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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 231 pages of information about The Canadian Commonwealth.
Instead of playing for ten and one hundred dollars, as white men and women gamble up-town, the Chinese boys were huddling intently over dice boxes, or playing fan-tan with fevered zeal for ten cents.  Instead of drinking absinthe, one or two sat smoking heavily, with the abstracted stare of the opium victim.  In the midnight restaurants some drunken sailors sat tipsily, eating chop suey.  Goldsmiths were plying their fine craftsmanship.  Presses were turning out dailies with the news of the Chinese revolution.  Grocery stores, theaters, markets, all were open; for Chinatown never sleeps.

CHAPTER X

WHAT PANAMA MEANS

I

It now becomes apparent why British Columbia was described as the province where East meets West and works out Destiny.

On the other side of the Pacific lies Japan come to the manhood of nationality, demanding recognition as the equal of the white race and room to expand.  Behind Japan lies China, an awakened giant, potent for good or ill, of half a billion people, whose commerce under a few years of modern science and mechanics is bound to equal the commerce of half Europe.  It may in a decade bring to the ports that have hitherto been the back doors of America an aggregate yearly traffic exceeding the four billion dollars’ worth that yearly leave Atlantic ports for Europe.  Canada is now the shortest route to “Cathay”; the railroads across Canada offer shorter route from China to Europe than Suez or Horn, by from two to ten thousand miles.  Then there is India, another awakened giant, potent for good or ill, of three hundred million people—­two hundred to the square mile—­clamoring for recognition as British subjects, clamoring for room to expand.

The question is sometimes asked by Americans:  Why does Canada concern herself about foreign problems and dangers?  Why does she not rest secure under the aegis of the Monroe Doctrine, which forever forfends foreign conquest of America by an alien power?  And Canada answers—­because the Monroe Doctrine is not worth the ink in which it was penned without the bayonet to enforce the pen.  Belgium’s neutrality did not protect her.  The peace that is not a victory is only an armed truce—­a let-live by some other nation’s permission.  Without power to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, that doctrine is to Canada but a tissue-paper rampart.

To add to the complication involving British Columbia comes the opening of Panama, turning the Pacific Ocean into a parade ground for the world’s fleets both merchantmen and war.  Commercially Panama simply turns British Columbia into a front door, instead of a back door.  What does this mean?

The Atlantic has hitherto been the Dominion’s front door, and the Canadian section of the Atlantic has four harbors of first rank with an aggregate population of nearly a million.  Canada has, besides, three lake harbors subsidiary to ocean traffic with an aggregate population of half a million.  One may infer when the Pacific becomes a front door, that Vancouver and Victoria and Port Mann and Westminster and Prince Rupert will soon have an aggregate population of a million.

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