The Canadian Commonwealth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 281 pages of information about The Canadian Commonwealth.
may be that Canada has not become sufficiently unified—­cemented in blood and suffering—­to appreciate a literature that distinctively interprets her life and history.  It may be that she has been swamped by the alien literature of alien lands, for the writers of English to-day are legion.  Or it may be the deeper cause beneath the dearth of world literature just now—­lack of that peace, that joyous calm, that repose of soul and freedom from distraction, that permits a creator to give of his best.

One sometimes hears Canadians—­particularly in England—­accused of crudity in speech.  I confess I like the crudities, the rawness, the colloquialisms.  They smack of the new life in a new land.  I should be sorry if Canadians ever began to Latinize their sentences, to “can” their speech and pickle it in the vinegar pedantry of the peeved study-chair critic.  Because it is a land of mountain pines and cataracts and wild winds, I would have their speech smack always of their soil; and I would bewail the day that Canadians began to measure their phrases to suit the yard stick of some starveling pedant in a writer’s attic, who had never been nearer reality than his own starvation.  I can see no superiority in the Englishman’s colloquialisms of “runnin’,” “playin’,” “goin’,” to the Canadian’s “cut it out,” “get out,” “beat it.”  One is the slovenliness of languor.  The other is the rawness of vigor.


When one comes to consider woman in a nation’s life, it is always a little provoking to find “woman” and “divorce” coupled together; for there never was a divorce without a man involved as well as a woman.  The marriage tie is not easily dissolved in Canada.  Divorce pleas must go before a committee of the Federal Senate.  Without legal fees, it costs five hundred dollars to obtain a divorce in Canada; with fees, one thousand dollars; so that Canada’s divorce record is 1,530 for 7,800,000 of population in 1913; or one divorce for every 5,000 people.  This seems a laudably low record, and Canada takes great credit to herself for it.  I am not sure she should, for her system makes divorce a luxury available only to the rich.  Divorce is not a cause.  It is a result.  I am not sure that people ill-mated do not do more harm to their children staying together than separating; and marriage is not for the man or the woman, but for the race.  This opinion, however, would be considered heresy in Canada, and a great many factors conspire to help woman’s status in the Dominion.  To begin with, there are half a million more men than women.  A woman need never give herself so cheaply as to spend her life paying for her precipitancy.  She is not a superfluous.  Another point in which some other countries could emulate Canada is in the protection of women and children.  A woman ill-mated has the same protection under the law as though she were single.  Infringement of her rights is punishable with penalties varying from seven years and the lash to death.  A man living on a woman’s illicit earnings is not coddled by ward heelers and let off with light bail, as in certain notorious California cases.  He is given the lash and seven years.  Such offenders seldom come up for sentence twice.

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The Canadian Commonwealth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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