Canada History

Canada History   timelines 
AskAHistorian    blog 




Prehistory | 2 Worlds Meet | New France | England Arrives | Clash of Empires | Revolution | British America | Reform/Revolt | Responsible Government | Confederation | Nation Building | Laurier | The Great War | Roaring 20's | Great Depression | WWII | The Peace | Cold War | Trudeau | PC's in Power | Modern Canada

A New Nation | Nova Scotia Balks  | The Northwest Territories | Manitoba & Riel | Federal Provincial Relations | British Columbia | Prince Edward Island | The Washington Treaty | Scandal | Liberal Interlude | The National Policy | The Railroad | Rebellion | Immigration | Transitions

The second pillar of Sir John A Macdonald's National Policy, after the building of the railway was the filling of the western lands with farmers to grow crops and purchase eastern Canadian manufactured products. As the railway reached far out onto the western Prairies the immigrants had to be recruited and brought, by train, to the rich farmlands, but by the late 1880's the flow of immigration had not only stalled out but many homesteaders were picking up their stakes and heading south into the United States.

The challenge to the national Policy was that because of high tariff rates between Canada and the United States the excess product from the west, if not sold in Eastern Canada, could not be sold in the US where the Canadian prices were not competitive. Talk of opening up the north south trade routes sprang up as quickly as the economic hardships did and as immigration trickled to hat and then started to drain off to the south.  The excitement of the boom of new cities and towns that was generated as the railway was being built now also settled down. Land prices in Winnipeg, as an example, went from being some of he highest in the world to very ordinary.

Macdonald looked towards the British Empire for closer economic ties rather then the US and as a source of immigrants to fill up the western lands. The immigration would not really pickup until the Liberals were in power and Seaton started his campaign throughout Europe for the people who would fill the Prairies.