The Canadian Commonwealth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 231 pages of information about The Canadian Commonwealth.

A certain section of the French oppose Canada embroiling herself in European wars.  They do this conscientiously and not as a political trick to attract the votes of the ultramontane French.  One of the most brilliant supporters Sir Wilfred Laurier ever had flung his chances of a Cabinet place to the winds in opposing Canada’s participation in the Boer War.  He not only flung his chances to the winds, but he ruined himself financially and was read out of the party.  The motive behind this opposition to Canada’s participations in the Imperial wars is, perhaps, three-fold.  French Canada has never forgotten that she was conquered.  True, she is better off, enjoys greater religious liberty, greater material prosperity, greater political freedom than under the old regime; but she remembers that French prestige fell before English prestige on the Plains of Abraham.  The second motive is an unconscious feeling of detachment from British Imperial affairs.  Why should French Canada embroil herself and give of her blood and means for a race alien to herself in speech and religion?  The Monroe Doctrine forever defends Canada from seizure by European power.  Why not rest under that defense and build up a purely Canadian power?  The third motive is almost subconscious.  What if a European war should involve French-Catholic Canada on the side of Protestant England against French-Catholic France, or even Catholic Italy?  Quebec feels herself a part of Canada but not of the British Empire; and it is a great question how much Laurier’s support of the British in the Boer War had to do with that partial defection of Quebec which ultimately defeated him on Reciprocity; for if there is one thing the devout son of the church fears more than embroilment in European war, it is coming under the republicanizing influence of the United States.  Under Canadian law the favored status of the church is guaranteed.  Under American law the church would be on the same footing as all other denominations.

IV

When one comes to Ontario, one is dealing with the kitchen garden of the Dominion—­in summer a land of placid sky-blue lakes, and amber-colored wooded rivers, and trim, almost garden-like farms, and heavily laden orchards, and thriving cities beginning to smoke under the pall of the increasing and almost universal factory.  Under its old boundaries Ontario stood just eighteen thousand square miles larger than France.  Under its new boundaries extending to Hudson Bay, Ontario measures almost twice the area of France.  France supports a population of nearly forty millions; Ontario, of barely two and a half millions.  Both Ontario and France are equally fertile and equally diversified in fertility.  Along the lakes and clustered round Niagara is the great fruit region—­vineyards and apple orchards that are gardens of perfection.  North of the lakes is a mixed farm region.  Parallel with the latitude skirting Georgian Bay begins the

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The Canadian Commonwealth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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