Well—what is Canada going to do about it? Bar them out! Never! She needs these raw brawny Vandals and Goths of alien lands as much as they need Canada. She needs their hardy virility. They are the crude material of which she must manufacture a manhood that is not sissified, and one must never forget that some of the most honored names in the United States are from these very races. One of the greatest mathematicians in the United States, the greatest copper miners, the richest store keepers, one of the most powerful manufacturers—these sprang from the very races that give Canada pause to-day.
It is on the school rather than on the church that Canada must depend for the nationalizing of these alien races. Nearly all the colonists from the south of Europe have brought their church with them. In one foreign church of North Winnipeg is a congregation of four thousand, and certainly, in the case of the Doukhobors, the influence of the foreign priest has not been for the good of Canada. But none of these races has brought with them a school system, and that throws on the public school system of Canada the burden of preserving national ideals for the future. Will the schools prove equal to it? I wish I could answer unequivocally “yes”; for I recall some beautiful episodes of boys and girls—too immature to realize the importance of their work—“baching” it in prairie shanties, teaching at forty dollars a month; amid the isolation of Doukhobor and Galician and Ruthenian settlement preserving Canada’s national ideals for the future; little classes of foreigners in the schools of North Winnipeg reading lessons in perfect English with flower gardens below the window kept by themselves—the little girls learning sewing and housekeeping in upper rooms, the boys learning technical trades in the basement. All this is good and well; but how about the recognition Canada gives these teachers who manufacture men and women out of mud, who do more in a day for the ideals of the nation than all the eloquence that has been spouted in Houses of Parliament? In Germany, they say—once an army man always an army man; for though the pay is ridiculously small, social prestige and recognition are so great that the army is the most desirable vocation. Canada’s teachers in the schools among foreigners are doing for the Dominion what the German army has aimed to do for the empire. Do the Canadian teachers receive the same recognition? The question needs no answer. They receive so little recognition that the majority throw aside the work at their twenty-first year and crowd into other over-crowded professions. Meanwhile time moves on, and in twenty years the foreign vote will outnumber that of the native born.
THE COMING OF THE ORIENTAL