. The account that follows, therefore, is of importance, not only as showing the workings of these institutions in this one country, but of mutual aid societies generally in Europe.
It is now pretty generally recognized in Europe, that workingmen should be insured against sickness in some way. Germany and Austria have seen no other solution to the problem than the use of the coercive and administrative powers of the state. Other nations desire if possible to avoid this necessity of invoking the aid of the state. In France particularly the question of obligatory versus voluntary insurance has been fought with the greatest thoroughness during the past decade. Mutual aid societies represent the chief method of voluntary insurance that has been developed. The problem of the insurance of workingmen against sickness in France is, therefore, the problem of the reform of her mutual aid societies,