THE CANADIAN AMERICANS
The 3% million Canadians now living in the U.S. include scientists ^5, writers , the famous Jg^and the men behind the famous M. Together, they are the third largest and quite possibly the brainiest group of immigrants the U.S. has ever had. Here, for the first time, is a full report on why they left Canada, what they mean to their new country and what their loss is going to mean to us
CHRISTINA McCALL NEWMAN
* These four are Dr. Frances Kelsey of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, who kept thalidomkle out of circulation in the U.S. ; Leon Edel, biographer of Henry James and winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; Walter Pidgeon, the actor; and James A. Chamberlin, manager of Project Gemini, which will orbit a two-man space capside. For other noteworthy expatriates, see overleaf.
THE EXODUS OF CANADIAN BRAINS to the United States has gone on so steadily for so long that it has become a kind of national joke and its meaning has ceased to sting us. Yet the issue has never been more important than it is now. This year between forty-five and fifty thousand Canadians — that’s around a hundred and thirty a day — will pack their bags and move to the United States. Canada, of course, has always had emigrants, as well as immigrants. What is new is the increasingly high proportion of emigrants who are the kind of citizens Canada can least afford to lose — university teachers, doctors, scientists and trained businessmen. These people are now leaving Canada in greater numbers than ever before. We're all poorer, in ideas and even buying power, without them. But before we can decide how to encourage at least some of them to change their minds (see editorial, page 4) we’ll have to take a closer look at who they are, why they go, and what keeps them away.
In 1950 only about thirty-five hundred Canadians moving to the United States were in the
professional and managerial classes. But this figure has almost doubled since. The U. S. department of immigration estimates that fiftyfive hundred Canadian emigres in the year ending June, 1962, were professors, engineers, doctors, economists and other professionals. Another thousand that year belonged to the managerial class—department supervisors, and other business people with above-average education and skills. When wives and children are subtracted from the total emigration figure, this means that around twenty-five percent of wage-earners leaving Canada for the United States that year were members of the expensively educated, highly intelligent professional and business classes.
Canadians now form the third largest group of foreign nationals in the United States. The I960 U.S. census shows that three and a quarter million people now living in the United States are either Canadian-born or the offspring of Canadian parents. Three factors make this a vital issue to Canada:
► Immigration from Europe has declined steep-
A mythical university they might have staffed
These Canadians -new would have been hand
ly in recent years, and as a result our reservoir of brainpower is not being replenished from outside sources. In 1961 fewer people came to Canada than left, and in 1962 there were barely two thousand more immigrants than emigrants.
► The movement of educated, talented young Canadians to the United States is increasing at a time when there are severe shortages in the very professions these people follow; when staff shortages are preventing the expansion and adequate staffing of universities, hospitals and research laboratories.
► Social scientists studying the migration are recognizing that the crucial damage done to Canada bv this drain of intelligence doesn't stop with the people who go now, but continues into the next generation and beyond. Their thesis springs from strong evidence that the children of superior men and women tend themselves to be superior, not just because they often inherit their parents’ brains but because they are fortunate enough to grow up in enlightened homes which stress education and excellence.
The distinguished Canadian historian A. R. M. Lower once wrote, “To this aspect of migration, Canadian statesmanship, past and present. has been almost totally blind.” Canada makes little effort to retain its best people, or to persuade them to return after they move away, or even to examine the problem in detail. The men and women whose photographs accompany this article dramatize the human talent we have lost in the past and will continue to lose until we find new ways to keep people of their calibre at home.
Professor Lower has written: “It has tended to be the more able and especially the spontaneous, the extroverts, the 'up and coming' who have gone . . . Canada has retained the withdrawn, the sedate and those with least energy and ability. What this century-old export of brains and energy has done to our society cannot be estimated, but it would seem that it has been one of the large factors in keeping it in that state of low water which has always been the object of the Yankee's goodnatured scorn." This is possibly an exaggeration, yet Lower feels strongly enough about the problem to have devised his own Law of Emigration, based on Gresham’s Law, a monetary maxim to the effect that “cheap money drives out dear.” Lower's version is “cheap men drive out dear.”
It’s not hard to find examples of the firstclass citizens we have lost; it’s harder to decide whom to leave out of any list. For every name mentioned in this issue of Maclean's, there are half a dozen others equally notable. In business. we confined our list to one representative from each of a variety of industries but in some fields (insurance is the most obvious) there were often as many as ten men who had risen to the top of similar firms. Just how many university professors trained in Canada are now American citizens is unknown, but the University of Toronto alone has eight thousand graduates now living in the United States, and eight hundred are currently teaching in American colleges. As well as the loss to their profession in C añada, these people represent a financial loss to Canadian taxpayers: it costs, according to the best estimates, around thirty thousand dollars of the public's money to train a PhD graduate. Three hundred of the thou-
working in the U.S.-k people to have at home V
sands of Canadian academics at U. S. universities are listed in Who’s Who in America. One of them, Leon Edel, who graduated from McGill in 1928 and now teaches English at New York University, this year won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Henry James. Another, Dr. William Giauque. a former Canadian now at the University of California, won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1949.
Ex-Canadians have distinguished themselves in almost every other area of American life. There are over fifty on the medical faculty of Johns Hopkins University, and at least twenty hold important research or teaching positions at the Mayo Clinic. J. Stuart Wetmore is the suffragan bishop of New York, and Gordon Clinton, a lawyer born in Medicine Hat, has been the mayor of Seattle since 1956. Dr. Frances Kelsey, a graduate of McGill now with the U. S. health department, was given an award last year by President Kennedy for her successful effort to keep thalidomide, the drug which crippled unborn babies, off the U. S. market. Dr. Joseph Charyk, who was raised in Lethbridge, now earns eighty thousand dollars a year as the head of the U. S. Communications Satellite Corporation. Dr. Harold Taylor, who was born and educated in Toronto, won a wide reputation as president of Sarah Lawrence # College, and Dr. Austin Smith, who grew up in Belleville, Ont., formerly edited the Journal of the American Medical Association. Elizabeth Arden, who has put a film of cosmetics on millions of American faces, and Arthur Fuller, who founded the Fuller Brush Company which his son now heads, were both born in Canada. (One group of expatriates which falls outside the scope of this article encompasses all those ex-Canadians, from Guy Lombardo to Paul Anka, who made their names in the American entertainment world: we don’t really lose them when they go to the United States; their TV shows, movies and records are quite as available to us as to Americans.)
The idea that talented people will tend to raise talented offspring is now fairly well established scientifically, but it is hard to illustrate in terms of a second generation of Canadians in the U. S. for reasons that are pointed out by Lou Golden, a former Toronto newspaperman who is now a public relations consultant in New York. Golden says, “Almost as soon as ( anadians get down here they vanish without a trace. You have to be involved in a pretty unusual conversation to hear from any American that his father came out of the North." Still, it’s possible to find a number of unusually accomplished Americans who were either born in the United States of Canadian forebears or born here and taken across the border when they were barely able to walk.
The father of Justice William O. Douglas, ol the U. S. Supreme Court, was a minister from the Maritimes. A grandfather of U. S. Admiral Robert Dennison, who retired this spring as Supreme Allied Commander (Atlantic), was from Ottawa. Robert Pound, professor of physics at Harvard; Meribeth Cameron, academic dean at Mount Holyoke College, and William Marshall, dean of engineering at the University of Wisconsin, were all born in C anada and taken south as children. So were Saul Bellow, who is regarded as one of the finest American novelists, and Mort Sahl, the dean of the new generation of American comics.
CAN-AM INC. An industrial complex they might have run
The offspring o! Canadians who lelt this country in such vast numbers in the late 1920s and 1930s are only now beginning to make their contributions to American life, so the true extent of what we lost then can only he guessed at. Not untypical are the children of Dr. Hilton Stothers, an ear, nose and throat specialist from London, Ont., who has been practising in New' York City and lecturing at Columbia for thirty years. Dr. Stothers has one daughter, who is an honor graduate of Wellesley College, and two sons. One son is currently working on a PhD in astrophysics at Harvard. The other is a teenager studying at Phillips Exeter Academy who has just w'on a national scholarship competition in French.
For most of these young Americans-whomight-have-been-Canadians, this country is just a large foreign land mass to the north. ("1 sometimes feel saddened," says Hilton Stothers, "that Canada means so little to my sons.") To them the reasons w'hy their parents left here a generation or two ago no longer have meaning-
To find out why accomplished Canadians continue to leave in this generation, 1 recently interviewed representatives of most Canadian professional associations and more than a score of ex-Canadians now in the United States. The answers from the ex-Canadians usually contained some variation on the theme of "1 just had to get out" (a phrase that comes up in almost every conversation a Canadian has with an ex-Canadian), but it developed that most of them moved for one or more of three main reasons. Some went simply for higher salaries. Others moved there for graduate training in American universities which often leads to American jobs. Others went in search of what’s usually referred to as "more stimulating working conditions." This sometimes means being able to find specialized jobs that don't exist in Canada, or having access to research facilities that no Canadian firm can afford, or, in the case of businessmen employed by the Canadian subsidiaries of American firms, being promoted to better jobs in U. S. home offices.
Few emigres will flatly admit that money (done drew them across the border, but in one
way or another — either in higher salaries or in more funds available for research — money is often the irresistible enticement. With one professional group, nurses, it plays a large part indeed. Nurses are leaving Canada for the U. S. at the rate of twelve hundred a year, although hospitals all over Canada are chronically short of nurses and only fifty-five hundred are graduated from teaching hospitals each year. Nurses go to the U. S. looking for what Dr. Helen Mussallem, director of the Canadian Nurses Association, calls "adventure, new' experiences, a better climate.” But the knowledge that in hospitals in California and New York State they can immediately make four hundred and fifty to five hundred dollars a month — or at least a hundred dollars more than they can command in most Canadian hospitals — is for many the decisive factor. Canadian nurses have no trouble at all getting American jobs, mostly because they have a reputation for being "the best nurses in the world." (One of their number, Isabel Stewart, a graduate of the Winnipeg General, now retired as head of nursing education at Columbia University, was honored by the American Nurses Association as "the most famous nurse in the world” because of her w'idely copied innovations in teaching methods.) Directors of American hospitals regularly come up to Canadian cities on recruiting raids, and their efforts have been so successful that Canadian hospital directors arc being forced to tour Britain to recruit nurses.
The shortage of interns in Canadian hospitals isn’t as acute, but it is seriously aggravated by the fact that about two hundred doctors, or a quarter of those graduating from Canadian medical schools, decide each year to intern in American hospitals. The Canadian public purse has an investment of well over thirty thousand dollars in each of these men. Their exodus isn’t as bad as it once w'as: up to the Second World War, about half our medical students seeking specialist training went to the United States. Dr. Gordon Heyd of New York, who left Toronto in 1908 and eventually became the first foreign-born head
continued on page 38
con I in tied from puye 12
of the American Medical Association, says that "In my day any young doctor with gumption pretty well felt he had to go to the United States for further training, and once here a lot of us stayed." Today, the newly graduated MD who decides to intern in the U. S. still is attracted by broader facilities, but he's also influenced by the higher salaries paid to interns and by the increased chance he will have to set up practice in the United States, where his potential life income will he considerably higher. If he's interested in research or teaching, he will find that holding an American internship makes it easier to get into one of the great medical teaching and research centres, like Johns Hopkins or the Mayo C linic.
For scholars, in the humanities as well as in the sciences, the pull to the south is stronger than for any other group. The reasons why our academics leave in large numbers are not primarily financial, though an American professor earns about a thousand dollars a year more than his Canadian counterpart and outstanding American colleges pay top scholars up to fifty percent more than they can earn here. Neither is it strictly true that our scholastic standards are less impressive than those in the majority of American colleges; certainly our worst universities are better than many southern colleges or state institutions. "However. to be blunt about it." says Dr. J. H. S. Reid, executive secretary of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, "we just don't have a Harvard or a Princeton or a Yale. Our universities can't compete in terms of fellowships, research assistants, grants or libraries with these great and richly endowed American institutions. I'm afraid it's typical that the foremost academic expert on French Canada is at the University of Rochester, that the best Arctic Institute is at Dartmouth, that the best Institute of Commonwealth Studies is at Duke. The Americans have the money to assemble experts and research facilities and source material; naturally our scholars are attracted.’’
Canadian scholars are recruited initially through fellowships offered for preliminary graduate work. Big American universities woo the most brilliant undergraduates not just by putting up posters announcing fellowships in the halls of Canadian colleges, but by writing to heads of departments and asking for recommendations. Once academics have obtained their advance degrees, they will, not unnaturally, keep up their American connections. Even if they do come home to teach for a time, the chances are that they'll be drawn back.
The damage done to Canada by this loss is incalculable. At the moment there are only nine thousand men and women teaching in our universities,
and only three hundred PhDs in all disciplines are graduating each year, an increase of only eight over the 1956 total, a year when the Association of UniversityTeachers claimed the situation had reached a "crisis level.” Yet by 1970 it's been calculated that we will need twenty-five thousand university teachers — or almost three times as many as we have now. Our universities will then be forced to draw the majority of their teachers from BA and MA ranks which will in turn lower standards; furthermore those professors who do have PhDs will have to spend more time teaching undergraduates so that an even larger number of advanced students will be compelled to go to the U. S. for graduate training.
The forces that draw the academic across the border are equally compelling to the scientist, and to a lesser extent to his colleague, the professional engineer.
How polities loses scientists
According to the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, most of their number who are lost to us fit into one of three categories: new
graduates attracted by average U. S. starting salaries which are a third higher than those paid here; middlerank engineers with a decade or so of experience who w'ant management jobs; and, what’s most important, engineers who want to make original contributions to their profession and arc attracted by the large commercial research establishments of the U. S.
"Salaries of Canadian scientists at any level will never be high enough to stop the flow of scientific brains from Canada to the U. S.,” the late Dr. E. W. R. Steacie of the National Research Council told the Commons Committee on Research in I960. Even if scientists are willing to work in Canada for lower salaries, there is just not enough stimulating work available to keep our more sophisticated scientific brains at home. The National Research Council has estimated that on a per capita basis research and development expenditures in Canada are not quite a quarter of U. S. expen-
ditures. Ironically, the subsidiaries of American companies in Canada spend an estimated twenty million dollars a year to finance research at their parent corporations in the U. S.
Sometimes an exciting Canadian research project fails because of special political circumstances and throws a number of scientists out of their jobs. The sudden scrapping of the Avro Arrow project in 1959 was the most dramatic such incident; it automatically exiled our best aeronautical engineers to the U. K. or the U. S., where at least thirty ex-AVRO men are now working on various aspects of the American space program. More frequently, however, the exciting projects are never even begun, simply because not enough money from either public or private funds is available here to compete in the expensive research projects demanded by the complexities of the space age.
A. G. W. Cameron, a brilliant physicist from the University of Manitoba who worked at Chalk River before leaving two years ago to take a job in astrophysics with the Institute of Space Studies in New York, has listed half a dozen areas in advanced physics in which Canada is doing next to nothing. "Because so little is being spent in the frontier fields of science,” he says, "Canada’s technological position in the next few years will deteriorate rapidly.” Cameron is convinced that the situation is serious enough to affect our chances for economic survival. He maintains that because we can't interest purescience researchers sufficiently to keep them at home, we are destroying the climate for scientific research. This will eventually affect the industrial researchers needed to produce the commercial advances that can keep our goods competitive in export markets.
These are some reasons why Canadians leave Canada. But they don't fully explain why they stay away from Canada — why so many of those who expected to return decide instead to remain in the United States.
Often expatriates start out with the belief that broader experience in the United States will enrich their profes-
säonal reputations when they eventually return to Canada. Then gradually they begin to feel doubts similar to those expressed recently by a Toronto girl who was educated entirely on scholarships, won a PhD at twentythree, and quickly acquired both an international reputation in her field and an assistant professor’s job at a Canadian university. (She asked not to be named in this article because she hasn't entirely decided to stay in the United States, a state of mind which Graeme Ferguson, a young documentary film maker in New' York, describes as “that period w'hen you refuse to admit that you're really here.”)
“1 didn't come here because 1 was bitterly unhappy with opportunities at home,” says this girl, “but because 1 was stimulated by an offer to assist the most eminent man in my field on an important project financed by a huge foundation. Now' that 1 am here, many things irritate me. But the freedom, the almost unlimited funds available for research, the feeling that I can get something really important done without niggling, makes me wonder whether 1 want to go back to
Canada with all its restrictions and its small mindedness.”
Most Canadians find that they reach their critical stage of decision after they've been in the U. S. for about three years. By then, they’ve ceased to be irritated by the lack of American interest in Canadian affairs and by the small differences in everyday American life. They've known what it's like to feel the immigrant's compulsive urge to hustle and. as a result, they've usually done very well at their jobs. They've made friends and their children are established in schools. (“And come home,” says Mrs. A. D. Dingle, an MA from Queen's now in California, "prattling about George Washington and asking to have the Stars and Stripes hooked up to their tricycles.”)
"Right about then,” says film producer Graeme Ferguson, who graduated from the University of Toronto in 1951, “you start to feel guilty about abandoning Canada, especially if you belong to my generation, the people who went to university right after the war when nationalism ran so high on Canadian campuses. So you rationalize — you tell yourself that
there is no place for xenophobia in the modern world: you remember that the kind of job you want doesn't exist in Canada or if it does, it's closed to you by now' because the people whose experience is entirely Canadian are firmly established in the line-up. You try to throw off your emotional ties by getting angry at the lack of opportunities and you end up telling yourself you did the only possible thing — which is probably true."
“Canada abandoned me”
If expatriates don't return to Canada at this stage they probably never will. Within a couple of years, they become eligible for citizenship. Many will apply for their papers, both because as responsible intelligent people they want a say in the political affairs of their communities and because their employers will begin to exert subtle pressures on them to establish themselves as “real Americans.” At this point they — and their children — are lost to this country forever.
Most of them will keep up, for a while at least, a keen interest in Canadian politics. Some will maintain a
strong connection with their old universities. James Phillips, a Canadian who retired last summer as chief actuary and vice-president of the New York Life Insurance Company, is devoting much of his time currently to a fund-raising organization called 'The Associates of the University of Toronto" which has managed to raise half a million dollars from University of Toronto alumni in the U. S. in the last decade. Others — mainly businessmen — will join the Canadian Club of New York, the Canadian Society, or a similar organization that meets occasionally to hear Canadian speakers.
"1 went to one of those meetings once.” says Graeme Ferguson, “and I've rarely felt so depressed. Most of the men were twenty or thirty years older than 1 am, and long established in the U. S. It was as though we were all gathered nostalgically together because we'd once paddled the same canoe at Camp Poon-Ee-Hah-Hah in 1928. The link with C anada seemed that slight.”
It's rare for an expatriate Canadian to feel as embittered as one academic who said recently, "I didn't abandon
C anada; Canada abandoned nie." but most will wonder at one time or another why nothing was ever done to attract them home again. Only token efforts are made by the federal government to keep track of Canadians who leave. No records of departures are kept by the department of citizenship and immigration because it's felt that the mechanics involved would impede the free flow across the border of tourists and businessmen. The department of labor, however, forced into awareness by our shortages of skilled personnel, has made an attempt at record-keeping. Dr. P. H. Cassclman, head of the department's professional manpower division, has compiled, from American sources, a statistical record of the loss of Canadian professional workers; and each year for the past three he has been in charge of putting out a pamphlet listing the names, addresses, and special fields of study of Canadian students doing graduate work in American colleges. The theory is that Canadian universities or Canadian firms seeking cm-
ployees will be able to refer to the list and write directly to these graduates asking them to apply for job openings.
The only other organization doing anything concrete about bringing Canadians back home again is the Technical Service Council, a non-profit placement service set up in Toronto in the late 1920s by a group of business heads. The Council gets a steady stream of requests for help from expatriate Canadian engineers, scientists and executives who want to return to this country; in thirty-six years it has found positions here for a great many such men. But its general manager, Neil MacDougall, often finds his efforts hampered by the attitude of some of the Canadian businessmen he approaches on behalf of applicants from the U. S. “Often,” he says, "there is a deep suspicion of a Canadian who wants to come back. The employer will sit there skeptically, obviously thinking, ‘What's wrong w'ith this guy? Couldn't he make it down there?’”
Few of the four thousand people
who will uecide to leave Canada this month are likely to know that this attitude will face them should they ever want to return. But a lot of them may feel, as they go about the mechanical details of leaving this country behind, as Joyce and Don Dingle did in I960 when they prepared to move from Montreal to California. “I'll never forget the day we all trooped down to the RCMP headquarters in Westmount to get our clearance papers,” Mrs. Dingle says. “It was our last official act and the Mounties were all kind and polite in a very Canadian way. Afterwards, we got into the car and just sat there totally depressed. If at that moment somebody had come along and made an impassioned speech, we probably would have thrown the whole thing up. But nobody did and 1 turned to Don and said, ‘Why do they make it so easy? Why do they act as if they were welcoming you to leave?’” To these two questions no one in this country at this time seems able to give a satisfactory answer. ★