The Canadian Commonwealth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 231 pages of information about The Canadian Commonwealth.
I am not, of course, speaking of the Arctic slope, but I am of the great belt of wild land north of Saskatchewan River.  And where the arable land stops, the great fur farm of the world begins—–­a fur farm which may change but can never be exhausted.  Of course, Canada has a great northern belt of land that is not arable, but in that belt are such precious minerals as were discovered in the Yukon.  Land that can’t be plowed isn’t necessarily waste land, and Canada’s great northern belt is partly balanced by the desert belt of the Southwest in the United States—­the perpetual Indian land of Uncle Sam.

III

With this argument—­you come back just where you began.  The two countries were first settled almost contemporaneously.  Their area is not far different.  They are both fertile.  Each has great belts—­having spent months in each belt, I hesitate to call them barren—­of land that can not be plowed.  Why has one country progressed with such marvelous rapidity; and the other progressed in fits and starts and stops?  Why did a million and a half Canadians—­or one-fourth the native population—­leave Canada for the United States?  The Canadian retort always is—­for the same reason that two million Americans have left the United States for Canada—­to better their position.  But the point is—­why was it these million and a half Canadians found better opportunities in the United States than in Canada?  Opportunities knock at every man’s door if he has ears to hear, but they are usually supposed to knock loudest and oftenest in the new land.  It is a truism that there are ten chances on the frontier for a man to rise compared to one in the city.  One can understand American settlers thronging to Canada.  They have used and made good the opportunities in their own land.  Now they are sending their sons to a land of more opportunities.  The Iowa farmer who has succeeded on his three hundred and twenty acres sends forth his sons each to succeed on his one hundred and sixty acres in Canada; or he sells his own land for one hundred dollars an acre and forthwith buys a thousand acres in Canada.  When the farmers of Ontario flocked to Wisconsin and Michigan and Minnesota and the two Dakotas, their land was worth thirty per cent. less than when they bought it.  To-day that same land is worth one hundred per cent. more than for what they sold it.

It is easy to look over another land and diagnose its ills.  Any Canadian will acknowledge that Ireland’s population dropped from 8,500,000 in 1850 to 4,400,000 in 1908 solely owing to mismanagement, if not gross misgovernment; but he will not acknowledge that his own country lost a million and a half people from the same cause.  Ireland lost her population at the rate of one hundred thousand a year for forty years, and that lost population helped to build up some of the greatest cities in the United States.  The Irish vote is to-day a dominant power solely owing to that population lost to Ireland.  It is no exaggeration to say that from 1880 to 1890 Canada lost her population to the United States at a higher rate than one hundred thousand a year.  Why?

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The Canadian Commonwealth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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