OLD-LINE politicians are talking too much, and doing too little, about the recent victories of the CCF.
To listen to some of them, you’d think the election returns of the past two months were a personal triumph for Uncle Joe Stalin. This is not only rubbish, it’s the blindest kind of buck passing. Chief credit for the CCF hat trick goes not to Uncle Joe, not even to the CCF, but to the old-line politicians themselves.
Saskatchewan wheat farmers, B. C. fruit growers, Ontario factory workers are neither Communist nor Socialist. They are ordinary democrats who are fed up with the sloth, the empty talk, the general inanity of the old parties. In three federal by-elections and in Ontario, they voted against the Government —present and past. In Saskatchewan they voted for a Government whose chief accomplishment has been to implement measures which the Liberals and the Conservatives have been promising for years.
Hospital insurance is one example. Even though the cheapness and effectiveness of the Saskatchewan plan are still open to debate, the fact remains that Saskatchewan is the only province that has a hospital plan in operation. Every party in Canada, so far as we know, is on record in favor of this. The federal Liberals campaigned on a platform, in 1945, of which health insurance was only one plank. Ever since, they have been producing one excuse after another — the DominionProvincial conference broke down, the doctors couldn’t agree on a federal act, there aren’t enough hospital beds, etc., etc.
Liberals aren’t the only ones who have fallen down on their professed intentions, for every party in Canada holds power in some province.
Thus, the older parties have allowed the Socialist party to assume the role of the social reform party. So far, the results of this cardinal error have not been too serious—no Government, whatever its intentions, could introduce Socialism in one province. But if the CCF is allowed to go on growing, sooner or later it will take power in Ottawa; then we shall really have Socialist experiment in Canada and the consequences for the Canadian economy will be irrevocable.
If we want to avoid this (and a majority of Canadians still do) we’ll have to make the old parties pull up their socks. Let them do some of the things to which they’ve paid lip service in one election campaign after another. Let them bring in the reforms that Canadians evidently want and let them do a better job of it than the Socialists.
Both the old parties say they’re not opposed to reform. What’s holding them back?
^X/^HEN the Americans get through their Leap Year frenzy and elect a President, we hope he 11 find time to mull over a suggestion from Canada. That suggestion, put forward repeatedly over the past year, is that European Western Union be expanded into an Atlantic Community by the inclusion of the United States and ourselves.
For Europe this would mean security and 5nal prosperity; foi the United States, indirectly, it would mean the same. But for ~anada it would have a third and perhaps even greater value.
This country makes a living out of buying rom the United States and selling to Britain md Europe; our dependence on the overseas narket is known to all. But, in material terms, ve might well change all that and still prosper, .f we were to be fully absorbed into the economic orbit of the United States, we might continue to enjoy as high a standard of living as ever, maybe higher.
Much more doubtful would be our ability to keep our national entity as Canadians.
Canada exists by a precarious balance between geography and history. Geographically we’re tied to the U. S.; historically-and we stubbornly insist upon cherishing history— we’re tied to Britain, to France and to all Europe. So long as the Atlantic Tripod stood, and we could deal on equal terms with both America and Europe, Canada’s spiritual survival was taken for granted. But if our overseas connection should wither, and our economy and our culture should thus become wholly North American, what then? Whatieason would there be for the maintenance of the Canadian entity?
That’s why it’s entirely fitting that Canada, small as she is, should take a lead in trying to establish an international Atlantic Community in which Western Europe can revive. Our own life as a nation may well depend on it.
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