Editorials

Security and Jobs Lie in Test Tubes

August 1 1945
Editorials

Security and Jobs Lie in Test Tubes

August 1 1945

Security and Jobs Lie in Test Tubes

Editorials

EXPERTS in scientific branches of warfare know that the Allied victory in Europe was wrested in the nick of time. Had Germany been able to hold out a few months longer, new weapons, vastly more devastating than anything we possessed, would have been unleashed against us.

They know, these experts, that German scientists, looking still further into the future, were with some success experimenting along lines so fantastic as to be beyond the comprehension of the average lay mind.

Undoubtedly Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts had these facts in mind when, in Ottawa, he warned that every peace-loving nation must be armed and ready to defend itself against any contingency; that the modern world is more dangerous than ever.

So far as Canada is concerned, a proper and adequate policy of postwar military technology is an immediate necessity.

The Colonel Blimps will want appropriations for a big army. Of infinitely greater importance is concentration on first-class scientific and technical research and equipment.

It’s a matter of pitting brains against brains; scientific brains.

That will cost money; plenty of money.

A tremendous responsibility rests upon the Government, upon Parliament, upon the people of this country—to see that nothing stands in the way of such development, whatever the cost may be.

THEN there’s the question of science and the creation of peacetime jobs.

In this issue of Maclean’s, economist Gilbert E. Jackson tells how much national income we shall have to have, how much trade we shall have to build up, in order to provide Full Employment. It isn’t going to be as easy as promising politicians have made it seem.

Addressing The Chemical Institute of Canada recently, Mr. Jackson was emphatic concerning the necessity of scientific research in the creation of new avenues of trade and employment. He quoted a prominent British industrialist who knows Canada well as saying: “Full employment lies in scientific research. You in Canada have enormous resources. You’ve mostly sold them in their simplest forms, and sometimes you find your market strictly limited. You’re handicapped with your resources. Because you sell them in their simplest forms you get paid the minimum for them. And because of that, a lot of your products can’t pay the freight.”

He instanced Alberta’s vast coal deposits, our forest products, other massive resources; said that if science turned them into something different, more valuable, more cheaply moved, many of our problems would be solved. “Spend on the same scale for peacetime research as the Combined General Staffs have been spending for wartime research,” he said.

Mr. Jackson’s summing up was this:

We require not only the provision of funds for Research on a much* larger scale than has ever been contemplated in this Dominion, but also

something like a Combined General Staff of research experts.

Our insurance against a manpower crisis in the research field is an enlargement of facilities in Canadian schools and universities for instruction in the physical sciences.

For the sake of tomorrow’s jobs in this country we must now build up a new and better scale of compensation for all trained scientific workers in Canada.

All of which strikes us as plain common sense.