Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
April 2007

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Objectives of the National Policy


John A. Macdonald (1878) as he moved the National Policy in the Parliament of Canada declared:

"That this House is of the opinion that the welfare of canada requires the adoption of a National Policy, which by a judicious readjustment of the Tariff, will benefit and foster the agricultural, the mining, the manufacturing and other interests of the Dominion; that such a policy will retain in Canada thousands of our fellow countrymen now obliged to expatriate themselves in search of employment denied them at home, will restore prosperity to our struggling industries now so sadly depressed, will prevent Canada from being made a sacrifice market, will encourage and develop an active interprovincial trade, and moving (as it ought to) in the direction of a reciprocity of Tariffs with our neighbours, so far as the varied interests of canada may demand, will greatly tend to procure for this country eventually a reciprocity of trade".

During the same debates, Leonard Tilley, Father of Confederation and former Prime Minister of New Brunswick before Confederation, added:

"the time has come to decide whether we are going to remain the hewers of wood and drawers of water..."


A short time later, Charles Tupper, declared in the House of Commons:

"under the National Policy that Canada has adopted we must look forward not only to building up thriving centers of industry and enterprises all over this portion of the country, but to obtaining a market for these industries after they have been established; and I say where is there a greater market than that magnificent granary of the North-West?".

© 2007 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College