I HAVE JUST been reading Edna Jaques’s article on Briercrest, and I am wondering are we brave and self-reliant, as she says or infers. It is nice to be flattered, and we like to be told that we are brave and steadfast and honest and persistent.
But I wonder how grand and great and noble we really are, with this constant stream of relief to carry us along. It’s easy to stick when you have food and fire and clothing and everything you require provided for you by a beneficent Government. Besides, Briercrest, and all such places down the Soo Line and east past Sedley, haven’t begun to feel the humiliation and want that gall us to the soul. All those rich districts have had some crops each year. The average crop at Sedley for the three years was around fifteen bushels, and that is sheer poverty to them. But it would be untold riches to us. This summer, all the men were going north to look for land. So the cars were got out, repairs were bought, and $2 licenses were sought from the Saskatchewan Government.
They scoured Saskatchewan east and west and north, particularly north, and they came back with tales of new sights, new manners, great forests and new trails.
But they got no land. There was always a “but.” The crops were wonderful, but the frost would get them. The fields were small, but the sow-thistle was there. The land was rich, but the houses were poor. The main roads were great, but the bush trails would be impassable in the winter. You’d have to keep stock, but there was a lot of work to keeping stock, and besides what was the good of having stock when you could get nothing for it, etc.
So they came back to the stream of blessings that flows more abundantly and so much more easily than ever.
I, myself, have kept off relief as much as possible. Last year I had none, although I had only 400 bushels of grain, out of which I kept seed and I also fed chickens. I’m afraid my chickens lived mostly on jack rabbits that my son shot. Well, Í managed all right, although I had no cream to sell, as so many had who were on relief. I used Bennett coffee and did without sugar or fruit. I made my own soap and yeast and vinegar. And I survived.
Was that being brave? No, indeed. I just wanted to preserve my self-respect, and I did. And so could thousands more if they were not bom parasites. People are milking cows, and selling cream and butter. But are they living on it? I should think not. That buys the gas for the cars, the silk stockings for the women. I know two farmers, each milking around ten cows. One is on relief, the other not. Why? Because one man is a parasite, and the other prefers to retain his self-respect.
This year it is easier than ever to obtain relief. People go to the councillors and ask for something, and they get it. Next time they ask for more, next time still more. But is it brave to make no effort to live on your own resources? You see the parasites—and there are always a fair number in each locality—living better than ever before, and decent people who know that they will have to pay through the nose in taxation for the luxury of supporting these parasites, say to themselves in despair: “Well, I might as well go on relief, too.”
The parasites never were brave. Those who have battled against this adverse tide, living on their own resources, or on as little relief as was necessary for the preservation of life, I will admit are brave. But how many are there who haven’t seized wholesale on this plenteous flow of relief?—(Mrs.) E. A. Goddard, Expanse, Sask.
Maclean’s, as usual, dishes up information in such an appealing manner that we are forced to think. George Newman in “Mortgaged” makes one mistake: he is too conservative in his figures “Loan $250.” Prof. Allen’s diagnosis of Soo Line conditions shows average individual bank indebtedness in the thousands instead of hundreds.
A. J. Trotter’s article on drought remedies is open to criticism on several counts. First of all, our sloughs, though treeless, were generally full of water because surrounding land was in grass. This condition changed when we plowed up the land. Our summer fallows were one vast reservoir which caught and held the rains; consequently our sloughs went dry, and they in turn were cultivated. The moisture did not go into the sloughs, it went into our wheat crops.
Planting trees by our farmers is practically out of the question. Those of us who have planted trees know that they will not grow under drought conditions—and don’t overlook the fact that a very large percentage of our farmers are on their farms because mortgage companies don’t foreclose. Before you can expect them to plant and care for trees, you must give them “security of tenure.” Again, planting trees without fencing is useless because stock will soon destroy your efforts. His suggested remedy of planting trees around sloughs is “putting the cart before the horse” because the drifting soil alters the situation of our sloughs, sometimes overnight.
My suggestion would be first of all, conservation of our rainfalls. All marsh drainage districts should be eliminated. Water courses, wherever feasible, should be dammed, lakes created and marshes flooded ; this being followed up with the tree-planting programme.
The whole project is far too big for the individual, even for the municipality. It requires Government action, both Dominion and provincial.—Wm. Sinclair, McTaggart, Sask.
Man is the inventor of practically every great mechanical gift to civilization. The greatest ideas have been born in his mind. But all this fails to move the balance in his favor. These men were molded in their youth in the home. If the home produces character and genius, is that not the alpha and omega for civilization? I contend that for women there is not room for the pursuits best adapted to their nature alongside the routine of business duties.
Woman has failed, in a sphere where man makes things to satisfy human needs, to influence man. Why? Because this sphere is a man’s world where he dictates its ethics, as he always will. Woman may influence it only where she is not identified with it—in the home. Here she may change things, and nowhere else. Here she leads, elsewhere she follows.—Edward E. Maybee, Forester’s Falls, Ont.
In Defense of R.T.L.
Mr. J. Waddington, of Moose Jaw, takes strong exception to “R. T. L.” and suggests that this writer is afflicted with a badly diseased mind. Now, I just venture to think the opposite, for I consider articles by “R. T. L.” are extremely clever and are the products of one blessed with an exceptional gift of humorous satire. I feel sure that subjects of these articles get a lot of fun out of them.
Isn’t it unfortunate that so many have no bump of humor?—A. C. Taylor, Edmonton.
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