Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
April 2006

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


A Western View of the Tariff



This caricature from the Winnipeg Free Press illustrates very strongly what Western Canadians thought of the tariff policy pursued by Canadian governments ever since the creation of the National Policy by John A, Macdonald in 1878-79.

To them, the tariff had a "class and regional bias". It only protected the manufacturing interests of Canada, located invariably in Central Canada, but not the Western farmer whose products were left unprotected (and had to be sold to consumers at the lowest possible price). Thus, Western farmers were left to fend for themselves and had to buy expensive Eastern Canadian manufacturing products. While the Central Canadian manufacturing interests called for and received tariff protection, thus enjoying its benefits, western farmers were left to shoulder the burden and costs associated with the tariffs. The farmers would have much preferred free trade, which would have opened to them world markets and minimized their costs.

© 2006 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College