In 1877 he was counsel for Great Britain before the Anglo-American fisheries arbitration at Halifax; in 1897 he was a joint delegate to Washington with Sir Wilfrid Laurier on the Bering Sea seal question; and in1898-1899a member of the Anglo-American joint high commission at Quebec.
A gradual severance took place between him and his old chief, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, until in later years he became obsessed with the idea that Laurier's policy was fatal to the best interests of Canada and especially to Quebec. A speaker of extraordinary power and fascination, both in Parliament and on the platform, even Laurier himself could not sway the French Canadians as Bourassa could; and in spite of his extreme views he was heard with respect even in the strongholds of his opponents in Toronto.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier became prime minister, and strengthened the cabinet which he formed by drawing into.
In bringing about a system of penny postage throughout the empire; in forwarding the construction of the Pacific cable to secure close and safe imperial telegraphic connexion; in creating rapid and efficient lines of steamship communication with the motherland and all the colonies; in granting tariff preference to British goods and in striving for preferential treatment of inter-imperial trade; in assuming responsibility for imperial defence at the two important stations of Halifax and Esquimalt, - Canada, under the guidance of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his party, took a leading part and showed a truly national spirit.