GET BEHIND THE PREMIER
AGNES C. LAUT
THE King is Dead—Long Live the King!’ and in the case of Canada, paraphrasing the cry of the old European monarchies, the new ruler happens to be MacKenzie King.
I have made no concealment of the fact that if I had been in Canada during the past elections, I would have fought for the Farmers to the last ditch, because in a nation of 8,500,000 essential producers, of whom at no time industrial workers exceed 700,000, the basis of Canada’s prosperity must always be the essential producer.
Regarding prosperity as a great pyramid, the basis of Canada’s pyramid must always be the Farmers; but the tendency for the last twenty years has been for the base of the pyramid to shrink smaller and smaller, the top of the pyramid to spread wider and wider. If you will draw the figure of a pyramid, with the base shrinking smaller and smaller, the top spreading wider and wider—more consumers than producers, more middlemen and manufacturers than growers of the materials in which middlemen deal and which factories manufacture—you will see, that just as soon as the top of the pyramid is wider than the bottom, the pyramid will topple over. Henry Ford may answer that one machine of his raised as many bushels of wheat as would have required the work of three men for three-hundred days formerly. Perfectly true; but that doesn’t happen to be the point The point is—how much did that machine operation cost per bushel; and did the price paid for the bushel of wheat pay for the cost, let alone pay a profit? Henry Ford knows it didn’t; so the base of producers below the pyramid becomes smaller.
“Why, 30,000,000 farmers with machine power are a broad enough base for 105,000,000 eaters,” said a wise little economist to me, who was dressed in imitation Scotch tweeds and wore a monocle. True; if the 30,000,000 base would stay put; but it doesn’t. It keeps shrinking; and if it shrinks much more the top will over-spread and smash down. Our economic complex as we know it, which has taken 6,000 years to upbuild, will tumble over just as soon as the centre of gravity gets so high as to overbalance. Draw a figure for yourself; and see. No one needs to be a prophet.
That is largely what is the matter with a bankrupt world to-day. The fellows at the top of the pyramid have been making more money and easier money than the fellows at the bottom. They have had shorter hours and more certain returns. Compare the office man’s seven hours, or the rail man’s eight hours, to the dairy farmer’s up at 4 a.m. and quit at 6 p.m., or the wheat farmer’s, in the fields at 4 a.m. and quit at 9 p.m., when the sun goes down.
The Exodus Explained.
'"pHEN punch the fact in hard, that for two or three years, the fellow at the bottom of the pyramid has not made enough to cover costs. Punch in still harder that the fellow at the bottom of the pyramid this year has been unable to sell at any price much that he produced at high costs—hides, wool, beef, mutton—and you will see why yearly thousands at the bottom of the pyramid try to scramble up to the top and hang on with an eyebrow, or little finger, or small toe, to a town job with a certain meal. So you have an explanation why 800,000 American settlers failed to stay in Canada during the past ten years after putting in their homestead duties.
You have an explanation why a million-and-ahalf of our natural increase of native-born Canadians can t be accounted for in our present census.
You have an explanation why 2,500,000 Canadians left Canada since Confederation, a fact which you can dig out of the American census Bince 1867. You have an explanation why there «■e in two American cities—Chicago and New •York—more Canadians than in any one city
in all Canada. Not pleasant facts. They have jolted my Canadian smugness into an earthquake that very frequently makes me feel like a volcano; and so I say, if I had been in Canada during the last elections, I would have worked for the Farmers from my inmost centre to my outmost periphery.
But if I had been in Canada during the last election, I would also have worked for Mr. Meighen; not because Mr.
Meighen stood for Protection, or for Conservative, but because he stood for Union; and as I look on Canada’s past history, lack of unity in aim, action and destiny has been the cause of the most of our national ills. We haven’t pulled together toward the one aim of making Canada a great
unified puissant nation. Each little unit—the Maritime Provinces, Quebec, Ontario, (the
manufacturers’ paradise,! the Prairie Provinces, British Columbia-—has pulled for its own little unit’s own little local ends, forgetting that a nation like a human body can only attain perfect well-being, when all the parts are in well-being from its little toe—with apologies to P.E.I.— to its stomach—with my compliments to the grain growing prairies.
But neither the Farmers, nor Mr. Meighen, won, though both hold positions of vital strategic importance to make, or mar, Canada’s future as one of the world’s greatest nations.
Sympathy For the Premier
A/f ACKENZIE KING won, my hat off to him and my £ . sympathy with him; and if I had 25,000 miles of adhesive plaster in my possession, I would send it to him, to help bind-up in unity of aim, action and destiny, the disruptive forces of class, creed, race, section, which he must unify if Canada is to avert financial catastrophe and forge ahead in his lifetime to a nation of forty to fifty million people as it ought.
Canada’s position to-day resembles the position of the United States just before and after the last presidential election. Fortunately, constructive policies prevailed, instead of practical, selfish politics. No raking over dead ashes: hadn’t we better Let the Dead Bury their Dead,
(Canada please underline those words,) and get busy on reconstructing a “busted bankrupt world?” That for the broad view.
Results—by healing and unifying, instead of ripping antagonisms wide open and sharping their edges on a fishwife’s grind-stone, the wheels of industry have been set going again.
Exchange is almost a dollar higher than it was at its lowest last year.
Taxation is being shaved down.
Budgets under General Dawes are being slashed down.
Economy is the watchword.
The United States is not yet back to prosperity, but it has started up the hill. The hill is not very steep; but the pace is careful; and it all began with the watch-word “Let the Dead Bury their Dead! Ours for a fresh start and a New Day!”
Now come back to Canada.
Let us start at the last census! Then, we’ll know where our jumping-off board is!
The facts are not pleasant. Let us face them. Then, we’ll know what to do, or try to find out what to do to remedy them!
As I have said some hundreds of times in the last year and shall continue saying till the facts change—Canada is older than the United States. She is larger than the United States. She is richer than the United States.
Everybody agrees so far; for we are dealing only with facts, not opinions.
Yet the United States mainland, not colonial possessions, has a population of 105,000,000. Canada has a population of 8,500,000.
The United States is now lone of the two foremost nations of the earth. Canada is not.
Some of the nations Canada ifought, to save in Europe and did help to save would scarcely make the toe to the hoot of any one of her western provinces. Yet, they have populations of seven to forty-seven millions.
Why hasn’t she?
I intend to keep asking that question liii I am assassinated, or gagged.
Three hundred years is a terribly long time for a country not to have built up into a nation. What stunts our growth?
/"’LIMATE! Forget it; or go live south of the Mason^ and-Dixie Line, where the heat shutters go up at 11 a.m. and workmen come in from the fields at 11 a.m. and work does not resume full swing till 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.; and you can’t work late because there is not long daylight and there are malarial insects, that get their deadly work in at night! Go live in Matamoras. Texas, for a year, and come back North with your children wilted like vegetables growing in a hot, dark cellar.
Our climate is an asset.
It subsoils the ground for u depth of four feet with the moisture of frost or snow.
It prohibits tropical diseases, and the tropical vices of languor; it prevents a high birth rate before the mother is old enough to bring forth strong-limbed, normal-headed youngsters. You hadn’t thought of those things, had you? Well, think of them.
Our climate produces a race of 100 per cent iron in the blood— that happens to be a medical fact—clean blood at that, a strong limbed, virile, quickthinking, quick-acting, hair-trigger race. The success of many Canadians abroad is not to be ascribed to their own achievement. It is largely the heritage from the good qualities of an invigorating climate.
So dismiss climate as camouflage. It explains nothing. It only emphasizes our slowness of national growth.
“I think,” said a Nova Scotian, high in Canada’s judiciary, “I think it is lack of national consciousness and of working towards national ends. Take as example, when the Maritime Provinces went into Confederation! That is when our exodus to the States began. There we were trading actively with Boston and New York. We hardly knew that the rest of Canada existed. What had we to sell to the other provinces, orlthey to sell to us? We had always had our eye on Boston and New' York. Those against Confederation grew bitter, and when the High Tariff period began in the United States after the Civil War, thousands just picked up from the Maritime Provinces and moved across to Boston, or New York.”
“No, it was deeper than that,” said a Toronto hotel man, who is both an ardent Canadian, and an ardent Blue-nose. “Did you ever study out our railroad policy since Confederation? We had thousands of acres of timberland, fruit lands, the best of farms. Were the immigrants coming in, induced to look over our lands? We saw them coming through our ports in thousands. Did they tarry with us? Did they? There was no long haul in that. They were hurried West and West and West until our farm values fell as the old folks died off and no new blood came in; and we became backwater for forty years. We weren’t going to back out of Confederation; but we got sore on chronic slow times, and the younger generations, for four generations of ten years, just beat it across to the United States.”
Several Isolated Units
“OUT consider our handicaps,” said a third Nova Scot•D ian, one of the ablest Nova Scotians in a world of Nova Scotian brains. “We were a sea of isolated units after Confederation. There were the Maritime Provinces cut off from the rest of Cañada by two days’ travel through bushlands to Quebec. Then there was Quebec racially different from and hostile to Ontario. Then there was Ontario, peopled by U. E. Loyalists, who considered themselves more Canadian than the French, because they had sacrificed all to remain British, while Quebec considered herself truly Canadian because her people were the first comers and preserved their nationality. Then there were the Prairie Provinces cut off from the rest of Canada by a thousand miles of wilderness. Then, there was British Columbia, with interests differentifrom every other part of Canada. The United States could trade within themselves. We couldn’t, and when the High Tarriff era came in the United States, we pretty nearly had no foreign markets. The United States use 90 per cent of ail they produce. We don’t.”
Or listen to the views of a New Brunswick man. a man, whose word on finance in private life, is almost a gospel. He is an authority no one controverts; and his own success is evidence of his views: "Yes, I know times seem dis-
couraging; but did you ever think one province—Manitoba —to-day produces yearly more value in poultry than was paid for Rupert's Land, and more wheat yearly than the whole of Northern Canadaihas produced in furs in a hundred years, or the three grain provinces two-thirds as much value in wheat yearly as the whole world produces in gold?
We are going ahead, though sometimes when like a sailing vessel we are tacking side to side, we may seem to be making slow progress.”
I have set these views down because I consider it is essential to get the views of all able minds to learn how to accelerate Canada’s progress as a nation; and to all the views of three of the ablest men I could sound—whose names I cannot quote because they hold official positions in court, railroad and finance, where they are not supposed to express any views that can be twisted into (»arty arguments
offensive to litigants or shareholders in the big corporations, which they head—to all the views I say “Amen.” They are true. They conform with facts; but they don’t explain the real causes of our slow progress because the same causes accentuated a hundred-fold bore down and barred the progress of the United States, when that country launched out as a nation.
Compare U. S. Early Years
TAKE a glance at the United States’ beginnings with a population of about three millions at the opening of the last century—say down to 1848 when Texas and California and Oregon had added a transmontane empire, where to-day dwell about twenty million people, not to mention forty-five to fifty-five millions in the Mississippi Valley.
The United States, too, began as a sea of isolated, hostile antagonistic, jealous, not-national units, till the Civil War cemented unity in blood.
Canada never had such a sea of hostile units as those in the U. S. to weld into a nation.
And the American units began without any foreign commerce. For a time there was the glory of the clipper days, but the vessels of other nations ultimately literally drove the U. S. flag from the Seven Seas. Before the War of 1914, the United States foreign trade lines had dwindled to the eight ships on the Atlantic, to about as many to South America, to some eighteen to twenty on the Pacific. England had 12,000 vessels in foreign trade. Canada today has more vessels in foreign trade than the United States had in 1914.
I state these facts to show that the United States had to overcome greater handicaps than we have ever had in Canada.
What was our 1837 scrap compared to their Civil War? What were the worst depressions Canada has ever known say after Confederation when the U. S. tarriff cut off markets—compared to their greenback collapse, when exchange fell to 40c., 90 per cent, of all the railroads in the United States went smash, and if I recall the figures, pretty nearly as large a percentage of banks?
We have never had a Civil War that could be dignified by any name but a riot. We lost fewer lives in '37, or the Fenian Raids of a later date, or the Riel Rebellion of 1871, or the Second Rebellion of 1885, than San Francisco lost in “neck-tie parties” in the old days, or Arizona and New Mexico lost in bandit and outlaw days; and our commerce has never been cut off by hostile foreign tonnage laws.
Yet the United States have grown and developed to a self-contained nation of 105,000,000 consuming and marketing within their own borders 90 per cent, of all they produce—one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world.
All right—why hasn’t Canada done the same?
Let us “steam-roller” any leader, class, cause, that gets in the way of making Canada the great, rich and powerful nation for which she is dowered.
We have lost 800,000 American settlers.
You don’t even need to argue that fact. More than
1,300,000 Americans came in from the Klondike Boom to the 1914 War. We have to-day only 450,000 of those American settlers. You will getlthat in the census too, We haven’t lost as many—in fact only a few—of our foreign-born from Europe. It is thanks to these increments
TpHE NEXT SERIAL in Mac Lean’s, commencing in March 15 issue, will be “Ovin g ton’s Bank,’’ by the famous English author, Stanley J. Wegman. Judged both by its literary qualities and its extraordinary suspense interest it is one of the most unusual stories ever published in MacLean’s and 1will probably be more widely read than any sines Frank Packard’s “Pawned."
As Mr. Weyman’s story is located in England in 183,1—eight years after the battle of Wdterloc, when Great Britain as well as the rest of the world was recovering from the boom and depression which followed the Napoleonic wars—there will be several extraordinary parallels noted between the period 180 years ago and to-day.
that the West shows its increase of population; for to tabulate Canadian newcomers in the West as an increase is fooling ourselves. The Canadians who went West, lessened population in the East, by just the total they increased it in the West.
Many Canadians in U.S.A.
NOW to figure how many Canadians have gone to the United States is a very hard thing. I had to do it last year for an article in an economic encyclopaedia being issued here and in Europe. Your
Canadian, perhaps, always means to go back
“home,” as he calls it. I know the feeling. It is full of pain; but he opens a store; or goes in a bank and rises to become president like two or three I could mention in Chicago and New York; or he goes into railroading and rises to become president. Again I could mention two or three.
Or he takes up land, and buys more land and prospers. He marries. Put the average unit family at five—three children, the father and mother. The unit is really more than five. The children are born Americans. The day comes, when your Canadian can’t go back “home”. He has to'take out his papers. In some States, he can’t own property unless he becomes naturalized. He can’t become president of a great American corporation unless he becomes naturalized. He can’t get the political consideration he needs for his business—say as a shipper, as an importer, as 111 a departmental store owner, as a sheep grower,
a wool merchant—unless he affiliates with some political party; and to affiliate, he becomes naturalized—it may be in two years, it may be in ten.
So the long way to get at how many Canadians have been absorbed in the United States is to take the U. S. Census and add up the British-born—tabulated Canadian —from 1867 every ten years. This may overlap in some cases; but the natural increase will overtop any overlapping. The total will stun you. It is between 2,000,000 and 2,500,000 from 1867.
Again look at the latest Canadian Census. It fails to account for a million-and-a-half of what should be expected as natural increase.
Please look at your totals
800,000 American settlers gone.
2,500,000 Canadians gone since 1867.
1,500,000 Canadians gone since 1911.
Now jump forward in imagination to 1932. 13 it too
much to expect that natural increase would stand
4,800.000 x 3 equals 14,400,000?
In the course of nature that is what it should stand at. According to our last census, increasing 2,000,000 every ten years, we should have 10,500,000 people in 1932.
But we have lost what means 14,400,000 Canadians.
That means in spite of immigration, we are losing almost one and a half times our should-be native population.
And now, Canadians, can you look at those figures and explain them away?
YOU can explain that lots of the American newcomers were floaters, who didn’t intend to slick. True; blit the same floaters who didn’t intend to stick “floated” into the Western States'and did stick; “floated” to the marshy fens of Florida and did stick; “floated” to the“bloody ground” of Tennessee and didstick; “floated” to the “neck-tie parties” of California and did stick; "floated” to the deserts lof Arizona and Utah and Arizona made them bloom like the rose; “floated” to Oregon down the Columbia under torrential autumn rains and founded an empire; “floated” to “Seward's ice box” in Alaska and brought out in a year more wealth twelve times over than Uncle Sam paid for “the ice box.”
And the “floaters” didn’t stick in Canada.
And our native bom didn’t stick.
No use explaining “they were no good! Good riddance to restless rubbish.”
“The restless rubbish” made good in the lands to which they were forced to go.
And “forced” they were; for behind such a racial movement are deep economic causes that drive them out; and the deep economic causes are as plain as the nose on one’s face; only, like the nose, they are so close, we don’t see it unless we look in a mirror.
Let facts be our mirror; and keep clarity in our thinking as a mirror polished of murk.
That racial movement took place from a land of essential producers for only one reason—the essential producer was not making enough to anchor him down with prosperity to his native land. He was not making enough to keep his family, to put away against the day of evil, to feel secure against want, to expand his operations as he grew in experience. Why not’ With that I shall deal in my next.
Article No. 3 will appear March 15