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THE PARIS RESOLUTIONS

It is of a piece with that prodigy of self−contradiction that, when the Liberal leaders in the House of

Commons expose the absurdity of professing to rectify the German exchanges by keeping out German fabric

gloves, a tariffist leader replies by arguing that the Paris Resolutions of the first Coalition Government, under

Mr. Asquith, conceded the necessity of protecting home industries against unfair competition. Men who are

normally good debaters seem, when they are fighting for a tariff, to lose all sense of the nature of argument.

As has been repeatedly and unanswerably shown by my right hon. friend the Chairman, the Paris Resolutions

were expressly framed to guard against a state of things which has never supervened−−a state of things then

conceived as possible after a war without a victory, but wholly excluded by the actual course of the war. And

those Resolutions, all the same, expressly provided that each consenting State should remain free to act on

them upon the lines of its established fiscal system, Britain being thus left untrammelled as to its Free Trade

policy.

Having regard to the whole history, Free Traders are entitled to say that the attempt of tariffists to cite the

Paris Resolutions in support of the pitiful policy of taxing imports of German fabric gloves, or the rest of the

ridiculous "litter of mice" that has thus far been yielded by the Safeguarding of Industries Act, is the crowning

proof at once of the insincerity and ineptitude of tariffism where it has a free hand, and of the adamantine

strength of the Free Trade case. If any further illustration were needed, it is supplied by the other tariffist

procedure in regard to the promise made five years ago to Canada that she, with the other Dominions, should

have a relative preference in our markets for her products. In so far as that plan involved an advantage to our

own Dominions over the Allies who, equally with them, bore with us the heat and burden of the war, it was as

impolitic as it was unjust, and as unflattering as it was impolitic, inasmuch as it assumed that the Dominions

wanted a "tip" as a reward for their splendid comradeship.

As it turns out, the one concession that Canada really wanted was the removal of the invidious embargo on

Canadian store cattle in our ports. And whereas a promise to that effect was actually given by the tariffist

Coalition during the war, it is only after five years that the promise is about to be reluctantly fulfilled. It was a

promise, be it observed, of free importation, and it is fulfilled only out of very shame. It may be surmised,

indeed, that the point of the possible lifting of the Canadian embargo was used during the negotiations with

Ireland to bring the Sister State to terms; and that its removal may lead to new trouble in that direction. But

that is another story, with which Free Traders are not concerned. Their withers are unwrung.