1930—and a Clear Track
An open letter from the Editor to the Average Citizen
H. NAPIER MOORE
BY THIS time you no doubt will have heard the story of the man who, rushing wildly down the street toward the river (the locale has been any city adjacent to water), was stopped by a policeman. “And where do you think you are going?” enquired the officer. Said the man: “I have lost everything I owned in the stock market crash. I am ruined. I have ruined my wife, and I have broken open my child’s money box. I am going to jump in the river.” Quoth the constable: “Well, you just get back to the end of the line and take your turn.”
Whereat there has been much laughter, so universal is the appeal.
All humor arising from somebody’s discomfiture, and laughter being akin to tears, the generality of this particular guffaw would indicate that the fluctuations of what has come to be known as the “stuck market” have resulted in a fairly widespread feeling that there is a depression. Bank presidents may make optimistic speeches. It may be pointed out that Canada’s basic industrial status is not affected by the nose dive of the Wall Street ticker. But if the well-known Average Citizen shakes his head doubtfully, wear and tear of this country’s cash registers must be materially reduced. Therefore it is to that Average Citizen that this New Year message is addressed.
HAT is ahead of us Canadians?
Proper prognostication is based only on retrospect. The employer estimates the worth of the prospective employee by hearing what he has done previously. And the citizens of the country can estimate their future only by contemplating its recent past.
What has Canada been doing? Let me answer that question for you.
Two or three years ago, anyone visiting the Maritime Provinces could not fail to be impressed by the general air of gloom. There was a feeling that the other sections of the Dominion were apathetic so far as the problems of the Atlantic provinces were concerned. There were even murmurings of a break away from Confederation. Then came the Duncan Commission and the adoption by the Federal Parliament of most of the provisions of its report. Materially, the Duncan Report may not have achieved all that was expected of it, but psychologically it has worked wonders. The Maritimer today feels that the people of the other provinces are interested in him, in his problems, in his progress. His newspapers are preaching optimism. The young men are making themselves felt in business and in industry. New industries are coming into being—seventy of them in 1928. New Brunswick witnessed the establishment there of eleven substantial industries and a number of small ones during 1929. The Saint John Board of Trade tells me that the industrial situation is much better than in past years. The Port of Halifax has increased its export business by forty per cent. The fisheries of Nova Scotia are bringing in a revenue of between ten and eleven millions a year. At Black’s Harbor, N.B., we find the largest sardine fishing industry in the world, shipping fish to seventy-one different countries at the rate of 125,000 pounds each day.
Tell your child that Saint John has the largest dry dock in the world, and that at Cape Breton they are mining coal three miles out to sea, at a depth 700 feet below the surface, in a mine equipped with miles of electrified railway, a mine still holding in its bosom
120,000,000 tons of coal.
Hon. Walter M. Lea, Prince Edward Island’s Minister of Agriculture, says that conditions in that province were never so prosperous. Hon. Lewis Smith, New Brunswick’s Minister of Agriculture, says there is more prosperity in sight than there has been for many years. Hon. O. P. Goucher, speaking for the Nova Scotia Government, tells us that agricultural conditions in that province are vastly improved.
ASBESTOS shares may be down on the market board, but at Thetford, P.Q., we do produce eightyfive per cent of the world’s asbestos, and the world is not going to quit using asbestos. Nor are we going to stop wearing clothes, and with that in mind think of Drummondville, in the Eastern Township of Quebec. In 1919, a sleepy little village of 1,700 people; today, with a population of 10,000, the centre of a new textile industry. Repeat that story in the case of East Templeton, and couple them both with the harnessing of the St. Francis River.
Seventy new industries and twenty million dollars
worth of capital have gone into the Eastern Townships in recent years as a tribute to “white coal.”
Every time your wife uses an aluminum pan, think of the romance of the Saguenay River, that river known for centuries to the Indian as an untameable spirit; that river harnessed by Canadian ingenuity to give Quebec the town of Arvida, the seat of the aluminum industry of this continent.
Consider the romance of Montreal, where from a sandpitted, shallow river, with no natural ship channel, we have created the second largest port on this continent, a port a thousand miles from the sea, a port second only to that of New York and second only because the latter is open 365 days in the year.
CONSIDER that Quebec and Ontario are producing one-third of the world’s newsprint. We may read in the newspapers that there are battles over newsprint prices. We may read of temporary fluctuations, but in 1929 we took in more than one hundred and fifty million dollars from this industry, and in 1890 our total value of paper exports amounted to exactly $120 ! Look at it that way.
Ontario during the first six months of 1929 produced sixteen and a half million dollars worth of gold—not bad is it?
Give a thought to Sudbury, the capital of the nickel kingdom, the source of ninety per cent of the world’s nickel supply. In 1928 we produced 94,000,000 pounds of nickel worth twenty-two and a half million dollars. During the first nine months of 1929 we produced 86,244,108 pounds of nickel worth more than fifteen and a half million dollars, and, in the same field, 64,699,643 pounds of copper worth nearly ten and a half millions.
DON’T overlook the Great Lakes on our journeying.
Paste in your scrap book the fact that in recent years the Sault Canal has handled one and a half times the total tonnage handled by the Suez, Panama and Manchester Ship Canals all lumped together. And should you read that in one year our Great Lakes’ traffic was equal to ninety billion ton miles, figure it out that this feat of transportation is the same as sending a train of forty cars, each loaded with twenty-five tons of freight, from the earth to the sun.
Consider Winnipeg, no longer a purely agricultural distribution centre, but on the way to being an important industrial city, with 600 factories already established there.
Consider the romance of Manitoba’s mineral exploitations; consider such natural caverns as Flin Flon and Sherritt-Gordon with hundreds of millions of mineral wealth entombed therein. Consider Premier Bracken’s statement that by 1933 the wealth from mineral production in that province will exceed the value of the crop. Consider the presence of tin, and be not surprised at the announcement of the construction of an automobile highway from Winnipeg to The Pas, already a thriving town. It seems but yesterday since The Pas was merely a mythical setting for moving picture scenarios devoted to the unknown north.
CONSIDER the wheat production of our three prairie provinces. What does one year’s wheat crop mean? Look at it this way rather than in terms of billions of bushels—put into one granary, that granary would have to be forty miles high! Put it into one train, and the caboose would be in Halifax while the engine would be in Victoria, and there would still be several thousand cars left on sidings. Put it into trains of forty cars each, and you would have 15,000 trains. We are growing fifteen billion loaves of bread to feed
75,000,000 mouths, and we grow it on a farm of 21,000,000 acres in extent. We have in that farm an investment of seven and a half billions of dollars—and it is only 117 years since the Selkirk settlers planted the first wheat seed in Western Canada.
Possibly you have dropped a little money in oil stocks, some of them Alberta oils. The fact that your own judgment may have been at fault, the fact that you may have failed to investigate what you were buying does not detract from the fact that oil is there. Think of No. 4 Royalite producing 19,000,000 cubic feet of
naphtha saturated gas a day, think of the scores of oil wells which, throughout a length of nearly a score of miles, producing in the Turner Valley, nearly a million barrels of oil a year.
"yOU have heard a great deal about the Peace River district of Alberta. But do you know that were the Peace River superimposed on the St. Lawrence it would stretch from the end of Lake Ontario to beyond the Gaspé Peninsula? Do you know that for 700 miles it flows through an agricultural plateau, the richness of which may be judged by the fact that last year the mere nucleus of settlement produced as much wheat as the whole Province of Alberta did twenty-four years ago? You are told that the Peace River district is a potential farm of 47,000,000 acres, and that Ontario with all its agricultural wealth is only using less than
25,000,000 acres. But do you get the romance of it all? Do you realize that Ontario’s farm belt lies south of the forty-seventh parallel; that in Manitoba no one would think of farming north of 53; that in Saskatchewan no agricultural settlements exist north of 54? Yet the Peace River starts at the 54th parallel and extends northward to 61. It has pushed back the Arctic Circle. It has won three world championships in wheat, one in oats and in peas. In the nine months ending July 31 last year it had absorbed a population of 25,000. New towns are springing jnto being, duplicating the story of Hythe, the end of the steel beyond Grand Prairie, where a town of 150 buildings stands today on land that was absolutely bare one year ago.
Perhaps you saw a newspaper dispatch the other day announcing a new process—the Burgess Process—of separating gasoline from tar sand. But did you couple it with Fort McMurray, did you know that 300 miles north of Edmonton they have asphalt deposits outcropping which our Government engineers tell us are likely to be greater than’those of Peru? Did you couple with it President Beatty’s announcement, that he was satisfied as to the potentialities of our petroleum deposits there, that it was only a question of time until a railway must go in to bring it out?
TN VANCOUVER, B.C., there lives a man named Jason Allard. On the day of his birth, Jason’s father was so busy that he was unable to give any attention whatever either to child or to mother. In short, the elder Allard, together with other men behind a wooden stockade, was repelling an attack by hostile Indians. In his own body Jason Allard today carries shots fired into him by the savages’ muskets. And in the span of this one man’s lifetime what has happened? Close to the site of that little stockade there stands today the first port on the Pacific Coast, a mighty city with five railways running in and out of it, with 5,000 ships a year clearing from its harbor, with magnificent buildings, with enterprise and industry evidenced in every corner— such is Vancouver. Consider the Province of British Columbia combining romance with industry, mining in glaciers, digging gold above the clouds. In eight years the Premier Mine alone has delivered $25,000,000 worth of gold, silver and lead, adding its quota to a total provincial minera output worth between sixty and seventy millions of dollars annually. Consider British Columbia making $25,000,000 a year from its lumber.
Consider all these things and note that it is only 173 years ago that Voltaire wrote of what is now Canada as “A few acres of ice.” Consider all these things and remember that it is just over forty years since the last spike was driven in the C.P.R.; that it is only thirty years since gold was first found in the Klondike, that it is only twenty years ago since two of our provinces were created—and then compare the record with that, say, of England, whose tin mines were supplying javelins for Caesar’s army over 2,000 years ago.
WHAT of the future? Water power is one of the great factors that will fulfil the prophecy of Laurier that the twentieth century belongs to Canada. Unknown twenty years ago, sufficient power has been explored to date to provide for the home and factory needs of 60,000,000 Canadians. Enough for fifty new cities each larger than Montreal. What a year or two ago were merely terms in exploration, indefinite lines on a map, are now potential reservoirs of power greater than all that yet developed—the Nelson, the Churchill, the Reindeer and the Thelon rivers of the north.
Aside from power, we have been winning a battle against geography. We have been conquering distance. In the last twentythree years we have built 21,223 miles of new railway, and in the past nine months, north of the North Saskatchewan River, we have constructed new lines totalling a length equal to that of a transcontinental railway. We have pushed the ribbon of steel through untrailed country in below zero weather. Already we have shipped wheat out of Churchill. A year hence and we will be going to Hudson Bay in sleeping cars.
Twenty years from now we may be going up to a new Pittsburgh of the north, a new Pittsburgh born of the Belcher Islands, in the southeast corner of Hudson Bay, islands of iron awaiting only the perfection oí a new method of refining which our scientists tell us is not far distant. Less than twenty years from now we will be visiting, above the Arctic Circle, the hub of the great international air routes of the world. Remember that the shortest distance between any point in Asia and any point in Europe is over the top of the globe. Forget your flat projection map. See the world as it is. Note the practicability of northern air routes.
You may be surprised to know that last year, in this young country of Canada more passengers per mile were carried through the air than in either Great Britain or the United States. We have fifty-five commercial air lines operating today, and one of them alone in the past
twelve months carried ten thousand passengers and a million and a half tons of freight without smashing an egg.
One more thought. We may have bought four times as much from the United States last year as we bought from Great Britain, but of completed manufactured goods we made ourselves seven times as much as we bought from the United States. We have become a manufacturing nation interchanging goods with seventy-five countries, and we own sixty-six per cent of our industrial securities.
Now how do you feel about the Canada of 1930?
Base your judgments, your faiths, on facts, not on rumors. Half the yarns you hear about large business concerns are not true and the other half are stretched. A few weeks ago everybody on Wall Street “knew” that Macey’s had laid off 1,200 salespeople. Actually, they had fired twenty-eight and hired an extra 200.
Most people who lost their money in the stock market crash never had it to lose. They only thought they had it. Their buying power was a false buying power. And for every person who gambled and lost, there were hundreds who didn’t gamble at all. Regular salaries are still coming in. Sound buying is out of those salaries.
The stock market flop was a good thing. It got things down to brass tacks. The year 1930 will be exactly what sound thinking makes it.