If this was an “Americanizing of Canada,” it was not a bad thing. Every part of Canada felt the quickened pulse. Two more transcontinental railroads had to be built. All-red routes of round-the-globe steam ships were established; all-red round-the-world cables were laid. The quickened pulse was Canada’s passing from hobble-de-hoy adolescence with a chip on the shoulder and a tremor in the throat to big strong, silent, self-confident manhood.
John Bull is a curious and dour foster father in some of his moods. He never really wakened up to Canada as a desirable place for his numerous family to settle till he saw Jonathan’s coat tails going over the fence of the border—till somebody began to howl about “the Americanizing of Canada.” Then, in the words of the illustrious Governor-General, “what was good enough for Americans was good enough” for him. Clifford Sifton’s agents had been combing the United Kingdom as they had combed the western states. British immigration jumped from almost nothing to a total of 687,067 in ten years—with accelerating totals every year since.
If this was “the Americanizing of Canada,” it was a good thing for the Dominion.
There was another feature to the tidal wave of four hundred thousand immigrants a year. The American is a born pioneer, a born gambler, a born adventurer. The Englishman is a steady-going, dogged-as-does-it plodder. The American will risk two dollars on the chance of making ten dollars; he often loses the two dollars, and he often makes the ten dollars; from his general prosperity, I should say the latter results oftener than the former; but the American never in the least minds blazing the trail and stumping his toe and coming a hard fall. John Bull does. He takes himself horribly seriously. He will never risk two dollars to gain ten dollars. He will not, in fact, spend the two dollars till he is sure of four per cent. on it. Four per cent. on two dollars and ten dollars on two dollars do not belong to the same category of investment. Jonathan makes the ideal pioneer; John Bull, the ideal permanent settler who comes in and buys from the pioneer.
If this, too, be “the Americanizing of Canada,” it has been a good thing for the country.
To be sure, there have been hideous horrible abuses. The real estate boom reached the proportions of a fevered madness before it collapsed. Americans bought r_an_ches for five dollars an acre and resold them as r_awn_ches for fifty dollars to young Englishmen who will never make a cent on their investment; chiefly because fruit trees take from five to ten years to come to maturity, and because fruit must be near a market, and because only an expert can succeed at fruit.