THE GREAT CHANCE for CANADA
AGNES C. LAUT
SOMEWHERE the greatest master of wisdom whom English literature has produced, tells us—there is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at its turn leads on to for-
Canada is at that turn in her tide to-day.
I wish I could induce Canadians to see this, for if international antagonism towards the United States becomes a cult, Canada may not only miss the turn in her tide but may defeat many of the benefits for which the War was won—chief of which is the solidarity of English-speaking races, in their ideals and trade intercourse and world destiny. If those benefits are defeated, German propaganda will have won in Peace what it could not win in War.
Get that fact clear and anchor it in your mind so it cannot be dislodged—the cult of hate aiming to drive a wedge in the friendship of the English-speaking races is only defeated German propaganda in a new guise. If Canada, or the United States, foster that cult, they are playing into the game of the defeated Hun in a new protean form. Grey saw that when in this country, and on his return to England sought to stem the anti-American sentiment by his famous private letter to The Times; and whether diplomatically he was right or wrong, basically he was right. For the English-speaking races to drift apart now would give victory to the Hun.
Take it on the ground of marks, or pounds sterling, of exchange or trade, of marine supremacy on the high-seas, or fuel supplies for the Allied Navies—if the United States and Great Britain drift into subconscious antagonism now, Germany will be the profiteer coming or going.
Well, take marks as an example!
German marks are worth to-day anything from 2 to 10 cents on the dollar. They are fluctuating wildly. By the time this appears they will be up or down, according as the wedge of hate has driven the English-speaking races apart in sentiment and trade. I know many German-Ameriean banking-houses, who are buying up marks wholesale today confident that in the scramble of the 1920 elections they oan disrupt Anglo-American relations to the extent of swinging trade back into German channels, when up will go the value of the mark to par, and they will clear millions; and the two cats’ paws they are using chiefly to pull Germany’s chestnuts out of the fire are Wilson’s faux pas on the Peace Treaty and the Sinn Feiners’ leatherlunged howl of hate at England. Can you conceive otherwise of a Nobody calling himself President of a mythical Irish Republic—which doesn’t exist—being publicly received by the Irish mayor of New York, or Irish bonds, which no one buys, being launched with a fanfare of trumpets?
Don’t Take It Seriously
IT would be just as logical for Rhode Island to launch a republic independent of the United States. America knows this and laughs good-naturedly. Please note who are on the reception committee and why; and where the most rabid reports of the noisy demonstrations—which no one down here ever sees—appear! Ward-heeling, all of it, for professional politicians to line pockets against campaign expenses of November 1920, not a cent of which will ever see Ireland, but all of which will be a fat slush fund for the fall campaign.
Don’t take it seriously, I beg of you!
A dog-fight or a cock-fight will impede traffic and get a head-line in a certain type of the press; but it doesn’t play much part in the destiny of nations.
I remember the same game was played in 1916, under the German organization known as the American Truth Society; and over $200,000 was raised at two Sympathywith-Ireland meetings; but not a cent of it ever reached Ireland.
But here is the way the German-Ameriean banker reasons; and his reasoning is sound if we Anglo-Saxons fall for it by fostering anti-American and anti-British hate.
If we fall for it, we deserve to lose what we have won in the War.
German marks are to-day at pretty nearly nil.
German trade is to-day at nil.
German shipping non est.
Those are facts. Face them!
Now face some more, ugly facts this time and close home to you and me!
Germany is at the Back of ft
THERE is abroad through all the industries of the Allies except Belgium—whom the War has forced to basic facts—an insidious poison variously known as Bolshevik, or Socialistic, or Anarchistic. You can call it any name you like. I call it Slackism. The doctrine just plainly preaches—peg down hours of labor to a minimum. Peg wages up to a maximum—all the traffic will stand to the expropriation of all profits. Peg down production—it will make more work for the laborers; and that is all we have to do to bring about the halcyon paradise of a Russia, or a Mexico. No more capital. No more vested property; but they always fail to add—no more food.
That is the poison slacking down production in the United States and Great Britain and France to-day.
With this doctrine in vogue, you are not going to have a
plethora of exports going out very long, especially you are not going to have them with such a high overhead in factories and foreign exchange so low that $5 worth of Allied money will buy only $3.60 of American goods.
Now, how as to Germany?
The German factories are not pegging down hours, and pegging up wages, and pegging down output. They are petitioning their Government to be allowed to work twelve hours a day. They are applying a force pump to swell output and keep down overhead.
That kind of an output can cut our market into tatters in spite of any tariff short of a blockade against German goods, and that we can’t have if Germany is to be enabled to pay her war indemnities.
Presto! Germany then sells her goods lower than ours and captures our manufacturers’ markets. She takes her pay in raw material. What happens, then?
Up goes the mark to par.
She gets the trade the Allies have lost through Slacker doctrine.
Back goes her shipping on the high-seas in German ships; and the freight on that merchant marine—it used to be $300,000,000 a year to England in gold—pours gold into German Banks instead of British and American.
It isn’t cryptic and it isn’t subtle.
And that is what is at the bottom of the cult of antagonism now being fanned up between American and British interests.
I defy you to show me a single example of it that cannot be traced to that source—the Irish party-heeler acting as a cat’s paw for the German-Ameriean bankers, the leather-lunged politicians out for anti-British votes, the anti-British flare head out for advertising from the German interests.
Again, I say, don’t fall for it. Laugh! And lock hands tighter than ever; for Canada’s future prosperity is locked up in her policy now.
We Can Gain by Immigration
'T'AKE the matter of immigration. There is such a wild land boom in the Western States and Middle West just now as puts land miles beyond the reach of the man with moderate means. Two things have brought it about —high prices for farm products and the sense of having a secure storm cellar, when the great crash, which is theaftermath of every great war, comes. Land in Iowa, in Illinois, in Indiana, in Tennessee, in Texas, which was from $100 to $200 before the War, is changing hands in a fevered land boom at $300 to $400 an acre. Where are the farmers, who sell out, going? To crowd the already over-crowded towns and to boost the cost of living still higher by increasing the number of non-producers? Where are their farm-trained sons and daughters going with their nice round cash wads of $20,000 and $30,000? To buy back lands at $400? Not on your life. Real farmers know that it is a much harder proposition to realize 8 to 10 per cent, on $400 an acre than on $100 an acre land. And they, as they have young families, are not going to squander their good farm capital on the high cost of living in
Where are they going?
They are going where good land is still cheap; and in America there are only three such sections left —
First—The abandoned farm section of the Eastern States, where shorter and shorter hours for the factories and higher and higher wages make the help problem an almost impossibility. I speak from experience, for I operate 400 acres in this section.
Second—Mexico, a three-crop-a-year land, with the lowest overhead in the world owing to excellent farm labor at a low cost and no expensive non-productive winter season; but life is unsafe a stone’s throw from any city in Mexico to-day; and I also speak from experience in Mexico; for I motored over roads on a Tuesday where four Americans were killed by bandits on Thursday of the same week.
Lastly, Canada, where good lands are still the cheapest in the world and the most fertile.
I venture to say if Canada put out her colonization net properly to catch the gold-fish now selling out in the Western and Middle Western States at $200 to $400 an acre, she could catch 100,000 families a year, each with $10,000 to $20,000 to invest. That would be a total of incoming American values to Canada’s Western lands of from $1,000,000,000 to $2,000,000,000.
That would be as much yearly investment in Canada’s Western lands as Americans have invested in Canada in twenty years.
Is it worth while?
But do you think you will lure those colonists with a swat in the face of anti-Americanism? Do you, now, honestly?
But won’t they Americanize Canada ? Forget it! Have two and a half million Canadians Canadianized the United States? If I had my way, I would make Canada the golden link riveting the United States and Great Britain in eternal friendship. That would be League of Nations enough for me, without any infiltration of the dangerous alien blood that poisons the racial springs.
But the thing cuts deeper than that! Wake up, Canada, and probe a little deeper!
A Sieve for Labor
THE United States is desperate for unskilled labor.
Where is it going to get it? It has to have it. It can’t do without it and keep the wheels going round. It is going to get it from Armenia, from Southern Europe, from Germany, from Austria, yes and from Mexico.
Now it may not be generally known in Canada^ but during the last four years, Canada has rejected 300,000 undesirable aliens from Europe. The United States to its deep regret is under necessity of taking them. Granted Canada can get the pick of Western American farmers, pow selling at high figures, and the U. S. keeping taking the undesirable dregs of the earth, where does that leave ps?
It is to laugh; or rather to go forth rejoicing.
Uncle Sam acts as the sieve for immigration, and after the slag drops there to the bottom and the true gold has been assayed and stamped with the mint of the thrifty years’ approval, Canada gets the pure gold.
Go to it, my country, and don’t let a spite fence dam back your own prosperity because some fool ward-heeler down here tries to twist the Lion’s Tail to get out a roar for Tammany! Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves; and you will lure the best Uncle Sam has across your Border!
The Truth About Exchange
OR take the matter of exchange. A good many Canadians and a great many Europeans are sweating blood over exchange just now and uttering foolish, hot, anti-American words. Don’t! Wipe the sweat from your j>row and think twice!
It is obvious, whether or not we erect tariff walls high as the gallows of Haman, Canada is the second best buyer the United States has, and the United States is the second best buyer Canada has.
But to keep up the War industries (except munitions), and with 100,000 more producing farmers a year, Canada is going to have and must have an expanding foreign trade that will make her present big total look like small potatoes. But there is this accursed business of exchange. It hurts like a bumped funny-bone to have to pay $110 to $116 for $100 of American goods; and it hurts the Englishman even more to have to pay $5 for $3.60 worth of American goods; and the Frenchman to have to pay $2.50 for $1 of American goods; and that is the way foreign exchange has been fomenting a lot of anti-American resentment this last winter.
When the shoe pinches one is apt to get irritable and kick the cat; and there has been a lot of cat-kicking this year.
But it is also obvious when the European nations get down to business, and have had to reef in belts from hunger, they are going to go at production with their sleeves rolled up and stop spouting about making more work by slowing down on work. Hunger cures that sort of windy stuff. It has cured it in Belgium. Belgium is now producing 94 per cent, of normal. Russia and Austria are in process of learning the lesson; and with $5 buying only $3.60 worth of American goods, Europe is not going to be
a buyer of American goods—raw or manufactured—to the same extent next year as last year; and especially is she not going to buy American goods produced at the extortionate overhead of excess wages prevailing there.
Where, then, is Canada to find market for her overplus of farm products and factory products?
Right in the United States; for that country is already top heavy with non-producers and scarce of ultimate producers. She is scarce of labor for her mines, for her farms, for her factories. She has three people in town for one producing food on the
f ' The U. S. Will Need Food
T current rates of wages with their reaction on the farm, the United States will not produce food enough to feed itself within three years. Every thinking person in the United States knows that and is scared stiff. That is why so many are buying farms against the day of evil, when the storm breaks. Last fall farm wages went up 20 per cent, and 20 per cent, less fall wheat and rye were planted. For next spring, 20 per cent, higher wages are being asked; and all my farm neighbors are saying—All right, 20 per cent, less oats and milk and fruit next June, when the factories begin to slow down because exchange is stopping sales abroad and when the Farm Bureau reports begin to come out, showing 30 per cent, lower food-production—you will see the first frantic jolt then—fear of hunger, of food shortage, of tight money, appeals of butcher and baker and candlestick maker for the other man to go out and be a farmer and produce food.
But the trouble is when you have weaned two generations of people away from the farm, two-thirds of an entire population away from the farm, you can’t produce food in the twinkling of an eye. It takes a season’s growth and ten years’ training for a greenhorn to become a good farmer. (They are the bred-in-the-bone farmers Canada can get from the Middle Western States just now). I smile when I hear bankers invoke lily-handed, kid-glove gentry to go out to the farm, buy a tractor and ride round producing food. Yes—I smile. I had some of them during the War, and I have fired nine in a month because the Bank of England and the United States Treasury combined couldn’t stand the bill of damages and ignorance when you turn a greenhorn loose on a high-priced selfbinder, or tractor, or gasoline saw mill, or $700 team of good spirited horses. When those greenhorns, war draft slackers, were on my farm, I trembled to get a telegram, or a long distance telephone. I knew some theory townfarmer on my place had tried to break his neck in a runaway, or was presenting me with a bill of damages for a broken machine. One presented me with a bill of $94 damages—which I didn’t pay—for bumping his nose.
The United States will not produce food enough to feed itself within three years; and it will take ten years to get back to land from factory, to a sane food and wage basis.
The Trend of Food Prices
IN the interval people must eat. Food prices—do I need to say anything about this?
Apples to-day cost in New York 8 cents for moderate size, 15 cents for AÍ Grade.
Because pickers-cost $4 a day where they used to cost $1.50.
Because barrels to-day cost 50 cents where they used to cost 20 to 30 cents.
Because freight costs 47 to 50 cents where it used to cost 11 to 17 cents.
Because haulage to-day costs $8 a day where it used to cost $4.50.
Because store hands to-day cost $25 a week where they used to cost $12.
We are not shipping second grades any more to the city, because we can’t afford to; and I could tell the same story of beef, of veal, of oats, of milk, of cows.
Uncle Sam will buy higher and higher priced food for ten years.
Where will he buy it? From Canada unless we Canadians let our anti-American sentiment react in an antiCanadian sentiment here ; which boosts up U. S. tariff walls to Canada and lowers U. S. tariffjwallsjtokay Argen-
tina, or Central American republics. South America could feed the United States. Canada should. Don’t play into the German game by fomenting bad relations; for Germans are pouring into South America by the thousands, laying the wires for American trade.
Is It Our Own Fault ?
BUT won’t the rate of exchange running against Canada shut off U. S. trade?
The rate of exchange running against Canada is to some extent Canada’s own fault. The American bankers have again and again evinced an eager desire to “peg” Canadian exchange at par; and their overtures have never been met half-way by Canada for occult reasons I have not been able to divine. They want to “peg” exchange from purely selfish reasons. Canada’s farm money comes pouring into the banks November and December, the invariable tight money season. It used to come down for investment in New York till spring and eased the American money-market. Then it seeped back to Canada in spring after earning good interest all winter; so it benefited the American banks; and they would gladly "peg” Canadian exchange at par if Canada would meet their overtures half-way. Meanwhile, adverse exchange is costing Canada millions a year in loss—many millions, enough to pay the interest on her War Debt.
I do not write this rashly. I write it because I have heard U. S. Bank and Treasury officials express the desire repeatedly; but when I have repeated it to Canadians, they have looked back at me so blankly I did not quite know whether I did not know what I was talking about, or they
I only know every time you pay a discount on Canadian money of from 2 to 10 per cent, you are paying what is an unnecessary loss to you. There may be some good reason behind for the loss which I don’t know. If so, I want to hear it.
To Sum Up the Case for Friendship
OW look back at the reasons for the cult of friendship with the United States:—
A gold mine of colonization waiting to be lured.
A gold mine of a food market open to her.
The loss in exchange wiped out.
On the other side fostering the cult of hate—what?
German-American craft jockeying to create antagonism that will lure American markets open to their interests.
German-American cunning using ward-heeling politicians and Sinn Feiners to twist the Lion’s Tail and get a roar for Tam-
Which side of the game should Canada play?
“Yes,” my Canadian friends say, “but didn’t a fool of an American politician issue an article saying ‘We’—big We—‘won the War’?” And I could answer that cheap claim in the words of the renowned Roosevelt—“Last in War, first in Peace, long may He waver!”
I prefer to answer that complaint in the words of a St. Louis man, when St. Louis was very strongly pro-German.
"Yes, gentlemen,” he said, “we have sent two million men to the War; but the Allies have more men lying dead in Flanders for the cause of freedom than we sent over,” and he sat down in an atmosphere so tense it cracked, and that man expressed the true sentiments of the true American, spite of the roaring ward-heelers getting a roar by twisting at the Lion’s Whiskers.
The Lion knows who his friends are and Grey proved it by his letter to The Thunderer.
GREAT MEN OF THE KEY
An article will appear in the April 15 issue of MACLEAN’S on the prominent men of Canada who started in life as telegraph operatore. It’s an astonishingly long list, and some interesting stories are told about them.