The Problems of Our Provinces

The Sixth of a Series of Ten Striking Articles

JOHN NELSON September 1 1923

The Problems of Our Provinces

The Sixth of a Series of Ten Striking Articles

JOHN NELSON September 1 1923

The Problems of Our Provinces

The Sixth of a Series of Ten Striking Articles


VI. The Maritime Provinces—The third of three articles discussing the problems of N. B., N. S. and P. E. I.

WHAT has already been accomplished in some measure for coal in Nova Scotia remains to be accomplished for the timber trade of New Brunswick. For more than two centuries the woods of the more northerly province have been laid under tribute for both naval and commercial purposes.

t. be !~~r t~t' t~mb'er !~t N~ L~runs~ k 1' r~'~ t h u -~ he n r~ht~1~ !~tt~i (~`~ h~~h !:~t~~d arid i ack s~~u

N N k `v t tt' i rench, and their d by tht I'~z1ish. The rivalry of `~d f mo~estatiOfl by the Indians :~try some of the tiavor of ri the fur trade. The square - -~ - i or out ing hus~ness followed ite~t interest centres about t~, ;~u~

o prohibit the export of pulp wood, ther drawn from public or private lands, is closely associated with projects for nt of enormous water powers now going

eat Falls on the St. John r. A start on hydro development has i made or the Musquash, and out f % genera] policy of expansion on these lines it is hoped to produce power so cheaply and distribute it so widely that even the fine hardwoods, maple, beech, and birch, which are at present used for little but firewood purposes, may be utilized to displace the hardwood flooring now imported from the upper provinces, and perhaps to furnish material for export as well.

More than two and a half million dotlars has been expended upon the Musquash river, eighteen miles from St. John, from which St. John and Moncton will both secure their supply of energy and light. Agriculturally, the provinces have not been marked by a development that either their age, or their productive capacity, warrants. For dairying and stock-raising, conditions are most favorable. Apples, plums and small fruits do well on the Island, and in the valley of the St. John the horticultural possibilities are just beginning to be appreciated. In 192-3 two million barrels of apples will be taken, principally from the

five forked depressions in the hills that are famous as the Annapolis valley. Here not only is fruit of rare quality and color grown, but the life of an apple tree runs for more than a hundred years. The fact that not more than a tenth of this valley is under cultivation indicates the possibilities of development.

Liberal Lands Policy

TN ALL the lower provinces the authorities are pur* suing a liberal policy’ in making lands available to the bona fide settler on easy terms. Improved lands which have come back into the hands of the government are offered at exceedingly low prices, with long terms for repayment and at a reasonable rate of interest. Wooded lands can be acquired on pre-emption terms practically as attractive as those which have drawn thousands to the Canadian plains. Compliance with certain settlement and improvement duties within a term of years enables a settler in practically all these provinces to become the owner of one hundred acres of

land free. True, he has still the taak of clearing the ¡and, from which he is relieved on the prairies, but the wood upon many of these farms is of a value to anything but a liability, d one of the limitatio •rich ha3 to be imposed hat the patent ah not issue sue where the supposed settler has 3imply capitalized hi3 lumber values to the logging firms. Hardwood stumps decay rapidly and the cleared laud comes in in an astonishingly short time, for cropping purposes. The lure of larger farms already cleared has hitherto

carried immigration past these provinces to the middle West, and a recognition of that tendency has, perhaps, accounted for a certain lack of vigor in immigration work. There seems now to be a growing recognition that the lower provinces have an appeal which can be utilized with good prospect of success.'

Among prominent merchants and public men there is a sentiment frequently encountered, that government activity should not be confined alone, to the stimulation of agriculture. The fisheries of the provinces have proved a never-failing source of revenue, and show no signs of that depletion which follows long-continued

fishing in other parts. The reason seems to be that nature herself provides a close season which forms a protection to the fish at the proper time. Were the fisheries department as highly organized as is that of agriculture, it is claimed that not only would the catch itself be increased in the well-known lines of cod, haddock, lobsters, oysters, herring, etc., but that other varieties, now neglected, would be taken, and that a better organized system of marketing, under distinct brands, would do much to render the industry more flourishing.

At present New Brunswick follows the inshore trade, where smaller vessels can be used, while Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, being nearer to the Banks, have developed the deep sea fisheries, using more pretentious craft. This year some of the larger boards of trade have asked the Ottawa government to have an exhaustive inquiry instituted into the fisheries situation, with a view to the reorganization of the department and the more vigorous promotion of the industry. In this connection they draw attention to

recent adverse United States legislation which shuts Bluenose fishermen out of American Atlantic ports, and renders it still more difficult to place Canadian fish products on that market. They ask that, in consequence, Canada revoke all special privileges to United States fishing vessels in our Atlantic ports not specifically provided for in the treaty of 1818—

“this to include the so-called modus vivendi, which has been in vogue since the ’eighties of last century, thus reducing the privileges of American fishing vessels in our Atlantic ports to the ‘humanities’ so called, viz.: food, shelter, water, and repairs.”

New Brunswick’s revenue from the sea runs annually between $6,000,000 and $7,000,000 while in 1922 Nova Scotia fishery products represented a value of some $13,000,000, more than a third of that from the farm, and considerably more than was derived from the forest. ^ Lobster alone, nowhere more succulent than here, is worth yearly to Nova Scotia more than

$4,000,000. This province alone has 70,000 square miles of fishing grounds.

In Prince Edward Island there are 4,300 acres of natural producing oyster beds, which can be developed to equal the quality of their product the famous Malpeque oyster of Richmond Bay the same province. There are more than 300,000 lobster traps in use on the Island. Its fisheries are worth a million and a half dollars annually.

In addition to longer-established markets, the opening of the Panama canal has enabled government steamers carry Atlantic fish to Australia in thirtytwo days instead of in forty-two around the Horn, while the West Indies and South America are both old markets. The latter has never been fully exploited.

Sights to Stir the Tourist

T ANDS so vast, so beautiful, and in ' places so primitive, possess attractions to tourists the capital value of which is just beginning to be understood Probably the most famous moose hunting in the world is in the northern woods of New Brunswick. Last year more than a thousand moose were killed in this

territory and more than three thousand deer. Fish and game licenses of all kinds brought $100,000 to the coffers of the province. The streams of this whole district, under proper protection, will provide a continual and growing source of wealth, while the development of a system of good roads connecting with those from the South would greatly stimulate the flow of tourist trade from that section.

Around the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence there are summer sights to stir the soul of the artist. Lucy Montgomery has made famous the “shining water” of her native Prince Edward. There are few more wonderful prospects in the world than a sunset over Cove Head, with its background of highly-cultivated fields of vivid green, with roads and banks, brick red from the color of the country soil, with bays and lagoons brilliant with luminous water, and with the lord of day sinking into a distant gulf of deepest blue. And if two or three white cranes alight where the blue water meets the deep red of the cliffs, the contrasts in tones and colors are such as to drive the artist to despair.

Prince Edward Island

has shown how a minor

game resource can be developed into an industry of remarkable proportions. The foxes of the Island had long been noted for their size, and fbr the fine texture and sheen of their pelts. Then a far-seeing trader and hunter, Sir Charles Dalton, commenced their commercial propagation. With some associates he secured an island, and for ten years, in semi-privacy, bred foxes for their pelts. By careful selection and breeding they developed a fur of high commercial value for which they found

ready sale in the fur centres of the world. Finally others came to learn of the profits which the business presented, and the fox farm boom started—a boom as fantastic, and as romantic as that which grew up about the South Seas in the days of the great Bubble. In 1910 thirty-three pelts sold in London for $1,340 apiece. By 1913 when the boom was at its height breeders got as high as $3,000 for a pair, while forty animals brought $62,500.

A Permanent Industry

THE days of these long prices have gui, with the breakdown of those European markets which formerly bought so heavily—

Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and Petrograd. But the industry is now a well-established one which, while offering none of the fabulous profits of the late nineties, is on a sound, scientific, and still highly profitable basis.

The Island has become the nursery for the industry the world over. The United States has drawn its best stock from these Gulf strains and, with characteristic business acumen, has now imposed a fifty per cent, duty with the idea of preserving its own rich home market for its own breeders. But the superiority of these foxes still insures for them and their skins a constant trade. There are 400 fox farms on the Island today, and more than 8,000 breeding pairs. Foxes breed when they are a year old, and the usual size of a litter is from three to seven puppies while an occasional vixen will double that number. They breed until ten years of age. Government officials affirm that the industry even as at present carried on (and hard times especially affect luxuries) yields from thirty to fifty per cent, on the investment.

There are climatic conditions which cannot be equalled further south, and these account for the quality of the hair and its brilliance. The breeders, too, have learned by long experience many of those lessons which have first to be mastered before any industry really arrives. The gross turnover yearly is now approaching two million dollars.

Is Union Feasible?

WHILE a maritime union of the three provinces was the original objective of its public men, and brought them together at Charlottetown in the historic conference at which a larger confederation was discussed, and while today some similar combination is being urged, the difficulties of carrying it out are great. Some unification of the provincial machinery of government would reduce overhead, and would give the united provinces a more cohesive representation in the House of Commons. The difficulties lie in the natural opposition of the official classes and those dependent upon them, and in the concern of all as to where the seat of government for the united provinces is to be located.

In fact an almost exact duplicate of the situation is furnished in connection with the effort to consolidate higher educational facilities in the three provinces.

At present the two mainland provinces are too abundantly served with universities and academies, often sectarian in character. The suggestion that all these be federated with the major university, Dalhousie, at Halifax, has been accentuated by the prospect of very heavy endowments for such a body from the Rockefeller foundation and other sources. An analysis of the attendance at all these schools shows that less than fifty per cent, attend the schools of their own denomination; that more New Brunswick students were educated without than within the province; and that all P.E.I. students obtained higher education elsewhere. In spite of the obvious advantages to be derived from federation, it would be an enthusiast indeed who would predict that such a consummation is near. Dourness is one of the qualities which these

residents by the sea have derived from their Scotch ancestors.

No Separate School Question

THERE is no Separate School question in these provinces. The sentiment which provokes it elsewhere is met here in an interesting way. Frequently orders of the Roman Catholic church establish their own school

and staff it with teachers, duly qualified, under provincial educational standards of their own faith. Later the department of education is asked to rent the building, and operate it as a public school. When this is done, the public school curriculum is followed, and the school inspected by officials of the department. During regular school hours there is no religious instruction, but this is permitted to such pupils as so desire, after the conclusion of the regular sessions. The teachers, though duly qualified with provincial certificates, in many instances wear the habit of their order. There is some suggestion that apart from the dress of the instructors the paintings and other decorations of the building create, by suggestion, an atmosphere too clerical for those sensitive to such matters. On the whole, however, there is less objection than might be expected. In large centres like Charlottetown, Fredericton and Halifax there follows a natural segregation of Roman Catholic children to these particular schools.

It is an interesting departure, and one which would

appear to be one of deliberate policy by the church authorities, as almost exactly the same system is being followed in the prairie provinces.

Howe’s Vision

NOTWITHSTANDING the very general opposition in the lar eastern provinces to Confederation, and the present criticism of its results, the lively imagination ar.d prophetic insight of Joseph Howe had anticipated a transcontinental railway system and some form of unity fifteen years before the passing of the B.N.A. Act. He saw in his native province out the “frontage of a territory whicn mesmies foor millions of square miles, stretch: rg away behind and beyond into the frozen rngi-ns on one side and to the Pacific or. the other.

“Throwing aside the more bleak and inhospitable regions, we have a magnificent country between Canada and the Pacific, out of which five or six noble provinces may be formed, larger than any we have ano presenting to the hand of industry ar.d to the eye of speculation every variety of soil, climate, ar.d resource. With such a territory as this to overrun, organize and improve, think you we shall stop ever, at the western bounds of Canada, or even at the snores of the Pacific? Vancouver’s island with its vast coal measures lies beyond. The beautiful islands of the Pacific and the growing commerce of that ocean are beyond. Populous China and the rich east are beyond; ar.d the sails of our children’s children will reflect as familiarly the sunbeams of the South as they now brave the angry tempests of the north.

“I am neither a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, yet I will venture to predict that ir. five years we shall make the journey hence to Quebec and Montreal and home through Portland and St. John by rail, and I believe that many in this room will live to hear the whistle of the steam engine in the passes of the Rocky mountains and tc make the journey from Halifax to the Pacific in five or six days.”

Such, as early as 1851, was the vision of Howe. To him it w'as a call to high endeavor. His appeal to his countrymen, then, may well be repeated to-day in the face of conditions temporarily discouraging, but destined yet to yield to courage and confidence.

“The maritime provinces,” he declared, "are but the Atlantic frontage of this boundless and prolific region -—the wharves upon which its business will be transacted and beside which its rich argosies will lie. V ill you then put your hands unitedly with order, intelligence, and energy, to this great work? Refuse and you are recreant to every principle which lies at the liase oí your country’s prosperity and advancement; refuse and the Deity's handwriting upon land and sea is to you unintelligible language. God has planted your country in the foreground of this boundless regiem; see that you comprehend its destiny ar.d resources—see that you dis-

charge with energy ar.d

elevation of soul the duties which devolve upon you ir. virtue of your position. Hitherto, my eountrymer. you have dealt with this matter in a becoming spirit, and whatever others may think or apprehend. I know you will persevere in that spirit until our objects are attained.“

The predictions of Home with respect to western development r.a\e been fulfilled with astonishing ridel-

courage and rcsea.vo:-kiess

time will dauntless just as fullv vindican:-.

eip:ih : eg u :sn c article'w real b Or the con various clue in i róbleme ■'rom a ’crierai vi nr-point.