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Stepping Onto the World Stage Foreign Affairs Issues of Laurier’s Era. The Golden Age of Laurier. History 30 Unit 3 – External Forces and Domestic Realities. Laurier and the Art of Compromise.

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stepping onto the world stage foreign affairs issues of laurier s era
Stepping Onto the World Stage

Foreign Affairs Issues of Laurier’s Era

The Golden Age of Laurier

History 30

Unit 3 – External Forces and Domestic Realities

laurier and the art of compromise
Laurier and the Art of Compromise
  • Wilfrid Laurier was Prime Minister of Canada at a time when several issues divided the French and English populations
  • Was a firm believer in the idea that French and English could and should live together
    • 1864 valedictorian address @ McGill: “Two races today share the soil of Canada”
  • Laurier – Fr-Cdn with a deep love and appreciation for English literature and culture
  • Believed that the rest of the world would look upon the shining example of Canada and the harmony of its two founding peoples
canada s foreign affairs
Canada’s Foreign Affairs
  • Imperialism
  • After confederation and into the 1900’s, many Canadians debated Canada’s role in British Imperial Family

Should Canada stay within the Empire, or should it become completely independent?

A policy of establishing colonies away from the homeland who would be loyal to your “empire”

two major views on the issue
Two major views on the issue
  • The English-Canadian view
  • Most supported imperialism
  • Supporting imperialism did not necessarily mean they did not support Nationalism
  • See reasons on page #40
  • Of course, some felt Canada should either be fully independent, or perhaps, even join the USA. However, they were minority English-Canadians.

Loyalty to one’s country

2) The French-Canadian view
  • Divided views, but many felt imperialism meant a loss of French identity and culture
  • Felt isolated as immigration increases and nationalist movements develop
french canadian nationalism
French-Canadian Nationalism
  • Confederation guaranteed French language, courts, customs, religion etc…
  • But, some incidents began to question this.
  • Laurier’s view:

French Canadians have not forgotten France… Here in France, people are surprised at the attachment French Canadians feel for the Queen of England. We are faithful to the nation which gave us life (France), and we are faithful to the nation that gave us liberty (Britain).

french english relations pre laurier
French-English RelationsPre-Laurier
  • French always worried about losing their language/culture & being assimilated (justified?)
  • Métis and Louis Riel
    • French Canadians sympathized with Riel and felt he was unjustly persecuted because he was French
    • French Métis rights abused; no relief or support from gov’t
  • Laurier rose to prominence in the Liberal Party through his eloquent defense of Riel
  • Riel’s execution continued and deepened the feelings of alienation and discontent in French Canada

Let’s read page 41

manitoba schools question
Manitoba Schools Question
  • Manitoba Act of 1870 constitutionally guaranteed bilingual separate schools in Manitoba
  • However, as more English settlers arrived in Red River, many Métis sold their ‘script’ and moved further West
  • Manitoba Schools Act 1890
    • Cut off funding for RC schools in Manitoba
    • English the only language of instruction
  • Macdonald – wait out storm (died in 1891)
  • Issue unresolved in 1896 during election
  • Conservative Charles Tupper – uphold the Constitution and force Manitoba to restore funding
  • Liberal Wilfrid Laurier – avoids taking definite stand but understands that he cannot risk offending the English majority and restore complete funding
laurier greenway compromise
Laurier-Greenway Compromise
  • After election - Laurier-Greenway Compromise ~ “The Sunny Way”
  • ½ hour of religious instruction at the end of the school day
  • Teacher in the language of choice would be provided if 10 or more students
  • French-Canadians very disappointed – view it as significant loss of French and catholic rights outside Quebec
  • 1916 – Manitoba again makes English only language of instruction
  • Let’s read about this on page #41 - 42
Henri Bourassa


the boer war 1899 1902
The Boer War 1899-1902
  • War in South Africa between Dutch settlers and British Imperialists
  • engulfed in conflict for over fifty years.
  • The British Imperialists
    • located in the Cape Colony and Natal, wanted to have South Africa unified under British rule.
  • The Boers
    • occupied the more northern independent republics of the Orange Free State and Transvaal, wanted to remain independent.
  • Throughout the 19th Century more and more commercially minded British settlers had moved to the Cape Colony causing many Boers to move further inland to protect their way of life.
  • discovery of gold and diamonds in Transvaal - tensions grew
  • erupted into all out war and the second Boer War commenced. (The first Boer War occurred in 1880-1881).
  • England requested help from their Imperial Family.
Laurier’s Compromise
    • Canada would support the British by providing 1000 volunteers (initially – though 7300 went in total), equipment and transportation to South Africa. Britain would be responsible for paying the troops and returning them to Canada at the end of their service.
    • Not the official Canadian Army but making a contribution
    • Effort to balance French and English view while guarding Canadian autonomy
  • The Boer War marked the first occasion in which large contingents of Canadian troops served abroad.
The Battle of Paardeberg is the best-known Canadian engagement of the South African war. Canada's first contingent failed to heed the order to retreat and held their own.
Prime Minister Laurier tried to keep Canada out of this conflict and the country was divided over whether or not Canada should participate.
  • Most French-Canadians and some English
    • felt this conflict was Britain's war and did not concern Canada
    • Many French Canadians sympathized with Boers and were worried that this might set a precedent
  • Most English Canadians
    • drawn to the idea of fighting in South Africa and defending the British Empire.
    • Felt it was our duty to support the Empire
The Canadians proved to be tough and heroic, and especially good on horseback.
  • Success of Canadian soldiers and their criticism of British leadership and social values fed a new sense of Canadian self-confidence and actually loosened the ties of loyalty to Britain
Boundaries of Alaska not set when US purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867
  • US adopted Russian position while Canada-Britain had different claim
  • Klondike Gold Rush of 1897 brought matter to a head
  • Decided to settle matter before International tribunal of 3 Americans, 2 Canadians and 1 Brit – Lord Alverstone
US President Teddy Roosevelt made it very clear that dispute would be settled in US favour
  • 1000 Marines ready to land to enforce position
  • Canada – confident of British support
  • Lord Alverstone – instructed to take US side
    • Britain needed US support in looming crisis with Germany and in arms race
    • Couldn’t risk upsetting US
    • Not much could do anyway considering location and American determination
    • Canadian legal case weak
  • Canada would probably have lost anyway but Roosevelt’s manipulations and Britain’s acquiescence so blatant that Canada enraged
    • aggressive imperialism and bullying of US and Britain’s betrayal of Canadian interests
Prelude to WWI, Germany developing a navy to challenge Britain
  • Britain had “Two-Power Naval Standard”
    • As an island, and with a worldwide Empire, it was believed that they must have as big a navy as the next two powers combined
  • Developed the HMS Dreadnought in 1906
    • one of the most notable design transformations of the armored warship era
    • Bigger – 18 000 ton battleship, Faster - steam turbine power plant with 21-knot maximum speed
    • "all-big-gun" main battery of ten twelve-inch guns
    • so thoroughly eclipsed earlier types that subsequent battleships were commonly known as "dreadnoughts", and the previous ones disparaged as "pre-dreadnoughts".
    • Made all other ships “obsolete” but reduced Britain’s naval superiority to one.
  • Wanted colonies/dominions to contribute money to build more ‘dreadnoughts’
Laurier, ever mindful of guarding Canadian autonomy and caught between French and English, came up with a compromise
    • Build Royal Canadian Navy – 5 cruisers and 6 destroyers, which could, when needed, be placed at the disposal of the British Navy with the consent of parliament
  • English
    • our duty to contribute to the British Navy as we rely on it for our protection
    • RCN – “Tin Pot” Navy not enough
  • French
    • too much
    • would be dragged into every fight
    • Britain should take care of itself
  • By beginning of WWI, only 2 cruisers: Rainbow and Niobe