STEPS TO IMPERIAL FEDERATION.
Complexity of Parliamentary business.Such then are the evils of our present system of government, and these are the reasons which are convincing men of all political parties that parliamentary government has broken down. Parliamentary government has broken down, because we are attempting to deal, in one single assembly, with three distinct classes of business: (1) the business of the greatest Empire the world has ever seen; (2) questions affecting the United Kingdom as a whole, such as those which in Canada are dealt with by the Dominion Parliament and in Australia by the Commonwealth Parliament; (3) the special needs of England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, which in Canada would be dealt with by the Provincial Parliaments of Ontario, Quebec, &c.; in Australia by the Colonial Parliaments of New South Wales, Victoria, &c. No other country has ever attempted to carry on its business with such inadequate machinery.
The Boers' hopes.Let me illustrate what I mean. The Boers went to war trusting in two things: (1) foreign intervention; (2) the possibility of a change of government and a reversal of policy, such as took place in 1880. Had an Imperial Parliament been in existence in 1899, the people of this country would have had accurate information from the representatives of Natal or of the Cape Colony as to the situation in South Africa, and there would have been none of that ignorance and misunderstanding which have been so fruitful a cause of evil in our relations with South Africa. It is my firm conviction that, had the Boers known that they had to deal with a United Empire, and that there was no chance of a reversal of Imperial policy, the war in South Africa would never have taken place.