So far scarcely a cloud appears on the horizon of Canada’s national destiny. Like a ship launched roughly from her stays to tempests in shallow water, she seems to have left tempests and shallow water behind and to have sailed proudly out to the great deeps. In ’37 she settled whether she would be ruled by special interests, by a plutocracy, by an oligarchy. In ’67 she settled forever what in the United States would be called “states’ rights.” That is—she gathered the scattered members of her fold into one confederation and bound them together not only with the constitution of the British North America Act, but with bands of iron and steel in railways that linked Nova Scotia with British Columbia. By ’77 she had met the menace of the American high tariff, which barred her from markets, and entered on a fiscal system of her own. By ’87 her system of transportation east and west was in working order and she had begun the subsidizing of steamships and the search for world markets which have since resulted in a total foreign trade equal to one-fourth that of the United States. By ’97 she was almost ready for the preferential tariff reduction of from twenty-five to thirty-three per cent. on British goods which the Laurier government later introduced, and she had established her right to negotiate commercial treaties with foreign powers independent of the Mother Country. By 1907 she was in the very maelstrom of the maddest real estate boom and immigration flood tide that a sane country could weather.
In a word, Canada’s greatest dangers and difficulties seem to have been passed. The sea seems calm and the sky fair. In reality, she is close to the greatest dangers that can threaten a nation—dangers within, not without; dangers, not physical, but psychological, which are harder to overcome; dangers of dilution and contamination of national blood, national grit, national government, national ideals.
These are strong statements! Let us see if facts substantiate them!
Canada’s natural increase of population is only one-fourth her incoming tide of colonists. In a word, put her natural increase at eighty to one hundred thousand a year, and it is nearer eighty than one hundred thousand. Her immigration exceeds four hundred thousand. If that immigration were all British and all American there would be no problem; for though there are differences in government, both people have the same national ideal—utter freedom of opportunity for each man to work out the best in him. It is an even wager that the average Canadian coming to the United States is unaware of any difference in his freedom, and the average American coming to Canada is unaware of any difference in his freedom. Both people have fought and bled for freedom and treasure it as the most sacred thing in life.