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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The grand Trunk Pacific railway, the great transcontinental line promoted by the Laurier government, passes through Manitoba north of the Canadian Pacific, coming from the east deflects southward to pass through Winnipeg, and then strikes northward in a direct line of easy gradients to find its way through the Rocky Mountains to its terminus of Prince Rupert on the north coast of British Columbia.
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 Oratory, Which Most French Canadians Admire Beyond All Other Forms Of Verbal Art, Sir Wilfrid Laurier Has Greatly Surpassed L.
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.
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.