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poses to give some facts in an account of a particular election. Democracy is on its trial, it is said, and so is the utility of party government in new countries. And to get at facts about Canada is daily more and more useful, since Canada is of such growing importance for herself and for others.
spirit of the tongue is the same in every | corruption, and certainly the corruption hotel from Ontario to California. There is more shameless. This article proare the same social and political ideals; every newspaper proves this to any one who has lived in the two continents. Canada, where it differs from Europe, differs as an American country, though it be not without distinctions sufficient to make a nation. The French there are themselves Americanized; one ventures to say that even the Roman Catholic Church herself is bound more and more to be so. And Canada has much of what is good in Americanism, as well as what is repulsive; only let her acknowledge always what is so true, and never put herself in the absurd position of claiming to be New World when there is praise of the New, and then turning to the Old when the New is to be blamed. She is thus herself sometimes the cause why she is found so uninteresting to English people in comparison with the United States; though of course there are other obvious causes for this comparative lack of English interest. But as a help to understand Canada, let Englishmen begin by generally applying what they mean by Americanism to their great colony as well as to the greater independent nation. They will thus come not far from a true estimate.
The election is a provincial election. Some readers may need to be reminded that there is a Parliament for all Canada at Ottawa in Ontario, and that there is a local Parliament in each province, even when there are not a quarter of a million people. The Ottawa Parliament has to do with customs, militia, the post-office, and so on; to the local parliaments are left police, education, public lands, roads and bridges, which latter things greatly, and inevitably, occupy the public mind. Elections of members for the two Parliaments are quite distinct in every way. For the Dominion Parliament a certain property or income qualification is demanded in a voter. And there is vote by secret ballot, not that bribery and corruption are killed by that.
In this provincial election, which is a fairly typical one, there is manhood suffrage. There is also vote by ballot; but you can go into the polling-booth with a man and see him vote; and that is important, if you are an agent, or, in other words, a briber. For no election is carried in Canada without bribery; such a thing is unanimously declared, by speech and by writing, to be abso
And so in this present matter of politics. Institutions differ in the two countries, and differ much; Canada has the advantage, many think. But the relation of politics to the public and private life of the country is in Canada, as in the United States, what one understands by American. In both coun-lutely impossible. No one attempts it. tries members represent much the same Each side, therefore, set out this time public interests and the same classes; with its pockets as full of money as they are paid; they are rarely men of possible. Now, boys" (this half cultivation; they are without the great vulgarizing, half friendly Americanism, fighting causes which stir older coun- is noteworthy) -"Now, boys, you may tries, and are expressive of the great as well go home; I have come here difficulties from which America is par- prepared." So a contractor on the tially free; there is less disinterested government side called out at one poll, enthusiasm in American legislatures, as he tapped his coat, well lined with though perhaps not less hard work; dollar bills, and added in a loud voice, there may be less hypocrisy; politics"Ten dollars for a vote." It should in America (including Canada) may be be said here, perhaps, that nothing is as useful, but they seem to have less of being stated but what both sides admit high ideal; they probably have more to be facts. "I guess the money gave
out at that poll," said a politician's wife In other cases fifteen dollars at least quite unconcernedly, for I saw a man drive to the bank near my house, and rush in after hours by a back way, and come out replenished." This man appeared at the poll shortly after, and pulling out one roll of notes from one pocket and one from another, handed them to his confederates, and again you heard the shout, "Ten dollars now!" At that poll it was allowed that at least two hundred voters out of three hundred were bribed; others put the figures still higher.
were paid for each vote; and once a prosperous farmer and his seven sons drove up, and offered themselves for sale at one hundred dollars. Under the receiving officer's very nose you hear, "Well, you're going to vote; how much will you take?" No statement can exaggerate the openness of the barter and sale. And it is so well recognized that a man may make something out of his vote, that to challenge votes is unpopular and considered bad policy for your own side.
Is there, then, no law against such things? There is; but yet, as one
some exaggeration: "Within the last few years the number of the bribed has increased to an alarming extent, until it has become the exception rather than the rule for a man to refuse to be bribed to vote contrary to his ideas of what is right." In the particular province I have in my mind the government has lately passed an act by which it seems to be made more difficult to unseat for bribery, since you must first prove that there was no corrupt practice on your own side.
Again at another polling centre the government agent stands on the courthouse steps and offers his price-five Canadian writer puts it, perhaps with dollars this time. "Listen to him, boys," says the Opposition agent, "listen how he offers the public money, which ought to be in the treasury, and which he has got from the government to be used for election purposes. Would you not rather take two dollars from me -we have not the public purse to draw on — and so be paid for your day off work, than take his five dollarbribe ?" And many did take the two dollars, and so saved their conscience, had their cake, though they ate twofifths of it. Besides, the other corrupter, rum, had been doing its work here, and had turned many to look favorably on the two-dollar man. He managed the business, as he told me, on this wise. The scene of operation is under a prohibition law, which means in Canada that much liquor is sold, though more or less on the sly. Of course every one knows where the stuff can be got. So O. (Opposition) proposes to G. (Government) to join and get something for the "boys." "They must be cold after coming in a long way to vote." But G. would not. So O. (who, it should be added, was the leader of the party supposed specially to favor teetotalism) calls the men together, and publicly repeats his offer of hospitality; and when G. as publicly refuses, and is voted mean, O., boldly generous, declares, "Well, I'll not see you left, boys." As O. reflected, "G. must have been green at his work, or he never would have let me do this."
As was said above, there is not in the province even the secret ballot of Dominion elections, under which system, though a man can be bribed, yet it is possible to vote as you think fit. And in that system is a safeguard, though a certain moral standard may interfere with it; for some men, who find no shame in taking bribes, yet find it against their conscience to afterwards vote against the briber. The difficulty in the way of reform must be seen in public opinion not demanding it, or not being able to enforce its demand. The general tone is, such and such a government has been in a long time; governments get corrupt gradually, so we'll turn this one out. The government then uses money to circumvent its enemies; and the latter say, "We must fight the devil with his own weapons." What will you have? No one pretends that the evil can be got rid of, at present, in any way.
And yet there is a shrinking from it.
Men will be heard saying they could | Yet a decent Canadian newspaper falls not have believed what it was really foul of a decent Scotch professor, who, like till they went out into the cam- on witnessing these things, said that paign-field. Young men, fresh from "the politicians debauch the electorsome ideals taught or heard of in school ate," and spoke unhesitatingly of their or college are pained at first, but grad-"shamelessness." Nothing is more ually grow in cynicism, and come fairly obvious than the truth of the latter to disbelieve in popular voting and low saying. Every one you meet, without franchise, which yet they glorify more exception, let it be repeated, allows and more with their lips. Here are that elections can be safely carried in some instances which made even old no other way than by bribery; and hands feel a bit ashamed. It will be even strenuous supporters of one side recollected that you can accompany a or the other sneer at the notion of man to the very moment of his drop- Government and Opposition meaning ping his ballot. So Mephistopheles claims that act of accompanying as his right when he has once bought his victim. M. enters with V., and the vote is challenged; V. swears that not directly nor indirectly has he received, or will he receive, a bribe, kisses the book, and outside the door gets his pay for perjury; he had asked for it before, but the master was determined to see he got his money's worth. And yet this Mephisto was a good comrade.
anything but Ins and Outs. Is party government under such conditions an absurd anomaly? But there is no need for reflection and sentiment; the facts speak for themselves. No doubt circumstances have to be considered, as was said at the beginning - circumstances, and times, and places. Still these facts are in no sense isolated; they are typical, and acknowledged to be so. It is true there is something to fall back on; but one would think there But sometimes the victim quails, - would be less rather than more of this poor countryman, insulting one of his instinct for public right in the generatwo sacraments (the Bible and the tions succeeding this, if such be the Sabbath), though to be sure he can present training. It is unwise to familthen compound with the latter; and iarize one with vice or crime. And yet when one such was offered the book he there was the England under Walpole, turned tail and went out. But Me- and the England before 1883. And phisto got him outside, and jeered, and even now there is indeed a comelier coaxed, and threatened, and roused his veil thrown over things in Europe. But valor with liquor; and so again he went no veil that any Englishman could in, and again turned tail; and yet again weave would cover the corruption of a a third time, and at the last perjured Canadian election in 1892. To measure himself. Another, an old negro, hesi- the country's morality by its politics tated; and the man of superior race would indeed be monstrous. This hissed at him, "Kiss the book, damn you!" So the older rascal kissed it; and then, in presence of officials and every one, exclaimed, "Well, now, you'll pay me my money that you promised."
morality does make its protests from time to time, and tries, as yet sadly in vain, to force its way into politics.
Tennyson would have to be replaced here by one who could speak truth more brutally about
Raving politics, never at rest, as this
poor earth's pale history runs — What is it all but a trouble of ants in the gleam of a million million of suns?
The negroes are no worse than the white men, except in so far as they are poor. It is the poor who are debauched explicitly by the system, though, to be sure, the rest of us are so implicitly, if we refrain from taking bribes only because the necessities of life do not press us. The laboring class, in some places at least, is almost all bribed. We seem to be raving when talking
What is the use of such politics? Who goes into them? Why should any one go into them? What are they for?
about such things. But again here, street. Put the bridge there, and you
while giving further facts, one has to keep the sense that in America there is an attitude towards it all which prevents these "pothouse politics," as Emerson called them, from being quite as corrupting outside their own limits as one would think. At the lowest we find the people who think their votes to be some property for sale; and at the highest you find the two comic papers in New York, Puck and Judge, coming out after the presidential election with this sort of tone: "Well, the political season is over; there are new games up, and other business, the Chicago Exhibition, for instance; come and make that a success." Politics is a business.
can tell your government that we business men will contribute so much to the next election or bribery fund. And the government member answers: "It is your interest to vote for the government; if you return opposition candidates the government will do nothing for the roads and bridges of your town or of your county." In fact, one minister is defeated, and in his public speech he openly threatens the county which had rejected him, and then offers to another constituency to do everything for them, and declares to his new county, so we are told, that the old one may go to the devil. Nobody seems astonished at this. It is a game; your county played against the government, Still it does excite surprise to find played to be in, in fact, and it is out. men of ability leaving the better outside That is all. So when the House of world for local politics. For one would Assembly meets there is a floating popthink either of two spurs were neces-ulation of those members who want to sary to drive them there the love of be influential in forming a new governa cause, or at least the ambition to succeed in one, or private gain. The latter is often a delusion, perhaps always; for men do not seem agreed that these politicians actually put the money in their own pockets; and for the cause, such facts as are given in this article are those acknowledged by everybody.
ment. They are known to be in this unpledged, uncommitted state; but the only difficulty they have is for each to know when the others will combine to strike the blow. If it be that they have any blow they think right to strike, then they are much maligned by the whole of their little world in which not one believer in them can be found.
A paying game somehow or other, that is what Canadians think their poltone of their talk about them in private. itics, according to the almost unvaried The better sort of young man, in the age of possible high thoughts on all the framework of the land, will probably tell you, if he is not yet a political agent, that he does not care which way an election goes, that it makes no matter to him. It is impossible to exaggerate the extent to which this disbelief prevails, in local politics especially.
W. F. STOCKLEY.
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