A MACLEAN PUBLISHING COMPANY staff editor, Ronald A. McEachern, has been making an extensive tour of the countries of South America.
In one of his dispatches he tells of visiting the largest Canadian community in that continent. At Talara, in the Peruvian desert, there are more than 150 Canadian men, women and children. The men, employed by International Petroleum, run the oldest oil field in the Americas.
Far remote from the war, and from their own country, these men and their wives have provided a fine example of patriotism. On top of the Equator, the women are knitting furiously for the Red Cross. The colony has contributed $23,000 toward a Spitfire fund. Most of its members are assessing themselves an amount equal to the new Canadian wartime income tax to raise money for war purposes. Assess inn themselves.
This month, the folks at home in Canada, whose own shores are in the war zone, are being asked to increase their effort.
The government war savings committee, through an army of volunteer workers, aims at recruiting 2,000,000 Canadians who will pledge themselves to buy jointly at least $10,000,000 worth of war savings certificates each month during 1941.
For each of these 2,000,000 Canadians it means on the average :
Saving $5 a month. (It is saving, for the money will be returned with interest.)
Lending that same $5 a month for service in the national war effort.
Canvassers are asked to try to secure individual pledges for five per cent of each person’s income, making allowances for variations in family or other circumstances.
The plan is not only to tap savings, but also current income, which “should prevent excessive spending that would result in increased prices, increased wages, etc.”
Sales effort will be directed along five different lines:
The bank pledge plan.
Organization of war savings clubs.
Purchase of the limit of $480 yearly by individuals.
The primary task in this campaign is to secure realization on the part of ALL Canadians that it is not only desirable but NECESSARY that they budget their incomes so that a fair proportion goes into the national war chest.
Because consumption is not exceeding production we haven’t food ration cards in this country. But in the matter of war dollars, the Government is spending more than it is taking in by taxation. Therefore we have got to create our own wage and salary ration cards, create them voluntarily instead of under compulsion.
The reason is that without such co-operation we cannot carry on a maximum war effort.
In common with every other magazine, periodical and newspaper in Canada, this publication will do all it can to publicize the war savings plan. Not just because we’ve been asked to do so, but because we know what would happen to this country, and to us, if Germany were to win. We know what has happened to the press in the countries conquered by the Nazis to date.
The job which has to be done here in Canada is to convince every man and every woman that they are personally affected by the war; that the fight in cold reality is their fight.
There are some people who haven’t yet realized that fact. They might contemplate what would happen to them were Heinrich Himmler and his Gestapo to move into the community in which they live; to spy upon their every movement and their every word. They might contemplate what would happen to their jobs, to their wages, to their standard of living, to the future hopes of their families under a gauleiter.
If they believe that “it can’t happen here,” they might cast an eye about them. There are in Canada many refugees who can tell what Nazi rule is like. Also they might re-read President Roosevelt’s recent speeches and get the answer to whether or not the United States now believes that “it can’t happen there.”
Of course most people agree that Democracy is worth defending. But slogans are not always as clear as they might be when it comes to applying them to one’s own circumstances.
What we are fighting for is simple enough. It is to make secure the observance of the law and order under which we have shaped our individual lives; to win security for person and property.
It is to preserve the freedom we believe offers the only guarantee of a “good life.”
What we are fighting against is the ignoring of international law, the violation of pledges and the attempt to take things by brute force.
In short we are fighting against piracy, banditry and gangsterism.
No city, town or community would be safe for its residents were there no observance of law, no observance of decency. Nor would any home.
It is in these facts that this war becomes a personal matter.
Nor can anyone console himself with the thought that George, the wealthy fellow, will put up all the money. The Government has pretty well taken care of George. He’s paying the greater part of his income to the tax office and out of what he has left he is not only lending, but giving to his utmost. And all the Georges in the country, turned upside down and thoroughly shaken, cannot produce the billion dollars needed this year for the war effort.
We can’t “let George do it” in the army, in the navy, in the air force, or on the home front, because, magnificently unselfish as he is, he can’t do it unless every man jack in the country is behind him.
So, let’s put the war savings drive over with a bang loud enough to be heard in Berlin.
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