CHINA’S Foreign Minister, T. V. Soong, returning to Chungking from the United States, is reported to have told a press conference that Canada is “conducting a wonderful war effort which in proportion to her population surpasses that of any other country.”
Canadians appreciate Mr. Soong’s tribute to this Dominion, as they admire China’s magnificent decade-long battle against aggression. We hope, therefore, that what follows will not be considered ungracious; or that we are remotely suggesting that Canada’s war effort is not one of which we are proud. It certainly is.
But to say that in proportion to population our war effort surpasses that of any other country ranks us ahead of Great Britain. Which isn’t so.
The population of Britain is less than four times that of Canada.
Out of that population is manned a huge Army, the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy, the R.A.F., vast Home Guard, Fire-fighting and A.R.P. Services, and a war industry which is still producing, per capita, more than is the war industry of the United States.
In Britain every fit man between 18and 41 has been drafted into the Forces, unless irreplaceable in an essential job. The age limit has been raised to 51.
Two out of every three persons between the ages of 14 and 65 are working full time in the Armed Forces, Civilian Defense or Industry.
8,400,000 women of Britain have already been registered and 6,700,000 are working in industry and essential defense services.
Seven out of every ten boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 17 are doing war work.
Government war expenditures amount to $60,000,000 a day.
In war savings the British people have raised more than $15,000,000,000—an average of $318 per head. Over a third of the total represented “small savings.”
Standard rate of Income Tax is fifty per cent. Surtaxes bring the amount of taxation on higher incomes to as much as 97 ' A per cent.
Eighty-nine per cent of the R.A.F. planes operating from home bases, and seventy-five per cent at bases abroad are British made.
In 1941, Britain sent to battlefields abroad 9,781 planes (four times the number she imported and 3,000 tanks (fifteen times the number imported).
For more than two years British troops have been fighting on a world-wide front, alongside troops from other parts of the Empire. Up to January, 1942, 71 per cent of all British Empire casualties suffered on land were men from the United Kingdom.
We wouldn’t be minimizing Canada’s war effort were we to say that it came next to Great Britain’s.
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