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The Canadian Commonwealth eBook

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

There is one subject on which Canada’s inconsistency regarding “Americanizing influences” is almost laughable.  It is the subject of the influence of periodical literature.  Canadians are great lip-loyalists, but in all the history of Canada they have never accorded support to a national magazine that enabled that magazine to become worthy of the name.  Facts are very damning testimony here.  Very well—­then—­let us have the facts!  There is one American weekly which has a larger circulation in every city in Canada than any daily in any city in Canada.  Of the American monthlies of first rank, there is hardly one that has not a larger circulation in Canada than any Canadian magazine has ever enjoyed.  Even Canadian newspapers are served by American syndicates and press associations.  The influence of this flood of American thought in the currents of Canadian thought can not be exaggerated.  It is subtle.  It is intangible.  It is irresistible.  What Americans are thinking about, Canadians unconsciously are thinking, too.  The influence makes for a community of sentiment that political differences can never disrupt, and it is a good thing for the race that this is so.  It helps to explain why there is no fort between the two nations for three thousand miles.

It may also be added that no Canadian writer can get access to the public in book form except through an American publisher.  Unless the author assumes the cost or risk of publication, the Canadian publisher will rarely issue a book on his own responsibility.  He sends the book to New York or to London, and from New York or London buys plates or sheets.  This compels the Canadian book to have an Imperial or an American appeal.  In literature, the modus operandi works; for the appeal is universal; but one might conceive of conditions demanding a purely national Canadian treatment, which New York or London publishers would not issue, when Canada would literally be damming the springs of her national literature.  Canada considers her population too small to support a purely national literature.  Not so reasons Belgium of smaller population; nor Ireland; nor Scotland.  The fault here is primarily in the copyright law.  A book published first in the United States gains international copyright.  A book published first in Canada may be pirated in the United States or England; and on such printed editions no payment can be collected by the author.  The profits in England and the United States were lost to authors on two of the most popular books ever published by Canadians. [1]

[1] Charles Gordon’s Black Rock, pirated from his own publisher, sale half a million; Kirby’s Chien d’Or, sale one million.

CHAPTER V

WHY RECIPROCITY WAS REJECTED

I

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