Germany Must Pay Canada’s War Bill
Figures Show She is Abundantly Able to do so
Lieut.-Col. J. B. Maclean
IT is timely to raise once more the question of what Canada is to get out of this war. The Financial Post raised it when Sir Edward Grey in September, 1914, made known the then Allied peace terms. While Serbia, Belgium and France were to have cash and territorial indemnities, he said Britain wanted nothing. This altruistic policy might suit the Asquith-Grey “intellectuals” or Haldane pro-Germans but it did not appeal to practical Canadians. And it was not known then that Canada was one of the pawns in the Great German
There are few of our readers who are not now familiar with the part Canada was to play in Germany’s peace terms. Based on authoritative statements from leading Germans the Dominion was to be the great reward of the war. All our lands and resources were to be taken from us, and distributed among the German nobility and the newly rich German bankers and industrial leaders; and, judging from the treatment of countries already conquered, the men, women and children would become slaves to German masters.
This was the bait held out by the Kaiser and Junker group when they solicited the financial support of the wealthy Germans in preparations for the war.
To protect ourselves from this extermination has cost us—measured in money —an enormous sum. If we capitalized it every man, woman and child would have to pay at least $1,000 for war expenses, pensions, the years of set-back in our progress. To put it in another form, at least $5 a week, say, of every Canadian worker’s wages must go to pay for Germany’s ambitions. This does not take into account any of the damages a civil court would allow on other counts. And it makes no allowance, for it cannot, for the fearful mental and physical sufferings of the families of the men who went abroad to save Canada, which would also be fair damages in an ordinary civil action.
From the very outset we have striven here and in The Financial Post to overcome the impression created and constantly played up by scores and scores of writers and press correspondents that Germany was on the verge of financial bankruptcy and food and munition starvation. We have pointed out that Germany was one of the richest and most prosperous countries in the world. She has suffered less loss of material resources than any country at war. These unthinking chatterers do not seem to learn from experience. Their optimistic writings have wrought untold harm to our cause. Now that peace talk is the live topic they are busy again with their misrepresentations. If they and some of their political contemporaries over in England have their way Canada will get no indemnity of any sort. They are assuring us that a poor defeated Germany is a ruined Germany, and therefore cannot pay any part of the tremendous damages she has brought upon Canada.
GERMANY CAN, AND IF CANADA’S REPRESENTATIONS ARE STRONG ENOUGH, SHE WILL PAY
ALL OUR WAR DEBTS AND GIVE US A BONUS TO HELP TIDE US OVER THE RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD.
This is a policy all Canada can unite on. Even the Austro-German settlers will be selfish enough to support it.
Germany’s natural resources are so great that she could discharge the whole war debt of the Allies without seriously impairing her own natural wealth. She could do this, moreover, from any one of several natural resources, without drawing upon her stores of gold or handing over her customs to be administered by the Allies, or any other more humiliating measures. We have this on the evidence which her own experts brought out at Ottawa in 1913 when the International Geological Congress met in Canada.
A writer in the Fortnightly Review of recent date recalls this. Leaving out of consideration the mineral wealth on territory which she has stolen and must return, she has still very great resources of her own. The richest of those, and the only ones we shall consider for the purposes of this article, are coal, iron and potash.
Germany has more than half the coal of Europe, and more than twice as much as the United Kingdom, the figures given at Ottawa—which were considered very conservative—being 423,356,000,000 tons. Her most important fields are those in the Rhenish - Westphalian district. They are those lying nearest the borders of France and Belgium, the significance of which is apparent; they may be called upon to make return for the wealth looted from those countries. At the low price of $2.50 per ton, it is estimated that one-thirtieth of Germany’s coal would pay all the expenses incurred by Great Britain in the war. As her expenditure to date has been very much greater than that of any other of the Allies, it will be seen that Germany’s coal wealth alone would pay for the war, and leave her enough to provide for the wants of posterity for practically all time to come. T9" »«Hmot« 0f her own experts is that she has available supplies for nearly three thousand years.
Her wealth in iron is equa'1" fabulous. She has the largest stores of iron ore in Europe, her possessions in this respect being three times as great as those of the United Kingdom. Three-fourths of her immediately available supplies are, like her coal, conveniently placed close to the French frontier. Like practically all countries rich in iron, her stores are imperfect; that is, they require a mixture with ore from other countries to produce the best finished product, in this case the complementary mixture being obtained from the Lorraine district on the French frontier; from Spain and Belgium. Considerable Canadian ore also has been sent to Germany in the past. The German iron industry is by far the most important of that country, and its future prosperity depends largely on the supplies which her present enemies may allow her to import.
Her third great asset is potash, which as a fertilizer has been the basis of her agricultural prosperity, and which she has exported to the whole world.
Summarizing the wealth contained in
the three assets above mentioned we get the following:
423.356.000. 000 tons coal
at $2.50 per ton = $1,058,390,000,000
4.000. 000.000 tons iron
at $1.00 = ........ 4,000,000,000
50.000. 000.000 tons potash at $2.50 = . ... 125,000,000,000
These are fabulous figures, but there is no reason to doubt their authenticity. Germany has never sought foreign capital to develop her resources, so has had no reason to inflate their value. They prove that from these sources alone she is abundantly able to make good the damage she has wantonly caused without impoverishing herself in any considerable degree.
But these figures are for the raw material at the pit’s mouth. They do not estimate the fabulous sums obtainable for by-products such as gas oil, tar, ammonia, explosives, dyes, drugs, etc., which in the aggregate are far more valuable than the coal from which they are obtained.
The potash and other salts have made Germany extraordinarily rich agriculturally, so that the farmers could do their share to pay our debts. But it is of course upon the manufacturers and rich land owners the great burden would fall— and these figures alone show how easily they could bear it.
The work of Canadians and our army entitles us to a commanding voice in peace terms. The country is not yet permitted to know all that stands to our credit. And when I say Canadian Army I do not mean the Canadian born. The casualty and honors lists have shown that some of the bravest deeds were performed by men who had emigrated to Canada, more V.C.s, have gone to the latter. There were I think just as many Old Country born in our little army that saved Calais as Canadian born. And they showed even more readiness to enlist than we native borns.
But there is something about the various colonial atmospheres which they acquired that inspires more freedom of action, more resourcefulness and boldness, more concentration on the work on hand, less attention to red tape, and a refusal to be hampered by politicians or comfortloving higher commanders. As a rule new countries lack thoroughness, but this seems to be an outstanding characteristic of our army. They do things well and take no chances. We shall shortly give some interesting evidences of this. It was General Gough’s neglect—his third similar failure—to take the precautions the Canadian commander took that caused the greatest disaster in the history of British arms.
And apparently it is the Canadian army that has been used as the point of the arrowhead which has pierced the German lines and led the way for the brilliant work that has been done since an allied commander has been appointed.
Our own Prime Minister and Mr. Hughes of Australia put backbone into the opponents of the Lenine-TrotzkyBolshevik policy of “no annexation and
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no indemnities” which seems to have been generally accepted in British official circles. And it was well understood when Sir Robert Borden left England that Germany should not be allowed to retain any of her colonies.
But there is every reason for anxiety once more over the situation. The “intellectuals” are busy again.
Lord Charnwood, a former Liberal M.P., a distinguished classical scholar, is making a four or five months’ semi-official tour of the United States. He is to lecture before the universities and colleges on Great Britain and tell of her part in the war and the programme after the war. At Cornell he is to deliver a special course of lectures on the contributions of the British Empire to civilization, under an invitation from the Jacob H. Schiff Foundation. Mr Schiff originally created this endowment to promote the study of German literature and culture. So far the only point Lord Charnwood has made in his talks to the public through the American Press is that Great Britain does not want Germany’s Colonies. Then we have Lloyd George’s Manchester address which the British pacifists are quoting approvingly and finally Lord Milner’s extraordinary plea for Germany. Here in Canada his appointment to the Ministry of War was a surprise and cause of anxiety because he was born and educated in Germany and had many close alliances with that country.
At the very first sign of real peace talk. Borden should get right on the job. Perhaps he has already made representations. He must be backed up by some of our strong men. Not our professional politicians, but our soldiers and big business executives—men who would put the fear of God into the mawkish pacifists. The military who have won the war for us should have the chief say. Let him go to the British Peace Council supported by an Advisory Committee composed of General Currie, our Ministers of War and Marine, and two of our greatest, keenest business men.
We must not forget that under the British form of government, the prime minister is directly responsible to the people of Great Britain, but not to those of Canada. He is more or less subject to any Trotzky-Lenine temporary ebullitions or misrepresentations. There is a real danger of this, because German influence is very powerful in England, in high and low circles. A sudden popular cry might be raised that would hurl any government from power. Should something like this occur, Canadian interests might be at the mercy of an old-country mob. It may be noted that the United States constitution, which protects them from such impulsive changes, gives them an advantage over us in this respect.
It is all the more important, therefore, that the representation from the Dominions at the peace conference should be : strong enough to prevent Canada’s interests being partially or completely i sacrificed either to a popular whim or a I carefully worked German plot.
Canadians would be content to leave our interests in the care of such a group of strong men. They will not be satisfied to leave our peace terms with weaker representatives.
ONCE more here in Canada we are playing the parts of cowards, of slackers in war effort, at the very time our gallant men over in France, fighting for us, have been undergoing the most terrific hardships even if winning glorious victories. The lists of killed and wounded there and suffering families in this country exceed all previous records.
There may be a complete change in the situation before this appears in print but the last authentic news—written less than two weeks ago in France—says that unless the German morale goes the most terrible fighting of the war is still to come.
This is known in Canada. It has been represented to our public men by the military experts. For a long time the responsible people in Canada have been told officially that more men, more munitions and more supplies must be in readi-
By an overwhelming majority this country voted into power a Unionist party which guaranteed to keep up a steady stream of reinforcements. The Military Service Act called for the enlistment of 100,000 but for weeks reinforcements were held up while wise Cabinet Ministers and their party friends outside argued that Canada was not compelled to send 100,000 overseas. They urged we could take advantage of a tricky technicality and keep a good part of the 100,000 in Canada. But Borden came home and soon after the strong men in the Cabinet took hold and passed an Orderin-Council interpreting the word “reinforcements” to mean reinforcements for the Canadian Expeditionary Force now engaged in active service overseas.” Having cleared this up it was to be expected that enlistments would be speeded up to recover lost time. But again the Bolshevik element got busy. Once more enlistments are practically suspended while they fight over the order in which the six classes liable may be called. I have talked with a number of men who took part in the election. They confirm the view that the people of Canada voted for unlimited reinforcements. Representative anti-unionists tell me that they interpreted the national vote to mean that. Therefore there can be no quibbling over it and the duty of the Master of the Government is to make this point clear. To brush aside the cowardly quibblers and get without delay the full 100,000 overseas. To compel those already called to answer. To announce that it is the intention of the Government to send reinforcements without limit. To do as the United States has done. It no doubt will he done. Perhaps the most effective plan would he to place all authority in matters of this kind in the hands of a War Committee composed of the Premier and our Ministers of War and Navy. We arc
holding them responsible for the success of our efforts in Canada. If they do not regard themselves as responsible it should be made clear to them; and we on our part must support them and carry out their recommendations to the limit. This is exactly how every successful business organization handles its affairs.
Fortunately until recently the question of reinforcements was not so pressing. To-day it is urgent.
But the problem of supplies has been and is now very serious, and a very nastv situation has developed in Ontario which is preventing the people of this great Province from doing their share to help.
Owing to the tremendous and unprecedented expenditure of munitions since early summer, contractors in England and the United States have not been able to cope with the demands—some of them for new specifications.
We have been asked to increase our output. To produce approaching fifty per cent, more than we have been doing. At
one time the Niagara district alone supplied over 60 per cent, of the whole barrage of the British army. The importance of the work of the Canadian manufacturers and workers will therefore be realized.
But our manufacturers though anxious and willing are not doing it. The Canadian Manufacturers’ Association officials, who have spent much time investigating and endeavoring to arrange for a supply, clearly and distinctly placed the responsibility for the failure upon one man—Sir Adam Beck, because he would neither co-operate or co-ordinate in the efforts to regulate the power supply. Not only that but Sir Adam in a lengthy explanation showed a marked antagonism to cooperation in the use of Ontario power in the production of munitions, particularly for our ally, the United States.
As the condition bids fair to become a national scandal unless promptly righted, a proper understanding is necessary. There is no question but that under sane
handling a supply of electricity to meet all demands can be made available. Government experts have so reported. We faced worse situations in food and fuel and they were successfully handled.
The trouble arose primarily because Sir Adam as head of the Provincial Government Hydro-Commission thoughtlessly or for some unexplained reason took a gigantic contract to supply a large British Government munitions plant at Toronto with electric power. When he took the contract he had not the power available and he took it from a concern in Quebec that had ample surplus power.
Sir Adam replies that if the British Government would lend him money he would soon solve the situation, but Sir Adam has persistently refused to have his accounts audited and payments made on the authority of the Government Audit Department. It is one of the scandals of Ontario. The British Government refuses to do business by such loose methods.
The Hydro Power Commission came
into being at the request and for the protection of the manufacturers who were being held up by the private companies with high rates and poor and offensive service. I was one of their victims and have always believed—no matter what his motives were—that Sir Adam performed a good service to this province. Credit should also be given to two other Western Ontario manufacturers who took up and promoted the good work before Sir Adam came into it—Messrs. Detweiler and Schneider of Berlin, Ont. along with P. W. Ellis and W. K. McNaught, Toronto.
The Ontario Government control the Hydro through a commission composed of Sir Adam Beck, W. K. McNaught, M.L.A., and Hon. Mr. Lucas, the Attorney-General. The cabinet is responsible. The Ministers know that Sir Adam refuses to co-operate in the production of war supplies; that he is violently antagonistic. They know that the methods pursued by Sir Adam Beck in dealing with investments and disregarding contracts upon which investments have been made have so injured the reputation of the province that millions of dollars of investments have passed us by. That in certain lines bankers and investors will not lend money in this province.
The general feeling is that W. K. McNaught should be asked without delay to take the chairmanship of the commission; that a conference of representative manufacturers, financiers, investors, farmers and labor leaders should be held with the Provincial Cabinet and that (1) a general plan should be evolved to put the electrical power situation immediately on a basis that it will co-operate with the munition manufacturers, workers and our men at the front; (2) a comprehensive policy should be adopted that will encourage, not hamper the development of the natural resources of the province, encouraging the manufacturers and their workers, protecting the consumers and giving the whole people a share in the surplus profits by lowering costs, as is done to-day by several private utility concerns in Montreal, Toronto and elsewhere.
My own experience is that the manufacturers are the most public-spirited people we have.' They fought the electric monoply and gave every farmer and mechanic in this province an opportunity to have light and power at the lowest price in the world. But I am afraid that politics and mismanagement are going to deprive us of some of these unusual advantages. After all, 95 per cent, of the Canadian manufacturers come from the farm or the work bench. Many are men who have undertaken harder work, longer hours and more responsibility than others care to assume. There are among them some whose business methods are far worse than the private electric interests who held up the users of power in Ontario. I am myself chairman of a committee that is fighting one of the most outrageous combines that ever existed in this country—the book paper manufacturers. They are doing things that if done by a retail merchant or farmer would render him liable to criminal prosecution. And worse still there are combines made up of unions and manufacturers to gouge the public. But they are few and far between and the great mass of manufacturers would cooperate in their elimination.